Regina hummed her approval as golden hair spilled out from beneath the dark helm, cascading over the broad shoulders of her most fearsome Knight. Pink lips quirked with a smile, one so familiar and full of mischief as the woman moved toward her and her breathe quickened in anticipation.
Each morning was a prelude to these evenings, nights filled with pleasure and pain—sometimes in equal measure if the mood suited them. She smiled an indulgent smile as nimble, calloused hands worked their way down her body, discarding her outfit piece by piece until she stood bare for those hungry eyes.
Raising a hand, she beckoned the woman to follow with the crook of her finger and backed toward the bed. Armour fell to the floor with each step as her Knight obeyed and when the back of her knees met resistance, she paused, taking her lower lip between teeth as she drank in the sight of all that beautifully defined, pale flesh on display for only her.
Always, only for her.
"Mine," she growled, reaching for the blonde with possessive hands and groaning into the mouth that immediately pressed to her own as her arousal multiplied and her thighs slickened with wet heat.
Regina inhaled sharply through her nose and dark eyes snapped open. As had been the case the last two decades, she was met with the stark white walls of her bedroom, trapped within a small town in Maine without her Knight to keep her company. She groaned and rolled from the bed with naught but memories from a time long ago, an ache between her legs and a mood most foul that none would escape her anger that day.
Pulling the tie of her robe tight around her waist, she made her way toward her son's room and roused him from slumber, snatching the covers from his small frame when he tried to roll over and return to sleep. She ignored his mumbled protests, throwing duvet and sheet to the floor before she marched from the room and back to her own, stripping herself bare before she ducked into the bathroom.
Fifteen minutes later and with her anger only slightly abated by the relief she'd found beneath the hot stream of her shower, she emerged back into the hall in time to hear the door to the second bathroom close and she made her way downstairs to the kitchen.
Henry was accustomed to her traditional Monday temperament and made no comment when he came down after his own shower. He mumbled his thanks as she handed him a plate of his favourite food and skulked off to the den where he would watch his cartoons for the next half an hour while she prepared herself for work.
Routine was the theme of not just the Mills Household, but the entire town of Storybrooke and all characters played their part, day in and day out. Regina was tired of it, tired of the monotony, tired of being surrounded by constant boredom as she grew to despise everyone and everything with each passing day.
When there was a knock at her door, her lips curled in a sneer and her cup slammed down on the counter, coffee spilling out over the sides to pool on the pristine marble surface. She hissed as part of it scolded her hand and her sneer deepened as she stalked through the foyer, teeth grinding as she yanked open the door and exploded on her unsuspecting victim.
"What the hell do you want?" she snapped, the greeting unlike all the ones that had come before when faced with the man standing on her doorstep.
Robin blinked at her and his expression was that of complete shock, merely serving as fuel to worsen her bad mood and before he could stutter a response, she growled low in her throat and slammed the door in his face.
The sound of her son's voice dampened the heat in her veins and her shoulders slumped dejectedly. She closed her eyes, pressing her forehead against the door as she replied, "Yes, dear?"
His arms wrapped around her from behind and he rested his cheek upon her spine, bringing a faint smile to her lips for the first time that morning. "What's wrong?" he questioned quietly and she sighed, bringing a hand up from her side to cover the two that sat on her stomach.
"I'm just missing…" My Knight, her mind supplied as she finished, "… someone."
"Emma," he guessed, attempting to comfort her as his arms squeezed her waist.
"Yes," she admitted, feeling lighter with the simple utterance of her name. She turned in his embrace and cupped the back of his head, murmuring her assurances that her mood would pass as he buried his face into her stomach.
It was a lie, one they were both all too aware of but he nodded regardless. She would always mourn the loss of the woman she loved, and he would always accept her little white lies to make himself feel better as was their purpose.
"Ms Mills, Deputy Hood is here to see you."
Regina stared at the intercom. She knew it would come sooner or later, she simply hoped for the latter and she wasn't prepared to face him. She should have told her secretary to make up an excuse and send him away if he appeared before she entered her office.
"Too late now," she muttered under her breath, rolling her eyes as she reached out a hand. "Send him in, Victoria, and take an hour for lunch."
When her door opened, she glanced down at the forms in front of her. Robin had tried for as long as she could remember to 'woo' her, as he had once put it. She had allowed it for a time, even encouraged it but after a while she realised no one would ever compare to her Emma and she'd put a stop to it—or at least, she had attempted to.
"You want to tell me what this morning was about?" He questioned, taking the seat across from her and she looked up briefly.
Shaking her head, she picked up her pen and tapped it on the edge of the desk as she considered her options. She could tell him to leave, that it was none of his business, which she knew would send him from her office faster than anything else would. Even if Rumple had been wrong to assume her supposed soul mate was able to provide her an alternate happy ending, he had at least indulged her need for control and the former Outlaw feared her as much as anyone else in the town did.
In the end though, when he wasn't asking her out on dates or doing unnecessary and downright unwanted things like bringing her flowers, she considered Robin one of the few friends she had beyond those she'd known in the Enchanted Forest and turning yet another person against her didn't appeal to her as much as it had the Evil Queen.
"I was in a bad mood this morning and I unfairly took it out on you," she reasoned, hoping her expression showed at least a semblance of contrition. "I apologise and hope you can forgive me."
Robin was a sweet man, more often than not and while she may not love him and on occasion, even despised him—she adored his son, almost as much as she adored her own. Truly, all she hoped was that he believed she was sincere and waltzed himself from her office before she lost her temper again. With each passing day, it was becoming more and more difficult to hold on to her anger and should she need to release it, there were a number of townspeople she would much rather tear to pieces.
"Apology accepted." He smiled in a way that most would consider charming, but merely provided a warning to her for his next words as he leaned forward and suggested, "You could make it up to me by having lunch…"
Inwardly sighing and restraining herself from rolling her eyes again, she forced a smile of her own. "As much as I would like to join you for lunch, I have far too much paperwork to get done before the end of the day; rain check?"
"Of course," he replied and stood. "I'll let you get back to it then."
She nodded, her smile softening as relief lessened the tension in her shoulders and he turned, throwing a wave over his shoulder before the door closed behind him and she leaned back in her chair with a quiet, "Thank the Gods."
He really was sweet, but the man was awful at small talk and the thought of being guilted into accepting his invitation had been a passing concern, one she was glad not to have been the case.
Hearing the bell above his door chime, Gold emerged from the back of the pawnshop and tilted his head curiously. He had hoped the boy would one day seek him out, but he hadn't expected it to occur quite so soon, though he was well prepared for the occasion.
Moving further into the shop, he attempted as passive a smile as he were capable and announced his presence to his curious visitor as he stood before the counter, "Master Henry; to what do I owe this surprise visit?"
The boy turned and chewed his lower lip, no doubt uncertain of his decision to ask an enemy of his mother for help and Gold's smile widened at the thought. It was a well-known fact that he and the Mayor rarely saw eye to eye, a common topic of conversation among the less important residents of their sleepy little town.
"I…" Henry started only to pause with a nervous swallow before he tried again. "Mom told me recently that I was adopted," he said and Gold nodded for him to continue when it looked as though he were waiting on some form of assurance he was heard.
"She said she came to you, to help her find me and… and I wanted to know if you could tell me who my birth mother is or maybe if you could… help me find her?"
Emma tilted her head, a soft chuckle escaping her lips as she watched the Queen try to reach the branch above her head. The brunette shot her a glare but she paid it no mind, placing her arms on the back of the bench as she leaned back and admired the way the billowy white shirt rode above an olive waist.
Her eyes drifted up to watch the purple smoke dissipate within a slim hand and she smirked upon seeing the apple that replaced it. "Cheat," she teasingly called before the brunette vanished from sight and reappeared a second later, sprawled in her lap as though she owned it.
"We must content ourselves with the skills we possess," Regina purred silkily, capturing the hand slowly making its way up her thigh and slipping it beneath her shirt.
"Speaking of the skills we possess," Emma grinned and lowered her head to claim dark lips, fingers moulding to a breast as the Queen moaned her approval and clutched her golden curls in her fist.
With a sigh, Emma shook the remnants of the dream from her mind and pushed up from the couch. Her back ached something fierce and her head throbbed in time to the beat of her pulse. She stretched as she moved to the kitchen, pausing with a hand on the counter as disorientation threatened to send her to the floor.
"Ugh, I need to stop drinking," she groaned to herself, retrieving a bottle of water from the refrigerator before stumbling her way down the hall to the bathroom.
Beneath the lukewarm spray of the shower, she closed her eyes and tilted her head back as she replayed her dream, recalling the feeling of absolute happiness that had overwhelmed her. She wondered who the dark-haired woman was, where her mind had conjured her from and why these images that played like fairy tales continued to plague her each night.
For as long as she could remember, the woman—the Queen had been at the forefront of her thoughts.
When strapped to the hospital bed, pushing the child from her womb that she then gave up for adoption in the hope he would have a better future than the one she could provide him, she still had thought of nothing but. Melodious laughter and crimson lips upturned with a smile so bright that her chest hurt at the mere sight of it had soothed years upon years of constant heartache, soothing the pain of a life filled to the brim with disappointment after disappointment.
Even then, as she recalled her past, the mistakes it entailed and the opportunities that passed her by, the face she had come to know as that of her own personal guardian angel lessened her melancholy with such an impish grin that Emma couldn't help but laugh out loud at the image.
The woman was beauty incarnate, a modern day Aphrodite and every day Emma prayed she would cross paths with someone like her. She knew, deep down it was wishful thinking and she dated on and off, knowing she couldn't rely on some woman from her dreams to appear out of thin air and take her back to that place; that place inside her head where she was happy, and loved beyond all hope and reason.
Stepping from the shower with a sigh and the yearning ache in her chest, Emma pulled a towel from the railing on the wall and tugged it around her body before she exited the bathroom. She moved to the door of her apartment and stared down at the mail delivered that morning, and suddenly froze as her eyes fell upon a familiar envelope.
After however many minutes had passed, she bent and snatched it from underneath the pile, almost tripping in her haste to her bedroom; an unexplainable need to be certain it was the exact same as the ones she had received the last two months as she rummaged through the drawer of her bedside table.
There at the bottom, she found what she was looking for and dropped the two identical envelopes on to the bed beside the recent one. Her eyes darted between them, noting the similarities but also the differences. The handwriting wasn't the same, almost looking as though it were written by a child while the previous two were pure elegance, all three using the same envelope, with an initials on the back of the third.
She frowned, unable to recall having met anyone with the initials, male or female. She sighed, removing the small note from the first letter, the words written coming to her mind before she even looked.
All is not as it seems.
The second contained a series of numbers—coordinates, she had deduced relatively quickly but when she had tried to find where they pointed, all she found was a long stretch of road with nothing for miles.
As the paper fluttered down to the bed, she grabbed the recent envelope and tore it open. Her brow rose on her forehead, surprised to find a letter inside, and one that seemed to confirm her earlier thought it was sent by a child as she started to read.
My name is Henry Mills and I live with my Mom in a town called Storybrooke, Maine. She's the Mayor and we live in a super fancy house at 108 Mifflin Street. You probably think it's weird that I'm telling you this, but you'll understand at the end.
Her name is Regina and she is the best Mom I could have asked for. She likes to tell me stories, about a Knight and a Queen who fall in love. It's my favourite, way better than all the fairy tales most kids know. She's the Queen. She doesn't think I know, but I do. I know she misses her Knight too, but no one knows where she is and it makes her sad thinking about her.
Feeling a pang in her chest, Emma stopped reading and rubbed at the spot, shaking her head as she continued.
Mister Gold thinks I shouldn't tell you yet because then you might not come, but Mom tells me I shouldn't trust him and I want to meet you. I want you to meet her too. You have the same name as the Knight and even though you might not be her, you could still be friends and maybe she'd be less sad.
My name is Henry Mills, and I'm the son you gave up for adoption ten years ago.
The letter slipped from her fingers and she swallowed the lump in her throat, catching sight of something else peeking out from the flap of the envelope. She stared at it, a weighted feeling sitting in the pit of her stomach as the words, "My son," spun round in her head.
Reaching out a shaky hand, she gingerly took that corner of something between thumb and forefinger, and pulled, instantly recognising it as a photo as she read the words on the back.
Mom & me.
Blood rushed to her ears and her chest squeezed tight as she flipped it over. There, holding her baby boy in her hands stood the woman of her dreams, smiling that smile that threatened to tear her heart to pieces as she gasped for breath.
Emma swore and slammed on the breaks, growling as she opened the door and exited the car. For an entire week, she had debated the four-hour trip from Boston to Maine and despite the mountainous pile of evidence that suggested the town of Storybrooke didn't exist; she had taken a leap of faith and made the trip nonetheless.
All for naught it seemed, as the road surrounded by forest stretched as far as the eye could see and the maps she had pored over each night after work were right; there was no town here. She sighed, hand sliding up the side of her neck and into her hair where she fisted it at the roots in frustration.
"What the fuck was I thinking," she shouted, kicking the door shut before she draped her arms over the roof of the car and fell forward.
She rolled her head to the side, looking over her bicep at the road that disappeared around a bend as she congratulated herself for at least having the common sense not to give in to one of her more asinine whims by quitting her job.
The longer she stared though, the more she was convinced she hadn't travelled all that way for nothing. The town had to be there somewhere. Maybe the coordinates were off; she thought and pushed away from the car with a frown. "Or maybe my GPS is a piece of shit," she mumbled, glaring through the window at said GPS as though it was entirely the device's fault for her predicament.
Nibbling her lower lip in thought, she glanced once more at the road. It wouldn't hurt to drive a little further, her mind reasoned. She wasn't expected back at work until Monday, which was four days away—the woman of her dreams was worth another hour or two of aimless driving, surely.
With a decisive nod, she yanked open the door and dropped back down into the driver's seat. She started the car, pulled off the side of the road and continued forward—slamming on the breaks yet again, as her mind flooded with images and her eyes closed of their own accord.
Her eyes snapped open a moment later, and her head jerked to the side, gaze trailing the length of wooden legs and coming to rest on the bold white lettering:
Welcome to Storybrooke.
"Regina," she whispered. She remembered everything, who she was—what she was. Her eyes narrowed and she growled, "Rumplestiltskin."
Regina was running late for her meeting after Henry had decided to go and get himself sick, as if she didn't have enough things to worry about. She was thankful for David Blanchard; the man was a godsend when he offered to step in for his wife and take care of him, as Mary-Margaret was unavailable due to the children less fortunate than her son believed himself to be, what with a day off from school and all.
Her purse vibrated beside her and she rolled her eyes, waiting until she reached the lights before leaning over and rummaging through it for her phone. She frowned down at the text from the waitress, claiming there was someone at the diner looking for her.
Before she could respond, her phone vibrated with another text and her eyes widened as she read; she says her name is Emma and—she didn't finish reading it, stepping on the gas as her phone flew from her hand and dropped somewhere to the floor under the passenger seat.
The hope that bubbled inside her chest was absurd. Emma was a perfectly common name, especially in this world but as the Mercedes shot down Main Street, she couldn't stop herself from feeling the anticipation. It had been too long, far too long since she last saw the woman she loved and if there was even the slightest chance…
There was no question.
She would risk the disappointment of a lifetime but if it was her, if it was her Emma; then what she had done would finally be worth something—she could finally find the happiness Rumplestiltskin had promised would touch her life once more if only she did as he wanted and cast his stupid curse for him.
Her breaks screeched in protest as she stopped outside the diner and she flinched at the sound, but otherwise paid the car no mind as she threw open the door and launched herself from the vehicle. It was almost impossible to move quickly in three-inch heels, and yet she managed it somehow.
The first thing she noticed beyond the annoying tinkle of the bell above her head, was the look of surprise on everyone's face as she barged her way into the diner but the second—the second made her heart skip a beat and caused her legs to weaken at the knees.
"Emma," she whispered, almost afraid that if she spoke any louder, this would prove nothing more than one of her dreams and she would wake up, depressed and alone still.
The blonde head rose slowly from leather-clad arms folded across the counter and Regina held her breath as she took a step toward the woman, releasing an undoubtable cry of happiness as emerald eyes turned on her and Emma scrambled from the stool.
A hand reached out, barely an inch from her face before it retreated and Regina frowned. Her body practically screamed out in anguish at not being touched after so long and she shot out a hand of her own, latching on to the wrist and bringing it back her cheek.
Closing what felt like a gaping chasm of distance between them, Emma moved and cupped her other cheek in hand, thumbs stroking reverently across flesh as she questioned quietly, "You remember?"
Confusion distorted her features before it was replaced with realisation and she looked to the waitress who stood staring at them as though watching one of those idiotic rom-coms that her best friend was so fond of, and she chuckled at the thought. Emma had clearly tried to communicate with someone she thought knew her, only to find no one remembered their real identities.
She nodded with a small smile on her lips. "I do and I thought it my curse these last twenty years," she confessed, her voice low so no one besides the two of them could hear her words. "I missed you, my Knight."
Emma grinned, one hand sliding from a cheek to wrap around a neck as she pulled Regina flush against her and murmured, "And I you, my Queen," before capturing plump red lips in a heated kiss filled with desperation and longing.
The diner erupted around them; the comments hushed but numerous, punctuated with the soft gasps of surprise that made olive cheeks redden hotly. Despite her blooming embarrassment however, when she felt Emma try to break their reunion short, Regina threaded her fingers through the silken mane of golden locks and forced the blonde to stay a while longer, smiling at the content sigh she felt against her lips.
Eventually the two had to part if they didn't want to put on a particularly revealing show for the rest of the town and as her stomach rolled with arousal, Regina chose that moment to pull back. She knew they needed to talk—desperately, and she grabbed Emma by the hand, leading her from the diner where she was prevented from venturing further at a gentle tug of insistence.
She shook her head, turning and pressing a kiss to pale lips. "Not here," she said with a squeeze of their hands. Emma nodded her understanding and Regina guided her over to the car, smirking as Emma approved of the choice.
"You know me." Regina pushed her front against the blonde's back as she purred into her ear, "Only the very best for the Queen."
Lifting an olive hand from her hip, Emma dusted knuckles with the soft caress of lips and questioned, "Why else would I have become your most valued Knight, if not to be claimed by you?"
Regina hummed, chest warming with the comment as well as the gesture. Even after all their time apart, Emma still made her feel things no one else ever had, or ever could and it caused both desire and love to flare inside of her as she nuzzled into a neck that smelled wonderfully of vanilla and leather.
"It has been far too long," she husked, nipping pale flesh and relishing the shiver that shook the blonde's body.
"Far too long," Emma repeated her agreement, closing her eyes as she turned her head and leaned in, skirting her lips tenderly over a warm cheek.
When Regina managed to separate herself from the blonde long enough to walk around to the other side of the car, they both entered the vehicle and grinned as their doors closed in synch. Their hands instantly met over the console and Regina held tight, fearing that if she let go for even a moment, Emma would disappear from her life once more.
As soon as they reached the mansion, Regina was out of the car and she smiled as she heard the blonde follow her. She needed to get inside, to erase the potential for disaster before either David or Henry noticed the Mercedes in the driveway and came out to meet her.
Opening the door and entering the foyer, she heard laughter from the den and frowned. Henry was supposed to be up in his room, and by the sound of him, it appeared she had been misled that morning.
She sighed and moved to the entrance of the den, taking Emma's hand once again and giving a subtle shake of her head as the blonde opened her mouth. Clearing her throat, David looked up at them and smiled, standing from the couch and walking over to them.
"I thought you had a meeting?"
"Something came up," she said and side-glanced the woman beside her as David chuckled, his eyes lighting on their joined hands.
"Emma, this is David Blanchard," Regina introduced the two, biting her lip as she watched brother and sister stare at each other, one gaze welcoming while the other clouded with confusion. "Friend and occasional sitter when my son decides to feign an illness," she added, a small glare directed toward Henry who grinned at his mother from his position laid across the sofa.
A brow rose and Regina knew Emma would have questions, but she accepted David's proffered handshake with a warm smile. "It's nice to meet you," she said, releasing his hand as she glanced over his shoulder to the boy.
Inclining her head to David, Emma stepped around him and moved toward her son. Emma Swan the Bounty Hunter would have been filled with trepidation at the prospect of meeting him, but Emma Swan the Black Knight and Consort to the Evil Queen was more curious than anything else.
"Hi," he whispered and she grinned, crouching down that she was eye level with him and could speak without being overheard.
"Hey," she replied. "Who's Mister Gold?"
"He owns the pawnshop and most of the town," he answered, sitting up and shifting until he sat, feet on the couch and legs crossed. "Mom hates him."
She nodded, unsurprised. Regina tended to hate most people, at least as far as the woman she knew was concerned. "He helped you find me?"
"Yeah…" She tilted her head, knowing he had a question of his own as he appeared to be thinking it over. His eyes darted to Regina who looked deep in conversation with David before he returned his attention to her and leaned forward.
"Did—Did I do good?"
She chuckled and placed a hand on his knee, nodding as she reassured him, "You did great, little man."