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Love and Trust

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She's going to drive me insane. That's all there is to it. She's going to drive me insane, which will lead to me killing her, and then I'll die of a broken heart in prison, leaving Henry an orphan.

And it will be all her fault.

But they'll blame me because… Well, who else would they blame? Not their shining, perfect Savior. No, never her. She can do no wrong in their eyes. No, they'll blame the Evil Queen who ruined all their lives. Because that's what they do.


The sound of her voice pulls at something deep within me, something I've only ever felt once before. It's a terrifying sensation, to say the least. I don't harbor any illusions as to what it means. I still cannot fathom how I've been lucky enough to find True Love twice in my lifetime, but I know better than to question it.

"Come on, Gina," she says, rattling the doorknob. "Let me in, please? I said I'm sorry."

I want to refuse her, make her grovel a bit more, but my heart won't let my vengeful side win. Not where she's concerned. Sighing, I set my book aside and get up to throw the lock. Opening the door, I find her standing there with a tray in her hands and a sweet smile on her lips. I quirk my brow at the contents of the tray, but let her enter the bedroom and close the door behind her.

"Are you trying to bribe me, my love?" I ask softly as I lean against the door, eyes following avidly as she moves to set the tray on the nightstand.

"Not a bribe, Gina, a peace offering." She takes a few steps, stopping just in front of me. I can smell the patchouli oil she wears for perfume; it's as much a part of her unique scent as the Ivory soap she washes with. "Look, I know I fucked up. I said something last night that I shouldn't have and I--"

"It's not what you said, Emma," I cut in smoothly. "It's that you said it in front of your mother, of all people. I know that we've been working at some sort of truce, but she doesn't need to know that about us."

Emma rolls her eyes and huffs out a breath. "All I said is that I like it when you wear those reading glasses of yours. They give me all sorts of naughty librarian fantasies."

"There you go again." I start to pace the room, agitation propelling me into movement so that I don't do something I'll regret. "If you'd left it at liking my eyeglasses, it would have been fine. Broadcasting about our sex life is not something I'm comfortable with you doing, Emma. Why can't you understand that?"

"I do understand that. I just… Sometimes you do things and it makes me forget where I am. You're so beautiful and you make me feel things that overwhelm me. It makes me want to shout it out to the world that you are everything to me. No matter what you do or say, or if we're in daylight or darkness, you are the most incredibly beautiful woman I know."

The sincerity in her voice calms the storm raging in my head at the perceived slight, and I move toward her like the beacon of love and hope that she is to me. She opens her arms, pulling me close as I nuzzle into her neck. The chain of her necklace is surprisingly cool against the familiar warmth of her skin. Her scent surrounds me at this close proximity, making me weak in the knees.

"How do you do this to me?" I whisper into her hair. "How did you become so integral a key to my sanity?"

She chuckles softly and presses a kiss to my forehead before leading me back to the bed. "Sit down, Gina, and let me feed you a little something. I don't think you ate this morning when you made us breakfast, you silly woman. Your blood sugar's probably all over the place."

Settling on the bed again, I watch as she sets the tray between us. There's a cup of hot chocolate, a glass of some sort of fruit juice, and a tart that I recognize as coming from Granny's Diner. If I'm not mistaken, I know exactly which tart it is, too. Granny doesn't make them very often and usually only for me, as no one else in this benighted town knows a good tart when they taste one.

"You sure this isn't some sort of sucking up for last night?" I ask in a husky voice, mouth watering as she lifts the tart toward me. "Granny only makes these for me when I ask her to. Which means you must have--"

I can't finish that thought because she's got the tart pressed to my mouth. I take a healthy bite, moaning as I can taste the guava, pineapple, and pine nuts in the treat. Taking my time to savor as I chew and swallow, I glance at the tray again, drawn to the carnation in a cut glass bud vase. It's not the usual blood red rose that she normally gives me. This carnation is the same red as the cardinals that sit in my apple tree each winter. I need to remember to pick up more of the food they like before winter truly sets in. They ate me out of house and home last year.

"I put in the request for a batch of your special tarts over a week ago," she says softly, drawing my attention away from my thoughts. "I just wanted to spoil you a little bit. My running at the mouth last night had nothing to do with it, I swear."

Smiling, I cup her cheek in a hand. "You are a pain in the ass, Emma Swan, but you're my pain in the ass."

"You're welcome?" she asks, chuckling as she offers me another bite. "And y'know, the same can be said for you, Ms. 'I took six months to even share a tiny bit of my closet with my lover' Mills."

"Tiny bit? I've given you a full half of my closet, Emma!" I reply, then blush as I realize I've spoken with a mouth full of food. My glare as I swallow only gets another chuckle from her.

"Half of your closet? Regina, I've seen postage stamps bigger than the section you gave me." I open my mouth to retort, but stop when she presses her lips to mine, and whispers, "I'm teasing, Gina." Her soft kiss and her words ease my tension again. "I'm very grateful to you for sharing your closet with me. I love all of your power suits and dresses, but I kind of like seeing them mingling with my lowly jeans and leather jackets, too. It makes me feel like I belong here."

Tears fill my eyes at the thought of her not being here. I remember how lonely I was before I let her into my heart, how much hatred burned in me, for others and, more importantly, for myself. I kept up the appearance of a haughty bitch who needed no one, but it was a lie. I just didn't realize how much of a lie it was until she came along and showed me what I was missing.

"Of course, you belong here, Emma," I whisper, swallowing thickly against the lump in my throat before I can actually get the words out. "Please don't ever think that you don't. I love you and I need you in my life."

"Shh," she replies just as softly, setting the tart down again to grab for the napkin and dab at my tears. "I'm not going anywhere, Gina."

I nod slowly, eyes closing against the ache in my chest if she should ever leave. It takes a moment for me to feel stable enough to meet her gaze again. When I do, there is such love in her eyes, it takes my breath away. I can only muster up enough forethought to poof the tray onto the nightstand in a cloud of purple smoke before I pull her close for a deep, needy kiss. She holds me close, hands rubbing my back gently, and lets me guide the intensity of our kiss. Her trust and love are still so new to me, but they ground me into myself again.

"Thank you, my love," I whisper as I pull back to rest my forehead against hers. "You always know what I need, sometimes before I do."

"That's because you trust me with your heart and I'd never do anything to break that trust. I love you and I want you to have your happy ending, no matter what."