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Regina signed in exasperation when she realized there were no spare tables at Granny’s. She had hoped to have some coffee and breakfast before heading into work that day. She had finally given into Snow’s pleas to take back her old job as mayor, and while it was nice to settle back into her old routine, finding a moment to herself was not always easy. She turned to leave, but before she could, a voice called her name.

When she saw that it was Marian calling her, her mood soured even more. She had no idea what the woman could possibly want, but made her way over to the booth where she was sitting by herself anyway.

“Your Majesty, please sit down” Marian said with a small nervous smile.

“Just Regina is fine dear” she replied sitting stiffly across from the woman who had caused her so much trouble.

After a few moments of uncomfortable silence, Regina spoke up, deciding to make small talk about the only subject they both had in common.

“Do you talk to Robin much lately?”

After Marian had unfrozen, Robin had continually struggled with which woman he wanted to be with. Though both were initially hopefully, the strain of competing against another woman had eventually caused both Regina and Marian to end things with him. He was still living in the woods with his Merry Men and was rarely seen around town.

Marian looked like she was about to say something but then appeared to pause and think before replying to the mayor.

“Regina…have we ever had a conversation that wasn’t about Robin?”

I suppose we haven’t, no” Regina replied, feeling somewhat suspicious of the other woman’s motives.

“And doesn’t that strike you as odd? I mean, I know we competed for him, but that’s over now and well, we’ve both had pretty interesting lives and I’m sure there are other topics we could easily discuss. It is a small town and we can’t avoid each other forever. We may as well learn to talk to each other about something other than the man we once dated.”

Regina was tempted to storm out or at least make a snarky comment, but there was something so open and honest in Marian’s smile that all she could do was say “I suppose you’re right. What would you like to talk about?”

“Well I heard there was a dragon under the library at one point, that’s pretty cool” and her smile was so bright that Regina couldn’t help but smile back.

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“Roland won’t stop talking about these things called video games. I’ve heard of them but I don’t even know where to start, this world is full of things I know nothing about” Marian said over breakfast a few weeks later. It had become somewhat of a routine to meet at Granny’s several mornings a week, and while it had been awkward at first, the two women quickly realized how easily conversation flowed between them.

“Henry loves video games too; I have plenty of experience picking them out. If you’re not busy this weekend, I’ll take you to the store and help you find something age-appropriate for Roland.”

“I just want to spoil him all the time” Marian sighed, her usual smile replaced with a look of sadness. “I missed out on so much. He was a baby last time I saw him, I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing half the time.”

“I’m sorry” Regina whispered. “It’s my fault you didn’t get to see your son grow up. I regret that every day and I’ll do anything I can to make sure the time you have with him now is perfect.”

“You’re so different now” Marian whispered with a watery smile.

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“This is the best thing I have ever put in my mouth” Marian giggled. They were in Regina’s kitchen while Roland and Henry played video games in the living room and Marian’s mouth was currently full of seafood alfredo that Regina had prepared.

“When I first came to this world I couldn’t believe the variety of food here” Regina recalled smiling brightly. “When I was a queen in the Enchanted Forest I often found myself thinking that if I had to eat another meal of overcooked pheasant I’d orchestrate a rebellion in the kingdom.”

“This tastes a million times better than the rabbits in Sherwood Forest.”

“Well come over next week, there’s a red curry I haven’t made in awhile that I think you’d love.”

I don’t even know what that is but I already want it” Marian said as she brushed her hand against Regina’s.

Later that night, Regina wondered why her hand still felt warm even hours after Marian touched it.

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“How are you liking your new job dear?” Regina asked at the park where Roland and Henry fed the ducks.

“It’s wonderful! I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the kids are great and it’s nice to be able to let out some energy. I don’t feel nearly as restless anymore.”

Marian had recently started work as the new gym teacher at the elementary school. Jim had left to stay home with his and Kathryn’s new baby while Kathryn worked on a law degree. Regina had heard of the opening from Snow and immediately thought of Marian as a perfect replacement. Though she’d never admit it, Regina found herself thinking of Marian quite a bit lately.

“I’m glad you’re starting to settle in here. I know it’s been an adjustment.”

“It’s been easier than I thought, thanks to you Regina. I’m lucky to have you as a friend.”

When Marian leaned in and hugged Regina, the former queen forgot how to breathe for a few moments.

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“Marian you look…wow, you look amazing” Regina was somewhat aware of how ridiculous she must look with her mouth wide open as Marian made her way over to her friend’s table at The Rabbit Hole.

“My mother always did say that purple was my color” Marian replied with a grin. “Now let’s get some shots.”

As the night wore on, Regina became increasingly aware of how mesmerized she was by Marian. The other woman looked radiant in her purple dress, and she’d curled her hair in a style Regina had never seen her wear. Marian was stunning, and it finally occurred to Regina just how attracted she was to her friend. It was ridiculous of course. Just months earlier they’d been fighting over the same man, and Regina was never able to forget that she’d had the woman killed in another timeline, no matter how easily Marian had forgiven her.

So she did what she always did and pushed back her feelings while she listened to Marian tell a story about a troll she had encountered in Sherwood Forest one day.

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“Regina?”

“Yes dear?”

“I was walking along the beach today and Mulan and Elsa were there and they were um, they were kissing.”

“Oh?”

“Is that normal among women here? I know men do it, I spent years in the woods with a bunch of them but I’ve never heard of it with women. I guess I’ve never known many women to talk about things like that with though.”

“It’s not terribly common but it’s certainly not unheard of. There’s nothing wrong with it.”

“Have you ever…?”

“Yes”

“Oh. It’s not something I ever even knew about. Maybe if I had…Regina?”

“Yes?”

And suddenly Marian was kissing her.

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The two women lay intertwined in bed, too exhausted from their activities to say much. After several moments, Regina broke the silence.

“Marian?”

“Mmm hmm?”

“I’m glad we had this conversation.”

Marian just laughed and pulled Regina back for another round.