Regina clung to the headboard, pulling herself higher in an attempt to remain upright. Her vision was starting to blur and her thighs trembled with exertion as she sought in vain to control her response to the sensation of Emma Swan’s mouth between her legs.
“Miss Swan…” she hissed through gritted teeth as Emma’s tongue slowed to a maddeningly pace.
Something inside her desperately wanted to look down, to grip Emma’s face in her hands so she could lose herself in the eyes of the only person she had ever permitted to see her like this – so open and so vulnerable. But she knew if she did, it could destroy them both.
Not for the first time, she wondered how exactly they had let things get to this point…
Three Months Earlier…
It was almost seven by the time Emma made it back to the Sheriff’s station. David was already there, having started his shift at six. He looked up from his paperwork with concern when his daughter, covered in mud from hip to heel, slouched past the front desk and into the locker room at the back without so much as a word to him.
David sighed. He didn’t need a reminder that the last few months had been difficult for all of them, particularly Emma. Hook’s disappearance, her estrangement from Henry, and their tumultuous return from Camelot – it had clearly taken a lot out of her. Once they got back to Storybrooke, she’d buried herself in work. Hell, he and Mary Margaret had even encouraged her to do so – it seemed like a healthier option than drowning her troubles in booze or other reckless behavior.
But still…he couldn’t get over the notion that Emma was trying to punish herself for what had happened, and it made him worry. “I was starting to get a little nervous. Couldn’t reach you on the walkie talkie…”
A few seconds later, Emma emerged from the locker room, buttoning a spare pair of jeans she kept at work for that exact purpose. She shrugged off her father’s concerns. “Told you I’d call if I needed back-up.”
“So?” David waited for Emma to respond before adding, “Was it a goblin?” Any time a portal was opened to another world, Storybrooke could expect any number of strange visitors, ranging from frightened townspeople to fully grown mountain trolls – or worse. It was a lot for their small force to deal with, even with occasional help from Regina, Belle and Blue as necessary.
Emma laughed darkly. “Not exactly. I’m no expert, but I’m thinking the ‘dangerous beast’ lurking in Crystal Cave at the north end of the woods looked a lot more like a wild boar to me. Of course I only caught a glimpse of the damn thing before it dumped me ass over tea kettle into a bog.”
“Another false alarm,” David frowned, thinking of the panicked 911 call that had come in earlier that day, which he’d picked up on his scanner. Storybrooke’s residents could be a little paranoid, but he honestly couldn’t blame them at this point.
“No big deal,” Emma smiled halfheartedly, grabbing her backpack from behind the desk. “I’m heading out now. You’ll check on the Safe House, Deputy Nolan?”
“Yes, ma’am. Keep you posted on any issues.” He grinned when Emma patted his head affectionately before walking out the door without another word.
David briefly thought of calling her back. Mary Margaret would be stopping by any minute with Neal and picnic dinner large enough for all of them, but then he remembered it was Wednesday.
Emma made it to the front porch of 108 Mifflin just as the rain started coming down. She wasn’t sure why she’d chosen to walk, leaving the bug at the station. The truth was, she’d been walking a lot lately – maybe as an unconscious attempt to exorcise some of the restless fatigue she couldn’t seem to shake these days.
She knocked and waited. And waited some more. And then knocked again. And then again.
Emma took a step back in surprise when the door was finally flung open and Regina’s glaring eye appeared in the crack – she hadn’t bothered to take the chain off the hook.
“What are you doing here?” the former Evil Queen exclaimed in frustration, as lighting crashed just outside the relative safety of the porch.
Emma looked puzzled. “It’s Wednesday. Isn’t it?” True, she had been a little spacey lately, but she always had dinner with Regina and Henry on Wednesdays and it was something she would never miss. Spending time with them was the only thing that made her feel anything like peace, even if it was only for a few hours.
“What’s your point?!” Regina hollered back in a very un-regal fashion, still not bothering to open the door.
Emma narrowed her eyes in suspicion. “Is that…jazz music? What’s going on? Is someone holding you hostage?” She craned her neck, trying to look further into the house. “Blink twice and I’ll circle around to the back.”
Regina slammed the door in her face. Emma could hear the chain sliding and then Regina suddenly reappeared. She was wearing her red silk dressing gown, which she re-tightened around her waist while Emma gave her a good looking over. Seemed strange to see the Mayor in her jammies so early in the evening. Not unpleasant…but strange.
“Emma,” Regina began patiently, pinching the bridge of her nose in an attempt to temper her frustration, “this is why I got you that planner. To help you keep track of everything. The older Henry gets, the more activities and responsibilities he’ll have...”
Emma bit her lip, searching her brain for the right answer.
“Don’t hurt yourself,” Regina snorted derisively. “I can practically see the smoke coming out of your ears.” Just because they’d been through a lot had finally made it to a place where they could call each other friends and even co-parents, didn’t mean that Regina was going to start pulling her punches.
“Trip to Bangor with Drama Club,” Emma finally whispered, stuffing her hands in her pockets. “Sorry…I forgot.”
Emma looked so forlorn at the realization that Regina took a little pity on her. Just a little. “It’s okay. It’s been…busy, hasn’t it?
Regina had faced her own share of hardships since their return. Saying goodbye to Robin, who’d chosen to stay in Camelot, was difficult. But not as difficult as she thought it would be. She wasn’t really mourning the loss of the man, but perhaps the idea of him: growing old with someone that cared about you – however foolish that seemed in hindsight.
She, too, had buried herself in work, resuming her role as Mayor of Storybrooke after consulting with Mary Margaret and David. It seemed like the best decision for everyone. Still, it did mean she was working nearly around the clock to reorganize the town after their disastrous trip to Camelot (and Mary Margaret’s less-than-successful reign the year before), when she wasn’t helping the Sheriff’s office deal with potential threats to their newfound and tenuous peace.
“It has been,” Emma agreed, nodding absently while studying her shoes. She looked up, with just the barest hint of hope in her eyes. “I don’t suppose you made dinner then…”
“No, I didn’t!” Regina exclaimed, a little more loudly than she had intended. “I thought I might actually have the house to myself for an evening…”
Emma held up her hands. “Okay…no problem…totally understand. I don’t want to interrupt your plans. Besides, I think I have some Apple Jacks at home, maybe. Um…can I borrow some milk?”
Regina pursed her lips, considering the young woman in front of her. Although Emma was as fit and strong as ever, she was also very pale and had certainly lost weight over the last few weeks. Rolling her eyes, Regina let out a breath of surrender before muttering, “I can probably whip something up without too much trouble.”
Without another word, she turned in the direction of the kitchen, leaving Emma to follow her.
After a shared dinner of grilled cheese sandwiches and homemade tomato soup, Regina joined Emma in the study, where the younger woman lay sprawled on the couch, holding her full stomach.
“Make yourself at home why don’t you,” she smirked but there was no real bite to it.
“I love your grilled cheese. And your soup. The brownies were good too. Maybe shouldn’t have had seconds.”
“Please,” Emma sighed, not bothering to open her eyes or even sit up. “Henry is a lucky boy. If I were him, I’d weigh four hundred pounds by now,” she grimaced slightly.
“You’re hurt,” Regina observed casually, before setting a goblet on the end table next to the couch.
Emma opened her eyes. “Am not.” Regina raised her eyebrows at this and Emma scowled back. “How is it that you always know everything?”
“I don’t know everything,” Regina pointed out, moving to Emma’s side. “Just most things. Is it your back?”
“Damn pig,” Emma growled, shifting to a seated position so that Regina could take a seat next to her on the couch.
Regina’s face colored, if only for a moment. “Excuse me?”
“Not you,” Emma quickly amended. “It’s a long, embarrassing story. One that I’d rather not relive, if you don’t mind. ”
“Oh, you’re referring to the little piglet that knocked you into the swamp earlier today?” Regina asked. There was a distinct glint in her eye and Emma could tell she was resisting the urge to laugh.
“How did you…?”
“Your father isn’t the only one with a scanner.”
“You checking up on me?!” Emma asked, insulted.
“I may have poofed out to the forest – just to make sure you didn’t need my assistance. Once I saw you had everything under control,” she sneered, “I poofed right back to my office.” She could see that Emma was highly annoyed by this so she clarified, “Your father wanted me to make sure you were okay.”
Emma shook her head. “That’s not your job.”
“Oh, isn’t it?” Regina chuckled. “I’ll have to remember that. I’m assuming you’re beating around the bush because you don’t want me to heal you. I assure you there’s no need. If you don’t trust…”
Emma stilled her rant by placing her hand over Regina’s. “Of course I trust you. It’s just…I don’t know how I feel about magic anymore. I think I need…to stay ‘clean’ for a little while. Does that make sense?”
Regina looked at her thoughtfully. Emma needn’t have even asked, because if anyone could understand her complicated relationship with magic, it would be the former Evil Queen herself.
Without another word, Regina rose from the couch and retrieved something from her desk drawer before returning to Emma’s side.
“Advil?” Emma exclaimed in surprise. “I never pictured you having something like this in your house. It just seems so…”
“Pedestrian?” Regina guessed.
“I don’t know what that means, but sure,” Emma agreed.
“What can I say?” Regina smiled, but there was no small amount of pain hiding behind it. “Sometimes I need a break from magic too.”
A few ciders later, Emma and Regina were still relaxing in the study, side by side on the couch, listening to old records and the sounds of the thunderstorm outside. They had learned to relish any moment of peace that came their way.
“Who’s this?” Emma asked idly, grabbing a blanket from behind the couch and tossing it to Regina. “You’re shivering,” she said, by way of explanation when Regina’s left eyebrow arched upwards.
“Nina Simone,” she answered, accepting the blanket before passing the album jacket Emma’s way.
Emma traced the lyrics on the back with her finger.
Birds flying high, you know how I feel
Sun in the sky, you know how I feel
Breeze driftin on by, you know how I feel
It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day
It’s a new life for me,
And I’m feeling good.
“I like it,” she sighed.
“I do too.” Regina agreed, fiddling with the hem of the blanket so she wouldn’t have to meet Emma’s gaze.
Emma sensed her disquiet and politely changed the subject. “Did I see your car out at the convent today?”
“Now who’s checking on whom?” Regina asked defensively.
“Calm down – I was on a drive-through. Just doing my job, Madame Mayor.”
“Or stalking me, Sheriff Swan?” Regina countered, but the lightness and ease had returned to her voice. “Blue asked me to stop by to talk about our little security issue, among other things.”
“Did you stop by the Safe House today?”
“I don’t know why you insist on calling it that,” Regina sighed, knowing fully well that Emma used that term specifically to annoy her, as was their way in all things. “Like this is some kind of FBI, undercover operation when you and I both know we are flying by the seat of our pants here.”
“Excuse me, Your Majesty – need I remind you that this was all your idea? You’re the one whose heart went all wishy washy…”
“My heart has done nothing of the kind!” Regina insisted. “I simply couldn’t bear the thought of my niece being born in captivity, is that so wrong? Cora…my mother has done enough to divide this family. I realize that now and I’m doing my best to make it right.”
Emma gave her a small smile. “I know you are. And I need to make sure this town is safe.”
“Oh, how the tides have changed,” Regina observed darkly. “In another time, it would be you trying to convince me to make the compassionate choice, to see the good in someone – like you did with me.”
Emma leaned forward to grip Regina’s hands where they lay clasped in her lap. All of the teasing had gone from her voice. “You’re not Zelena.”
Regina’s breath caught in her throat at Emma’s simple declaration. She hated that talking about this always made her so emotional. All she could do was nod in agreement when Emma removed her hand.
“And this is the compassionate choice,” Emma continued. “Zelena will finish out her pregnancy in the comfort of a private home…”
“Under the watchful eye of Deputy Mulan…” Regina added.
“And about a thousand magical enchantments, as fortified by yourself and Mother Superior. That doesn’t mean I can let my guard down.”
“And when the baby comes?” Regina asked, for what must have been the hundredth time since they devised this plan.
“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” Emma assured her. “I have no doubt that we’ll be able to…blend this family back together, come hell or high water. It’s kind of what we do isn’t it?
That brought a small but genuine smile to Regina’s lips. “Indeed, it is.”
Just then, the record player reset with the next album, and the rich tones of Dinah Washington singing ‘Ain’t Misbehavin’ filled the room.
After a few minutes sitting in comfortable silence, Emma decided to go out on a limb. She could always blame the cider, if necessary.
“You know, when I first got here tonight, I thought you were with someone.”
“Oh, don’t be foolish,” Regina quickly countered, although Emma thought she might have seen a brief look of panic in Regina’s eyes.
“What? You were in your robe…jazz music playing in the background…you wouldn’t let me in. Sure seemed to me like you had plans,” Emma waggled her eyebrows suggestively but her smile was too wide to be true.
Regina guffawed, but there was something false about that too. “Do I seem like the kind of woman who has time for secret affairs?”
“You tell me. I mean, I’m no Sherlock Holmes, as you like to say, but I do know you’re not wearing a stitch of clothing under that robe…” Emma teased.
“Miss Swan!” Regina exclaimed, pulling said robe tighter around her chest.
“What?! It’s not my fault it fell open a little while you were makin the soup!”
“And that’s the last time you’ll be getting any of my cooking, if you insist on continuing with this line of inquiry.”
“Okay, okay.” Emma held her hands in the air. “I just want you to know that I wouldn’t begrudge you.”
“Emma…” Regina warned.
“I mean, I want you to be happy. I, personally, never thought that Robin Hood was the one for you anyways…”
“Don’t get me wrong! He’s a nice guy and everything – but there was never any fire there, from what I could see.”
“Am not. Anyway, you deserve that. You deserve everything, and if someone can give you that…I just hope I’m not getting in the way of anything. Cuz I can go, Regina, I really can…” Emma blathered on until Regina was finally able to interrupt her.
“Emma. Stop. I did not have a clandestine affair scheduled for this evening. If you must know, I was going to spend the night…enjoying some alone time, if you get my drift.”
After a few seconds, the meaning of Regina’s statement finally hit Emma like a ton of bricks. Her mouth dropped open and her face paled before turning bright red. “Ah…what?”
“Oh, grow up. It’s not often I have the house to myself and besides, it’s nothing to be ashamed of,” Regina insisted haughtily. “Self-pleasure is an important part of holistic wellness.”
Emma was still gaping like a fish, wondering if Regina had had one too many ciders as well. Did she just quote Dr. Ruth?! Although they’d gotten closer over the last year, they’d certainly never broached this topic before.
“You…and the robe…nude…hooo…”
Regina rolled her eyes mightily. “I can see that you won’t be the one to provide our son with responsible sex education, given the way you’re acting like a twelve year old right now.”
“I’m sorry!” Emma apologized sincerely once she was able to command speech again. “I’m just…surprised that you’re being so…candid about this. “You’re not exactly one to share…personal details so easily.”
Regina crossed her legs demurely under the blanket. “Well, it’s like I said – there’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s been a long time. Even a queen has personal needs.”
Emma gave her friend her friend a sly look. “Does this mean you and Robin never…”
“No,” Regina shook her head. “To tell you the truth, he was kind of a prude. It was frustrating at the time, but now I’m grateful. I’ve come to the realization that, pixie dust or not, it wasn’t meant to be for us. And now we can both move on.”
Emma tried not to smile too broadly at this admission. “I feel the same way about Hook. In the moment, he seemed like a good option but…he was really kind of a douche, wasn’t he?”
What started with a snicker from Regina quickly turned into fits of giggles for them both. “That,” Regina sighed, catching her breath and wiping her eyes, “is something we can finally agree on!”
Emma turned to face her friend. “Listen, I’m sorry if I acted childish before…”
“Oh, I’m used to it,” Regina interrupted.
“What I want to say, if you’ll let me, is that I know exactly what you mean – all too well, unfortunately,” Emma emphasized with a laugh. “You’re not the only one going through a drought. If anything, I’m glad you…are comfortable taking care of yourself, as necessary.” She cleared her throat loudly at the end of the sentence, as if to stop herself from rambling any further.
“In this town, it is necessary,” Regina sneered. “The list of eligible suitors seems to shrink every year.”
“It certainly does,” Emma agreed, reaching for Regina’s empty goblet. “Although there’s always Doc! One more?”
“Please,” Regina nodded her head, watching Emma carefully as she refilled their glasses from the decanter. “Besides, I’m not really interested in a relationship at this point anyway.”
Emma nodded her head vigorously at this sentiment, sloshing the cider a little as she poured. “Me neither. I’m over the drama...”
“Yes,” Regina agreed, accepting the replenished goblet.
“And all the talking,” Emma added with distaste before returning to the couch. “Talk, talk, talk – that’s all they want to do! His feelings, my feelings, his feelings about my feelings – enough!”
“Yes!” Regina exclaimed again, slapping Emma’s knee. “Thank you for saying that! I thought it was just me! When did men become such…”
“Weenies?” Emma interjected. “Your guess is as good as mine.”
Regina shook her head. “And a purely physical relationship doesn’t seem to be an option either.”
Emma’s faced flushed a deep red against her will, but she tried to play it cool. “Yeah, that wouldn’t work because….”
“…it’s not safe!” Regina finished the sentence, as though it were obvious. “Even if I could identify a sexually compatible…”
“Fuck buddy,” Emma inserted helpfully.
Regina frowned. “Let’s say, associate, for the lack of a better word. Even if I could find someone who was…”
“Attractive and available and willing…”
“Trust me, I don’t think the ‘willing’ part will be an issue,” Emma muttered before clapping her hand over her mouth. “Did I just say that out loud?”
Regina ignored her, continuing with her thought. “What are the chances they aren’t secretly trying to assassinate me, or kidnap our son or have some kind of social disease? It would have to be someone I could trust. Otherwise, it simply wouldn’t be prudent.”
“No,” Emma shook her head, but suddenly seemed lost in thought. “And even if you could find someone that met those criteria?” she asked, trying her best not to sound hopeful.
Regina smirked at this idea. “I know what you’re thinking.”
“You do?!” Emma asked, choking on her cider a little bit.
“Blue wanted to talk about more than just the enchantments on the Safe House this afternoon…in fact, I’d say that was really just a red herring.”
“Say what now?” Emma practically shouted, before modifying her tone. “You and the Blue Fairy? I thought you hated each other!”
“Oh, we do!” Regina agreed vehemently. “But a girl’s gotta eat,” she shrugged. “And it’s not the first time I’ve been approached by one of those fairies.”
“No?” Emma asked hazily, wondering if this conversation was all one strange cider-induced dream.
“Oh, not for any kind of relationship, mind you. I think the draw is obviously the magical sex.”
“Magical sex,” Emma muttered, now limited to basic repetition. She pulled on the collar of her shirt. Why is it so hot in here?!?
“Sex between magical beings can be very powerful,” Regina explained patiently. “I assumed you would have already known that because of Ruby.”
“Ruby?!” Emma sputtered, finally back in control of her faculties. “Why?”
Regina raised an eyebrow in suspicion. “Well, it just seemed like the two of you may have been…buddies, as you said…at one point.”
“No! No…no,” Emma affirmed shaking her head. “Just friends, actually. I mean, I’ve dated women before, but not were-women, if you know what I mean. We were definitely just friends. You thought…”
“Anyway,” Regina dismissed her – even though Emma thought she saw a brief look of triumph pass over her face, “it would never work. As I said, I need someone I can trust, and the Blue Fairy will never fall into that category, even if she has become more helpful in recent months.”
“That’s a good point,” Emma agreed vigorously, nodding her head. “The b* can’t be trusted, that’s for sure. I feel the same way. Definitely.” There was another long pause. “Soooo,” Emma sighed awkwardly, stretching her arm out across the back of the couch. “I guess we’re both just left with the good old magic wand,” she laughed weakly. You’re an idiot, Swan.
Regina stretched out her legs, wiggling her toes. “Mine’s shaped like a rabbit.”
Emma’s mouth went dry. “Regina…”
Her Majesty had a faraway look in her eyes. “I ordered it online. Through Amazon. It’s adequate, I suppose. But what would I know...” She thought of her loveless marriage to a much older man, and the conquests she’d made during her Evil Queen days. “Any release is shallow and fleeting...”
Later, in conversations with herself, Regina would blame what happened next on the cider, on being exhausted from overwork and all that had happened over the last few months. But in that moment, the words flowed freely from her mouth, cascading like a waterfall and settling between the two of them.
“Can it replace the feeling of someone's weight on top of you, teeth pressing into flesh, nails scraping down your back, thrusting over and over until you feel as though you’ll come apart in their arms?”
When Regina finally snapped out of the trance she’d fallen into, she looked down to find her friend kneeling on the floor in front of her.
Emma took Regina’s left hand in her own and brought it to her mouth, biting the palm gently.
“Regina…just hear me out….”
TO BE CONTINUED???