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What she wants

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Emma


I wake up to a slit of sunlight passing through the fabric of my tent and landing on my face. I try to blink the reddish glow away from my eyelashes, adjusting myself under the blankets, but sleep is all but gone. I groan as I move, and glance at my watch out of habit. It marks three o’clock, though I can sense it’s barely past seven. There’s something about fairytale land that keeps screwing up any digital device, no matter how many times I try to fix them.

Outside I hear the cracking, the swishing and the tinkling of an army getting ready for the day. Hundreds and hundreds of men, their steps revolving the muddy earth. Groaning again, I sit up. Shit, I’m sore. Spending days on the back of a horse, camping in the forest, making fucking fires to cook? It all looks much more appealing in epic fantasy novels. In real life, it sucks.

I get dressed, grimacing as the rough fabric of the jeans scrapes my bruised inner thighs, and then move the flap to the side as I go out. It’s cold, but it stopped snowing, thank God. We were held up not for one, but for two fucking snow storms on the way. It’s no surprise everybody around here looks so gloomy. Even David is growing impatient, and Regina… Regina would have whipped the horses - and the men, to be honest - from day one, if she thought that would make us arrive any sooner.

It won’t.

There’s so much snow on the ground we don’t have any choice but to move slowly. The horses have to watch their step, because there always seems to be a fallen tree or a root ready to break their legs. The hunting is harder, the camping is uncomfortable, and people are getting sick all the time.

No one was expecting this. This kind of cold is early to the season.

At least that’s what David says. I don’t know shit about fairy tale weather. Or about anything else involving this land. Oh, no, I know this: a cup of coffee is rare as fuck.

“Tea, Captain Swan?” Reynolds asks as I approach a fire, where a kettle steams away. I can barely ride a horse, I suck at holding a sword, but David proclaimed captain, so that’s what I am.

“Yeah, thanks,” I wrap my hands around the tin cup he passes me and sip my tea, willing my body to wake as if it was coffee. People around are dismantling the tents, loading the horses. I overslept. “What did I miss?”

“A scout arrived by dawn,” He says, examining his sword. “Says they counted ‘round five thousand men, some thousand of’em mounted.”

“Shit. That’s a lot, right?”

He arches an eyebrow at me and nods, “Aye,” Reynolds looks around for a long time, as if counting the soldiers right now. “But our force is strong, too. And we know the land; they just got here from that weird yellow place.”

“Right,” I sigh into my cup. “You know where David is? I mean, King James?”

“Last I saw him, he was reuniting the war council in the Queen’s tent.”

“Great,” I mumble, throwing away the rest of the tea and giving Reynolds his cup back. “Is she glad the snow has stopped?”

The man gives me an amused grin, “Aye, Captain, the Queen was so glad she was singing with the birds.”

“Right, silly question, got it.” It doesn’t make it any more tempting, getting to this war council reunion. Reynolds seems to read my mind.

“Good luck, Captain.”


Regina


“We simply cannot give ourselves the luxury of taking longer,” I hiss through gritted teeth; the effort of keeping my voice low almost leaves my throat raw. “We should have arrived two weeks ago, David.”

“Yes, Regina, we are all aware of it,” He says condescendingly. “But we were blindsided by the storms, the road is a mud mess, and we already lost four horses and seven men.”

“It is a war, we will lose horses and men, as unfortunate as it is,” I reply, feeling a hot wave rise with my temper, and spread through my neck and face. “But with the new information we have…”

“That her force is bigger than ours,” He interrupts.

“That Zelena has conquered the surroundings, in addition to Tegan Fort!” I spat.

“If we keep getting ahead of ourselves, we won’t--”

“Tegan is the biggest fairy dust mining village in my kingdom!”

“I know, Regina, but that doesn’t mean…”

“You have no idea what Zelena might be able to do, once she gets hold of the production. If you think your kingdom won’t be affected...”

“Hey!” He protests, slamming a hand on the wooden table. “I am as much worried as you are about this situation. We are allies, and I mean to stop her as well as you do. But I will not sacrifice my men, my army, along with our chances of a fair fight, because you want to rush us into stupidness!”

Who are you calling stupid?” I whisper under my breath.

“Heeey, guys,” Emma’s voice breaks into the room, but for a moment neither me nor David look away. Then he gives in, turning to his daughter. “Another bright day of friendship and smiles, I see,” She says, and another hot flash runs through the back of my neck, my temples and my cheeks. The anger comes with a chill when my eyes land on the woman by the flap door.

“Emma,” David greets her, and the other two men in the room nod. They are supposed to be experts in strategy, but I am everyday more convinced they are just fools eager to please David, and tongueless in my presence.

Emma is wearing an improper outfit for this endeavor, as always. A pair of jeans, army boots, and a plush coat. No fur, no hood, nothing to cushion her legs around the horse. No wonder she complains of riding all the time; she is too stubborn to learn that if she lives in fairytale land, she has to live a fairytale life.

“The snow stopped,” She cheers, taking away the coat. My eyes follow the movement; her arms flexing, the undershirt rising to nude a thin line of skin - and then the coat is off, and a wave of a warm, earthy scent travels through the room with the speed of a bullet. When it reaches me, I feel like staggering. The warmth in my neck runs towards my chest, involves my breasts and leaves a tingling sensation in my nipples.

“I’m sorry?” I say when I notice four pairs of eyes staring at me. I lost something in the last few seconds.

“I said Reynolds told me about Zelena’s forces,” Emma explains, our stares leveled. “What’d you think she wants?”

“Given the fact she has attacked with full force the most productive fairy dust mine we have in this kingdom and is now making sure to protect it, I would dare to say, Ms. Swan, that she is interested in fairy dust,” I say slowly, as if the idea will be hard for her to comprehend. The glow in her green eyes makes something shift in my stomach. I don’t feel… normal.

“Well, duh, right?” Emma mocks, glancing at the map on top of the table. “Except that David’s kingdom has a mine three times bigger? And not that well protect, no offense, Dave.”

“Not taken, we really should fortify our garnisons in Deijen Town.”

“What are you implying, Ms. Swan?”

“That it’s not about fairy dust,” She looks at me again, and I scan her tense jaw, the purplish shadows around her eyes and the dryness of her lips. Even after all this time, I can’t seem to ascertain why she looks so fierce where other people would look fragile. All I know is that this tent is getting uncomfortably warm.

“So it is personal, there was never a real doubt about that,” I refute, and Emma nods.

“Yeah, she’s up to something, we all know it, we just don’t know what it is. So, again: what do you think she wants?”

“At this point,” David meddles in, shaking his head, “all we have are conjectures.”

“But she made a real big move here, you know? I mean, five thousand men? She brought them all, she left Oz by its own. If she’s defeated here…”

When ,” I correct, and Emma rolls her eyes at me.

“She won’t have anywhere to go and hide. She might be overconfident, but at this point? She would have to also be stupid. No one buys this kind of fight...”

“If she shows up here with an army like this, takes up a fort, puts the flag of Oz over it, and you don’t think she wants a fight…” David says, raising an eyebrow. “What do you think she wants?”

There’s a silence for a moment, while Emma’s stare finds mine, and then I answer in her place, “Me.”


For the next hour, we design plans and strategies to get my village back. The snow has not restarted, but it is still too cold for this time of the season. Except that it is not. Inside the tent, the temperature seems to keep rising, until I feel a drop of sweat running down my spine, raising a shiver on the way. Nobody else looks disturbed or as flushed as I feel my face becoming.

The men talk, I argue, Emma mostly listens. She is not used to any of this, and her discomfort sometimes is as clear as water. Something about her keeps drawing my attention; the way she moves her hands, that annoying smirk, the movement of her thighs when she stretches. And then, when she pulls her hair up and ties it, the power of her smell almost knocks me over.

Oh. No. I cannot...

I make the math mentally, but it does not add up. I was supposed to have at least another week. This is ridiculous. Unacceptable. I cannot be… going into heat.

Nevertheless, the moment I think of it, I know. The moment I think of it, it settles in the pit of my stomach, lower in my venter, pulsing through my blood. I am in the room with two alphas and two betas, but three of them are already mated for life - they will barely sense me. But the last one…

Our eyes meet in the precise moment Emma fully captures my scent. Her pupils swell like a cat’s, shadowing the green. All the sound fades, the time hanging from a thread, and I… throb. One heartbeat, two, and the arousal is enough to tighten my stomach. Only having her eyes on me feels like a punch. I feel like I could sense this alpha miles away - I could sense Emma from another universe.

She stumbles to her feet, points of color in her pale cheeks, “So, good talk, I think we covered it,” She mumbles, looking around the table, but avoiding me. “I’ll go… feed… my horse.”

“I am sure your esquire has done that, Emma,” David says lightly.

“Oh, right, my esquire. But, uhn, Thunder likes to eat from my hand, so… Yeah, I never had a dog, so now I’m overcompensating. And we should go, right? We should… right, bye!”

The three men around the table exchange a few looks, then glance at me.

“This meeting is over, gentleman,” I whisper, and they clear their throats, nod and bow on the way out.

I do not trust my legs to stand up for the next five minutes.


Emma


It’s past noon, and I can hear the trot of a huge cavalry all around me as I ride Thunder. I smell the horses, the threes, the mud, even the salty air coming from the south. But underneath, and most of all, I smell her .

Regina’s the only omega in this battalion, as far as I know, but there is so many people I might be mistaken. I know she's the only one going through heat, though. And the soldiers, mostly betas, and the few alphas... There’s a shared thrill enveloping all of them - fuck, all of us . It’s impossible to ignore, but at the same time, everything goes on as usual.

Today, for the first time in weeks, Regina summoned her carriage, instead of riding. It was a smart measure, and seemed to work just fine for most people. Out of sight, out of mind. They are laughing, talking, trotting and going on about their lives. I can’t. I just fucking can’t.  

Her scent lingers in my memory as if she has branded me with it. I’d never felt it before; I don’t know if she inhibited her heats or if she just collected herself to her chambers and worked it out, alone or with someone else. I don’t know, but I’ve never been around her like this. It’s so… overwhelming. Shit.

I wasn’t even supposed to be here. I was so ready to sit this one out. If Regina wants to squabble with her sister, let her. Honestly, no time for this shit. Except that I do have the time, because I don’t actually have a job in this place. Or I do, which is solving shit like this, since I am - jesus fuck, listen to this: the princess-heir. Anyway, I was ready not to come. David is a natural in this kind of thing, so, yeah, I’d be glad to stay back with my kid, but my kid had other plans.

 Now for some reason I can’t get out of my mind the night I decided to join this fucking army. We were back at Regina’s castle, Henry and I, for our weekly family dinner - his idea, of course. Regina and I go along with it because we know he’ll inherit both kingdoms one day. We don’t want Henry to feel divided, so we share him. As best as we can, at least. He was all questions that night, though Regina was trying to sooth him into thinking this would be easy peasy. Henry wasn’t buying it.

“At least I know you’ll take care of each other,” He said, playing with the food on his plate.

“Hm, actually, kid, I’m not joining this time. David has it covered.”

“What?” He looked up, frowning at me, then at Regina. “Why?”

“Your mother has her own things to take care of, Henry,” Regina said calmly. “Your grandfather and I are allies, and we’ll solve this quickly.”

“No way, no! Mom!” He looked at me as if he couldn’t believe it. “You can’t let her go alone against Zelena!”

“Henry, I’m more than capable of--”

“You two are stronger together!” He yelled, shutting us both up.

Then Regina looked at me. That’s the moment I can’t seem to erase of my mind now. The way she looked at me. As if, for that split second, she couldn’t find it in herself to deny it. As if she was feeling again that wholesome thrill of our magics blending together. Like she knew Henry was right, that she needed me, somehow. That she was stronger with me. It was just a second, before she put Henry in his place.

But here I am.

Shit, if that wasn’t a mistake. My legs are sore, my back aches, I hate riding, and there’s a churning in my guts that’s the most compelling and embarrassing thing I have felt in my life. I feel like running, and I feel like I can’t move.


Regina


I stifle a moan biting on my own closed fist, the other hand up between my legs, rubbing the hard bud of my clit until I’m shivering. The orgasm rocks me against the carriage wall, making beads of sweat slide down my back. It does not even help. The need is not softened, not soothed. It is still overpowering, storming through my body, demanding more. Demanding .

I whimper, sliding two fingers inside me, feeling how I contract at the touch, desperate to be fulfilled. Not even the consciousness that I am surrounded by servants and soldiers, just outside this carriage, that there is one barely a foot away, leading the horses… None of it can make me stop. I push in harder, my hips moving forward to meet my hand, biting on my fist again as I climax, my blood pumping in my temples.

It is not enough. Knowing it makes me want to cry out. I need a potion to put this under control, but there is nowhere near this place where I can get one. I sent a soldier ahead to the nearest town, but with the snow this deep, I will be lucky if he comes back within a week. Until there…

My hand starts again, my breath coming out ragged as an image makes way into my head. Before I can shake it off, the carriage comes to a sudden stop. It takes everything I have to right myself and push away the curtains to glimpse outside.

“Jared, why did we stop?”

“Big landslip, Your Majesty,” He says, casting his eyes down. My scent makes his cheeks a bright red, but I am his Queen, and he will not show me anything but respect. “It’ll be a few hours before we can clear the road; King James says we should take the time to eat and hunt around this area.”

“Very well,” I wet my dry lips, looking around. At a distance, I watch as Emma dismounts her horse, grimacing in the process. She turns around as if my stare prickled at the back of her head. Our eyes meet, and a shiver runs through my thighs, leaving me throbbing again. “I will stay in the carriage.”


Emma


“Are you ok?” David asks as we finish lunch. He passes me a flask of wine and I sip at it, pulling at my collar uncomfortably.

“Yeah, just tired. And my legs are killing me,” I complain, feeling the burning sensation that stresses my muscles. The difference is that now the pain comes along with a flame that doesn’t stop at the top of my thighs.

I try not to think of it, because part of me knows it will be like unleashing a hurricane. At the moment, it is a dull pulse under my pants, a hollow longing at my stomach. I don’t need to acknowledge it; I don’t want to.

“You know you don’t need to ride, right?”

“Well, I haven’t learned how to fly yet, so…”

David rolls his eyes, then grins. “Regina’s got her carriage; I’m sure there’s enough room.”

“Oh, no,” I shake my head, trying to contain the thought before it turns into a trap. “No way, I rather freeze and flay my legs off in that horse.”

“Come on, it won’t be that bad. You can take a nap or something,” He replies, casually.

I’m sure David realized what’s going on; he’s an alpha, after all. But I also know his senses are faded by the fact he’s mated to Mary Margaret. Regina’s heat means absolutely nothing to him. But is it possible that he forgot how it feels?

Then again, how does it feel?

I’ve been in fairytale land for almost an year, and had my time to get used to this. It’s not really any more complicated than being a woman in Storybrooke. In many ways, it’s much simpler. But this whole time, I’ve only been with a beta guy; it didn’t seem very different at all from what I knew. And other omega’s heats? Shit, they were tempting, yeah, but in a more palpable way. Like magnets, or something.

This? This is something else.

“Emma, you’ll be of no help if you fall sick or injure yourself enough so you can’t fight.”

“I’m good, dad ,” I deadpan.

“You can’t walk straight,” He points out. “Stop being so stubborn. This is an order from your commander.”

“You’re kidding me.”

“Look, Emma, you’re not a knight, ok? You’ve been here for a short time, you don’t have to prove anything to anyone,” He says, laying a hand on my shoulder.

“I’m not trying to…”

“Well, I know you. You never cut yourself some slack, you just keep going until you can’t anymore. But not this time; a war is a marathon. You can’t wear yourself out in the beginning. Go to the carriage.”

“But I… Really, I can’t… I just…” The words stumble, as I can’t bring myself to tell him. I can’t go in there, I can’t be enclosed in a wooden box with Regina. I can’t, even if the idea makes my skin prickle everywhere.

“It’s really an order, Ems.” He smiles at me one last time, before walking away, already shouting orders.

I’m left standing there. Fuck him if he thinks I’m one to follow his orders now. I’m not. I just wish I was more inclined to disobey.


I knock at the side of the carriage, twenty minutes later. Regina hasn’t poked her head out the whole time we’ve been here, or said anything about losing time, going faster, whipping people to their feet. No word. Nothing. And now everyone’s preparing to get on the move again.

I knock one more time before a growl echoes from inside and she pushes away the curtains and stares at me. The expression immediately changes, from irritated to surprised, and then to something else I don’t even wanna decode. She opens the door.

It’s like she has freed a toxic cloud; it envelops me in a haze so thick I can barely see the surroundings. Immediately, I know what she’d been doing in there. I can smell it, all over her. My heart races to my throat, and I think it’ll jump out if I open my mouth. If I open my mouth, it’ll be like tasting her. The attraction hammers me into myself again; everything I was avoiding to acknowledge takes the reins, and all I can do is to stand there and devour her with my eyes.  

“Ms. Swan,” She greets, her voice as low as a demon’s. I try to shake the dizziness away.

“Hi, hey, so. I’m really done with the horse thing, so I’ll be sitting with your coachman for a while, if you don’t mind,” I explain, trying to avert my eyes - and failing.

“With my… coachman?”

“Yeah, if it’s ok with you.”

“Emma, you are the heir of my most important ally; the other mother to my child; a Captain in our joined army. And you want to ride with my coachman?” She raises a regal eyebrow in that way engineered to make any other person feel small.

“If it’s ok with you,” I repeat, nonchalantly.

“No, Emma, it is not ok. You have to behave accordingly to your rank. If you want to travel in the carriage, you come inside,” Regina hisses, and then backs away, sliding back inside and vanishing in the cool shadow of the vehicle.

I curse under my breath, analysing the idea of going back to Thunder - but I just know she’ll be offended now, and I don’t want that. Also, my legs are really killing me. It’s just the sensible thing to do - I do not feel at all like a cartoon floating to the aroma of an apple pie in someone’s window as I get inside.


Regina


When she comes in, a flutter begins in my chest, descending into my stomach and settling in my venter. I follow her every move as she grabs the archway, steps up and trespasses the door. The carriage is large and comfortable, but right now it feels too small to hold us both and this tension.

“Make yourself comfortable.” I wave at the sit in front of me.

“Thanks,” She says grudgingly, falling into the bench with a grunt.

From outside, Jared asks if we are ready to go. I extend a hand through the window and motion him forward, then close the curtains. In a moment, we’re moving. Emma is looking anywhere but at me, and I am glad as much as I am frustrated by it. Her presence puts me quite literally on the edge of my sit. I haven’t had a cycle this intense in years; I didn’t recall the power of it.

“It’s just a little rest for my legs,” She mumbles more to herself. “Half an hour or so, and I’m out.”

“I don’t intend to evict you; stay as much as you want,” I reply, though this situation is far from as easy as I make it sound.

My body is craving, and Emma’s company will not allow me to try and sooth it. Worst, Emma’s company makes the craving desperate and flammable. She does not answer, and we stay silent for a long time. I watch as she pulls on her collar, opens her coat, stretches her neck. She is restless, and seeing it leaves my mouth dry.

The line of her jaw is as sharp as a razor; her chapped lips only slightly parted as she stares at the window, though the curtains are pulled. There was always something about her that talked to me about strength and determination - and now this something is screaming. The curve of her neck and shoulders is full of valleys I want to fill with my tongue. The thought sends a bolt of electricity down my body, and my clitoris aches.

I cannot even find it in myself to be embarrassed by those thoughts; my body wants her, it wants her despite my better judgement, despite the consequences, despite myself.

Emma cannot completely ignore me either. She steals glances at me, her tongue flicking at her lower lip as if her mouth is running dry. I wonder how it tastes; would it be as delicious as her smell? It is everywhere now, intoxicating my blood with a need so deep I feel my pussy contract.

Every time the carriage rocks a little harder, I shudder, the impact sending shocks into my sex. Emma’s scent hugs me until I am trying to keep my labored breath to myself. Her knee brushes mine lightly and the bolt of electricity leaves me dizzy. My clit is achingly hard, begging me to rub it to relief, but all I can do is clutch my legs tight and muffle my whimpers as the carriage rocks forward and I find myself every second closer to coming.

I won’t be able to avoid this much longer. Emma’s cheeks grow redder as she breathes in my own scent. I know my whole being is calling up to her bare instincts, that is just the way it goes. That biological calling does not mean she wants me , but would she be able to resist if I spread my legs now and begged her to take me?

Dear Lord, what am I thinking of? This does not mean I want her either. On the other hand, there is nothing else I can think of. I am throbbing so bad that the thought of Emma taking me right here in this bench makes me wet my inner thighs with desire.

Then she turns her head and pins those green eyes on me, as if she has read my mind. No, it is much simpler. She is smelling what this thoughts cause me. And as the wheel goes over a pair of roots, swinging further, all I can do is bite the inside of my cheek until I taste blood. Emma does not look away, and I cannot avert my eyes either. There is something defiant about this stare that puts me off. I cannot… Oh, God, if I could just hold on… Just a little longer… She licks her lips, looking down at my cleavage, and I am lost. I come.

We cannot look away, even as we pretend that I am not having a silent orgasm in her presence, as we pretend that she cannot sense my heat calling up on her. I am coming so wet I feel it dripping in my underwear, and it takes all that I have not to press harder into the bench. My clit aches with need, spasming spontaneously. And then it is over, although satisfaction is as far away as another galaxy, and I have to close my hands in fists so they do not shake.

Emma gulps, and I can almost hear her heartbeat; the blood pumping in her veins, smelling so woody against her jugular, so primitive and honeyed and raw. I want to bury my face into her neck and taste it.

I take a deep breath, my face pulsating and hot. Emma pulls on her collar again, before clearing her throat.

“I think I’m good now,” She says, and there is a gasp in her voice. “I’ll ask Jared to stop so I can… You know, go down. Only take a moment, ok?”     

“You are not wearing proper garments to ride,” Is all I can say, wetting my lips slightly. “You will injure yourself.”

“Well, kinda late for that, so…”

“How so?”

“I’m pretty fucked up already, I think now the only way is up,” She tries to stand up in the limited space as the carriage goes on.

“Sit down, Emma, we are going too fast,” I warn her. If she towers over me like this for one more second, I do not know what I am capable of doing.

“Will he hear if I shout?” She says, leaning to the window.

“Are you hurt?”

“What?”

“You meant you are hurt?”

She crosses her arms defensively. “I’m just not used to horses, and we’ve been riding like ten hours a day.”

I do not have to ask any further to understand what she is going through. The inside of her legs must be almost raw; suddenly I seem to remember her grimacing and grunting a lot lately. I thought it was just her way of showing how much she did not want to be here, but now I see.

My eyes fall into her jeans and Emma follows. “It’s nothing, ok? It’s getting better already.”

“Open your legs,” I say coolly.

“What-- What… What?”

I look up to find her face a bright red, her lips pink as I have never seen them, and even her neck gaining spots of color as our eyes meet. I cannot help the slight grin pulling at the corner of my mouth. Maybe she is as enthralled as I am. Maybe the thing… the thing I did, did not fade me as an omega as much as I thought.

“I can heal you,” I explain, after letting her squirm for a moment.

“It’s not… That’s not necessary.”

“Why not? It is very simple,” I raise an eyebrow at her. “Are you afraid?”

Emma straightens herself up in the bench, a flash of pain passing through her face as she moves her legs. “Should I be?”

This time my grin is bigger. “I’ll be... delicate , Ms. Swan,” I tease, and her eyes become darker. Now I am just provoking the alpha in her.   

I lean forward and put my hands on her knees; the lightest touch. Then I push them apart, ever so slowly, and all the time her eyes are on mine, her pupils growing wider, devouring the green. Emma does not help nor stops me from spreading her legs apart - then my fingers are climbing her inner thighs, and she opens her mouth as if she cannot breathe. We suck the air in together, this doped air that only leaves us more breathless.

The magic coming from my fingertips flows so naturally I do not have to think about it. Everything within me wants to stop her pain, to give her pleasure, comfort. My hands move up, feeling the heat of the skin under the jeans, the curve of her hard muscles. Is it possible that I can feel the vibration of her blood rushing up under my fingers? Is her skin burning at my touch? Is Emma burning?

I am getting so wet I could slide in my sit.

The purple glow of my magic plays shadows on Emma’s face, and as my eyes comb hers for every bit of desire she might show, she makes the softest sound. Immediately, my magic in her body goes deeper, my fingers claw at her thighs. She shudders, and I swear I could come again.

Then Emma breaks the stare, looking down, drawing my attention. There is an undeniable hard-on lineated through her pants. It is stretching the jeans in what looks like a painful way. The fabric does not leave much room for it, and it needs space, I can see that much. The cylindrical and curved line makes my mouth fill with water. My heart races, my clit throbbing so painfully I do not know how I manage not to climb her lap here and now. Emma freezes. There is not one muscle in her body moving. She is not even blinking.

For a second, everything stays on hold - then, of course, she has to ruin it.

“I don’t know what the fuck… I’m not… I’m not used to this shit. It doesn’t mean… It doesn’t mean anything. It’s just because you are… So my body does… It really, really doesn’t mean anything.”

The words sting more than I would guess. I know the attraction is beyond us, but her disdain feels brutal against my almost-raw self right now.

“Yes, of course,” I drawl, leaning back into my sit. “I am sure you would never truly consider that we could…” I run my tongue through my lips, making time to assure I will find the right tone, “mate.” I grin as if the idea is ludicrous.

“Hell, no,” Emma replies, her jaw still tense, her embarrassment almost palpable. “It’s not like I’m tempted out of my mind,” She snorts, and a bolt of anger runs through my guts.

“Well, why would you be? I am the on cycling, after all,” I say, low enough so she has to make an effort to hear. “And I do not think it could be any clearer that you, Ms. Swan, would probably be my very last choice for a mate.”

“Yeah, I’m aware. You’re more fond of the stableman type, right?” She mocks, and the glow is back in my hands, this time much less benign.

“You do not want to go there,” I hiss.

“You don’t fucking know where I want to go,” She spats back, standing up. I meet her stance, glowering at her.

“Why don’t you tell me, Ms. Swan? Why did you come to this land? Why did you come to this battle, if you are not where you want to be?”

“That’s not what I said!”

“No, I understand. You want my son, you want to be part of this world, and you want to fill in, but anywhere you go, you seem to be stuck with me - the only thing you do not want!”

“Why the hell do you presume to know what I want, Regina? Most of the time, you don’t fucking have a clue! You don’t look around enough to get a clue, you’re just… grr!”

“What? What am I?!”, I demand, my body rebelling at her proximity. I wish my hate could placate the effects of her scent. I wish her posture right now did not make me wish she was inside me, filling me until everything else was pointless.

“Ladies,” A voice comes from outside as the door is pulled open.

What ?” We both yell, almost sending Jared stumbling back on his arse.

He looks down, blushing deeply. “We just… We arrived at Camp Code for the night, miladies.”

I take a deep breath, realizing Emma is standing in front of me. She jumped to this position as soon as the door was opened, and is all tense shoulders, pumped chest and tilted chin. She might not want me, but nevertheless she stood her ground the moment another person showed. I want to yell at her for the audacity of playing the alpha to me - I am the Queen! But I do not have the time; she is already looking back over her shoulder and shaking her head. 

“Thanks for healing me,” She mutters, “I won’t be bothering you again.”

And then Emma climbs down the carriage and walks away.