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You again

Chapter Text

1983

Regina watched as many of her colleagues made their way towards the school building. Some of them came walking in large groups, chatting animatedly as they discussed their favorite band’s new album and passed along a single cigarette. Smaller groups climbed down from bikes or buses, but only a selected minority owned a car, which made her lift her eyes from her book when she heard tires screeching around the corner.

Robin was a dick of sorts, but he was never imprudent with his precious Corvette, and that was the reason why she thought it was strange when she heard the noise accompanied by loud music.

Regina scoffed and rolled her eyes when she saw who it was. The white GTI covered in bumper stickers made its way towards the parking spot right in front of where she was sitting, and if she didn’t know the driver was a perfect idiot, she would fear for her life.

As predicted, the blonde hit the pedal brake at the last second, making Regina briefly wince and the other occupants of the car jerk forwards and then backwards. They erupted in moronic laughter and then climbed out as the driver shut the radio off.

The group consisted on the four people Regina hated most.

Ruby Lucas, a minx with long legs who never smiled, came out from the passenger seat. She was tall and gorgeous, and probably had been the first girl to wear lipstick for class, and even though she had the whole school at her feet, everybody knew she had a major, possessive crush on Emma Swan.

Mary Margaret Blanchard came out next from the back seat. She was the only bonehead among the delinquents, and Regina had no idea why she hooked up with them. She was obnoxiously kind and friendly, and had a not so secret infatuation for David Nolan, who was actually nice but didn’t seem to know Mary existed.

Killian Jones came out after her, wearing his bandage like a trophy – a week ago he lost two fingers from his left hand when a homemade bomb exploded on his face. He reeked of cigarettes and alcohol, and his stupid hoop earring dangled as he marched in combat boots, freaking out most of the people in Storybrooke. Rumors had it he carried a pocket knife on his leather jacket, and Regina didn’t doubt it.

And finally came Emma Swan, slamming the door of the driver’s side as she slung her backpack on her shoulder. She was a green-eyed blonde with an insufferable air of arrogance and an even more insufferable smirk on her lips. She wore baggy jeans with holes on the knees and tight t-shirts, which make the imbecile look hot.

That was merely popular opinion – not that Regina agreed.

Regina hated her since they were in kindergarten; she vividly remembered the blonde running around the playground with her skirt in hand, flying it like a flag as the other kids laughed at Regina and her fluffy underwear.

On fourth grade, she hit Regina’s head with a dead bug during lunchtime, using a slingshot.

On sixth grade, she hid a dead mouse on Regina’s purse; the stink remained for weeks in their classroom and Regina waved a tearful goodbye to her purse when her mother put it on the garbage bin swearing to take revenge on ‘that Swan brat’.

On eighth grade, when Regina was in charge of the Student Committee, Emma Swan Christianized the prom’s punch with cheap vodka, which had Regina explaining to the school Principal why so many kids went home inebriated.

She would even pick up fights with Robin, such as spraying his locker and car with words that made Regina blush. They never managed to prove those had been Emma’s doing, but Regina knew in her heart that it was.

She had every reason in the world to hate the blonde, but she had no idea why Emma Swan hated her this much.

“Hi, Regina,” Mary Margaret greeted her with a chirp voice, bringing her back from her reverie as she passed in front of the bench Regina was sitting.

Killian blew her a kiss and Ruby walked past her without so much as a contemptuous look, but Regina felt her blood boil when Emma looked down at her with that smirk.

“Hey, Mills,” she winked. “Looking good today.”

Instinctively, Regina folded her arms across her chest, feeling oddly exposed. A few years back, she was the first girl in class to develop breasts, and Emma had always made a point to express how hefty they were.

Robin would always compliment when she wore V neck blouses, but when Emma said things like that, Regina felt as naked as she did in kindergarten.

Pig.

She kept following the band of rebels with her eyes as they crossed the school patio; Emma lit a cigarette, and Ruby picked it from her lips to take a drag.

Emma shrugged her off and retrieved the cigarette; just as if she knew, her eyes found Regina’s, and for a weird second, she didn’t look smug. Regina’s heart fluttered when she caught the small, genuine smile on Emma Swan’s lips.

It fluttered, it fucking fluttered, and it almost stopped when Robin grabbed her from behind to kiss her neck. Regina jumped from the bench and yelped.

Robin!”

For that reason, she didn’t have time to see Emma’s expression darken as she kicked a trash can and stormed off to the bathroom, leaving her confused friends behind.

“Hey, babe,” Robin laughed at her jumpy reaction. “S’up?”

“You scared me,” she said, shaking her head and standing up to peck his waiting lips.

“Sorry about that, love,” he grinned, taking her books as usual.

He passed a possessive arm around her shoulders and walked her to her locker. They frenetically made out against it for the whole world to see until the bell rang and then he left her to go to gym class.

With the exception of Regina, everybody in Storybrooke High knew that ‘gym class’ wasn’t always ‘gym class’. Sometimes it meant football practice, but others it was a mere code to ‘going to bang Zelena inside the janitor’s cupboard’ because his official girlfriend never allowed him to move past the first base and he had needs. Manly men needs.

In her blessed ignorance, Regina entered the classroom and sat down on the front row, where she found another one of Emma’s illuminated depictions of reality on her desk. Today’s sketch was Regina with breasts the size of melons, and the word PRUDE in sloppy letters underneath it.

The brunette shook her head and scoffed. She was superior to all that, her mother had taught her after years dealing with Swan. She didn’t need to worry about that for much longer – soon, and very soon, her father would become Mayor, and she would be able to go to a better school – in Europe, if she so desired – and the days of putting up with Emma Swan would be over. For good.

Chapter Text

Emma was the last one to enter Mr. Medina’s class. He was a sympathetic man with long hair and beard who still wore leather vests from last decade. Emma had wickedly nicknamed him ‘Merlin’.

She passed by him with a slouch, then almost hit Regina’s head with her backpack as she dragged her feet towards a seat Ruby saved for her in the back of the room.

“Glad you could join us this morning, Miss Swan,” he said, observing her over the rim of his round glasses. He looked amused as she slumped down her chair ungraciously, just as if he believed that Emma hid a kind heart underneath the thick layer of defiance.

He was by far Regina’s favorite teacher, and she felt angry when she heard Emma grunt something rude under her breath, making Killian and Ruby giggle. At this point she had to give Mary Margaret some credit; she was usually scolding her friends in class, especially because they were disrespectful in most of them.

Mr. Medina went on with his class about Greek tragedy, which happened to be one of Regina’s favorite – all the more reason for her latent annoyance when the delinquents started to whisper behind her. As their teacher went on with the subject unfazed by their behavior, every hiss and muffled chuckle started to get to Regina’s nerves, until she couldn’t stand it anymore.

She got up from her desk unexpectedly, and even Mr. Medina stopped talking. She fixated Emma Swan with narrowed eyes, just as if she could set her on fire with wishful thinking.

“If you know so much about every damn subject they teach us here, why are you still in school, Swan? You’ll get a kick out of flunking just to do it again because this is fun to you?”

No one was breathing. Regina’s hands were curled into angry fists, which tightened when Emma Swan rose from her chair and came up the corridor towards the brunette with a blank expression on her face.

Emma was a few inches taller, so she towered the other girl without much of an effort.

“You know what?” Emma hissed. “Fuck you, Your Highness! FUCK. YOU!”

“Miss Swan-” Mr. Medina called.

“This is not mine,” the blonde went on as her eyes fell upon the crude picture on Regina’s desk. “I never saw them,” she whispered the last part so that only the brunette could hear her.

It made Regina lose the little composure she still had left and advance on the other girl. The only reason why she didn’t smack that insufferable idiot to death was because Mr. Medina pulled her back by the arm before she had time to pounce.

She felt her cheeks burn with anger when Emma scoffed and looked at her with that shit-eating grin.

“I’ll have to ask you to leave,” the teacher said slightly hesitant. Regina was a brilliant student and one of his favorites, and it was such a disappointment to expel her from his class. “Both of you. Go to Miss Blue’s office.”

Emma didn’t even look at him; she went back to retrieve her backpack and left the room, waving a sarcastic goodbye to her friends, making the nervous audience chuckle. Regina was still rooted on her spot; she had never, ever being told off by any teacher.

Mr. Medina looked apologetically at her. “Miss Mills, please.”

Her mother was going to kill her. She was shaking when she collected her purse. The fun atmosphere left by Swan dissipated when she went out, and now nervous eyes followed her as she walked towards the door as well. Regina Mills was a role model, and not someone they were used to see going to detention.

As if on autopilot, Regina dragged her feet to the Inspector’s office. Emma was already sunken in one of the plastic chairs, her legs stretched all the way to the middle of the corridor, ankles crossed.

She didn’t look up at Regina when the brunette came to a halt next to her. That was a good thing, because Regina was sure she would see her V neck pulsing with the rhythm of her accelerated heart.

She had never been to Miss Blue’s office, and she had no idea what would happen to her. The woman came around the counter with a stern look directed to Emma, but she seemed surprised to see Regina.

“What can I do for you, Miss Mills? And you,” she snapped at Emma. “go find your seat, Miss Swan.”

Emma chuckled and lazily got up to do as she was told. She looked absolutely comfortable and familiar with the procedure. Regina looked up at Miss Blue when Emma disappeared around the corner.

“Mr. Medina sent us here, we… had a disagreement in class.”

“Oh, Regina,” she muttered, shaking her head in disapproval. “Don’t let her drag you to the same path, you’re so much better than that,” Miss Blue sighed. “Well, I’ll have to ask you to stay in detention with her, then.”

“All right,” Regina nodded in defeat. “Hum, Miss Blue?”

“Yes?”

“Do you have to notify my mother about this?”

She offered Regina a sympathetic smile. “I can overlook this if you promise I’ll never see you here again.”

Regina sighed in relief. “Thank you-”

“Now go, come on!”

“Uh, Miss Blue?”

“Yes, Regina?”

“What am I supposed to do in there?”

“I recommend you read a book or do homework. And please,” she added as Regina was about to turn around. “Try not to kill each other in there.”

Regina nodded and made her way to yet another room in that school she never thought she would ever set foot.

Emma was sitting on top of a desk next to the window, her booted feet propped up on the chair, a cigarette burning between her lips. She had the habit of rolling up the sleeves of her t-shirts, and her arms looked more outlined now that she was resting her elbows on her thighs, looking outside absently minded.

Regina picked a desk as far away from her as possible, took her books out and began searching the page Mr. Medina was reading. A crumpled ball of paper hit the back of her head.

She ignored it. She had no intentions in returning to detention or even resuming their fight, so she was going to follow Miss Blue’s advice and forget this day ever happened.

A few minutes later, the scent of cigarettes invaded her senses accompanied by mint, and Emma Swan was sitting on the desk next to hers.

“What you reading?”

Regina looked at her as though she could not believe her ears. Emma picked her chewed gum and stuck it underneath the desk as she waited for an answer.

“The yellow pages.”

Emma chuckled, genuinely amused. “So you do have a sense of humor buried there somewhere.” She stared at Regina pretty much the same way she did before class.

The brunette looked back down at her book, feeling her cheeks warm up under the scrutiny.

“Okay, I’ll let you go back to your shit, dweeb.” Her tone was not unpleasant or arrogant; in fact, she sounded amused that Regina was not running away from her like she usually did. “But in case you want me and Killian to take care of the tard who did that drawing, let me know.”

“Killian and I,” Regina corrected her with an air of superiority that washed away the friendly aura around Emma.

“Yeah. Fuck you, then, Regina. You can defend yourself with grammar.”

Chapter Text

They had been in silence for hours now. It was past lunch time and she could feel her stomach complain.

Regina pretended to read the whole time, but in reality she regretted that the friendly bubble had burst so fast.

Emma Swan was a prick.

For that reason, she had no idea why she felt so giddy and flattered when the blonde offered to beat up the infamous artist that liked to graffiti about her personal life on school property – which was surprisingly not Emma herself.

She looked back at the blonde; she had a lollipop between her teeth and was using a huge amount of rubber bands to manufacture a bouncing ball. When she finished, she threw it against the wall once and picked it against her chest. She threw it again. And again.

Okay, she didn’t feel giddy anymore.

“Could you stop?” Regina hissed.

Emma didn’t answer or even looked back at her; she kept throwing it against the wall and catching it, applying more force to the task so that the noise became more punctuated and annoying. Regina interposed between the wall and Emma, catching the stupid ball in the air.

“Give it back!” the blonde snapped.

“I’m trying to study!”

“And I’m trying not to throw it on your head! You should be glad I’m aiming for the wall!”

Regina rolled her eyes and went back to her desk, but before she did it, she threw it forcefully against Emma, almost hitting her square on the face.

“Nice,” she chuckled, catching it with a slight cringe. “You should be on some league, Mills.”

Regina looked at her and sighed. There was the smile again. What was wrong with that girl?

“What do you want from me?”

Emma remained silent. She blinked several times, taken by surprised by the raw but plain question, because Regina never spoke to her longer than the necessary to produce a scoff.

She wanted to kiss Regina.

She wanted to squeeze her friends on the back seat of the GTI so Regina could take the front seat. She wanted to drive her to school every day.

A long time ago she stopped lying to herself about the many pranks and teasing she had in store just for Regina – she didn’t want to actually hurt or upset the brunette; she wanted to deflect attention.

She was too attracted to be normal around Regina Mills.

And she hated Regina for having that power over her.

“Alright,” Emma sighed. “Regina, look… I am… your father.”

Regina took a whole minute to understand the thick, robotic voice that had nothing to do with the subject.

“Did you just quote Star Wars?”

Emma grinned that she got the reference. “Don’t ruin it, just say NOOOOO!”

“I don’t know why I’m wasting my time with you, seriously.”

And with that, she buried her face behind her book and ignored Emma until the bell rang.

Damn it, Swan. She was almost talking to you like a human being and you screwed up…

“Do you want a ride home?” Emma asked suddenly as Regina started to pack her bags.

Regina turned around indignantly, but before she had time to voice whatever it was, Miss Blue entered the classroom with Killian Jones and Ruby Lucas in tow.

“Miss Mills and Miss Swan, you can go, now. Take a form and bring it back signed by a parent or guardian. You two… Five foot apart. You know the drill.”

Last time Ruby and Killian ended up in detention together, they had built the bomb that exploded his fingers.

“What did you do?” Emma asked her friends, eyes following Regina across the room until she left.

“We sang Dominique when Miss Farris passed by us on the corridor. The rated version you made up, see. French class is wack,” Killian said with a scoff, slumping down a desk as he collected a cigarette from his jacket pocket.

Ruby, however, was staring intently at Emma as the blonde eyed the door blankly.

“Swan?” she snapped.

“What?” she asked dreamily.

“You’re drooling.”

“I’m out,” she said absently minded, ignoring Ruby’s unhappy frown. Apparently, her crush on Mills was not as discreet as she imagined.

“MM’s in the library, said she wouldn’t need a ride today,” Killian informed her as she collected her backpack to leave.

“Cool,” Emma muttered, leaving the room as fast as she could. If she hurried, she might catch up with Regina. And if she caught up with Regina…

Fuck.

She didn’t have a plan. It was easy to be unpleasant. It was fun to be an idiot around her, but Emma had no idea what to do to impress the brunette in a positive way.

The school was empty. How hard could it be to find a gorgeous brunette wandering around in her uptight pace?

When she got to the main hall of the building, Regina was nowhere to be found. Emma ran, her sneakers making squeaking noises against the linoleum as she paused at every corner, looking up and down the adjacent corridors.

She had just disappeared.

Damn.

Emma lit up a cigarette grumpily as she walked towards the parking lot. It was her third detention in two weeks; her mother was going to be disappointed. Emma kicked a soda can across the pavement, noticing her car was the only one left.

Then she saw Regina Mills, a few feet away across the street, walking towards the bus stop.

Emma flew to the GTI, hit the gas pedal and drove to the same direction. In a few seconds, she caught up with her.

Regina was holding her books against her chest as she walked, and she didn’t spare a glance sideways when Emma reduced the speed.

“Hey,” the blonde called out. “Get in. I’ll drive you home.”

“No thanks.”

“C’mon, your house is on the way to mine.”

“I’d rather take a bus in flames than enter this tuna can.”

“The reason why you missed Daddy’s ride is because you put us both in detention! I’m being more than nice to offer you a ride and you say that? I thought Mommy sent you to Princess Class when you were younger, Mills.”

Regina gasped with indignation, but before she could voice anything remotely un-Princess-like to that imbecile, Emma had already sped up.

XXX

“Fuck fuck fuck,” Emma hissed, hitting the steering wheel repeatedly with her fists. She watched Regina disappear through the rear view mirror and sighed. Damn it. Why did she have to be such a jerk? Why couldn’t she just be nice and take the first, polite ‘no’ for an answer?

She was almost considering turning around the corner when she remembered what she saw in the morning – the way Regina’s face lit up when Robin arrived.

Gross.

He was a moron, a pig, and Emma hated his guts. Only someone as stupid as him would ever take Regina for granted and sleep around with other girls. Not that she was a lot better, being a first class moron herself, too, but she would probably never look to another girl if she had Regina.

Emma’s blood boiled. Where the hell was that bonehead when his beautiful girlfriend needed a ride?

She looked again at the rear view mirror and realized Regina was running behind the car, waving frantically from the middle of the street. Emma scoffed for a second, but then she saw the huge dog chasing the brunette. She instantly hit the brake and turned off the engine.

“Hurry up, I’ll tackle him-!” she yelled, getting out of the car after flaring open the passenger door so Regina could jump inside.

Before Regina could reach out, the dog attacked. Her scream made Emma’s heart stop for a second; when she realized it, she was pulling the huge bulldog away from the brunette, taking a bite on the wrist as a result.

She barely registered the pain. Her eyes were glued to Regina’s bloodied face.

The dog’s owner came hurrying after them with a leash on his hand. Emma had no idea what that prick was saying, but he sounded like he was apologizing.

When the beast was properly chained again, Emma kneeled down next to the brunette on the asphalt. Regina’s brown eyes were drenched with fear and pain.

“I got you,” Emma muttered, picking her up and dragging her to the GTI. She closed the passenger door and turned around to take the steering wheel. “Keep your chin up and hold this against your lip,” she said softly after ripping a piece of her t-shirt and making a crumpled ball with it. “I’m taking you to the hospital, okay?”

Regina stared at her for what felt like an eternity, and then finally nodded.

The white rag became red within instants. Emma hit the gas pedal and possibly broke several traffic laws, but she didn’t care. She parked in front of Storybrooke General Hospital and got out to help Regina out of her seat.

Suddenly, opening the door for her and offering a hand seemed like a dream come true, except for the fact that both were covered in blood and dog’s saliva. She bravely passed an arm around Regina’s waist and guided her to the entrance door.

Regina was a public figure because of her father being a politician and possibly the next Mayor of Storybrooke, so there was a doctor next to her the second she was recognized.

“What happened?” he asked Emma, having two nurses helping Regina to a wheelchair.

“A dog attacked her.”

“Okay, you did a great job, but you’ll need stitches as well. Miss Mason-” he called another nurse to tend to Emma.

“Wha-? No, I’m fine-”

As the nurse ignored her protests and took her to another exam room, Emma could take one last glimpse at Regina until she noticed a chunk missing from her wrist. It was dripping blood all over the floor.

“Fuck,” she grunted.

Chapter Text

She was sick of being asked the same thing over and over again. When the doctor entered her room, she sat up.

“The dog wasn’t mine, I think it was Archie’s. And I don’t know if he was vaccinated.”

The doctor grinned. He had a weird blond hair that didn’t match his dark eyebrows, but Regina liked him.

“We took precautions about that,” he said. “Archie said the dog’s okay, just a little aggressive. Are you in pain?” he pointed her upper lip.

“No,” she said with a shake of her head. The anesthesia was the closest to drugs Regina had ever tried, and it felt incredible combined with painkillers. However, she was not high enough to forget about Emma Swan and that incredible display of worry. “Dr. Whale, where-?”

“Your friend is asking for you. Can I send her in?”

Regina blinked, and something down the pit of her stomach made the effects of the medicine feel nothing in comparison.

“Sure,” she nodded. ‘Friend’ was definitively not the term to define them.

Emma Swan took a hesitant step inside. Her jeans were dirty, and her curly hair was a mess. There was a perfect rectangle missing from the hem of her t-shirt, and she had a bandage around her right wrist.

Regina had never seen so many emotions flash past those greenish eyes. She had never seen that in anyone else’s eyes, if she were honest.

XXX

Emma felt her knees buckle at the sight of the incredible Regina Mills, the girl of her dreams, on a hospital bed with a deep cut above her upper lip.

The blonde approached her bed slowly when Dr. Whale left.

“Does it hurt?” she asked quietly.

“No.”

Emma nodded, awkwardly watching the room at large.

“How’s your wrist?” Regina asked timidly.

“Oh,” she scoffed. “I’ll live.” It hurt like hell, but no way was she going to tell Regina that.

There was a tense, embarrassing silence. Regina wanted to thank her for saving her from a worst outcome and driving so fast to the hospital, but the words just failed her and didn’t come out. Emma looked expectantly at her, but not as someone who’s waiting for a medal or anything. She just looked -

The door burst open and Cora Mills marched in, infesting the air with expensive perfume and hairspray. Her eyes widened at the sight of her daughter’s face.

“Oh dear, Regina! What happened? Your face is- You!” she hissed dangerously when she noticed a disheveled Emma Swan next to her. Emma was taller than Cora, too, but somehow she looked like she was shrinking under her stern look. “Of course it had to be something you were involved! Look what you’ve done to her face!”

“Mother-”

“Do not interrupt me when I speak, Regina. I want to see Whale now. He did this?” she pointed at the stitches. “He’ll have to re-do it, then. There’s no way Mr. Locksley will take you to Prom with you looking like that.”

“You should be glad that your daughter can do so much better than that dillhole!” Emma snapped at Cora.

Regina held her breath.

“What did you say to me, girl?” Cora hissed, narrowing her eyes exactly like Regina did, except that this gave Emma the impression that she might piss her pants.

However, the blonde held her chin up. Her dad had taught her how to act brave even though you were scared shitless.

“I said dillhole,” Emma muttered, but then she stared defiantly at Cora. “Only a dillhole wouldn’t want to take her to Prom.“

“Why does it sound like you’re wounded, dear?” Cora asked her with an unpleasant chuckle. “You should try and dress like a proper girl, Miss Swan. Other than that, I appreciate the favor you did to me. Now I can take the case to the Council and finally get you expelled.”

“Mother!”

Cora turned to Regina. “Watch your tone, young lady,” she said calmly. “You may speak now.”

“She saved me from a dog attack! She got bitten to get rid of it! Look at her arm! I would probably have my entire face ruined if it weren’t for her!”

“Your face is not ruined,” Emma said quietly to Regina. Then, she spun on her heels and left the room.

“I don’t care if she saved you,” Cora muttered, turning to her frantic daughter. “I want this delinquent out of Storybrooke High, and I want Ingrid Swan and her bad brood out of town!”

Regina closed her eyes and sighed, unexpectedly hoping that her mother wouldn’t succeed on that. There was just something about that imbecile, and Regina couldn’t stop thinking about the way she looked at her – like she… cared a lot. It was weird how it made her whole body warm up in a way it never did.

“Gather your things,” Cora said, snapping her back to reality. “I’ll talk to Doctor Whale. You can go wait in the car.”

XXX

“Okay, you have two minutes to explain and give me a good reason why I shouldn’t ground you and take your car keys.”

Ingrid Swan could sound scary when she wanted to, but she always sounded so disappointed that it felt far worse. Emma didn’t think she would have the heart to take the only thing her dad left for her – the GTI - but she was not so sure about being grounded.

Ingrid had missed her night shift at Granny’s and had put every neighbor in charge of calling her in case they saw Emma, and she was really, really mad when,  past seven thirty, Emma got home with a bandage on her wrist, her t-shirt with blood stains and a large chunk of fabric missing on the front. So she lost her shift because Miss Attitude was fighting on the streets like a hooligan.

“Regina Mills was attacked by a dog, and I… took her to the hospital, mom.”

Ingrid folded her arms across her chest and studied her daughter with her blue eyes narrowed. She always knew when Emma lied to her, but this time it didn’t sound like a made up story even though it sounded absurd. They were sitting on a table with mismatched chairs on their front lawn, and even though it was precariously illuminated, she recognized the look on Emma’s face.

It was the same James had when he told her he had been summoned to serve in Vietnam. Back then, there was no way she could have told he was lying when he promised to come back alive. Emma was eight when the government officers knocked at their door with a flag and a medal.

Ingrid sighed. “Fine. But you’re not getting out of the house after school for a week? Deal?”

“I’ll take a month, if you succeed in one simple task,” Emma threw her a smirk that meant no good. “I’ll bet you can’t write your name on a straight line with your eyes closed.”

The blonde woman laughed, but then she looked sad again. “Nice try, Emma. Is it your grades or detention?”

Emma rolled her eyes, taking the form out of her backpack.

“It’s the third time, kid!”

“I know, mom, but this time it wasn’t my fault!”

“Oh really? Was it Regina Mills again, and you did something heroic to get punished in her place?”

“Hi.”

Both Emma and Ingrid gasped and turned around. Regina stood by the fence with something wrapped in tinfoil on her hands. Henry Mills, who was a tall, kind looking man, stood right behind her.

He was the secretary of finances for the City Hall and soon-to-be Mayor of Storybrooke, and yet he looked a lot less intimidating than his wife. He gave Regina a soft nudge, and both took a step up the front walk of the Swan house.

“Good night, Mrs. Swan,” he said with a soothing voice and smiling at the pair. “Emma.”

Ingrid stood up, wiping imaginary dirt from her hands on her jeans as she looked back at her daughter and then at the Mills. She walked up to the pair and beckoned Regina in to sit with Emma.

“I’ll never forget what your husband did to our country and this town, Ingrid,” Henry said when the girls were out of earshot.” I see you working harder than anyone, and your daughter just saved mine. I’ll have the city council drop the charges and you don’t have to worry about rent for a while.”

“I can’t accept that, Mr. Mills, I-”

“Regina is the most important person in my life, so this is nothing, really.”

“But Mr. Gold will never-”

“Leave him to me,” he said with a kind smile. “Anyone who would take a dog bite for Regina deserves to have a home.”

Meanwhile, Emma and Regina were standing ten foot apart from each other, avoiding making eye contact for no reason in particular.

Emma felt a little embarrassed that she was still wearing her school clothes. Regina was clean, wearing a small bandage on her lip, and she could even catch the scent of her shampoo with the soft breeze. Her hair smelled nice.

Regina parted her lips to speak, but her father called out for her. She sighed and looked at Emma.

“Thank you,” she said quietly, and offered the Pyrex wrapped in tinfoil. “This is for you. Have a goodnight.”

Emma accepted it, and she hoped with all her soul that Regina didn’t catch the goosebumps erupting on her arms when their hands brushed against each other on the exchange. Her skin was soft and hot. Emma liked it. Emma could hold that Pyrex forever.

Reality came crashing back at her when her mother un-wrapped the tinfoil and a delicious-looking apple turnover revealed itself. Ingrid was grinning; the Mills were gone and Emma stood just there watching the empty curb.

“So your girlfriend can cook, huh?”

Mom!

Chapter Text

Mary Margaret and Killian stood in silence on the back seat, exchanging confused looks. Emma had been oddly early that morning and for the first time since they could remember, she wasn’t smoking inside the car.

She honked impatiently in front of Granny’s; through the glass door, they saw Ruby tidying her hair and checking her eyelashes.

The tall brunette came down the front steps and dropped heavily on the passenger seat, scrunching her face immediately.

“What the hell, Swan?” she coughed. “Did you fall inside a flask of cologne?”

Mary Margaret and Killian burst out laughing. They had been holding it back since they got inside; Ruby was the only one who would always confront or mock Emma like that. She had tied her hair and looked like she had actually showered for school.

“Shut up,” she grunted, hitting the gas pedal, resolute to ignore them.

She knew her friends were wondering about her wrist, too, but she was not ready to talk about it with them yet. When she entered the parking lot, Emma saw Regina on her usual bench, reading a book.

She would love to be Robin just for a day. She would love to know Regina was there waiting for her.

Emma parked on the same spot she did the day before, noticing that this time Regina actually lifted her eyes from her book and didn’t look displeased to see her, even after a backfire from the exhaust.

“You can go ahead,” the blonde told her friends. “I’ll just hang here a minute.”

“I’ll wait,” Ruby spat.

“It might take longer than a minute,” Emma said pointedly.

Ruby huffed, rolling her eyes, and slammed the door violently behind her, not even waiting for the other two.

“She almost got my nose,” Killian grunted, pushing the seat back to the front and opening the door again so that they could get out.

Mary patted Emma’s shoulder as she dragged her body to follow Killian.

“MM?”

“Yeah?”

“Do you think… it is too much?” Emma asked hesitantly, waving around herself to indicate the perfume.

“I think you’ll be just fine, Duckling,” she grinned with a sleepy voice. “Go get her.”

Emma wanted to argue back, but her friend was already out, hooking one arm with Killian’s and heading inside the building. How could she possibly know? The blonde shook her head and grabbed her backpack.

Regina was watching her intently behind her book, and she looked surprised when Emma climbed the bench and sat on top of the prop. In silence, the blonde took her cigarette pack and lit one, desperate to look cool and disguise the scent of perfume. She had to admit that she got carried away with that, and she didn’t want Regina to notice.

“What you reading?”

Regina looked up at her. The cut on her lip was perfectly covered with a tiny piece of plaster.

“Cujo,” she said quietly.

Emma laughed. “No shit,” and upon noticing the expression on the brunette’s face “Are you serious?”

“Yes?”

“God, the irony-”

Regina smiled for the first time, cringing almost immediately. She used a hand to touch the cut and make sure it wasn’t bleeding.

“Are you okay?” Emma asked, throwing her cigarette away and sliding down to sit next to her.

Regina felt her heart flutter again with the sight of that frown of concern. “It just hurt a little. I keep forgetting about it. It’s okay.”

“Sorry about that,” Emma muttered, fumbling with her fingers.

Regina noticed she had long fingers and a beautiful hand despite the chewed fingernails and minor scars. “The movie is coming out soon. Cujo,” she added.

“We could go together,” Emma said, still looking down at her hands as though suddenly they became very interesting.

“Can we meet at the theater or you’ll force me to get inside your car?”

The blonde turned to the side and noticed that Regina was genuinely smiling – a little cautiously because of the wound – but smiling nonetheless.

“I’ll have Cujo chasing you all the way, if that’s what it takes to get you in,” she grinned in return.

“I think one dog chase is enough for a lifetime,” Regina said with a chuckle. “I’ll get in the car.”

“My dad gave it to me,” Emma said, staring at the hood. She never spoke about her dad with anyone, not even her mother. “It was brand new in the market. He got it a year before he went to war.”

Regina had heard the story of how the legendary Mr. Swan went to Vietnam and left Ingrid widowed at the age of twenty-five and an eight-year-old Emma, who would turn out a rebel because of that, but she never heard Emma’s version of losing her father.

“I’m so sorry.”

“It’s okay. He would never let me smoke inside if he was alive. Or eat apple turnover and leave crumbs all over the carpet.”

Regina chuckled.

“I would have liked your dad,” she said. “So… Did you like it?”

Like it?” Emma rolled her eyes. “I loved it! You’re lucky to have someone cooking stuff so delicious to you.”

I made it.”

Emma blinked. “Fuck. Did you poison it?”

Regina rolled her eyes. “You’re not dead, are you?”

The blonde chuckled, feeling silly. “You’re a good cook, Mills.”

“I’m glad you approve,” Regina blushed, turning back to her book.

“You… didn’t try it?”

The brunette closed the volume, marking the page with a finger. “My mother won’t let me near carbs so often. She said I need to fit in the same wedding dress she did, so…”

“Whoa,” Emma shook her head. “She’s setting you up to get married already?”

“Since I was twelve,” Regina sighed. “I still have four years to lose the extra weight.”

“Shut up. You don’t need to lose anything, dweeb! Look at you!”

That innocent, moronic point made Regina’s lips part open into the most beautiful smile Emma had ever seen in her life.

“Ouch!” Regina winced, touching the plaster again. “Stop doing that!” she swatted Emma’s arm playfully. “It will never heal if you keep making me laugh.”

Emma felt her skin tingle where Regina’s hand had touched her. God, she was such a lovesick puppy… That girl was going to be the end of her…

She was literally saved by the bell when it rang. The blonde slid out of the bench and picked a stash of books that belonged to Regina.

“What are you doing?” the brunette asked her, collecting her purse as well.

“Walking you to class, what you think?”

Regina blushed, and noticed Emma was blushing too. She heard the familiar roar of the Corvette’s engine and turned away from the blonde, feeling slightly put out. Robin came towards her with a strut, eyeing Emma suspiciously.

Emma noticed how the brunette tensed immediately.

He stopped next to Regina and passed one arm around her waist, looking at Emma as though challenging her.

“She has me to carry her books, ditz. Hand them over,” he looked down at Regina to kiss her and took a step back when he noticed the plaster. “What you got there, babe?”

“Nothing,” Regina said in a hurry. “Let’s go, Robin-”

“Your books,” Emma grunted to her, sounding like a stranger after the friendly conversation they just had. She kept her angry eyes on Regina when she smacked the books violently against Robin’s stomach. “You have lipstick on your shirt,” she said, turning to him. “Dillhole.”

XXX

As Emma stomped away, Regina turned to her boyfriend, trying really hard to ignore the scene that had just unrolled before her eyes. “Why do you have lipstick on your clothes?”

“Cool out, Gina. It was my mother. Don’t you see that baby dyke has a thing for you?” he offered a silly smile that made her cringe internally. “Besides, you have something on your lip that wasn’t my doing and I am not going totally house over it, am I?”

“I’m not!” Regina sputtered indignantly.

“Yes you are. You need to get off my back with that, you know. I’m a man. We need freedom.”

“Well, why don’t I grant it right now for you?”

Robin scoffed disdainfully at her. “Grant? You? Who do you think you are to do that, huh? You don’t get to decide that… Don’t walk away from me when I’m talking to you!” he yelled. “You’re gonna regret this! You’re gonna regret this! My father will call your mother about it, Virgin Mary! Just you wait!”

For the first time in her life, Regina flipped someone.

If she were not at the verge of tears, she would have laughed at the red, angry face of her now frustrated ex-boyfriend.

XXX

Emma only stuck with Mr. Medina’s class because she realized Regina really liked it, but she felt bummed when the brunette didn’t show up for the first period.

“Were you expecting someone?” Killian asked her as they walked towards their next class.

“Why?”

“You were craning your neck like someone who has a Wanted poster on a Western movie.”

“You’re acting stupid,” Ruby muttered to her. “She doesn’t even like you.”

“Why don’t we all leave Emma alone and- Ouch!”

Mary Margaret ran into Regina, who was on her way out of the girls’ bathroom, and so many books flew in the air that it felt like an explosion had happened in the Library.

“Shoot, I’m so sorry-!”

“I’m sorry, Mary Margaret, I didn’t see you-”

“Why are you crying?” Emma asked quietly, noticing the swollen, bloodshot eyes as she kneeled down to collect both Regina’s and MM’s books while her friends watched in awe. It was typical to see Emma mocking Regina Mills, not helping.

“I’m not crying,” Regina said angrily, wiping her eyes. “I’m allergic to delinquents and you’re standing too close-”

Emma chose to ignore that.

“What did he do to you?” she asked firmly, handing the books to her.

Regina looked incredulous at Emma. “This is none of your- Swan!”

“Relax,” Killian winked at her as Emma stormed off towards the gym. “Whatever it is that she’ll do, he deserves it.”

“Are you okay?” Mary Margaret asked with a worried voice.

Except for Ruby, Regina had no idea why they were being nice to her like that.

“We need to stop her,” she told them. “She’s going to be expelled from Storybrooke High if she gets another detention.”

“How do you know that?” Ruby finally addressed her.

Regina sighed. “Because my mother will not rest until she does.”

XXX

It was easy to find Emma.

She was in front of the janitor’s room halfway to the gym, staring at the door like she wanted to punch it. The noise of shoes against the linoleum got her attention, and her eyes went wide when she noticed it was her friends and Regina.

“What are you doing here?”

“C’mon, Swan,” Killian tilted his head. “Let’s smoke a bud and cool our heads before lunch, eh?”

“Yeah, let’s not do anything stupid,” MM said with her anxious voice.

Emma frowned at their behavior, gave the small glass window one last look and then took a step towards the group. What she didn’t imagine was that their conversation caused a disturbance in the janitor’s room’s activities.

The door burst open and Robin came out with Zelena. They were half-clothed and looked slightly out of breath.

Robin?” Regina gasped.

“We broke up just now-”

Zelena covered her bra with her crumpled t-shirt and laughed. “You said she dumped you, muffin. And she does look like Frankenstein-”

“Do not call me muffin,” he grunted, and then looked at Regina with a mix of guilty and defiance.

The red-haired scoffed and walked out of the scene with her shoes and discarded clothes on her hands, passing by Regina and looking down contemptuously at her and the others.

“Ta-ta, scum. See you tonight, muffin!”

There was a mortifying silence after she left. Mary Margaret pulled Emma by the arm and the others followed. Regina was staring at Robin as though she could not believe her eyes. They had been together for three years and her mother was already planning their wedding, and now she caught him with another girl.

“You are a liar, Locksley,” she hissed with a shaky voice, feeling tears burn the corner of her eyes out of anger and humiliation. “Don’t ever, ever speak to me again.”

“Gina, the Prom-”

She chuckled unpleasantly, like her mother used to do. Her wounded lip hurt, but she didn’t even care. “I broke up with you. Why don’t you go by yourself? You are a free man now, you idiot.”

Regina spun on her heels, noticing Swan and her band of friends just around the corner, listening to every word. They were so obtuse-

It was Robin’s broken voice that changed everything.

Bimbette.”

She turned back to him, indignantly ready to kick his balls when a flash of blonde hair passed by her.

Emma Swan punched him square on the face. Droplets of blood flew in the air as his head spun with the impact. He spat bloodied mess that looked like a tooth and glared at Emma, making a huge effort to disguise the pain, panting heavily.

Emma shook her head with an evil smirk. “Don’t even threaten me, or I’ll tell the whole school Mary Margaret punched you and you cried like a little girl.”

He picked his socks and his converses on the floor, embracing defeat begrudgingly. He sustained eye contact with Emma and then threw one last look at Regina before he headed to the showers.

When he was gone, Emma had no idea what to say. Her friends were starting at her just as if she had lost her mind. Regina’s gaze was hard to read; Emma had no idea if that had pleased or offended her.

After a full minute of awkward silence, Mary Margaret took a step forward and glared at Emma.

“I could have made him cry like a little girl, you know.”

As everyone burst out laughing, Killian waved his hand – the one with all the fingers. “Why don’t we celebrate this with ice cream?”

Emma nodded, and her friends took the gesture as their cue to leave.

“We’re waiting in the car, give me the keys,” Ruby said with an eye roll when she noticed Emma was not following immediately.

The blonde fished it out of the pocket of her jeans and threw it at her friend with a scoff, then she turned to Regina.

“Wanna come, Mills?”

Regina looked hesitantly at her. She just didn’t get the mess that was Emma Swan. It was infuriating.

“I don’t think your friends-”

“It’s my car, and I’m inviting you.”

The brunette arranged her books awkwardly. “I never skipped class.”

“Let’s make your mother very proud today, then. No school and junk food.”

Regina sighed.

“Just so you know, Swan… I am not riding on the backseat with the Fingerless Wonder and Mary Margaret-”

Regina would never know if that loud laugh and the mischievous grin on Emma’s face was the sparkle that ignited everything or the warning sign that she was going to fall in love and get really, really hurt for the first and last time.

Chapter Text

Ruby was not stupid and she knew when to admit defeat. However, it didn’t mean that she couldn’t be angry with the fact that, not only she literally lost her throne on the front seat, but also the preference. Emma would always drop her last so they could talk longer without Killian or MM, but now she was no longer the favorite.

She knew it was stupid and hopeless, but what could she do? She fell in love with her best friend, who was in love with the richest, snobbiest girl in Storybrooke, who had a fancy car and a driver with uniform available any time she needed and yet chose to ride on a 74’ GTI. On her seat.

When she climbed the steps to her Grandma’s diner, she didn’t even bother waving goodbye. Emma was probably not even looking at her anymore because of Regina Mills, so.

Screw them.

XXX

“She’s not very happy about the new arrangement, is she?” Regina asked, turning to the blonde behind the steering wheel once Ruby got inside the diner.

“Ruby’s territorial about the front seat. She’ll get used to that.”

She had been saying that for a month, now.

Regina shook her head, and Emma wished she could just…

They bonded in the weirdest way, and now Emma was in love with the scar Regina had on her upper lip, and that pretty much was all she could think about when Regina spoke.

“She’s not getting used to that. She… likes you, Emma.”

And I like you, Mills.

“We’re friends,” Emma shrugged it off.

“Friends fall for each other all the time!”

Emma looked pointedly at the brunette. “Do they?”

Regina blushed and lowered her eyes to her lap. “I need to go home.”

Emma sighed and hit the gas pedal. “Homework? It’s weird how we’re on the same class and only you have work to do after school.”

“That’s because you’re an irresponsible.”

“Don’t break my heart, Mills,” Emma chuckled.

“My mother hired a seamstress,” Regina rolled her eyes, and the gesture made her look absurdly cute. “Prom’s coming up, and she wants to make sure I’m dressed like the princess she thinks I am.”

“She wants you to show off to that dillhole, so that you can get married and make dillhole babies.”

Regina looked to the side and watched the streets passing by with a stupid, infatuated smile. She loved that jealous tone on Emma’s voice, and she was afraid to ask herself why.

“I’m not going with Robin. I’m going with you.”

Regina didn’t look to the side, but she sensed Emma stiffening.

“You are?” the blonde asked almost under her breath.

“I know you didn’t ask, but well, wouldn’t it be fun to piss my mother a little bit more?” Regina said with a shrug.

Emma let out an awkward laugh. “Yeah. Let’s get to Cora’s ultimate nerves.”

“And still, you haven’t asked me.”

“Dweeb,” Emma grunted, a small smile of satisfaction gracing her lips. “I was going to ask you out first.”

Regina held her breath almost imperceptibly. “What?”

“Cujo’s coming out tonight, Mills! Don’t tell me you forgot!”

The brunette grinned.

“Of course I didn’t forget it.”

“Wanna come with me, then?”

Emma was not even pretending that she wasn’t nervous about the probable ‘yes’, and that only made Regina want to go even more.

“Of course I do.”

The blonde let out a sigh of relief anyway. “Pick you up at seven?”

“Please don’t honk.”

“Why? I love to see that look on your mother’s face. Like she could… rip out my heart and eat it.”

Regina threw her head back, laughing. She never felt so light or free in her life. It felt like she could just be a girl named Regina around her favorite delinquents, getting to her mother’s nerves like any normal girl of her age would. Her new friends were awful sometimes, but they accepted her for who she was, no judgments or anything, and she just reattributed the favor.

Regina was surprised at how natural it felt. She longed to see the GTI turn the corner every morning, now, and the butterflies on her stomach wouldn’t give it a rest. She loved that combination of nicotine and spearmint that Emma reeked of. She loved the way the blonde smiled at her, and how she would look awkward when Regina caught her staring at the scar on her lip.

And she loved how her new friends were fully committed to find out who did the atrocious grafitting on the school desks – the number of sketches increased after Regina and Robin broke up, and that was suspicious to say the least…

She loved eating tater tots from a basket and drink Coke after school with Emma and the others. She even smoked once. She hated it, but at least she tried. She even enjoyed the way Emma called her Dweeb-o-rama when she choked after dragging it.

It felt like that stupid thing she saw on the movies.

She never felt that with her boyfriend, but with Emma…

It felt like falling in love.

XXX

Ingrid slammed the bathroom door for the third time.

“I’m late, kid! Get out!”

The noise of water falling ceased. She heard a low grumble and then Emma came out with a cloud of vapor the size of their house around her head.

“So it took a Regina Mills to have you showering like a regular person,” she said to her daughter. “Interesting.”

“You’re so funny, mom!” Emma spat, hurrying to her small, messy bedroom. She looked at Jim Morrison’s huge face on the wall, and then she looked down at her clothes on her bed. “Help me God.”

Her heart was playing drum inside her chest, and her stomach was dancing with her brain. She didn’t feel relaxed at all. Being in love sucked. She hated to feel so out of control.

Some nights she could not fall asleep. She would roll in bed, thinking about her, creating disgustingly romantic scenarios in her head. Regina was the first thought that crossed her mind when she woke up, every fucking day.

The rebel Emma Swan now felt compelled to brush her teeth every morning before school.

And yet, she loved how the scent of Regina’s shampoo always lingered inside her car after she left in the afternoon.

Emma never allowed anyone to smoke inside the GTI again, to keep the scent a little longer.

Ingrid took a two minute shower, and within another minute she was putting on her earrings by the door to Emma’s bedroom. She was wearing the red uniform to Granny’s, looking at her with a smirk.

“Promise me you’ll behave with the Mills’ daughter. Promise.”

“Mom.”

“I didn’t forget the incident with Ruby on Bed & Breakfast last year, kid. To piss off Granny is one thing, but this is Cora Mills we’re talking about-”

“Mom!”

“Just keep it low profile-”

Mom!”              

Ingrid sighed and her lips cracked open into a familiar shit-eating grin. “Just wait until you have your own kids. You’ll feel tempted to embarrass them.”

Emma rolled her eyes. “And how exactly I’m gonna have a kid? By stealing one?”

The blonde woman shrugged. “I don’t know, kid, I’m not a scientist. Maybe in twenty years they’ll find a way, so that you and Regina can have babies tog- Okay, I’m joking! I need to go! Have fun, baby-”

Emma slumped down her bed when her mother left. It was already hard enough to be in love with Regina Mills; she didn’t need her mother giving her ideas and hopes about things that would never happen.

Because they wouldn’t.

Stop, she alerted her brain.

But Regina was a vir-

Stop!

You could be her first.

STOP.

She could fall for you after that…

Emma growled in frustration. That didn’t turn out well for Ruby when they did it just to see what it was like. Emma was afraid of the outcome.

She stuck her head out of the bedroom and peeked at the clock on the kitchen wall. She would be late if she kept thinking about having sex with Regina instead of getting dressed.

And when she imagined things couldn’t get any worse, the doorbell rang.

XXX

It was incredibly easy to endure an entire afternoon with her mother and the seamstress turning her around like a spinning top.

She didn’t even hear the comments about her hips and breasts; her mind was miles away from Mifflin Street, and her mind was on a girl she used to hate. She had hated Emma Swan so much that now the smallest joke or compliment made her smile from ear to ear.

She had hated the engine sound of the GTI; it meant her reading was going to be interrupted by the arrival of the troublemakers, not to mention she would have to hear nasty comments about her existence.

Now she loved, longed for it. It meant Emma Swan was coming to save her, to look at her like she was special, like she would fight and smash faces of whoever hurt Regina.

She decided to wait outside of her house so that the blonde wasn’t too tempted to honk and announce her presence to Cora. It had been a war to have her mother accepting Emma Swan driving Regina to school – a war that her father kindly fought for her. 

“Cora, let her have some fun with her new friends, will you?”

Friends,” she scoffed. “She thinks Emma Swan is her friend just because she took her to the hospital. Emma Swan is the reason why she’s got that horrible scar on her face-”

“That’s enough now, Cora,” Henry smacked his hand against the dinner table. “This conversation is over!”

“She needs a real man in her life, Henry,” Cora spat. “A strong model to teach her, not a man that smacks the table when he has no argument!”

“Do you want your daughter to be with a man who cheats? Do you want Regina to learn this is normal and she should get used to that?” Henry frowned, and that was a landmark on the Mills family’s history – it was the first time Cora had nothing to say to her husband.

“He is just a boy, now,” she said to Regina instead. “He’ll come around and you should consider forgiving him. He has potential to be a fine husband-”

“Regina, you can leave, sweetie,” Henry said over his wife, dismissing his daughter from that primitive conversation. “She will decide who is fine for her, and not you,” he said harshly to Cora. “Now if you will excuse me, I have work to do in my office-”

Cora left Regina alone about the daily rides, but she didn’t want to push it – especially when Emma was coming to pick her up for their allegedly first date.

Regina had suspected, but now she was a hundred percent sure that Emma liked her. And what was scariest, she was a hundred percent sure that she felt the same. It had been so natural, so not shocking… So easy to say yes…

When she heard the familiar motor roar around the corner, she shifted her weight from one leg to another as she fixed her hair and smoothed her skirt the best she could. As the GTI approached 108, Regina let out a sigh of relief and smiled as it slowed down and parked.

Then she noticed Emma wasn’t alone in the car.

Mary Margaret and Killian were smiling at her from the backseat. Emma looked like she wanted someone to shoot her.

Regina kept a neutral face. By the look on Emma’s face, it wasn’t what she had planned for their evening, and the brunette didn’t want to make it worse by showing her disappointment. As she sat down next to the blonde, Killian squeezed himself between the front seats.

“Looking hot, Mills. No wonder Emma was having a nervous meltdown when we arrived-”

“I was not having-”

“Ignore him,” Mary Margaret rolled her eyes and pulled him back to his seat. “We’re just taking a ride downtown, right, Killian?”

“Yeah,” he grinned, and he didn’t sound convincing at all as he kept ogling Regina.

“I’m kicking you out of the car,” Emma grunted, watching him from the rear view mirror.

“He’s just messing with you,” Mary said with a chuckle and then patted Emma’s tensed shoulder softly. “Quit the meltdown already, Duckling. You’re making a scene in front of Regina-”

Emma sighed as she ignited the car, noticing that Regina was grinning. You could always count on Killian and MM to fuck with her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Emma was... fidgeting.

She was still in a bit of a shock because her friends decided to show up unexpectedly at her house, but now that they were gone, she was alone with Regina on the line to buy tickets.

It was the first time in her life that she asked someone she actually liked on a date, and now the incredibly cool and flippant Emma Swan had no idea how to control her limbs and pay attention to what Regina was saying.

“Are you okay?”

She blinked, turning to look at the brunette, feeling her heart drop to her lower belly. God, that girl was fucking pretty… Even with that look of confusion she was pretty. She had one eyebrow inquisitively arched and Emma watched as her scar twitched, following her lips. And she was in love with those legs…

“Swan?”

Emma blinked again. “What?”

“I know it’s difficult to concentrate while I’m around, but could you at least pretend you know what you’re doing?”

The blonde smiled broadly. She was in love with bantering Regina. “Ha, in your dreams, Mills.”

“So, popcorn or candy?”

“Both.”

“Glutton.”

“Did you swallow a French dictionary today?”

“Do you know what French sounds like?”

“Dweeb.”

“Idiot.”

“Awn, look at the lovebirds bickering on the food counter-”

Emma felt mortified when she recognized MM’s voice. She had dropped her and Killian on the records store a few blocks away, and she had no idea why they were back on her neck. Killian was in fact eating popcorn already, which meant-

“We’re going to watch Cujo, man! We’re not stalking you,” he said to Emma, and then lowered his voice. “You don’t wanna ruin that by making out with Hot Pants, do you?”

“We are going to watch Cujo, moron,” Emma hissed through gritted teeth.

“Jesus, Emma! That’s so tactless, even for you!” Mary said with a pitiful frown.

“Okay, can I stop pretending I’m not listening to any of that?” Regina took a step closer. “There’s a huge line behind you and I want to go find our seats-”

“They’re not coming with us,” Emma protested, holding their popcorn bucket and candy packs like grenades.

“Why not?” Regina dragged her to the side, and finally the line moved. “Let them come, Emma, it’s okay.”

“No, it’s not okay,” she muttered. “They can’t just barge in! That’s not what I planned-”

“You planned? Are you becoming responsible, thinking ahead?” Regina teased her.

“Hell, no,” Emma chuckled. “Just…”

“It’s okay, really.”

“Are you sure?” Emma asked, looking at Killian and MM as if she could kill them with her eyes.

“I just call dibs on not sitting next to any of them. I’m pretty sure that ‘Snow White with a Perm’ won’t stop talking through the movie and that the Fingerless Wonder will try to grope me.”

“You have the gift of nicknaming people, Mills,” Emma laughed. “Though I’m not sure the perm makes her look exactly like Snow… Anyway, I promise I’ll chop off the rest of his fingers if he ever tries to do that.”

Regina smiled, but deep down, her nerves were a mess.

So it was a real date.

 So it involved making out.

So Emma liked her.

So it was happening.

Regina Mills, daughter of Cora and the next Mayor of Storybrooke, best of her class, broke up with Robin Locksley, Storybrooke High beloved quarterback, filthy rich, because she liked Emma Swan.

A girl.

A girl she was supposed to hate.

A poor, delinquent girl that her mother definitely hated.

Cora was going to kill her.

XXX

It took Emma a while to feel completely at ease inside a movie theater with Regina Mills.

When Killian and MM took seats on a distant row, she felt slightly relieved that there wouldn’t be any teasing, but when she plopped down next to Regina and the lights went out, her heart accelerated again.

Yeah, now what?

She could smell Regina’s shampoo, and feel her heart drop to her stomach every time their shoulders brushed by the armrest. With the corner of her eye, she could watch Regina distractedly eat popcorn and sip her soda, wondering if she was humming pleasurably as she ate.

She loved to pay attention to that when they had hotdogs after school, but it was getting harder and harder to pretend that the sound didn’t affect her. She felt cold sweat on her hands.

Ironically, it was the tension of the movie what ended up by relaxing Emma. She was so focused on the damn savage dog that she almost missed the moment that changed everything. Startled and gasping like most of the audience, Regina jumped on her seat and instinctively grabbed Emma’s hand.

Emma looked at their entwined fingers and then looked up at Regina, whose gorgeous eyes were glued to the screen, terrified. Emma smiled and gave her hand a soft squeeze, sensing the brunette sigh.

They remained stiff on their seats all through the movie, not even daring to look at each other, but they never let go of their hands until it was over and the lights went on again.

XXX

Emma’s hand was warm and incredibly soft.

Regina was surprised how her arm acted on its own accord and reached out for the blonde.

She had no idea whether Emma was going to notice how shaky she was; if she noticed, she didn’t let it show. Regina’s heart fluttered when Emma gave her trembling hand a gentle squeeze.

It felt intimate.

It felt safe.

Regina could blame it all on the horrible dog on screen, but the square-jawed, solid blonde next to her was the reason why her heart was pounding so fast.

As they left the movie theater side by side, Regina was startled when Killian and MM joined them. They were loud and obnoxious as usual, but it was Emma’s oddly quietness that got Regina’s attention.

She imagined Emma passing one arm around her waist, bragging about Cujo being just a big stupid dog, and that she wasn’t scared of it, and that Regina jumped like a silly girl numerous times. After that, she’d kiss her temple and tell her she was going to keep her safe from any rabid dogs.

Oh but wait.

That sounded like Robin.

Emma was not bragging about anything. Emma was not holding Regina like an object that belonged to her. Emma was not mocking her for jumping numerous times.

Emma was ogling her in silence, wiggling her long fingers as if their hands were still touching…

Emma Swan was normally loud and idiotic; it was strange to see her so pensive. Maybe she regretted coming with Regina?

Mary Margaret was probably going to inquire her blonde friend about that silent façade, when David Nolan showed up and sort of startled everyone. He wasn’t Robin’s best friend, but he played on the team with him, and was just as popular.

He had just parted ways with a group of friends that had probably been to Cujo’s premier as well. He was looking at Mary as though he was seeing her for the first time in his life.

“Hi,” he said.

MM looked around; many were the times she waved and said ‘Hi’ back to people when the intended interlocutor was standing just behind her.

David chuckled. “I meant you.”

“This is David Nolan,” Regina hurried to introduce them as her mother had taught her, even though she knew MM probably had a secret fan base for him on her pink fluffy bedroom and knew everything about him. “David, this is Mary Margaret.”

“I know,” he said, with his light eyes still glued on the shorter girl. Then he shook his head and turned to Regina. “How are you holding up? I heard about that… thing with Robin, but I never got a chance to say anything to you…”

“Oh, it’s okay,” Regina said. She was sure Robin would tell his alternate poor little thing version of the break up on the locker room, and she wasn’t surprised when many boys started to harass her in school. But David had always been different. “Thanks anyway, David.”

He shoved his hands on his jeans pockets awkwardly.  He was blond and tall, and could’ve fooled anyone as Emma’s brother – except for the hairstyle. David was particularly famous in school for his MacGyver looks – from the mullets to his physical.

“So…” he turned to MM. “You’re the girl who kicked Robin in the balls and made him cry like a baby, right?”

Her lips cracked open into a huge smile and she chuckled. Regina didn’t know what was funnier, Emma actually spreading the rumor or Mary’s reaction.

“Do you wanna have ice cream?” she blurted out, the smile vanishing from her face and becoming an expression of horror as soon as she realized that she had just asked David Nolan out.

“Sure,” he nodded, offering his hand for her.

Mary mouthed What as she spun on her heels and took his hand. When they were gone, Killian and Emma were laughing.

“She sucks at that,” he said to Regina. “I’m surprised he wasn’t freaked out.”

“Well,” Regina shrugged. “I don’t see you dating much, so I guess lameness runs in the group.”

BURN!” Emma yelled to his face.

“How’s it going for you, Miss Let’s Only Hold Hands?” he spat back at her, making Regina laugh even more.

“I’m gonna kill you-”

“You’re embarrassing yourself in front of the lady,” Killian muttered through gritted teeth as she held him by the collar of his t-shirt. He was grinning. “I’m walking home, Swan. Have fun, but not too much.”

Emma adjusted her t-shirt and took a deep breath before she turned to Regina. She was probably rolling her eyes at their immaturity…

Emma felt her heart fall and melt inside her stomach at the sight. Regina was looking… expectant.

Should she call it a night and drive Regina home?

Was she supposed to ask her to grab anything to eat?

“I promised my mother I’d be back before eleven,” the brunette said with a frustrated sigh.

“Oh.” Emma nodded, and made a polite gesture for Regina to go first.

They remained silent as they headed towards Emma’s car, and then all the way to Regina’s house. It was not uncomfortable, in Emma’s lame opinion. Just charged, full of expectations and nerve-wrecking anticipation.

Not uncomfortable at all.

When she parked in front of 108, she felt her heart stop as the car’s engine died.

Regina was looking down, watching her hands on her lap for a moment, and then she hesitatingly looked up at the blonde.

Emma took a deep breath.

“Come to prom with me?”

Regina smiled softly, and the movement of her lip, and the scar, and the light in her eyes… It was all too much. Emma leaned forward and kissed her.

She had half expected a smack on the head, but instead she felt Regina’s hand softly land on the back of her neck.

Regina let out a shaky sigh against her lips that made Emma want to rip off her clothes right then and there, but for once, Ingrid’s voice spoke louder than her own stupid brain. She stopped her eager hands just in time.

The front door flared open the second Regina pulled back. Both girls saw Cora on the doorstep, looking displeased that they were on time and she had no excuse to chastise her daughter and the delinquent.

Regina was smiling as she climbed out of the GTI; halfway through the front walk, she spun on her heels and returned to the car skipping, stopping briefly next to Emma’s window.

“Yes, I’ll go to prom with you,” she whispered, almost giggling.

Emma grinned broadly. “Sleep well, Mills,” she whispered back with a small nod of her head.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

By the time she got home, Emma was on autopilot.

She walked to her room and reached out for the small flask of fish food on her bedside table. She looked down at the tank, and watched the fish swirl around agitatedly as she dotted the water surface with ration.

After that, she plopped on her bed dramatically.

She wanted Regina more than she thought that it was possible to want her.

She had wrongly thought that kissing her would be enough and wonderful, but it wasn’t enough, and it was more than just wonderful. They might yet come up with a word to describe what it felt like to kiss Regina Mills.

Her heart felt warm, and her whole body was bursting into flames. 

She tasted like…

Heaven.

Emma could still feel her warm, shaky breath against her cheek, and her scent was everywhere in the room.

She just couldn’t sleep.

Ingrid arrived home by midnight and stopped by her daughter’s bedroom with leftovers from Granny’s on a paper bag.

“Hey, kid,” she said, waving it in the air. “I got your special.”

“I’m not hungry, mom.”

“Oh wow!” Ingrid chuckled.

“Mom, don’t start-”

“I won’t,” she waltzed inside her room, planted a kiss on Emma’s forehead and dropped the paper bag on the desk. “Sleep tight, kid.”

“Night, mom.”

XXX

“It’s eleven o’clock,” Cora said closing the front door.

Regina sighed with a tiny smile. “Yes, I know.”

“You almost missed curfew. I won’t be tolerant next time. And why are you smiling?”

Next time they would go to prom.  The butterflies in her stomach were going wild with the possibilities, and her mind was still trying to absorb the emotions from the kiss that happened less than five minutes ago.

“I’m sorry, mother. I just had a good time,” she said, barely able to refrain from rolling her eyes as she stopped by the bottom of the staircase.

Her father showed up behind Cora; he was holding a cigar and the newspaper. She could have sworn he winked at her.

“Let her be, Cora. Have a good night, sweetie,” he told her, waving her off to bed.

Regina almost ran upstairs; she was not inclined to a full interrogatory from her mother in case her giddiness looked too suspicious, so she climbed the stairs at normal pace. It seemed to take forever, but when she got to her bedroom, the rest of the world simply disappeared.

She rested her back against the door after closing it. The timid smile that was gracing her lips minutes ago turned into a fit of giggles and sighs that she was not aware she could produce. That felt like the proper reaction for a first kiss, not that ridiculous tongue fight that Robin offered her three years ago.

Regina sat down on bed and carefully removed her shoes. As she lay down and closed her eyes, Emma Swan’s face was all she could see and think about.

Her silly smirk, the way she insisted to pay for the tickets, the way her lips grazed hers for half a second before it turned into a fierce kiss…

Regina could still taste the nicotine and spearmint on her lips, and some parts of her arms and shoulders still burned with the memory of Emma’s fingers.

She stared at the ceiling for a while, smiling. She closed her eyes again, imagining Emma standing there, watching her as she removed all her clothes. She always slept on her underwear, but the sudden sense of exposure made her quickly pull a coverlet over her body.

Regina was shy, but the thought of Emma Swan seeing her like that…

Her cheeks burned.

She laughed at herself as she picked a book on her bedside table and tried to read. Two paragraphs later, she gave up. It was impossible to concentrate with an invisible Emma Swan trying to spy on her naked.

It was then that she saw a piece of paper poking out from the final pages of her book. It was scribbled in hurried and crooked letters that Regina knew very well by now.

CALL ME SOME DAY, MILLS  555-3274

Regina grinned; she had no idea whether this was old or recent, but either way it was very sweet, like most of the things Emma did.

Her former nemesis, the school greatest bully and full time delinquent was sweet.

And an amazing kisser.

Who would have thought?

XXX

The next morning, Regina took extra care to comb her hair, pick an outfit and apply lipstick. Cora spent breakfast frowning at her, but apparently Henry being there was enough to keep her quiet about it.

Regina jumped from the chair when she heard the familiar roaring engine sound.

“I gotta go,” she kissed her parents goodbye and hurried out of the kitchen, picking her bag from a chair as she run towards the front door.

Emma smiled when she came outside.

On the back seat, Ruby looked more disgruntled than ever. Killian was smirking and Mary Margaret looked like she was about to explode.

“Charming asked me to go to prom with him!” she exclaimed when Regina closed the door.

“Who?”

“She calls David Charming,” Emma said with an eye roll. “As in Prince Charming. Yeah, MM… I would’ve kept it a secret if I were you. It sounds even lamer when said out loud.”

“Oh he did?” Regina grinned at her and turned to Emma. “That’s great, isn’t it? We can all go together-”

“You’re going with her?” Ruby scoffed incredulously. “As in a date?”

“Yes, I am,” Emma said quietly.

“I thought you said proms were for losers and whores.”

“I didn’t say that,” Emma said, looking apologetically at Regina.

“Stop being so cranky,” Killian intervened, poking Ruby. “Come to prom with me. I can be the whore and you can be the loser, if that bothers you.”

“I’d rather have a truck run over me than go to prom with you-”

“Oh, shut up, everyone,” Mary spat, producing a cardboard crown from her bag and placing it on Regina’s head. “Here. You’re officially the GTI Queen.”

“You promised me you wouldn’t do that!” Emma snarled at her friend.

“C’mon, you can be king,” Regina winked at the blonde, placing one hand on her thigh in a soothing way, which instead of helping, ended up by turning Emma on.

“You’re gonna cause an accident with that hand there,” she muttered to the brunette, who blushed and chuckled.

XXX

All in all, life was pretty much the same in Storybrooke High, except for a major change the week after their first date.

Whenever you wanted to find Emma Swan, she would no longer be in detention, making out with Ruby in the bathroom or smoking pot under the bleachers. If you wanted to find Emma, you should look for Regina Mills first. And then you would probably run into them in the last row of the library, making out furiously against a bookshelf.

Some people found it strange to see them hanging out in perfect harmony instead of the usual mayhem. It was sickening sweet the way they kept grinning at each other.

That week almost made the teachers call for an extraordinary board meeting. Emma Swan was sitting next to Regina Mills in classes, and she even paid attention, sometimes.

Prom was coming up in a month, but Emma and her friends were more interested in celebrating Halloween. They waited until all the kids went back home to start their own celebration since fifth grade, and no matter how childish it looked, they did it every year.

Killian usually was the first to leave his house in the middle of the night. He would go to Mary’s and scare her to death as he made ghostly sounds on her bedroom window. Every year. Then they would wake up Emma, usually throwing suspicious mud chunks at her. And finally they would break into Granny’s and drag Ruby out of bed.

The four of them would wear bedsheets and scare unfortunate passersby, startle dogs, ring doorbells and finally hide in the cemetery, where they would have a picnic.

This year, Emma was excited with the perspective of initiating Regina on their little ritual.

Not to mention that she was going to be in the haunted grounds of Cora Mills’ house after midnight to get Regina without being noticed. On Halloween.

When the four of them arrived on Mifflin Street, Emma took the lead towards 108. They threw hissed instructions at each other and gestured frantically as they tiptoed across the front lawn.

When they were protected by the darkness of the Mills backyard, Emma realized that she had no idea which one was Regina’s window.

“I don’t recognize you,” Killian whispered. “You don’t know where a girl’s room is?”

“Shut up,” Emma hissed back. “Turn that shit off,” she smacked his shoulder, indicating the flashlight he was holding. “I’m going up.”

They followed her solemn gaze and gasped. She was looking at the roof of the mansion.

“Emma, no!” Ruby hissed. “You’re gonna wake up everyone and the Evil Witch will lock you up in the dungeons!”

Years ago, Emma made up that rumor that Cora Mills had a dungeon instead of a basement in their house, and that was the place where she locked up Regina without food until she learnt how to become a great and evil witch like her mother.

It was heartless, and she knew it now, but she never had the courage to tell Ruby the dungeon part was a lie, too.

“Stay cool,” Emma whispered, gesturing for them to quit protesting. “I got this.”

There was a tall apple tree next to the house, whose highest branches would give access to the roof of the back porch, allowing Emma to check all the windows on the first floor. The tree climbing was uneventful, until a soda can fell from Emma’s backpack and hit Killian on the face.

His “OUCH!” was accompanied by three desperate “Shush!” and a distant bark.

Emma held her breath as the kitchen lights went on. She watched all her friends scatter and flee as quietly as they could. Assholes. By the time Mr. Mills decided there was no intruder in their back yard and closed the door, her friends were probably many blocks away.

They were walking to school after tonight.

When Regina’s father disappeared and the lights went out again, Emma resumed her climbing, cursing now for keeping the backpack in the first place. When she finally managed to set foot on the roof, a tile creaked slightly with her weight.

She set another careful step, and then another, and then she finally reached the first window.

The image was worthy of a Halloween celebration. Mr. Mills was returning to the room in stripped pajamas, while Cora slept like a corpse, her face covered in green plaster and a purple mask covering her eyes.

Jesus.

Mr. Mills was probably the bravest man alive she knew.

Emma crouched and crawled slowly on her elbows and knees until she was out of sight. With luck, Regina’s bedroom was the next one. She took a deep breath, doing her best not to pant too loudly, and reached out for the window sill.

It was open to the air of the night, and silky curtains fluttered softly with the breeze. Emma quickly took in the room’s interior – many books and wooden decoration, a fluffy rug next to the bed and shades of red everywhere.

Maybe she was crazy, but the room smelled like Regina, too. Emma was distracted by the empty bed, when an adjacent door creaked open and Regina came out of her bathroom wearing nothing but a pair of panties.

Emma’s loud gasp made Regina quickly spin around and gasp too. She reached out for a pillow or blanket to cover her breasts, but the arm stretching only made the scene even more explicit.

“YOU SLEEP NAKED?” Emma gasped, hitting her head on the window frame.

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?” Regina shrieked, bending over to hide and making it all a lot worse.

She heard the loud rumble of roof tiles and then Emma slipped and fell. Regina grabbed her goddamned robe and covered herself as she hurried to the window. Her heart was on her mouth, and she almost screamed when she saw Emma immovable on the ground.

Emma!” she hissed desperately. To her utter surprise, three shadows creeped out of the bushes and she recognized Killian, Mary and Ruby. Relief fell over her when Emma sat up, groaning as they pulled her up by the arm. “Are you okay?” she whispered.

“Happy Halloween!” Emma mumbled.

“Please, run!” Regina hissed at them. “My mother’s going to kill you!”

She didn’t wait to see if they were actually moving; Regina tied her robe and left her room, stomping hard on the corridor. Her parents were already on the stairs. When they saw her, they hurried back up, and she hoped that would buy them some time.

“What’s wrong, dear?” Henry asked with a worried voice. “Did someone get inside your room?” he advanced to her bedroom and hurried to the open window, finding nothing on the backyard.

“Is there anyone hiding here?” Cora asked, adjusting her mask on the top of her head as she noticed her daughter struggling to keep her robe close tightly to hide the fact that she wasn’t wearing any clothes. “I hope you’re not this indecent-”

“I heard noises in the backyard, Cora,” Henry said with a serious voice. “Can you worry about your daughter like a normal mother? Don’t you see she’s scared?”

“I think it was just a cat,” Regina gasped. “It scared me, so I ran-”

“Of course dear,” Henry patted her head. “I’m not sure about a cat, but you’re safe now, anyway,” he shut her window and closed the curtains. “It’s probably a Halloween prank. They’re gone, now.”

He kissed her forehead and went back to his bedroom. Cora stayed a while, looking suspiciously at Regina; she was a second away from accusing Emma Swan, when Henry called her to go back to bed.

Regina let out a sigh of relief after she locked the door behind her. She went to the window and reopened it, checking her backyard. They were gone.

God…” she breathed, resting her forehead on the glass, wondering what had happened to that beautiful imbecile.

XXX

 They were as far away as possible, with Emma limping and groaning about her arm. It looked weird, crooked in a strange angle, and they were sure it was broken. No one said anything to avoid startling Emma, but they knew they had to take her to the hospital. But in order to do that, they needed a car, and they needed Ingrid.

They took Emma home, and as silently as possible, the trio dragged her to her bedroom. Ingrid showed up two seconds later, turning on the light and looking a mess in old pajamas.

“What the hell is going on here?” she asked, squinting because of the sudden brightness.

Ruby took a step forward. “I think we need to take her to the emergency room, Mrs. Swan…”

“We were having a sleep over and she fell from her bed,” Mary said. Ingrid turned to look at her with the exact eye roll Emma did.

“Give me a break, MM,” she sighed. “You’re all sweaty and covered in dirt and grass. Do not insult my intelligence.”

“Ah well, I had to give it a shot,” the girl shrugged.

“Well, thank you all for-” Ingrid looked around, spotting all the muddy footprints and hand marks on the bedsheets. “For the love of God, get out!”

The three of them waved guiltily at Emma, but she smiled encouragingly at them. She thought they had left her behind, but she was glad they came back for her. When the house was silent again, Ingrid threw Emma a look of disapproval before helping her out of bed so they could get in the car.

“What the hell happened?” she asked.

“I fell from a rooftop.”

“Please tell me this wasn’t the Mills’ rooftop. That old bat is breathing down my neck in every PTA meeting since you stopped using diapers! She’s dying for a reason to get you kicked out of school, Emma-”

As Emma remained silent, Ingrid smacked the back of her head. “Emma!

What? My arm is broken and you smack me?”

“You deserve more for messing with the Mills daughter! There are a thousand girls in this town, why is it you have to fall for the most out of bounds person in Storybrooke?”

“Because she is the prettiest,” Emma said with a shit-eating grin to mask the pain in her arm.

Ingrid chuckled. “You’re impossible. I know she’s the prettiest, but c’mon! You wanna have Cora Mills in the family for the rest of your life?”

“Mom! My arm!”

“Okay, okay… We’re nearly there, kid-”

“Mom?” Emma said quietly.

“Hm?”

“I’m sorry about this… all the trouble I cause.”

Ingrid smiled. “Don’t tell anyone I said that, but I know my life is the best in this shit hole,” she made a turn and parked on the nearest spot she found. “So… what, in the name of God, were you doing on the Mills’ rooftop?”

“I was just going to invite Regina for Halloween night out, mom,” Emma said with a sigh as Ingrid helped her out of the car.

“Couldn’t you do it at school and then she could wait for you on the sidewalk?”

“The fright is part of the fun and the only thing that counts, really. I don’t want her to think I’m lame, like, Hey, wanna come to a safe picnic by the cemetery with me?”

“You have picnics on the cemetery?”

XXX

It was very early when Killian, Mary and Ruby showed up. Emma was still under the effects of the painkillers, and she was babbling a lot of crap about Regina’s beautiful naked body. It was an actual relief that Regina showed up when it started to wear off.

“Good morning, Mrs. Swan,” Regina said timidly as she approached. She was holding a plastic pot like the time she had stopped by their house, and Ingrid wasn’t surprised when she saw Mr. Mills waving from the far end of the corridor.

“Hey, Regina. How are you, sweetie?”

“Worried,” she said with a sigh. “Aren’t… Aren’t you mad at me?”

“I’m mad that I’m not younger to live life the way my daughter does, Miss Mills,” Ingrid said it with a fake serious tone that made Regina laugh. “Go ahead, she asked for you in her sleep-”

Regina felt her cheeks burn with the blunt statement. Clearly Emma got that trait from her mother – Ingrid was smirking at her, glad that she was embarrassed.

Killian and Mary waved at her as she walked by; Ruby acknowledged her presence with a shrug. Regina entered quietly, closing the door behind her.

Her heart dropped to her stomach when she saw Emma’s right arm enveloped in a cast up to her armpit. It already contained all sorts of indecent scribbles and drawings made by marker. She smiled crookedly at the sight of the brunette.

“You came.”

Regina seemed at the verge of tears; she held them back and placed the pot by Emma’s foot.

“Is that apple turnover?”

Regina ignored the question and moved closer to the headboard. “Are you in pain?”

“Not anymore.”

“Good,” the brunette said, smacking Emma’s uninjured arm.

“Ouch!”

“That was for scaring the hell out of me –” she smacked her again “-And that was for spying on me!”

“Ouch! Hey!” Emma used her free hand to hold Regina’s. “Hey. I’m sorry I scared you, and I’m sorry that I saw you… you know… I was just going to ask you to come with us for a picnic at the cemetery to celebrate Halloween. I never meant to… you know-“

She sounded so embarrassed and looked so cute that Regina’s reaction was to tiptoe and kiss her.

Emma grinned against her lips. “That’s better.”

“I can’t believe I’ll have to go to prom with you wearing a cast-”

“I can’t believe I survived the fall to go to prom with you, Mills-”

“I would’ve killed you again if you didn’t,” Regina said, leaning forward to kiss her again. “Idiot.”

Chapter Text

After the Halloween incident, Emma’s life became a living hell, or some sort of paradise in constant probation.

The plaster cast was surprisingly not her free pass from school. Apparently, going to classes was mandatory while she could still listen and pay attention. And the irony was that it had been Regina who convinced Ingrid about that, when Emma was this close of talking her mother into letting her go on vacation, so to speak.

She couldn’t drive, so now everyone had to take the school bus and sulk with her. Regina was the only one who was enjoying it, because she never rode the bus before. And as she couldn’t write either, Regina was taking notes for both of them, leaning over her desk all the time to help Emma with something.

And whenever she leaned over, Emma’s eyes would automatically drop to her cleavage, and her brain would shoot images of Regina’s naked body and fire hormones to her lower half, and there was nothing she could do with an entire arm encapsulated in plaster.

Emma was so grumpy after a few days that she was not even sorry for feeling like a school boy with a Playboy. You can look, but you definitively can’t touch.

She was lying in bed, minding her own miserable business, when someone knocked. Regina was smiling from the doorframe, and she was holding her books with an air of mystery. She had stayed in school after lunch to monitor students who were about to fail the semester, and Emma had expected to see her only on the next morning.

“What are you doing here?” she asked, sitting up quickly and noticing her bedroom was a pigsty.

“I decided to drop by and leave some notes for you. Extra notes,” Regina added with a hint of pride in her voice as she sat down on her bed. “Mr. Medina usually asks things like that on his tests.”

“Dweeb,” Emma chuckled, pulling Regina to a kiss. “Thank you, but I think you should do the tests for me, you know. I fell from your rooftop, after all.”

“You fell because you’re an idiot,” Regina picked a marker and drew a crooked heart on the cast, adding an ‘R’ in the middle. “Do you have any idea what my mother would have done if she caught you?”

“Oh c’mon, it’s not like I was climbing your window to steal your virginity or anything-”

As naturally as it slipped off Emma’s lips, Regina’s hand automatically planted a smack on the blonde’s head.

Ouch!

“Why did you say that?” Regina blurted out.

Emma massaged the sore spot above her ear, fighting to hold back a smirk. She loved it when Regina blushed. “I would never steal it. I would ask gently – Ouch! You gotta control this hand of yours, Mills-!”

“I would apologize for hurting you,” Regina smiled. “But you are too-”

“Naughty?” Emma winked.

“Obscene,” Regina corrected her. “And that’s inappropriate.”

“Is it?” Emma breathed, leaning forward, using her left hand to pull Regina to another kiss. She felt the brunette shudder as she placed her hand behind her neck. The pressure of Regina’s fingers against her arm was a contradiction to what she was trying to lecture.

“Keep asking gently,” Regina whispered close to Emma’s ear, and that almost made the blonde lose her shit. “But I’m not giving you anything before p-”

“Oh dear God, my eyes,” Ruby growled, taking a few steps back as if an invisible force smacked her in the face. Seeing Regina Mills crawling on top of Emma did feel like a punch, anyway. “I should start knocking.”

“Yes, you should,” Emma said.

Emma,” Regina muttered, straightening up and getting off the bed. “I should go,” she pecked her cheek and collected her books. “Read my notes and do some work with that. Bye, Ruby.”

“Be careful,” Emma called out.

“I’m always,” Regina grinned from the doorway and disappeared.

“You’re so whipped,” Ruby muttered, shaking her head in disapproval as she slumped down the bed. “You should be careful, you know. Robin is spreading to the entire school that he’s winning her back and that he’s gonna kick your ass.”

“Are you serious? He’s got nerves, after I almost broke his face the other day.”

“I know you can handle that dillhole. I mean…” Ruby lowered her blue eyes to her lap and then looked at the blonde. “Can you handle Regina actually going back to him?”

Emma sighed. She hated that Ruby knew her so well.

She was worried. She didn’t want to be Regina’s summer experiment. She didn’t want to be a fun story in college. She didn’t want Regina and Robin laughing at old age, looking at pictures of their kids, remembering that one time Regina almost let Robin slip away when she thought she was attracted to Emma Swan, that school weird lesbo.  Because it didn’t matter that Robin was an ass; Regina had been stuck with him for three years, and it felt like she could easily slip back into that if things got too intense with her mother.

“I don’t know what’s gonna happen,” she shrugged. “I’ll just enjoy it while I can, Rubes. It’s not like… I’m gonna marry her or anything, you know. What?” she rolled her eyes at the condescending look was receiving.

“I’m your best friend. I know how you really feel about her, Em,” she sighed. “I just don’t want you to get hurt.”

Emma stared at Ruby for a while. She was so beautiful, but she always looked so… wounded.

“Thank you,” she muttered, completely at a loss of what to say.

“Sure,” Ruby smacked her lips. “Deal’s still on, though.”

When they were fifteen, they vowed inside Killian’s tree house, with spit and a handshake, that they would marry each other in case they were still alone when they turned forty.

Emma let out a deep chuckle. She loved Ruby, and she hated herself for the sad look on Ruby’s face.

“I think you can do better than me, but if you are still single when you’re forty, Rubes… I’ll have to punch you. And then I’ll marry you.”

“So romantic,” she scoffed with an eye roll. “Are you this sweet with-”

Emma cleared her throat, and Ruby went silent. Friends as they were, it was still impossible to bring up some topics.

“I’m going to prom with Killian.”

“You are?” Emma laughed. “Holy fuck.”

“I know,” she rolled her eyes. “But he’s the only guy I know that would take up the challenge.”

“There’s a challenge?”

“Oh, there is always a challenge...”

“I have a feeling you’ll be the reason he’ll lose the rest of his hand before we turn forty…”

XXX

Emma was sitting on the kitchen table with her right arm stretched on top of it, craning her neck expectantly as her mother worked on removing her cast with a scissor.

“You got it?”

“Not yet,” Ingrid muttered, concentrating on cutting the plaster without hurting Emma. “We should have gone to the hospital-”

“Whale would not let me take it off yet.”

“Maybe you shouldn’t,” her mother said sternly, making a dangerous maneuver around her daughter’s elbow.

“It’s fixed already. And I can’t go to prom wearing this.”

“I’m sure Regina wouldn’t mind.”

“I would. Actually, I might need both of my arms to-”

“I’ll send you to Christian Camp if you pick up a fight at prom-”

“I need my arms to dance,” Emma finished her sentence awkwardly.

“Oh,” Ingrid raised both eyebrows in genuine surprise. “Well, okay. That’s fair.”

Emma knew that look on her mother’s face. It wasn’t blatant like Ruby’s, but it denoted concern as well. Emma had never had a girlfriend, and she had never been in love. Regina Mills had potential to be the rise and fall of everything good that happened in Emma’s life.

“It’s just prom, mom,” Emma said before her mother could voice it. “I have no idea where we’ll be next year. She’ll probably leave for college and I’ll be… somewhere else. I’m not getting my hopes up. I know what I’m doing.”

“Okay, fine. If you say so,” Ingrid pretended to let it go, offering a smile to her daughter. She finished cutting off the plaster and removed it almost intact. “Oh wow, this must go to the trash as of now-”

“Don’t throw it away, I wanna keep it-” Emma whined, flexing her right arm in several ways.

“It stinks!”

“I just want a piece of something scribbled there, I’ll throw away the rest.”

Ingrid sighed and caved. Then she smiled.

“So… Prom, huh?”

“Don’t give me that look, mom…”

“It’s my proud look! I was pregnant at your age, I didn’t get to go to prom!” Ingrid chuckled. “Thank you for that, by the way. Your dad took me on a road trip on his Wagon before we could figure out what to do with our lives. Prom was too…”

“Lame.”

Ingrid sighed. “It will be fun, going with a nice girl, though, huh?”

“I guess,” Emma shrugged. She was trying as hard as she could to build up walls and protect herself, but the nagging feeling of loss was there, all the time since that first kiss.

Having a crush on Regina Mills was easy to handle. She had never even talked much to Emma, and Emma could keep on being a school terrorist.

After the kiss, Regina became a tangible idea, within the reach of her hands, too real. The possibility of not having her just…

Prom was the end of a cycle. Prom was the rite of passage to college.

Prom was the last event that the brilliant kids went through before they left Storybrooke for good. Regina was one of the anal geniuses in school.

Enjoy it while you still can, said the little voice inside her head. When her mother left the kitchen, she used the knife to extract the heart with an R from the cast. She put the square piece inside her pocket and took the rest of the split plaster out of the house.

Emma locked the thoughts somewhere deep inside her brain as she took a warm shower. When she was done, Ingrid’s blue eyes were sparkling. She looked expectantly at her daughter.

“Okay, Ingrid Swan,” she said with a dramatic eye roll. “Dress me up.”

Never in her life had Emma accepted to put on a dress, but today she had let her mother lent her some pants that flared like one. It was made of a thin fabric in salmon shade, and it looked incredible with the black jacket she put on.

She looked like a fancy delinquent.

Ingrid used a picture of Cindy Lauper from a magazine to do her hair, and the result was better than Emma had anticipated. Her mother was so happy that Emma even indulged in for a picture before she left.

“Have fun, kid!” Ingrid waved from the doorstep.

XXX

Henry smiled when Regina came out of her room. She looked stunning.

He had watched his daughter hurry up and down the house all day long, and he had been following her with his camera for about half an hour now. That smile had to be recorded. He had never seen her smiling like that, and he decided that he didn’t care if the reason was a troublemaker who happened to be a girl.

He liked Emma. He barely knew her, but he liked her, because Regina did.

“Dad!” she complained with a giddy smile, trying to reach out for the camera and cover the lens.

“You look beautiful, my darling.”

Regina was wearing a long skirt with patterns and a dark blouse with shoulder pads. She had spent most of her day fixing her hair and selecting the shades of her makeup. Cora was surprisingly supportive, staying out of Regina’s way and not daring to say a word about Emma Swan.

Henry should have suspected something was wrong.

There was a car honk outside, and Regina went downstairs like a thunderbolt. He kept following her with the camera, capturing an awkward-looking Emma Swan stepping out of the GTI in front of their house.

Henry waved at the blonde, kissed his daughter and got inside. The look on Cora’s face was the warning sign. She was sitting on her usual flourished armchair by the window, going through the pages of a magazine as she hummed satisfied.

He had expected her to go out and insult Emma, or worse, ask that stupid boy Locksley to come pick Regina instead. It was her silence that was worrisome. He shrugged and lowered the camera.

“I’m surprised she didn’t show up in a smoking and a bow tie.”

“You look smug,” he muttered.

“Emma Swan will break your daughter’s heart, and then she’ll finally come to me. Just you sit and wait, Henry.”

XXX

Emma closed the door after Regina and came around the front of the car to take her seat. By the time she did, she seemed slightly out of breath.

Emma was surprised that Regina managed to look hot without showing any inch of skin that she hadn’t seen yet. Her mouth did not obey to her brain and she was unable to greet her.

As they drove in silence, Regina cleared her throat.

“So. You removed the cast,” the brunette said.

“You look damn beautiful,” Emma mumbled.

Regina chuckled, smiling softly as her body warmed up to the mere presence of Emma Swan, who looked ridiculously pretty in that outfit.

She reached out for Emma’s hand; the blonde let out a sigh of relief and squeezed her hand gently.

“I’m a bit nervous,” she grinned. “I thought you’d change your mind and go with Robin.”

“I thought you would change your mind and leave me hanging.”

“Well, aren’t we the most unreliable pair?”

“I don’t know about unreliable,” Regina chuckled. “But we’re definitively a good pair. You look beautiful yourself.”

Emma looked at her, with that smile that Regina had seen in some rare occasions. Emma was a guarded person, but sometimes she let her walls down a little, and she would smile like that, and Regina’s stupid heart would flutter.

“That’s true, Mills. We are a good pair…”

The school looked packed when Emma parked in their usual spot. Muffled music and laughter were coming from the gym, and many were the students walking around the school grounds, making out and smoking pot.

“This is for real, then,” Emma muttered, spotting the entrance decorated with balloons.

The previous school dances she had been to – including the one with the punch incident and the trouble she got Regina in – Emma usually crashed without a date, with the intention of ruining other people’s fun.

Today, she felt responsible to offer Regina a great time, not only to make up for how horrible she had been with her all those years ago, but because she loved to see Regina happy.

“We can still bail and… go graffiti some walls and drink… rum,” Regina said hesitatingly.

“That’s your idea of fun?” Emma chuckled. “What are you, an urban pirate?”

“I’m sorry I’m not cool like you and the rest of your friends, Emma-”

“Hey,” Emma said softly, holding her hand and squeezing it. “I didn’t mean it like that. I meant… Prom could be fun. With you.”

Regina stared at her with a doubtful expression. “Really?”

Emma had forced Mary Margaret to teach her how to slow dance. So, yes, really.

“I want you to have fun,” the blonde said, her green eyes drenched with honesty. “I made your life miserable for so long… It’s time, Regina.”

Emma had never called her Regina. It was always Mills or Dweeb, and it sounded strangely wonderful coming like that from her lips, without sarcasm or spite.

“You… You just…” Regina stammered.

Emma frowned, surprised with how natural that had come out.

“Let’s get inside, c’mon,” she muttered, placing her hand gently on Regina’s lower back, guiding her to the gym.

They ran into MM and David Nolan, who were chatting animatedly by the table of snacks. Everything looked oddly flourished with blue crepe paper and purple balloons.

“Wow,” Emma chuckled. It looked horribly tacky, but she was afraid to voice it and somehow offend Regina. “Hey,” she said instead, waving at the happy pair.

“You came!” Mary Margaret squeaked, not sure what was exciting her more: David Nolan asking her to prom, two girls coming together or Emma’s arm around Regina’s waist in public. “You two look so beautiful-!”

“Oh, thanks,” Regina said with a smile. “I loved your… hair,” she said hesitatingly at Mary’s weird perm. It was more extravagant, like she did an extra effort on it today.

David wasn’t far behind on weirdness with his mullets and the bangs he added to his visual. He was grinning like an idiot, and Regina could tell he was genuinely happy with Mary and her funny-smelling curls.

On regular days, Emma would have joined Killian and Ruby to mock her, but hell, there was nothing regular about this day.

“We should vote for Lame Hair Couple,” Emma muttered in Regina’s ear. “They would beat everyone in the world.”

Regina laughed wholeheartedly. That girl was impossible and incredibly pretty when she wasn’t trying to irritate her. In fact, she caused unexpected reactions in Regina, now. Warm reactions, mostly inappropriate ones.

“Where are Killian and Ruby?” the blonde asked.

“Oh,” David grinned broadly as he spotted something above their shoulders. “Man-

The couple marched in looking serious, but for those who knew them, it was pretty obvious they were drunk. Ruby was wearing a brown suit with suspenders, combat boots and a derby. She still managed to look attractive, even though she chewed her gum very inelegantly.

Killian, on the other hand, looked absolutely atrocious wearing a pink fluffy dress with pink lace. There was a chuck of chest hair coming out of the neckline, and his hairy legs looked just too funny in a dress and black boots. He had applied eyeliner and he was smiling goofily at Ruby.

It was all really fun until the director, Mr. Gold, and the students’ inspector, Miss Blue, came face to face with them.

“What is this?” Gold asked pointing at the cross-dressed pair. He didn’t look slightly pleased with their attires. “Mr. Jones? Miss Lucas?”

“Oh, you mean our clothes?” Ruby chuckled. “It said formal clothes in the invitation, but it did not specify that I had to be the one wearing the dress.”

“C’mon, Gold,” Miss Blue shook her head as she whispered. “It’s the last you’ll have to see of them in this school. We’re two weeks away from graduation. They’ll be gone. For good.”

Gold smirked. “That’s actually a good point, Astrid-” he waggled his head at the group and left with Miss Blue, limping slightly without his cane.

Astrid?” Ruby grimaced. “What is that? Are they sleeping together?”

“Yikes,” MM shook her head, as if the bad thought would go away with the movement.

“Well, aren’t you two looking fancy,” Killian winked at Regina and Emma.

“So do you,” the brunette patted his arm. “I love the laces.”

“Pretty, aren’t they?” he looked down at his chest.

“Okay,” Emma said awkwardly, turning to Regina. She was trying to act normal for once, but it was difficult with her friends going crazy around them. “Do you want me to get you a drink?”

“Would you?” Regina smiled. “I’d love some.”

“Great,” Emma smiled in return. “I’ll be right back-”

Regina followed her with her eyes for a while. Her cheeks were actually painful, because she couldn’t stop smiling. Emma’s friends were incredibly stupid and fun at the same time, and they made her feel so comfortable that she gasped slightly when she heard someone calling her name.

“Regina?”

She turned around and found herself face to face with Katherine. Katherine had been the closest to a friend she ever had before Emma and the others, but the blonde girl was nothing like them.

She was extremely uptight and possessed zero sense of humor – traits that Regina displayed most of her life because Cora scolded her when she acted differently. In fact, her mother and Katherine’s mother were friends and went to the club together, to plan their daughters’ future together and scorn other people together.

Regina hated her, and she had no idea if it was her mother’s influence that made her evil or if that was the other way around.

The fact was that Katherine never spoke to Regina again after she broke up with Robin, and now she seemed surprised to see her.

“Katherine.”

“I didn’t expect to see you here. Hi.”

Regina frowned slightly. “Why not?”

“Well, after you and Robin split up-”

“I’m with Emma,” Regina interrupted her. “Everyone in school knows that.”

“Well, yes, but… I thought that was mostly a way to piss of your mother. Now, to come to prom with a girl it’s just-”

“Just what?” she placed both hands on her hips.

David, MM, Killian and Ruby were actually watching them like some sort of tense tennis match.

“Well…” Katherine looked sideways, trying to find the appropriate words. “She’s a girl and… she’s a Swan. Don’t they live on… a trailer or something? I mean, what’s that when you had a Locksley all to yourself, Regina? What’s wrong with you?”

Several things happened at the same time after she said that.

Killian and David had to hold Ruby, or she would probably break all of Katherine’s pearl white teeth. Emma arrived with their drinks and caught every word about her, and for a moment she stood rooted on her spot, behind Regina, holding two plastic cups. And then, not noticing that Emma was there, Regina spoke.

“If you think he’s so great, go get him. I hope you don’t mind sharing that pig with other girls,” she said with a shaky voice. “Now, about Emma… If you ever say a word about her, I’m gonna… destroy you.”

Katherine scoffed. “Why are you so affected? Are you in love with her or something?”

It was Regina’s silence that changed the air around them. It felt louder than a scream, and it felt like a blunt confession.

XXX

Emma felt her heart accelerate when she didn’t hear Regina say ‘no’.

She ignored her friends’ expectant eyes and spun on her heels and marched outside, a mix of anger and fear boiling inside her stomach as she carelessly held the drinks, spilling most of it.

Emma downed the remaining of the contents from each cup and threw them on the grass as she plopped down the school front steps to smoke.

Her mind was spinning, and she had no idea if it had anything to do with the alcohol or if it was the possibility of Regina loving her back.

Because, yes, she did love that girl.

And, yes, that was scary.

She had time for a second cigarette until Regina found her.

“I don’t know how much you heard,” she blurted out, standing in front of the blonde. “But I’m so sorry about… that.”

Emma avoided her eyes as she considered what to say. She didn’t want to show how upset she was because Katherine didn’t think she was good enough for Regina, and she didn’t want to show how desperate she was to know if Regina was in love with her for real.

When she looked at the brunette, Regina’s brown eyes lit up in the dark, and Emma couldn’t help smiling.

“Have a seat, Mills-” she beckoned her closer.

“You were right. Prom sucks,” Regina grunted, slumping down next to the blonde, automatically seeking refuge in the curve of Emma’s neck.

The blonde reached out for her hands. “I really wanted us to have a good time. It’s… prom. Last celebration before we get out of school.”

The last before you go away. The first and last I’ll ever get to be with you…

Regina didn’t say anything about that. She caressed Emma’s hand with her thumb and sighed. “Is your mother at work?”

Emma nodded. “Yeah, she-”

“Let’s go to your house.”

Chapter Text

As Emma drove, Regina remained solemnly quiet.

Her mother had plans for her after graduation – plans she was happy with until she got to know Emma Swan. Now she hated the idea of leaving the country – she hated the idea of leaving town. Moving to a different continent felt like a nightmare.

Her mother had been awfully quiet about her going to prom – wearing the expensive clothes tailored for her – with Emma Swan. Katherine’s words gave Regina a bad feeling of calm before the storm.

So, if her mother was going to make her think it was alright and then later she would make sure her life became a living hell… Then Regina was going to make sure Emma Swan was her first.

In case she was forced to marry Robin, in case she was forced to marry anyone… No one would ever be able to take that one sweet memory from her.

Emma looked nervous on the driver’s seat.

Not because she didn’t have experience or anything – because, hell, she did – but because it had never been especial like this.

She was absolutely head over heels for Regina Mills, and now it was easy to admit. And she was terrified of letting Regina down, or being unfit for her.

As if reading her thoughts, Regina placed her hand on Emma’s thigh.

“I was supposed to be nervous, not you,” she said with a smirk. It made Emma laugh.

“I wouldn’t be, but… It’s… you.”

Regina smiled in silence, and by the way her heart warmed up inside her chest, she was sure she made the right decision.

“I wish we could run away.”

“I would never run away in these clothes,” Emma scoffed, but her heart skipped a beat with that statement. “You could at least let me grab jeans and boots,” she added, looking at Regina like she meant it.

“Or we could graduate first, and then disappear. I didn’t study this hard for us to skip town without a certificate.”

Emma grinned, squeezing her hand gently. “Dweeb.”

She parked in front of her house and sighed deeply. Then she turned to Regina.

“Don’t ask me if I’m sure,” Regina said before Emma could formulate a coherent thought. “The reason why I’m not inviting you to my room is because I’m afraid my mother will hear us and ruin it, and I don’t want to be disturbed tonight.”

Emma nodded with her mouth agape. “Yes… ma’am.”

They entered her house in silence, kicking their shoes, and kept all the lights out, even though Ingrid was not there. Emma turned on the lamp on her fish tank, kicking a few scattered items under the bed, glad that it was dark enough to conceal her habitual mess.

Not that she thought Regina minded it all that much – she could spend hours in Emma’s room after school, reading on her bed, listening to good music and eventually ditching Emma for Ingrid’s more mature company in the kitchen.

Emma had loved to watch them, talking about her. It felt intimate. It felt like Regina was a part of the family…

She shook her head when she noticed Regina staring. Now it looked like she was waiting for instructions, and Emma could swear she was trying to hide the obvious nervousness. Regina Mills was always ahead of other students, she always knew the subject before handed, but this…

This was absolutely new.

Emma gave her a reassuring smile as she turned the stereo on and “Faithfully” started to play. Regina chuckled.

“I had no idea you liked Journey.”

“MM does.”

The brunette frowned, expecting the rest of Emma’s logic.

She sighed. “I forced her to teach me how to dance,” Emma confessed, taking a step forwards and taking Regina’s hands. “So she forced me to practice with this.

“It’s a great song,” Regina breathed against the curve of Emma’s neck, smiling softly even though her heart was hammering with the proximity.

They spun around clumsily at first, but then somehow they just let go, like they belonged together, like they had done that all their lives. When the song was over, Emma interrupted the soft pacing.

Regina looked up. “Show me what else you know,” she muttered, her voice a hoarse, barely audible whisper.

Emma swallowed when the brunette’s hand flew to the neckline of her blouse and her fingers started to work the buttons. By the time the blouse parted open and slid down Regina’s shoulders, Emma’s heart was thumping inside her ears and she could barely listen to anything other than her erratic breathing.

Upon noticing how shaky Regina was, Emma decided to take the lead for her. Without breaking eye contact for a second, the blonde reached out for the zipper of Regina’s skirt; the cluster of fabric fell down slowly, pooling around Regina’s feet.

Then she tried to control her poor heart, because in case she made any brusque move, she would freak Regina out. The sight of the brunette in her underwear felt like a delicious blow to the stomach – if that was even possible – and Emma used the tips of her fingers to get her rid of the rest.

Bra first, and then her panties.

She swallowed again.

“I would fall from a thousand rooftops for this,” Emma mumbled, looking down at Regina and then back into her dark eyes.

XXX

The feeling of skin burning never felt more real than this.

Every inch touched by the tip of Emma’s fingers burned like fire, at the same time that her warm breathing made her pores stand on end with goosebumps.

Regina felt lightheaded, a little dizzy, and she only came back from this short reverie when Emma removed her hands from her body to take off her own clothes. She did it clumsily, and even though Regina felt the urge to reach out and help, she wanted to enjoy it and just watch.

Regina stared up and down the blonde several times; she looked exactly like Regina had imagined many times when she was alone in her bedroom. She had always created stupid scenarios of Emma climbing her window, and then her brain created hot scenarios of what would come next.

Now she was living, breathing it. Emma was thin and strong at the same time, muscular even. There was something boyish about her long arms and small hips, but Regina fell in love with that body, and she fell in love even more because Emma was making sure to be as exposed as she was.

“Why don’t you-?” Emma whispered, pointing her small bed.

The bedsheets felt cold against Regina’s back when she lay down, and her heart started to race again. Her palms felt sweaty and she was panting a little. She let out a shaky breath when Emma sat down on the mattress placing one gentle, warm hand on her trembling thigh.

“Are you okay?” she whispered, and Regina nodded, swallowing hard.

She had read about it. She had listened to Katherine babbling about it for two hours last year. Pain was expected, normal. She squeezed her eyes shut when she felt Emma’s hands on her knees, spreading them apart…

The she felt a warm body nestling on top of hers, between her weak legs, and she opened her eyes, only to find a grinning Emma Swan hovering over her face.

“Seriously, Mills,” she chuckled. “Relax.”

Regina smiled awkwardly. “Sorry.”

Next thing she knew, she was engulfed into a hot kiss that made her lose track of time. She felt her body tense up and then relax when Emma started to massage her breasts. It felt so good…

Her body stiffened again when Emma lowered her own body and stopped with her torso between Regina’s knees.

Regina looked down at her. Emma was serious, asking permission. As scared as she was, the throbbing was also bothering her, so she nodded.

“I’m not gonna hurt you,” Emma whispered.

Regina closed her eyes again, and when she thought she was about to feel pain, she cringed. However, she only felt something warm and soft and wet that sent instant waves of pleasure from her toes to her head.

And when she opened her eyes and only saw the top of Emma’s blonde head she understood – that was her mouth. On her. There.

And Oh Dear God, that was too…

“Oh, Emma-!”

Emma grinned against moist flesh. That strangled, shaky moan was the best sound in the world, and she loved it when Regina started to gasp and desperately grasp handfuls of her bedsheet.

She came fast, trying to stifle her ragged breaths with her hands as her hips trembled and rocked violently against Emma’s lips.

Emma took advantage of the moment’s distraction and slid her fingers inside Regina, who gasped in surprised and cringed a little.

“Does it hurt?” she asked softly, sliding in and out torturously slow.

Regina hissed and then moaned. “Don’t stop-”

XXX

Regina woke up around two a.m. in Emma’s bedroom. She inhaled the scent of Emma’s hair as her brain acknowledged she was wrapped around the blonde. The fish tank light was still on, and the stereo was producing a soft pulsing tone, indicating the needle had reached the end of the disc.

Regina tried to lift her upper body, but her legs were weak and she was slightly sore. Emma stirred next to her, pulling her closer again.

“I need to go home or my mother will kill me.”

“Let’s just run away without a high school certificate,” Emma grunted, refusing to open her eyes.

“Emma.”

The blonde opened her eyes, offering a sleepy smile that melted Regina’s heart. For a second, she almost decided to flee with Emma before the sun rose.

“Fine,” she muttered, sitting up and searching for regular clothes under her bed. She was dressed in less than a minute, with sweatpants and a large t-shirt. “Can I offer you something to eat-?”

Regina was staring at her with that face again, like Emma was the most perfect person in the world.

“No, thank you.”

“Alright,” Emma nodded. “I’ll just wash my face-”

When she left, Regina started to pick her clothes on the floor. She shoved her underwear inside her purse and sat on Emma’s bed again, cringing slightly with the soreness. She looked at her surroundings.

The fish tank light and low rumble of water bubbles, the stereo soft pulse, the scent of woods, cigarettes and something else that was essentially Emma – she loved that room, and she was hating the idea of leaving it to stay in her big, impersonal and cold bedroom.

It was chilly outside, so Emma placed a denim jacket on Regina’s shoulders. It smelled like Emma’s room, and Regina held onto it as Emma drove her home.

When they turned the corner to Mifflin Street, Emma turned off the car’s engine, taking advantage of the slight inclination on the pavement; the car moved softly towards 108 in silence. Emma pulled the handbrake and turned to Regina.

“Thank you,” the brunette whispered, leaning for a kiss, sighing deeply when Emma took her lips.

“Sleep well, Mills,” Emma muttered.

“See you later in school-”

“Are you going to class-?”

Regina grinned. “Bye, Emma.” And then she spun on her heels, hurrying to get inside before her mother saw them on the front drive.

XXX

“I suspect our parents hate us,” Killian said with a thick voice, stifling a yawn.

They had been indulged one more hour of sleep, meaning they could skip the first class, as long as they went to school for the rest of the period.

“At least we’re not on that smelly bus,” MM shrugged, wearing sunglasses to mask her first hangover. It looked like she had an interesting night with her Prince Charming.

“If I wasn’t about to barf with the car’s rattling and the alcohol in my stomach,” Ruby hiccupped, nestling her body between the front seats “I’d write a sticker note to your foreheads. Your faces scream MORNING AFTER, and I think a sticker might make it less obvious-”

“Shut up, Ruby,” Emma grunted, yawning as she made a turn and stopped on a red light.

Regina looked cranky as well. Maybe going to school was a terrible idea, after all. What was she thinking? They were practically out of Storybrooke High…

When Emma parked on the usual spot, everyone cringed. The regular noise of students seemed incredibly louder.

“Hey, Regina!”

The five of them turned. Robin was leaning against his Corvette surrounded by Zelena and his gang of idiots.

“We heard the news,” he went on with a sarcastic smirk. “Congratulations.”

The others just laughed, and Emma went to the other side of the car and pulled her by the hand, flipping them as they moved. “Ignore them-”

“Was that the finger you used, Swan?” one of Robin’s henchmen, Will Scarlet, barked.

“Well, it’s bigger than Robin’s dick anyway-” Another one said, and more laughter and rustle echoed as they walked away.

Emma and Regina exchanged looks. Something wasn’t right. How could they possibly-?

If Emma suspected shit was going to hit the fan, spot David Nolan hurrying to meet them with a funeral face confirmed her worst fears.

“We don’t know who did this…” he panted, reaching out for Mary as he addressed the group. “The whole school is talking about it, and Gold is furious…”

As they entered the building, all heads turned to them. Some people looked surprised, but greatest part of the students was laughing at them. Regina felt Emma squeeze her hand in reassurance, but the brunette dropped it immediately when she saw the wall at the end of the corridor.

Someone had used purple and red graffiti on the white wall, and the words reflected horribly on the linoleum.

HAIL SWAN FINGER

GTI QUEEN’S RAVISHER

GO SWAN!

Regina looked at the scribbling with a mix of anger and humiliation. She looked at Emma.

“What… Who… Why did you-?”

“Wait, what?” Emma whispered, just as shocked. “Are you suggesting-?”

“Nobody knew about that besides you and me,” Regina spat. “I didn’t do it. So-”

Emma scoffed. Her throat was burning with indignation, and her heart was hammering her chest.

“You think I did it? We left before prom even started! Anyone could have guessed what we did-”

“Please, yell louder,” Regina blurted out, her eyes growing red and puffy with unshed tears. “The people on the parking lot can’t hear you properly, Swan-!”

Emma tried to hold her back, but Regina pulled her arm violently out of her reach and disappeared among a crowd that cheered and called her names that made Emma want to cry. The blonde tried to go after her, but someone touched her shoulder.

She wiped the tears from her eyes furiously with the back of her hand and turned around.

Mr. Gold was looking at her with disapproval, but it was Cora Mills’ face that made her heart sink. She let herself be dragged to the Principal’s Office, like in a very bad dream. Miss Blue was there already, waiting for them.

Everyone took a seat, except for Emma, who only snapped back to reality when Ingrid hurried inside the office, flustered looking, still on her uniform as this was the end of her shift.

“What the hell happened?”

“Your manners, clearly,” Cora said arrogantly. “Or lack thereof. I don’t blame your daughter for being such a delinquent.”

“Please, Mrs. Mills,” Miss Blue looked sternly at her and turned to Ingrid. “There was an incident.”

“Not an incident, a scandal!” Cora meddled again, pointing her finger at Ingrid. “As if it wasn’t bad enough that your daughter took my daughter to prom like a man… She also had to brag about her prowess. She’s disgracing my daughter’s reputation on her last week before graduation!”

Ingrid looked at Mr. Gold. She hated him, and the look on his face gave her the chills. He owned her house and was constantly reminding her that she was doing a poor job with Emma, but now he looked simply ready to believe whatever bullshit Cora said.

She turned to Emma, who looked pale and helpless. “Did you do it, sweetie?” she asked quietly.

Emma shook her head. No.

That was enough for Ingrid. She turned desperately to the others. “She didn’t do anything!”

“Stop protecting her, Mrs. Swan. You know her track record is not the best, and you know it will be impossible to convince the Board that she’s innocent on this one,” Cora hissed.

“Emma?” Miss Blue called out. “Do you have any way to prove that you have only been to prom yesterday and that you just arrived in school?”

“Yes, sweetie,” Cora said unpleasantly, smirking at Emma. “Can Mommy certify us that you were home, or was she too busy working at night while she should be watching you?”

Emma advanced on Cora like an angry animal, and if it wasn’t for Ingrid and Miss Blue, she would have probably punched Regina’s mother.

“Do not talk about my mom,” Emma hissed, growing red on the face. “Evil Bitch-”

“I’m afraid this is not helping, and as a member of the students’ council, I can say this is going to be frowned upon,” Mr. Gold finally spoke. He looked too calm, as if he had already planned what to say. “Emma does not possess the best record in this school, and she was, indeed, one transgression away from facing expulsion-”

What?” Ingrid barked.

“I’ll be frank with you, dear,” he looked at the blonde, indignant woman. “Your daughter is the worst student that has passed by our hands, and now we can’t tolerate her actions anymore. This will go to council for voting, but let me tell you in advance what is going to happen. Your daughter will be expelled, and we will not grant her graduation certificate. Let’s leave things like this and Cora will kindly keep her word and leave the police out of this.”

Kindly?” Ingrid spat. “My daughter didn’t do anything wrong, how dare you-?”

“I suggest you leave before I call Social Service, too,” Cora muttered. “They will not appreciate the way you raise her, and the lack of attention and care might be associated with her awful behavior and grades-”

Ingrid was about to retort, when a shaky hand fell on her shoulder. “Let’s go home, mom,” Emma mumbled. “I’m sick of this school and these people…”

“No, I will not let them do this to us, Emma!”

“Mom, please.”

Her voice was low. Beaten.

Ingrid hated herself for what was happening to her baby, but she was not going to expose her anymore to those horrible people. She passed one arm around Emma’s shoulders and took her out of the room.

Emma heard MM, Killian and Ruby calling out for her, but she just ignored them and kept moving, feeling oddly protected under her mother’s arm…

XXX

“I still can’t believe they did this to you!” Mary said, and she sounded at the verge of tears again. Ingrid passed by the door, wearing casual jeans and a white t-shirt, carrying a basket of dirty clothes. She waved hello to the small cluster of people in her daughter’s bedroom.

David, Killian and Ruby waved back, all of them dressed in their black gowns. It was Graduation day, and they were hesitant about attending it without Emma.

“For the last time, will you relax?” Emma rolled her eyes, dragging her cigarette as she put food in the fish tank. “I’m not cut out for stupid formalities anyway. This school is lame and I’m better off without it-”

They watched her quietly. Emma was far more aggressive and grumpier lately, and they knew it was barely related to the expulsion.

Except for Ruby, they all had secretly tried to talk to Regina, but she was usually escorted by her mother on her way in and out of school, and between classes Katherine would be all over her, sending away anyone who tried to insult or merely talk to her.

David was the only one who made a bit of progress – and that was because Katherine had a tiny crush on him - but when he mentioned Emma’s name, Regina stood up and left.

“We could just hang here,” David said, checking Emma’s records. “Wow, you’re a Door’s groupie, Swan-”

She flipped him. “I don’t want you to hang here. Get out. It’s Graduation Day, and these gowns are making me sick. Go. Piss off. Come back later in regular clothes and you can pay me a burger, Nolan.”

XXX

They couldn’t simply leave Storybrooke High without giving Mr. Gold a final stroke – almost literally. After the speeches, the certificate handling and the class picture, everyone scattered for pictures with friends and family.

“Ah, what a nice group,” Sidney Glass, the biggest Mills-Ass-Licker and freelance reporter in Storybrooke, addressed them. “Would you pose for a picture?”

David, Mary, Killian and Ruby exchanged devilish looks and then nodded.

They made a serious pose at first, but when Sidney hid his face behind the camera and clicked the button, they all turned around and bent over, displaying four naked asses, each one with a letter, forming the name EMMA.

Ruby was the only one who ran fast enough to avoid the Principal and other scandalized parents. She was hiding behind a few bushes when she spotted Regina Mills on a not so distant bench by the water fountains.

Regina had lost weight over the last two weeks, and she looked sad as hell. She was still wearing her gown, holding her cap on her lap, and as Ruby approached her, she looked up defiantly, but stood her ground.

“If you came here to call me a slut-”

“I came here to call you an idiot.”

Regina blinked. She knew Ruby hated her, but she never thought she’d be so blunt about it.

“You know Emma didn’t do that.”

“I kind of do, now.”

“It’s not too late to apologize.”

“I’m pretty sure she already hates me, Ruby,” Regina confessed with a sad smile.

“You are very stupid for someone with top grades,” the taller girl shook her head. “She loves you, dweeb. She’s miserable and heartbroken and… You’re so lucky-”

Ruby’s voice sounded thick with tears, but she never let a single one run down her face, at least not in front of Regina.

“Talk to her, okay?” she sighed, standing up as she patted Regina’s shoulder. “See you around, GTI Queen.”

It was weird how it did not sound offensive coming from Ruby Lucas...

XXX

“If you don’t put on your clothes and stop sulking this second, I’ll punch you!”

Emma folded her arms defiantly at Ruby, but then she decided to listen to her friend. She had been oddly miserable, and she missed Regina, no matter how angry she was for being accused by her like that for something she didn’t do.

Henry Mills had just being elected Mayor, and there would be a small rally in front of the Clock Tower, an event that would be obviously attended by his wife and daughter.

It was Emma’s chance to talk to her without Cora making a scene – she wouldn’t be crazy to insult Emma in front of her husband’s electors.

Most of Storybrooke inhabitants was there. Henry Mills was a kind man, and everyone was gathering in front of his podium, where he had already started his acknowledgement speech.

Ruby and Emma were on tiptoes; they saw the Evil Bitch, but there was no sign of Regina.

“She’s in Europe, dykes.”

They turned around and saw Katherine smirking at them.

“What?” Emma hissed.

“She went to Oxford this morning. Everyone in town is talking about her having an affair with the filthiest lesbo, and Cora wanted the dust to settle a bit. Did you come here to say goodbye, Swan? Were you in love with her too?” Katherine laughed. “Loser.”

Emma was too stunned to react, but Ruby smacked the blonde girl on the face, making several people from the audience turn around.

“That felt great,” Ruby panted, holding Emma’s wrist and pulling her to a run. “Let’s get out of here.”

Chapter Text

PART TWO 

 

1996

 

A yellow Volkswagen made its way through Main Street. It stopped on the red light from the junction between Main and Oak, the latter where the driver was headed.

It was early morning on a Saturday, and even though half of Storybrooke was yet to wake up, a loud voice was booming from the Volkswagen, singing along the song on the radio.

“-TELL ME WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH MY MIND… UH UH UH SAVE ME NOW…. FROM THE DEPTH OF MY…. INFATUATION… I COULD DROWN… IN THIS SEA OF LOVE… AND ISOLATION-”

“If I save you now, can you promise you’ll stop singing?”

Emma Swan jumped from her skin, and the jerk almost made the car’s engine die. Ruby Lucas was smirking like a devil on the sidewalk.

“Jesus Christ, Ruby!” the blonde gasped, and the brunette laughed.

“Did you get laid? You sound happy.”

“I don’t need to get laid to be happy.”

“Duly noted. I will no longer feel offended when you spend the night and still sulk the next morning.”

Emma rubbed her eyes. “Ruby, don’t start-”

They had been on and off with that conversation, jumping on each other’s bed for thirteen years, and yet, the talk was always lingering.

“I know we are still ten years from the dreadful deal, but a deal is a deal.”

“Ruby-”

“There. Cranky again. You know how to flatter a girl.”

“I’m late for work.”

Ruby scoffed. “Another emergency with a nest of birds being seriously threatened by a cat this morning, Sheriff?”

Emma rolled her eyes. “The Mayor was admitted in the ICU on Thursday, and people are sort of rioting for news in front of his house. As you know, this is David’s area, so I have to get up early and take care of the phone and paperwork.”

Emma would never set foot on Mifflin Street if the incident was too close to the mansion of number 108, so David was escalated to those jobs because Emma was too immature to swallow that up and deal with it.

She loved being Sheriff; Henry Mills himself made sure to offer her that job when he found out Emma could not graduate from High School because of What Happened in ’83.

She liked him. She just didn’t like that he was always around to check on town business, sending regards to her mother with that kind face and a constant air of guilty and apology, making sure she would never forget about Regina and What Happened in ’83.

Emma had been the one who found him passed out on his office, and after she dropped him at the Hospital, she came face to face with Cora Mills on the front lobby after successfully managing to avoid her for years.

“Sheriff Swan,” she said quietly, walking past Emma.

That had been extremely polite of her.

“Well, I’ll let you go now,” Ruby sighed. “I stopped by the Station earlier and left breakfast. Hopefully David didn’t eat that.”

“Thank you,” Emma smiled at her friend, noticing the light had gone green. “See ya later.”

“Go save the world, Sheriff-”

Emma made a right on Oak Street and after a few blocks, she was in front of the Police Station. She saw David’s Cruiser parked underneath the giant oak. That was her spot. She hurried inside, ready to scold him, when she noticed David wasn’t behind his desk.

Instead of him, she saw Mary Margaret, looking antsy as she hung up the phone.

“You’re on my spot,” Emma said pointing her thumb over her shoulder.

“I’m leaving, cranky pants,” she sighed. “I just…”

Emma frowned. Her friend was usually annoyingly chirp in the morning. “What’s wrong, MM?”

“David asked me to stay because the phone won’t stop ringing and you don’t answer your pager. We saw her last night... She’s back in town because of Mr. Mills and… The Mills want you by the old mine-”

Everything, every piece of information sounded disconnected, and Emma was not really sure who she meant by Her. Only that stubborn, out-of-pace heart knew it, felt it. It was Her.

“Mary, what-?”

 “Her… son. Regina’s son fell down the old mine. They want you leading the rescue team.”

Emma had no idea if Mary was done talking; she spun on her heels and hurried to the Bug. It still felt like a nightmare when she arrived in the woods and saw all the yellow tapes and the red lights surrounding the area.

David came running towards her. He looked flustered, just like Mary.

“Emma, he…”

Emma didn’t even look around for Her.

“How old is he and what’s his name?” she asked bluntly.

“Uh… Henry. He’s ten.”

It was a lot to process, so she didn’t.

Emma just ran, David on her heels adding personal safety equipment on her body. When she crouched by the entrance – something like a slimy cave with a diameter no bigger than fifteen inches – Emma was wearing climbing ropes around her waist and a helmet with a flashlight.

“Get me down,” she barked to the men, not even listening about precaution and instability. She already knew all that. The mine was at the verge of collapsing, and the new kids were not stupid enough to get any closer.

If that was back in her day, she was sure Killian would be that exact stupid kid.

She tried to focus on the ten year old boy down there rather than the suffocating, hot moldy atmosphere. It felt claustrophobic, and it felt even worse when she imagined how it would feel to be crushed by the ceiling.

“Kid? Can you hear me?” she yelled, pointing the flashlight to all directions.

“Over here!”

She quickly pointed the light to the left and found, about eight or nine feet below her, a little boy with dark hair, petrified against a cracked beam.

“I need more rope!” Emma bellowed upwards, feeling her body jerk to the sides then lowering towards him. “Hi, kid!” she grinned, panting when she landed in front of him. The air was cold and absurdly heavy with dust down there. “I’m Emma. I’m the Sheriff of Storybrooke. Your name’s Henry, right?”

“Yeah,” he said.

“Are you hurt? Does anything hurt?” she asked, noticing a small cut on his right, pale cheek. He shook his head ‘no’.

He didn’t look like Regina.

And then cold dread fell down her spine when rocks started to fall dangerously close to where they stood.

“Listen, I’m getting you out of here –”

More rocks collapsed violently on the ground, and suddenly Emma could no longer see the small fissure she came through up there. Her radio sizzled.

Emma? Emma? Can you hear me?

It was David.

“Yeah, what happened?”

The thing is crumbling. We had to let go of the rope. I’m guiding you through the old elevator, okay? It’s the only way we can get you out-

She rolled her eyes. Great. She was already going on a suicide mission before breakfast. That reminded her of Ruby. Ruby and her façade. Ruby and those sad eyes.

She was going to ask her out on a proper date if she made it out alive.

She kneeled down in front of the boy, and she felt a pang in her chest. She could not let anything happen to that kid. 

“Listen, Henry… Are you a fan of comic books?”

“Yeah…”

“Who’s your favorite?”

“Spiderman.”

“Oh, I am too! Well, okay, I need you to think like Peter Parker, now. Imagine that… ” She pointed at the rusty, crooked frame covered in dirt “-Mary Jane is trapped in that elevator-”

“If you want me to get in there with you, just say it.”

That sass sounded like Regina, and Emma’s heart jolted.

“Fine, Mr. Smart Pants. Do not let go of my hand. Alright?”

“Okay,” he smirked.

Emma guided him through debris carefully; she used a piece of wood to shovel rocks and a pile of dust that had anchored the old elevator there, and then she looked up at the rusty chain, not really sure it could support them both.

We’re going to feed the generators to lift it. Can you handle thirty minutes, Em?

“Yeah,” she replied, attaching it to her belt again. She turned to the boy. “Well, get in. We have to wait so they can make it work again.”

“How old is this thing?” he asked, getting inside after Emma.

“I don’t know… Looks like a thousand years to me.”

“Aren’t you supposed to lie to make me feel less scared?”

Emma smirked. “Are you?”

“No.”

“Well then.”

“So, how long you’ve been a Sheriff?”

“Ten years or so.”

“And how old are you? Oh. Sorry. My mom told me not to ask other people’s age.”

He looked truly embarrassed, even in the dark. Emma smiled. “I’m thirty and I don’t mind if you ask.”

“You’re my mom’s age. Did you know her? She lived here in Storybrooke all her life-”

“I think we shouldn’t talk much,” Emma spat. “Save oxygen, avoid echo and listen to the radio, stuff like that. Any noise down here can be important.”

“Okay, sorry,” he muttered quietly.

They went on in silence for about fifteen minutes. It seemed comfortable for him, but Emma was a mess just by looking at the boy. Light eyes, light skin… He didn’t look anything like her. Emma wanted to know his last name, but she was too afraid to ask.

“Listen, I’m just… I didn’t mean to be harsh. I’m just concentrating on taking you out of here,” she mumbled.

“I know,” Henry said simply. “I heard my mom yelling that she wanted a specialist to come down here, so I guess you’re the best. Like a super hero.”

Emma blinked. Was it the mine or were they running out of air?

“I’m no super hero, kid.”

He grinned discreetly, just as if he knew her, just as if he knew she played with her own insecurities by assuming a post she didn’t believe she deserved.

“If you say so. I was scared when I fell down, and you just came because you had to.”

“What were you thinking, anyway? The woods are far from your grandparents’ house-”

“I was walking around the woods, uh, to find the road.”

“Couldn’t you just ask?”

“They wouldn’t just tell me! I didn’t want to move in here. I just… Wanted to go back home.”

“Mm,” Emma nodded. “Where’s home?”

“New York.”

“Huh.”

Emma never knew that Regina was only hours away from her. Mr. Mills could have said so if she didn’t run away from him like a demon from a priest.

“And… Is your entire family here, in Storybrooke? Your mom and dad? Do you have any brothers and sisters?”

Henry opened his mouth to answer, but the radio sizzled so loud that the echo hurt her eardrums.

Em? How’s it going?

“We’re alive, David.”

Five minutes to reload. I’ll keep you informed. We’re getting you out soon.”

“Who’s David?” Henry asked.

“My Deputy.”

“And what does that mean?”

“He’s like a sidekick.”

“Cool. Do you like being a Sheriff?”

“Yeah, it’s fine.”

“Is that a tattoo?” he pointed at her wrist.

Someone had to cut the sugar from that kid.

“Yeah, I… had it done to cover an old scar.”

“What happened?”

“Huh, I-”

Em? Stand still. We’re lifting you in five seconds-”

“Okay, kid. Let’s split the weight… Don’t move,” she said, reaching out the center of the cabin with one leg to try and get some balance. She pulled the radio. “We’re good, David-”

There was a low, threatening rumble as dust fell on their heads like rain. Emma squeezed his hand, pretty sure it was collapsing, but the elevator actually started to move upwards. It jerked and creaked, but it was definitively moving.

Hang on, Swan!” David cheered. “I can’t wait to see your ugly face back here-”

The celebration was short lived.

One of the chains snapped, eaten by rust and time. The cabin jerked and dangled precariously on Emma’s side. They were only a few inches from the ground, so Emma slid down and picked her radio.

“Lower it back, I’ll try to reattach the other chain,” she panted.

It wouldn’t hold the two of them, and they needed to take Henry out first. He had been there longer and-

And he was Regina’s.

XXX

It was the first time in many years that she heard that voice.

She still sounded confident and prying.

Regina was actually surprised that, with a Fire Fighter Squad just there, it had been precisely her who went down after Henry.

Now she was nervous and mad.

“When I said specialist, I didn’t mean someone with experience on tree houses and rooftops!” she yelled at David.

“When Mary told her your son was on the old mine, she disobeyed all the protocols and entered there without permission!” he yelled back at her. “She’s not a specialist, and I’m trying to focus on not getting them killed down there! Can I do my job?”

“Sorry,” Regina muttered a little embarrassed and very touched with that information.

“Emma, how’s it going with the chain?” he asked nervously.

Wonderful,” she chirped, her voice sizzling with sarcasm. “I managed. Pull it up.

“She has reattached the chain!” David called out to the fire fighters. “Turn on the generator!”

He pulled Regina to a safe distance. The old generator shorted out, and a few sparkles flew around. They tried it one more time, and then it rumbled again.

Regina noticed that David didn’t change much, except for the hair. It was short and decent-looking, and he wouldn’t stop running his hand over it. She also noticed a wedding ring.

“Em, is it coming up okay?” he asked on the radio.

It looks okay from down here-

“What do you mean, down…?” David lowered the radio and ignored Regina’s questioning look, turning to the squad. “We’re making two trips, the boy is coming up first!”

The next ten minutes were the longest in Regina’s life. When she saw Henry’s dirty but otherwise unharmed body coming out of the ruined shaft, she ran to him and engulfed him into a bone crushing hug.

“Mom,” he muttered, hugging her back.

She kneeled down in front of him, hands on his face checking for any mortal injuries underneath the dust. “What were you thinking, Henry? You could have died-!”

“Is Emma going to be okay?”

An array of emotions hit Regina square in the chest.

She held his hand and pulled him with her, closer to David. “You’re pulling her up now, right?” she muttered to the blond Deputy.

“You’re her sidekick?” Henry asked.

David smiled down at him. “Yeah. Are you okay, buddy?”

“Yeah. What about Emma?”

David exchanged a dark look with Regina then turned to the boy with a reassuring smile. “We’re getting her out now.”

He commanded the shaft to be lowered one more time. When they ignited the generator, it didn’t make a sound.

“Again,” David growled.

It took three more attempts to have him yelling profanities. The others tried to calm him down, but he sought Regina’s eyes for comfort. The brunette’s expression was lifeless. He waved to a paramedic, who took Henry to the ambulance and offered him snacks.

Emma’s voice came on the radio again.

I’ll climb the chain. Make sure the shaft remains open.

David smacked his head. “She’s an idiot. She’s going to-”

Regina felt her heart skipping a beat, and something uncomfortable installed itself in her stomach. Her throat felt constricted, and before she noticed, a tear was running down her cheek without permission, like the many other tears that ran down her face when she was forced into that plane to Europe. Or like the ones when she found Emma’s cigarette case inside her purse. Or the ones that always came up through the years, whenever that beautiful delinquent popped on her mind.

“Please. Get her out alive,” she whispered to David. “Because I’m going to kill her when she gets here-”

David and the fire fighters threw another rope through the shaft. Regina noticed the Nolan’s old Cruiser parking next to her rental. His dad always let him use it when they had important games in school, and for a second she felt like she went back in time, waiting for the infernal roar of the white GTI…

MM and Ruby came out of the Cruiser, the first finally rid of that awful perm and using the matching ring she saw on David’s finger, the latter looking a mess of tears and mascara.

MM was the first to fling her arms around Regina.

“Welcome back!” she panted. “It’s so good to see you-!”

“Oh, hello,” she sighed, hugging her back. She was obnoxious but Regina always liked her.

“Hi,” Ruby sniffed, wiping her eyes as she stood arm in arm with Mary, both looking expectantly at David, who was on his belly halfway inside the shaft, yelling muffled instructions to Emma.

It took about half an hour.

First, dusty blonde hair. Then strong arms and a torso, then legs and boots, everything covered in mud. Regina saw her stand up and receive a relieved hug from David, followed by Mary and Ruby, with whom she locked eyes.

Regina felt a pang in her chest.

They looked like… a couple.

Was it what they became?

“Mom! Mom!” Henry came running towards her, pulling her frenetically towards the commotion. “Come meet her, c’mon-!”

Regina felt lightheaded when she witnessed Emma Swan drop on her knees and hug her son as though he was her own. Then she lifted her eyes, her turbulent green eyes, and they found Regina…

Henry was jumping up and down, between them, but for once Regina wasn’t listening. Her sight was blurred with tears, but she could recognize that shit-eating grin from a mile.

Emma stood up and waved.

“Hey, Mills.”

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Emma was sure that her heart was going to break her sternum if it kept hammering her chest like that.

Getting out of the shaft had been great, but seeing Regina… that felt like breathing for the first time.

Three seconds.

That was the time she took to notice Regina’s hair was shorter, her mouth had red lipstick on, and her beautiful brown eyes had tears.

After three seconds, the brunette faltered before Emma’s eyes and then reacted to that stupid smile.

It felt like that first kiss back in ’83. Her face was inches from Emma’s, and her breathing was irregular, and her scent was all around. Emma’s eyes fell upon the scar on her upper lip for a second that lasted an eternity…

But their lips never got to meet again, because Regina started to yell at Emma.

“What is wrong with you?”

She sounded outraged, stepping back to keep a safe distance from the blonde.

Emma watched the woman in front of her, frowning in confusion, not sure why she was being yelled at.

The air went still. There was silence, disturbing silence, and the uncomfortable awareness of too many eyes and ears around. It was a long-overdue match. The fight of the century.

“You could have died, and you could have killed my son!” the brunette growled, coming closer again. Dangerously closer.

 “Your son fell!” Emma shouted, pouncing on her like a wounded animal, finally recovering her ability to speak after a momentary loss.

“He wouldn’t have fallen if you had isolated and signaled this area properly!” Regina hissed, training her eyes on the blonde, struggling to remain furious, restraining the urge to fall into her dirty arms. They once saved Regina, and now they saved her son. “Still an irresponsible,” she added in undertone.

“Fine,” Emma let out a deep breath. “Blame it on me. It’s becoming tradition with your family, huh? Welcome back to Storybrooke,” she spat with arrogance, turning around and walking away.

She was fuming when she collapsed behind the steering wheel of the bug.

Emma closed her eyes, trying to remember why she fell in love with that… travel bag.

It was funny how it sounded like Granny’s voice referring to Cora Mills, but still…

And Emma laughed, because it was funny, and because she was pathetic. It was like going back in time and starting the story all over again – she always needed an excuse to hate Regina, because she simply couldn’t just do it on her own accord.

XXX

After the fire fighters and curious were gone, David passed one arm around Mary Margaret’s waist as they watched Regina climb into her car with the little boy, Henry, and then drive away.

“Wow,” David muttered.

“Yeah,” Mary nodded.

“Felt like old times, didn’t it?”

“We should put them inside a dome,” she said pensively. “The sexual tension would serve the electricity demand for centuries-”

David laughed, but his face fell when Ruby walked away. “Oh shit.”

“Why couldn’t you tell me she was standing there?” Mary hissed.

XXX

Ruby stomped away, dry leaves cracking and branches snapping under her boots as she marched towards Emma’s car. She had half expected the blonde to be in a bad temper, but Emma was smirking with a cigarette between her lips as she shuffled the dial on the car panel.

“Remember when we used to camp here when we were kids and we dared MM to touch that crooked tree for three seconds or she’d have to sleep outside the tent?”

Ruby took the cigarette from her and dragged it in her sweet time before she answered.

“Remember you made her beg and make up a song of how great you were, even after she did it?”

“I’m a very disturbed person,” Emma sighed. “I should’ve known there was something wrong with me since then-”

“There’s nothing wrong with you-”

“Your opinion doesn’t count-”

“Thank you for that-”

“You know what I mean, Rubes… You’re too biased.”

Ruby sighed. “I wish I wasn’t.”

Emma was a second away from asking her on a date, but for once, she decided not to be irresponsible with Ruby’s feelings.

It would be one date, and she would mess with the expectations. If she kept being an asshole, at least Ruby knew what was coming.

“Are you hungry?” she asked the blonde, staring out of the window.

Emma knew that tone. She ignited the bug and drove to Ruby’s apartment.

XXX

“How’s he doing?”

Regina felt the lump in her throat constrict as her father bore his old and tired eyes on her. She held his hand, her thumb playing distractedly with his plastic bracelet.

“A little angry.”

“I would be too, if I was ten and forced to live with Cora,” Henry said laughing.

Regina chuckled as she wiped a tear away. She had missed him.

“I’m not sure why, but… I have this feeling that he hates me, no matter what I do.”

“I’m sure that is not true, but seriously, honey… You don’t need to leave your life behind for your old man. I’ll be fine and back on my feet soon.”

“I’m not going back to New York, dad.”

“And why is that?”

Regina thought of Emma Swan, and she thought about everything she had to face without her for thirteen years.

“I missed it here,” she said.

He offered her his best knowing look, because he was like that.

“Took you long enough.”

“I had to focus on him first,” she shook her head. “I couldn’t just… leave him there and come back to fix what happened.”

“I think it would’ve been fun to watch Emma dealing with you and a baby when she was younger,” Henry chuckled.

“You still like her, don’t you?” Regina asked with a sad smile.

“I heard she jumped in that mine when she found out he was your son. She’s still the same, honey.”

Regina sighed.

“Does she know he’s not -?”

“No. But you could always use that as an ice breaker for conversation, huh?”

She rolled her eyes. “I rest my case. You’re healthy,” Regina picked her purse and planted a kiss on his forehead. “But I’m staying anyway.”

As she walked through the cold hallways of the hospital, Regina tuned the soft knocking of her heels to the background of her mind. She remembered Emma dragging her around that very same corner, her t-shirt ripped and her wrist bleeding after they were attacked by the dog.

On Halloween, she remembered running and searching for Emma on the left wing after she fell from the roof of her parents’ house. She remembered that Emma removed the cast earlier. She remembered prom, the fish tank light, Emma’s breath against her neck as she –

Regina gasped when she noticed Cora and Henry staring at her. She was on the front hall of the hospital, almost leaving without him.

“I forgot how affected you get,” her mother said with a smooth, disapproving voice. “It’s been what, half a day?”

“Don’t,” Regina hissed, grabbing Henry’s hand and leading him to their car outside.

“You said you hated that house,” Henry muttered after a few minutes’ drive.

“We’ll have it all to ourselves tonight. It’s a great house, just-”

“Grandma Cora?”

“Yes,” Regina sighed, massaging the throbbing vein on her temple. “She’s a bit… too much to handle right now.”

“I’m sorry I ran away. I know you’re worried about Grandpa, and that I should’ve stayed-”

“I should have consulted you first before deciding to move back to Storybrooke,” she said unexpectedly. “I know what it feels like to have your life taken away, to be… forced to go and… live your life in a different place…”

“Why are you crying, mom?” Henry asked startled. It didn’t even sound like the kid that had a tantrum over a trip to his mother’s hometown. “I’m okay, it’s not that bad… The woods are kinda nice, and Emma is really cool-”

Her face darkened. “You liked her?”

Henry shrugged. “She saved me,” he muttered.

“You wouldn’t need saving if you had…” Regina sighed after noticing the rise on her voice. “Okay. Let’s not mention it again. Everything went out well.”

“What’s your deal with her?”

Regina rolled her eyes as she parked on the driveway of her old house.

“I don’t have a deal with her.”

“Then why don’t you like her?”

Oh, kids and their accuracy to pick up bullshit in the air.

“I don’t dislike her, I just-” 

“Wow!”

Regina leaned on the doorframe to the TV room with a smile as her son literally ran towards the small collection of VHS tapes. She imagined most of them were war documentaries that her dad ordered, but it would keep him distracted.

“I’ll make some dinner, okay?” Regina said, heading to the kitchen. “Do you want to go wash up?”

“In a minute,” he said distractedly, running his fingers over the tapes’ spines. Henry saw one in the end of the shelf, a little dusty. It was out of the box and had a label that read

                       REGINA ‘83

Henry!”

“Coming, mom!” he called back, running to the washroom and forgetting about it.

XXX

“You owe me a new bedframe.”

Emma didn’t look back at Ruby, but she knew she wasn’t really angry. She dragged her cigarette as she watched the dark street outside. It was raining and it had been a long day.

She flicked the cigarette butt outside and turned to Ruby.

“I’ll stop by Monday morning and fix it,” she said with a smirk.

“That’s what you said when you snapped my shower curtain.”

Ruby watched her prance around her small apartment. Barefoot, loose jeans and usually a sinfully cropped t-shirt or an unbuttoned flannel shirt – today it was the latter - and her hair a thick mess of blonde curls.

“I gotta go.”

Ruby sat up on her bed, wearing her blanket like a cape around her shoulders, hiding most of the angry marks – Emma had animalistic tendencies, but sex had never been that great.

It could not be a coincidence. The Queen was back in town and suddenly Emma was providing the best sex she ever had.

“You’re not hungry?” Ruby asked, trying to deflect her thoughts. “I have one slice of pizza from yesterday-”

“I ate it already,” Emma winked, leaning forward to kiss her. “I’ll come on Monday-”

“Fine,” Ruby rolled her eyes and got under the blankets again. “See yourself out, Sheriff.”

Emma sighed, putting on her boots and buttoning her shirt. She grabbed her keys on the kitchen counter and walked out the door, watching Ruby for a second. It looked like she had fallen asleep again.

“Sorry about the bed,” Emma said, and closed the door behind her.

Running to the car only made it worse, and now she was wet and shivering behind the steering wheel of the bug. Emma drove on autopilot, and suddenly she was making a different turn that led to a familiar road.

She was tired to fight against the urge, and she was angry enough to dare.

Mifflin Street had changed nothing over the past ten years. The tall trees and big houses adorned each side of the pavement, and only a few lights were still on. As she approached the number 108, Emma pulled over across the street and took a deep breath.

Through the rain-sprinkled window of her car, she saw the house. For a second, it stopped raining and Regina came through the front door dressed for prom; the next second, it was dark and thundering, and no one was there.

Emma lit up a cigarette and sighed.

XXX

Regina tucked Henry in and came downstairs for some tea.

Usually she wouldn’t allow him to stay up so late, but with her father recovering in the hospital and the near fatal accident that morning, she decided to indulge to hot chocolate and a movie before bed.

With a blanket around her shoulders and wearing pajamas, she never felt this free inside that house. She lit one lampshade and took her father’s armchair, closing her eyes to enjoy the sound of the rain.

Then a peculiar noise caught her attention.

Regina stood up and walked towards the window. She pulled the curtains sideways and spotted a yellow Volkswagen across the street. She felt her heart drop to her stomach.

Emma was smoking inside the car, unaware that she had been noticed.

She was the reason why Regina loved and hated Storybrooke. However, she was also the reason why Henry was alive and breathing, sleeping safely upstairs.

Mustering all the courage that she was sure she didn’t have, Regina placed her cup of tea on the nearest piece of furniture and opened the front door. It was pouring outside.

Regina narrowed her eyes. Emma had that arrogant face even when she didn’t know she was being watched, and Regina wanted to blame her for everything, to hate her like she did when she was younger, but that was just not possible.

She took a deep breath and lit up the porch.

XXX

Emma rolled down the window to flick the cigarette when she saw Regina.

They kept staring at each other from across the street for about twenty minutes, when Emma finally decided it was an absurd and ignited the car.

“I wrote to you!” Regina exclaimed.

Emma turned off the keys and rolled her eyes.

“I wrote to you every week. For three years!” she went on, taking a step out in the rain. “It’s not possible that you didn’t get any of my letters!”

“You know me,” Emma scoffed. “I don’t like reading.”

Regina sighed, dropping her shoulders. “Thank you for saving my son.”

“Where’s his dad?”

“There’s no… I don’t have a…”

Emma glared at Regina and stepped out of the car as well. She was relieved there wasn’t a father and a husband, but she was still mad.

“Well, get one,” the blonde hissed. “You see what happens when kids grow up without one parent. They turn out like me!”

“Emma-”

“Don’t Emma me!” she yelled.

They were both soaking wet. Emma kept her eyes on the ground.

“What are you doing here?” Regina asked softly.

“I don’t know.”

“If you want to talk-”

“I don’t want to talk!” she barked. “I want to yell at you, and be angry with you!”

Regina nodded.

“Stop acting like a fucking fence sitter!”

“Fine!” the brunette raised her voice and took a step closer. “Do you want to yell at me in the middle of the street? Fine! Let’s yell!”

“Why?” Emma yelled.

“Because I hate myself for what happened to you that day! Because I still can’t swallow that my mother forced me to leave without saying goodbye to you! Because I regret…” she sobbed, and then she looked up at Emma, her voice low and shaky now. “I regret that I didn’t run away with you when I had the chance.”

Emma swallowed hard.

Her heart was definitively going to break her ribs now.

She felt sorrow, and anger, and raw passion…

For thirteen years, she wondered how this moment would be. She had imagined it many times, and they all involved her humiliating Regina and then walking away with her pride intact.

But her heart was a little shit when it came to that woman.

“If you’d stayed…” she muttered, feeling her throat ache with all the yelling. “If you’d stayed, you wouldn’t have a son. He seems like a great kid.”

Regina smiled as she felt more tears coming, just like the downpour. She didn’t know what to say; she loved Henry and the choice she made, but she never stopped wondering what could have been if she stayed.

“He is a great kid.”

“You did a great job raising him by yourself,” Emma added, a little embarrassed with what she said before.

“I don’t know about that,” Regina chuckled. “We think we’re ready but we never really are.”

“Yeah. Like being in love.”

Regina held her breath. “You… were?”

There was a long pause.

“Yeah,” Emma nodded, laughing awkwardly as she pulled the door of the car open. “But then you broke my heart, Mills. I wasn’t ready for that.”

Before Regina could say anything – not that she would be able to, anyway – Emma got inside the Bug and drove away.

Regina stood rooted on her spot as she watched the yellow car disappear.

“You still have awful taste in cars!” she cried, walking slowly towards the house. “Idiot-”

XXX

Emma got rid of her boots and her shirt when she got home. She picked a towel from the basket and wiped her hair and torso, getting rid of her drenched socks as well. She opened her fridge and stared at the contents.

Chinese food. Two beers. One egg.

It was a great thing that she didn’t have a family; that wasn’t a family’s fridge.

She wondered what Regina’s fridge looked like. She pictured her organizing everything in tupperware and Pyrex, and she pictured her and the chatty boy, Henry, eating dinner. And she imagined what would be like to get home and find their faces waiting for her every day.

Giving up on late dinner, she grabbed the flask with fish food and put some on the fish tank on her way to her bedroom. She sighed in front of her wardrobe, and then removed a stash of letters that she kept inside a shoe box, in the same order that they arrived.

After thirteen years, she was going to read the first one.

By six in the morning, Emma was finishing the last.

Regina tried to apologize, she really did. Regina said she loved her and missed her every day. Regina went through a rough time when her roommate started to hang out with drug addicts. Regina had no idea what to do when her nearly overdosing roommate gave birth to a little boy in the bathtub of their minuscule apartment.

The last letter was wrapping a Polaroid. In the picture, Regina’s hair was shorter than now, and she was holding a dark haired baby in her arms, smiling. On the back it said:

REGINA AND HENRY

OXFORD - 1986

Emma’s heart was in pieces, and so was her mind, but she could not help grinning when she looked back at the pair. The way Regina smiled, like the picture was taken and meant to be for Emma… It felt like she was part of the family.

Chapter Text

 

“You look like shit,” Ruby said to Killian as she poured him some coffee.

He scrunched his face in his attempt to smile.

“Gimme two,” he said. When Ruby poured a second cup, he pointed at the empty side of the table. “Now sit down. I bought you coffee.”

Ruby rolled her eyes, but she couldn’t help grinning. She placed the coffee pot on the table and took the seat.

“Is it true?” he hissed, his breath a mix of caffeine and tequila, as he refilled his cup. “Is the Queen back?”

“Yeah,” she shrugged, sipping her coffee.

“Holy cow, does Emma know?”

“Emma jumped inside the old mine to rescue her son. Jesus Christ, Killian, do you even live here?”

He grinned. “I was busy yesterday. But wow. She has a kid?”

“Hey!” David exclaimed, smacking the back of his head as he and Mary Margaret approached the booth. “You look like shit!”

“Leave him alone,” she scolded her husband, reaching out for an aspirin bottle on her bag. “Here, honey. Take two.”

“That’s why I love her and not you,” Killian said to David as they all squeezed together in the booth.

They always had breakfast at Granny’s on Sundays.

“Where’s Emma?” Mary asked, and the three of them turned to Ruby, who shook her head.

“Not on my bed. She went home around midnight.”

“Is she okay?”

“She is… Emma,” Ruby muttered and shrugged. “I don’t know.”

“Man… She must be crushed,” Killian said. “Remember when-?”

Before he could finish, the doorbell rang and Regina entered the diner with her son.

At first she looked embarrassed; the day before had been a little too much for a reencounter. Mary promptly waved, beckoning her to come sit with them.

Killian stood up with a shit eating grin that Regina missed more than she was aware of.

“Time’s always doing wonders, eh?” he said, hugging her. “Look at us, Mills! So hot after so long. We’re like wine-”

She patted his bearded cheek. “You do look handsome, Killian,” she smiled. “A hundred percent modest but not a hundred percent sober.”

“Eh, it’s the weekend, love,” he looked down at Henry. “And who’s this young man?”

“I’m Henry,” the little boy shook hands with him. “Where’s the rest of your fingers?”

Henry!” Regina exclaimed as the others burst out laughing.

Killian squatted in front of the boy with a serious face. “I lost them at the sea, son,” he said with a grave voice. “I fought a great white shark once-”

“Yeah, it was called a homemade bomb,” Ruby smacked his head as well. “Stop making up stories, he’s not stupid-”

Henry flushed and grinned at Ruby, who beckoned him towards the counter so she could show him the milkshake options.

“Uh, thank you for… yesterday,” Regina said to David, taking Ruby’s empty seat. “And I’m sorry for… losing my temper.”

“I’m sure I would have, too, if it was my child down there,” he said with a kind smile. “I’m sorry I was a little harsh.”

Regina grinned at him and Mary. “So… How long have you two been married?”

“A billion years,” Killian said.

“Nine,” David said proudly, ignoring his friend.  “What about you? Are you married?”

There was a gasp, and Regina was sure it came from Mary Margaret. “No,” she shook her head with a smile to indicate it was okay to ask. “It’s just Henry and me.”

“Henry and I.”

The four of them turned around and found Emma standing there. She shrugged.

“I didn’t write the grammar,” she muttered, giving a small smile that made Regina’s heart flutter.

What a vengeful little shit.

“Hi,” the blonde said softly.

“Hi.”

“So…Where’s the coffee?”

“You have competition, Swan,” Killian pointed Henry watching Ruby with such obvious air of infatuation that imaginary hearts were popping out of his eyes.

Mary aimed a kick at Killian under the table, and by the time he grunted in pain, it was already too late. Regina was staring at Emma.

“So. You and Ruby.”

“We’re friends,” Emma mumbled, avoiding her eyes.

“Well, friends fall for each other all the time, don’t they?”

Oh right back at her…

“Well, I just came to pick something to go,” Regina said, standing up. “I’m staying with my dad at the hospital so that my mother can go home a while-”

“Why don’t you leave Henry with us?” Mary suggested, seeking approval in her husband’s eyes.

“Yeah, he seems to like Ruby a lot,” David chuckled, watching the boy and then looking back at Regina. “Your mother needs to rest, and we won’t let him fall in any other hole in Storybrooke.”

Regina laughed, but she looked torn; Henry seemed a lot comfortable with her old friends, a lot more than with Cora, anyway, but she wasn’t sure if that was a good idea.

“I can take him to the docks,” Killian suggested. “There’s a boat race going on today. He might enjoy it.”

“And Ruby can always provide food,” Mary said with a grin. “Granny’s still kid’s favorite place in here.”

“It’s the only place,” Ruby barged in. “You’re not seriously considering to leave him with the Ev-” she cleared her throat. “-Your mother, are you?”

“Well, if you insist,” Regina sighed. “He’s an easy going boy, but if you have any trouble, I’ll be at the hospital.”

She bent over slightly to talk to him, and by the smile on his face, he seemed to enjoy the plan. What she hadn’t expected was that her son was going to hurry to stand near Emma.

“Can you take me for a ride on those police cars?” he asked the blonde.

“Henry-”

“Huh, sure,” Emma looked between him and Regina. “If your mom’s okay with that.”

“I don’t think that’s a good idea-”

“You said yesterday that you didn’t dislike her, so I think it’s a great idea,” he shrugged.

Mary, David and Killian had to look away to hide their smirks, while Emma flushed like a school girl.

“I love this kid,” Ruby chuckled, turning away to get more coffee and his milkshake.

“I should-” Regina pointed the door over her shoulder.

“Send your dad our regards,” Mary said, grinning.

“I will,” Regina smiled at her, and then pecked Henry’s cheek. “And you, behave-”

She exchanged looks with Emma for half a second and then she left.

XXX

When they finished breakfast, Mary suggested that Emma took Henry for his ride and then they could all meet at the docks for the boat race and lunch.

Emma didn’t like that knowing look MM was giving her.

The short brunette shrugged, reading Emma’s look of reluctance. “Well, you should start bonding with him if-”

“There’s no if!” Emma hissed, annoyed. “Nothing’s happening and nothing will happen, so you can stop meddling!”

It came out harsher than she intended. Mary tilted her chin, something she did when she was insulted and wanted to demonstrate that she was okay, keeping her voice even so that the conversation stayed only between the two of them.

“Well, it’s not me you need to convince about anything. If it’s over, then you can stop being a bitch to everyone and move the fuck on. See you later-”

She spun on her heels and left with the others behind her.

A slap would have hurt less. Emma had to move on, and she had to stop hurting people just because she was hurt.

It was time.

She looked at the boy, who was oddly quiet waiting for her.

“So,” she sighed. “Are you ready to feel like a criminal?”

He grinned and nodded eagerly.

Emma had a strange feeling that his choice to be with her was not random or based on his new found admiration for her. It felt like he was watching, studying her, like he probably did with Regina when they got home the day before.

He didn’t know about their past together, but he definitely sensed something in the air. She would have to be extra careful and reserved with that brat.

“So,” she looked through the rear view mirror. “You’re not asking questions today?”

“Nothing came up to my mind yet,” he said distractedly, watching Storybrooke as it passed by the window.

“Okay,” she nodded, hitting the dial on the panel.

After a soda advertising, Emma felt like she was hit by a bullet. Faithful by Journey started to play, and that made Henry shove his head between the bars that separated the front and the back of the car.

“My mom loves this song,” he said. “I don’t know why, though. She always cries when it plays on the radio. I don’t know how you can love something that makes you sad.”

Another bullet.

Emma hit the break all of a sudden, and both of them jerked forwards.

“Ouch!”

“Sorry,” Emma whispered. She felt disoriented. That song alone felt like a stab in the heart. It hurt twice to know that it made Regina cry. “I’m a monster,” she mumbled to herself.

“What did you say?”

“I said…” Emma inhaled deeply. “I said we should go to the docks.”

“That’s not what it sounded.”

“If you heard it the first time, then why you asked?” she rolled her eyes.

“Looks like it’s not only my mom who gets cranky because of this song-”

Emma turned back to look at him. “I’m sorry, kid. I just really hate Journey.”

The docks were packed with people, especially children. It was sunny, and a soft, warm breeze sprinkled their faces with salt.

“That was a quick ride,” David muttered to Emma when she approached them with Henry. The boy hurried to the commotion, and when she made sure Ruby was holding his hand, Emma turned to David.

“It was a terrible idea.”

“I suppose it’s a lot to take in,” he nodded comprehensively. David was always like that around her. “But I guess you’ll have to adjust to it, now. She’s staying with him in Storybrooke, and… Are you worried about his father showing up?”

Emma took a deep breath, leaning on the rusty handrail, watching the seagulls for a moment as she absently minded removed the cracked blue paint that remained on the iron bar.

“He’s not… He’s not Regina’s biological son. There’s no father. She adopted him.”

“When the hell did she tell you that?”

“She tried to,” Emma made a pause. “Ten years ago, she tried to tell me on those letters.”

“Shit,” David said, watching Mary and Killian fight over the biggest cotton candy on the food stand.

She reached out her back pocket and produced her wallet. She took the old Polaroid and showed him.

“I should’ve opened the letters before,” she confessed, and it was the first time he caught pain in her voice instead of contempt.

“Really? You would’ve freaked out, Em. I think it was better this way.”

“Maybe I wouldn’t have freaked out,” she shrugged.

He chuckled. “You think you’d fly to England and bring them home with you?”

“I think I might not be so angry for so long. And I think I would’ve done it differently with Ruby.”

“Yeah, about that… I’d be careful. Mary said she was going to slap you to death if you didn’t stop fooling around with Ruby.”

“I know that.”

“Don’t look like that. You know that’s fucked up.”

“That’s why I’m looking like that! Because I know you’re right. And you two are the most annoyingly self-righteous couple in this town. It’s sickening how you can make me feel bad.”

David grinned.

“Well, you are our overgrown child, Em. That’s our job.”

XXX

“You were walking on the streets like that?”

Regina rolled her eyes. “Good morning to you too, mother.”

“You’re the Mayor’s daughter,” Cora went on. “If walking in pajamas is okay in New York, well, this is Storybrooke-”

“I’m not on pajamas,” the brunette said, walking towards the head of the bed. “Morning, dad.”

“Hello, beautiful girl,” Henry smiled. “How are you?”

Regina was about to answer, when Cora returned to the bedroom. “Where’s Henry?”

“He stayed with-” here she hesitated for a split second “-the Nolans. They took him to the boat race at the docks.”

“Well, you know who they are friends with.”

“She saved Henry’s life!”

That’s her job! Or do you think everything should be forgiven just because she’s competent now? She embarrassed you, she exposed you! Did you forget that? Because I didn’t, Regina!”

“She didn’t do any of that, and you know it, mother. She just couldn’t prove it, but everybody knows that.”

“I don’t care. She deserved what she got. She stained your reputation, and now you can’t even find a husband -”

“Can you please leave?”

Both women looked back at Henry. He seemed angry, and his tired eyes were on his wife.

“You stayed long enough, Cora.”

She kept her composure and grabbed her purse, throwing one last look of disapproval at her daughter before she left.

“How can you stand her?” Regina muttered, and her father laughed.

“She’s harmless when it comes to me. I got the money and the title, there’s not much she can do.”

Regina sat down on the armchair. “Do you feel better?”

“Yes, dear. I’ll be out soon.”

She knew that smile, and she knew when he lied to her. He had done that all her life, to protect her from Cora many times, but now she didn’t need it anymore.

“Maybe you could stay a little longer,” she said. “Just to be sure.”

Henry sighed. “I miss my couch and my cigars.”

“They’re not going anywhere,” Regina smiled, trying to remain strong. Her father had always been an imposing man, and it hurt to see him so weak and helpless. “Everyone is sending their love.”

“Oh, send my love back. I liked those little rascals back then. So… Is Henry with Emma?” he asked with a smirk, and Regina rolled her eyes.

“Can you believe that? From all the people, he had to like her most!”

“Well, maybe he got that from you-”

Dad!”

XXX

“Well, it’s late,” Emma said. “Who’s-?”

Killian yawned and pointed his flask. “Not me.”

“My shift starts in five minutes,” Ruby said, ruffling Henry’s hair and saying goodbye to the others.

“You can drive him back, I’m sure you’re not gonna die if you act nice once,” Mary said before David could soften, looking sternly at Emma.

“MM, look –” the blonde took a step closer. “I’m sorry about earlier. You were right.”

“Yes I was,” she spat, just then realizing that Emma was not fighting back. “Well, I’m glad you know that.”

She moved away to get Henry; he was by the handrail, watching the last boats anchor.

“Are you sure this plan’s going to work?” David muttered.

“They need to figure out their issues and move on,” Mary said firmly. “Let her deal with Regina, she’s a grown up.”

“Well, fine. If you say so.”

When Emma returned with Henry, Mary and David bid them good night and took off.

“So,” Henry looked around. “I’m hungry.”

Emma scoffed. “Yeah, so?”

“You need to buy me food.”

“No, I don’t.”

“You never took care of anyone before, right?”

“Can you tell?” she asked uninterested, leading the way to the car.

“Why are you so cranky?”

“I’m not.”

“I think you should eat too.”

“I think I should drop you off, c’mon. Get in the car-”

Henry slumped down the backseat and sulked all the way towards the Station. When they got there, Emma got out of the car and entered the office to get her keys and lock everything. She heard him hurry to catch up with her.

“Hey, it’s dark out here!” he puffed. “You shouldn’t leave me alone in there!”

“Okay,” she said, getting her stuff. She didn’t notice he was already going through the many scattered items on David’s desk.

“Is that you and my mom?”

Emma felt her stomach drop to her feet when she saw what he was holding. David kept a portrait with the six of them in front of Emma’s house. Ingrid took that picture a day before prom, and they were all smiling to the camera. Emma had one arm around Regina’s shoulders and the other inside the scribbled cast. Regina looked so happy that Henry could barely recognize his mom.

“Huh…”

“You were friends?”

“Huh…”

“Did you fight?”

Emma sighed. “It’s a long story, kid.”

“You can tell me while we eat pizza.”

She was trying to remain distant, but his smile was just too cute. She chuckled and rolled her eyes. “Fine, let’s get some pizza. But on one condition-” she added as he jumped in the air “-you can’t talk while we drive there. It’s a silence game.”

“I never win silence games, so don’t bother,” he said with a smug smile.

Emma led him to the Bug, unable to believe she was being manipulated by a ten year old boy with a smart mouth.

“Go wash your hands,” she said when they picked a table at the pizza place.

“Aren’t you coming to wash yours as well?”

“Mine are clean.”

“I’ve been to the same places you did, so-”

“I’m an adult, okay? Kids have germs. Adults don’t.”

“That is not true. Germs can’t know how old we are. They’re germs.”

Rolling her eyes for the millionth time that night, Emma followed him to the restroom area.

“My mom never let me eat without washing my hands. Can you get me a paper towel?”

Emma pulled some from the metal container on the wall and gave to him. He babbled all the way back to their table and while they waited for the pizza. Emma made sure she was nodding and grunting sometimes, just to keep him distracted.

When their pizza arrived, Henry took a slice and stared at her.

“So, I’m ready for that long story.”

Emma wanted to laugh, but she kept a straight face.

“There’s nothing I want to tell you, kid.”

“Why not?”

“Because it’s none of your business!”

“My mom is my business, and if you weren’t nice to her, I want to know.”

Emma had no idea what to say. The way he sounded protective and concerned about Regina was too much to bear, and it reminded her about how she felt when she was seventeen and in love.

“I was not very nice, okay? But I never meant to hurt her.”

“Does she know that?”

“I think she does.”

“Why don’t you say it? Just to make sure?”

“Your mother doesn’t like to talk to me much anymore.”

“That’s because you are terrible to talk to. You just grunt and nod and look bored!”

Here she genuinely laughed. What a piece of work…

“Eat, kid!”

“Can we go to the video store and rent a movie after?”

“It’s getting late and I need to drive you back-”

“It will be quick, I promise. My grandparents don’t have anything fun to watch in the house!”

Fine-”

It was around nine p.m. when Emma parked in front of 108, Mifflin Street. Regina came out with a look of worry, but she smiled when Henry jumped of the car and ran to her.

“Mom, we went to the boat race, and then pizza, and then Emma let me rent Jurassic Park on her account at the video store-”

Emma climbed the stair steps slowly, holding the tape and the pizza leftovers as he hurried inside.

“I hope he didn’t give you any trouble,” Regina said hesitatingly, folding her arms across her chest. “He can be a handful sometimes.”

“He’s incredible,” Emma muttered, avoiding her eyes. “Well, I should go-”

“Thank you for-”

“Sure.”

“Bye, Emma!” Henry came back, throwing himself at her and holding her around the waist into a tight embrace.

Emma felt her throat burn as she automatically bent over and kissed the top of his head in a very clumsy way.

“Sleep well, kid.”

Regina was watching them, and for a second it looked like she was doing that thing she did when they were young – she was unpeeling Emma’s layers of bullshit and seeing her for who she was, especially when she did something nice.

Henry disentangled himself from the blonde and hurried back inside, this time holding the tape and the rest of the pizza.

Emma cleared her throat. She didn’t want to leave. “So, I’m gonna-”

Regina wanted to invite her in. “Good night, Emma.”

She stared long and hard at the brunette. She missed those good night kisses.

“Night, Mills,” she offered her a small smile and left.

Chapter Text

It was around midnight when Regina stifled a yawn. Rare were the occasions she managed to watch an entire movie with Henry, but this time she concentrated harder, or her thoughts would keep wandering around Emma Swan and her stupid goofy smile.

Regina had thought that by now she would be over that infatuation, but the blonde had a real effect on her.

“Emma’s like Dr. Grant,” Henry said, rewinding the tape.

“Who’s Dr. Grant?”

He looked sternly at his mother, because he was sure she had been paying attention. “The one who hated kids and then ended up saving them?”

“Oh,” Regina nodded. “Does Emma hate kids? Was she rude to you?”

“Nah, she tries to act like she doesn’t care, but she’s really nice.”

Regina nodded again and kept a straight face as she took the popcorn bowl back to the kitchen. That description sounded very much like Emma, and she wasn’t sure whether that was a good thing or not.

Her father was right. Emma was like an arrogant magnet who had a power over the Mills.

“You were happier when you were friends, weren’t you?”

Regina looked back startled; Henry had stopped by the doorway, and he looked too serious and wise for a ten year old boy.

“What is that, honey?”

“I saw a picture at the Sheriff Station. You looked really happy, and Emma looked happy too.”

“What… picture?”

“You and your friends, in front of a house. She was hugging you, and she was wearing a cast.”

Regina remembered that day.

“Did she tell you why she was wearing a cast?” she asked, turning back to the sink.

“No. She didn’t really want to talk about you.”

Regina nodded.

“She fell from that rooftop,” she pointed out of the window, indicating the back porch.

“What was she doing there?”

“Trying to scare me. It was Halloween night, and well, she accomplished that. I thought she was dead.”

Henry laughed, and then he yawned, and that was her cue to send him to bed. She returned to the TV room to turn the lights off, but instead of doing so, she sat down and kept staring at the window, wondering if Emma was going to be Emma and show up in the middle of the night again someday.

XXX

“We could hit the road,” Killian said, watching the sea and the setting sun.

“We?” Ruby asked, taking a bite from her hot dog. “Why am I included on this?”

“Don’t you feel like there’s nothing else for you in Storybrooke?”

Ruby considered what he said. It was true, wasn’t it? She had Emma – not body and soul, but eventually her body between her legs – and that had been enough for a long time. Now with Regina back in the picture, Ruby was sure that it was a losing game, even if she fought with the lowest blows.

“I feel detached,” she said, looking at the mustard blotch on his beard. “But I’m scared to let go, so… For God’s sake, show some manners-” she scoffed, reaching out with a napkin to clean it.

“Do you want more soda?” he sputtered, avoiding her eyes. “I’ll be right back-”

 

“Why everything in this town is a reason for fireworks?” she asked when he sat down next to her with a large Pepsi.

“Stop complaining. I like fireworks.”

Ruby looked at his missing fingers. “You have a serious problem.”

He chuckled. “So do you-”

She followed his gaze and her eyes fell upon a woman leaning on the handrail. She was staring at Ruby, and she didn’t look away when she was caught staring. Ruby noticed the Fire Fighter uniform; she looked really good in suspenders…

“Go over there and talk to her, love,” Killian said as he lit a cigarette. “She‘s clearly interested.”

“How do you know?”

He smiled sadly. Who wouldn’t be?

“Stop being a chicken and get your ass over there, woman!”

Ruby hesitated. She had Monday nights off, and so did Emma. What if she showed up? What if she needed her? When Ruby came back from her Emma-Trance, Killian was returning to their bench with the firefighter.

Her cheeks instantly burned; it had been a long time since a pair of eyes made her blush like that.

“So, this is the firework hater, Serge,” he pointed at Ruby. The woman smiled. “Ruby, this is Sergeant Gale-“

“Hi,” Sergeant Gale reached out and shook Ruby’s hand. Fuck, she was strong, and fuck, her arms were-

“Hi,” Ruby breathed.

Killian took a few steps back, claiming he was going to buy another hot dog. He threw the rest of his soda away and shoved his hands inside his pockets; he turned back to look once. It looked like Ruby was going to dissolve into a puddle of hormones.

He smiled with himself.

It was time that girl found happiness. Permanent  happiness.

Even if he would never be the one to give her that.

XXX

Emma never had a problem with getting into Ruby’s apartment by herself. She did that so many times over the years that it felt as natural as going to her own house.

The large flat was empty, and even though she hadn’t planned to stay the night with Ruby, she found it strange that the brunette wasn’t there waiting for her, especially after she promised to stop by and fix the bed.

And for the first time that felt right. Emma was too used to Ruby inflating her ego with her constant horniness and neediness, and well, it was time to stop this.

Emma took a beer from her fridge and set to work on the bedframe. The blonde removed the mattress and the split boards, replacing it with a new one, which she easily nailed to the frame.

When she was done, she put the mattress back and gathered the wood splinters and crooked nails, attaching the hammer to her belt. She lit up a cigarette while she wrote Ruby a note, then she moved to the window to finish smoking and flick it down the street.

She was distracted by the fireworks for a moment; when she looked down, she saw Regina passing by, staring back at her resentfully.

Fuck.

XXX

She took a deep breath. What did she expect?

Emma had moved on.

Ruby had been there with her long legs for thirteen years while she wasn’t.

Really, what did she expect?

Regina parked in front of her parents’ house, just catching her mother on her way to the hospital again.

“I spoke with Gold, there’s an opening and he agreed to let Henry take it. It’s not healthy to leave him here all day long doing nothing.”

“Thank you, mother,” Regina said, checking her options inside the fridge. She had been in Town Hall all day, taking care of her father’s appointments, and because it was a normal work day, she decided not to bother any of her friends, meaning Henry had to stay with Cora.

It was obvious she would suggest something like that – Henry needed to go to school, but Cora was good with children as a lion would be with a dead zebra.

“Okay, good,” Cora said, surprised that her daughter wasn’t arguing. “That friend of yours, Mary Margaret, will be his teacher. I don’t like her very much, but she’s the only one who accepted another student in the middle of the school year.”

“Works for me,” Regina said, pouring herself some juice.

“Well, I’m taking a cab to the hospital. Your father wants more pillows. See you in the morning.”

“See you, mother-”

Henry showed up in the kitchen a minute after Cora left.

“Is she gone? Is it safe to leave the bedroom?”

“I’m so sorry, honey!” Regina chuckled as she kissed the top of his head. “Good thing is, she’s enrolled you in school so… You’re going to be attending classes with Mary Margaret!”

“MM will be my teacher?” he threw his fists up in the air.

“It’s Mrs. Nolan to you, but yes. Soon you won’t have to stay with my mother when I’m busy.”

“That’s awesome. I never thought I’d be happy to go to school instead of staying home-”

Regina laughed. “Well, why don’t you pick something for movie night while I shower?”

“Yeah!”

He hurried to the TV room and Regina dragged her feet upstairs, the image of Emma on Ruby’s window still burning the corner of her eyes.

 

Henry plopped down his grandfather’s armchair, thinking of ways to convince Regina to watch Jurassic Park with him again before they had to return it to the video store. He pushed himself up and went over the tapes on the shelf.

Again, his eyes fell upon the one labeled with his mom’s name. He took it out of the case and put it in the VCR.

It sizzled slightly, until it came to focus.

The fading-colored image looked like his grandfather’s nose and cheek, then it spun around and the camera was focused on the top of the staircase, where a very young version of his mom stood. Despite the weird haircut, she looked beautiful and… excited.

Henry noticed that his mom smiled a lot more when she was younger.

Dad!” she chuckled, trying to make him stop filming.

You look beautiful, my darling,” said his grandfather on the background, avoiding Regina’s hands and coming down the stairs.

There was a loud car honk outside, and Henry Sr. filmed the moment Regina hurried downstairs towards the front door. He followed her out, and Henry felt his jaw drop when he recognized who was waiting for his mother.

Not a boyfriend.

Sheriff Swan.

Emma.

She was a lot younger and her hair was ridiculous, and she looked nervous and embarrassed about the camera when she stepped out of an old car. However, he recognized the way she smiled at his mom – it was the same smile she had on her face when she came out of the mine.

He heard hustling from behind the camera, and Emma waved back at it. Regina hurried to meet Emma, but at this point the camera spun again and his grandfather got inside the house. The image was mostly focused on the floorboards, but Henry could still hear and recognize his grandparents’ voices.

“I’m surprised she didn’t show up in a smoking and a bow tie.”

“You look smug.”

“Emma Swan will break your daughter’s heart, and then she’ll finally come to me. Just you sit and wait, Henry.”

The camera was placed somewhere, because the image stopped trembling. Soft steps indicated that Henry’s grandfather walked away. After a few minutes, the phone rang.

Hello? Robin, what a surprise… Yes, I noticed she didn’t accept you back… She’s left with Emma Swan. I hope you come up with something brilliant, because I want to destroy this girl. No, I don’t care what you’re going to do, don’t tell me… Just get it done, since you’re not going to prom…

The screen went blue, and Henry stood up to take it off the VCR, when he heard his mother’s voice behind him.

“Where did you find this?”

She looked pale and beyond surprised.

“Over there,” he pointed the shelf.

 

Regina swallowed hard. She came downstairs the minute she recognized her father’s voice on the video, and she felt a pang in her chest when she saw what day it was. She never watched that tape until now.

“Henry dear, my headache is coming back, apparently,” she massaged her temple with a scowl. “Can we reschedule movie night for tomorrow?”

He looked disappointed. “Can I read before bed, then?”

She smiled. “Sure.”

Regina almost literally paced in front of the guest room until he fell asleep. Books usually kept him awake longer than movies, but she could not just send him to bed like that when he was on his best behavior and being so gentle after their huge fight back in New York.

When he finally fell asleep, Regina hurried to her old bedroom and searched for a book on her shelf. Going over the pages, she found the piece of paper she was looking for. It was amazing that no one touched her things after she left.

CALL ME SOME DAY, MILLS  555-3274

It was a long shot, but she had to try.

Regina went downstairs and dialed. What were the chances that she still had the same number?

Hello?”

Regina gasped.

“Emma.”

There was a long pause. “Mills?”

Regina was resolute to remain cold and distant because she was jealous about Ruby, but when she heard Emma’s voice, that soft tone, the genuine surprise, her stupid teenager heart just couldn’t take and she burst out crying.

She covered the mouthpiece so that Emma couldn’t hear her, but Emma was never as thick as she let out.

Do you want me to come over?

Regina nodded, and then she immediately felt stupid again, because Emma wasn’t there to see it. “Yes. Please,” she whispered.

The brunette got out and sat by the porch of the mansion, because there wasn’t oxygen enough inside the house. In less than five minutes, the yellow Volkswagen emerged around the corner.

She parked and got out of the car, and Regina had never noticed how gangly she was. Maybe her legs had grown over the past thirteen years? She wiped her tears away as fast as she could, because Emma came stumbling towards her and was squatting down in front of her before she had time to recompose.

“What’s wrong? Is it your dad? Is Henry okay? Are you-?”

She stopped babbling and took a deep breath when she saw the tape on Regina’s hand and the glistening pool of tears swirling around the rims of her dark eyes. She read the label and swallowed hard.

“So. Did you… do porn?”

Regina burst out laughing, and the sudden muscle- clenching made the tears roll down her cheeks. Emma was smiling at her, that idiotic smile that she once gave her right after insulting her on the parking lot of the school.

“Why do you always make me laugh when the occasion is inappropriate?” she chuckled, wiping the stubborn tears and sniffling loudly.

She kept staring patiently at the brunette. It always felt appropriate to make her laugh. She had the most beautiful smile, and the scar only added to the charm.

“You should see this,” Regina said hoarsely.

“Okay.”

Emma followed her inside. She had never been in the Mills house, except that one time she climbed the window to Regina’s bedroom before nosediving on their backyard. Regina pointed the couch for her to take a seat.

Regina inserted the tape in the VCR and was greeted by a blue screen. She grunted impatiently as she tried to fast forward it and the blue screen remained.

“Maybe you should rewind-”

“I know how it works-” Regina hissed.

“Yeah, you always know everything-”

Regina turned back with her eyes narrowed. Emma had that infuriating smirk on her lips.

“Shut up. I don’t want you to wake up my son-”

“Fine. Oh-” Emma gaped at the screen when the seventeen year old Regina appeared. She recognized those clothes. She had removed them in her bedroom that night.

Regina stood in the corner, with her arms folded across her chest as she watched Emma’s reaction. When the footage was over and the blue screen came back, Regina reached out and turned off the TV.

“You don’t look surprised,” she said to Emma.

The blonde shrugged as she stood up from the couch. “Your boyfriend did all those offensive drawings back then. It was obvious he had a thing for graffiti and the untouchable you. He just wasn’t smart enough to change his writing style.”

“Why didn’t you say so?”

“Who would’ve believed in me?”

Regina stared into her green eyes, and she saw at last something that had been missing. It was a tiny, shy sparkle of regret for keeping it to herself.

“Just now, I wasn’t there with, you know, Ruby,” Emma muttered. “She wasn’t home, and I went to fix something that I broke the other day.”

“Why are you telling me this?” Regina whispered.

“Because you should know.”

“Know what?”

Emma pulled Regina to her and kissed her, and suddenly Regina was pushing her against the wall, and then it was Emma pushing her against it. Their lips locked into a fight for dominance, and they danced around each other, arms and hair tangling frenetically, breaths mixing in the little space between their mouths.

God, she missed her…

Emma pushed the brunette down the couch and quickly she was on top of her, desperately roaming her body, breathing in her scent as if her life depended on it.

“I can’t believe I’ll finally disgrace your honor on Cora Mills’ couch,” Emma whispered against Regina’s lips.

She chuckled, pushing the blonde away a little. “You know we can’t do this right now.”

“Because of the kid?” Emma asked, looking down at her with that face – that face of contemplation that Regina had always loved.

“That too.”

“And what else?” she pressed on, grinning at the brunette with a suggestive eyebrow raised.

“We should talk first.”

Emma groaned and rolled her eyes. “You are a real dweeb, Regina Mills-”

Regina cupped Emma’s face and kissed her, softly this time.

“I missed you calling me a dweeb.”

Emma smiled, stealing another kiss. “Meet me for breakfast tomorrow morning?” she whispered, getting off of Regina and pulling the brunette up with her.

“Eight o’clock?”

“Not a second later,” Emma let out a deep breath, taking a step closer for one last kiss.

Regina could still feel her warm lips against hers after Emma left. When she managed to move and turn around to take the stairs, Henry was leaning on the banister. She sighed.

“I’ll explain everything to you tomorrow-”

“Explain what?”

Regina blinked.

“How long have you been there?”

“Just this second?”

She shook her head, a little relived that he didn’t find out like this.

“Can’t sleep?”

“I needed to pee, then I saw Sheriff Swan kissing you-”

You saw us?” Regina hissed, scandalized with his undisturbed reaction.

“She took you to prom, mom,” he shrugged like it was no big deal. “You think I’m dumb?”

“Are you… okay with this?”

He shrugged again on his way to the bathroom. “She’s cool, she can protect us from anything and you’re always mad because of her. Just like all of my friends’ dads. So why not?”

Regina had no idea if she wanted to laugh or cry. She had raised a sassy dweeb just like herself, and the thought of Emma pointing that out made her chose the first option.

XXX

Emma combed her wet hair as fast as she could, but the knotty mess of curls was not helping her very much.

“When was the last time I combed my hair, for God’s sake…”

She tumbled around the small kitchen table, trying to keep her balance in one foot while she tried to tie the shoe on the other.

She kicked the corner of the kitchen counter, and switched the feet, using the booted one to keep the balance while she cradled the one that was hurt.

“Who needs toenails to life-changing meals, anyway?” she grunted, shoving a toothbrush inside her mouth as she finished the other shoe, limping a little on her way to get the car keys.

She hurried to spit on the sink, and then ran towards her car parked outside.

Emma arrived at Granny’s at 7:59, panting her lungs out of her mouth.

“You showered,” Granny said, scrutinizing her over the rim of her glasses.

“I always shower,” Emma grunted.

“Not what Ingrid used to say. Coffee?”

Emma shrugged off the comment and accepted a mug. She kept staring out the window, jumping on her seat whenever the doorbell rang.

Eight-thirty came, then nine o’clock.

The regulars started to arrive and crowd the diner. Emma threw a five dollar bill on the table and left. When she got to her car, sulking like a child, she heard frenetic breathing and fast steps coming her way.

For a split second she thought it was Regina, but when she lifted her wounded eyes and saw Mary Margaret, Emma just groaned.

“You should really… check your pager,” her friend said, panting.

“Jesus Christ, what happened now?”

“Henry… The Mayor… He died.”

 

Chapter Text

Regina was still absorbing everything that had happened.

It felt like the ground cracked open beneath her feet. It felt like she should have seen it coming. Whenever something majorly happy happened, something twice as dreadful came next. Everything in her life had followed this pattern; why was she deluded thinking happiness came her way without taking something in return?

Her mother was yelling at Dr. Whale when she arrived at the hospital. They had called in the middle of the night. In a state of little consciousness, Regina added a coat to Henry’s pajamas and carried him to the car, where he put on his shoes with his eyes still closed.

She grabbed her purse and ran to the vehicle, driving as fast as she could, noticing she was on her pajamas as well only when they arrived at the hospital.

Her mother was so busy being a bitch with Whale that she didn’t even scold Regina for the outfits. Her father had had a cardiac arrest. They couldn’t bring him back.

Regina exchanged looks with her mother, and then she quietly asked a nurse to watch her sleeping son for a moment.  Cora moved towards her, but Regina gave her back to her, finding solace inside a cubicle in the lady’s bathroom.

She sat on the lid of a toilet and hugged her knees. It was the only way to grieve in peace without her mother ordering that she swallowed the tears. It was the only way to get privacy before the nosy media arrived, led by Sidney Glass and his stupid camera.

Regina sobbed convulsively, her face buried in her arms. Her father had been the only person who understood her, who treated her well, who made her feel safe. He had been her friend, her solid ground and her guardian angel while she still had to live under the same roof as Cora.

And she couldn’t believe he was gone.

She cried in pain, and when it became hard to breathe, the cabin’s door burst open and Emma Swan was there to catch her.

She again.

Regina wished that she could crawl and sneak underneath Emma’s clothes, and that Emma could walk and breathe and live for both of them. She grabbed her shirt, and took in her scent – cigarettes and mint – and she thanked her in silence for not changing at all.

Regina buried her face in the crook of Emma’s neck, still grabbing the front of her shirt with all her might, creasing the fabric with her fingers. The moment she registered Emma’s arms around her, the crack on the ground was fixed and she was no longer falling.

After minutes, or hours maybe, Regina opened her eyes and noticed she was sitting on the floor with Emma, their backs against the cold wall as Emma held her in silence.

When she noticed Regina was back from whatever that was, she straightened up a bit to look at her.

“Hey,” she whispered.

“You came,” Regina muttered.

“I’m sorry I didn’t make it sooner-”

“You’re here now,” the brunette interrupted her, resting her head on her shoulder.

“Can I get you a coffee? A comb?”

Regina chuckled in spite of everything.

“You’re the most annoying shoulder I have ever cried on.”

“Yeah,” Emma smirked and pointed her pajamas. “FYI, I liked it better when you slept naked.”

“Oh, shut up-”

“We should dress you properly or pull a stunt in the corridors so that I can sneak you out with Henry through the back door. The press is already here.”

“I don’t want to get out of here,” Regina sighed. “And I don’t want you to leave.”

Emma nodded. “I’ll ask MM to take Henry home with her, if that’s okay. He’s not really awake, it will be just fine. She’ll be back with clothes for you.”

“So you’ll stay?”

“I’ll stay.”

Regina sighed. “Okay.”

Emma left for about ten minutes, and when she returned, she was holding two Styrofoam cups of coffee. “Here-”

Regina accepted it, and the first sip felt like heaven to her impending sinusitis; the warmth on her face helped a great deal with the throbbing pain. When Emma reached out and held her hand, she merely accepted the gesture in silence. The gentle touch and the sense of her warm skin was pretty much everything Regina needed right now.

It was the only way she could be sure she was still alive and functioning, even with a shattered heart.

“Did you bring a rubber bouncing ball with you?” Regina suddenly asked.

Emma chuckled. “We can make one.”

“Do you carry rubber bands in your pockets? How old are you?”

“No?” the blonde scoffed. “But I can go to the front desk and pick a handful.”

“That’s okay.”

They went silent again. Emma considered a cigarette, but then decided against it. She remembered how suffocating death felt, and she didn’t want Regina feeling like that.

“How did you do it?” Regina asked quietly. “When… When your mom-?”

“Oh, I don’t know… I just wanted to disappear and… I don’t know. It sucked.”

Regina accepted that answer and didn’t bring it up again. Emma adjusted herself against the wall one more time and produced a crumpled clipping from the newspaper and a pencil.

“I’ve been doing it, practicing vocabulary,” Emma shrugged, offering the crosswords to Regina. “I was counting on this to beat you when you came back. I wanted to fight with fancy words to impress you.”

“How sweet of you,” Regina smiled, feeling hot tears burning her eyes and blurring the puzzle on her lap.

“Sorry,” Emma whispered, bringing her closer and kissing her temple. “I’ll shut up about that.”

“No, we… we’ll have to talk about it someday. Just not…”

“Not now. I know. That was insensitive.”

“You’re more sensitive than you think.”

“No, I’m not!” Emma shook her head.

“Yes, you are.”

“Could you not spread that out? I like my reputation.”

“Your secret is safe with me,” Regina sniffled, adjusting against Emma’s body. She started to solve the words and went silent again.

There was a soft knock on the door and then Mary Margaret came in. She was holding a stuffed handbag and a box of donuts.

“Hi,” she whispered, looking around the not so clean bathroom floor, debating with herself if she should sit down or not. She sighed and decided in favor of it after placing the food on the sink. “I had no idea what you’d like to wear, so I grabbed a few options-”

“Thank you,” Regina smiled at her, standing up to go change. She took the handbag and headed to the privacy of the cubicles.

A word outside, please?” Mary Margaret mouthed, gesticulating frantically towards the door.

Emma nodded and turned to the only cabin that was locked. “I’m stepping out for more coffee, okay? I’ll be back in a minute.”

Okay,” said Regina’s muffled voice.

As they walked towards the coffee machine, Mary looked like she was about to combust.

“Okay fine, you’re gonna pop a vein in your head and it won’t be good,” Emma muttered. “What?”

Mary grinned. “She kept your jacket.”

“What?”

“The jacket! The one you told me that you gave her when you took her home after prom! That denim jacket you loved-”

“I know which one,” Emma interrupted her. “But it was probably just sitting there in her old bedroom since that night-”

“It was popping out of one of her bags,” Mary shook her head with a huge smile. “She brought that bag from New York.”

Emma tried to keep a straight face as she absorbed the information.

“Is Henry okay?” she asked instead, pouring coffee into her cup.

Mary sighed. She hadn’t expected that Emma would want to talk about it, anyway.

“David’s watching him. He’s sleeping like a rock.”

“Good. After he wakes up I’ll go get him. He’ll probably want to-”

“Yeah.”

“Thank you for taking him home.”

Mary frowned slightly at Emma’s thoughtfulness, but didn’t comment about it. “No problem, sweetie. So, I’ll take off, make some breakfast for him…”

“Sure,” Emma nodded, heading to the bathroom as she waved at her friend. When she re-entered it, Regina was in front of the mirror, struggling with the zipper of a really sober dress.

“Could you-?” she used her thumb to indicate the back of the dress.

“I shouldn’t,” Emma said with a tentative smile as she approached the brunette. Her fingers trembled slightly when she felt the warm skin on the back of Regina’s neck. She was pretty sure Regina had shuddered under her touch, but hell, that was so not the time to discuss skin reaction.

“Thanks,” Regina smiled, putting on a pair of black shoes. She used her hands to comb her hair and turned to Emma.

The blonde reached out for the handbag. “I was joking, you know. About the comb. Your hair’s fine,” she said quietly.

Regina smiled sadly at her, and suddenly the light air dissipated. The brunette opened her mouth to speak, but Cora Mills burst in, and she frowned when she saw Emma.

“What are you doing here?”

“Mother, don’t!”

“Leave it alone,” Emma muttered, placing one gentle hand on her waist as she walked out. “Call if you need me.”

“Shouldn’t you be at work? Sheriff?” Cora asked disdainfully.

“I decided to take a day off so I can graffiti some walls or deflower innocent young women, Mrs. Mills,” Emma said halfway through the door. “Sorry for your loss, by the way-”

“What a petulant little-”

“You deserved that,” Regina spat, leaving the bathroom with a strut that emanated superiority.

When Cora stepped the corridor, a large group of people was surrounding the brunette, asking questions. The lack of sensitivity was abysmal, but they were the Mills, and they had to show strength even in moments of fragility.

Emma watched Regina being dragged by the small crowd of vultures and the dragon of her mother. She sighed and left the building, heading to the Station.

XXX

On general, the town was in a sad mood, gathering in small groups to talk about the tragic death of Henry Mills. It was from those informal conversations that gossip about Regina taking over as Mayor erupted, and for that reason Emma didn’t even get to see her after she left work.

David arrived at the Station for the night shift and told her that the brunette had been escorted out of the hospital and headed to Town Hall. Emma tried stubbornly and fruitlessly to get to her, but Cora Mills had hired six large men to guard the front of the building, and the only way she could beat them was to run over them with her car.

She didn’t stand a chance to be with Regina if she was sent to prison, so she headed back to MM and David’s.

Henry was eating spaghetti in front of the TV when Emma arrived.

“Hey, kid,” she slumped down next to him. “How you doing? Thanks,” she said to Mary when a plate of food was placed on her lap as well.

“I’m worried about my mom,” he poked a meatball with his fork and bit it. “She mus’ be u’set.”

“Um, she…” she looked at MM and then back at him. “She’s taking care of your grandpa’s stuff, you know. He wanted her to do it instead of the Ev-”

Emma-

“Of your grandmother,” Emma said after clearing her throat. “Your mother is probably gonna be busy for a few days, so-”

“I’ll stay with you?”

Emma didn’t need the little nudge Mary Margaret gave her. She smiled, cleaning a sauce smudge from his cheek, and nodded. “Yeah, kid. Looks like it’s gonna be you and me for a bit.”

“You can’t forget to drive me to school-”

“I won’t forget to do that-

“And you can’t forget to tell me to wash my hands before meals-”

“Why should I remind you about this if you know that already?”

“That’s what mothers do-”

“I’m not-” here Emma shut up before she could finish and be an asshole again. “I’m not gonna be your substitute mom forever, so you’re allowed to skip a few rules with me, kid.”

Henry’s sauce-smudged lips cracked open into a huge smile. “My mom is going to be so mad at you…”

“You can stay here tonight,” Mary told Emma as she did the dishes and the blonde put them back on the cabinets. “Or as long as you want, you know. To adjust.”

“How hard can it be to take care of a ten year old?” Emma chuckled, drying a glass with a piece of cloth. “He doesn’t need me to go to the bathroom, he will definitively complain when he’s hungry… What else?”

“You can’t feed him with pizza every day, you know. He’ll need food. Actual food-”

“Don’t be a party pooper,” Emma ruffled her short black hair. “I can cook, despite what you think. Thanks for dinner.”

“Yeah, sure,” Mary grinned, watching them taking their coats from the hanger behind the door and leaving.

XXX

“Can we pick another movie?”

“I have a TV.”

“Do you have candy bars and soda?”

Emma was about to retort, when she remembered about the contents inside her fridge.

“Fine. We can make a stop at the supermarket, then,” she said with a sigh.

“What about the movie?”

“I need to return the other one, or they’ll block my account.”

“Let’s go to my grandmother’s house and get it.”

“How many stops are we making before I can go home and take a shower, kid?”

“As many as it takes, adult.”

Emma chuckled. What a fucking carbon copy of Regina Mills…

They stopped at 108 on Mifflin Street to get the video. After that, they went to the supermarket, where Henry did most of the food selection, and then they went to the video store to return Jurassic Park and get another movie.

“I wanna watch this,” Henry smacked a video case on Emma’s hand.

She flipped it and read the tittle. Cujo.

“No,” she smacked it back into his hand.

“Yes!”

“You’re ten!”

“You’re thirty!” he raised his eyebrows. “Tell the woman it’s for you!”

“I’m not lying to her because you want to watch a movie that is not suitable for your age!”

“You’re just afraid of my mom-”

“I’m not afraid of your mom-”

“Then why can’t we watch this?”

“Why can’t you pick another one?”

“Fine,” he grunted. “This.”

He pointed at Nightmare on Elm Street.

Emma rolled her eyes. “No. You wait in the car, I’ll pick the movie.”

“But-”

“I’m gonna call your mom-”

He rolled his eyes and got out, stomping hard all the way towards the car so that she could hear it from inside the store. Emma waltzed towards the kid’s session and took the first movie she saw.

“Your son’s cute,” the woman at the counter said.

“He’s not…” Emma made a pause and considered it. “He’s a handful.”

She was really old, and Emma was sure she just pretended to read the clients’ names on the monitor. Everyone in Storybrooke knew her, either from What Happened in ’83 or because she was the Sheriff, and everyone knew she didn’t have a kid.

“They all are,” she put the movie on a plastic bag and passed it over to Emma. “This one’s due to Thursday.”

“Thanks.”

Emma shook her head and left. When she sat behind the steering wheel, Henry quickly reached out for the bag and he scoffed when he read the title. “You’re kidding, right?”

“Why?”

The Lion King? I’m not five!”

“We can watch it twice, if that’s the problem-”

“That’s not funny!”

“Math isn’t funny-”

Then it happened. Henry did that eye roll thing, and twitched his mouth disapprovingly, staring out of the window.

“Just like Regina,” she muttered to herself.

He remained silent.

“C’mon, you’re gonna ignore me forever? What about movie night?”

He let out a deep breath and shrugged.

“Tell you what,” Emma said, watching the road and stealing glances at him. “We’ll watch this one today. If you hate it, you pick the next.”

Henry turned to her, slightly interested. “Fine. But I want to know that long story you didn’t want to tell the other day.”

Emma parked in front of her house and looked carefully at him. “That’s not out for discussion.”

Henry looked out of the window and recognized the house from the picture, even in the dark. He sighed and helped Emma get the paper bags from the car and carry them inside.

“Cool,” he said, looking around as he placed the groceries on the table.

“It was my mom’s.”

“What happened to her?”

“She died.”

“I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay. She was sick, so… She’s not suffering anymore.”

“Do you miss her?”

“Every day,” Emma muttered, putting the soda cans inside the fridge. “So, bathroom’s over there-”

Henry nodded, dropping his small bag on a chair and following the direction she had pointed. Emma searched for clean towels and discovered she had none.

“Fuck,” she grunted, walking back and forth as though this would solve the problem.

Emma?” Henry called.

Fuck. “Yeah?”

I left my towel inside the bag-

A ten year old boy who brought his own towel. Definitively Regina Mills’ son…

She took it for him and started to sort out the food for movie night. It was the first time she was going to watch a rented movie in that living room with someone that wasn’t Ingrid.

When they were both clean and ready, she found out her VCR wasn’t working anymore.

“It was a lousy choice anyway,” Henry shrugged. “Simba’s dad dies.”

“Why didn’t you say so?” Emma asked with a frown, feeling guilty. “I’m so sorry…”

“It’s okay. So… Wanna play some board game?”

“Okay.”

She stood up and dig for games inside her clustered closet and found a few, which she brought back to the living room.

“Naval Battle or Clue?”

“Both.”

They played for hours, and Emma was bitterly ready to admit she had been outsmarted by a ten year boy who was looking very smug and not sleepy at all.

Emma rested her back on the couch and sipped her beer.

Cujo was the first movie I watched with your mom,” she said quietly, avoiding his eyes. “It was our inside joke, you know… We became friends because of an angry dog,” she chuckled, lost in thought. “We were fighting in the middle of the street after school. She was so mad at me… She tried to punch me in class because I teased her, and then we ended up in detention… Anyway… I was wrong, you know? I teased your mom all her life, since we were kids… She just had enough that day. I tried to be nice after detention, and that just pissed her more… Then a dog escaped from a house and… That’s why she has a scar above her lip. The dog got me too, see…” she pulled the sleeve of her shirt to show the dandelion tattoo on her wrist. “I did it to cover the scar. I just wanted to forget.”

When she looked to her side, Henry was sleeping next to her on the couch. Emma sighed. She placed her beer on the coffee table and took him in her arms. She hesitated for a minute, and then she entered her old bedroom.

She placed him gently over the bed, and then she turned on the fish tank light and the air pump. It soothed her when she was young, so she figured it could do the same for him.

When she was at the door, he slowly sat up.

“Emma?”

“Yeah?”

“You’re still in love with my mom, right?”

What?” she sputtered.

“I need help,” he said shrugging. “My mom’s not happy, and I think we could change that.”

“I’m not-”

“Don’t lie. I see the way you look at her. And I watched the prom video back at grandpa’s house. I never saw my mom smiling like that.”

“She wasn’t happier, kid. She was just younger.”

“I saw you kissing her yesterday.”

“Oh.”

“She looked happy like in the video, Emma.”

“Kid, I-”

“You did it once,” he said. “Just… do it again.”

Emma rolled her eyes. She was becoming a softie for that boy.

“I’ll need help.”

Awesome!”

“Alright, alright. Now go to sleep.”

Henry smiled at her. “Good night, Emma.”

She smiled back. “Night, kid.”

Chapter Text

Once again, Regina watched people making altering-life decisions for her. It felt like sitting by a nest of snakes –people hiding behind forced smiles and under the pretense of caring about each other. They did it so easily that it scared her a little.

It was either deal with that or Mr. Gold would automatically take over the place; he had been her dad’s secretary for years along with ruling the school, even though Regina knew he didn’t trust the man. He always told her he kept Gold close to watch him.

Henry Mills loved Storybrooke and its town folks; Mr. Gold loved money, and if Regina didn’t take her father’s place, he would dry Storybrooke out.

With that thought in mind, Regina decided to honor her father’s legacy instead of mourning his loss, a smart move when you had Cora Mills as mother and Mr. Gold as competition. When everyone left convinced that she was going to carry on with Henry’s work, Regina finally could rest her tired back on her chair and think about other pressing matters.

Her father’s funeral.

Her son.

It was around midnight and she was surprise when someone knocked at the door.

“Come in.”

Katherine, her former school friend, popped her head hesitatingly inside the office.

“Regina. Hi.”

Regina blinked at the sight. Katherine had been horrible to Emma back then, and then had acted like Regina’s friend after the incident, keeping her away from everyone under Cora’s orders. They didn’t part ways on good terms, and Regina thought she had a lot of nerve to show up like that, given the circumstances.

“I know it’s not a good time,” Katherine said, reading between the lines of Regina’s silence. “I just wanted to… There’s something bad going on here. I think… I think your father was not a target because he was adored, and if the people suspected someone did anything to him, they would strike back. You just returned, and you have a son – you have weak spots, meaning he has a weapon against you. Let me help you through this.”

Regina chuckled. “You think someone will try to… kill me? Gold? And you are going to help me?”

“I know my track record is for shit,” Katherine sighed, and that was something, because she never cursed. “I just want to make amends. You’ve been through a lot, and I feel indirectly responsible.”

“Oh really?” Regina narrowed her eyes. “Humor me.”

The blonde woman faltered under her scrutiny; Regina Mills was no longer the frightened, innocent girl that Cora so easily manipulated.

“Emma came looking for you that day,” she said quietly. “When your father won the election. I knew you were home. I told her you had left already. Maybe you’d get to say goodbye to her if I didn’t stand in the way.”

Regina’s nostrils flared. It was too much to take in on a two day span. She needed her dad. Everyone had lied, everyone manipulated her.

“Why are you telling me this?” she hissed.

“Because Storybrooke needs you now. I’m not asking you to do it for me. Do it for them. Your friends… your son, Emma-”

“Do not talk about my son, Katherine! Or Emma! You-” she struggled with her words. She was so angry that nothing she said could make it go away. “Get out of my office. Now!”

“I’m sorry for your loss,” the blonde said, leaving the room and closing the door behind her.

Regina closed her eyes and considered it. If Katherine was lying, she was a lot more prepared to deal with her type. If she was telling the truth, Regina had to protect Henry. There was one person that could ensure his safety.

 

Katherine spun around when Regina called out for her. The brunette had followed her outside, and looked dangerously determined.

“You can organize the funeral. Make it classy, like he deserved. If you succeed, you can start working on my campaign. I expect you here tomorrow at nine.”

“You will not regret this,” Katherine smiled, and after waving politely, she left.

Keep your enemies closer, that’s what Henry would tell Regina.

And she would follow his advice, even though he wasn’t there and didn’t actually give her any.

She was exhausted, and she knew it was late, but she had to go see him. Them, if she was being totally honest with herself. When she stopped in front of the Swans’ house, her heart gave a violent jolt as the memories flooded back in.

When she took the front walk, she noticed her knees were trembling slightly.

The porch’s light went on, and Emma Swan emerged from inside the house, wearing old sweatpants and a t-shirt, holding a baseball bat.

“Who’s there-?” she barked, and a second later she recognized the brunette. “Oh, hi,” she said, lowering it.

“I’m sorry to show up so late,” Regina muttered. “I just got rid of that mob, and I wanted to -”

“Of course,” Emma nodded. “Come in-”

The house had not changed in the slightest. It was still small, clustered and cozy, just as if it froze in time to wait for Regina.

 “He’s in my old bedroom,” Emma whispered.

Regina nodded and walked a short distance to get to the doorway. It was because of the fish tank light that she could see her son comfortably sleeping, nested on Emma’s pillow and bedsheets, just as if he always belonged to that place.

Like Regina did.

When she turned around, Emma was in the kitchen making tea.

“My mom used to say that you can’t offer coffee after nine, and if it’s past midnight, you can only pour vodka or tea. As you correctly guessed, I’m out of vodka.”

Regina grinned at her light and amused tone. It seemed Emma would never lose that juvenile air.

“You shouldn’t have bothered. It’s late, and I know you get up early-”

Emma wanted to interrupt her babbling with a kiss, but she had no idea if she should. In the past ten years, she had stayed up all night in many occasions just because she missed Regina and was mad at her, and now it seemed stupid to want to go to bed, because Regina was finally standing there, alone with a child and a funeral to prepare.

Emma placed her hand on top of hers on the table, and that made her stop talking.

“Relax, Mills,” she said softly, and she could’ve sworn Regina blushed. The brunette sipped her tea and looked at Emma. “So, how did the conclave go?”

“It was a nightmare,” she chuckled.

“Are you running for Mayor, now?”

“I didn’t come here with the intention to do that, but it looks like I don’t have much of a choice.”

Emma nodded. “You’ll do fine.”

“You think so?” Regina chuckled miserably. “I have no idea how to handle this.”

“You’re Regina Mills. Of course you can handle this.”

Emma had always pictured Regina dressed up in those fancy attires, like a business woman, and it seemed to her that the career in politics was something natural.

They remained in silence for a long time, until it became too tense.

“Do you wanna go outside?” Emma asked, standing up from her chair. “We can talk in the porch, like… like before. It took me two matches of Clue and ten rounds of Naval Battle to get him to fall asleep-”

Regina only nodded, incredibly touched with her concern for her son. She had always been a single parent, and it was a sort of relief to get some help during that turmoil.

They used to sit on the porch when they were young and Regina didn’t want to go straight home after spending the day with Emma and Ingrid.

They sat down by the old bench, listening to crickets for a long time.

“I missed you,” Regina muttered, and it made Emma turn to look at her. “The way you talked to me… The way you looked… Like I was the most important thing you had.”

Emma was unable to voice her feelings; Regina still was the most important thing, she just wasn’t sure if she could still have her.

“Are you cold?” she asked instead.

Regina nodded, and accepted the arm and the blanket that Emma placed around her shoulders.

“I missed you, too,” the blonde whispered, noticing how Regina softened and huddled against her body.

Emma might have dozed off a few times. However, the bench was too uncomfortable, and she felt a high sense of duty now that Henry and Regina were in her jurisdiction, so to speak. Only when it was dawning she relaxed a little, and woke up startled when she heard footsteps.

She opened her eyes and almost screamed when a pair of light eyes greeted her, accompanied by a boy’s face.

Jesus Christ, kid!” she hissed.

“Wow, she must really like you,” Henry said, unfazed by the reaction, sitting on the porch’s step to tie his shoes. “My mom is a light sleeper. She should’ve been up from the minute I flushed the toilet.”

“She’s tired,” Emma grunted, not wanting to feed her ego with that information. “She got here around one in the morning.”

“Well, if you think that’s the reason,” he shrugged. “What’s for breakfast? I’m starving.”

Emma frowned. “What time is it?”

“Seven thirty. I have to be in school at eight.”

“Holy crap,” she mumbled, moving slightly to the side so that she could look down at Regina. “Hey-”

Regina opened her eyes slowly, and her first reaction was to offer a sleepy smile to the blonde.

“Um. We have an audience here,” Emma said awkwardly.

The brunette sat up straight, noticing her son watching them with that knowing look. It was amazing how alike he was his grandfather without barely knowing him or even being related to him by blood.

“Hi, honey!” she chuckled, and hugged him when Emma stood up from the bench. “Did you sleep well? How was your day at the Nolan’s? Did you obey Emma-?”

The blonde decided to give them privacy as they chatted; she entered her house feeling slightly disoriented. As she changed and brushed her teeth, all she could think about was that she didn’t have a fridge compatible with the small family assembled on her front porch.

“We’re out for breakfast,” she said, getting out of the house as she put on her jacket. Regina looked hesitatingly at her. “C’mon, I’ll drop him off at school and you can go take care of your stuff-”

The ride to Granny’s had been incredibly fast; when they entered the diner, a small group of people turned to look at them.

“You look like those perfect ad families, but really awkward and uptight,” Ruby said, serving coffee for Emma and Regina and then turning to Henry. “What about you, kid? Hot chocolate?”

As he nodded, the tall brunette winked and beckoned him to go help her.

“I thought it would be awkward,” Regina muttered when Henry left.

“She must be in a good mood about something. She will give us shit in no time, don’t worry-”

The doorbell rang and Sergeant Gale barged in, fully dressed in her uniform, wearing her hair into a neat knot on the back of her head. Emma scoffed.

“What?” Regina chuckled. “Can’t stand another hot and muscular woman in the same room as you?”

“Do you think she’s hot?” Emma asked annoyed.

The butterflies in Regina’s stomach started to dance the Conga with that jealous tone.

“She’s not really my type,” Regina shrugged, trying to hide her smile. “But it looks like she’s Ruby’s-”

As Regina mentioned that, Emma noticed her friend flushing like a teenager, dropping several bowls behind the counter. When she squatted to collect them, Henry started to interrogate the fire fighter like he usually did, and she was being absolutely adorable with him.

Emma scoffed again. “I think Ruby forgot how that bully used to steal her lunch back in fourth grade-“

“Isn’t it a small ironic world?” Regina said amused. “A bully that suddenly falls in the good graces of their victim-”

“I never stole your food,” Emma grunted, avoiding Regina’s eyes.

The brunette only smiled. She couldn’t tell for sure if Emma hated Dorothy Gale for the simple fact of hating her or if that had anything to do with Ruby. Considering she didn’t know about their fling until now, Regina assumed it was some kind of old school feud.  

“She’s gonna marry you for the food, you know,” Emma grunted to Ruby when she returned to their table with Henry’s hot chocolate and a variety of pastry for them. “That huge-”

“Yeah, she apologized for that,” Ruby snickered. “And for stealing your Mickey Mouse lunch bag, too.”

Regina wanted to jump on Emma’s arms as she blushed and looked adorable like a child. So it was an old feud over a Disney lunch bag.

They ate in silence and then Emma grumpily insisted on paying for breakfast. She didn’t say goodbye to Ruby – who wouldn’t notice anyway, because she was too distracted by Sergeant Gale – and she didn’t say a word to Regina as they walked towards her car.

They dropped Henry at school, and Regina was glad that Mary Margaret was waiting for him outside – it was his first day, and the brunette had never missed a first day before. She kissed the top of his head and told MM to call her directly at the Mayor’s office in case anything happened.

“Call her if you can’t reach me,” Regina added in undertone, indicating Emma inside the car.

“He’ll be fine here, don’t worry,” Mary grinned. “But I’ll make sure I’ll call if he needs his moms… mom,” she corrected herself as she shook her head awkwardly. “Or… the Sheriff.”

“Thank you, MM,” Regina couldn’t help smiling at the Freudian slip.

“I’ll pick him up, if you’re busy later,” Emma muttered after a while, parking in front of Town Hall.

Regina sighed. “I’m giving you too much trouble-”

“Just until the dust settle,” Emma shrugged. “I don’t have anything to do anyway.”

The brunette observed her sulking while she visibly tried to be sweet, and that was another ‘Mickey Mouse lunch bag’ sort of cute.

“Do you want to come inside for a minute? My first appointment is only at nine, and I have a few minutes.”

“Fine.”

Emma followed her, trying not to look too much at her ass, but Jesus Christ, it would be easier to have her eyes removed. When they were inside Henry Mills’ office, Regina folded her arms.

“So. This grumpy face is because Ruby has someone new?”

Emma rolled her eyes. “You said she was hot!”

“And I said she was not my type!”

“Who’s your type, then?”

It wasn’t a secret that they had always loved to provoke each other before turning the fight into a passionate make out session. It wasn’t a secret that things were only growing hotter and angrier, and that was not helping Emma to keep her hands to herself.

“I like the idiots,” Regina said impatiently, and that was the moment Emma forgot all about her resolve to wait until they talked.

She pinned the brunette to the wall with a loud thud, smacking her hands above her head as she claimed her lips violently. Regina cupped her face as she responded equally desperate for contact and friction.

Emma heard the distant sound of something large and expensive crashing on the floor, and she caught a breathy oh dear with her lips as Regina noticed what was broken. Their kiss deepened as the last century vase lay shattered by their feet.

The blonde ran her hand up Regina’s thigh, lifting the hem of her dress along the way, stopping when her thumb was hooked around the elastic of the brunette’s underwear. Regina gasped, buckling her hips, demanding more contact.

Emma pushed her harder against the wall and they hit the furniture; a lampshade spun around and crashed, too. Emma chuckled with the feat, and received a painful bite on her lower lip as punishment.

Before she could complain, Regina reached down for her underwear, rolling it down her legs and breaking the kiss for a moment to kick it under the desk. Emma groaned, sliding her hand between her legs as the other reached behind Regina’s dress to unzip it.

The second her brain registered how wet the future Mayor was, Katherine barged in the office.

“Good morning, Regina, I… Oh, sorry!” she exclaimed, jumping back and almost tripping. “I didn’t know you-”

Emma growled under her breath, removing her hands from the incredibly hot body in front of her. She looked down at Regina; her green eyes were loaded with lust and frustration.

“See you later,” she whispered, pulling away from Regina and passing by Katherine angrily.

Both women clearly heard her hiss something nasty on her way out - something that was definitively not taught at the Lady Bugs of Storybrooke Etiquette Classes Regina and Katherine attended together when they were ten.

“She elbowed me,” Katherine said incredulously.

“You are early,” Regina said, sitting down composedly as she tried to hide her panties under the carpet with the tip of her shoe.

“I figured I should start off on your good books, but Jesus. I would’ve waited if I knew.”

Regina offered her a cynical smile. “You can start now, by cleaning this mess,” she pointed the shattered porcelain behind her chair.

“Fine,” Katherine nodded with a discreet eye roll. “Tell the Sheriff to stop elbowing people. We’re not in high school anymore.”

“You should start knocking, dear. Now, less whining, more sweeping.”

Regina sighed as she watched the Sheriff through the window. She seemed a lot angry when she slammed the door of her car and drove away. She felt guilty for the unattended waves of pleasure rolling around her abdomen; she had a funeral to plan, a dead parent to mourn, and a ten year old boy to take care of, but all she craved was Emma Swan between her legs for five more minutes.

Katherine re-entered the office with a stack of folders after collecting the broken china. She silently split it in two on top of Regina’s desk.

“I have three pre-approved funeral services here,” she pointed the first pile. “And three campaign slogans and line of action here,” she tapped the second one. “If you dislike all of them, I’ll bring you three more of each.”

Regina waited until she was gone to open the first file. The mention of a coffin, flowers and catering menu made her sick. She flipped it shut and decided to make Katherine decide. She moved to the files regarding her campaign. The last proposition was the only one she had liked – it counted on heavy support from local figures of authority such as the Sheriff, meaning she would get to see Emma on regular basis even if she won and became an extremely busy person.

She buzzed Katherine’s intercom. The blonde was by her desk in two seconds, with a cup of coffee and a note pad.

“I can’t really decide what to do about the funeral. Pick what you think is best,” she said rubbing her eyes. “As for the campaign… I chose the third option.”

Katherine smirked.

Regina knew she probably spent the night doing all of that, but she was not ready to give in and compliment her good job – she still was too smug and arrogant.

“That would be all for now,” she said with a dismissive tone, accepting the coffee and waving her off.

The smirk disappeared and her shoulders fell slightly, but she didn’t cave either. She nodded politely and closed the door behind her as she left.

XXX

Around four o’clock, Emma parked in front of the school building.

She avoided looking at the brick walls and the benches out of habit; she had some good and happy memories from school, after all.

The bell rang and an avalanche of children burst out the doors and down the front steps. She watched them hurry towards the buses or their bicycles, and it reminded her of the days they rode to school squeezed inside the GTI.

A few months ago her old car stopped working, and now Killian held it hostage in his shop, trying to make it rumble again. It had been four months already, and Emma was starting to lose hope. Not to mention she grew fond of the yellow bug – an indulgence from her friend, who found it unclaimed on the streets and refurbished it without the pretension of ever selling it – until Emma needed a new car.

MM showed up at the front doors with Henry. She spotted the Bug and led the boy towards it.

“Hey!”

“Hi there,” Emma waved, reaching out to open the door for him. “How’s first day?” she asked him, then looked up at her friend.

“It was cool,” Henry said, hiding behind a comic book on the back seat.

“You need a ride?” Emma asked MM, who promptly sat down on the passenger seat.

“Do you mind? Thanks! I would walk home, but I’m preparing a surprise for David, you know. So, yeah, I’m in a bit of a hurry-”

Emma refrained from grimacing. David had already mentioned that they were trying to get pregnant and that today was the first day of MM’s fertile cycle. Whatever he said after that, Emma was no longer listening.

Her friends were disgusting.

“Yeah, yeah, no problem,” she said with an awkward smile. Usually she would drive as fast as she could to get rid of her friend, but today she had Henry. She was sure MM would not mention anything regarding her sex life while there was a child inside the car.

They dropped her off – Emma was sure she was disappointed for not telling the details – and then they drove to her house again. Henry was oddly quiet even though he looked really comfortable around Emma.

“What do you want for dinner?”

“Whatever you pick,” he said with a shrug, moving to Emma’s old bedroom.

The blonde struggled for a moment, and then decided against it. Whatever it was that happened in school was not her problem. After pacing in the kitchen for a moment, she walked towards the bedroom.

He looked up at her as she lingered by the doorway. He seemed so closed up that she didn’t even try to force the truth out of him.

“Are you gonna use the bathroom?” she asked instead.

Henry shook his head no.

“Huh. Okay. I’m gonna-” she pointed over her shoulder, feeling stupid.

He shrugged again.

“Alright, what’s the beef?” Emma asked, rolling her eyes and plopping down by the foot of the bed.

“Nothing.”

“Kid.”

Henry looked up at her, and now he really seemed upset. “Some people in my class made fun of you and my mom. They said… They said you are my… dad. Because you’re-”

“What? Dykes? That’s the word they used?” Emma asked with a chuckle, folding her arms in a relaxed attitude. “Next time they annoy you, ask them if that’s the best they can do and walk away. Don’t fuel the fire and they’ll leave you alone.”

“What if they don’t?”

Emma considered it. She could teach him to pick up fights and punch, but that didn’t sound like something Regina would approve. On the other hand, he would be with her only for a few more days, and then he was no longer her responsibility.

But then she remembered about the promise she made to him.

And she wanted Regina back.

For that reason, she spoke out before she could think about how it would come out. “Tell them your dad will kick their asses.”

Henry laughed, and that sound made her heart flutter.

“Okay, I’m gonna go shower,” Emma said. “You get a free pass today if you want.”

“I won’t tell my mom, I promise,” he positively beamed.

“Get the Chinese place phone on the fridge and order some Sheriff Swan’s special. They’ll know what to deliver.”

She closed the bathroom’s door as she heard him dialing.

“Wow,” she breathed.

She said she was his dad.

Fuck.

So much for fueling other people’s fire, Swan…

XXX

It was around nine when Regina arrived. She felt that she needed a shower even more than she needed food, and when she saw Henry with his school bag packed and ready to go, she felt a tug of gratitude towards Emma that she could barely contain that weird compulsion to throw herself into her arms.

However, the blonde kept her arms folded against her chest as she leaned on the wooden column of her porch.

Regina waited until Henry was inside the car to speak.

“This is not your responsibility, and if you don’t want to do this anymore-”

“Some kids picked on him in school today,” Emma interrupted her, trying to hide her anger towards mere school boys. “You have to go talk to MM. If you don’t want to, I will.”

The urge to kiss the blonde intensified, but the walls she had lifted around her muscular body were so visible that Regina was forced to focus on the matter at hand.

“Was it about… us?”

“Yeah,” Emma grunted. “I don’t want him to suffer like you did because of me-”

Screw the walls.

Regina pulled her to a gentle kiss, and Emma finally gave up on the cold and distant façade.

“Thank God you’re still here for me,” Regina whispered, pulling away and walking backwards to her car with a discreet smile on her lips. “I promise you I’ll talk to Mary, and I promise you we will… finish that. Someday.”

“Someday,” Emma repeated to herself as the black Mercedes disappeared around the corner.

Chapter Text

Two days ago, Regina wished that the funeral was over and done with.

At the moment, she wished she could go back in time so that she didn’t have to say good bye to her Dad.

Curiously, it was raining. Her father loved rainy days. And he would have loved if he knew that the whole town put their lives on hold for a moment to bid him farewell under the light rain.

She sat on the front row of chairs disposed on the lawn, Henry and her mother occupying the chairs on each side of her, the three of them holding umbrellas. Someone started to play trumpet and a sad song filled the air of the Thursday morning; tears pooled in her eyes, but it was the sight of Emma that made her let them go.

She blinked carefully, her eyes heavy with mascara, allowing thick tears to roll down her cheeks.

Emma was wearing a black suit and some sort of fedora hat with Storybrooke’s coat of arms along five other officers, Sergeant Gale included, and the six of them walked down the aisle carrying Henry Mills’ coffin.

Emma’s smug expression was not there; the lines on her face looked harsh, and it seemed like Emma was carrying and burying her own father. After the march came to an end and all the officers halted in line, Cora Mills stood up for her speech.

Coming from her, it sounded cold and impersonal, especially to Regina, who wished she had strength to go up there and talk about her dad like he deserved. Her heart turned into a puddle when Emma took a hesitant step forward and then retreated, failing to gather the courage to say goodbye under the scrutiny of so many eyes, including Cora’s narrowed ones.

She had a crumpled piece of paper in her gloved hand, and it contained words she probably scribbled with a concentrated frown, biting her lower lip.She used to do that when they did homework together. Even if she didn’t stand up the podium and read it, it meant the world to Regina.

To the brunette’s surprise, her son got up from his chair and walked towards Emma and the other officers. Cora scoffed something under her breath when her grandson pulled the Sheriff by the hand and made her sit on the front row with them. Uncomfortably, Emma took the chair next to him and stared longingly at Regina.

The brunette squeezed her lips into a sad smile, feeling just a little braver because of Emma Swan and her awkward silence. She knew the blonde would forget manners and restraints if Regina needed her in any way during the funeral.

As the priest made his very long sermon, she looked around. She spotted, among the large mass of black, MM and David, Katherine on the opposite row, Ruby and Granny on the back, and even Killian, who had one arm around Ruby’s shoulders as both paid attention to the priest.

When that nightmare was over, the crowd slowly started to dissipate and move towards their parked vehicles. Many stayed behind a little longer to shake hands with Cora and Regina. The brunette was then pushed inside a limo that drove them to Town Hall, where a small reception was happening thanks to Katherine’s efficiency.

Even Cora couldn’t point a flaw about the service. Regina looked out for Emma, but the blonde had simply disappeared, and she wondered if she ever made it to Town Hall.

XXX

With her hands in her pockets, Emma took careful steps towards a small grave. She looked down at the inscription.

JAMES AND INGRID SWAN

BELOVED PARENTS

“Hey guys,” she said with a forced smile, squinting at the raindrops that hit her in the face even though she had kept the hat. “She’s back, mom. Like you said she would,” Emma chuckled. “You were such an arrogant smart ass who knew everything, huh? Thank you for not letting me throw her letters away. Be nice to Mr. Mills up there, okay? And tell dad Killian will get his GTI to work again.”

XXX

Days would come and go in a blur. After enduring press conferences that lasted an eternity, Regina realized the election was over and she had become the new Mayor.

However, her plan had backfired greatly as far as Emma was concerned. Even though the blonde had helped a lot, not only with her campaign but also with Henry, they seemed to be always so busy that time alone was limited, and that was frustrating her to no end.

It didn’t help that now she saw Emma exercising every morning, all sweaty in the streets of Storybrooke, stuck in gym clothes that were more revealing than not.

What she didn’t know was that Emma ran because she was desperate; otherwise she would start punching people because she was sexually frustrated.

And the cranky mood didn’t stop there.

Council meetings were an absolute nightmare. Regina was always stuck between her mother and Mr. Gold, while David and Emma took the seats right in front of her. Sometimes Emma would give her a dirty wink across the table or pass her a note, just as if they were still in school; sometimes, she would naturally provoke Cora by contradicting everything she said, until the woman snapped and banned Emma from the session.

Sometimes they managed to grope each other and kiss frantically for a few minutes against Regina’s car while Henry fetched his backpack inside Emma’s house.

The boy was doing a nice work for a ten year old. To help Emma and his mom, he would categorically refuse to stay with Cora while Regina was at work, and that left Emma as the only person who managed to entertain him, feed him and force him to take a shower after school. By doing that, he made sure his mom would get to see Emma every day after work.

Emma noticed that becoming Mayor had hardened the brunette. She was frequently irritated and yelling at frightened people, and sometimes even Henry complained about her being too cross. As time went by, Emma felt like she was a mere voice in the back of Regina’s head – a voice she never sounded too pleased to hear over the phone, especially when it regarded business.

“Tell mom that I love her, and please don’t give up,” Henry said, pecking her on the cheek before he climbed on the bus for his first field trip with his class. “I’ll think about something on the way to the museum, Ma.”

Henry’s eyes went wide and he blushed. Emma knew it had slipped out, but it didn’t stop her from feeling her chest inflate like a balloon. She reached out and ruffled his hair.

“I’ll miss you, kid,” she said with a proud smile. “Have fun and come back in one piece,” then she ran towards the back of the bus to follow him as he made his way to his seat. “I… kid, I-”

She never got to finish that, because she couldn’t. What the hell was she doing, saying she loved him?

Henry grinned as the bus drove away, and Emma thought he was starting to grin like she did.

She could see traces of her expression on his face more often than not, and even though it was crazy and impossible, she was happy about it. She got inside the Bug with a goofy smile and drove all the way back to the Station in excellent mood.

“What are you so giddy about?” Regina asked when she entered, placing her hands on her hips. “Does it mean you finished paperwork?”

Emma blinked in surprise. Regina never went to the Station. David looked helplessly at her, and judging by the shade of crimson on the tips of his ears, Regina had already lectured him about paperwork, too. He stood up, grabbed his coat and went out to answer his pager.

“Madam Mayor,” he muttered to Regina on his way.

She was watching Emma with narrowed eyes when the blonde turned back to her. “Well?”

“Well what?”

Regina sighed in frustration, sitting on top of David’s desk. Emma had to make unhuman effort to keep her eyes on her face instead of her thighs on that fucking pencil skirt.

“Was he upset that I wasn’t there to say goodbye?” she asked, her voice a bit stuck with all the pride she seemed to be swallowing. “I just got rid of my mother and Katherine-”

“He was okay, Regina,” Emma rolled her eyes and slumped down her chair. “It’s not like he went to the Moon or anything. And he said he loves you.”

Regina smiled to herself as she observed Emma go over her files like she didn’t have a concern in the world.

“So, how’s work? Are you busy?”

Emma didn’t take her eyes off the paper. “What do you want?”

Regina slid off David’s desk and sat down on top of Emma’s instead.

“I hate that I have to be harsh with you in front of David,” she said with a sigh of defeat. “But I am your boss, now, and it cannot look like I’m favoring you.”

“You’re not,” Emma rolled her eyes. “Trust me.”

Regina sighed, unable to hold back the grin that insisted on cracking her lips.

“Don’t be like that. I’ve been busy, and so have you.”

 The blonde smirked. “You like treating me like that.”

“I thought it turned you on.”

“It does,” Emma breathed heavily. “So please stop. We’re busy.”

“I’m just trying to relax a little. My office is a pandemonium. The phone won’t stop ringing and Katherine panics all the time now because of the letters-”

“What letters?” Emma interrupted her with a serious frown.

“Some imbecile is trying to intimidate me by sending me letters with insults,” she scoffed, massaging the back of her neck. “Katherine acts like there’s a bomb inside every envelope. And my mother’s being my mother. The usual. And I just wanted some, you know-”

Emma got up from her chair so that she could stand in front of the brunette. “I’m not your boy toy.”

Regina hooked a manicured finger around her belt loop and pulled her closer. She could have sworn she heard Emma’s erratic breathing intensify as her green eyes fell upon Regina’s carmine mouth and the small lipstick detour around her scar.

“Are you saying you wouldn’t love to fuck me on top of your desk? And clap a hand around my mouth so no one can hear me moan your name?”

Emma’s inside turned into horny mush when her throaty voice entered her ears, her warm breath licking the sensitive spot on her neck. She grabbed the brunette around the waist and pulled her towards the adjacent locker room where she and David kept their personal belongings and exercised on rainy days.

“Since when did you turn into a manipulative bitch, Madam Mayor?” Emma grunted, claiming her way between Regina’s legs and kissing her rudely against the metal lockers. That was not how Emma had idolized it, but Regina was making her life a living hell with those hissed words and that bossy attitude every time they met.

She now managed to make Emma angrier and – surprise – hornier.

“If David comes back, you’ll fire him,” Regina hissed against Emma’s shoulder as the blonde lifted her with surprising ease on top of the sink. “And if you don’t fire him-” she gasped when Emma removed her underwear and lifted her skirt “I’ll fire you -”

Emma unbuckled her belt and lowered her pants down to her knees, pulling Regina against her own naked hip.

“Fire me,” Emma said with a devilish smirk. “Let’s see if the next Sheriff will take your bullshit like I do-”

“You’re not even going to put up a fight?” Regina glared at Emma. “You don’t care if I get another Sheriff?”

“You’re not going to do that,” the blonde snarled, pressing herself against slick, hot flesh.

Regina’s answer to her cocky assumption combined with the movement was a strangled moan of surprise.

“I’m glad we settled that,” Emma hissed, leaning in for another kiss, when the door burst open.

“Oh. Dear. God. My eyes!” Sergeant Gale barked. “My eyes!”

Emma pulled her pants up and turned around to cover Regina. The woman had a thick folder on her hands and she was using it to cover her eyes.

“What the fuck do you want?” Emma growled, panting.

“I came to hand the paperwork from the Fire Department,” Dorothy said, sounding absolutely amused. “Katherine said I would find Miss Mills here, but I didn’t… Crap! Get a room!”

“Leave it on my desk and get out!”

“The image of your ass is sewn to my brain, Swan-”

Emma turned back to Regina with her eyes narrowed. “Are you gonna fire her?”

“No,” Regina chuckled. “I like the way she gets to your nerves. You look cute all angry. It turns me on.”

The blonde groaned.

“Do you need extra incentive?” she whispered.

She hated that parochial town and the way everyone just burst inside any room without knocking.

Regina slid down the sink and pulled her underwear back. Emma wanted to tell her how she really felt, but she knew Regina didn’t have time for that anymore.

She was the Mayor, now. She had a son. She had an evil bitch for a mother, and the few stolen minutes she got to stay with Emma, she tried to get the blonde in her pants.

Years ago, Emma would laugh at herself for wanting to talk instead of having sex, but years ago she was just an angry idiot in love.

Now, she was in love all over again. And she was falling in love with Regina’s son. And she was falling in love with the idea of taking care of them both.

“Fine, you want to be respectful now,” Regina said with a sigh. “How about dinner first, then?”

“You’re asking me out on a date?” Emma scoffed, buckling her belt. “Do you have time for that?”

“I will make room for you in my schedule,” the brunette reached out for her hand. Emma didn’t look convinced, and Regina didn’t blame her. “I will.”

Emma’s lips cracked into a weak smile. “On the meantime, feel free to come more often to the Station to yell at me.”

“I will find a way to do that, too, Sheriff Swan,” Regina winked, and she left the bathroom without looking back. If she looked, she would catch Emma ogling her ass.

Some things never changed.

XXX

It was late in the afternoon when the school bus turned around the corner and stopped by the school parking lot.

Regina pretty much jumped out of her Mercedes to go meet her son. She had been worried all day about him going away like that, and even though Emma had dismissed the topic, she felt guilty for not being there to say goodbye.

He came running towards her, and the minute he dove into her embrace, her world was at peace again.

“It’s so good to see you, honey!” she smiled, opening the door for him. “How was your trip? Did you have fun?” Regina turned to the backseat as she took her place behind the steering wheel.

“Yeah, it was awesome. We got to see dinosaur bones! They’re huge!”

“Oh I bet they were!” she nodded, loving his enthusiasm. Kids were amazing. Months ago he was acting like the Grinch because he didn’t want to leave New York, and now he was just a really happy child again. “I’m so sorry I couldn’t come to drop you-”

“That’s okay, mom. Emma was here,” he said casually, just as if he was referring to another parent. “She made sandwiches.”

“Oh!” Regina nodded. “She did, huh?”

Henry looked up at last, and he met his mother’s eyes through the rear view mirror. “She’s awesome, mom.”

She felt that old pang in her heart when she noticed a sweater poking out of his school bag. He would never agree to take one to a school trip on a sunny day if it was her telling him to. “You do like her, don’t you?”

“Why wouldn’t I? She let me pick everything I want when we go to the grocery store.”

Regina smiled at the picture of Emma pulling the cart behind her overly excited son. “You go a lot to the grocery store with her,” she pointed out.

“That’s because she always buy food when I stay,” Henry laughed, turning his eyes back to his comic book. “Her fridge is always empty.”

Regina felt her heart sink to her stomach, and now she understood her father completely.

Back then, she was too young and too resentful to comprehend why her father helped the Swans. Emma was a bully and Regina hated her.

Now, she had a child who was in love with Emma Swan, and she could not bear the idea of him witnessing his allegedly ‘friend’ struggling like that to make a living. And suddenly an idea occurred to her.

“Why don’t we invite Emma for dinner sometime? She’s helping us a lot when she takes care of you.”

Henry grinned from ear to ear. “She’s gonna love it, mom!”

Regina smiled. “How can you be so sure?”

He considered her question. “She looks happy around you. Can’t you tell?”

She felt the old butterflies fluttering inside her chest. She could tell, and that scared her a little. Things had gone horribly wrong the last time, and she had become guarded now, especially because of Henry.

She had been to a few dates back in New York, but it never got to the point of introducing anyone to her son.

Emma met her son first, to save his life, and he had fallen for her just like that.

It was always like that with Emma. Perfectly complicated.

And the fact that her son adored her was even more aggravating. Regina wasn’t sure if she could survive another heartbreak, but she was sure she couldn’t stand her son getting hurt in case things went wrong.

When they entered the mansion, Cora called them from the kitchen.

“There you are,” she grinned, and to Regina’s surprise, she hugged Henry. “How was your trip?”

“Um… It was nice, grandma.”

“Well, that is good. To spend time with other people of your own age and… lifestyle.”

Regina gritted her teeth. Aside from Town Hall business, they weren’t talking much since she discovered her mother had orchestrated her humiliation and the break up with Emma when they were younger. And now her mother dared to point out Henry spent too much time with the blonde, like she was improper company.

“It’s also good to have an adult supervising him when I’m working,” she spat back. “It was Emma who drove him to school this morning and packed his bag with snacks and a sweater.”

Cora’s lips cracked into a poisonous smile. “She wouldn’t have to, if you could just be responsible and married a decent man to assist you.”

Regina saw Henry open his mouth to retort; she placed a hand on his shoulder and shook her head ‘no’ just in time. He got her message, but he didn’t look satisfied with his grandmother, who was watching them curiously now.

“I don’t want my mom to get married, grandma,” Henry said in a polite tone. “I want Emma to stay with me.”

Regina didn’t like one bit the odd light in her mother’s face. Cora sat down on a stool to face her grandson.

“You like Sheriff Swan, don’t you, Henry?”

“Yes, I like her,” he said. “Did you know she made dinner for me with Mrs. Nolan helping her over the phone? And she can fix VCRs.”

Cora turned to Regina with a malicious glint in her eyes. “Charming, no? I’m sure those qualities would be indispensable to raise a child properly-”

“Why don’t we invite her for dinner tomorrow?”

Cora and Regina snapped their necks at the same time to look at Henry, and to their surprise, he was looking at Cora.

“You want to invite Emma Swan to… eat here? With us?” she looked up at Regina on the last part.

“Yes.”

Regina held her breath, anticipating an outburst of evil laughter.

She was astonished when her mother nodded at him. “Sure. Tell Sheriff Swan to be here tomorrow at seven,” she looked at Regina. “You can prepare your lasagna, dear. I’m sure the Sheriff will love it.”

Whatever casual conversation Henry and her mother slipped in next, Regina did not take part. Her brain was working fast, and her heart was working faster. Cora Mills never did anything without an ulterior motive, and she was terrified.

That was a bad idea.

XXX

“This is a bad idea,” Emma said when Regina came to her house to pick Henry the next day. It had been the first thing Henry said when he got inside the car after school.

“I know it does.” Regina sighed, staring down at her shoes. She heard Emma take a step closer.

“Are your mother okay with this?” the blonde asked hesitatingly. “Henry told me she agreed, but…”

“She did,” Regina nodded. “I understand if you don’t want to come. And I really don’t blame you for that.”

Emma watched her intently. She said she understood, but she looked blatantly disappointed. Sometimes Regina forgot to be the Mayor in front of Emma, and sometimes her walls weren’t there, and Emma could read her like a book.

“Regina?”

The brunette looked up, because she could count the times Emma called her ‘Regina’. Emma had a small smirk on her lips.

“I’ll be there.”

“You… will?”

“And miss the chance to piss off your mother? Do you even know me, Mills?”

Regina chuckled. “Please don’t honk when you get there.”

“Party pooper.”

“Emma.”

Henry hurried outside adjusting his backpack, and he patted Emma’s arm. “Don’t forget what I told you.”

Regina frowned, and turned to the blonde when he was in the car. “What did he tell you?”

“To wash my hands before dinner, because Cora’s into that stuff.”

“That stuff is called basic hygiene, and it’s not just my mother who’s into that.”

“Dweeb.”

Regina grinned. “Don’t be late.”

Emma waved goodbye, and she felt a pang in her chest even though she would see them in two hours.

XXX

Emma’s smile fell when Cora opened the door.

“Good evening, Sheriff,” she said, looking down at the arrangement of red roses in Emma’s hand. “You made it on time. Come in.”

“Thanks,” she muttered, cleaning her feet on the doormat before getting inside.

“Have a seat,” the older woman pointed at the living room. “Regina will come shortly. Would you like to drink something?”

“Um… beer? Do you have… um, beer?”

“Beer it is,” Cora offered a smile that didn’t reach her eyes and disappeared into the kitchen. Henry sprung downstairs and plopped down on the couch next to her.

“Hey!” he grinned. “Wow,” he nodded at her outfit. “You look cool when you’re not being Sheriff. Mom will like it.”

“Hey, kid,” Emma chuckled, feeling her face turn red. She was wearing jeans and boots, and the only fancy item she found in her wardrobe was a shirt with diamond patterns that she wasn’t sure if belonged to her dad or to her mom. And she had moistened her neck with a modest amount of perfume. And combed her hair.

“I think the plan is working. Mom’s cooking for you. She never cooked again after we moved here.”

“It would be wonderful if she kept the habit,” Cora said, entering the living room with a beer in her hand. “If she got married, she could leave politics and take care of her house like I did. Don’t you think, Sheriff Swan?”

“Don’t I think what?”

Cora blinked. “Don’t you think she should stop working like a… husband? She’s never home, and it forces Henry to stay with you who, with all due respect, is not his parent.”

“With all due respect, weren’t you who forced her to take over as Mayor?” Emma asked politely, sipping her beer carefully.

“Still a smart mouthed kid, aren’t we, Sheriff?” Cora grinned unpleasantly. “I wanted her to feel what it’s like to be a single parent with a job. I was hoping she would come to her senses and find someone decent to replace her so that she could watch her son.”

Emma clenched her fists with the insinuation. “My mom raised me just fine without anyone helping her, and I turned out okay. I’m cool, right?” she asked Henry, winking at the boy.

“She’s very cool, grandma,” he nodded, turning to Cora. “She’s the coolest person in this town.”

Cora offered another forced smile and stood up. “I’ll go check on my daughter. Excuse me.”

Emma drank furiously when she left, and her stomach boiled with anger. Her face felt hot, and she was about to apologize to Henry and leave, when Regina showed up in the doorway, clad in a gray dress and black stilettos.

Emma stood up quickly from the couch, and her impulse to run disappeared. She offered her the flowers.

“Thank you,” Regina grinned, and turned to Henry. “Would you find a pot with water for them, sweetie?”

The second he left the room, her crimson lips were on Emma’s, and dinner with Cora Mills started to feel just bearable, at last…

XXX

“How do you like the lasagna, Sheriff?” Cora asked.

Emma lifted her eyes from her plate, from where she was voraciously eating, and she tried to swallow everything she had on her mouth to answer.

“It’s delicious,” she choked.

“I can tell,” the woman nodded arrogantly.

Regina didn’t even pay attention to her mother. She couldn’t stop watching Emma and loving her even more. No one had eaten that lasagna with so much enthusiasm before, and it was adorable.

“I’ll never be happy again with frozen lasagna from a box, now,” Emma added, looking briefly at Cora and then landing her green, warm eyes on Regina.

“Maybe it’s time you find a husband for yourself, too. It’s an incentive to learn how to cook.”

“Oh, I would never do that,” Emma chuckled. “We’re not in the fifties anymore. Besides-”

Cora ignored her and turned to Regina, who was laughing.

“Speaking of husband, do you know who I ran into the other day? Mrs. Locksley.”

Regina’s smile disappeared. “Mother-”

“She said Robin’s building a career in business in Los Angeles. Wouldn’t it be great if we moved to the beach?”

“Mother-”

“I’m just saying, Regina. You can’t be serious if you intend to settle for… Storybrooke,” she said pointedly. “This town has nothing else to offer to a woman with your potential. Another slice, dear?” she turned to Emma, picking the spatula and offering another serving of lasagna.

“No, thank you,” Emma muttered, avoiding her eyes as she cleaned her lips with a napkin. “Thank you for dinner, I… I think I should go, now.”

“Emma…”

“Bye, kid,” she smiled sadly at Henry and left the room, slamming the front door on her way out.

“Oh well, that was rude,” Cora shook her head, and continued to eat as if nothing had happened. As Regina stood up too, she scoffed. “Sit down.”

“Shut up, mother,” she snarled, and Cora started at her, baffled. The brunette turned to Henry. “Please, go to your room, honey.”

He had never seen his mother looking so mad. He was still getting to know the Mayor side of her, but she never looked like that before.

Henry didn’t dare disobey her, and he had time to hear a bit of yelling before he closed the door.

XXX

Emma was on her couch, kicking her boots as far as she could without breaking anything. She dragged her cigarette deeply, filling her lungs, feeling her heart rate increase. Her hands were shaking.

She hated that woman.

God, she hated Cora Mills with every fiber of her being.

She undid the first buttons of her shirt and let her hair cascade free from the ponytail. She was tired of being humiliated by that woman. She was tired of feeling helpless when it came to the Mills.

She had to stop seeing Henry. She had to stop being delusional, thinking they were co-parenting a child that wasn’t even hers. She had to stop.

She grabbed the last beer from the fridge and popped it open. Emma had time to enjoy the first sip, until she heard a door knock.

Emma?

The blonde rolled her eyes. She pretended she didn’t hear Regina, so she plopped on the couch again and decided to wait until she gave up and left.

But Regina didn’t give up. She marched inside the house angrily, and when Emma marched up to confront her, she noticed the brunette had two plates covered in tinfoil on her hands, and she recognized the smell of lasagna.

“Stop with the charity, okay? I’m not starving, no matter what your mother said to you!”

“I made it before you arrived! It’s not an apology! I just wanted to thank you for taking care of my son!”

“I don’t care!”

Emma!”

“What?”

“Please tell me that you care,” she whispered, and when Emma looked at her, her brown eyes were pleading. “Let’s get Henry, and pack, and leave-”

Emma sighed. She walked to Regina and took the plates from her hands. She placed them carefully on her coffee table and held Regina’s shoulders.

“Listen to me. We can’t. You have responsibilities. You have a wonderful son who needs you. Stop running away from your mother, Regina. Fight. You did it once in high school when you dated me.”

“Do you remember how well that turned out?” Regina scoffed.

“Yeah, I do! You see, I thought we had to discuss this, but what’s the point? It’s done. Nothing will change that. But we could… I thought we could…” Emma looked around, trying to find words to explain what they could be. And it turned out she couldn’t explain without lowering her defenses even more than she could bear.

Regina walked towards Emma’s old bedroom, and for a moment there was fumbling and then a snap. And then Faithfully started to play. Regina came out of the room with one arm stretched to Emma. Her dark eyes were drenched with emotions, questioning her.

The blonde sighed and took her hand.

For a moment, it was just like prom. The fish tank’s lamp was on, and Emma was a little embarrassed about the mess that Henry left in her old bedroom. Sloppiness was apparently another thing she and the boy had in common.

She still sucked at dancing and she took Regina in her arms a little clumsily. The brunette pulled Emma closer and breathed “Why me?” in her ear.

Shivers ran down Emma’s spine. “Why not?” she whispered back, grinning.

Regina chuckled as she retreated slightly to undo the rest of Emma’s shirt. “You could have anyone you wanted.”

“Can I have you?” Emma cocked one eyebrow. “’Cause I sort of want you, you know.”

Sort of?” Regina frowned in astonishment, letting go of the buttons.

“Yeah,” Emma nodded, grabbing the hem of her dress. She pulled the fabric upwards. Regina didn’t offer any resistance as she lifted it up to her butt cheeks and cupped them for a moment. “I sort of do.”

“So you, Emma Swan, scolded me for being a chicken, and now you are dancing around the subject. How’s that fair?” Regina asked, sighing with the breathtaking kiss that she got as a response.

Emma took her time undressing the Mayor. Her eyes travelled across her curves, longing for each millimeter of olive skin she didn’t get to see for over a decade. She removed her underwear slowly, smiling when Regina gasped almost inaudibly.

Regina reached out for her shirt again and followed her slow pace to resume undoing the buttons. Her manicured hand traced Emma’s stiff abdomen and softly landed on the flyer of her jeans, taking care of it, too, keeping her eyes on the blonde’s.

Regina noticed she had become thinner over time, or perhaps taller…and maybe a little more muscular… Her memory was playing tricks on her, and if she stared into Emma’s eyes too long, she could see her seventeen years old version again, even if for a few seconds…

And she felt younger, a little shaky, because it was Emma.

Again.

Again Emma, who softly pushed her into her bed.

Emma, who grinned down at her like a naughty teenager, and then became her full, adult version again when she kissed her almost into oblivion.

Regina felt her head and her body sinking into those comfortable bedsheets, letting go any concern she had on her mind, because it was Emma there, pulling her back to reality with a kiss and then making her flutter away again with her hands.

They had always been raw, clumsy, frenetic even – with their words, kisses and hands, but in that moment Emma managed to be rough and sweet at the same time. She felt more than heard when Regina had her first orgasm. The second and third ones came quickly after the first, and between cries and clenched muscles, all Emma could think was how she loved that scar on Regina’s lips when she screamed her name and the way a thin line of sweat ran between her breasts.

After one hour – or maybe more – they lay together in the small bed, legs and bedsheets entangled, blonde and black hair scattered on the pillow, green and brown eyes staring at each other.

The brunette kept tracing the lines of Emma’s wrist tattoo, and she could feel the small bumpy lines of her scar underneath the ink.

Regina’s lazy, lipstick-free smile was gone when Emma stood up abruptly. The blonde paced a little in front of the fish tank.

“I don’t… sort of want you,” Emma said quietly.

Regina remained silent. She wanted that woman to sweep her off her feet, and for a moment it looked like Emma was going to leash out her frustration and resentment, to reject her. For a moment, Emma looked so serious that Regina felt more than just naked in her bed.

Her heart was about to shatter inside her chest, when Emma turned around and the words finally came out.

“I want you.”

She made a pause, trying to understand if Regina’s tears were from happiness or regret.

“It’s okay if you don’t want me back.”

Regina let out a wet chuckle as relief washed over her.

Emma swallowed hard. “And I want your son, too.”

A lot more tears. Her stupid heart was inflating like a balloon for Emma Swan again.

“I want the three of us, Mills.”

Regina pulled Emma forcefully back to bed and climbed on top of her, grinning, leaning down for a deep kiss.

“And a home.”

Regina didn’t mind when Emma flipped her around and took charge again. “Okay.”

“And a huge bed to fuck you, because this one is way too small-”

“I hate just how much I love you,” she said against the blonde’s lips. “And I could kiss those obscene lips forever.”

“Um…” Emma pretended to be considering it. “I sort of could live with forever-”

“I sort of hate you a little bit. Idiot.”

Emma gave her the most beautiful, shit-eating grin of the world. “I love you,” she whispered. “Dweeb.”

Chapter Text

Emma smiled at the sight of the Mayor waking up next to her, her voice deep and thick with sleep, her soft smile when she realized she was in Emma’s bed.

“Good morning,” Regina whispered, closing her eyes again, rolling to the side as she nested her face in the crook of Emma’s neck.

“Sleep well?” the blonde asked gently, tucking a strand of dark hair behind her ear.

“For the first time in thirteen years…”

Emma sighed with a goofy smile.

Her olive skin felt warm, and it felt like velvet under her fingertips. She was in love with her legs and arms and hips. Adult Regina was even more gorgeous and sultry and sexy, and for a moment she felt jealous of everyone else that would get to be around her through the rest of the day.

For a moment, Emma wished they could pick Henry and run away, and then they could remain locked up in a bubble for three. That was just silly, but she couldn’t help feeling oddly possessive.

They were amazing, Regina and Henry. They made her smile like an idiot, they filled each and every void she didn’t know she had, and they pushed her back to life without her noticing, even we she reluctantly tried to shut them out.

And Emma was glad they won that fight.

She disentangled softly from the brunette and went to the kitchen, where she prepared some coffee. When she returned to the bedroom, Regina was sitting up, dressed in Emma’s diamond patterned shirt.

The blonde grinned at the sight.

“Is this okay?” she asked with a hesitant smile.

Emma squatted in front of her with a cup of coffee. “It looks perfect on you,” she said, passing the cup to her and then leaning forward to adjust the collar and roll up the cuffs a little.

Regina blushed slightly, and grinned. She closed her eyes as she sipped her coffee and hummed in satisfaction.

“I´ll take Henry to school today,” she kissed Emma softly. “Take the day off. Save the energy for tonight, because this?” she pointed around the room, but Emma knew she was referring to sex. “I want more.”

“I’m at your services, Madam Mayor.”

“Stop calling me that.”

Emma smirked. “Does it turn you on?”

“More than it should,” Regina said, pretending to be annoyed as she accepted a pair of jeans. “God, your clothes are so comfortable-!”

“Stop making those sexy sounds, Mills,” Emma kissed her. “I might keep you hostage for the day-”

Regina chuckled with the light mood, but then her smile became sweet, contemplative. She placed her coffee on the bedside table and cupped Emma’s face with both hands. “I’m going to face the dragon in about forty minutes. You still can abandon ship if you want. I have a son. I know it’s a lot of baggage-”

“Regina,” Emma interrupted her, and she looked serious like the night before. “This ship? I’m going down with it. To hell and back, if I have to.”

The brunette swallowed hard, feeling the corner of her eyes burn with impending tears that she kept to herself, chuckling slightly because Emma was a brat who still made her laugh in inappropriate situations.

“I love you. Idiot.”

“I love you too, dweeb. Call if you need me to rescue you from the dungeons.”

Emma couldn’t sleep after Regina left, and she couldn’t stay in bed a second longer, thinking about her smile and her gorgeous body. Her heart was too accelerated to relax, so she decided to get an early start on her day.

She cleaned. She made a shop list. She took the trash out. She did laundry.

On her way to the grocery store, she saw her father’s GTI parked in front of Killian’s driveway. With a jolt in her chest, Emma hit the brake pedal and climbed out of the bug.

“Jones?” she called out, advancing on his overgrown front lawn.

In the back, Swan-”

He was stretched on a plastic pool chair, wearing jeans and a grease-smudged t-shirt, drinking beer. Ruby was stretched on the other one, all dressed up, with messy hair and blotched make up.

“It’s eight-thirty in the morning,” Emma pointed out, confused with the scene.

“Since when you’re little miss sunshine, love?” Killian laughed. “I spent the night working and I got that baby outside roaring back to life, Swan. I deserve a beer before lunch.”

“It’s fucking working?” she asked in awe. “My car’s working?”

“I just need to exchange the lamps and fix a loose cable behind the panel, but after that, it’s all yours. Aren’t you amazed with what I can do with one hand and a half?”

Emma rolled her eyes at his false modesty, but she laughed. “You’re brilliant, you fucking pirate. How much do I owe you?”

“A beer keg.”

“You’re on,” Emma grinned and turned to Ruby, who remained silent, distractedly touching her lips with the tip of her fingers.

“She was on a date with Serge Hot Pants,” Killian said quietly to the blonde, getting a smack in the head for it.

“Shut your trap, Jones,” Ruby grunted. She was avoiding Emma’s eyes until then, and now Emma understood why.

“Rubes?” When her friend finally looked up, she smirked. “I’m glad for you, shit head.”

Her lips cracked into a huge smile – Emma hadn’t seen one of those in years.

“Deal’s off,” Ruby said. “You’re free to go marry the Queen, now.”

When Emma merely shrugged, they sat bolt upright, suddenly sober from their respective night events.

“You gonna marry her?”

“Did you propose?”

“I’m not getting married, morons!” she spat, turning into an ugly shade of pink as she tried to sound angry. “I’m just… I don’t wanna talk about it, it’s fucking eight-thirty in the morning! Who’s little miss sunshine now, huh?”

When Emma stormed out, Killian and Ruby exchanged amused looks.

“Did you just see that? The smile on that little shit’s face?” the brunette asked.

“Are you okay with that for real?” Killian frowned at Ruby, who smiled.

“Gale’s still sleeping in my bed. I’m just giving her some time to reload and then I’m going back. So what do you think?”

“I think you two are lucky dogs for scoring with the hottest chicks in town, but amazing sex is not the same as love.”

Ruby frowned. “You do sound a little like MM when you talk about it, dude…” she stood up. “Well, I gotta go for round two. See you later at the diner?”

“Aye.”

Killian sipped his beer, noticing that Ruby looked different, more cheerful than he had ever seen her when she was around Emma. Maybe Dorothy was the one for her. Maybe she would finally be able to heal Ruby Lucas. Killian was going to kick her ass if she didn’t.

XXX

“Are you and grandma still fighting?”

That was the first thing Henry asked after Regina picked him at the mansion. She looked at her son as they drove to school. “We’re not fighting, sweetie. We just think… differently.”

“That sounds a lot like a fight. You were yelling at each other last night.”

“I’m sorry about that,” she smiled guiltily. “I’m going to talk to her. We’re going to fix this, don’t worry.”

“What about Emma? Is she mad at us?”

“Emma’s fine, dear. She… She’s not mad, okay? What grandma said…”

“I knew that,” he smirked, and just then Regina noticed that her son didn’t seem surprised at all. “Mom! You’re wearing her shirt from last night! I’m not five,” he chuckled, climbing out of the car and leaning to kiss her.

“Smart pants,” she hissed, ruffling his hair and waving him goodbye. “Have a great day, sweetheart!”

“Regina, hi!” Mary Margaret called out, coming from the other side of the parking lot. She greeted Henry on her way and hurried to the Mercedes. “I was trying to talk to… Wait a second,” she backed off a little with a smug smile. “I know that shirt.”

“Oh, God,” Regina shook her head with a scoff, but she couldn’t help smiling. “Yeah. You got me.”

“Can I say I’m super happy for you?” the pixie haired brunette grinned. “It was about time!”

“Well, let’s not put the cart before the horse-”

“Sure. You don’t wanna jinx it, I get that. But Regina… She never got over you, you know. So just… go for it, girl.”

Regina laughed, feeling oddly giddy. “So… What did you want to talk to me about?”

“Oh! Right! It’s Mother’s Day coming up, and we’re preparing something next Friday. I know you’re busy, but-”

“I’ll make sure I can come, MM,” Regina said with a smile, waving at her friend and then finally driving to Town Hall.

When she entered her office followed by a nervous looking Katherine, Regina noticed that her mother had already made herself comfortable behind the desk, on her chair.

“You can go,” Cora dismissed the blonde secretary. “I’ll call you when we need coffee.” She turned to her daughter, noticing she wasn’t wearing the same outfit from last night. “I see you now share more than just attitude-”

“Mother. Don’t. Please.”

It was probably the last word that got Cora’s attention. She waited for Regina to continue.

“You can’t and won’t manipulate me anymore. I’m not an innocent teenager. I’m the Mayor of Storybrooke. I have a son. I raised him by myself for ten years. And Emma Swan… She’ll be in my life whether you like it or not, so you better start respecting her. And if you can’t do it, please… You can keep your distance from us.”

Cora’s face remained impassible. Regina had not expected an overdramatic reaction, but she had imagined her mother would offer at least a disdainful scoff.

Cora, however, reached out for a folder and passed it to Regina. “It’s your father’s will. I believe you might be interested.”

Regina sighed, opening it. After months of her father’s death, they were finally going to touch the wound. As she read through the document, her heart started to race.

“He… He left…”

“The house on Mifflin Street to you and Henry, yes,” Cora nodded. “Meaning I have to leave. I still have the flat in Miami and the house in Nice, so it’s only a matter of deciding which one I prefer. That done, I’ll be out of your way.”

“So this means you’ll never, ever apologize, explain yourself for everything you did to me? Or to her? Are you serious?”

“Do not raise your voice, Regina-”

“You are unbelievable-!”

“I’ll admit she has a way with the boy, Regina, but that’s not enough. He needs a masculine role model. A strong hand to-”

“To hit me when I’m not submissive? A deep voice to shout out orders around the house? A dick so he can fuck other women because he’s a man and that’s what men do?”

“Regina, you had one poor bastard for a boyfriend! It doesn’t mean they’re all the same-“

“I love her,” the brunette spat. “I love her since I was sixteen! Henry loves her! That should suffice to you!”

“Very well,” Cora nodded. “The mansion is yours, so you can hold… lesbian orgies as you please-”

Regina burst out laughing before she could stop herself.

 “I don’t know what’s so funny, Regina, but you definitively should consider etiquette classes again-”

As tears from laughter blurred her sight, she could see a tiny smile crisping her mother’s lips. They had never had fun together, not as far as Regina could recall, but it seemed like one minuscule, shy first step in that direction.

They were always too late.

XXX

They had been in silence for about fifteen minutes now.

Killian was playing with a coin on the table, while Dorothy uncomfortably nursed a cup of coffee as she tried to put up with the annoying metallic ringing.

“So.”

He looked up, squeezing his lips into what he assumed would look like a smile.

“Ruby said you fixed the car.”

“Aye.”

She sighed, looking back to the kitchen door of the diner, probably hoping Ruby would just get back with their food and sit with them.

“So, how long have you been in love with her?”

That snapped him out of his coin-trance. He blinked his bright blue eyes at the blunt question.

“I’m… I’m not…”

“C’mon, Jones,” she shook her head. “You look at her the way I look at her, but… with less ogling and more… longing.”

He lowered his head for a minute, and then he faced Dorothy.

“She doesn’t know. And she doesn’t have to know. It’s been like this our whole life. Just… Now it’s the first time I see Ruby happy. I’m not messing with her happiness, Serge.”

“I just… You’re one of her best friends, the only one who is not head over heels for someone else. She goes to you when she needs a friend. And I need you to like me a little. I need you to be her friend when we have a fight and she needs to tell someone what an idiot I am. But-”

“I’m not using my friend position to steal Ruby from you, Serge. I kinda like you. It’s not your fault she doesn’t… you know. I spent our last year of school inviting her to prom and she only accepted when I said I’d go dressed like a girl,” he chuckled slightly with the memory. “You see, I was never her type. You’ve got nothing to worry about.”

Dorothy smiled, and it was the first time he saw her looking something other than the tough firefighter – she was just another girl fighting for someone she loved.

“A pirate with morals,” she nodded, sipping her coffee a lot more at ease now. “Who would’ve thought?”

“That’s because I still have two fingers left,” Killian said, wiggling his thumb and middle finger. “Wait until I lose the rest and replace the whole hand with a metal hook-”

“Do not encourage him with the metal hook thing!” Ruby said, plopping down next to her girlfriend.

Killian winked at Dorothy and then turned to Ruby. “I was just using the hook to intimidate her, in case she’s an ass to you.”

“Awn,” Ruby reached out and ruffled his jet black hair. “Cute, but cut the crap. I’ll kick her ass if she does that.”

“That’s my girl.”

Ruby chuckled, and reached out for her fries as she pulled Dorothy’s arm around her shoulders. She didn’t get to see the five-second flash of sadness in his eyes. Dorothy did. She saw the way it hurt him to say my girl when she wasn’t his girl.

Then he was smiling again, stealing fries from Ruby’s plate, and making her laugh like he always did. The tall brunette turned to the Sergeant, and there was this new light in her eyes, something Dorothy had always observed in her whenever the Sheriff barged in any room.

Emma Swan wasn’t around, and she was glad that sparkle was finally,  finally for her.

XXX

“So… tell me again what you’re doing here on your day off?”

Emma glared at David. “I already told you. I’m bored.”

He smirked. “Missing the Queen?”

“Shut up, Nolan.”

“You could run errands for me, then. Mary wants a strangely large amount of vitamin C pills and ice cream. And a jar of pickles.”

“Dude, she was always the weirdest of us!” Emma hissed, laughing. “Take a pregnancy test, too.”

She frowned when David stopped smiling.

“David, I’m just kidding-”

“You think she’s-? Man-” and he was grinning stupidly, adding items to his wife’s short list. “We’re trying, but I didn’t know- Oh, crap.”

Both turned to look at his pager when it beeped.

THS FIREHO

“Fire,” David whispered. “Town Hall-”

Emma felt like suddenly she was deprived of oxygen.

She mumbled one single word before running to her car.

No.

XXX

“Oh, shoot,” Dorothy grumbled when her pager went off. “I gotta go-”

“What’s up?” Ruby asked when her girlfriend stood up abruptly from the table.

“We got a call from the Mayor’s office-”

Dorothy was rushing to the fire department, which was just around the corner. Sirens blared, and Ruby hurried outside with Killian.

“Should we go?”

“Your girlfriend can do her job without us, love-”

“I know she can, but who’s gonna stop Emma from getting inside a building in flames? Regina’s in that office!”

“Crap,” Killian grunted. “Let’s go-”

XXX

“Mary?”

The teacher turned her attention away from her class for a second, and she didn’t like the look on Miss Blue’s face.

“I’ll be back in a second,” she told her students with a reassuring smile, and calmly walked out of her classroom. “What happened, Astrid?” she asked in a frightened whisper, closing the door behind her.

“David called. There’s a fire in Town Hall, and he’s there to wait for the fire fighters. He just wanted you to know in case you needed him. And maybe we should alert Henry? It was Regina who made the call. She’s trapped in there.”

“Oh dear-”

XXX

“Katherine, try again!” Regina groaned in frustration.

“It’s not working!” the blonde snapped desperately. “The door’s stuck, and the windows are stuck-”

Madam Mayor, are you there?

Regina breathed as she returned to the phone with the emergency attendant. “Yes.”

It appears that the Town Hall has a centralized security system. The short circuit that caused the fire possibly affected it, activating the lockdown function. Please, stay calm. I need the three of you to lie down and cover your face with a wet piece of cloth. Can you do that, Madam Mayor?”

“I need to get out of here!” she yelled, pointing a cabinet for Katherine as she observed the panic-stricken expression on her mother’s face. The blonde looked confused at her, waiting for further instructions.

Madam Mayor, please stay calm. Help’s on the way. Just lie down and breathe. We’re coming for you-”

Regina could not believe this was happening today. She felt even more scared when she thought about Henry and Emma. She dropped the phone after putting it on speaker, and then she moved past her secretary, grabbing the washcloths from the adjacent bathroom.

“Soak them on the sink,” she ordered Katherine. “Take one and give me the others. Lie still and cover your face with it, go! Mother?” she kneeled down in front of Cora, who was immobilized on her chair. “Mother, I need you to get down-”

“I’m so sorry…” Cora whispered, turning to her daughter with red eyes. Regina never saw her cry before, and that was almost as frightening as the fire. “I’m so sorry…”

“Mother, you can apologize later. We’re not doing this right now. Now, get down and take this,” she gave her the wet towel. “Cover your face and calm down. They’re on their way-”

She kicked her high heeled shoes across the carpet and rested against her desk, using the last wet towel to cover her nose and mouth. The smoke was crawling inside through the gaps of the double doors, and she knew in her gut that in a matter of minutes they would suffocate.

She unbuttoned Emma’s shirt and took it off, making a ball with it. She inhaled the blonde’s scent one last time before…

It was so powerful, so remarkable, that Regina could almost feel Emma with her, hear her voice…

But then she realized she wasn’t the only one hearing her voice.

“It’s the Sheriff!” Katherine exclaimed between tears. “Emma’s here! We’re safe!”

“She’s not a fire fighter,” Cora said quietly, listening intently to the distant but persistent yells coming from outside.

“No. She’s an idiot,” Regina snarled, feeling her heart ache as she dragged her feet towards the double doors. She leaned against it and retreated, feeling the unbearable heat emanating from the wooden surface. She heard her name. She heard her name over and over as Emma’s voice became hoarse but irrefutably closer…

XXX

Her shoulder would probably hurt when the day was over, but right now she wasn’t feeling anything. She couldn’t feel anything, and she knew she would only go back to feeling when she grabbed Regina’s hand and took her out of the fire.

To hell and back.

The first door had been easy. The wood was old and the hinges were not so resistant anymore.

She remembered David shouting behind her, and she remembered yelling back at him, if Mary’s pregnant, you’d better stay the fuck alive and wait for the fire squad!

Smoke greeted her in the entrance hall, and she crawled her way towards Katherine’s desk. Her eyes were burning, and her throat was burning, but she had to get them…

To hell and back, she had promised.

“REGINA!”

She removed her shirt and used the crumpled fabric to protect her mouth and nose. The fire was advancing towards the office door, cackling and destroying things on its way, and wooden beams were falling off the ceiling, turning into ash as they collapsed against the marble floor.

Emma used the desk to prop herself up. “REGINA! REGINA! I’M HERE! DON’T CLOSE YOUR DAMN EYES, ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME? DON’T-” Emma panted, reaching out for the scalding door. “-close your eyes,” she hissed, using her other shoulder to invest against the obstacle.

Now it burned. It burned like hell, but she had to take one good impulse and break through it. It was the only way to keep as little contact as possible with the burning surface and get Regina out fast.

Emma dragged her feet backwards, aimed for the door with difficulty because her eyes were watering. She ran, and the impact made her yell in pain. She was thrown backwards on the hard floor, and the fucking door was still there.

Her shoulder was reddening and aching and throbbing. She stood up once again.

Regina.

She had to save Regina.

The second impact was as good as the first. Her skin was inflamed, and her lungs were giving in. She was inhaling a lot of smoke with the effort to knock the door down.

She didn’t need to be very bright to realize she would die if she didn’t stop.

So she decided she wouldn’t die, because if she died…

She had promised.

To hell.

And back.

Gathering all the strength she had in her, Emma pictured her life after the fire.

Regina and Henry were there, smiling, waiting for her.

She had to survive for them. Growling, she retreated and sprinted, like an angry animal. She smacked her body with all her might, angrily, and the doors bust open. Emma fell on top of the burning wood and quickly rolled to her side, feeling the carpet painfully graze her burned flesh.

“You’re crazy!” Regina said angrily, removing the crumbled shirt from her face as she hurried, kneeling down next to the blonde. She was sobbing. “You’re an idiot, Emma Swan!”

Emma grinned idiotically from the floor. “You’re on your bra?”

“Oh, God, Emma, this is really not the time-”

Emma cringed as she tried to sit up. The pain in her lung was sharp, and it felt like a knife stabbing the muscle between her ribs, but she could handle it now that she knew Regina was alive. “Okay, let’s get you out…” she held her hand strongly. “There’s fire all over the front hall, so we better-”

“You’re hurt,” Regina said quietly, watching her green eyes, unable to let go off her hand. “Emma, you’re hurt.”

“I’m fine, let’s go…”

“You don’t look fine,” Cora said, and Emma looked startled at her.  The older woman was sitting on the floor, against the desk; Emma didn’t even see her there.

“I am okay.”

The blonde didn’t want to say that Cora looked like she was suffocating, so she offered her other hand to her. “Come on, we don’t have much time-”

Core accepted her help, astonished with that woman. Emma turned to Regina.

“Take her out first, please,” the brunette asked quietly.

Emma swallowed hard with the thought of leaving Regina behind.

“I’m coming back for you,” she said firmly, staring at Regina and then nodding at Katherine.

“I know you will,” Regina offered a reassuring smile that was costing every fiber of her body to sustain. She wanted to scream.

“Try to breathe as much as you can on the wet cloth, and stay down!”

Regina felt her throat burn as she watched Emma lead her mother out in the middle of the fire, so gently that it was hard to believe that she hated Cora. They disappeared among the flames after a moment, and then Regina noticed that her throat was burning because she was crying.

Katherine crawled towards her and held her hand as they both laid on the carpet.

“She really loves you, doesn’t she?” the blonde asked quietly.

Regina nodded and let out a desperate sob, because she had nothing else to say as she waited.

XXX

Emma took a sharp intake of breath as she got out with Cora and oxygen was available again. She saw the blue and red lights and followed them, guiding the older woman to an ambulance. She heard familiar voices and protests, and she was pretty sure she shoved Sergeant Gale to the side as she stumbled to get in again. Someone gave her an oxygen cylinder and a mask, which she carried inside without looking back.

“Are you fucking insane, Swan?” Dorothy scolded her as they ran in the middle of fire and debris. She looked up and groaned. “The ceiling… Look at the ceiling…”

Emma followed her eyes upwards. The structure was cracked. It was going to tumble down at any moment.

“I suggest you run faster, then, Gale.”

They jumped over the front desk to avoid the huge flames and entered the office. Dorothy offered a mask to Katherine and then promptly led her outside. Emma lifted Regina and put her on a mask too, but a second after the other pair left, the ceiling crashed and blocked the door completely.

Shards of wood flew inside, and Regina was pretty sure she saw something huge sticking out of Emma’s thigh. The blonde squeezed her lips and roared in pain as quietly as she could. She felt sweat running down her entire body, and she couldn’t hear much more than echoes of voices, but she could see Regina as clear as daylight.

“Stand back,” she gasped, pulling the brunette against a wall. She had no idea how she did that, injured and with probably just one lung functioning, but she picked a chair and smashed it against the window.

Shattered glass flew out and a gush of fresh air came in.

She grabbed Regina and pulled her up the piece of furniture so she could climb out.

“Hurry up,” Emma gasped. “The oxygen… It’ll feed the fire…”

They got up the wooden chest where Henry Mills kept liquor. Emma took her shirt from Regina and envelope her hand on it like a glove. She punched the shards of glass that remained on the edges, and when the frame was free of the sharp prongs, she looked at the brunette.

“Go.”

“Emma-”

“The fire is coming towards us. You have to go, Regina-”

“You-”

“I’m right after you,” she kissed her - a kiss that tasted like charcoal - and smiled down at her. “See you on the other side, Mills…”

XXX

Regina felt hands pulling her out of the building. Several hands, and as she reached out, she didn’t recognize Emma’s. She barely hit the ground and they were taking her to an ambulance.

“Emma… where’s Emma?” she asked the firefighters who stood around her.

“They’re getting her out, Madam Mayor-” the nearest paramedic answered, checking Regina’s vital signs.

“I’m fine!” she shoved him away, clasping the blanket they gave her around her shoulders. She walked among the crowd, trying to find the blonde. “EMMA?”

She ran into her mother and Katherine along the way. They were a little shocked, but fine other than that.

“Where’s-?” Cora asked quietly, holding her daughter’s hand. Regina felt hot tears tickling the corner of her eyes with the gesture, but she had to let go when she saw the Sheriff being lifted into a gurney.

Three paramedics were rushing past the crowd with her, and as Regina tried to follow, she dropped the blanket. She was the Mayor, and she was running after Emma Swan on jeans and a black bra.

They were about to close the ambulance doors, when she jumped inside.

“Emma? Emma?” she cried.

“-I leave all my clothes to Regina Mills,” Emma whispered to the nearest paramedic. “And the GTI is for… Henry… When he’s sixteen…”

“EMMA! YOU DON’T GET TO DIE ON ME NOW, ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME? WAKE UP, YOU IDIOT-!”

“She’s coding-!”

“Emma, you can’t abandon ship now, you… EMMA!” she sobbed.

“Clear!”

“Madam,” the youngest paramedic held her by the arms and gently pushed her out of the vehicle. “She’s having a cardiac arrest and we need to take her to the hospital.”

Regina was in the middle of the street, yelling profanities at Emma and the disappearing ambulance when Ruby, Mary Margaret and Killian pulled her back to the curb. Someone put the blanket around her shoulders again, and when she realized it, she was crying on Ruby Lucas’ shoulder.

“Mills, listen to me,” Ruby said, her eyes slightly red from crying but fierce nonetheless. “Let’s take her car to the hospital, okay? We’ll be right after her. She needs her documents and stuff, and she needs you there. Okay?”

“Okay,” Regina nodded, and both women hurried to the yellow bug.

Ruby took the driver seat and pulled down the sun visor to get the keys, when a few other things fell on her lap. Regina nearly had a meltdown when she recognized the Polaroid.

It was the picture she sent to Emma on the last letter she wrote. She was ten years younger and Henry was a baby in that picture. Ruby gave it to Regina.

“She’s head over heels for you guys,” she said with a smile, and then frowned when she spotted what looked like a battered piece of plastic between her legs. “What’s this-?”

Regina reached out for it and recognized the heart and the R she scribbled on Emma’s cast when she broke her arm. She had kept that piece of her cast, the piece with Regina’s heart.

“Turn this thing on and drive, Ruby!” she snarled, a mix of emotions swirling inside her chest.

If Emma died…

She was going to kill her.

Chapter Text

Emma was pretty sure Regina was yelling at her, she just couldn’t quite place why.

She had always loved it when the brunette yelled at her.

She smiled when Regina Mills, that beautiful pain in the ass, stood up furiously in the middle of Mr. Medina’s class to yell at her because she was just telling Ruby that she stuck chewed gum inside the keyhole to Robin Locksley’s car.

She hated Robin, but she felt something else entirely for his gorgeous girlfriend.

Regina was yelling, and all Emma could see was the way her lips moved, and how her pretty face contorted in anger, and well, her boobs bouncing inside her t-shirt were really sort of hypnotic…

There was a change in the scenario and suddenly she was scared, holding Regina Mills around the waist, dragging her to the hospital, her beautiful lips covered in blood because of Storybrooke’s version of Cujo.

The images faded away and then Regina Mills was the Mayor of Storybrooke, and she was yelling at her in her expensive, tailored suit and pencil skirt, and Emma could barely concentrate on her words when she turned around, exposing the most beautiful backside in the whole world.

Then she remembered a face.

A little boy’s face.

He grinned at her when she reached out for him down the mine-

You made my mom happy once. Do it again.

To hell and back.

Please don’t give up. I’ll think about something on the way to the museum, Ma…

Then she remembered David’s pager, and she remembered the fire. She literally went to hell.

I love you, kid…

Now she just needed to get back…

I need to get back to Regina. That’s why she’s yelling.

“We got a pulse!” the paramedic shouted. “Take her to surgery! Now!”

XXX

Regina stared blankly at Dr. Whale.

Except for the greying hair, he didn’t look much different from the time she was a kid. She did not like the way he was looking at her now. It was the same look he had when he informed them that her father had died.

“You understood what I said, Regina?” he asked her quietly.

“Yes. Second degree shoulder burn. Thigh injured by splinter of wood. Two broken ribs. Perforated lung.”

“She also inhaled a lot of smoke, and that complicates her situation. We’re doing everything we can.”

“Do more than that,” Regina whispered, finally reacting and looking up at him with fear and anger in her eyes. “Do more!”

He nodded. “Excuse me.”

Regina looked back down at her lap. She heard Katherine talking quietly to a nurse. Killian sat right across from her in silence. Mary was next to her, holding a cup of coffee.

“It’s decaf, if you want,” she said.

She shook her head, sighed and sat up straight on her uncomfortable chair. “No, thanks.”

Ruby was on her feet, arms folded as she chatted with Dorothy, who was covered in dust and grime. Both women turned to the Mayor, and Ruby was the first to walk towards her.

“David’s bringing Henry.”

Regina nodded. “Thank you, Ruby.”

“Are you feeling okay?” Sergeant Gale asked with a small frown.

“I’m not wounded. They already checked my lungs. Three times.”

“I don’t think that’s what she means, dear.”

Regina looked up and found her mother approaching her. She had dirt on her forehead and her hair no longer looked flawless, but she seemed fine.

Cora pulled Regina out of her chair and hugged her. The brunette let out a deep sigh and closed her eyes as she rested her head on her mother’s shoulder.

“She’s a tough woman, Regina,” Cora said, smoothing the crumpled fabric of her shirt – Emma’s scorched, ruined, diamond shirt. “She can make it.”

“I’m scared, mom,” she whispered, no longer holding back the tears as she sobbed convulsively in her mother’s arms.

“I know you are,” Cora patted her back gently. “You need to stay strong for her and for Henry, now.”

David came hurrying down the hall, bringing Henry by the hand.

“How’s she?” he asked out of breath, looking expectantly around and then at his wife. “She-?”

“She’s still in surgery,” Mary said, pulling him to sit down next to her.

He too looked dirty and battered.

Regina disentangled gently from her mother’s embrace and bent over to hold her son. He seemed a little apprehensive as he threw his arms around her, but she knew her brave boy was doing everything he could to stand his ground.

“I told you she was the coolest person in Storybrooke,” he said, turning to Cora.

The older woman felt all eyes on her. Her lips faltered a little as she stared around and at her grandson. “You were right. Why don’t you sit with your mother so you can both wait for her together?”

She turned to Regina, who was watching her with curiosity. “My driver’s here. You can call me if you need to stay overnight. I’ll take Henry home with me.”

“Why don’t you wait with us?” Henry suggested before Regina could even formulate a response.

“Me?” Cora looked around again, and she found something weird in those kids’ eyes. They were all grown-ups now, but to her they were just a band of rascals. And they looked hopefully at her. She refrained from rolling her eyes, but she couldn’t help the small grin that insisted on crisping her lips.

She had never felt so… welcome in all her life.

“We are her family now, right?” Henry shrugged. “You can also say sorry when she wakes up.”

Cora immediately searched for her daughter’s face. Regina had that same look of hope she always threw her father’s way when she felt doubtful when she was younger.

“I guess I could stay and wait with you,” Cora said finally, taking a seat next to her grandson.

XXX

It was past midnight.

Ruby yawned and let her head fall on Dorothy’s shoulder. Henry was fast asleep, stretched in two chairs Killian had put together and added a blanket he got with one of the nurses, to make it more comfortable.

“You should all go home,” Regina muttered to her friends.

They began to protest, but when Ruby was unable to stifle a second yawn, Cora stood up from her chair.

“Go get some rest, all of you,” she said in a bossy tone. No one dared to say a word as they started to get up, one by one. Maybe it was because she was the only parent left, but it was most likely that they all still were terrified of the Evil Bitch.

“You’re going home with Henry?” Regina asked her mother.

“I was thinking I’d rather stay. If you don’t mind me joining you,” Cora said. “I suppose your friends wouldn’t mind-”

“We’ll take him,” Mary said, approaching the two women.

“Are you sure?” Regina frowned. “It looks like all you do now is watch my son because I-”

“Because you’re waiting for Emma to get out of surgery,” Cora interrupted her. “You’ll have plenty of time to stay with him after this. Thank you very much, Mrs. Nolan. And you, Deputy.”

Regina wanted to laugh at the shocked expressions on MM and David’s faces. Cora had never been nice or even polite to any of them.

“Thank you,” Regina said to the couple, grinning as she watched Cora shake hands with Katherine, Killian, Dorothy and Ruby to wave them off. “I think she might have had a concussion and the doctors missed it.”

“Or maybe things are just… changing,” Mary said to her, sighing with a proud smile when her husband picked Henry and placed him gently on his shoulder without waking him up.

Regina sat down once again, hugging her knees against her body, and she felt her mother placing a blanket around her shoulders. Cora didn’t even scold her for putting her feet up the chair.

“What are you doing?” she asked quietly. “Why are you doing this?”

Cora sighed, avoiding her daughter’s eyes. “I’m your mother. That’s what mothers do.”

XXX

“What’s wrong?” David asked with a frown.

Henry was sleeping on their bed, and after they cleaned up, they sat together on the couch, and Mary wouldn’t stop glancing at him.

“Nothing.”

“You wouldn’t stop staring at me while I carried him upstairs. And all the way from the hospital here.”

“I was just…” Mary shrugged. “Just watching.”

David frowned and turned back to the movie on the TV. He glanced at his pager. Nothing about Emma yet.

“You’ll be an excellent father, you know,” she said cautiously, her eyes glued on the screen even though it was obvious that she wasn’t actually paying attention.

David felt his heart jolt as he remembered what Emma had said earlier that day.

“Honey?”

“Mm?”

“Did the test turn out… positive?”

XXX

When Dr. Whale showed up around the corner, Cora looked up at him. Regina was sleeping with her head against the wall, and for a moment, she looked so young…

Her mother stood up and beckoned the doctor to take a few steps aside.

“She fell asleep just ten minutes ago. How’s-?”

“Everything went fine. She’s stable, and she might wake up at any moment now.”

“Oh!” Cora sighed, relieved. “That’s good. Thank you, Dr. Whale…”

“Is she alive?”

They both turned to the side when they heard Regina’s weak, hoarse voice.

“She’s alive,” Whale grinned at her.

“Where’s she?” Regina asked with a tearful smile, getting on her feet.

“Recovery room two,” he said. “You can go stay with her.”

The brunette grabbed her purse and offered the pair a smile of relief before spinning on her heels and running to the recovery aisle.

Her heart was thudding in her ears, and when she entered the room and saw Emma, she had a meltdown.

The blonde looked peaceful, supporting a few visible bruises. Her shoulder was covered in lotion and Regina could see bandages around her torso. She dragged the armchair closer and sat down, reaching out for Emma’s hands as she dropped her head on the mattress and let all the pain out.

“Please, come back to me…”

 

She stayed there for hours, it felt. She dozed off and woke up several times, never letting go of the blonde’s hand. Cora entered the room early in the morning.

“She’s like a… bull. Dr. Whale explained to me everything she went through… I… I’m so sorry, Regina. Your father was right, and you were right, and…”

The brunette moved automatically to hug her mother. It was still strange how the foreign gesture became so compulsive in the last twenty four hours.

Then a weak voice spoke.

“Hey… I’m not dead yet.”

“Oh God, you woke up!” Regina hurried to the side of the bed, her heart melting with the sight of green eyes. “You… You saved me, you saved us all and… And I should… God, you are SO IRRESPONSIBLE! WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING, EMMA?”

“I was going to call Dr. Whale, but I think that’s announcement enough,” Cora said, surprised with how fast the romance was gone and replaced by all the yelling.

“-COULD’VE DIED! AGAIN! YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO DIE ANYMORE! WHAT WOULD I SAY TO HENRY-?”

And then she was sobbing in Emma’s arms, halfway on top of the bed, hugging her desperately. “Don’t ever do this to me again,” Regina whispered against the crook of her neck.

Emma watched as Cora discreetly left the room. She planted a kiss on Regina’s head, holding her strongly against her wounded body, ignoring all the pain. She could live in pain forever, but never, ever again without that woman.

The blonde held her close, inhaling her scent as Regina calmed down and the sobbing subdued. Her breathing became regular again, and after about one hour, Emma noticed she had fallen asleep.

Cora returned, and she looked slightly surprised that it was her daughter sleeping and not Emma.

“I think she was tired,” Emma said quietly.

“She… Yes. She probably is.”

Emma looked down at the spiky black hair splattered on her shoulder and chest. Cora was watching her when she looked up again.

“What? Came here to finish the job?”

“Sheriff Swan, that’s-”

“I’m joking,” Emma chuckled, wincing in pain with the movement.

Cora glared at her, like she was facing the impossible child that Emma Swan had always been, but then she approached the other side of the bed and the look on her face was different.

“That was inappropriate.”

Emma stared down at Regina again, wishing she would wake up and take her mother out of the room, but neither did the brunette wake up nor did Cora left.

“It does look like you want to kill me a little bit,” Emma muttered, resting back on her pillow and closing her eyes as she distractedly stroked Regina’s hair.

“I would never... I don’t like you, it doesn’t mean I want you dead.”

Emma’s eyes snapped open. “Oh, that’s… nice, thanks.”

Cora sighed deeply.

“I used to hate you when you were a kid.”

“And after I grew up too.”

“Well, I hated just how much you tormented my daughter when you were younger. That was my way to stand up to her. I’m… Her father was kinder. With his words and with his grand gestures, but I was protecting my daughter, too, Miss Swan.”

Her voice was slightly shaky, and Emma wasn’t very sure, but she could’ve sworn that she saw her lower lip tremble.

“I was not always just and good, but I wanted the best for her. I wanted her to have a great life, and great things…”

“Sorry to disappoint.”

Cora ignored Emma. “If she has a person that fought a dog for her, fell from a rooftop to see her-” she scoffed at Emma’s wide eyes. “Yes, I always knew that was you… If she has a person who’d throw herself down a collapsing mine to save her son… If she has a person who got inside a building on fire to save her…”

“Mrs. Mills-”

“She will have a great life, Sheriff. And I know you will do anything within your reach to make them both happy. And to keep them safe. That’s the only thing they need, and you sure can… provide that.”

“I don’t-”

“It’s rude to interrupt, don’t you know that?” Cora spat impatiently. “Dear Lord, I’m enrolling    you in etiquette classes as soon as you’re discharged! You’re not going to date my daughter with those manners, Miss Swan!”

Emma was in shock for about a minute after Cora Mills stormed out of the room. Then she started to laugh, and that made Regina wake up.

The brunette looked confused at Emma as she stirred from her lap.

“Hi,” the blonde said with a smile.

“I thought I heard… Was my mother here?”

“Yeah,” Emma entwined their fingers together, watching every detail of Regina’s face. Her scar, her lips, her nose, the outline of her beautiful brown eyes...

“Was she just scolding you?”

“Yes.”

“I can’t believe her-”

“Hey, Mills,” Emma pulled Regina to her and grinned, that shit-eating grin that made Regina’s body tingle. “I think your mother just gave me her blessing to date you.”

XXX

Emma was discharged three days later, and on the meantime, Town Hall issues were being handled at the Mills mansion.

Katherine was pretty much in charge of shunting nosy journalists who wanted to talk to Regina about her allegedly Savior, as people were referring to Emma after the second disaster and a total of three Mills rescued since she returned to Storybrooke.

David ran full investigation with the fire department, trying to relate the seemingly innocent letters Regina received with the incident. Sergeant Gale and her team searched every inch that was left of Town Hall – it had been a misfortune and a flawed system, but nothing indicated that someone had deliberately messed with it.

As second in command, David was mostly busy, but he used all his free time to offer cigars to people, and when they asked why, he would smile from ear to ear and announce that Mary was expecting a child.

“You don’t even know if it’s a boy,” Killian said to him, sniffing it. It was the third David handled him, and he finally decided to cut and light one.

“No smoking, Captain,” Regina snatched the cigar from his hand as she passed by him to get to Emma’s fridge.

“Hey!”

“Besides, why does it have to be a boy?” Ruby passed the vegetables to Regina so that the brunette could stash them on the lower compartment of the refrigerator. “We should handle cigars for girls, too.”

“I don’t care if it’s a boy, a girl, or one of each, no one is smoking here!” Regina snapped, and they all went silent.

They were all crumpled in Emma’s small kitchen. Ruby and Dorothy went grocery shopping, Killian cleaned the house, and David and MM took turns helping Regina with Emma’s bandages.

I want a cigar,” Emma grunted from the living room.

Regina sighed and passed the paper bag to Ruby. “Finish this, please.”

She stopped by the archway and smiled at the sight of the blonde and her son sitting side by side on the couch, playing with her old Atari.

“Your mom sucked at this,” Emma muttered to Henry, her eyes glued on the TV screen, fully aware that the brunette was at the door.

“She tickled me when I was beating her,” Regina said, folding her arms as she walked in. She joined them so that Henry was squeezed between the two women on the couch.

Emma looked at her over Henry’s head.

She had been mostly grumpy for staying home all day, doing nothing, and she was more than happy when the brunette assembled the group to stay with them on Friday night.

She smiled at Regina, who reached out behind her son to hold Emma’s hand.

XXX

“You really don’t have to stay here,” Emma mumbled as Regina adjusted her body on the other module of the ‘L’ shaped couch.

Regina flipped on her belly to stare at the blonde behind her. “Do you want us to leave?”

Emma smirked at her lascivious dark eyes. “You’re lucky I can’t move, Mills.”

“What would you do if you could?” she hissed, making Emma’s body ache.

“First, make sure your kid is a heavy sleeper-”

Regina laughed. “Well, you can’t be serious that it makes you so uncomfortable. How’s that going to work if we live together?” the brunette realized what she had just said and her eyes lost all the amusement. “I mean, I’m not saying we’ll do that, and I’m not suggesting-”

“Regina, come here,” Emma interrupted her gently, patting the space on her couch. When the brunette sat down next to her, she clasped her hand with hers, squeezing it until the other woman looked up at her. “I said I wanted a home, didn’t I?”

Regina inhaled deeply. “Yes. You did.”

“Well… I didn’t come back from the dead to break any promises...”

“I should go back to my couch,” she whispered in Emma’s ear with a naughty smirk. “The things you say… It makes me want to straddle you and have you inside of me.”

“Jesus Christ, I think I just broke another rib,” Emma groaned. “Get out of my couch, Mills.”

Chuckling, Regina walked back to her arrangement of pillows and bedsheets. She lied on her side and pulled the covers up to her shoulders, feeling hard to fall asleep with all the throbbing between her legs.

“You know,” she heard Emma say. “You look cute and all wearing my old clothes as pajamas… but I miss the ‘sleep in the nude’ days.”

Regina grinned. “My son is sleeping next door!”

“Well, you better figure it out how to do it when we all live together in the same house, Madam Mayor.”

The brunette moaned under her breath, pulling the blanket over her head, picturing the exact dirty smirk Emma might have on her face.

“Go to sleep. Idiot.”

She heard Emma chuckle. “Sleep well, Mills.”

XXX

Regina sat proudly on the front row of the school auditorium.

She had Katherine cancel most of her appointments to be there, and she was glad she did when she caught the look on Henry’s face upon seeing her arrive.

His class was going to sing a song for mother’s day as one of the students played the piano, and he waved nervously at her from his spot on the stage. Regina waved back eagerly.

She saw MM running behind the last row of students, and she looked slightly nervous too.

Henry’s face lit up again and he smiled in his mom’s direction. Regina frowned in confusion, but when she followed his eyes, she noticed he was looking slightly to her right. The brunette turned around and saw Emma standing there.

“Hi,” she breathed, flushing slightly.

“Hi!” Regina grinned, making room for her to sit down. “You really came!”

“I told him I would,” Emma muttered.

“I know Henry can be a little… persistent. But you didn’t have to come, you’re still staggering a bit.”

“I’m okay,” Emma squeezed her lips into a tight smile.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” Regina asked with a frown.

The blonde sighed, avoiding her eyes for a moment. When she looked up, she seemed hesitant.

“Emma, what’s wrong?”

“The day I took Henry to the bus… for his school trip… he called me Ma.”

Regina stiffened on her seat. “Oh. He didn’t tell me that.”

“Yeah, I think… he was a little embarrassed,” Emma said with an awkward chuckle.

“It’s okay if that… freaked you out a little,” the brunette said gently.

“It didn’t,” Emma turned her green eyes at her and met expectant brown ones. She smiled. “It was the moment I realized that I loved him. He called me Ma, and my first reaction was to tell him that I loved him.”

“Did you?” Regina whispered. The lights went out and the audience went heavily silent. The kid on the piano started to play.

“I held back. I was afraid of… getting his hopes up.” Getting her hopes up.

Regina felt Emma grabbing her hand like she did when they went to see Cujo at the theater.

“And now?” the brunette asked quietly, leaning close to Emma’s ear.

“Now I’m sitting on his Mother’s Day recital,” Emma whispered back, grinning as she turned her proud eyes away from the stage for a second to look at Regina.

The brunette laced their fingers together and leaned closer so that she could rest her shoulder against Emma’s. “Thank you.”

She felt Emma pressing her lips against her temple and sigh. “Let’s hope he’s not a bad singer like you.”

“I’m not a bad singer!” Regina hissed, smacking her arm.

“Oh, see?” Emma pointed at Henry as if he were the only child singing on the stage. “He’s on tune. And look at his face… He has my smile.”

Regina looked up at Emma with a huge grin the blonde didn’t notice. “Yes he does,” she muttered, turning to the front to watch her son.

Their son.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

To be in a relationship with your first love after thirteen years felt like an overly romantic movie plot.

To have your high school sweetheart loving your son like you did… Well, that felt like winning the lottery.

To feel horny and crave your injured girlfriend twenty-four seven was… a curse.

“You’re staring,” Emma said with a smug grin, reading the report on the fire incident.

“I am not,” Regina scoffed, returning her attention to the copy she had in her manicured hands.

She had chosen red nail polish because once Emma had said, half asleep, that she looked hot with red fingernails. And red lipstick, too.

The Sheriff had yet to acknowledge that, and also the tight pencil skirt, and the fact that Regina buttoned her silk t-shirt only to the point where her cleavage started.

Well, apparently the fire report was a lot more interesting than her boobs.

Sighing, Regina turned her eyes back to the paper.

It was Sunday morning, and it should be obvious that she was dressed like some sort of slutty Mayor with an ulterior motive.

Regina’s office was gradually coming back to normal, and she had to thank Katherine for hiring the most efficient contractors of Storybrooke. She glanced at Emma for a second and she could’ve sworn the blonde was smirking.

“What’s so funny?”

“Nothing.”

Regina scoffed again, and again she returned her eyes to the report. It had been a month since the accident, and yesterday Emma was officially free from the last stitches and discharged from medical care. Regina thought she might be interested in something else than paperwork.

“Huh, this doesn’t look good,” Emma mumbled with a frown.

“Fire incidents usually don’t,” was the snarky reply.

“I’m serious, Regina. You might wanna take a look at this-”

The brunette rolled her eyes. You might want to take a look at this body, Miss Swan…

She stood up from her chair and moved around the conference table to where the blonde was sitting. She leaned over to look closer just to find, across the typed technical report, something Emma added in red marker.

ARE YOU WET?

Regina had time to let out a horny shaky breath before Emma pulled her to her lap.

When Regina felt her skilled hands on her, her ability to scold Emma Swan disappeared. The blonde cupped one of her breasts from behind, and massaged it gently and roughly at the same time, popping her bra open to get real access to her sensitive nipples. The other hand travelled down her thighs and came back up, dragging her pencil skirt as high as she could.

She liked it, the way Emma manage to dominate her with utter silence.

That, and a very dirty mind.

When the blonde’s middle finger surpassed the underwear barrier and touched her impossibly wet core, Regina moaned and Emma let out a groan against the back of her head. Regina didn’t know what was more maddening – her erratic and loud breathing on her ear, or the tip of her finger slowly sliding down to her entrance…

“Emma…”

“Mm?”

“Em-Emma…”

“Yeah?”

“Inside,” she hissed.

“Inside?”

“Deep. Now. Inside. Please-”

Emma increased the pressure of the other hand and tore Regina’s silk blouse open with one pull, making the mother-of-pearl buttons fly in every direction of the office. Regina reached down and grabbed Emma’s teasing hand, urging her to her entrance as she took care of removing her underwear, buckling her hips.

Regina sensed the hot, breathy chuckle tickling her neck, and that distracted her for a second, until Emma’s finger slid inside, completely inside of her. She gasped, and then her own hands travelled back, behind Emma’s head.

Her fingers tugged violently on blonde locks. With a groan of pain, Emma accelerated the pace, moving in and out faster, kneading her ass with the palm of her hand.

She looked over the brunette’s shoulder, adoring the sight of her smooth, olive thighs spread open, feet propped on top of the conference table for support. Each gasp, each hiss, each sound Regina made was enough to make her go crazy, but it was when she let out that deep, throaty moan that Emma lost her shit.

She squeezed her lavish breasts with her left hand, trying to grab both at the same time as she resumed penetrating her with her finger; she added a second one, and the vocal reaction she got made her grin. She kept the pace as steady as she could, until she caught a slight tremor on the brunette’s inner thighs.

“Emma… Emma… don’t… stop,” Regina hissed, turning her head to her left, trying to capture the blonde’s lips with hers. “Please, don’t…. Yes! God, yes… Like this, please… more more more Emma more GOD- Oh GOD… More more mmhp-!”

Emma covered her mouth with hers, muffling the last part of whatever she was trying to say when she came violently on her hand. Emma smirked against her lips when she felt warm wetness slowly dripping from her palm and puddling on the crotch of her jeans.

She slowly withdrew her fingers as Regina’s body shuddered against her front. Emma ran her exhausted and slick hand upwards, taking care of Regina’s right breast while the other remained on the left one.

Regina relaxed against her, and she drew her arms back, using her hands to cover Emma’s hands on her breasts. Her head turned softly to where Emma’s face was, and she chuckled.

“You’re…I’m…”

“Catch your breath,” Emma whispered, plating a soft kiss on her temple. “I’m not done yet.”

Regina chuckled. “You’re… going to… kill me.”

“Should’ve thought twice before putting on those clothes and painting your nails red, Madam Mayor,” Emma hissed in her ear.

Regina closed her eyes and moaned, feeling her core throb. It was so sensitive that she could not believe she was still that much lubricated. Emma draped one arm around her belly and used her hip to prop Regina off her lap, pushing her forward so she’d bent over the table.

“I always wanted to fuck you from behind,” Emma grunted against her hair, lifting the rest of her pencil skirt, crumpling the fabric around Regina’s waist.

The brunette turned her face so that her left cheek was resting on Emma’s report. “You should’ve asked sooner,” she moaned when she felt the exact same digit entering her again. She was amazed that instead of pain, she was feeling renewed waves of pleasure rolling over her abdomen. “I’ve fantasized about this so many… times while I was working…”

“How was it?” Emma asked, grabbing her hip with her free hand as she kept pumping in and out of the brunette, almost dissolving into mush when Regina spread her legs further, granting more access and the sight of her ass. “Oh, Regina… Don’t do that to me…” Emma moaned, bending over so that her front was glued to Regina’s back, hastening the pace, trying to go deeper, desperate to possess that woman in every way she could.

“You were a… s-savage,” Regina whispered. “Ag-Aggressive. Like… t-that, Emma… Oh like that, Emm- Uh-” she let out a strangled cry as she pressed herself back against the blonde’s crotch.

She closed her eyes, reaching out to grab the edges of the table for support, feeling her knees give away when Emma started to use her hips to help with the pumping movement. Yes, a savage.

She loved savage Emma, and as much as she would have loved to dwell into her fantasy coming true, she didn’t last long this time, coming frenetically with a loud cry of Emma’s name.

Emma plunged her fingers out and fell back on the chair, pulling Regina with her, softly this time.

“I have thirteen years of hot and yearning stored,” Emma sighed, rolling the shirt’s fabric down the brunette’s shoulder, planting a kiss on her warm, slick skin. “I could fuck you forever. And hold you here in my arms forever.”

Regina closed her eyes and smiled, breathing in Emma’s scent, grabbing a handful of the blonde’s shirt. Sweat ran down her spine. “Don’t you have work tomorrow, dear?” she panted.

“Screw work. Can you talk to my boss and ask her to discharge me? I think she might say yes.”

“I think your boss will have to yell at you tomorrow because you wrote indecent words on the report that you were supposed to sign and turn in to the Fire Department.”

“Oh, crap, Regina!” Emma laughed. “You don’t have another copy?”

“This one is watermarked-”

“Fuck it. I want to see Gale’s face when you sent this to her. Even though you find her hot and stuff-”

“I can’t believe you’re still jealous because I said once that she was-”

“Regina, I was jealous of Robin even when I thought that I hated you, and I wanted to punch a wall when your mother mentioned his name over dinner!”

“You are so cute, Emma Swan…”

“I’m not cute!” the blonde grunted, leaning in the kiss Regina planted on her cheek as she grazed her jawline with her red fingernails. “I’m a savage. I’m aggressive, and I’m… I AM NOT cute, Regina!”

The brunette laughed whole heartedly, sticking her nose into the crook of Emma’s deliciously warm neck.

“I want to stay here forever, too. I can’t live without all the savageness now.”

“Good,” Emma grunted, smirking. “Because you won’t, Madam Mayor. Just yell next time you want me.”

XXX

Emma huffed, furiously burying her fingers into her hair as she started at the stack of paper in front of her.

“Why are you still doing this? It’s not like… she’s gonna be mad at you or anything,” David chuckled. “In fact, she looks suspiciously… smiley.”

“She’s my boss, and she’s your boss. Get going with your folders because she’s gonna be mad when she sees we’re not done yet.”

“Whipped.”

“I’m not whipped! I’m having dinner with the Mills tonight,” she said. “I just want to rub to her face that I can be organized!”

“Just to prove a point?”

She shrugged, looking down at the painfully boring task at hand. If Regina showed up, which she did a lot these days, she would see they hadn’t made any progress with the budget reports.  

Emma swallowed when she heard the clicking noise of her heels. The glass door flared open with a crack, and expensive perfume entered first, followed by the Mayor.

Regina wouldn’t just show up.

She would make a fucking entrance.

In tight clothes and black heels, and she would find a way to give Emma the most painful blue balls in the world even though she didn’t even have balls. She groaned internally, catching David’s subtle smirk.

“By the look on your face, this is not finished, is it, Sheriff?” Regina asked with that bossy voice, one hand on her insinuating waist as she used the other to repeatedly tap at Emma’s desk.

“Um,” Emma kept her eyes on the folders. “We were about to conclude, Madam Mayor.”

Regina gave her a spiteful smile, a set of straight white teeth in contrast with red lipstick. “Oh really? Can I check your report, Deputy Nolan?”

Emma groaned internally, feeling her abdominal muscles jerk painfully when Regina moved slowly to stand between their desks. The brunette turned her back on Emma to talk to him, and she found a way – she always did – to rub her rear against the blonde.

As Emma remained sprawled on her chair, Regina discreetly leaned her ass back, grazing the armrest, back and forth as she scolded David, almost as if she had two brains – one to yell at subordinates, one to drive Emma Swan insane.

“This is far from concluded, Deputy,” she said sternly, using the fact that she was gesticulating to step back and press herself harder on the support. “This barely contains the expenses of a unique week-”

Emma wanted to be that armrest.

“Let me guess,” she said suddenly, spinning on her heels and facing Emma. “The other weeks are not done either.”

“Not… done,” Emma staggered, folding her legs tightly. “I’m getting it wrapped up and on your desk… this afternoon.”

Regina glared down at the blonde, raising one suspicious eyebrow and then smacking her red lips together. “Fine. Do not disappoint me, Sheriff,” she purred.

She fucking purred.

In front of David.

When the brunette was gone – leaving behind a trail of perfume and pheromones that were probably designed to affect and destroy one particular Emma Swan – the blonde Sheriff finally let out a breath she didn’t know she was holding.

“I need a cigarette,” she whispered weakly, closing her eyes as she rested her head on the back of the chair.

“You can’t smoke,” he said.

“You’re just saying that because Regina told you to. Who’s whipped now?”

“Still you,” he laughed.

David was too polite to bring up the subject, but Emma knew he had noticed at least the innuendo. What he couldn’t possibly know was the torture that awaited her.

A three hour meal, with Regina running her heeled foot through the length of Emma’s leg under the table, while Cora watched her manners and Henry babbled non-stop about three or four different subjects.

Not that she was complaining – bless them for caring about her. It was just hard to make her brain focus on other people when Regina was around.

“I won’t tell her if you won’t,” Emma begged.

“I won’t give you a cigarette,” David said, calmly propping his feet on his desk as he opened a fishing magazine. “And you should start working on those budget reports and think about… Mr. Gold or… something. It might help keep… your soldier down.”

“You do realize I’m not a boy, right?”

“It would be fun to watch, if you were.”

“Fuck you, David.”

XXX

Emma tried not to overdress for the evening, but she ended up in the dark pantsuits and white shirt she bought on a whim after finishing those damn budget reports.

She felt nervous the first time she was invited over for dinner at 108 on Mifflin Street. Back then, she just had those clumsy-and-soft-lovemaking-after-prom memories.

Now, she was a lot more nervous than the first dinner. The brunette had showed one deep dirty side of her that Emma could die for, but which was extremely inappropriate when you had to be out in public, like dinner with your mother-in-law and your girlfriend’s ten year old son.

She took a deep breath and then rang the doorbell, hoping Cora would pour her something strong to drink. That should help her prepare to restrain her impulses around the Mayor.

To her utter surprise, it was Regina who got the door this time.

Emma was not ready for that.

Her perfect body was clasped in the tightest, blood red dress Emma had ever seen. Her breasts were nearly popping from the neckline, and Jesus Christ her ass in that thing…

“Breathe, dear,” Regina whispered, using one finger to push Emma’s jaw back. She had the most beautiful smile on her face, and Emma just wanted to drop on her knees and-

“Huh,” she grunted, shaking her head as she took a step inside. She might be looking like a Neanderthal, and that smug look on Regina’s face proved her she was right about that.

Regina loved to play with this new found weakness, but Emma had mixed feelings about that. The brunette’s libido was probably God sent, but she didn’t like much to be reduced to a sex-driven imbecile who could not articulate words around one person. She wanted to turn tables and get the upper hand on that game.

“Oh, there you are,” Cora came towards her from the kitchen. “Not late!”

“That’s me,” Emma said with a chuckle, because it was easier to fake-antagonize Cora than face Regina and her sculpted-by-the- fucking-Gods body inside that dress. “I’m usually on time when there’s food. Or fire.”

“I’m impressed the whole town’s not smitten over that quick mouth of yours, Sheriff.”

Emma almost choked.

She was sure Cora didn’t mean it the dirty way, because, well, she was old. Otherwise, the tiny smirk she offered Emma would be completely off limits and inappropriate in so many levels that she chose to ignore it.

However, the coup de grâce of the moment was Regina’s smirk behind her mother, rolling her tongue over her mouth, licking her lips slowly.

It should be a crime how that woman made the most trivial gestures look like porn.

Emma went from pale pink to the whole spectrum of red in seconds.

“Come have a drink, Miss Swan. You look hot,” Cora frowned at her nervousness and the flushed face. “Would you like some homemade cider?”

Emma sank into the couch, covering her face on her hands as she heard Regina walk away to the kitchen with an amused chuckle.

“Yeah, cider sounds good, Mrs. Mills,” she said in a muffled voice, trying to recompose as the older woman served two glasses from a beautifully adorned flask, hopefully unaware of the dirty banter going on.

Cora was dressed casually, and just then it occurred to Emma that she had never seen the woman looking so carefree like that.

“Where’s Henry?”

“Combing his hair. We’re going to the movies for the first time today. Regina said it would be good if we bonded.”

“You’re not… staying for dinner?” Emma gasped, kicking herself for the strangled sound she made when she spoke.

Cora blinked at her, a bit of arrogance on her face. “No, we’re not, dear. You can ogle my daughter in that indecent dress all you want-”

Emma spat the cider in front of her, making Cora gasp. She was sure she was going to be on the receiving end of a full lecture on manners, when Henry arrived and plopped down next to her on the couch.

“Nice shirt,” the boy told her with a nod and then said “My mom keeps a lot of your shirts in her closet, but I think she doesn’t have any without patterns. That’s yours, I mean.”

Regina entered the living room with a glass of wine the second her son finished telling her on.

Finally it was Emma’s turn to smirk and look cocky as the brunette blushed and avoided her eyes.

“Well, we should go,” Cora said, standing up as she sat her empty glass on the coffee table. “Are you ready, sweetheart?”

“Yup,” Henry nodded, patting Emma on the shoulder and quickly standing up to kiss his mother goodbye. “Bye, Mom. Bye, Emma.”

Emma felt her heart flutter at the sight – it was impressive how Regina went from sultry to sweet within seconds – she smiled softly as she kissed the top of his head and waved at Cora.

“Have fun!” she called out.

When they were both gone, the brunette closed the door behind her and turned to Emma with a serious, unreadable look on her face. She removed the apron she had tied around her waist and threw it on the nearest chair.

“We’re skipping dinner, if you don’t mind,” she said with that low, husky voice, glancing at the blonde above her shoulder as she ran the tips of her fingers over the banister.

Fuck.

Emma’s legs were paralyzed. She had been on a fire before, and well, it was safe to say that fire didn’t feel as hot as having Mayor Mills breathing and snapping orders around her.

It took her a full minute to react and move. She followed the trail of perfume Regina left on her wake, and climbed the stairs after her. She had never been there before – not inside, at least – and she started to recognize the area that led to her old bedroom.

On her right, a door stood ajar, and a yellowish beam of light spread on the carpet runner. She walked slowly, a soft tune catching her ear the moment she stuck her head inside.

“Gina?” she whispered.

“Emma Swan, you have three seconds to-”

“Hi,” Emma grinned from ear to ear when Regina bust out from the adjoining bathroom, looking a little irritated.

She was naked.

God. Damn. Naked.

And angrily horny.

Emma gasped for air as Regina’s eyes grew darker. She came towards the blonde swaying her hips slowly, without breaking eye contact for a second.

“No touching,” Regina murmured, eschewing from the blonde’s eager hands. She delicately hooked her fingers around Emma’s belt loops and softly pushed the blonde, who fell backwards on the mattress without any resistance as her green eyes remained glued to her.

Regina straddled her, throwing her arms around her neck and drawing her mouth near Emma’s ear. With a shaky sigh, she tangled her fingers with Emma’s hair and claimed her lips into a demanding and hot kiss.

Emma groaned as Regina’s tongue claimed passage between her lips. She wanted to eat that woman out until she begged her to stop, but no touching. Damn.

Regina kissed Emma passionately, cupping her face gently. She began to rock her hips, rubbing herself against the flyer of Emma’s pants, and a long, deep moan escaped her crimson lips, the sound ripping through Emma’s body like an electric current.

Her first reaction was to grab Regina’s hips roughly, but the brunette shook her head. “I said no touching,” she whispered, untucking Emma’s shirt from her pants and ripping it open as she continued to rock back and forth. “A shirt for a shirt,” she mumbled with a smirk, lowering her eyes to check Emma’s bra and ripped abdomen. “Take them off,” she moved a lazy finger over Emma’s torso.

The blonde narrowed her eyes as her breathing intensified. She got rid of the shirt and unclasped her bra, throwing the item carelessly to the side. Regina resumed her pace, and Emma knew that she was doing that to torture her about what had happened at the Station earlier.

It was working, and Regina was grinning about that.

Emma whimpered when she felt the wetness on her clothes. She knew some of that was hers, but what she was feeling against her thighs was definitively Regina’s. She got up from the blonde’s lap and Emma could confirm; there was a small milky smudge where the other woman had been sitting. She grinned at that for a second before looking up at Regina.

“Did you like my bedroom?” she asked with that sultry voice, turning around.

“Oh c’mon, Regina-” Emma growled, reaching out to grab her ass.

Oh c’mon Regina what?” the brunette slapped her hands away. “Be a good girl and lay on your back, Sheriff…”

Emma threw herself on her bed, plopping her head down on Regina’s pillow, instantly taking in the scent of her hair. Her hips jerked upwards when Regina crawled on top of her.

“Uh-uh, no touching,” Regina whispered, pinning the blonde’s wrists above her head and leaning in for another languid kiss, making their erect nipples graze for a moment.

To Emma’s surprise, Regina let go of her wrists and sat up, giving her back to her as she gently sat on Emma’s crotch and resumed the rocking movement.

The sight of her ass itself was to die for, but Emma thought she was going to lose her shit when Regina started to let out murmurs of pleasure as she enjoyed herself against Emma’s hips.

“Regina, for the love of God-“

Without turning around, Regina instructed “Reach under the pillow. I got you something, Miss Swan-”

Emma’s hips buckled again when she heard that lustful Miss Swan coming out of her lips. She tucked one hand underneath the fluffy pillow and gasped when she held a thick object.

Emma’s lids fluttered shut as she breathed “You didn’t-”

“I did,” Regina smiled, crawling back up to kiss her as she unzipped her dark pants and dragged them down all the way from Emma’s hips to her ankles.

Emma watched in contemplation as the woman reached under the pillow and removed the object herself. Regina expertly buckled the harness to the blonde’s eager hips, and then attached the ‘accessory’ to the front. Emma was hypnotized by her manicured hand around it.

Regina kissed her softly when she finished, and dismounted her, lying on her side. For a second, she looked exactly as nervous as she had been that first time, and that was enough to make Emma roll and claim her position on top of her, touching as much as she wanted.

They locked their lips into a furious kiss as Emma used her hands to explore every inch of skin that she had been denied a few minutes ago.

Regina smiled at her, closing her eyes as she spread herself, using her hands to guide Emma’s hips between her legs, squeezing her ass cheeks with her fingernails to demand pressure.

Emma gave it a small, tentative thrust, and Regina’s gasp of surprise came followed by a look of wanton desire.

 “Take me,” Regina hissed in her ear, clasping her arms tightly around Emma’s torso for support as she buckled her hips against Emma. “Take me now,” she panted.

Emma didn’t need to hear it again; she hammered herself inside the brunette.

“Oh God…”

“You like that?” Emma panted.

“Yes!” Regina hissed, opening her eyes to stare at the blonde. “Yes… yes… like that… yes!

Emma was pretty sure that, if she heard another yes coming from the bottom of Regina’s throat, she was going to come without even being touched…

 

Regina knew that she might be looking like a sultry and sassy goddess of sex to that woman above her. She kept her eyes glued to Emma’s face as she rocked her boyish hips vigorously against her, hitting pleasure spots she didn’t know she had until now.

Emma had that face of adoration, even though she might be thinking she looked all cocky – literally – fucking her after all the teasing.

But the truth was, Emma had always been Regina’s weak spot. She had always been the green eyes that haunted Regina even when she was awake. She had been a smug smirk and a nasty comment that coated a lot of admiration. She had been a mouth that was excellent at yelling profanities and murmuring sweet things to her. She had been a pair of muscular arms that now grasped her mattress to fuck her furiously, but she was also a pair of arms that would hold Regina forever if she so desired.

That idiot was her love, her heart.

And Emma noticed the change on her expression; she noticed that Regina was not only letting her be her partner in obscene flirtation during work hours.

She noticed that Regina was giving her permission to much more.

Emma used one hand to caress Regina’s flushed face. “You look pretty… when you’re about to come,” she whispered in between grunts, leaning down for a gentle kiss. “Can I see it… forever?”

That was it. Regina came hard with a loud, strangled moan, unannounced to her own hips as Emma repeatedly hit her new favorite spot. She grabbed handfuls of blonde locks, furiously trying to get some support.

Emma did not complain from pain or anything like that. She waited.

She patiently waited, like she always did, until she let go of her hair and her arms fell limply beside her limp body.

Regina shuddered underneath her, trying to speak as those green eyes seemed to watch her soul.

“Promise me this is what you want,” she whispered, panting slightly after ten to fifteen minutes.

“To guard you and make you come forever?” Emma chuckled. “What kind of question is that, Mills?”

“I just needed to make sure,” Regina chuckled in return, cupping Emma’s face and wishing he had a camera to snap a picture of that sweet smile. “Idiot.”

XXX

The bell chimed when Emma entered Granny’s diner. Ruby looked up from the plates she was stacking on top of the counter.

“I need a cigarette.”

Ruby sighed and shook her head. “No, you don’t. “

“I can’t believe Regina recruited you too.”

“Dude, it’s not possible to say no to that woman when she gives you that look,” Ruby said, shuddering slightly.

“Heard about Killian?”

“Yeah.”

“And you’re doing nothing?”

“Nope.”

“He’s leaving!”

The long-legged brunette almost dropped a plate. “What?

“Oh c’mon, Ruby!” Emma slumped down the stool across from her on the counter.

Ruby threw a ragged cloth over her shoulder and placed both hands on the counter. “He’s going to visit his uncle in Boston, then he’s coming back! I can’t believe you bought the theatrical version. He only wanted to borrow your car, doofus!”

“I’m gonna kill that dramatic son of a bitch!”

“I thought, for a while, that he was eventually going to leave. Because, you know… I think he likes me, but then… He forced me to talk to Dorothy! Who does that when you have feelings for a person?”

“Killian does,” Emma shrugged. “He stayed while you were miserable. All these years that I made you miserable, he stayed. Now you’re happy, and he’s letting you go. And being a drama queen.”

“And why does it bother you so much, Emma?” Ruby spat.

Emma scratched the back of her neck, uncomfortably.

“It bothers me ‘cause… all these years… everyone was good to you, and I didn’t let you go,” the blonde said slowly. “That shoddy pirate is making me feel like a real bastard! You were the only reason I didn’t fall apart, and you were the reason I stayed sane. Everyone was great, and I was the worst. And I guess… I wanted to…”

Ruby’s eyes were glistening when Emma looked up, but she was smiling.

“Don’t apologize, animal. I had fun, okay? I mean, sex was great and God bless your tongue, but you have to stop punishing yourself at some point, you know. I thought you were the one for me, and I thought that I would never be able to feel this again for anyone else… I’m… I’m in love with her, Emma. Have you seen her arms?”

Emma chuckled, feeling her heart lighten inside her chest.

“I’m happy that you can smile again, Ruby Lucas.”

“I’m happy that you can smile again, Emma Swan. You were such a pain in the ass!”

Emma laughed. “Okay, now that the gay moment is over, what can I have that’s on the house?”

“Stop being a cheap ass!”

Emma let out a nervous laugh that Ruby knew all too well. When she grabbed the menu and started to read it, the waitress got the confirmation that she needed.

“Em?”

“I’m just trying to complete my savings, you know…”

Ruby folded her arms.

“If I’m handing free food, I need to know why, Emma Swan.”

Emma looked up. She let out a deep sigh and stuck both hands on her jeans pockets, leaning forward to get closer to her friend. Her green eyes seemed a little scared.

“Would you help me… buy a ring?”

 

Chapter Text

1986

Mom?

Ingrid closed her eyes and smiled at the sound of Emma’s voice.

“In here, baby!”

Her daughter showed up on the archway to the living room, dressed in sweatpants, a tight white t-shirt and running shoes. Her lips were cracked into the first smile Ingrid saw in a long time.

“Check this out,” she said, dropping her duffel bag recklessly on the floor. She squatted to rummage it, and removed a green jacket with Storybrooke coat of arms and the name SWAN embroidered on the chest. “How do I look?” she asked, putting it on.

Ingrid grinned, clapping her hands. “Oh my God, kid! You look gorgeous!” She looked exactly like James. “You’re gonna crush hearts!”

“Because I’m the cutest student in the police academy?” Emma scoffed, plopping down next to her mother on the couch. “You’re so biased…”

“I’m not biased!” Ingrid smacked her arm. “You are the cutest!”

“Can’t argue with you on that,” Ruby said barging in the house, bringing an armful of paper bags from Granny’s. “Dinner’s here!” she called out, walking towards the kitchen to drop the food and then returning to the living room. “Hey. You got another one,” she threw a letter into Emma’s lap.

The blonde lowered her eyes and recognized the familiar stamp of the British mail service. She picked it and, when she was about to tear it in two, Ingrid snatched it from her hands and put it away.

“We’re hanging at the pier later, if you wanna come,” Ruby said tentatively to Emma, who offered a gruff nod in response. Whenever a letter arrived, she would be in a sour mood for days. “Call us if you need,” she added to Ingrid and left.

“You can’t sulk forever, you know,” the older woman said after a moment, waving the letter. She coughed into a handkerchief. “You can give her the benefit of the doubt, at least.”

“She didn’t give it to me when they accused me of writing those things about her!”

“Kid,” Ingrid made a pause to cough again. “She was probably more embarrassed than you… Just… Don’t throw them away, okay? If you don’t wanna read them, fine, but keep them. You’ll thank me one day.”

“Yeah, you’re leaving me too. How am I supposed to thank you later?” Emma snapped, standing up and leaving to the kitchen.

The smell of burger and fries hit her senses like it always did, but her stomach did not react with the usual happy rumble, making her notice that she didn’t feel so hungry after all. Instead, she set to prepare tea and brought the fuming cup to the living room.

“Thanks, kid,” Ingrid said quietly accepting the hot beverage, wishing she could sooth her daughter’s pain. It wasn’t fair that they had so little time left.

“I took the job at the drugstore,” Emma mumbled. “I can do afternoon errands and night shifts, and it won’t stand in the way of the academy. I’ll make more money, and we can see a better doctor in New York-”

“And when do you get to spend time with me, kid?”

“When you’re cured and I don’t have to worry about how long we still have!”

“Emma, listen, honey-”

“I already know what you’re gonna say.”

“Look at me.”

The blonde girl was reluctant at first, and then she sighed and turned to her mom. Her green eyes were empty and she looked so broken hearted that Ingrid wished she was not adding it to her suffering.

“Maybe I won’t be here to see your girl come back to you, or even see you become Sheriff, but right now I’m still here! Let’s enjoy while we still can without me looking green and attached to tubes and machines. I don’t want you to remember me like that.”

Emma was making inhuman effort to keep her crying to herself until she was alone in her bedroom. She held her mother’s hand and squeezed it. “Then I’m taking you to MM’s bachelorette party this Saturday. We’re gonna drink our asses off, and you’re not gonna scold me for that.”

“Oh, I can do that!”

“Mom?”

“Yeah?”

“After you kick the bucket… you have to promise me you won’t try to communicate with me through the TV,” she said chuckling, still creeped out about the re-run of Poltergeist they watched last weekend.

Ingrid spat her tea all over her blanket as she was overcome with a fit of laughter.

“If you don’t find another way to tell me that you’re happy, Emma Swan…” she gasped. “I will call you from the TV in the middle of the night and make sure you shit your pants!”

1996

“Oh my God Oh my God Oh my God!” Ruby squealed as they walked around the display cases on the jewelry shop.

Emma frowned. “If I knew you’d be like that, I would’ve brought MM.”

“You are so boring, and I don’t even care!” Ruby spat with a grin. “Look at this! Look at this one!”

“Calm down- Oh!” Emma tilted her head to the side when she came to a halt next to her extremely frantic friend, watching the most beautiful engagement ring she had ever seen in her life. It had a single diamond as the center piece and small blue sapphires circling it, all clasped into a delicate silver band.

“Right?” Ruby beamed.

“It’s perfect,” Emma said in awe. “Can we see it?” she asked the shop owner, who looked a little suspicious at them.

“Holy shit,” Ruby hissed, eyes widening as the blonde held it on her outstretched palm. “I wouldn’t say no to that.”

“Do you think it’ll fit her?”

“Absolutely,” the brunette nodded.

“How can you be so sure?” Emma asked with a frown.

“I know women fingers,” Ruby said through greeted teeth. “Want me to explain how?”

“God no, thanks,” Emma chuckled awkwardly, and then she turned to the stern looking man. “How much for this one?”

“I’ll check my book,” he said with a brief nod. He returned two minutes later, frowning as he caught Ruby making a pompous impression of him walking away.

He passed Emma a note with the price, apparently expecting her to decline with a scoff.

“I’ll take it,” the blonde nodded, making him smile for the first time.

“Excellent choice, Sheriff Swan,” he said politely, gently taking the jewelry and placing it inside a velvet box. After he put his cold hands on the small roll of bills, he squinted at Emma. “Aren’t you the girl who-”

“Yes, she popped the Mayor’s cherry,” Ruby said with a giant grin, as though it was something to brag about. “Everyone knows about that, dude.”

Ruby!”

“What? It’s true!”

“I was going to ask about the fire incident, but I guess this… is noteworthy as well,” he said awkwardly. “So, Sheriff… Who’s the lucky woman?”

Emma blushed. “The… Um…” she cleared her throat. “The Mayor.”

“Very well,” he nodded. “Better thirteen years later than never. Here,” he passed her the box. “Good luck and I wish you all the best.”

The bell chimed when they left the store, and once they were back on the street, Emma swatted Ruby’s head.

“What the fuck, Ruby?”

“What’s the big deal?” she rubbed the back of her head and combed her hair with her fingers. “You popped mine, too!”

Ruby!”

“Are you becoming a prude just because you’re getting married?” she scoffed.

“I’m not a prude because I don’t want to discuss how many… cherries I popped in my life!” Emma snapped, wanting to laugh at the absurd of that sentence. She shook her head. “Just stop bringing that up!”

“Or?”

Or I’ll ask David to be my best man!”

Ruby’s eyes went wide. “I’m your best man?”

“Of course you are –oomph!” Emma gasped when Ruby threw herself at the blonde into a bone crushing hug.

“I’m gonna throw you the best bachelorette party of the century-!”

“Ruby-”

“Let’s go eat!” she said, pulling Emma by the hand, dragging her to the nearest hot dog cart. “Oh my God, I’m your best fucking man-!”

XXX

“Morning.”

David spun on his chair to face Emma as she dropped her things on her desk on the next day after the ring-buying event.

He had a knowing smirk on his face that made Emma roll her eyes. She collected the velvet box from her jacket pocket and smacked it on his desk.

Of course Ruby couldn’t keep a secret.

Wow!” David whispered in awe as he opened it. “Em… it’s beautiful!”

“It is, right?” she grinned, feeling giddy, plopping down on her chair and rolling it towards his desk.

“It’s fantastic!”

“So. I need your help.”

“Okay.”

“You’re still lame and romantic, right?”

“Hey!”

“Don’t be offended! That got you to marry MM!”

“If I remember it right, you played guitar for me while I sang on her front lawn!”

“That was tremendously tacky, but she said yes,” Emma patted his shoulder. “Making ends meet, eh?”

“If you need ideas to propose, that’s not the way to get into my good graces, Swan.”

“Oh, c’mon!” she chuckled. “Mary loved it! I just… I just want to do something incredibly romantic and memorable, you know. That includes being a little cheesy, and there’s no one better in the world to help me with cheesy than you.”

“You suck at complimenting people, did you know that?” David sighed, but she couldn’t hold back his smile. “Okay, do you have any idea where you wanna do it?”

“Hm. We have many special places in town, but I think I need help to decide which one means most, right?”

“So, your bedroom?”

Emma frowned. “No?”

“Wasn’t it where you popped her cherry-?”

David!”

He threw his head back with laughter. “Yeah, Ruby said you’d react like that,” he wiped the tear in the corner of his eye as he recovered. “Okay… ” He cleared his throat. “Special places-”

Four hours later, they were both pacing in front of their desks, arms folded as they watched the complex diagram David made on the board with the places Emma indicated and the respective events that unrolled in each one.

“Hmm. You guys have a lot of great places.”

“I can’t think anymore, I’m hungry!” Emma grunted.

“I knew you’d say that,” David tapped the blue thumb tack that represented the Storybrooke Movie Theater. “I ordered food, Ruby must be-”

“Here,” the tall brunette barged in with a lot of paper bags. “Burgers, fries, and soda. There’s also cherry pie for dessert!”

“Oh, real mature, guys-”

As David and Ruby roared with laughter, Emma grabbed her bag and plopped down behind her desk to eat. She ignored them, keeping her eyes trained on the board as she devoured her delicious, extra greasy burger.

“I gowrit!” Emma yelled through a mouthful of fries. “I gor eet!”

David was about to ask her what was it, when the familiar sound of clicking heels approached the glass doors.

“Holy shit,” he hissed, throwing the couch’s ragged shawl over the board, trying to cover the proposal diagram. When the door burst open, the shawl fell on the floor, displaying all the colorful points and notes.

Ruby let out a sigh of relief when she saw it was Cora and not Regina.

“Shit,” she hissed. “I can’t believe that I’m gonna say this, but thank God it’s you-!”

“Hello,” Cora said sternly, eyeing the brunette with an air of disapproval. She spared a quick glance at David and then she turned to Emma and her paper bags. “Sheriff Swan.”

Emma stood up, noticing blotches of ketchup on her hands and nowhere to clean them.

“ ‘ey!” she waved, deciding against smiling – God only knew what she could have between her teeth – and she felt her heart drop to her stomach when she noticed David making a discreet gesture to indicate that she had food on her face.

Cora removed a Kleenex box from her purse and passed it to the blonde without saying a single word.

“Mrs. Mills,” Emma said awkwardly, throwing the crumpled papers on the trash bin under her desk as she finished chewing and swallowing.  “Have a seat,” she pointed the chair in front of Cora.

The woman sat down graciously, but she didn’t have a very friendly expression when she faced Emma.

“You would give Pauline a heart attack.”

Emma frowned. “W-Who?”

“Regina’s etiquette teacher,” Cora said, exhaling deeply. “So this is your job. You sit around eating and playing with a board-” she turned around, noticing David and Ruby standing behind her, smirking as they watched her scold Emma. “You all would give Pauline a heart attack. Can I have a moment in private with my... Miss Swan?”

After they left, Emma relaxed a little and she had a small smirk on her lips.

“Is there a problem, Miss Swan?”

“Nope. I’m good. How are you?”

“I am fine, thank you for asking,” she said icily.

“Hm… So, what can I do for you?”

Cora adjusted her frame on the chair, making it clear that she considered it very uncomfortable, and she took a deep breath as she held her purse on her lap with both her manicured hands.

“I initially meant to invite you for lunch. Regina said you would like to annoy me with your lack of manners, and I came for this reason, but seeing as you already ate-”

“I can eat again,” Emma said promptly, and when Cora frowned, she shrugged. “Well, I have no manners, right? My stomach has no limits, either.”

Cora pressed her lips into a smirk. “Where would you like to go, dear?”

XXX

They were sitting on the outside of an old Italian canteen, because it felt like the only place in town that would not disappoint Cora’s refined palate. Emma had the smirk back on her lips, making the older woman frown.

“Do you care to share? I don’t speak smug!”

Chuckling, the blonde sipped her water.

“You were going to say something else back in the Station.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“You can’t be serious that I am your Miss Swan,” she said. “So… Your what?”

Cora rolled her eyes and sighed. “I was going to refer to you as my daughter-in-law,” she spat. “Wrongly, because you’re not.”

Emma considered it for a moment. They had made progress, and she was Regina’s mother…

“Yet,” Emma said, placing the small velvet box in the middle of the table.

“When… What-?”

“I was wondering who I should ask permission, first.”

The woman blushed, unable to keep her displeased face to Emma. That crazy idiot had a way with the puppy eyes.

“I think we’re done with this. I don’t control my daughter’s life. She can marry you, if she wants to, I suppose. What would you like to order?” she lowered her eyes to the menu for a second and then turned to the waiter. “I’ll have the ravioli and a bottle of your best wine.”

Emma narrowed her eyes. Cora was bluffing. She cared about tradition. “I’ll have what she’s having,” she said to the man.

“You’re sticking to water, Sheriff. My driver will take you to the Station, but still I want you sober when you get there.”

The blonde sighed. “Fine. But I want it sparkly, with ice and lemon. And those cocktail umbrellas.”

When the waiter was gone, Cora was glaring at her. “You’re absolutely a child!”

Emma smiled, ignoring it as she pushed the velvet box further towards Cora.

“Still, I’d like to ask first or whatever.”

Cora refrained from scolding the blonde even more for her lazy vocabulary as she picked the box and opened it.

Emma was glad to verify that she finally impressed that woman.

She looked up at the blonde Sheriff, seemingly speechless.

“How did you-?”

“I stole it.”

Cora glared at her. “Miss Swan.”

The blonde chuckled. “Can’t you just call me Emma?”

“No.”

“I started saving money after my mom died,” Emma said after a beat. “I kept the house, the car and I got a stable job, so… I could save a lot after I paid the hospital bills.”

Cora went silent again. She was fumbling with her fingers, nervously even. She had tried so hard to make that girl’s life miserable... Emma had fought her way up, working hard and becoming a person that would get into the fire to save other people – even people like herself.

Cora didn’t want to cry, because crying was for the weak, but that was exactly the way she felt when she looked at that young woman. She felt weak compared to what seemed a force of nature hiding behind a smug face with ketchup blotches, asking permission to marry her daughter.

She inhaled deeply, swallowing the knot that had formed in her throat.

“Very well, it looks like you have it all figured out,” she said slowly. “However, have you heard of the Defense of Marriage Act?”

Emma shrugged, because in fact, she did her research. “I don’t care if they don’t validate it. It’s validated by me and Regina, and everyone else that supports us.”

Regina and I,” Cora said in spite of herself, making Emma laugh hard.

When the food arrived, Emma was glad she had already eaten. Being half full permitted her to eat slowly and more carefully; no matter how tempted she was to tease Cora, she was actually enjoying talking to her.

“Thank you for telling me, dear,” the woman said after a moment. “This is more than I deserve.”

Emma shrugged, visibly embarrassed now that she was being taken so seriously by a woman who considered her as much as a cockroach.

The rest of the meal was held in silence, even after Cora snatched the bill and paid for it. Her driver – the same man that sometimes drove Regina around when they were young – took Emma to the Station, and when she was about to climb out of the vehicle, Cora called her out.

“This is for you,” she passed her a blank check after signing it.

“What am I supposed to do with this?” Emma asked with a frown, not really sure she was ready for the answer.

“This happens once in a lifetime, Miss Swan. Make sure my daughter has the wedding ceremony of her dreams.”

About five minutes after Cora took off with her driver, Emma was still rooted on her spot, thunderstruck.

“Are you okay?” David asked, hurrying to her side as Ruby patted her back gently.

“Did she threaten to give you cement shoes and kick you off the Toll Bridge?” she asked in a hurried whisper.

Emma chuckled, still unable to believe what had just happened. She held out the blank check.

“She’s paying for the wedding.”

XXX

Emma had thought that the hardest part was over; after all, what could be harder than tell Cora Mills that she wanted to marry her only daughter?

Talking to the daughter, apparently.

Emma felt something incredibly cold going down her stomach when she picked the phone, and her heart skipped several beats when that familiar husky voice sounded on the other side.

Mayor Mills.”

Emma swallowed hard, not sure what to say. A week ago, she had been extremely cocky and sure about proposing. Now, she felt like a bag of nerves whenever she saw the brunette.

Butterflies erupted in her stomach with the perspective of having that gorgeous, wonderful woman as her wife, going to bed and waking up every morning by her side.

 The butterflies vomited and had a nervous meltdown with the possibility of Regina saying no.

Emma, is that you?

She sounded tired, and Emma knew she was probably worried too, because she noticed, of course, that Emma had been acting bizarrely jumpy all week. Stupid butterflies

“H-Hi!” Emma gasped, kicking herself in silence for sounding shrill like that, as if she was guilty of something she didn’t even do. She cleared her throat. “Are you busy?”

No.”

She could see Regina frowning, the engines in her brain working as she tapped her desk with her manicured fingers. Any normal person would be worried if their girlfriend suddenly started to act like a deer caught in headlights every time they met.

“Huh, I was wondering if I could… If I could pick Henry after school today. I’ll drive him back later,” she added, hesitantly.

It took Regina a moment to finally sigh and answer. “Yes. You can do that. He’s going to be glad, actually.” After a long pause – or what seemed like one – Regina spoke again. “Is there anything… wrong?

Emma chuckled nervously, trying to sound as her cool and flippant self and failing miserably. “Wrong? Absolutely nothing to worry about, Mills,” she said with that horrible shrill voice again. “I mean, Madam Mayor!”

You don’t need to call me that over the phone. Have a good day, Sheriff Swan.

Oh snap…

Emma recognized that mix of annoyance and hurt. Shit shit shit…

Now she needed Henry more than ever…

XXX

“I brought you some coffee,” Katherine said brightly, entering the Mayor’s office with a fuming cup in her hands. Upon noticing the death glare she was receiving from the brunette, she stopped dead on her tracks. “What did I do?”

“You’re smiling,” Regina grunted.

“Well?”

“Your smile is annoying me.”

Katherine refrained from rolling her eyes.

Regina scoffed. She couldn’t believe Emma Swan was going to make her feel like she was still in High School – anxious and afraid to lose her date for some more interesting girl.

“Do you think I’m boring?”

Katherine put the cup down in front of the brunette, and took a seat across from her.

“What’s wrong, Regina?” she asked softly, already guessing it had something to do with the town’s Sheriff.

“I’m not sure I want to… or should discuss this with you.”

“You are not boring.”

Regina looked at her secretary, remembering that they had been good friends when they were younger.

“Emma’s acting weird this week,” she said quietly. Emma had said she wanted them, Regina and Henry. She had said she wanted them forever. Why was she avoiding her like that now? Did she change her mind? Was she going to say goodbye to Henry and then run away?

“Emma has always been a little weird, Regina,” Katherine chuckled. “You should pay more attention to the way she looks at you and your son and worships the ground you both walk on. Seriously. It’s disgustingly sweet, and I still feel bad about being a bitch to her that time. But she beat us all, me, your mother, everyone who didn’t give her a chance the first time. Don’t be us, Regina. Really. And your coffee is going cold,” she added brightly, leaving the office with a smug smirk.

Regina probably wanted to throw the stapler at her head for the arrogance, but sometimes she just didn’t care about her old friend’s mood swings. She sat down behind the reception desk, remembering the day she was walking downtown and spotted Emma Swan and Ruby Lucas leaving the jewelry store with a shop bag.

And it didn’t hurt that she moved a few strings and found out Emma bought one of the most expensive and beautiful engagement rings in the store.

Of course she was flipping. Who wouldn’t?

Katherine heard Regina snarl about ‘not enough sugar’ on her coffee, and she grinned.

XXX

“Emma!” Henry exclaimed, running towards her the second he saw the blonde. He grasped her into a tight embrace around the waist, making her heart flutter like the first time. “I missed you!”

“I’m sorry, kid,” she said, ruffling his hair as she took his school bag and placed it on the back seat of the GTI. “I’ve been busy this week. How are you? I missed you too!”

“Wow, this car is cool,” Henry said as he took in all the stickers that covered the vehicle and the inside of the old car. “What happened to the bug?”

“Killian kept it for now. He’s going on a road trip next month.”

“Cool.”

“How was your day?”

“It was okay.”

Emma frowned. “Are you sure? You promised you’d tell me if anyone bothered you again-”

He grinned. “The guys who don’t like me are terrified of you and my mom. Don’t worry about it.”

She chuckled, nodding. “Good.”

“What are we going to do today?”

“Pizza and movie?”

“Yeah!”

“Good, because I already picked one.”

He narrowed his eyes suspiciously at her. Last time she picked, he had been stuck with The Lion King. Henry rummaged the video store bag and his eyes went wide when he read the tittle.

“You’re kidding me,” he said at the verge of jumping around her neck.

“Nope,” Emma chuckled. “You’re a brave young man, right? I think you can handle this stupid dog.”

Henry’s lips cracked open into a huge smile as he stared down at a copy of Cujo.

Awesome! Thank you!”

She watched him fussing about it all the way towards her house. She felt pretty much as nervous as she felt around his mother, but there was something comforting about his presence. Something that drawn her to him, just like it did when he fell down the mine. He was not her flesh and blood, and yet... From the very beginning, something made her want to shield him from harm. Something made anything that was scary feel easier to face…

Love.

Henry didn’t notice how incredibly emotional the blonde felt, and he was even teasing her about Regina scolding her later for letting him watch a rated movie. He only frowned when she dropped the pizza box and soda cans on the coffee table.

They usually ate on the dinner table, and then they would move to the TV room.

“Okay, what is it?”

“What is it what, kid?” she asked absently minded as she shuffled to the right channel on the TV and turned on the VCR.

“Pizza and Cujo? You must have done something really bad.”

She turned around, and her heart melted with the look on his face. So Regina’s son…

“I didn’t do anything wrong!” she said, popping one soda can open and handing it to him.

He lifted one eyebrow as he sipped it, selecting the biggest slice of the pepperoni pizza with a napkin.

“Relax, kid,” she said jokingly, feeling her stomach drop to her feet, all the courage she had gathered to talk to him about this going away as she plopped down next to him on the couch.

As the movie progressed, Emma was the only one who looked actually tense. Henry picked the remote between them and paused it. Then he turned to Emma with the most business like face a ten year old can possibly pull for an adult.

“What’s the deal, Emma? You’re weird, and the movie is not even that scary.”

She sighed, resting her head against the wall with her eyes closed.

“Okay, kid… Listen… I love your mom, right?”

“Uh huh.”

“I love her very much and… How would you feel…  about us becoming, huh, a sort of a… you know, family?”

She cringed at the babbling mess, imagining Cora and Regina frowning at her.

You are lucky Henry is a little more benevolent about your particular lack of ability to enunciate, their voices combined said.

“I mean, I don’t want to impose anything to you, right,” she went on, avoiding his eyes for a moment and then looking up. His mouth was smeared with pizza grease. “I know you like me, but it’s okay if you like me living in a different house-”

Her poor speech was cut short when he threw himself into her arms.

“You’re gonna marry her?” he asked with a huge smile. “You’re gonna marry my mom?”

“I’ll ask her first,” Emma shrugged, feeling her hear lighter with his reaction, taking his bangs off his eyes. “You think she’ll say yes?”

“Are you kidding me?”

“Do I ever?”

He grinned, standing up on the couch and jumping on the floor to get more pizza from the box. Then he turned to her with a smirk. “Of course she’s gonna say yes! Duh!”

 

Later that night, when she dropped him off at the Mills Mansion, Emma kept craning her neck to see if it was Regina who would get the door. Her hopeful smile disappeared when she saw Cora.

“Good evening, Miss Swan,” she said with a knowing smirk. “She’s a little indisposed.”

“Oh,” Emma nodded. “Should I-?”

“You should ask soon,” Henry said. “She’s losing her shit thinking you don’t like her very much anymore.”

Emma laughed; not because she liked the idea of Regina being afflicted, but because Henry had sounded just like herself.

“I will,” she said, bending over to kiss his head. “Good night, kid. I… ”

He smirked. She really sucked with words. “I love you, Emma,” he said boldly, and he was taken by surprise when Emma pulled him back to her into the tightest embrace he had ever received.

“I love you,” she breathed against his hair.

He grinned  as he looked up at her. “You do?”

Emma rolled her eyes. “Duh!” Cora cleared her throat. “Okay, have a good night,” she said quickly, standing up and entering the car before anyone could see how her stupid eyes were swollen with tears. “Good bye, Cora.”

“Have a good night, Miss Swan.”

Chapter Text

January, 1987

“I am not going,” Emma said.

“Of course you are going, your best friends are getting married!” Ingrid said. She had a flourished shawl wrapped around her head like a turban, covering the absence of blonde hair, and she was trying to look flippant as she applied make up on Emma’s face.

“I can’t go,” Emma looked at her mother’s frail figure. She had always been thin, but now she looked so… small.

“I’m not gonna die while you’re gone, kid,” she chuckled. “Go! Have some fun! Besides, Granny said Ruby’s flipping because you asked her to go with you. You can’t blow her off, Emma!”

“Ruby will have me for the rest of her life, mom. You-”

Ingrid pulled Emma to her. She buried her face into her mother’s shoulder, and when the first sob erupted, Ingrid withdrew and held Emma at arms’ length.

“Listen to me. You’re the youngest Deputy in Storybrooke, missy! You’re supporting us because you had to be the adult here. You took care of me the whole week and I can’t stand to see your face anymore,” she added with a smirk. “Go have some fun, make out with a bridesmaid-”

Mom-”

“Then you come back and tell me all about it. You’re going and that’s final. Mom’s order.”

“That’s not fair-”

“You know what’s not fair?” Ruby asked as she barged in furiously. “To live with a woman that doesn’t understand shit about being a woman!” she panted, hurrying to Ingrid’s side after noticing that Emma was not dressed yet. “I know I was supposed to wait at home so you could pick me up, but seriously, I can’t do my eye shadows!”

“Hey, calm down,” Ingrid grabbed her by the hand and guided her to sit on the couch where Emma was a minute ago. “Let’s see what I can do-”

Emma stood by the doorway, watching the obscenely tight dress clasped around her friend’s hips.

“You look hot,” she blurted out, and both Ingrid and Ruby turned to look at her. “I’ll… go get dressed,” Emma stammered, hurrying to her bedroom and closing the door behind her.

She walked towards her wardrobe, exhaling deeply. Ruby had reached a whole new level of hitting below the belt with her, and Emma wasn’t sure whether she liked it or hated it. She opened a drawer, scrambled through her socks and found one of the only photographs she had of Regina by herself.

She was sitting on the passenger seat of the GTI, reading a book. Her hair was cute, arranged on a red headband, and sunlight fell perfectly on her. Emma had no idea who took that picture. It was a masterpiece – a masterpiece that broke her heart whenever she looked at it.

XXX

She was smoking a joint with Ruby in front of the diner, laughing at MM’s cousins’ haircuts, when Granny came outside. Out of reflex, Emma took the blunt from Ruby’s lips and threw it away.

“Ingrid called, Emma,” the old woman said.

For someone who was expecting to get scolded for smoking, Emma stood up and ran to her house, forgetting all about Ruby and her car.

They didn’t live too far – about ten blocks away – but Emma got home within seconds. Maybe the academy trainings were finally paying off.

“Don’t you DARE!” Emma yelled as she burst through the front door, searching frenetically for her mother. “Don’t you DARE die on me like this-!”

“Did you just… run home?” Ingrid asked, coming out of Emma’s bedroom.

“I… Of course I… ran…” she panted, feeling relieved to see her, even if with that smug smirk on her pale face. “Granny said… She said…”

“I told her to send you home in case she caught you smoking marijuana on the street. You are the Deputy, Emma! What the hell, kid?”

Emma pursed her lips as she stared at the worn out floorboards.

“I’m sorry if I got in the way of you… fooling around with Ruby, but well, you can do that whenever you want. You can’t afford to screw this up, though. You can’t! I’m not gonna be around forever-”

“I know that!” Emma spat angrily. “I fucking know that.”

Ingrid sighed, pulling her inside. “I was cleaning a little. Your bedroom’s a pigsty.”

Emma chuckled. “Now you care?”

“I don’t regret being a cool mom, okay?” Ingrid said, resuming folding a t-shirt and placing it on top of a pile of clean laundry on Emma’s bed. “I’m glad you’ll have that memory, but you gotta tidy up, young lady. You can’t live like this when I’m gone. Deal?”

“When our fun conversations became so morbid?” Emma plopped down the mattress, crossing her ankles, placing her enlaced fingers behind her head.

“Said little miss sunshine,” Ingrid chuckled, slumping down next to her. “I put the letters in that shoebox over there. Read them, some day.”

Emma sighed with an eye roll.

“She looks really pretty in this picture,” she added, taking the photograph Emma left on her bedside table. “I was testing the camera.”

You took that?”

“You’re welcome.”

“For making me want to rip out my heart and set it on fire every time I look at it?” Emma said scandalized. “Sure, thanks, mom!”

“Stop being dramatic and go get me some water, please,” Ingrid chuckled, nudging her.

“Can’t you get it yourself?” Emma said from the door, a mirth smile crisping her lips. “Stop acting like you’re dying and shit-”

She heard her mother laugh as she walked only a few steps to get to the kitchen.

“You should have seen MM’s cousins, mom,” Emma said as she filled a glass.

Bunch of freaking poodles in fluffy dresses?

“You have no idea-” she shook her head, laughing. She couldn’t wait until they got to see the video together, eating popcorn and making fun of everyone. “You are gonna-”

Emma stopped dead on her tracks when she got to the doorway. Ingrid looked like she was sleeping, the picture still dangling precariously from her fingers. Emma dropped the glass of water. Her bedroom started to spin, and it felt like the floorboards cracked open under her feet.

“Mom?”

They had been fucking around with sick jokes to lighten the mood every now and then, but if she was doing that just to screw with her… that was just cruel.

“Mom?” Emma asked again, approaching the bed and reaching out for her hand.

She swallowed hard as she walked backwards and out of the room until she hit the phone table. She dialed Ruby’s number, and it was Ruby herself who answered after the third tone.

It’s three in the morning-” she paused when she recognized a sob. “Emma?”

“Get your ass over here.”

XXX

Ruby never got her license, and as she drove as a maniac, she understood why. She sucked. Big time.

After hitting Mrs. 402’s trashcan and waking up at least fourteen dogs, she parked abruptly in front of Emma’s house. The tall blonde was kicking everything they had on the porch, no longer looking elegant in her fancy clothes as she barked her cruelest opinions about life, God and sexual-related offenses to whoever was willing to hear.

Clad in pajamas, Ruby didn’t hesitate to jump out of the stupid GTI and hold her firmly in her arms until she calmed down and the only sounds she was making was from crying. They sat down on the front steps, and they stayed there, Emma with her face buried in the crook of Ruby’s neck.

“I hate weddings,” Emma sniffed. “If one day I tell you I wanna get married, kill me.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Ruby patted her back, planting a kiss on top of her head. “It’s gonna be okay…”

December, 1992

It was absurdly cold in New York that afternoon.

Regina knelt down in front of Henry, adjusting his red beanie to protect his ears from the gushing wind.

“It itches,” the six year old boy whined.

“It’s better than getting a cold, mister,” she said patiently, grabbing his hand as they resumed their walk towards the mall.

The usually crowded streets looked twice as packed on Christmas Eve, and Regina was now kicking herself for leaving the gift shopping for the last minute. Her job in the office was too all consuming, and adding it to the task of being a single mother, she barely had a few minutes to remember she had to buy gifts.

“What do you think we should get for Grandpa this year?” she asked, and then she noticed he had stopped. “Henry?”

He was staring at the window of a huge bride’s store, curiously looking at a sparkly wedding dress.

“Are you going to get married someday, mom?”

Regina smiled. “Aren’t you glad with the two of us?”

Secretly, she always wondered when they would have this conversation. She always dated women – a not so incredible total of three in almost a freaking decade – but she never told Henry about them. He had been oddly mature about their conversation on Regina not being his biological mother, and she was not willing to push his buttons with that kind of talk.

“Of course I’m glad, but don’t you feel lonely when I go to bed?”

“Why are you saying this, honey?” she asked with a frown.

He shrugged, pulling the beanie against his ears. “You look sad sometimes.”

Involuntarily, she grabbed the front of the denim jacket and pulled the fabric closer to her body. She was wearing a thick woolen sweater underneath it, but she always added the jacket when it was too cold, even if the shabby hem and the Sex Pistols button didn’t exactly match her formal office attire.

It was large enough to fit her on top of any thick layers of fancy sweaters.

It was loose and worn out because it wasn’t hers.

And it didn’t carry Emma’s scent anymore because, well, it had been over a decade.

“I’ve been reading a really sad book before bed, dear,” she offered a reassuring smile to her son.  

“Well, stop reading it, then,” he said matter-of-factly, sounding incredibly like herself.

Regina chuckled. “That’s one smart advice.”

“I’m smart,” Henry grinned at her. “Can I have a corn dog before we get inside?”

“Sure, sweetheart.”

Regina threw the dress one last look, remembering the wedding plans her mother made for her, and the frenetic struggle with her perfectly normal weight once she started dating Robin.

And then, she remembered how wedding plans stopped sounding scary when she woke up naked next to Emma Swan for the first - and only – time. The second she realized Emma’s arm was draped around her, Regina wished she could wake up like this forever.

She didn’t say anything because well, Emma had gorgeous arms but she was still a little bit immature for that kind of talk.

Now she wished she had said something.

 

1996

The second Cora closed the front door, Regina emerged from the shadows of the living room.

“Hi, sweetheart,” she smiled, reaching out to hug her son. “How was your day?”

“Oh it was okay,” he shrugged, barely managing to keep the secret. He looked into his mother’s eyes; she didn’t seem as happy as she probably wanted to appear, and he wanted to break the news so she would smile for real.

But he couldn’t, because he was a young man with a mission.

“How was it at… Emma’s?” she asked hesitatingly.

“It was cool. Did you know she got her old car back? It’s so full of stickers-”

Regina scoffed. That car managed to be more ridiculous than the bug…

She loved that car, of course, she just wasn’t in the mood to bask in the good memories and how strongly she fell for Emma virtually inside that stupid tuna can covered in stickers and cigarette butts.

“Well, it’s late,” Cora said, turning to her grandson after briefly staring at Regina. “Time for bed, Henry.”

He smirked when the older woman winked at him. He winked back over Regina’s shoulder as she kissed him good night.

When he was gone upstairs, Cora watched her daughter. She looked exactly like she did when she turned six and didn’t get a pony for her birthday.

“Would you join me for some tea, dear?”

Regina sighed. “Sure.”

They walked in silence towards the kitchen. Cora started to prepare it, just waiting for the outburst. She turned around with a frown when it didn’t happen. Regina looked genuinely aggravated as she stared intently at the counter’s stony surface.

She didn’t look up at her mother when she placed her tea in front of her; she sipped it and sighed.

“Regina.”

The brunette exhaled deeply and faced Cora.

“You can celebrate. Go ahead and say you told me so.”

“What are you talking about?”

“I’m talking about Emma Swan, mother! Go ahead, gloat all you want!”

“Regina-”

“She didn’t even want to come inside and see me!”

Cora refrained from smiling. “I didn’t invite her. It’s late.”

“Was she at least worried?” she asked, and her eyes were inconveniently drenched with hope.

“Of course that barbaric woman was worried, Regina! She’s unable to hide her emotions-”

“How was lunch with her that day?” she interrupted. “You never told me how it went.”

“Predictable,” Cora lied. “She’s an unstoppable glutton, and has no manners whatsoever. I have no idea what you see in her… Well, chest out and chin up. You are the Mayor of Storybrooke, and you are a Mills. Act as such and stop hiding pretending to be sick! If you have a problem with her, go and fix it.”

Regina huffed and rolled her eyes as Cora walked away.

Her mother once told her love was weakness, and the saddest part was that she never felt weak around Emma – at least not in a bad way. She felt weak on the knees, boneless after earthshaking orgasms, sure, but never helpless.

She went upstairs and sat down on her bed, letting out a deep sigh as she rested her back against the headboard. Her head was full with Town Hall problems, and now it seemed crowded with Emma Swan problems.

Maybe she should have never yelled at her in High School. If she hadn’t, they would never be friends. They would never kiss, and never have sex, and never fall in love…

But then again Emma’s smile invaded her thoughts, and her body relaxed instantly. It was unrealistically impossible to hate that imbecile. She growled as she closed her eyes, but then…

“Hi.”

Brown eyes shot wide open with the sound of Emma’s voice. Regina sat bolt upright on her bed, realizing there was a stupid blonde head on her window with a stupid smile on her stupid face.

“What the hell are you doing here?” she snarled between her teeth, walking towards the window, folding her arms across her chest and her racing heart.

“I was hoping I’d walk in on you naked,” Emma said.

Regina rolled her eyes. “What do you want? And why can’t you use the front door like everyone else?”

“Your mother said you were not feeling well,” Emma shrugged, passing one gorgeous arm over the windowsill to show her a paper bag. “I went to buy some chicken soup and Gatorade for you.”

Regina grinned and sighed in relief, unable to hold it back as her heart gave a strong jolt inside her chest.

“You are an idiot, did you know that?” Regina chuckled, bending over to give the blonde a kiss as she accepted the paper bag.

“I’ve been told. Many times. By you,” Emma said pensively, and then she smirked. “You’re not gonna invite me in?”

“No. I want to see how long it will take until you fall on my backyard like a potato sack.”

“That’s mean. I’m not seventeen anymore, Mills. I might not survive the fall this time, you know.”

“You wouldn’t dare,” she smiled, and the butterflies in Emma’s stomach started to dance like crazy.

The blonde smiled too. “No, I wouldn’t.”

“So…” Regina sat down on the footstool nearby. “You’re not here to break up with me?”

“That is a very stupid question for someone with Einstein’s IQ, Madam Mayor.”

The brunette studied the green eyes in front of her, trying to find the slightest trace of the need to back off because things got way too serious between them.

Emma held her gaze, getting lost in the depths of her dark orbs. Her eyes travelled down to her scar, and then to her plump lips, and then to the minimum cleavage that was showing under her silk robe…

“What’s your deal with my boobs?” Regina asked, making Emma snap back to reality and lift her eyes to her face.

“The same deal you have with my arms.”

Regina scoffed, rolling her eyes as she rummaged the paper bag. She touched a warm recipient, the isotonic bottle and… she paused when her fingers grazed a velvet surface…

She looked at Emma, and the blonde merely stared back.

Regina clasped her fingers around the small box and pulled it out from the bag. She looked at Emma again.

The blonde reached out and held it open. “I was supposed to be down on one knee for that.”

In half a second, Regina dropped the bag on the carpet, spilling all the chicken soup as she flung her arms to grab Emma and pull her inside.

“Why can’t you do things like normal people do, Emma?” Regina said, laughing in between kisses as they stumbled against each other.

Emma rolled her eyes, sliding the ring down Regina’s finger. “What, I was planning to, but you didn’t let me get in-”

“Shut up,” Regina whispered against her lips, taking a moment to stare at her hand with the beautiful jewelry. It was so unexpected and so heartwarming…  And it did explain why Emma was acting so weird before. Nerves. Adorable Swan nerves.

“You do know I feel horny when you start giving orders, right?” the blonde muttered in between kisses, grabbing her around the waist, holding back the absurdly immature urge to grope her ass.

“The perks of dating your boss,” Regina grinned against her lips.

Emma pulled back for a second. “If I find out that you use this with other people to get what you want, Madam Mayor… We’re moving to… to… Timbuktu, did you hear me? I’m the only one who can-”

“Oh, don’t you look adorable when you’re jealous?” Regina muttered in her ear before pushing Emma towards her bed.

Emma fell on the mattress without any resistance when she caught the dirtiest smile on Regina’s face. She groaned, a sudden rush of desire ripping through her body. Every nerve-ending she possessed was throbbing, and it was difficult to breathe as the brunette came closer…

Regina undid the lace around her robe with one hand, eye-fucking the blonde as she did so.

“Jesus Christ,” Emma hissed once she caught a glimpse of what was underneath the silk fabric -olive, smooth skin covered by nothing else. “Fuck, Regina…”

“I was naked,” she chuckled, straddling the blonde slowly, lowering her head to kiss her again.

“What were you planning to do naked if I hadn’t showed up?” Emma muttered, trying to get the upper hand with a cocky voice, but failing miserably when the robe parted open and Regina’s breasts greeted her with hard nipples.

The brunette grabbed the hem of Emma’s t-shirt and pulled it up her head and arms, throwing it over her shoulder as she leaned forward, grazing the blonde’s jawbone with her lips and stopping by her ear, biting her earlobe softly. “Probably masturbate furiously thinking about what a hot… idiot… you are.”

“Oh God,” Emma gasped, grabbing the edges of the mattress, unable to move as she watched Regina undoing the flare of her jeans. “You were… that mad at me?”

“I was very… very angry, dear,” the brunette hissed with a hint of a smirk as she pulled her pants down. Emma swallowed nervously, and she loved when the blonde did that. She looked down at her crotch, noticing that she was wearing grey pants. There was a not so small, wet spot on the fabric between her legs, only visible because it was a shade darker than the fabric. Regina lifted her eyes and met hooded green ones. “Is that all for me?”

Emma only offered a small nod that ignited every nerve Regina possessed on her body.

She pushed Emma back so she would lie down, and kept her gaze as she crawled her way on top of the blonde leaning in for another urgent kiss as she massaged her perky breasts, getting an impatient groan and a sigh from the woman underneath her.

Without breaking the kiss, Regina’s hand traveled down to the elastic band of Emma’s underwear and gently rolled it down her long legs, until the last piece of clothing fell on the floor. The brunette lifted her body and sat up on top Emma, throwing her shoulders back.

The silky robe slid down her arms and hips smoothly, making Emma roll her eyes back in pleasure with the sight. With her eyes on Emma’s gasping lips, Regina crawled downwards between her legs, burying her nails on her tights as she dove on her wet, throbbing core.

 

Emma let out a strangled moan when Regina’s tongue first touched her. She heard a soft, husky chuckle coming from between her legs, immediately using her hand to cover her mouth to muffle the sound. The other was already tangled with Regina’s short hair, trying not to pressure her into licking faster, but failing miserably.

Regina complied to the silent order anyway, exploring the wet center with a very dedicated tongue. She was good at that. Emma rolled her eyes back into her head, shuddering with the touch.

Her abdominal muscles started to clench involuntarily,  and her legs started to shake with the impressive and impending orgasm she was about to have, when Regina slid two fingers into her wet folds and she almost didn’t react fast enough to suppress a scream of pleasure as she came.

She let out a lone, muffled groan, panting against Regina’s hair when she crawled back up to kiss Emma.

The brunette propped her head on one elbow, watching the woman below her with particular adoration. She loved how Emma lowered her walls for her, how she let Regina look at her when she was in her most vulnerable state, and she looked so, so beautiful laying down like this, trembling and grinning and unguarded…

“Will you… marry me, Mills?” she whispered.

Regina grinned, leaning down, cupping her face. “Yes,” she whispered back. “Yes…” she kissed her. “Yes. Yes. Yes…” she added a kiss to each sentence, making Emma smile as she kissed her back, suddenly flipping Regina and switching their positions.

“I wasn’t expecting you to recompose so fast,” Regina let out a muffled chuckle in between more kisses, feeling her body shudder when Emma ran her long fingers on her sides and hips.

“I’m thirty,” Emma hissed with a grin. “Not dead…” She dove for another urgent kiss when Regina dug her fingernails into her ass cheeks. The blonde nested her warm body between her legs, gasping when Regina spread them further for better access.

Emma almost lost her mind when their equally heated and wet mounds touched for the first time. She lifted her hips slightly, tangling her fingers with Regina’s as she held out both hands on her pillow, and made a soft motion towards her center, pressing herself against her.

The strong grasp of fingers on her hands was the reaction she needed to keep going; she lowered her hips and pushed back up, craving friction as much as the brunette. Making circular movements with her body, Emma increased the rhythm until Regina started to buckle her hips against her frenetically, biting her shoulder to avoid making a sound.

Emma closed her eyes and smiled as she had the privilege to hear and feel the smallest sounds of rapid breathing against her skin, desperate moans and the bed jarring against the floorboards as she kept rubbing herself against Regina’s at fast pace.

She let go one of Regina’s hands and slipped her arm between their bodies, penetrating her with two fingers at the same time that she covered the brunette’s lips with hers. Regina whimpered into the kiss, using her free hand to smack Emma’s butt cheek as quietly as she could, digging her fingernails against her soft flesh in a silent request for more.

Emma moved her fingers along with her hips, keeping her mouth close to Regina’s, alternating between her ear and her jawline, just loving the way their breaths mixed in the air, and the way her ass’s skin was burning with the new scratches, and the way Regina clenched and unclenched around her fingers…

The blonde lifted her chin and kissed Regina, curling their tongues, absorbing her final scream after release.

They lay together in bed in silence for about half an hour. As much as she loved when Regina stroked her hair and her arms softly, Emma rolled on her belly to face the brunette with a shit-eating grin. She winced slightly when she felt the wet fabric against her thigh. There was a considerably large puddle between them.

“What is it?” Regina mumbled.

“You’re gonna need a new set of bedsheets.”

Regina rolled her eyes, chuckling. She went back to stroking Emma’s hair when the blonde rested her chin against her chest, a cute frown naturally gracing her forehead.

“I wanna marry you forever,” Emma mumbled, planting a soft kiss next to Regina’s left breast.

“Well, isn’t it what marriages infer?” the brunette retorted with a smile, appreciating the ring as she reached out to caress Emma’s face.

“I’m not talking about the… institution,” she shook her head. “I’m talking about me.”

Regina’s heart jolted at her serious face and the adorable statement. She curled a tuft of blonde hair around her finger. “I love you,” she whispered.

“There’s my silver lining,” Emma grinned, pulling Regina to a kiss. “I love you and I don’t want to go, but I should.”

Regina sighed. “I don’t want you to go. I’m your boss. I demand that you stay.”

Emma grinned down at her, feeling her body start to tingle in all the best inappropriate places. “You’re doing this on purpose.”

Regina offered an uncharacteristic mischievous grin to her. “Is it working?”

The blonde chuckled, burying her face into the curve of Regina’s neck to kiss the sensitive spot.

“Like magic, Mills.”

Chapter Text

It was around one in the morning when Regina whispered the final I love you and let Emma go. The brunette sleepily but adamantly prohibited her to escape through the window, and just told the Sheriff to climb down the stairs quietly.

When Emma finally reached the front door – celebrating her furtiveness much too soon – Cora called her out, making her bump ungraciously against a piece of furniture and almost knock over an expensive-looking ornament.

Her heart skipped a beat and she bit her tongue to avoid screaming, but Cora Mills did not miss the hissed Son of a bitch that Emma didn’t manage to suppress.

“Elegant as always, dear.”

Jesus,” the blonde gasped as the woman emerged from the shadows, wearing a purple robe and the same weird green gooey lotion on her face. “What was that for?”

“I came down for a glass of water and suddenly it sounded like a herd of cattle was coming downstairs along a fanfare band. Forgive me for checking, Miss Swan.”

“Sorry,” she grumbled, shrugging and reaching out for the door, when Cora called her out again.

“Emma?”

The blonde turned around. The woman looked oddly expectant, and she couldn’t help smirking.

“She said yes,” Emma rolled her eyes, faking impatience as she opened the door.

“Good,” the woman said composedly.

“Do you wanna hug?” Emma asked with a tired sigh.

“Hug? You?” Cora snorted.

“Good,” Emma grinned. “I really didn’t want that snotty thing on my jacket. Bye, Cora.”

“Have a good day, Sheriff,” she said, unable to help a smile after the blonde left.

XXX

Henry frowned slightly when he saw Emma at the parking lot. He smiled at her, who smiled broadly in return. His mother didn’t say anything about Emma picking him up from school that afternoon, but he didn’t care; he enjoyed too much spending time with her to bother questioning.

“Hey, kid.”

“My mom woke up with a huge smile today,” he said as he passed his backpack to the blonde. “And with a sparkly ring on her finger.”

Emma felt her chest warm up with the information, and she chuckled, scratching the back of her head. “Yeah, about that-”

She was engulfed into a tight hug as he threw his arms around her waist and squeezed her as much as his small frame allowed him to. She patted his head as she kneeled down in front of him. “You know, I’m dying for a milkshake right now,” she said, holding back stupid tears that insisted on flooding her eyes whenever that wonderful boy did something like that.

“Awesome!” he grinned, but then he frowned suspiciously. “Is this going to be routine after you and mom get married?”

“I can’t promise that, you know. Your mom would kill me if you get cavities,” Emma said, pulling the front seat so he could climb on the back.

“Right,” he rolled his eyes with a sigh. “Are you moving to our house or are we moving to yours?”

Emma slammed the door as she took the driver’s seat, considering it for the first time.

“I don’t know, kid. Why?”

“Grandma said this morning she was sending you the bill to fix our roof tiles. I thought you were buying the house on Mifflin Street.”

Suppressing the laughter, Emma shook her head and drove to Granny’s with Henry. When they entered the diner, most of the costumers turned their heads to them. Emma was sure half town already knew about their engagement, and for once she didn’t care about the attention.

She placed a hand on Henry’s shoulder, proudly.

Yeah, he’s mine too.

XXX

When Emma got home with Henry later that day, after a stop at the pier to get corn dogs, she found all her friends waiting for them in front of her house. They were drinking beer, and the plastic table was set with barbecue items. She was about to scold them for the alcohol consuming in front of Henry, when Mary Margaret produced a soda can for him, pointing a pack of cans in the porch. There was also wine.

“What is this?” she asked as Ruby almost strangled her with one arm around her neck.

“A party for you guys, what do you think?” she chuckled. “You’re finally getting married with the hottest woman in town and  the love of your life, dude. We already called Katherine. She promised she’d cancel Regina’s latest appointments and send her here.”

Emma sighed, wondering if the Mayor would be too mad at her friends for the fuss. She hoped she didn’t. She hugged Killian, noticing a faint trace of something stronger than beer on his breath, and then she smacked the back of his head.

“Quit the flask habit already, you’re not a pirate,” she hissed.

“Wait until you see the sailboat I just bought. It comes with an eye patch.”

“What did you do to my bug?”

“Calm your tits, Swan. I’m still using it for my roadtrip.”

“Well, then how did you buy a fucking boat?”

“I’m a wealthy pirate, Sheriff. I saved money all my life to buy Ruby a wedding ring,” he said on tipsy undertone. “Well, it would be a waste of cash, see. My boat is awesome!”

He chuckled, and Emma hugged him strongly and ruffled his jet-black hair. She could only imagine the pain he felt, and she mused if Ruby Lucas was the reason why he drank so much rum. Next in hug line was Mary Margaret and her still-not-visible-baby-bump.

“I’m so happy for you, duckling!” she squeaked, and Emma chuckled against the shorter woman’s shoulder, letting her friend smother her for a while. They had been through so much together… They grew up in that street, and they became awesome adults in the same neighborhood. Emma squeezed her a little tighter, ignoring the burn in her throat as she did so.

“I’m happy too, MM. Thank you,” she said quietly, giving her belly a gentle pat. “Hurry up, kid. We want you at the party.”

David was watching them all with a contemplative look. He was at the top step of her porch, leaning back against the wooden handrail with his hands in his pockets. He was smiling proudly at her, and immediately she heard her mother’s voice inside her head.

That Nolan kid, he looks awfully like James. But your dad had better taste for haircuts…

David pulled Emma into a silent, tight hug. He was a year older than the rest of them, but he really did send out a wiser and protective aura-thing about himself, and that, Emma thought, was the closest to hugging her father that she could remember.

He was about to say something, when the black Mercedes parked in front of her house. Henry sprinted to the sidewalk to greet his mom, and the look of impatience on her face was quickly replaced by a smile once she caught sight of her son and the small get together at the Swans front lawn.

Henry took her by the hand and pulled her towards the small party. Emma turned with the brightest grin to greet her, but Mary Margaret got there first.

“Henry told me this morning, so I took the liberty to spread the news. I hope you don’t mind.”

For half a second Emma cringed, waiting for Regina to snap that MM was always incapable of shutting her trap to keep a secret, but the brunette merely grinned down at her.

“Thank you, MM. This looks lovely.”

“Wait until Swan starts flipping burgers on the grill, Mills,” Ruby pulled her to the alcohol table. “She looks hot doing that. Wine?”

“Sure, why not,” Regina laughed with an eye roll.

She was hugged by Killian and then David, until she finally got to Emma.

“Hey you,” the blonde waved awkwardly. “They surprised me too.”

“They are amazing,” Regina muttered, leaning closer. “Don’t tell the buffoons I said that.”

Emma chuckled nervously. Even Regina’s attempt at humor was sexy, especially with the slight trace of wine on her breath. She swallowed hard, noticing that Regina just knew what she was doing, and she was about to scold her when Henry got in between the two women.

“Let’s take pictures, c’mon! Emma doesn’t have pictures with me!”

“You’re right,” Killian hurried inside the house and started to scramble through Emma’s things noisily. "Here!” he waved the old camera.

“Give that to me, pirate,” David snapped it from his hand. “Get together by the stairs, everyone,” he commanded as he took a few steps back to angle and frame it correctly.

“What about you?” Ruby asked.

“I’m not in the original formation,” he smiled, and just then they noticed he was trying to replicate the old picture Ingrid took of them by the stairs. “C’mon, big smile-”

Emma passed one arm around Regina’s neck exactly like she did when she was younger. The other arm, back then trapped inside a cast, was now around a smiling Henry.

All in all, the impromptu celebration turned out just fine. Dorothy dropped by later, accompanied by a reluctant Katherine, who still eyed Ruby with resentment for punching her once in the middle of the street.

Emma felt her heart melt as she watched Regina interacting with them and Henry, easy going as she got her umpteenth refill of red wine.

She was smiling, proudly displaying her ring, telling them over and over the story of Emma showing up at her window in the middle of the night. Emma told them about being busted by Cora on her way out, which made Henry splatter soda through his nose.

Around ten, everyone was happy, tipsy, and on a full stomach. They helped Emma get the trash out and fix the dishes before they left.

“I’ll put him to bed soon,” Regina whispered in her ear, using Emma’s shoulder for support. “You’re welcome to show up later, Sheriff.”

The blonde sobered up almost immediately as Regina’s warm breath tingled her skin; it hit her hard on her lower belly, and she was pretty sure she was drooling as she watched the Mayor spin on her heels and walk away towards her car with Henry.

Sashaying her fucking hips away in that fucking tight black dress.

That ass.

Damn.

“I recommend a cold shower, boss.”

Emma jumped as David approached her, carrying the last bag of garbage. MM kissed her on the cheek and waved at her husband, signaling she would wait for him on the cruiser.

“So. Our eldest child is getting married to Regina Mills.”

The blonde chuckled, shoving her hands into the pockets of her jacket as she elbowed him playfully.

“I’m proud of you, Swan,” he said, looking at her with those peaceful blue eyes.

“Thank you, Nolan.”

“But I’m a little hurt you didn’t invite me for a guitar duet. I thought we’d sing Hunting High and Low on her backyard.”

“I think Cora would shoot us,” Emma laughed, remembering that MM’s dad flew out of the house, wearing pajamas, with a broom after them when David tried to propose to her the first time.

They had to run for five or six blocks with two guitars, a ring box and a flower bouquet.

“Or lock us in the dungeon,” he chuckled. “Hey, have you found out yet if the rumors are true? About the torture basement?”

Emma almost choked. “David! I made up those rumors because I wanted to mess with Regina!”

“I can’t believe my entire adolescence was a lie, Swan,” he placed a hand on his heart, faking offense. “Well, I gotta go, stud. Remember… Cold shower on the soldier.”

“How many times do I have to tell you I do not have a dick?”

“It would be really fun if you did. Night, boss.”

Emma shook her head as she scoffed, but then she remembered what she wanted to ask him.

“Hey Nolan?”

“Yeah?” he spun on his heels when he was almost around the fence.

“Will you walk me… huh… down the aisle?” she muttered quietly, shoving her hands into her pockets again. “You see, I have no parents left to-Hey!” she yelped when he ran back to the porch and hugged her.

“I’ll be honored, Swan,” he said, pulling back to look at her. His eyes were drenched.

“You’re such a pussy, man,” she chuckled, feeling the nasal voice coming back full force as her eyes got drenched as well. She was wondering what the real ceremony would be like – a party sponsored by Kleenex, apparently.

“Fuck you, Swan.”

“Have a good night, Deputy.”

XXX

“I’ll start a sex riot if you don’t stop climbing my rooftop, Emma,” Regina hissed, her words silenced by a heated kiss.

“Sounds like a freaking hot band name,” Emma muttered, clashing her lips and tongue against the brunette’s as she not so gently pushed her towards the bed, fidgeting with the zipper on the back of her dress. “And I seriously doubt you can hold back on me for too long,” she added cockily when the black fabric slipped to the floor.

She had half expected a smack on the arm or an arrogant scoff, but instead she met a deep, contemplative look.

Emma frowned slightly. “’Gina, what-?”

“Have I mentioned how glad I am that you came back into my life in your cloud of smugness and your irritating smile?”

The blonde chuckled, holding both of her hands. “I’m still wondering who I should thank for sending you back to me, Mills.”

Regina smiled with a low, husky chuckle, lowering her eyes to Emma’s lips and claiming them again. She pulled the blonde by the collar of her shirt, gently swapping positions and pushing her down the bed.

“You have to promise me you’ll stop climbing up here,” Regina muttered, straddling the woman beneath her and leaning down for another slow-paced, deep kiss.

After a while, Emma broke the kiss to watch Regina work the buttons of her shirt. “And how do you suggest I do that, huh?”

“With a key,” Regina breathed.

Emma had not expected that. She flipped them over so that she was on top, carefully placing her hands on each side of Regina’s head. “What?” she whispered.

“My mother left me the house,” the brunette shrugged. “She’s moving out soon, and… You can come live with us.”

The blonde stared down at her for a full minute, and when Regina started to worry about her silence, Emma finally spoke.

“Do you want me to… move in with you?”

“Well, I assumed we would all live together after the wedding, but-”

“No, I mean… You want me to move in here? At… 108. Mifflin Street.”

“What? Is that so bad?”

Emma chuckled. “I used to spread rumors at school,” she muttered awkwardly, propping her head in one elbow as she played distractedly with the lace on Regina’s bra. “About your house being…”

“The Haunted Den of Cannibal Witches?”

“You remember that, huh?”

“Of course I do.”

“You knew that was me?”

Of course I knew it was you. Who else would come up with such an imbecile lie?”

Emma laughed. “Sorry. I was an idiot.”

Was?” Regina smirked.

“C’mon, I needed something to hide how I really felt about you, Mills!”

“Yeah?” the brunette asked quietly, a sparkle of curiosity in her beautiful brown eyes.

“Are you kidding me?” Emma scoffed. “You were supposed to be the smarter one… I worked hard to keep you from noticing all those years… Every time you passed by me on the hallways… I had the scent of your shampoo memorized. And I had to come up with jokes and… unflattering compliments, to keep insulting you as you went away, otherwise… Otherwise everyone would know. I couldn’t stop looking at you as you walked, and the way you bit your lips when you were writing, or… Shit,” the blonde grinned down at Regina, realizing she was babbling while that gorgeous woman lay half naked underneath her. “We should be fucking, right?”

“You are a barbarian, Emma Swan,” Regina smacked her biceps, earning a shit eating grin that was all Emma.

“Oh really?” the blonde whispered, flipping her over so she was pressed against Regina’s back. Emma leaned over so that her lips were an inch away from Regina’s ear. “Wanna see something barbaric?”

The loud gasp and the hip buckle were enough proof that Emma hadn’t killed the wild sex mood with sentimentalism from high school. She worked her bra clasp and removed her black thong unceremoniously. Regina felt warm anticipation building at the pit of her stomach, but then Emma stood up on her knees and the warmth was gone.

She chuckled upon hearing the rustling of clothes and bed creaking. A moan escaped her lips when Emma pressed her equally warm and naked body against her back, her arm sneaking under her waist and below.

Regina gasped at the soft touch of the tip of Emma’s finger exactly at the wet, throbbing spot between her legs, and she groaned when Emma softly rubbed the entire length of a long finger between her slick folds, breathing heavily against the back of her neck.

The brunette spread her legs further apart – as much as she could with Emma’s weight on top of her – and she heard that annoying, cocky chuckle near her ear. She looked back at Emma; the Sheriff was smirking, but there was something different in her green eyes.

She kept the rubbing movement, torturously and deliciously slow. Regina tried to hurry her by pressing her ass back against Emma, but she sustained the slow pace.

Emma.”

Emma grinned, pressing her breasts against Regina’s shoulder blades, reaching out for her ear. She bit her earlobe softly. “I love it when you groan like that,” she whispered, earning another one, louder this time.

“Emma, I’m serious,” Regina hissed, rolling her hips against the blonde’s hand for more friction.

“Me too…” she grinned, sliding one finger inside. Regina moaned against the pillow, and the muffled sound turned Emma on just enough so that she couldn’t keep the gentle pace any longer.

 

Two hours later, they lay together, side by side, panting.

“That…” Regina breathed heavily. “That was probably your best performance so far.”

Emma chuckled. “Just wait until I turn you into Mrs. Swan.”

Regina scoffed, looking at the blonde with a smirk. “And what makes you think I’m taking your name? I have to carry the Mills forward.”

“Oh my God, you’re so lame, Regina,” Emma laughed. “It’s not like we’re making babies together or anything. And Henry is already taking the name ahead.”

“I wish we could make babies,” Regina muttered, closing her eyes as she snuggled closer to Emma.

“They would look cute.”

“They would.”

“But they would look cuter if they were a bunch of dark haired Swans.”

“They would be even cuter if they were all blonde and green eyed Mills.”

“You do realize we’re not having actual babies that look a bit like you and a bit like me, right? Unless I had a soldier. God, I wish I had a soldier.”

“A soldier?” Regina chuckled.

“Yeah. My imaginary dick, whenever you walked into the room.”

It took Regina about five minutes to stop laughing. Emma smiled at her; she loved that sound, and she loved to make Regina laugh.

The brunette twisted a blonde curl around her finger, looking serious again. “I adopted Henry, why can’t we adopt other babies?”

Emma grinned. “We could, huh?”

“We could have a lot of Mills babies.”

“Swan babies.”

Regina sighed and Emma rolled her eyes.

“We’ll need to discuss that before the wedding.”

“Or we could all be Swans-”

Regina rolled on top of Emma and kissed her. “Shut up.”

“If you think you can buy me with sex-”

“I know I can,” Regina grinned broadly at the blonde.

“Shit. I hate it when you’re right…”

“I’m always right, dear. Learn that if you want to marry me.”

Emma chuckled. “I want to live here, with you, Henry and our dweeb kids. I don’t care if you want to be always right, Regina Mills.”

Regina sighed, feeling her heart melt inside her chest. “What about… Swan-Mills?”

“Oh, I like that,” Emma propped her head on one elbow, sounding actually excited. “Half dweebs-”

“-and half delinquents,” Regina chuckled, leaning down to kiss her again.

 

Chapter Text

Emma was still in a haze of bliss, alcohol, tears and smiles as they drove away, feeling Regina’s hand on hers as the streets of their childhood passed by before their eyes.

The past two weeks had been a weird turmoil, with hints of last minutes nervousness, panic attacks, and a lot of frustration.

Cora had moved out a few months ago, right after the wedding preparations started. Along with Katherine, she had helped Regina pick every color and every detail for every little thing that would decorate the Town Hall.

Usually they asked for Emma’s opinion when they had already made a decision, so it rarely counted for anything, and Emma was glad to be free from that burden – she was busy enough keeping in her pants with Regina in such dragon mood.

Cora would move to France after the wedding, and when she flew to sell their apartment in Miami, Emma thought she would get lucky now that her mother-in-law was out of their hair.

Then the apocalyptical bachelorette party happened.

Ruby organized the celebration of the century for Emma, who probably drank beer and tequila enough for a lifetime.

Late that night, when Regina came home after going out with MM and Katherine for drinks she found the blonde passed out on their front porch, Killian under her arm and a girl wearing almost no clothes under the other.

When Regina finally managed to kick Emma’s companies, the blonde was in absolute no condition to explain to Regina that the girl was Killian’s date, and not a stripper. To make things more embarrassing, Ruby had called their house in the morning.

“I know it’s hard to believe, because usually we don’t bring the cake to the party, but really Regina. We did not hire a stripper for her, she was with Killian-”

Emma cringed as Regina hung up on Ruby. Her friend’s voice sounded too loud on the speaker, and even though Emma hoped it would help her sorry ass, she was glad Regina had ended the call.

“So you don’t bring the cake to the party, huh?” she hissed, while Emma groaned in pain on the couch. “Well, I guess you deserve it.”

“Gina, she was not a stripper-”

“Very well,” the brunette smacked a bottle of aspirin on the coffee table and left a bucket next to the couch. “Don’t you dare throw up on my carpet.”

Emma rolled to the side, pressing her forehead against the leather of the Mills couch – well, it was her couch now. She heard Regina slam the front door as she left for work a few extra hours on Saturday.

Great. They were not even married yet and she was already in the sleeping on the couch.

Henry came downstairs on his pajamas, and he silently placed a glass of water next to the aspirin bottle. Emma felt him peck her forehead, and she missed the contact and his scent the second he left the TV room and went back to the kitchen.

He prepared two bowls of Froot Loops and made sure Emma aimed for the bucket when she stared at the colorful meal floating on milk and turned a slight shade of green.

“Mom is pissed at you,” he said half asleep, pulling her by the hand when he finished his breakfast. “Let’s go to my room, you’ll sleep better on my bed.”

“I have a bed,” she grunted, sitting up as she rubbed her eyes.

“Yeah, but mom said you’re not allowed on her bedroom, so,” he shrugged. “Bring the bucket, I don’t mind.”

“I could kiss you if I was sure I would not puke again,” Emma grinned at him.

“That’s gross, ma,” he chuckled, leading the way upstairs. He closed his Pink and The Brain drapes and pointed his small bed as he turned the TV on. Emma watched him as he put the volume down and sat on the rug to watch the morning cartoons.

Smiling to herself, she dove under the Spiderman blanket that she gave him and fell asleep almost immediately with her nose buried on his pillow.

By the end of the day, Regina found both Emma and her son sleeping, cuddling like two children.

She smiled, glad that Emma was too far gone to see that she wasn’t so mad at her.

Cora came back from Miami and Emma decided to spend the last week before the wedding on her house. It had been a wise decision; Regina was being guarded like a virgin ready for a sacrifice to the Gods.

And in the same blur that it started, that week was over and it was their wedding day.

Emma felt all the frustration go away when she saw Regina by the double doors of Town Hall, hand in hand with Henry. She looked stunning on her wedding dress, and she was smiling at Emma, her eyes drenched with a million words, emotions and happy tears. Her olive skin stood out beautifully in the white dress, and her black hair adorned with tiny flowers made her look like a goddess.

Emma had never seen such a magnificent human being.

Upon receiving that smile and seeing Regina for the first time after a horrible week apart, Emma felt her body relax, and thick, warm tears came down her face as Regina and Henry slowly strolled towards her. She heard Ruby snickering; by the end of the ceremony, she was crying more than Emma and Mary Margaret put together.

At the reception, the blonde had a second meltdown when Henry presented her with his new birth certificate - he had ‘Swan’ added to his last name - and formal adoption papers, which she signed while Mary Margaret patted her back for comfort as Emma sobbed like a baby.

 

The weird bubble only popped in that second, when Emma entered the car with Regina and they drove away from the party and it was finally just the two of them.

“You look so beautiful,” Regina muttered, adjusting the collar of Emma’s shirt and loosening her tie a bit. “And I missed you so much, you idiot.”

Emma chuckled, pulling Regina into her arms. “I missed you like hell. And I’ll need to watch our wedding video, because I didn’t register anything that just happened.”

Regina laughed, snuggling closer. “Are you horny?”

The blonde scoffed. “I would’ve fucked you in front of the whole town when I saw you.”

“Would have?” she asked amused.

“Henry was looking.”

“Right.”

“You look gorgeous. You are gorgeous. I can’t believe this is happening,” Emma muttered, kissing the back of Regina’s hand and then squeezing it.

“Well, it is,” Regina grinned, placing one hand on Emma’s face. They were both too tipsy and tearful, but once the car came to a stop, the brunette looked out of the window. “Go tell them.”

Emma kissed her one more time before she stepped out of the vehicle. With a lot of effort, she managed to take her eyes off of Regina for a moment and walk towards her parents’ grave.

“Hey,” she said quietly, turning to check on the car as she shoved her hands into her pockets. The black limo was waiting for her at a distance, and Regina was there, but she could not shake the fear that she would open her eyes and wake up from that wonderful dream. “Regina and I got married, mom,” Emma let out a small chuckle that turned into a sob. “We have a son, Henry. You… You would’ve loved him, he’s so beautiful and smart,” she wiped her eyes and swallowed hard. This was being more difficult than she had anticipated. “I’m so happy, mom… You don’t have to worry about me anymore, okay? They got me now. They’re not going anywhere. I’ll be okay, so... Go get some rest, Ingrid Swan. I love you.”

1997

Killian Jones hit the gas pedal of the bug, adjusting his sunglasses as the wind rippled through the car windows. Emma and Regina had finally tied the knot, Mary and David had their baby boy two weeks ago, and Ruby, his love, was happily engaged to Sarge Gale.

He was now a thirty-one year old bachelor with a small fortune and a boat, and he was going to say goodbye to his uncle before he set sail for good.

He was two hours away from Storybrooke, when he spotted at distance someone waving from the roadside. He squinted, registering a long and colorful dress, and then a mane of brown, curly hair.

He slowed down as he approached the woman. She had a guitar case strapped on her back, and she was very beautiful.

“Where to, milady?” he asked, opening the passenger door for her.

“Um,” she smiled. “Where are you going, uh, milord?”

He grinned broadly. “Boston.”

“Why?”

“To see my uncle.”

“Well, Boston sounds right,” she said, jumping in the car.

“You’re just… wandering?” he frowned. “No destination?”

“I’m going with the flow,” she winked at him, lighting a cigarette. “I’m Milah, by the way,” she stretched her hand.

“Killian Jones,” he shook it, noticing she was looking at his missing fingers.

“Definitively not. You’re Captain Hook.”

He laughed, nodding. “Well, fasten your seatbelt then, sailor. I plan on getting to Boston by the end of the night if the winds help us.”

 

2006

Regina flipped her notebook shut and removed her reading glasses. She kept the device on her lap for another five minutes, impressed with how easily her mother had mastered that Skype thing. In the past couple of years, their phone bill had been ridiculously expensive, and she was actually glad those days were over.

As Mayor – she had been elected again after pausing for one term of office to take care of their children – she was glad she could give herself a day off to deal with birthday formalities from their large bed.

She looked at the alarm clock on her bedside table. It was 5:10 p.m.

She opened the notebook again and connected with Emma’s account. Two minutes later, Henry was calling her from New York to wish her a happy birthday with his now deep voice. She could barely believe that her little boy was a grown man, at least seven inches taller than Emma, looking the funniest thing squeezed behind the steering wheel of the GTI – which was a present from Emma for his sixteenth birthday as promised years ago inside an ambulance.

He was accepted at NYU right after finishing High School, and he had been a role model as a teenager– much to Mr. Gold’s relief. However, they couldn’t say the same about the rest of their offspring.

Regina had just finished talking to Henry when she heard the loud rumble on the front door, and loud voices and steps echoed from downstairs.

“Kid, watch your step-! I’m serious, you’re gonna need stitches again- Hey! That is expensive-”

Regina placed the notebook carefully on her bedside table and smiled in anticipation. The reason why she was turning forty and not feeling old at all was about to cross her bedroom door-

It burst open, and a blonde, green-eyed boy got to her first, jumping in her waiting arms, followed by two screeching girls.

“Happy birthday, mom!” he giggled, and Regina always wondered how could it be possible that he looked so much like Emma without being her biological son.

Regina and James were knocked down to the bed when his sisters, Ingrid and Harriet, jumped on top of them for the cutest family hug. They were triplets, but the girls were entirely their mother, with shiny black hair and beautiful brown eyes.

When she managed to lift her head, Regina saw Emma watching them from the doorway. She had the goofiest smile on her beautiful face, and she was carrying a box in her arms.

“Happy birthday, mom,” she winked, approaching the bed carefully. Like magic, the eight year-old triplets sat down expectantly, looking from their blonde mom to the brunette.

“What’s this?”

“It’s Cujo, mom!” Harriet screamed, clasping her hands around her mouth. Emma burst out laughing as James and Ingrid protested that she couldn’t keep a secret.

Regina eyed Emma suspiciously. “Emma.”

“Don’t be mad, baby,” the blonde knelt in front of Regina and opened the box. “We just got him from the shelter-”

A dachshund puppy flew on top of the small mob of Swan-Mills assembled on the bed. As the kids screamed and laughed, Regina held him at eye level, earning a very wet lick on her face.

She held him against her chest and stared at Emma, kissing the top of his head.

“You named this little boy Cujo?” she chuckled, looking incredulously at her wife. “He’s so cute!”

“Wait until he grows teeth and start eating your Louboutin shoes-”

What?

“Uh, kids, why don’t you take Cujo out so he can poop? I think he’s holding back since we got him in the car…”

When the small horde of children disappeared downstairs with their new puppy, Emma leaned over and pulled Regina to a long kiss.

“You’re not getting off the hook just because your kisses almost make me come, Sheriff,” Regina grunted with her eyes closed, pulling Emma on top of her.

“He won’t eat your shoes, I promise,” Emma whispered with a low chuckle, capturing her lips into another breathtaking kiss. “And David is coming to pick them at six.”

Regina opened her eyes. She had small expression lines around them now, and Emma loved when Regina smiled and they showed up.

“Why is David coming to pick them?”

“Because I made reservations for us in that Italian canteen that you like, and I also made reservations for us in this bed so I can eat you up until you forget your name, Madam Mayor…”

Regina felt her body shivering and goosebumps erupted on her skin. The annoying throbbing had already started between her legs with simple words in a way only Emma could manage.

“Emma-”

“Yeah?” the blonde whispered, hovering over Regina with a small smile, holding her weight on both hands.

“I love you, you beautiful delinquent,” she said with a loving smile.

“Love you forever, my hot, hot dweeb…”

XXX

It was late at night, and Emma woke up to an empty bed.

She remembered Regina saying she was going down for a glass of water, but she didn’t make it back to their bedroom. The house was oddly silent when Emma tiptoed on the hallway, taking a few seconds to register that she could even run if she wanted – their kids weren’t home.

She made a quick stop in the kitchen, where she found Cujo snoring with his legs up in the air. She smiled and made her way to the TV room, where she found Regina. She was wearing her silk robe, her short hair still ruffled from their earlier activities and she smiled when she saw Emma, admiring the long, toned legs in shorts under the huge plaid shirt.

“How come you look so sexy after forty years?” Regina grunted, stretching a hand to pull Emma with her on the couch. She had a box with old photographs on her lap, and the ones on the top were pictures of Emma and the rest of their friends when they were younger.

“I could ask you the exact same thing,” Emma sat down, pulling Regina against her body and kissing her head. “God, the scent of your hair…”

Regina chuckled. “I don’t have those catwalk legs or toned muscles like you do. I had babies. Three babies. My body-”

Emma shushed her with a tender, deep kiss. “Your body is wonderful,” she said quietly. “And it’s my favorite, most sacred place in the world.”

“Oh is it?”

“Of course! It’s the reason why, besides Henry, I have three awesome kids. And earth-shaking orgasms.”

“You’re such an ass kisser, Emma Swan,” Regina laughed, kissing her as she straddled her lap.

Emma groaned when she realized her wife was naked under that robe.

“Jesus Christ, Mills… For that ass… I can be anything you want me to be-”

A loud bark and scratching noises made them snap back to reality.

“Shit. I think Cujo wants to pee-”

“You can go walk him around the block,” Regina patted Emma’s shoulder, dismounting her.

What?”

“I’ll be waiting for you in our bed, dear.”

“Naked?”

“Naked.”

“Okay.”

As Emma dragged her feet towards the kitchen, Regina called her back.

“Do not come through the window.”

“Regina, I’m forty! I would probably snap my neck if I tried.”

“Good. Because if you did-”

“You would resuscitate me so that you could kill me again. I know.”

“Don’t be long.”

“I’ll see you in a bit.”

Regina smiled. “I love you.”

Emma grinned from the front door with Cujo jumping on his leash. “And I love you back, Mills.”