Actions

Work Header

Love Was Never My Profession

Chapter Text

Emma

 

“Let’s go out tonight.” Ruby grins, sidling up to her best friend on the couch. Emma rolls her eyes, trying in earnest to push Ruby off of her. “ Please. We’ve got the same night off for once. I’d call it a Christmas miracle if it weren’t August. Besides, we’ve earned a drink,” she pauses before adding in a decisive, “or ten.”

 

Emma groans with exhaustion; the two nurses haven't been home from the hospital for more than ten minutes and are both still clad in their uniforms. Henry, Emma’s five-year-old son, is still in the outfit he picked out for himself before daycare: brown cargo shorts that have no business being paired with the orange and blue striped shirt he’s wearing. Not even his light-up sneakers have been removed.

 

“Exactly. Night off. I have a kid to be a mother to . We went out the last time we had the same night off, anyway. Once every six months is almost too much.” Emma replies, grunting when the brunette whines and slacks her body. Emma gasps, “Ruby, you feel like dead weight. Get off of me.”

 

“I will if you agree to go out with me tonight.”

 

“No.”

 

“You know, you’re actually pretty comfortable—”

 

Emma rolls her eyes, sighing as she gives up her efforts to remove her friend. She glances at Henry as he attempts to read what looks like a Cosmo magazine. Emma is nearly certain that Ruby is the one responsible for its presence in the apartment. She has a habit of leaving things when she shows up for an unannounced visit—which she does often—and Cosmo is more Ruby’s idea of entertainment than it is her own.  

 

“Rubes...” Emma starts, but she is cut off when the taller woman suddenly moves and stands in front of her instead. Her manicured hands, which are most definitely against hospital policy, yet somehow go unnoticed by everyone as these things tend to when it comes to Ruby Lucas, are firmly placed on her hips as she stares down at Emma.

 

“I will personally go ask that ridiculously saccharine neighbor of yours to watch Henderson for the night if you just come out with me for one drink.”

 

Emma scrunches her face with distaste. “Don’t call my son Henderson. That reminds me of Bigfoot.”

 

“Henderson was the name of the family. Harry is bigfoot,” Ruby corrects. “What about Hendrix?”

 

Emma mulls it over in her brain, eyes squinting as she stares at the woman in front of her.  “Maybe.” She tentatively agrees.

 

“Sweet. Now tell me I can go get Mary Margaret.”

 

“Fine. But I’m not staying any longer than two—”

 

“Perfect!” Ruby claps her hands as she turns towards the little boy sitting in the small loveseat. “Hennessey, my man—”

 

“Don’t call him that!”

 

Ruby ignores the blonde and holds her arms out, the little boy jumping up and into them instantly, “Let’s go see if M&M wants to have a playdate!” She boasts.

 

“Do you think she’ll make cookies?” Henry asks, threading his tiny fingers into the soft red streak of hair in Ruby’s ponytail. “She let me eat them all last time. Well, actually, I throwed up a little bit when I ate a bunch. But then my tummy didn't hurt after that, so then I ate even more cookies!”

 

“We can ask her, but maybe don't throw up this time.”

 

Ruby’s voice fades along with the giggle of her son as they make their way out of the house. Emma had hoped that since she has the next two days off, she’d be able to stay home and spend quality mother-son time with Henry. However, the moment she knew that Ruby had the same time off, any hopes of peace and quiet were shot to hell. The woman had basically invited herself over for the evening, and Emma knew as soon as the idea crossed Ruby’s mind, there was no removing it.

 

But, as she stays slumped against the soft cushions of her couch, the thought of going out and getting a drink niggles its way into the appealing side of her brain. She reasons that she’ll have all day with Henry tomorrow.Besides, she does deserve a night out with her best friend—even if it’s for a few measly hours.

 

She gets up when she hears the tell-tale signs of Ruby and Henry making their way back inside, Henry chatting animatedly to Mary Margaret, who is trailing behind the two, listening to the bright babble of whatever Henry’s on about.

 

“Thanks Mary Margaret. I know it’s kind of short notice, but I’m being forced against my will.” She shoots a mock glare at an unperturbed Ruby. Mary Margaret turns her attention from Henry, glancing Emma’s way just long enough for Emma to smile gratefully. “It’s only for a few hours, though.”

 

“It’s not a problem, Emma. Henry and I have a lot of fun.”

 

Henry perks up like a puppy at the mention of his name. “Yeah, Mama! Mary Mar-gret showed me how to make paper birds and then float them in the sink! But then they got too sloppy and sinked.”

 

“Sloppy?” Emma chuckles, “You mean soggy, kid?”

 

“I said that.”

 

Ruby barks out a loud laugh, shaking her head with a proud sigh. “Such a smart boy. Gets it from me.”

 

“Don’t insult my son by comparing his intelligence to whatever you’ve got going on up in that air head of yours.” Emma snickers, finally garnering a laugh from the quiet Mary Margaret. She averts her eyes when Ruby glares, instead turning to Henry.

 

“Whatever, Swan. Go get ready. I’m not letting you set foot in public in those scrubs,” Ruby tuts.

 

Emma rolls her eyes and is about to ask what Ruby is going to wear, considering she doesn’t have clothes here at the moment (which is a startling change from the usual basket full of dirty laundry in Emma’s laundry room), but Ruby pushes the blonde down the hall, hands clasping onto the other woman’s shoulders.

 

“Also, I need to borrow some clothes.”



***



By the time Emma and Ruby make it out the door, there are shreds of Ruby’s Cosmo magazine littering the floor—simply for the fact that, according to Henry, the birds will be more colorful. They take Emma’s car, knowing Ruby will most likely drink more than she promised, though Emma is all too willing to be the designated driver for the night. They pull into the small parking lot of one of the only bars in the area, their favorite, and Ruby makes a beeline for the entrance, black boots clicking loudly on the pavement.

 

“Maybe one of us will get lucky,” the brunette boasts, then pauses, watching as Emma makes her way around the car, rolling her green eyes. “Well,” Ruby scoffs, “ you won't, especially not with that attitude.”

 

Emma shrugs, pulling the door open for both of them. “Somehow, I’m not too upset about that.”

 

But she is, just a little.

 

She loves Henry with everything inside of her and more , but she misses intimacy with another person. She misses serious, late night conversations, and not the ones about which color is better (yellow, always).

 

But she won't let on, not to Ruby at least. For all Emma knows, the other woman would make countless dating profiles under the guise of Emma Swan and set her up on random dates with complete weirdos.

 

God, you’re so fun tonight. Really. I’m shitting excitement,” Ruby deadpans, slinging her arm around the blonde’s shoulder.

 

“That’s a disturbing visual, Rubes.”

 

“Well, so are you right now. Perk the fuck up, and lets get some shots in you.” Ruby smiles and bumps her hip against Emma’s before leading them to a booth near the main window.

 

They sit across from one another, Emma facing the long bar and Ruby facing the exit. Emma arches a brow. “You said one drink.”

 

“And 10 shots equals a tall glass of beer.” Ruby pauses, tilting her head. “Well—quantity wise.”

 

And for the first time since they left, Emma cracks a smile. She feels the tension in her muscles quell just a bit and she can finally relax. As exhausting as her best friend is, she’s also a remedy for sour, unknown-sourced moods.

 

“Anyway.” Emma sighs. “I think I’ll stick with beer.”

 

“Suit yourself!” Ruby shrugs before getting up and making her way to the bar.

 

Emma watches her, elbow on the table and hand propping her cheek up. She straightens her back when she spots a pair of dark eyes looking in her direction. Her green eyes brighten slightly as she witnesses red painted lips quirk, and she sends a small smile to the stranger sitting at the bar.

 

Women have always been an option in Emma Swan’s book of sex partners—or life partners; she’s not too picky. She’d had her fair share of feminine experiences before Henry, but since he’d been born and the whole fiasco with his father happened, there’d been time for nobody .

 

The woman looks away finally, after what seems like a billion seconds of eye contact, brown hair brushing her shoulders in perfect coifs. From where she’s sitting, Emma can tell she’s wearing a tight, sleeveless black dress that hugs her body perfectly, and sheer, black stockings. The brunette’s got her legs crossed and Emma is drawn to the way her stiletto clad foot moves softly to the faint music playing in the overhead speakers. Emma is so taken that she barely notices Ruby loudly making her way back to their table, two shots and a beer in her hands.

 

“Oh, she’s hot.”

 

She hears, and it snaps her out of her daze. “What?”

 

“Shorty in those ‘fuck me heels’ at the bar. That’s what you were drooling about, right? I’m totally right.” Ruby’s stupid triumphant grin is the definition of irritating.

 

Emma scoffs and shakes her head, hiding her blush as she takes a large gulp of cold beer. She nearly chokes when Ruby suggests she go over there and “hop on that.”

 

“Ruby. I came with you to have a drink and unwind, not find someone to complicate my life.”

 

Ruby rolls her eyes, downing one shot with a little too much ease. “Please. I didn't say go over there and offer her your womb so you can house her babies. I just said go talk to her. Maybe exchange numbers. Get her to clean out the cobwebs down unda ,” she says in a half-hearted attempt at an australian accent. At the look Emma gives her, she shrugs, holding the shot glass over her tongue and tapping the bottom as if there were more to be consumed.

 

“Stop doing that, you look ridiculous.” When she doesn’t, Emma reaches over and snatches the glass, setting it down on the table, “I’m gonna tell them your ID was fake if you keep acting like a teenager.”

 

She’s unphased by the empty threat, both she and Emma knowing full well that her petulance is undoubtedly part of the Lucas Charm, as Ruby likes to say. “This shit was twelve dollars. I’m not wasting a drop. Now, go talk to her before I do.” Ruby smirks, wiggling her perfectly shaped eyebrows deviously.

 

So that’s how Emma finds herself walking nervously over to the gorgeous brunette woman at the bar; shaky, sweaty hands shoved into the shallow front pockets of her tight jeans. She almost feels a little too hot in her red leather jacket, but it’s too late to turn back now—especially because that very brunette is looking at her with an odd expression.

 

“Hi,” Emma stutters out pathetically, a shy smile on her thin lips. “I’m Emma.”

 

Brown eyes look expectantly at her, as if to say, “ okay, and?” She clears her throat, now growing a hundred times more nervous. This is going well. Her cheeks are undoubtedly tinted pink as she gestures to the bar. “Uh... Can I buy you a drink?”

 

Finally, red lips part, and whatever Emma had possibly expected to come from that delicious looking mouth is so much farther from what really does.

 

Lo Siento. No entiendo Inglés... Em-ma.”

 

And as sexy as her voice is when it curves seductively around those spanish words, it’s also very disappointing. There goes her chances of a phone number—or the maintenance of her down under.

 

“Well shit.”

 

“¿perdón?”

 

Emma shakes her head, smiling awkwardly as she points over her shoulder. The woman offers a semi-sympathetic smile as Emma stutters out dumbly, “Sorry to bother... I’ll just, uh... Go.” She is 100% humiliated, no doubt about that.

 

She turns back, and is immediately greeted with Ruby’s wide blue eyes and a hand covering her mouth in a poorly executed effort to not laugh.

 

“That was so bad. Jesus.” Emma growls, sliding into her seat, as close to the inside as she can, “I’m never coming out with you again.”

 

“Yeah, that was pretty freaking painful to watch.” Ruby finally lets out, cackling so loudly that the brown-eyed beauty at the bar turns and looks, an eyebrow arching again. Emma darkens to what can only be described as fire engine red. “Oh, man. You should’ve paid attention to your spanish lessons in high school.”

 

“I never took span—never mind… Why do I listen to you?” Emma shakes her head, ignoring the brunette’s teasing words as she downs the rest of her beer, which is now flat and room temperature. Perfect. A drink to match her sex life.

 

“I don't know. But, God, that was so bad.” Ruby shakes her head, downing a fourth shot that seems to have magically appeared out of nowhere.

 

“Yeah, you said that.”

 

Ruby finally cracks a sympathetic smile. “I think this calls for some shots.”

 

Emma scowls, jutting her chin to the four empty glasses in front of the other woman. “You don't think you’ve had enough?”

 

“Of course not. But anyway, I mean for you. That kind of rejection from that kind of woman calls for only the best tequila.” She raises her hand in the air. “Oh, serveur! Two rounds of Patrón please!”

 

Emma reddens again, and glances toward the bar, but is greeted with the view of an empty stool where the woman had been seated. She looks around the bar, seeing no sign of her, and lets out a sigh of relief. Deep down, she has a feeling the woman knew exactly what Emma was saying. She doesn’t acknowledge it though, in effort to save what little shreds of pride she has left.

 

If that interaction hadn’t done the job, then one shot won't kill her either.



***



Emma had to practically drag Ruby out of the bar after they paid, and, as expected, the taller woman was wasted. It took only twenty minutes to get her home and inside her small apartment, and another twenty to make it to her own home.

 

Mary Margaret sits on Emma’s couch, book in hand. The living room is clean as well, no trace of the shredded magazine in sight. Henry lies sleeping on the other end of the couch, and Emma smiles, arching a brow at the pixie haired woman.

 

Mary Margaret shrugs. “He wouldn't go to sleep until you came home—crashed about twenty minutes after he got settled on the couch.”

 

The blonde chuckles, pulling her sleeping son into her arms, carefully so she doesn’t wake him. “That’s fine. Thank you for watching him tonight. I’ll write a check after I put him in bed.”

 

“Emma, it’s no prob—”

 

“Don’t even, Mary Margaret. You didn’t let me pay you last time so I’m going to this time. Just wait there.”

 

Emma scurries off down the hall and into Henry’s bedroom, pulling the comforter back and placing him on top of his soft batman sheets. “Night, buddy,” she murmurs, kissing his smooth forehead and brushing his hair away from his closed eyes.

 

The younger woman is still in the living room when Emma walks back out, checkbook in hand. “There.” She smiles after she’s done, tearing it out and handing it to Mary Margaret. “Thanks again.”

 

“No problem, Emma.” As they make their way to the door, Mary Margaret turns to the blonde with a sudden, “Oh! When does Henry start school? Will you need me to pick him up when you’re working?”

 

“Oh, yeah…” She tilts her head and thinks for a moment, “he starts next monday. It’ll just be how we did with daycare. I’ll let you know before noon every day if you need to get him. There’s a daycare at the hospital I’ve signed him up for so that he can be near me after school, so you’d just need to bring him straight there,” she tells Mary Margaret, fighting the urge to whine—again.

 

The fact that her baby boy is starting kindergarten in a week had nearly slipped Emma’s mind. He’s getting old way too quickly.

 

Mary Margaret’s bubbly response draws her from her momentary lapse into that cliché motherly sadness. “Sounds good! Have a good night, and tell Ruby I said sorry for ruining her magazine. For what it’s worth, it made for some great paper birds!”

Chapter Text

Regina

 

Regina’s fists clench and unclench in effort to quell the urge to toss the expensive glass of Chardonnay across the table at her company.

 

She supposes perhaps, there has been the expectation that the end of their relationship was quickly approaching. But on the night of their one year anniversary no less? Absolutely tasteless. It reaches a new level of airheadedness and insensitivity.

 

She expected this breakup , but she didn’t expect that Robin Locksley would do it on what is supposed to be a special night. Of course, he isn’t the sharpest knife on the block. But surely he knows of common courtesy?

 

His thick accent, which had wooed her into submission once upon a time, now grates on her most irritable nerves. The scruff on his chin and cheeks look terribly unappealing and she wonders what she ever really saw in him.

 

“...And Regina, I don't think you’re happy either, see? I can tell you’ve been distant lately. And really, I think this is good for us, because…”

 

It’s almost too easy to drown him out.

 

She clears her throat and unclenches her blanched fists, pressing her palms flat against the white cloth of the dinner table. They don't even have their food yet. Hell, they’ve not been seated for more than ten minutes before he broke out into what sounds like a very practiced and perfected speech. She gives him credit, because it’s the most complex string of words he’s formed in all three-hundred-and-sixty-five days of their being together.

 

To top it off, she can't help but feel a bit ridiculous in the outfit she’d picked out now. When she donned it an hour ago, she hoped Robin would appreciate it (He didn't seem to notice, really, and now it makes sense why).

 

Finally, she can no longer endure his rambling. She looks at him with cold eyes and a polite smile. “Are you finished, Robin?” she asks, pressing her lips together.

 

He snaps his mouth shut and, even though he probably isn't, nods silently.

 

“I have to agree with you. I haven't been happy for a while.” She looks down into her wine glass. Suddenly she has a craving for something far stronger. “I won't be joining you on the car ride back to my home,” she says, tone clipped and professional as ever.  “Please gather whatever possessions of yours that have accumulated and be gone by the time I arrive.” She stands up, grabs her purse and jacket, and tosses more than enough cash to cover their drinks.

 

She saunters in the direction of the entrance, head high, and for a moment she thinks that she should feel devastated and hurt and confused. She should feel rage that he would give something like this up. She shouldn’t feel relief that this man that she’s given a year of her life to is no longer a factor, no longer weighing her down.

 

Of course, she’s angry that she wasn't the one to end it. Being the dumpee is never a good feeling, even if the dumper is a completely pompous, misogynistic, old fashioned ass.

 

She steps out onto the sidewalk in the cool evening air, belting her coat tightly and taking a breath that nearly feels freeing, and she sighs. She can’t go home yet. She looks down the street in both directions, clutching the inside of her coat pockets as she decides that a stronger drink is most definitely called for.

 

She’ll stay until she’s sure Robin has left, and then order an Uber taxi (or whatever people use as transportation these days).

 

She spots a small bar across the street a block down and makes her way there. This is a good thing , she tells herself as she listens to the staccato of her own heels hitting the pavement.

 

This is a fresh start. You don’t need a relationship right now anyway. Work will be hectic and there will simply be no time. It’s better this way.



***



Regina almost regrets choosing this place, but it seems to be the only one within walking distance. She takes a seat at the middle of the bar, placing her purse and coat on the stool next to her. It’s nearly empty, which is a plus, but smells faintly of generic lemon air freshener and a deep fryer.

 

The bartender gets her order almost immediately, sending a friendly, almost flirtatious smile her way, and she fights the urge to roll her eyes.

 

She just barely gets her drink when two women loudly make their way in. She can't help but cast a side glance at them and she arches a brow as the taller brunette teases the blonde—the very attractive blonde. Regina stares for a moment, almost forgetting how rude it is to do so, at least until she sees bright green eyes move in her direction after they’d taken a seat. Her eyes move away when the blonde smiles softly at her, instead glancing at the brunette with red in her hair as she makes her way to the end of the bar.

 

She shakes off the feeling she got when she saw those sea-green eyes and focuses solely on her drink, letting the amber colored cider pull her into distraction.

 

Robin had hated the stuff, said it tasted like “ rotten apple juice” and practically forbade her from purchasing it. She loves it though, and as she sips the refreshingly tart yet spicy in just the perfect way drink, she vows to never let anyone tell her what she can and can't do.

 

She resists the urge to check her phone, knowing it hasn’t really been that long since leaving the restaurant. She’d just drive herself crazy wondering if he had left to gather his things or stayed at the restaurant for a bit longer. So she finishes the drink and then orders another, and while the bartender is off refilling her glass, she feels a presence behind her.

 

It’s that blonde. She’s not even looking at Regina yet, so the brunette takes a moment and watches with mild curiosity until those eyes finally make contact, and she can sense the trepidation. She can feel it radiating off of that hideous red leather jacket.

 

“Hi.” A sheepish smile accompanies the equally sheepish words. “I’m Emma,”

 

And in a split second, Regina decides that she does not want to deal with another clueless blonde.

 

“Can I buy you a drink?” Emma prods, dipping her head slightly in an almost adorably childish way.

 

Regina thinks of the quickest out without blatantly rejecting the woman.

 

Lo Siento. No entiendo Inglés... Em-ma.”

 

Her own response shocks herself just as much as it shocks Emma. She fights the urge to crack under the pressure of her new lie and continues to pretend to be confused.

 

“Well shit.”

 

And then she fights the urge to laugh.

 

“¿perdón?”

 

The accent rolls off her tongue easily, and she thanks her father’s insistence that she learn their heritage language—though she feels a bit bad because this beautiful blonde looks beyond embarrassed. It takes everything in Regina not to reach out and apologize. She’s saved by the stuttered apology and is watching Emma walk back toward a laughing brunette moments later.

 

Their eyes connect once more after hearing the loud cackle from the other brunette, and so Regina grants the woman that last bit of dignity and looks away. She hadn’t noticed the bartender delivering her second drink. She slaps two twenties onto the bartop, downs the cider, and gathers her things.

 

If Robin is still there when she arrives, she’ll just wait outside—or lock herself in her study until he leaves.

 

Because she knows if she stays here any second longer, she may change her mind and find a reason to stay with this mess of a blonde.



***



By the time she gets home, Robin is gone, every trace of his presence removed save for the photos of them together on the fireplace mantle and hanging on the staircase wall. She decides that she doesn’t need to take them down tonight and makes her way into her bedroom instead.

 

She’ll be sleeping alone tonight. The thought of it seems so familiar yet so foreign, because for the better part of a year, she’d had a warm body next to her.

 

Her phone goes off in her purse and she sighs, grabbing it and tossing the bag onto the bench at the end of her bed. It’s her sister.

 

It’s not even a second after the text came through that Zelena is calling, and Regina answers it begrudgingly.

 

“Tonight isn’t really a good night, Zelena,” she answers.

 

“Why didn't you tell me you were dumped?” comes the reply.

 

She winces at the harsh words. Dumped. “Well, seeing as it hasn’t even been three hours since it happened...” She pauses. “Wait. How do you know Robin and I are no longer seeing each other?”

 

“He updated his Facebook status from ‘In A Relationship’ to ‘Single’. Mother is shocked, and you should expect a phone call in the next few hours from her as well.”

 

Two thoughts run through Regina’s head. One: since when did Robin have a facebook? And two: why can't she get just a little bit of privacy?

 

“I wasn’t dumped. It was a mutual break up. He just thinks because he finally realized we weren’t going anywhere productive that it was his idea to end it,” Regina defends, kicking her heels off and reclining onto her neatly made bed. She’ll have to change the sheets if she wants a peaceful night’s rest. One thing she won't miss is the smell of pine and sandalwood aftershave clinging to every piece of fabric in her home.

 

“Still. Marian was the first to like the post. I wouldn't doubt he was getting a little nookie on the side.”

 

And that thought sends a queasy feeling through her body. Even if her feelings for Robin had faded months ago, the notion that he’d cheated or been cheating on her makes her blood boil and lips curl in a snarl. “For his sake, I hope he wasn't having an affair during our relationship.”

 

As if realizing her words, Zelena agrees softly, “Of course, sis. He may have been an idiot, but I don't think he was dumb enough to cheat on a Mills woman. Forever endure the wrath of a wronged Mills, or whatever it is Mother said to that contractor who put the wrong tiles down in her bathroom.”

 

The thought brings a smile to Regina’s mouth. “We certainly are a force to be reckoned with.”

 

“Indeed. Anyway. Now that you’re back on the market, you can up those standards of yours. Have your suitors fill out an application and host an interview for each one. ‘Must have skills beyond smelling like a forest and dressing like a Men’s Warehouse model.’”

 

Regina laughs, covering her eyes with the back of her hand. “I don't think I’m interested in a relationship right now, Zee. I think I just need to be single for a while. I need to focus on work and not let anything serve as a distraction. A relationship will be just that.”

 

“Don't fall back into that mindframe that had you lonely for years after Daniel, Regina.”

 

“I won't, ” Regina snaps. Even ten years later, the thought of Daniel, her first—and, really, only —love sends a melancholy pain through her heart. “Just because I don't want to waste time on a relationship doesn't mean I’m lonely. I have you, and Kathryn, and Mother. I don't need a man to try and run my life. Robin did enough of that for the past twelve months.”

 

“Cool it, firecracker,” Zelena replies, amusement in her voice. It grates her nerves the way her sister can remain so nonchalant about almost everything. “I know you don't need a man... Maybe that’s the problem.”

 

“What are you talking about?”

 

“Well, have you thought of experimenting?”

 

Regina thinks about it for a moment. Experiment? “With women?”

 

“The very same.”

 

“I’m straight,” Regina tells her sister, and it sounds default. But even as she denies the possibility of someone of the fairer sex warming her bed at night, her mind drifts to the blonde woman that had captured her attention earlier that night. She shakes her head, “No relationship means no relationship. Men and women alike.” She shuts the topic down before Zelena can respond. “Please tell mother I will contact her tomorrow. I think I’m just going to go to sleep.”

 

She’s thankful that Zelena has enough courtesy to let the topic go, for now at least. “You got it, sis. For what it’s worth though, Robin wasn't nearly good enough for you anyway.”

 

It’s probably the sweetest thing her older sister has said to her. She smiles softly despite her sour mood. “Thank you, Zee. Goodnight.”

 

“Ta-ta, Gina.”

 

Later that night, she finds that she can't really sleep. It isn’t because she wants Robin’s arms around her. No, she mostly felt suffocated and claustrophobic when he decided to cling to her body at night. She can't sleep because the words that her sister had spoken were truer than she felt comfortable admitting.

 

The startling truth is that, had Zelena not pointed it out so blatantly, she probably would have fallen into that lonely mindset even though she did not love Robin nearly as much as she loves Daniel. (She refuses to say ‘loved’. That kind of feeling does not wither with time.)

 

She stares at her ceiling from her large, empty bed and accepts her sleepless fate.

Chapter Text

Emma

 

Henry is up early the next morning. He has always been an early bird, and naturally, Emma likes to wake up with him, which in turn brings a handful of early morning cartoon dates while they eat their breakfast. It’s one of the things among countless others she cherishes most about being a mother, specifically a mother to someone as perfect as Henry.

 

After breakfast, they come to the mutual decision (or, Henry ‘mutually’ decides for her) that a morning trip to the park is exactly what they need to get their day rolling. So that's how Emma starts her morning off: lugging a bag of toys that Henry probably won’t touch three whole blocks to the park while Henry skips and hops ahead, rambling aimlessly about their plans for the day.

 

“Don’t go too far ahead of me, kid, don’t want you getting squashed by a car!”

 

Henry skips a circle around his mother, poking her tummy as he passes. “There’s no cars on the sidewalk, silly,” he counters but stops next to her anyway. They’re approaching the park and he knows now that as they cross the street, he must stay right beside his mother.

 

“You got me there, Hen.”

 

“Yup!”

 

She smirks and holds his little hand as they quickly look both ways and cross the street. The second they step foot on the park grass though, he’s off running toward the small playground. It’s too early for anyone else to be here yet, and it’s usually pretty empty on weekday mornings, so they have the entire park to themselves.

 

They’ve lived in this town for four and a half years now, having moved here from Tallahassee when Henry was just a baby. It was hard finding a place to stay when Emma–a twenty year old mother with no job, family, or friends–first arrived. Soon after they arrived and had been living in a run down hotel, Henry had gotten a bad cold and needed to be kept at the hospital for recovery; and that’s when Emma had met Ruby. They’d gotten along immediately, becoming close friends as days and weeks went on, and eventually, Ruby offered Emma and Henry a place to stay until Emma got a steady job. It had taken a year and four months for Emma to get her nursing degree, but she’d done it with Ruby’s help and had landed a job at the same hospital a few months after graduating.

 

She and Henry had been able to plant roots in this town, they have people who care about them now and for the first time in her long, lonely life, Emma has a home.

 

She watches Henry do cartwheels (or at least attempts to do them) in the grass, most likely ingraining grass stains on his palms that won't come out for days. After a few moments, he’s jogging back to where she’s now sitting in the grass and skids to a stop, plopping down onto his knees. “Did—did you see my wheels?” He asks, out of breath and pink cheeked. “I getted better since the last time!”

 

“They’re called cart wheels, buddy. And of course I saw, when did you get so good?”

 

“I practiced in the backyard!”

 

Emma laughs, remembering seeing him through the kitchen window last week, tumbling and cartwheeling around the soft grass of their enclosed backyard. “That’s right. Practice makes perfect.”

 

“Yup!” He shifts, changing into a crossed-legged position as he rummages through the bag of toys they brought. “Hey Mommy, do you think I will be able to do my cart-wheels when I start school?” He asks, pulling out two battleships and handing one to her.

 

She takes it, setting it on the sea of grass and aiming the canons towards Henry’s ship. “I don't know, kid. Maybe. But if they say you can't, it’s probably because they don't know how good you are and think you’ll get hurt,” or hurt someone else in the process, “so don’t argue if they say you can’t, okay?”

 

“Okay,” He shrugs, focusing intently on his own ship now. The conversation is over and basically forgotten as they begin their familiar battle.

 

The sound of an imaginary missile (or Henry’s interpretation of one) strikes her boat and she turns it on it’s side, as if it’s begun to sink, “You got me already ! I thought we were on the same team?”

 

“Yeah but there was a bad guy on your ship, I saw him.”

 

“I can assure you that my crew was top notch!” She argues, biting back a laugh at the serious look on his cherub face as he shakes his head in dissent. She can do nothing but accept defeat. “Fine. I’m gonna get you next time.”

 

He giggles, “No you won’t!”



***



Emma’s phone rings about thirty minutes into their park trip, and she immediately knows who it is. Her only friends include co-workers and Mary Margaret, all of which knows she likes to spend time with her son on days off and respectfully avoids contacting her unless they absolutely need to.

 

All except one, at least. She can’t say she’s upset though, Henry loves his Aunt Ruby. Emma can say she’s surprised, given the early hour and the amount of alcohol her best friend had consumed the night before.

 

Emma hits the answer, then speaker button; Ruby’s voice echoes through the speaker loudly before Emma can get even a word out, “I’m at your house, why aren’t you?”

 

Emma smiles and rolls her eyes, shushing Henry as he giggles at how loud Ruby is. “Henry and I are at the park three blocks down.”

 

Ughhhh. Okay I’ll meet you there.” Ruby sighs.

 

Emma scoffs, “Oh, sure, you can come. Thanks for asking.”

 

“No need to thank me, Ems. See you in five!” Ruby’s tone is playful, and she hangs up before Emma can respond.

 

The blonde looks at Henry, “Is it okay if Aunt Ruby joins us?”

 

“Yeah! She teached me how to whee- cartwheel!

 

Nearly six minutes later, Ruby pulls up into the small parking lot near where Emma and Henry are relaxing in the grass. Emma smiles, sending her friend a good natured eye roll as she walks over to them. “You couldn’t just walk?”

 

“Swan, there’s just some things I won’t do before 10 o’clock in the morning.”

 

“I’m surprised you’re up. Don’t you have a h-a-n-g-o-v-e-r?”

 

“Of course not. You know mama can hold her liquor!” Ruby bends over and picks Henry up, hooking her arms under his armpits and she swings him around. “And I couldn’t miss out on the chance to hang with my best pal Henrietta!”

 

Henry shrieks out, flailing his legs as he’s spun in circles.

 

“Mommy!” He cries out, voice full of delight and excitement.

 

“Ruby, if he pukes it’s your job to clean it up.” Emma warns, chuckling as the other woman stops abruptly and sets him onto his feet.

 

“So, what are we doing today?” The brunette asks, flopping down onto the grass, hands behind her head. Ever so graceful as usual.  

 

“We?”

 

Yes .” Comes Ruby’s reply, as if she’s saying duh.

 

“I don’t know, I was thinking of letting Henry choose today’s activities since I don’t get many days off. Plus he starts school next week.”

 

“Oh, riiiiight. Our little boy is growing so fast.”

 

Henry tilts his head in confusion, “I’m not your little boy, Aunt Ruby. I’m Mommy’s big boy!”

 

Emma laughs at the feigned hurt expression on Ruby’s face. Her previous thoughts about friends and family and roots come whooshing back and although she pretends to be annoyed by the incredibly loud, outgoing and insanely frustrating woman, she can’t help but love their little set up. Ruby is the closest thing to family she has and she’s more than grateful to have her in her life.

 

Not to mention, Henry adores her (though she doesn’t for the life of her understand why).

 

“Well, mommy’s big boy , what do you have ready for school?” Ruby asks, rolling over to her side and propping her head up with her hand.

 

His tiny face lights up at the question. “Mommy got me a bunch of cool pencils with—with ships on them! And a pencil bag in the shape of a battleship to keep my pencils in! And a backpack but it doesn’t have ships but it’s okay because it’s still blue like my favorite color.”

 

“I wish I had battleship pencils when I was in kindergarten.” Ruby sighs wistfully, as if truly sad about the fact that her pencils weren’t as cool.

 

“It’s okay, I can give you one of mine.”

 

“You’re too good to me, Henley.”

 

Emma scoffs, “Are you ever going to call him by his real name?”

 

“Uh, not as long as I have other words that start with hen , no.”

 

“You’re ridiculous, Ruby.”

 

Henry giggles at that. “Yeah. Ri-dic-less!”

 

The insult flies over Ruby’s head as she sighs dramatically, “God, hearing little people say big words will never not be cute. Henry, say Cardiovascular Bronchitis.

 

“C-Cardiovasker Brotitis?”

 

“Close enough.”

 

Emma rolls her eyes but jumps in, “How about a less difficult word, Hen. Say… hm.. Say presidential.”

 

Henry grins as he speaks, “President-all!”

 

“Your teacher’s gonna love you.” Ruby smirks proudly, holding her hand up in the air for Henry to high-five. “Now. Let’s play some battleship!”

 

The rest of their day is easygoing. As Emma anticipated, Henry had asked to go get ice cream, and then pizza, (in that order specifically). She’d managed to hold him off from eating anything unhealthy until about noon, and then she caved. Ruby wasn’t much help—although her puppy dog eyes weren’t nearly as endearing as Henry’s. Nevertheless, they did exactly as the little boy suggested, because Emma doesn’t know how to say no to him when she rarely gets days like this with him. A little indulgence doesn't hurt.

 

Ruby bids her short goodbyes a few hours after lunch, leaving mother and son to have the rest of the afternoon and evening together, and before she can make any suggestions, Henry asks if they can watch the Transformers (the cartoon, not the ridiculous live action with Megan Fox’s tits and ass every thirty seconds), and of course, once again, Emma agrees.

 

She doesn’t want to think about going to work the next morning, or the morning after, or the morning after.

 

She thinks about quitting her job (not seriously) just so she can spend all day doing things with Henry, but obviously that wouldn’t help their financial situation. But she keeps her hopes up that she’ll put enough into her savings so that they can have some kickass vacations during the summer, so that she’ll be able to stay home when he’s sick and can’t go to school.

 

So instead of thinking about her time consuming job, she watches the animated robot truck monsters fight other robot truck monsters, and she enjoys the giggles coming from her son at Bumblebee’s antics.

 

She’ll have the day off the following Monday as well, but by then, she’ll be meeting Henry’s new teacher and leaving him at school and then she’ll be alone until 3PM. She curses her brain for going to the topic of school, the thought of her little boy starting his first year of school sending her to near tears.

 

Henry’s small hands shaking her shoulder is what snaps her out though, and she raises her brows, “What, Hen?”

 

“I said , can we have pizza for dinner?”

 

She squints, taking note of the extra innocent look in his green eyes. “We had pizza for lunch.”

 

“I know but I want it again! We can get H‘waiian this time.”

 

And what a slick little boy he is, using her favorite kind of pizza to trick her into saying yes. And they both know it works because now she’s thinking about the savory yet tangy mix of ham and pineapple and cheese.

 

“Oh we can?”

 

“Yup! And it can just be for me and you because Aunt Ruby isn't here to steal bites of mine anymore so we will have more to ourselves!”

 

“You make a compelling argument, kid. I’m almost convinced.”

 

She nearly doubles over in laughter at the confusion on his face, but he quickly shakes it off, finally finally losing his motivation to manipulate and instead resorts to begging. “Pleeeeease mommyyyyy!”

 

Emma thinks about earlier when she thought about how it’s hard to say no to him when he’s so precious and the time with him is as well. But she can’t cave this time because the last thing she needs is heartburn because of the amount of carbs he’s begging to consume.

 

“How about..” She sees his narrow shoulders slump and she smiles, brushing her fingers through his brown hair, “ listen. How about we get something different tonight, and then next monday we can get a big hawaiian pizza and breadsticks and even maybe a small lava cake to celebrate your very first day of school?”

 

And as much as he drives a hard bargain, she drives a harder one.

 

His eyes light up and he nods eagerly, “Yes, yes, yes! What’s for dinner tonight then, mommy?”

 

“How about we have some steamed veggies and teriyaki chicken with rice?”

 

His face tells her how much he absolutely does not agree. She knows there can't be the willingness of eating vegetables if there isn’t a sweet offer on the table. She rolls her eyes and smirks, “We can watch some more transformers in here while we eat.”

 

He nods suspiciously, knowing they usually don’t eat in the living room, but agrees regardless. And that’s how negotiations are done in this house.

 

She wouldn't have it any other way.

Chapter Text

Regina

 

It only takes about fifteen minutes to regret joining her mother and sister for brunch (Usually she can hold out for about forty-five minutes to an hour if she’s in a decent enough mood). But her mother, Cora, has no respect for the personal issues of anyone..ever–especially her daughters–especially Regina.

 

“Why didn’t it work out with Robert again?” Cora asks, chewing delicately on her breakfast fruit. “Wasn’t he successful? You need a man with prominence, Regina, if you continue to insist on being a School Teacher.”

 

Zelena, for her part, remains quiet, a smirk on her glossed lips as she chews her food.

 

Regina can't help but sigh and set down her fork with a clink, “Mother, I don’t wish to talk about Robin today. Can’t we just enjoy this time together?”

 

“What are you talking about, Gin? I’m enjoying myself quite nicely.” Her older sister chimes, a devious glint in the striking blue eyes she obviously did not inherit from their mother.

 

Regina stares at Zelena, as if somehow her dark gaze will burn a hole through that sleek red hair. She’d managed to avoid talking about her now ex boyfriend for three days, until their mother had insisted early wednesday morning that they all meet for a nice brunch at the Mills’ mansion. Regina wishes desperately that her father wasn’t on a business trip at the moment, instead there to side with her like he always does. She can hear his deep, lightly accented voice in her head, “Cora, darling, leave the girl alone.”

 

“If you must know,” she sighs, looking down at her navy blue coated nails in her lap, “He and I ended it because neither of us were happy. I hadn’t had feelings for him in months and apparently it was the same for him. It was amicable. He was just the one to bring it up first.” She sure as hell doesn’t mention her growing anxiety about the thought of him being unfaithful. That would rock the boat so hard it sunk.

 

“Shame. He was handsome from what I remember.” Cora tsks, shaking her head as if his looks was the greatest loss in the relationship.

 

“Yes, mother, because in order to keep a healthy relationship, I must rely on my partner’s looks.”

 

“Of course not, Dearest, but it sure helps to have some good arm candy.” She’s rewarded with wide smiles from both her mother and sister (who also holds up her half consumed mimosa as a ‘cheers’).

 

“Oh, Mother, I think you just want some eye candy.” Zelena retorts teasingly.

 

And oh, man, does Regina want to throttle them both. She must be giving off that look because her sister taps her shoulder with the back of her hand.

 

“Oh, come on, Regin- er , don’t look so miffed, you said it yourself! The man wasn’t good enough anyway.” Zelena barks, amused eyes dancing and lips twisted into a smile, and for a moment, Regina wants to throttle her and slap that annoyingly prim accent right out of her mouth. She almost wishes her sister had stayed in England with her birth father instead of traveling here to live near their mother.

 

“So what’s the plan now, darling? I know a few lovely gentlemen who would absolutely adore getting to know you.” Cora offers, perfectly shaped eyebrows arching suggestively. “Maybe this time a good politician or a Doctor. What was it that Robert did again?”

 

“His profession does not matter, Mother, I am no longer seeing him.”

 

“Oh, fine. What about work then, hm? How’s that going?”

 

Finally, a genuine smile breaks across Regina’s face and she lets her shoulders relax a bit at the subject change. “A lot to prepare for, but I am confident this year will be successful. I am close to getting tenure as well, which comes with a significant raise and a seat in the school’s district board.” She couldn’t be more proud, knowing how happy her father would be if he were home to hear the news.

“They give tenure to kindergarten teachers?” Zelena asks absentmindedly, and Regina can't help but smirk and roll her eyes.

 

“That's splendid, Regina, but I was hoping you’d find something a bit higher up. Something that polishes the Mills name.” Comes Cora’s reply, and it sucks the good mood right back out of Regina.

 

Cora’s insulting jabs ring out like clockwork.

 

Zelena rolls her eyes, finally sending her sister a half-apologetic look before scolding her mother, “Come on, now, Mother. Be proud of her, yeah? She’s doing what she loves and she’s doing it damn well.”

 

“Thank you, Zee.” Regina smiles gratefully.

 

“I suppose you’re right. If not a well known figure, then a hard and dedicated worker.”

 

It’s the best she’ll get from her mother, and she’s fine with that. She holds up her own mimosa and toasts to that, all three tapping the rims together with a high pitched clink.



***



Later that week, on Saturday night, she finds that she no longer has the desire to go out with her best friend, Kathryn (she’d called to cancel their plans earlier that day, claiming she wasn’t feeling well and would rather stay home. Which isn’t totally a lie–her week of lesson and classroom prepping had wore her out).

 

So instead, she curls up with a nice, large glass of wine, some Smokey Robinson on her stereo and her laptop on her lap.

 

She won’t admit that she’s paranoid, but she does admit that she went ahead and made a profile on Facebook–sans profile photo–just to see if Zelena’s suggestion had been correct. And yes, Robin did change his relationship status not thirty minutes after they’d broken up, and yes, a woman named Marian liked the post twelve minutes after that. But when she clicks on said woman’s profile, she sees a header photo of the woman with a man’s arms around her waist and a small boy hanging off the man. The man that isn’t Robin.

 

Only then does she admit defeat and delete the account along with browser history. But she’s not paranoid. Embarrassed that she’s acting like a crazy ex-girlfriend, yes, but not paranoid. He was definitely an oaf but not an unfaithful idiot. Right?

 

It’s all moot now, she tells herself, closing her laptop with slight aggression and setting onto her coffee table. Her wine is consumed in four large gulps before she refills and lets her body sink into the delightfully soft cushions of her cream suede couch.

 

Her mother’s and sister’s words swim through her head relentlessly, and she can’t help but wonder if some of what they’d said was right. Aside from the part about having a good looking partner, her mother had insisted that she need someone by her side to build her up (and on some level, that’s true) but does she really need a man to do that job? Why can't the support of Zelena and Kathryn be enough? Of her co-workers and acquaintances and everyone who always tells her how good of a teacher she is. Of course the compliments are half hearted (save for her sister’s) but they’re fuel enough to prove them right.

 

She doesn't need a man. She’ll say it over and over and over until she’s blue in the face.

 

A man is not needed.

 

Once again, a flash of long blonde hair and striking green eyes flutters through her mind. And no, she will not go there. She needs not a man nor a woman. She nods once, as if telling herself it’s a done deal, then brings her glass up to her lips and takes a long, needed sip.

 

All she needs is her jazz and her wine.



***



The beginning of the school year is always a hectic one. She loves the process of meeting her students, she loves the part where she gets to know them in the first few weeks. She’s not so fond about meeting the parents. Of course there’s the ones that have full faith in their child’s very first teacher, usually the ones who have older children and have been through the process. Then there’s the new parents who ask question after question, take down every form of contact the teacher has, hands them lists of what their child can and cannot do while on school property (she’s gotten a few bizarre ones), and who check in every other day to know the progress of their child.

 

Regina’s least favorite part is having to make sure those parents don't get the wrong impression of her on the first day. Those so quick to judge. And she supposes she understands–as much as she can, seeing as she doesn't have children of her own–when parents are over the top. Anyone would want the best for their child.

 

And so, on this very early Monday, the first of the school year, she has on her best, most professional outfit (more fit for a politician’s wife. Thank you, mother), her brightest smile, and hands out her warmest welcomes.

 

So far things have gone smoothly, some students are  shy to meet her but quickly warm up as she crouches down to eye level to shake their tiny, nervous hand; while others are so excited to meet her that a handshake simply won’t do, and go in for a big hug instead. She chats idly with parents, most of which she knows because she had their older children once upon a time. There aren't many few new faces around here, especially in this school district, seeing as this is a tightly knit neighborhood and most of the mothers are on the PTA committee.  

 

And speaking of which-

 

“Ms. Mills, hello!” Mal Drake. Who just so happens to be self nominated president of the moms here. “I’m so thrilled that we get to work together once again.” As if being an overly enthusiastic bake sale participant means they’ll be “working together”.

 

“As am I, Mrs. Drake. I see I have two of yours in a row.” She smiles warmly at the young girl standing next to her mother, dark brown hair flying every which way in front of her big, doe eyes. “Hello, dear,” She holds her hand out gently, “I’m Ms. Mills, your new teacher. Can you tell me your name?”

 

The little girl shyly takes her hand (which is shocking considering Mal’s oldest boy was a known hellbeast), and they shake, “Lily.”

 

“Well, Lily. I am so glad you’ll be joining me this year. I have lots of fun things planned.”

 

A smile crosses the little girl’s face and Regina gifts one back before dropping her hand and standing up straight, smoothing out her skirt in the process. “Mal, it’s so nice to see you again. Do you have any questions about this year’s syllabus?”

 

“Not at the moment, no.” She smiles widely, a fake grin that is definitely forced. They don’t hate each other, but they’re not one another’s favorite person either. “But if you could just email a copy of it to me, I can get back to you with any concerns if I have any.”

 

“Certainly.”

 

Out of the corner of her eye, Regina sees a young boy enter the room excitedly, full of energy and curiosity. She excuses herself from Mal’s company, patting the woman on the arm slightly as a gesture of kindness, then turns to greet the boy (who seems to be sans parent..?).

 

“Hi there.” She smiles, ignoring the pop in her knees as she crouches once again. “I’m Ms. Mills. Who might you be?”

 

“I’m Henry!”

 

Regina can't help but grin–not just that half wattage one she plasters on for everyone–but a genuine, honest to god grin. “Well, hello, Mister Henry. Is your last name Swan?”

 

The boy looks at her with wide eyes, looks around the room as if searching for hidden cameras or even his mother, who’s still not here. “How did you know?”

 

Regina laughs, “Your name is on my list! Along with twenty four other names. They’ll be your classmates.”

 

“Oh!”

 

“Where are your parents, Henry?”

 

He turns around and hops to the door (the boy doesn't seem to know how to just walk ), and waves his hand, “ Mommy! Miss Miss is waiting for you!”

 

Regina stands straight, hearing his mother’s voice approach.

 

“Miss Miss? That’s really her name?”

 

And then, Regina feels that she has never wanted to sink into the ground as much as she does right this very moment, seeing that god damned blonde hair, and those god damned green eyes looking at her for a long moment before it registers.

 

“Ms. Mills, not Miss Miss.” She rasps out, voice strained and shocked and nervous and everything in between. “ You’re Henry’s mother?”

 

“That’s what I said.” Henry chirps, rolling his equally painfully green eyes.

 

“Ms. Mills... Hi.” Emma smiles fondly, a hint of amusement and a bit of.. Malice? “Or should I say ‘hola, sen-yora Mills.’”

 

And it’s comical really, the fact that she would run into the stranger she’d turned down with a lie. It’s just her luck to have this backfire on her.

 

Henry makes a face, still unaware that his mother and teacher have most definitely met before. “Why should you say that, mommy?”

Chapter Text

Emma

 

“Why should you say that, mommy?”

 

She’s raging right now. Not because she’s angry, but because damn, this woman is good. Emma Swan, the player (sort of) got played. By her son’s teacher.

 

Ruby’s going to shit bricks.

 

She looks at her son who seems even more impatient than usual as he sags his shoulders and arches his brows, and she smiles down at him, then back up to Miss Liar McFuck-Me-Heels, “Well, because mommy’s met-”

 

“Henry, dear, why don’t you go over and find your seat? I already wrote your name in big letters on the place mat on your desk. Maybe you can meet some of your classmates?” Ms. Mills cuts in, smiling warmly at the confused, but easily persuaded boy. He listens, obviously, taking his backpack from Emma’s grasp and dashes off to the cluster of desks toward the front of the room. “Miss Swan.”

 

“You can call me Emma-”

 

“Miss Swan.”

 

“Yes, Sen-yora ?” She adds an extra oomf to the word to let Ms. Mills know that Emma Swan is a petty bitch when she needs to be. Well… The older woman doesn’t really deserve it but of course, Emma’s pride is shot and the only logical thing she can think to do right now is make up for it.

 

“First of all,” Ms. Mills starts, her voice taking on a not-so-warm tone, “it is very inappropriate to bring this up right now.”

 

She wants to stop because she agrees, there's a time and place for everything. But she has chronic word vomit at the moment, self diagnosed just now. “Was it hard, Ms. Mills? Learning the entire English language in just a week without having a heavy spanish accent? I mean really, it’s just.. wow.”

 

And she realizes all too quickly (more like slowly, because she knows she shouldn’t have said that) that she’s crossed a line.

 

Ms. Mills’s face hardens and she straightens, hands clasping tightly together in front of her. “I didn’t realize I’d be getting twenty- six new kindergartners this year.” She bites. And yeah, Emma deserves that one. “Miss Swan, I will have you know,” She starts, voice dipping low so that nobody but Emma can hear, “I had no desire to go home with you that night, and as a woman, you should respect that I declined. I have a bo-..” She stops, takes a deep breath, then continues. “-I have a very busy schedule, and more importantly, I’m.. straight.”

 

Emma wants to take a jab and say something stupid, like sure, all the straight women I know check my tits out more than once in less than five minutes, but somehow, she feels that may be crossing a line, so she holds back. “Right.” She goes for instead, shrugging as if the words don't cut just a tiny little bit (they do).

 

“Now.” Ms. Mills starts, plastering on that half-watt fake smile, “I suggest you keep your inappropriate comments to yourself, Miss Swan, otherwise this won't be a very pleasant year for you.

 

And with that, she makes her way towards the front of the classroom, hands clapping together twice as she signals for everyone’s attention.

 

“I will quickly go over the objective for the year, and then the parents are dismissed, where the students and I will begin our year off with a get-to-know-you-game.”


***


From her spot on the couch, Emma watches as Ruby currently writhes and sheds tears of laughter.

 

“Aren’t you being a bit over dramatic?” Emma snaps, kicking her best friend’s side as she cackles loudly. She instantly regretted telling Ruby, but she figures the later the other woman would’ve found out, the angrier she would be having been kept from this juicy bit for so long. She expected a wild reaction, but really, the floor of her living room?

 

“God, no, this just keeps getting better! You have to see her for a whole ass year, Emma!”

 

“I know, Ruby. It’s going to be complete shit! She literally hates me now.”

 

Ruby finally gets up off the floor and plops down onto the couch next to her best friend. “In all fairness, Ems, you shouldn't have made fun of her. She was intense when she barely talked to you. Of course she’d be intense when she threatens to curse your entire year.

 

“God, I’m an idiot.”

 

“You said it, I didn't.”

 

“Whatever.”

 

“So are you still gonna chase that? You like a challenge.”

 

“Yeah, I like a challenge, not an entire olympic tournament.” Emma shakes her head, leaning back against the couch cushion, “I’m not going to bother. She must think I’m- no she does think I’m immature. She said so in class. Something about an extra kindergartner.”

 

Ruby winces, “Harsh.”

 

“I deserved it.”

 

“Totally.”

 

“She’s even more gorgeous than I remember, though. It was dark outside and in the bar so I didn’t get a very good look at all of her features but she’s.. Yeah she’s beautiful. Older than I thought.” Emma shakes her head, looking over at her friend.

 

“Like cougar old or your friend’s younger stepmom who was young at the time but is now past the age that qualifies as a trophy wife old?”

 

“Neither, Ruby. Like. She’s got, give or take at least six to ten years on me.”

 

The brunette nods thoughtfully, “Well. I think you’re screwed, pal. Well and truly. But you can also fix it.”

 

“She’s straight.”

 

“Until she gets wet.” Ruby winks suggestively, wiggling her eyebrows.

 

And really, why does Emma bother trying to have an adult conversation with Ruby? She ends up somehow feeling worse than when the interaction was actually happening. “She’s not spaghetti, Ruby. She’s a straight, classy, stuck up woman who is responsible for my child for the better part of eight hours a day for the next 8 months.. I’m not touching that.”

 

“You make a good argument, Swanny.”

 

They’re both quiet, Emma mulling over the entire day in her head. She glances at the clock, seeing that it’s barely 10AM, and she has about 5 hours to go before she has to face the woman again when she picks Henry up.

 

As if reading her mind, Ruby jumps, leaning closer to Emma, “Hey! I’ll come with you to get the munchkin later today and I’ll like totally hang all over you and we’ll see if Madame Hotpants gets jelly.

 

Emma pushes her friend off of her, laughing as she shakes her head, “She saw you at the bar, Rubes. She wouldn’t believe it.”

 

“Well maybe she’ll think we were on a date after all.”

 

“Yeah, totally. We were on a date then I casually walked up to her in hopes of getting her number so we can exchange cooking recipes. Convincing.”

 

“Well, I tried.” Ruby shrugs, kicking off her tennis shoes and leaning back to get comfortable. “I’ll still come with you. Only platonically though, I only see you as a friend.”

 

“I’m glad to hear that.”

 

“It’s not me, it’s you. I just don’t dig blondes.” Ruby jests, clearly not done with her terrible jokes.

 

Emma rolls her eyes and tosses a throw pillow at her best friend. She’s grateful for the distraction but she can’t get the hard look Ms. Mills (and she realizes that she doesn’t even know the woman’s first name) gave her out of her head.

 

“Oh my god, you’re still thinking about it.”

 

“I feel bad,” the blonde shrugs, “I mean she doesn’t owe me anything, she didn’t owe me kindness at the bar and she expected me to act like an adult today and I was...petty.”

 

“Well, if you want to get technical, yeah, but honestly she could have just said no.”

 

Emma looks up at the ceiling and sighs dramatically. Of course the first time she pursues a woman in years turns out this way. She’s never had game. Maybe when she was a teenager. But something about being a mother and a nurse takes that bad girl edge away and drop kicks it across the Atlantic.


***


“Mommy!”

 

Emma hears his voice and spins around, seeing him bounding out of Ms. Mills's classroom, backpack bouncing with every step and she shakes her head. The amount of energy he constantly has sometimes worries her, even if she’s checked with doctors to make sure it’s not an actual disorder like ADHD or ADD. He's one of the most energetic kids she's ever seen, and given her job, she's seen a lot. 

 

“Walk, kid!” She calls out, holding her arms out as he bounds into her arms. “Don’t wanna hurt anyone being speedy, right?”

 

“Sorry!”

 

She kisses his forehead and looks up, momentarily looking around for a certain brunette. When she doesn’t see her, she smiles at her son, “How was your very first day?”

 

They move out of the way of trafficking parents and students moving through the halls and she crouches down to hear his assessment of the day.

 

“It was so cool! Miss Miss is so nice and she played games with us and—and we eated fruit snacks while we watched her write the allabet!”

 

Emma snickers. They’ll have to work on his teacher’s name together.

 

“Well that sounds pretty cool to me. Did you have fun?”

 

“Do I get to go back?”

 

“Every day, kid.”

 

He jumps, doing a half spin (he aimed for a full one but miscalculated). “I can’t wait to come back!”

 

She fights back a stupid, dumb tear because this is good. The fact that he is loving school is what will make their time apart easy. But it tugs at her heart, painfully like a bruise, the fact that he’s growing up so quickly.

 

“Henry, dear,” Emma hears from behind her and she stands up quickly. Her cheeks blush when she sees that Ms. Mills seems to have been standing there for a few seconds at least.

 

“Miss Miss!”

 

“Hi.” Emma greets shyly.

 

“Miss Swan.” Ms. Mills’s face stays cooly smooth as she nods as a greeting once before turning to Henry. “You forgot your sticker card. Remember to keep this in your Reading Folder so that you never forget it.”

 

“Oh man,” He sighs, crouching down and pulling his backpack around to get his folder. “Sorry, I forgetted!”

 

Ms. Mills looks like she wants to correct him but then thinks better of it, glancing at Emma quickly before looking back at Henry. She smiles softly at him, handing his paper over. 

 

Regina turns back to Emma then, clearing her throat. “The directions are on that sheet but,” She points to the folder, “All he needs to do for homework for the most part of the year is read a certain amount of words–with your help obviously–and acquire a signature on the line with the proper date. I’ll put a sticker on the empty box when I check the next day.”

 

It’s the most Ms. Mills has ever said to her and she’s almost shell shocked. But she nods quickly, “O-okay, thank you.” She looks down at Henry, who now has all his things in order, “He really likes your class. I was nervous because I… Well he’s my only one and I want him to be happy. So yeah.” The way Ms. Mills arches a brow makes Emma blush. “Thank you.”

 

“Certainly, Miss Swan. It is my job to ensure each and every one of my students is safe and comfortable while in my class.”

 

“Right.”

 

“If that’s all, I have a meeting with my colleagues.” Emma can't help but admire the way she speaks–like she teaches advanced level literature instead of a bunch of five year olds. Regina gives her a quick, polite smile.

 

“Yeah. I-I mean of course-“ She wants to die a little right now.

 

“Bye Miss Miss!” Henry chimes in, hopping as if trying to demand attention.

 

“See you tomorrow, Mister Henry.” The older woman smiles warmly at the boy before nodding at Emma and making her way down the hall.

 

“Isn’t she awesome, mommy?”

 

Emma lets out a pained, dry laugh. “Totally awesome.”

Chapter Text

Regina

 

Regina sits alone in the teacher’s lounge and picks at her cranberry and kale salad, stabbing the pieces with her fork until they’re frail and limp and littered with puncture holes.

 

“I’m sure whatever the salad did to you doesn't warrant multiple puncture wounds.” Comes a voice from above her, and she looks up, seeing her good friend Kathryn standing with her tupperware and travel mug. “Hi Genie.”

 

Regina narrows her eyes at the god-awful nickname but can't help but smile fondly. It’s been a few weeks since she’s seen Kathryn. “Kathryn,” She greets happily, motioning for her friend to take a seat at the round table next to her. They’re two of the few teachers who bring their own lunch instead of going out as a group. “How’s your year starting out?” Regina asks, finally shoving a forkful of salad into her mouth.

 

“Oh you know. The usual. First graders are so energetic.” She shrugs, digging into her own lunch. “So what’s got you on a salad homicide rampage?”

 

“It’s nothing.” The brunette waves it off. Although, it’s not nothing. It’s definitely something. It’s two lovely pairs of green eyes and mixed (and surely) unwanted feelings. But she can't tell her friend that, can she? She can’t say that there’s this obnoxious mother of one of her new students that’s somehow learned to dig under her skin.

 

No, she cannot.

 

“Hmmm.” The blonde nods suspiciously, taking a bite of her pasta salad. “And it was also ‘nothing’ with he-who-shall-not-be-named.” She arches a light brow and tilts her head.

 

“Yeah well that should have been nothing. Waste of an entire year.”

 

“No argument here.”

 

Regina stabs her salad again, a new rage seeping into her. Of course– Robin is the only relationship after Daniel that she’s had, she has only him (and not Daniel because nobody will ever measure up) to compare this new fascination with Emma Swan. The bar is obviously set pretty low at this point, right?

 

Man, Genie, you’re doing an awful job at thinking about nothing.”

 

The older woman pushes her food away and runs her fingers through her once perfectly coiffed hair. “It’s just. It’s this person.”

 

Kathryn’s eyes widen and she leans in closer, “Okay, and?”

 

And . I do not like them.”

 

“Sure.”

 

I don't.”

 

Kathryn puts her hands up defensively, “I’m not saying anything.”

 

Regina sighs, “I just don't know what it is about h- them.. That gets me so.. So..”

 

If the blonde caught the slip, she doesn't acknowledge it. She leans forward and whispers, “Hot and bothered?”

 

Scandalized, Regina sits up straight, hair slightly mussed and face laiden with shock. “Absolutely not. No. They make me so frustrated , is what I was trying to say.”

 

“Right.”

 

She believes herself almost as much as Kathryn believes her and really, it doesn’t help much. She wants so badly to not think about Emma Swan and her childish manner and immature words and obnoxious smile and stunning eyes and gorgeous, blonde hair-

 

“Kathryn, I don’t know what to do.” She rushes out, eyes wide and voice full of so much panic. She’s frightened because it’s too soon. It’s barely two weeks after her breakup with Robin. She’s frightened because this is not what she wanted nor planned for. She doesn't need someone in her life right now when she has twenty-five other someones who crave and need so much of her dedication.

 

“So, don’t do anything.” Is the advice her oldest friend gives her.

 

“What?”

 

“If you don't like this person , and you don’t know what to do, just.. Let it pass.”

 

Regina sits back in her chair and mulls that over. Advice that seems to scare her and send a wave of relief through her all at once. Scare her though, she doesn’t know why. It’s what she wants; to be free of the imprisoning thoughts of Miss Swan.


Right?



***



Later that day as she stands outside while her students, as well as many other classes, wait to be picked up, she spots Henry Swan crouching in the grass, backpack laying flat next to him.

 

She makes her way over, looking around to see if she can spot his mother.


“Henry,” She says softly so not to startle him. He looks over his shoulder and smiles brightly, “Miss Miss!”

 

“Where’s your mother?” She asks, fingers twisting slightly in front of her.

 

He just shrugs though, looking around the area. “Is she late?” He asks, as if his teacher has any clue. Tilting his head curiously, he continues, “Sometimes Doct’r Hopper makes mommy stay late because she’s the best! Even better than Aunt Ruby even though she has worked at the hosp’tl before I was borned.”

 

Regina smiles, feeling a mix of emotions. Somehow finding out that Emma Swan works in a hospital makes her just a little weak in the knees. “She’s not late yet. How about you come wait over there with me?” She nods her head in the direction of the large tree located right outside the school entrance.

 

He jumps up, grabbing his comically large backpack and grins widely, that smile incredibly familiar. “Okay!”

 

She smiles at some of the mothers as she walks past them, a hand on the little boy’s shoulder to lead him to where she stands. She surely doesn’t take favorites in her class, she never has before, but this boy is so special already, she’s barely know him two days, and he’s already growing on her.

 

She swallows down the emotion she feels and waves back at a group of second graders that she’d had two years prior.

 

“Miss Miss, look!”

 

She looks at Henry first, then in the direction he’s pointing and sees a flash of that hideous red leather jacket and.. Pink scrubs?

 

“God, Hen, I’m sorry I’m late,” She knees down, slightly out of breath. “Doctor Hopper had me doing rounds again!” And Regina can't help but find it peculiar that Miss Swan speaks to her son as if he knows hospital jargon.

 

“But Miss Miss said you weren’t late, mommy! Were all the patients fixed?” He asks, jumping excitedly. Okay, maybe he does understand it.

 

“Not yet, buddy, but I think we’re almost there!” Emma looks at Regina with an arched brow and an amused smile.

 

Regina clears her throat then, feeling like she’s intruding on a private conversation. “I was just waiting with him. Nearly all of my students had departed so I didn’t want him to wait by himself.” She leaves out the part where he already was by himself.

 

“Well, thank you. I won't be able to get him every day, I’m only on my lunch break right now, I’ve gotta take him to the hospital daycare until I’m done with my shift.”

 

Regina nods, unsure of what to say. She takes note of the nervousness in the blonde’s eyes and smiles tightly. “Well, I don’t want to keep you. Have a good afternoon, Henry. Don’t forget to read tonight.”

 

“I won't!”

 

“Good. Goodbye, Miss Swan.”

 

She begins to make her way back into the school, but a hand on her elbow, (just a light graze, not an intrusive grab) stops her. She looks down at the fingers touching her skin, ignores the incredibly hot sparks shooting from that specific area, and looks at Miss Swan, eyebrow arched.

 

“Sorry.” Emma pulls her hand away, blushing slightly. “I um. I just wanted to apologize. You know, for yesterday when I-”

 

And God, Regina doesn’t want to hear it. “It’s certainly over with, Miss Swan. I believe things can remain professional between us, yes?” She grates her jaw and glances at Henry, who seems to be perfectly content with standing there and waiting. “I hope that this is enough to tell you that I don't wish to speak of our first two interactions again.”

 

“It’s just that..” Emma starts, sighing as she runs a hand through her hair, “I know you don't like me, okay? I’m more okay with that than.. Well, than you taking it out on Henry.”

 

She doesn't know if she hears the woman right. She steps closer and tilts her head, “Excuse me?”

 

And the realization in Emma’s eyes is clear enough to see that she’s realized what she said.

 

“I mean.. I-” She struggles, “I’m not saying you are taking it out on him, I know you wouldn’t-”

 

“Then what is the point of this conversation?” She snaps lowly, hoping that the little boy standing in between them doesn't hear the spite in her voice. “I can assure you, I am more than capable of keeping nonexistent personal issues out of my work. Something you clearly aren’t capable of.”

 

Miss Swan sighs and looks down at Henry. “You’re right,” She concedes tiredly. “You obviously don't care much about what I have to say.” Regina wants desperately to bite back but Emma continues, “And to be honest, Ms. Mills, you don't seem to be doing a very good job of keeping nonexistent personal issues out of it, because you’ve been pretty clear about how much you dislike me.”

 

The nerve.

 

A new rage sets in and whatever fascination she’s kept for the blonde is gone (for now, but hopefully ever). “Simply because you’ve seemed to bring this up twice now, if I can recall.”

 

“Excuse me for wanting to clear the air with you!” The blonde growls, and finally, Henry’s (poor, nearly forgotten Henry) suspicion shows.

 

“Hey, are you fighting?”

 

Regina swallows hard, “No, dear. Not fighting.” She smiles, feeling a hint of warmth seep back into her strained bones.

 

“Yeah, kid. This is just how grownups talk.”

 

“But you don’t talk to Mary Margaret like that.”

 

Emma smiles and shrugs, “She doesn't count. She’s too sweet.”

 

Henry smiles, eyes glazing over as if reminiscing. “Yeah. Sweet like when she maked cookies for me.”

 

“That’s exactly why, Hen.”

 

Regina needs to leave now. “If that’s all, Miss Swan, I need to go.”

 

“Yeah. See you later.”

 

And for the first time, Regina sincerely hopes she doesn't see her later. But of course, that’s not how things work when it comes to her.



***



She lay in bed tuesday night, eyes wide open and fixed on the ceiling. Her mind plays the most recent interaction with Emma Swan over and over on repeat, and she can't turn her thoughts off.

 

If it weren’t a school night, she’d be drowning herself in Apple Cider right now instead of thinking about that insufferable woman. It’s pathetic, really, the fact that now even Kathryn can see that she’s definitely affected by Emma.

 

She wonders briefly about what could be right now, how much worse (or better?) their situation would be had she gone home with Emma. Or simply given the blonde her number. She thinks about what would be happening between them at this point had one of those things happened.

 

Would she be doused in even more anger? Regret? Would she be texting Emma right now, playing hard to get like Robin had once told her.

 

Her breath hitches slightly at a third option, something so forbidden and raunchy that she feels almost dirty for thinking it. Perhaps, she’d be writhing in her bed right now for a late night quickie (something she’s never done, she refused to do, with Robin. Yet somehow she could see herself going there with Emma Swan) instead of staring blankly at her boring white ceiling.

 

None are real, viable options though. She’s not willing to cross that forsaken line, nor is she willing to damage their already fragile foundation, if only for Henry’s sake.

 

She can do this, she tells herself, letting her eyes slip closed and her heavy breath expel. She can see Emma Swan twice a day for a few moments and be civil. It’s only fair for the little boy who already looks up to her.

 

When sleep finally comes, she is thinking about everything but defiant green eyes and stress tousled blonde hair. Anything but.

 

Nothing but.

Chapter Text

Emma



“Okay, MM. I need you to pick the kid up today, there’s no way I’ll be able to take the time off anytime soon, it’s swamped.” Emma says quickly into the phone, tucking a stack of clipboards underneath her arm as she walks briskly down the long hallway.

 

She hates that it’s only been a week since Henry started school and she’s already lacking on things when it comes to him.

 

“No problem, Emma. I’ll bring him to the hospital, right?”

 

“Yeah, I should be able to clock out in a few hours and he’s made some friends here so for now just bring him here when you pick him up. Oh, and his teacher is Ms. Mills, if you can’t find him, ask for her and he’s usually hanging around.” She rambles mindlessly, shoving each clipboard into their designated patient slots.

 

“Ask for Mills. Got it.” There’s a pause, and Emma stops her brisk walking at the hesitation.

 

“Mary Margaret?”

 

The younger woman speaks calmly, almost as if she’s afraid to say what she’s thinking. “Yeah.. Just. Don’t feel bad if you can’t alway get him. You’re working so hard to give him everything he needs and he’ll appreciate it in the long run.”

 

It’s unexpected and a little out of character for the normally sweet woman. They’re only two years apart but Mary Margaret has a young quality about her that adds a certain amount of youth to her. But this bout or wisdom comes at a very needed time. It’s refreshing.

 

“Thanks, MM.”

 

“Anytime, Emma.”

 

They hang up and the blonde sighs, unable to stop the wave of guilt that still manages to take over her body. She has to remind herself. This is for him. That’s all it’s ever been and it’s all it will ever be until the day she dies. She’s proud to be his mother but more importantly, she wants him to be proud to be her son.



***



She’s too tired to tell Henry not to run in the house when they get home later that evening. He seems to get the hint when she looks at him with that signature mom look that she’s mastered over the past few years and admirably slows down. He kicks off his shoes, leaving them by the closet (not in , where she constantly tells him to put them) and tosses his backpack on the couch.

 

His new favorite pastime is reading so that he can get the cool stickers Ms. Mills rewards him every day, and the fact that today he got three in a row from the weekend only fuels that ambition.

 

Emma likes sitting down to read with him, and he often sounds out more than a sentence, sometimes two. Although his pronunciation could use work, he succeeds in reading words like cat, dog, red, it, he, and other two-to-three letter words.

 

She doesn't know exactly where a kindergartner just starting out should be with words but surely that’s a step in the right direction?

 

“Mommy!” He calls out, but doesn't give his mother time to answer, “What’s for dinner? Can we have pizza again like last time?” And she regrets giving him pizza, because now he seems to think that every Monday is an I went to school today! Celebration.

 

“Buddy, remember pizza and junk food are only for the weekends. Why don’t we have.. Spaghetti instead?” It’s her best bet. She can use whole grain noodles instead of regular and the sauce will–for the most part–mask the obvious difference in noodle flavor. He’s never noticed before.

 

“Okay!”

 

She smiles and thanks whatever deity is up there that her kid is sometimes easy to negotiate with. Sometimes.

 

She doesn’t even bother changing, instead begins cooking their dinner. “How was school?”

 

He hops to the island, climbing carefully into one of the chairs. He knows not to spin in them because they may fall, however enticing it is to twist on the high chairs. “It was so fun! Miss Miss-”

 

“Mills.” Emma corrects, but she knows it goes to deaf ears.

 

“Yeah, she showed us how to tell what day it is on a cal-an-deer!”

 

“No way. What day is it today?” She tests, smiling when he concentrates for a few moments.

 

“It’s.. Monday!”

 

“Do you know what number?”

 

“Huh?”

 

“Never mind.” She laughs. They haven't gotten to dates yet, apparently.

 

He carries on, unphased, “Miss Miss asked how come you weren’t there to get me today,” He tells her, and she feigns nonchalance, even to her five year old who weirdly knows how to read her emotions.

 

“Really?”

 

“Yup! She asked Mary Mar-gret a bunch of ques-shens when she comed to get me instead of you.”

 

She covers the pot of noodles to cook and she leans her elbows against the countertop, tapping her son’s nose, smiling when he lets out a bubbly giggle. “That’s good, Hen. It means she was just making sure Mary Margaret wasn’t some lady trying to steal you.”

 

He makes a face and she laughs, “But hopefully she won't ask a bunch of questions the next time MM has to get you.”

 

“Mary Marg-ret said that Miss Miss is kind of scary. But I don't think she's scary! She waits with me all the time now so that I don’t have to be alone!”

 

Alone? “Kid, are you making friends?”

 

“Yeah. Well, Lily is really nice to me even though Nick sometimes tells me I am crazy.”

 

Emma’s eyes bulge and she feels a bit of rage seeping in. “Why does he say you’re crazy?” As if she doesn’t have an inkling why. She knew this may come up but it terrifies her that it’s happening not even two weeks into the year.

 

He shrugs, tapping his fingers on the counter in an uncoordinated rhythm. “It’s b’cause I have a loooot of en-jergy like you say.”

 

Emma can’t tell if she’s relieved that he’s not yet bothered by it or concerned that he doesn’t understand.

 

“And what does Lily say?”

 

He brightens at her name and bounces in his seat, “She telled him that I’m more funner to play with!”

 

Well.

 

Emma smiles and shakes her head, leaning over the counter to kiss her son’s head. “You’re way more fun to play with. Lily is a good friend.”

 

“Yeah! You can meet her when you pick me up tomorrow!”

 

That stupid guilt is back but she swallows it down, “I’m gonna try my best to see if I can pick you up, kid, but if I can’t, I promise I’ll meet Lily the next time I can, okay?”

 

“Okay!”

 

And for a second time in less than ten minutes, she’s thankful that her son is so easygoing.

 

The timer for the noodles goes off and Henry waits excitedly for the noodle test.

 

Emma scoops one out with a fork and counts down, “three, two…. one!” and tosses it against the wall. When it sticks, Henry hops out of his seat and jumps in triumph.

 

“It sticked! Now we can eat Spetti!”

 

When they’re done eating and they’ve done the reading for the night, she gives him his bath and puts him to bed. It’s almost 9PM now, but it feels like midnight. The exhaustion of the day finally catches up to her as she sinks down onto the couch in a tired heap.

 

She pulls out her phone and dials Ruby’s number, hitting the speaker button and letting the phone rest on her belly.

 

“What’s up, homeslice?” Leave it to Ruby to never greet her like a normal person.

 

“Rubes, I wanna quit.”

 

There’s a pause on the other end of the line and some rustling, and then a reply. “Okay what’s the dealio this time?”

 

“I hate not being able to pick him up after school. He wants me to meet his new friend, Lily, and I don’t know when I’ll be able to get him.”

 

“Hmmm. Have you tried working something out with Hopper? He’s a nice dude, Em. Maybe he’ll let you take your lunch at 3 instead so you can pick the munchkin up.”

 

“I did. That worked out for about 4 school days and then we were so busy today and I couldn’t just.. leave.”

 

Ruby sighs on the other end and Emma can picture her normally upbeat friend slumped in surrender. “I know it sucks, babe, but seriously, the kid loves you and he knows you can’t always leave work to get him.”

 

“But that’s not how it should be, Ruby! He shouldn’t be used to me not being there!”

 

They’re both quiet and Emma feels so so worn. She knows Ruby doesn’t know what to say and she shouldn’t have snapped like that. “I’m sorry.”

 

“It’s all good, Ems.” The brunette pauses, “Look. I’ll cover you for the rest of the week and that’ll give you some time to figure out a plan with Hopper, or you can talk to his teacher, or just let him know that you’ll try your best but sometimes MM is gonna be the one to drop him off at the hospital.”

 

“You don’t need to do that, Rubes..”

 

“Nah, but I want to. Hennessy is important.”

 

“You know, out of context, people would think you’re an alcoholic.” Emma laughs, and she finally feels some weight lifted off her shoulders. For now, at least.

 

“It’s because I am. But don’t tell Hopper.”

 

“Got it.”

 

“So, is he liking school?”

 

“He loves it. I feel jealous, he always wants to be there.” Emma thinks about his gorgeous, smart, mean teacher and she can’t help but feel jealous of Ms. Mills too. Henry loves her.

 

“Man, Granny would’ve paid big bucks if it meant me wanting to be at school all the time.” Ruby says, and Emma can hear the smirk in her voice.

 

“The school would’ve paid big bucks to keep you out .”

 

“Har Har.” Comes Ruby’s sarcastic response.

 

“Oh! You know, Henry told me that this little jerk named Nick called him crazy.”

 

What?”

 

Emma scoffs, shaking her head, “Yeah. Because he has a lot of energy.”

 

“What a dick.”

 

“Lily stuck up for him. I think I’m gonna talk to his teacher about it though, I’m worried Henry will start to get hurt feelings by it. He seemed unphased when he told me but I don’t know how long that’ll last.”

 

“Ooooh, yeah, work that Swan Charm on Ms. MightyFine and-“

 

“Can it, Lucas.”

 

“I can see your boner for her from here.”

 

“I’m hanging up.”

 

“Okaybyeloveyouuuu-“



***



The next day after school, Emma pulls up to the school and immediately spots Henry, along with a little girl and a smiling Ms. Mills.

 

Perfect. She’ll kill two birds with one stone.

 

She smooths out her scrubs and makes her way over to them. Henry, of course, spots her first and drops his backpack, dashing over to pick him up and swing his body playfully. “How was school, kid?”

 

“Good! Mommy, come say hi to my friend Lily!”

 

She keeps him in her arms and makes her way over to the shy little girl, who scoots a bit closer to Ms. Mills’s legs.

 

“Hey, Lily. I’m Henry’s mom, Emma.”

 

“Hi, Emma.”

 

“Lily remember I telled you that my mommy is the best! And—and she fixes sick babies and kids!”

 

Lily nods and smiles shyly, “My mommy is the pres-dent.”

 

Emma arches an eyebrow and looks at Ms. Mills, who is subtly rolling her eyes. “PTA President.”

 

“Ah. Well, Lily, I’d say that’s a pretty cool job to have.”

 

“Yup!”

 

Emma sets Henry down and tells him to play with Lily for a minute. “Ms. Mills, I’d like to talk to you about something-“

 

“Miss Swan, I really-“

 

“It’s about Henry. That’s all.”

 

Ms. Mills clears her throat and clasps her hands together loosely in front of herself. “Okay, what is it?”

 

Emma looks at her son and steps closer to the older woman, voice lowering slightly. “Last night he told me that this kid in the class, Nick, made fun of him.”

 

The brunette seemed shocked, perfectly shaped brows furrowing slightly, “Do you know what Nick said?”

 

Emma nods, jaw clenching involuntarily, “Called Henry crazy because of how much energy he has.”

 

Ms. Mills nods thoughtfully, looking down at the little boy in question. “I have noticed that he’s always… on. It’s not really a concern of mine, but I do see that other classmates of his have trouble keeping up with him.”

 

Emma sighs and runs a hand through her hair. “Look, I know he’s energetic and likes to be active but I promise, there’s nothing wrong. He’s seen my boss, who is a pediatric surgeon, as well as his own doctor. He just… He likes to play.”

 

For the first time, that warm smile that seems to only be reserved for students is directed towards her. Ms. Mills nods gently with soft eyes. “Miss Swan, I will talk to Nick tomorrow and if need be, I will contact his father. I know you must be worried that Henry is struggling or having a hard time with friends but he and Lily are getting on magnificently. It’ll take some time for his classmates to all settle down and be comfortable with each other. But I.. I see that he is a special and incredibly smart boy and I want the same thing that you do. For him to feel welcome and safe in my classroom.”

 

Emma nods, a bit mesmerized. No, a lot mesmerized at this completely different woman who decided to make her presence known. And Jesus does it complicate things.

 

“Right.. Yes, okay. I uh.. Thank you, really. It- it didn’t seem to bother Henry too much when he told me about it, but I don’t want it to happen so much that it starts to affect his motivation and mood and self confidence.”

 

“I understand.”

 

They both look at Henry. “I should probably get him to the hospital. I mean. Um. There’s a daycare there for the doctors’ and nurses’ kids..”

 

Ms. Mills smiles again and nods, those dark, smoldering eyes giving her a quick once over before moving to the young girl playing with Henry. “Lily, let’s go see if your mother is finished talking with your brother’s teacher.”

 

And then they’re off, leaving Henry and Emma in the spot by the big tree.

 

“Do you like Lily, mommy?”

 

“She’s great, Hen.”

 

“I know!”

 

She bends down to grab Henry’s backpack and slings it over her shoulder, “We gotta get back to the hospital, Hen. Let’s get a move on.”

 

“Okay!”

 

For the rest of the day while she tries desperately to work, Emma pathetically thinks about the older woman’s soft features, how the scar on her upper lip seemed less prominent when she wasn’t scowling at her and how those deep brown eyes seemed to know exactly how to comfort her.

 

Shit.

Chapter Text

Regina



She pays close attention to Nick and Henry now, especially after being confronted by Emma Swan. The swell of anger that surprised her as the other woman had explained what happened fueled her to be as attentive as she could possibly be without neglecting her other students.

 

And so far, it’s been almost another full week and nothing significant has happened.

 

Regina is oddly protective of Henry Swan, which also happens to be a shock. She’s taken on morning recess duty to keep an eye on the children, and Kathryn has graciously offered to do afternoon recess so that she can make sure no bullying is happening. It’s worked out perfectly.

 

She knows Nick’s father, Michael. He’s the owner of a car repair shop near the town center, overpriced and average service. She’d turned down his advances more than once.

 

Regina is never one to judge children so early on in life, but the amount of trouble the boy gets into daily is too much to ignore. She knows that they're too young to know better but she also can't sit idly by while one child picks on another.

 

“You ready for the afternoon recess report?” Regina hears from behind her, and she realizes she’s been stirring her coffee for far too long. She looks around and sees that it’s only Kathryn who is with her in the Teacher’s Lounge.

 

“Oh, yes. Nick has been especially ornery today.” She responds, shaking her head.

 

Well , he’s minding his own business this week. He and Henry Swan were actually playing together, today. Seemed to be getting along just fine.”

 

Regina sips on her lukewarm coffee, grimacing at the poor taste. “I suppose that’s better.”

 

“Henry acts like he had four cups of coffee before coming to school.” Kathryn jokes, and for some odd reason, it rubs Regina the wrong way.

 

“I can assure you, Kathryn, he is just fine.”

 

The blonde puts her hands up in defense, leaning against the counter, “I didn’t say he wasn’t.” She pauses, an amused look on her face, “Why’s he so important to you anyway? You’ve never been this invested in a student before.”

 

Regina shrugs uncharacteristically, shoving her mug back into the microwave and hitting the beverage reheat button. “His mother is worried about him. I don’t want anything bad to happen to any of my students, especially bullying. Not if I can do something about it.”

 

“His mother .” The younger woman drawls, “The blonde one?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Hm.”

 

Exasperated, Regina wrings her hands together and glares at her friend. “Kathryn.”

 

The blonde smiles softly, but finally gives in and drops the subject.

 

Regina opens the microwave before it can go off, taking her mug and bringing it to her lips. Is she really that readable? She used to be able to pride herself on how composed and completely un readable she once was. Is her failure to maintain a poker face really happening now? She refuses to believe it’s because of the Swans.

 

“I met someone,” Kathryn interrupts her thoughts, graciously changing the subject. “He’s a gym teacher at the high school.”

 

Regina offers a smirk and a raised eyebrow. “Let me guess. Frederick Knight?”

 

The blonde woman’s eyes bulge and she scoots closer to her friend, “How’d you know?”

 

“Please, Katie. Do you think I don’t have eyes? Everyone can see how you fawn all over him at District functions.” Regina is grateful for the fact that the topic of conversation is not about her or an idiotic, frustratingly gorgeous blonde and her wonderful son.

 

Stop it.

 

“Okay, first of all, I don’t fawn over him. Second… I just find him really handsome and smart and funny and-“

 

“You’re fawning.”

 

Kathryn crosses her arms and humphs out a pout. “Whatever.”

 

“Really though, I am happy for you. He does seem very charming. Very… up your alley.” The older woman smiles, blowing on her coffee before bringing it to her lips for a small sip.

 

“He sure was.” Kathryn winks.

 

Regina’s eyes widen and she chokes, nearly ruining her crisp white shirt in the process. “Do you ever have a filter?”

 

“No need for one.”

 

“I can disagree on many levels.”

 

The blonde pushes herself off the counter, a wide grin on her face, “Oh please, Genie. Once you start getting some again, you’ll agree with me.”



***



Henry is full of energy, as usual, at the end of the day. To others, it may come off as overbearing but Regina welcomes the positivity of the little boy. She smiles when he tells her animatedly about his day, as if she wasn’t there for 95% of it.

 

She plans to inform Emma Swan about the new, (hopefully) budding friendship between Henry and Nick, and also that there has been no bullying as of the past week.

 

But as she looks around, half paying attention to Henry’s bubbly stories, she doesn’t see that familiar blonde.

 

No, once again, the woman with the black pixie cut, who she presumes to be Mary Margaret is making her way over to them. She feels her shoulders sag in disappointment.

 

“Miss Mills, hi!” The young woman smiles. She can’t be older than 21.

 

“Good afternoon, Dear.” Regina smiles politely, watching as the little boy bounds into the other woman’s arms. A pang of jealous shoots through Regina.

 

“You ready to go see mommy, Henry?” Mary Margaret asks as she walks away, waving goodbye to the older woman.

 

Regina sighs, turning back towards the school entrance. She finds it utterly pathetic how drastically her mood changes when she’s not in the presence of Henry Swan. She won’t mention how she feels when his mother is around.

 

It frustrates her to no end on just how much she’s changed in the last few weeks. Her tough outside shell melting away to reveal a soft, unpleasantly gooey inside. Last year, she’d managed to keep professional every single day. She’d go to school, teach, be interactive with her colleagues, go home, make dinner for herself (and often times, Robin), work on her lesson plans, take her evening shower and go to bed (assuming Robin didn’t want to spend time with her after her nightly routine).

 

She had a system. She did things the way that made her comfortable.

 

Now, she’s single, lonely... yearning (something she has never felt, even for Daniel).

 

She realizes just how lost in thought she’s been when she sees Principal Sidney Glass standing in front of her, chattering away as if he hadn’t noticed her lack of response.

 

“.... Good to see you after another summer break!”

 

She shakes her head and smiles politely, shifting slightly to brush his hand off her forearm. “Yes, of course, Mr. Glass. How was your summer?”

 

“Well, I finally graduated after a few years of night school and summer classes with my PhD, so it’s actually Dr. Glass now.” He states proudly.

 

“Oh, that’s wonderful.”

 

His smile brightens as he steps closer to her, “Indeed it is. Did you know our annual back to school fundraiser is coming up?”

 

“I did.” And she knows exactly where this is going. It’s gone this way every year she’s worked at Brooke County Elementary School.

 

“Well, I was wondering if you’d like to accompany me.”

 

She sighs and looks around, seeing that the hallway is mostly empty. Maybe this is what she needs? Somebody new in her life, willing to do most anything just to be around her. She knows how much Sidney Glass wants her. He leers at her enough to the point where most teachers here poke fun at Regina about their boss’s crush.

 

And then she thinks better of it.

 

Dr. Glass..” She mutters, catching his eyes in a knowing gaze. “As flattered as I am, you know that nothing.. past a colleague relationship can happen. I could lose my job.” She feels the start of a migraine wash over her brain and god, she wishes to be home. “Besides, I have plans with my parents that night anyway. I hope you understand.”

 

He smiles widely as if he didn’t hear a word she said. “Of course, Miss Mills, I will at least see you at the next staff meeting.”

 

“Of course.” Only because she has to.

 

And he’s off, walking briskly in that obnoxious way that somehow only he can walk in.

 

She rolls her eyes and makes her way to her classroom, closing the door softly behind her. She’ll admit she’s a bit shocked that Sidney’s started his inappropriate gestures early this year, usually he can hold out until around Christmas and god forbid Valentine’s day. The downside of now being single is that if he ever happens to find out, he’ll most likely be even more obnoxious about his affection for her.

 

She looks around the classroom, which is thankfully tidier than usual, and decides to just bring whatever work she’d planned on doing home. It’s definitely a bath-and-jazz-and-wine kind of Tuesday night.



***



When Regina pulls into her driveway, she can sense something amiss. She grabs her things from the passenger seat and locks her car, looking around until she spots it. Her sister’s car.

 

Shit.

 

She makes her way inside, where she’s greeted with the sight of her older sister’s heels sprawled in the walkway and she groans.

 

“Is that the anguish of my baby sister, I hear?”

 

“Zelena, what are you doing here? Aren’t you supposed to be bothering Mother?”

 

“Daddy came home so-”

 

“Okay, never mind.” Regina grimances. She will never not find it odd when her English sister calls her Latino father, daddy, seeing as Zelena didn’t grow up with him around and has only really known him for the past decade. But Henry Mills is a generous, kind, loving man, and at the same time, Regina can see exactly why Zelena would prefer Henry over the lowlife who’d cheated on their mother all those years ago.

 

The redhead smirks, clapping her hands, “I figured we’d have a sister’s night.”

 

“I have work tomorrow morning, Zel, it’s only Tuesday.”

 

“Oh shush, you act like you’re 35 going on 80.”

 

Regina sets her bag down on her couch and sighs. Perhaps she should be thankful for the distraction? As long as Zelena doesn’t bring up her love life (which is a longshot, the woman doesn’t know how to talk about anything else), it could genuinely be a good evening.

 

Kicking off her shoes, she shrugs, “What do you have planned, then?”

 

“I was thinking a nice little dinner, some wine, and we can talk about-”

 

“Anything but romance.”

 

Zelena pouts, her blue eyes shining with mirth as she sinks down into the loveseat across from the couch, “Oh, come on. It’s been ages since you and Robin broke up.”

 

“It’s been three weeks.”

 

“That’s two too many, if you ask me.”

 

Regina squints, “I didn’t ask you.”

 

“Yes, well you should have.”

 

And so it goes, back and forth, bickering until finally Zelena offers to order italian takeout for the both of them, where Regina is stunned to find out that her favorite place delivers food. That fact alone brightens her day, and she even feels inclined to open up one of her more expensive bottles of red wine.

 

Later, after their food had arrived and been devoured, they’re relaxed on the sofa, television on as background noise.

 

“You know, I had planned on taking a bath and having this wine, but I suppose this is just as nice. Also, next time, I ask that you don't just enter my house and leave your belongings everywhere.”

 

Zelena smiles sweetly at her sister, “Of course it’s just as nice, It’s our sister powers. I could sense you needed a night of relaxation. And it was just my shoes, don't be dramatic.”

 

Regina barks out an amused laugh, covering her mouth to keep her wine in. She shakes her head, “Please, if you could sense that, you would have stayed home and left me be.”

 

The older woman brushes off the insult and sips her wine some more before setting her glass on the coffee table. “Truly though, I didn’t want to be within a hundred yards of that house tonight. Who knows when they’ll come up for air.”

 

“Jesus, Zelena..”

 

“Which brings me to my next point. I need a place to sleep tonight.”

 

“How about you move out of Mother’s house and find your own place to live.”

 

Zelena looks at her sister as if she’d just been severely offended, “And miss out on the endless pampering? No thank you.” She scoffs, snuggling into the couch a bit, “Anyway. Can I sleep here tonight?”

 

“I guess. I need to do some planning for the rest of the week though, so you’re on your own.”

 

“That’s fine.” The red-head shrugs, eyes closing as if already shutting down for the night.

 

Regina gathers her bag and makes her way upstairs, locking herself in her room. She lets out a soft sigh and pulls her laptop out, setting it on her bed and powering it on.

 

As she removes her clothes from the day, tossing them neatly into her empty hamper, she makes a decision. She’s going to send Emma Swan an update email about Henry. She’ll blame it on the mutual desire to keep Henry (as well as all of her students) happy and safe in her class. She won't acknowledge the fact that it’s nearly 8 PM now and surely a bit too late to be sending emails to her student’s parent, nor will she acknowledge that she’s had two glasses of wine.

 

This is strictly business.

 

She sits on the edge of her bed, clad only in her bra and panties, and bites her lip.

 

She may be too buzzed to type it out coherently, but the sudden need to do this is too overpowering to ignore.

 

She just hopes she won't regret this in the morning.

 

To: EmmaSwan@Gmail.com

From: ReginaMills@BCUSD.edu

Subject: Henry

Sent: 8:15PM 9-2-18

 

Miss Swan,

I planned on talking to you about the Nick situation but Mary Margaret had once again been the one to pick Henry up. I just want to let you know that everything seems to be going well now, and both boys seem to be getting along nicely. I plan on keeping a close eye on them though, and will inform you of any negative/positive changes. Thank you for bringing the issue to my attention.

 

Regina Mills.

Chapter Text

Emma



The email is totally 100% formal. There’s absolutely no inclination that Regina (she recently learned is the other woman’s first name and just so happens to match her so very well) wanted to talk about anything personal through this sort of private chat.

 

“I think that maybe she’s opening up some options for you.”

 

Emma turns around, hand on her chest and she nearly drops her laptop, “ What?” She snaps at Ruby, who is leaning over the back of the couch, and now chewing potato chips loudly in Emma’s ear.

 

“Why would she email something she could just tell you in person?”

 

Emma scowls at her best friend, bringing the laptop screen up higher, “It clearly says that she tried to tell me, but MM was there instead. I just need to start picking him up more often so that Ms. Mills and I can talk about Henry.”

 

“Right. Talk.”

 

“What else would we be doing in front of an elementary school, Ruby? Please, tell me.” Emma rolls her eyes, but can't help but laugh at her friend’s ridiculousness.

 

The brunette puts her free hand up (the other holding the family sized bag of chips) in mock defense, “I’m just putting it out there.”

 

“Yeah, well keep it in there.” Emma snickers, nudging Ruby’s head with her index finger.

 

“You know, you’re awfully crabby when it comes to Re-gin-a Milf.” She cooes the word, and Emma roll her eyes again in annoyance.

 

“I’m pretty sure she doesn’t have kids, therefore, she isn’t a milf.”

 

“That’s a pretty weak argument, Swan.”

 

She ignores the other woman and looks back at the screen. Does she reply? It seems like something one would reply to. Then again, there may be the underlying expectation that she just wait until they see each other again to talk about the bullying shit.

 

Rubly plops down next to Emma, leaning in close to stare at the screen. “Are you going to stare at it or reply to her?”

 

“I don't think I should.”

 

“Uh? Rude?”

 

Maybe it is. Maybe she should just reply. Something simple and to the point–like how Ms. Mills’s email was. Simple and to the point.

 

She hits reply and stares at the blinking cursor, which genuinely seems to be mocking her for being a nervous buffoon. It’s just her son’s teacher. Her son’s teacher who is mean and intense and gorgeous and smells really nice and looks like she gives good hugs and-

 

“Oh my god, give me that.” Ruby snatches the laptop off of Emma’s lap, shoving the opening of the bag into her mouth as she types with disgustingly greasy fingers. She holds Emma back with one of her feet as she types out quickly.

 

To: ReginaMills@BCUSD.edu

From: EmmaSwan@Gmail.com

Subject: Re: Henry

Sent: 9:45PM 9-2-18

 

Ms. Mills,

Thanks for letting me know, I’m sure everything is working itself out. I’m super glad you’re watching over henry though, he loves you and he’s super happy in your class. Can’t even tell that some kid was mean to him, he just brushes it right off! Keep in touch

 

Emma

 

“There. Sent!”

 

The whooshing sound declaring a sent email might as well have been the sound of Emma Swan’s death.


“Are you fucking kidding!?” She coughs, grabbing her laptop and shoving her friend away. She looks on in horror as she sees in her recently sent file that Ruby most definitely one hundred percent sent that atrocious email, and is now sitting idly in Regina Mills’s mailbox waiting to be opened, scrutinized, and thrown in the virtual trash. “Jesus, Ruby, you didn’t even use basic grammar! She’s going to think I’m a complete idiot!”

 

“As if she doesn’t already,” Ruby scoffs, licking the salt off her fingers as she digs back into the bag. “Chill out, Em. You’re gonna wake up little Hendo. Ten bucks says she finds it endearing.”

 

“Ten bucks says I can’t knock you out with a single punch.”

 

Ruby smirks and shakes her head, “See, I’m not gonna agree to that bet because I know you can.” She tosses the now empty chip bag onto the coffee table and shakes her head, “Now, stop being so overdramatic and let’s see if she replies tonight.”

 

She doesn't, and it somehow worsens that terrible, terrible anxiety that has now settled deep in Emma’s stomach without plans of leaving. Ruby Lucas should come with a warning. Do not, under any circumstances, let this woman anywhere near your potential (or in Emma Swan’s case, non-potential) lovers. Will cause permanent, irreversible damage.

 

It’s approaching 11PM when she gives up and decides to go to bed, Ruby already crashed on the sofa. She has the next few days off, and suddenly, she wishes she didn’t. Simply because then, she won't have to see the woman whom she just embarrassed herself (again) to. But Henry needs her there, he’s been excited about her picking him up again, so she’ll have to swallow the pride she doesn't have and just face the brown eyed music.



***



The next morning, it’s Henry that wakes her up before her alarm, excited for another day of school. And really, nobody should be this excited when it comes to waking up early.

 

They get ready together, because she figures she’ll get some errands and chores done while she has the next four days off–thank god for Astrid and Ruby who have stupidly, yet so very graciously asked for enough overtime to give Emma those free days.

 

And since they’re up and ready super freaking early, they decide to walk the five blocks to school. There’s time.

 

Henry skips most of the way, as expected, and she watches on in admiration. His amount of happiness is contagious, no matter how sour a person’s mood is. She’s even seen it in Regina (she’s taken to calling her that, in her head only though. She doesn’t have a death sentence), the bitterness toward Emma changing drastically when Henry calls for attention. It’s a beautiful quality that Henry possesses, and she isn’t quite sure who he got it from.

 

“Hey mommy did you know that this,” he draws a sloppy square in the air, pausing to stop because he can't walk at the same time, “is a sq- ware ? Miss Miss teached us that.”

 

She smiles at the fact that it’s three and a half weeks into the school year and he still can’t say Regina’s name. “Which one is a circle?”

 

“You don't know?” He asks, looking at her with a silly look on his face. He raises his eyebrows when she shakes her head and draws a small circle in the air, “It’s the easiest one, mommy. Do you need Miss Miss to teach you too?”

 

And man, that shouldn’t affect her so much, but here she is. Pretty freaking affected.

 

“Uh.. I don’t think so, kid. You can just second-hand teach me.”

 

“Two hands?”

 

“Yup.”

 

“Okay!” He hops again, grabbing her hand, content on just dragging her down the sidewalk.

 

It’s still early when they approach the school, and only a few cars are parked out front in the teacher’s parking area. She wonders if Regina is even there yet, and she looks at her watch. They sorely miscalculated the time. School doesn’t start for another forty-five minutes.

 

They decide to take a seat on the ground by his favorite tree out front. “This is where Miss Miss waits with me for you or Mary Mar-gret.”

 

“Really?” She already knows this, but she indulges him. She figures it’s better that he is a little bit repetitive rather than not talking at all.

 

“Yeah! She doesn't like to sit on the ground like me though. She thinks her clothes will get dirty.”

 

Emma can’t picture Regina Mills on the bare ground ever, no matter what she wears. She smirks at the thought and turns to Henry, “She doesn’t seem like a ground-sitter to me, Hen. Maybe she doesn’t like the grass.”

 

“It is itchy,” He concedes, nodding his head thoughtfully.

 

At that, she silently remind herself not to let him roll around in the grass as much anymore.

 

They hear a car pull up and both heads turn to see a sleek, black Mercedes. It’s definitely a sexy car. And what’s more is the woman stepping out of it. If Emma weren’t already on the ground, she might have collapsed at the sight.

 

Ms. Mills comes walking up the large walkway, eyes cast down at her phone, and it seems as if she hasn’t noticed them. But if Emma knows Henry, and she has a feeling she knows him pretty well, she has about two seconds before-

 

“Miss Miss!” He squeals, hopping up and bolting toward her.

 

It looks like that by now, the woman has learned to brace herself for the tiny canon that is Henry Swan.

 

“Well, you’re here early!” She smiles brightly, patting him on the back softly. She shifts her purse on her shoulder and sets her work bag down. She looks at Emma with an arched brow, as if asking why exactly they’re here so early.

 

“He woke me up an hour and a half before my alarm and we decided to walk. We may have miscalculated the arrival time.” She shrugs sheepishly, standing up and dusting her jeans off. “We can stay out here until school actually starts though, don’t let him peer pressure you.”

 

Regina hums, patting the boy’s back once more, “Henry, why don’t you walk me to the classroom?”

 

And Emma guesses that’s her answer.

 

He looks at his mother with hopeful eyes and she shrugs, nodding sheepishly. “I’ll just um,” She jabs her thumb over her shoulder in the direction of the main street, “Head home.”

 

There’s a small flash of something in the other woman’s eyes, but she’s so damn guarded that Emma can’t really tell what it is. She almost hopes that she, too, will be invited into the classroom but she knows the odds aren’t in her favor on this one.

 

Regina nods, offering the younger woman a small, polite smile, “Will you be picking Henry up, or shall I expect your friend again?” And it’s kind of an odd question, because does it really matter? But Emma is quick to reply, quite pathetically,

 

“I will. I have the next four days off so I’ll be able to pick him up for the rest of the week.”

 

“Excellent.”

 

And damn, if that smart vocabulary isn’t sexy as hell.

 

“Bye mommy, love you!” Henry cuts in, moving to give his mother a hug before walking briskly up to the main entrance.

 

“I love you, kid. Be good for Ms. Mills today.”

 

“I am always good!”

 

Regina agrees, and then they’re gone.

 

The rest of her day is boring and full of chores and quietness and Emma is bored. This is usually how her days off are now that Henry is in school. She used to think she’d cherish the quiet moments, but now she craves the sound of giggles and squeals and stomping feet and make believe battleship noises.

 

But she tamps down that gooey mom shit and cleans out her own bathroom instead, which, thanks to Ruby, is disgusting.

 

And somehow, that gets her in the mood to clean everything else, which has accumulated enough grossness because of Henry and Ruby that she’s basically got the whole day booked up.

 

The downside to cleaning is that she has endless time to think about everything. Most of her breakdowns happen during chore day. It’s good to let all of that pent up emotion out, and usually it’s stress and Henry (even though she loves the shit out of him), and everyday adult struggles, but this time, the main source of her pent up emotion is Regina FuckMeHeels Mills and it’s incredibly irritating.

 

Why is she giving this woman so much of her time when she isn’t even on said woman’s radar?

 

The attitude she got that morning was completely uncalled for, even if she looked like a juvenile because of that email. She doesn’t deserve to be treated like a teenager.

 

She admits that she acts like one sometimes, but also, she’s a responsible adult.

 

So later, as she drives (she won't walk twice in a day, her legs are too tired from being a runaround nurse for that) to pick Henry up, she decides that she’ll pay no mind the other woman anymore. She’ll learn to keep a poker face just like Regina- Ms. Mills’s.

 

Henry is waiting for her, and so is Ms. Mills, and Emma takes a deep breath, steeling her features. She puts her bug in park and hops out, walking up to take Henry’s bag and sling it over her shoulder. He hugs her and talks animatedly about his day while Ms. Mills waits patiently for them to finish. Emma notices her wringing her hands nervously, and she realizes that she does that a lot. Henry finally finishes his story, and Emma can't help herself. “You okay?” She asks, and she berates herself for breaking literally her only rule because she sounds like she cares.

 

“Oh, yes. I just. Well,” And damn, Regina seems completely nervous now, and it’s totally out of character. “I was wondering if you and I could speak actually.”

 

Of all the things she expected, that wasn’t one of them. “About?”

 

Regina pauses, eyebrows furrowing, “Henry, of course.”

 

Right, of course. There’s nothing else to talk about.

 

“Okay, well. Here?” Emma asks, looking around at the dozens of students waiting to be picked up, as well as the handful of teachers supervising.

 

“No, If you’ll follow me to my classroom..” Regina motions toward the building and Emma looks back at her car, which is still parked in the five minute pick up/drop off area.

 

Emma motions to her bug, “Let me just park, so I’m not blocking the entire pick up area.”

 

“Of course.”

 

Ten minutes later, after parking and dashing back to join her son and his teacher, Emma is sitting in a tiny, kindergarten sized chair. Her knees are nearly pressed against her chest and she feels completely ridiculous. Of course, Regina has her own cool roller chair that she’s lowered to be somewhat at the student’s level, but it’s not the same.

 

“I would like to have Henry get some extra help.”

 

Emma is knocked sideways again. This time she wants to fight. “ Excuse me?”

 

“He is struggling with keeping up with my lessons-”

 

“It’s kindergarten.”

 

Regina starts wringing her hands again, and she looks so utterly vulnerable in this moment, a complete contrast to her usual confident, better-than-you attitude. Emma almost feels bad, but since the woman just basically called her son slow, (she knows she’s over exaggerating) she won't allow the guilt part of her brain to take over.

 

“Yes, but.. Well, Henry is a bright boy, but he is not where I hoped he’d be at this point in the year.”

 

“Ms. Mills, it’s barely been a month.. Doesn’t this kind of stuff take time?”

 

“Of course it does, but we have checkpoints for students, and when they don’t meet them each month, we offer some extra guidance so that they can meet the next checkpoint on time. It’s not an insult, I assure you.”

 

She wants to see the older woman’s point but she already feels that sick feeling in her belly. That worry that’s come with Henry ever since his doctor told her that he would always be a tiny bit different from other children is dancing inside her mind. Of course she didn’t worry too much about it at the time, Henry a fast learner when it comes to active stuff, he loves to read (or stare at words) and he’s shown no signs of learning defects.

 

“Emma..” She hears, and it snaps her out of her panic. She’s never loved hearing her name on someone else’s lips before. Not until now. Regina’s eyes are soft and her hands are clenched on the table. “It is simply a suggestion, you don’t have to accept, but it’s only for Henry’s best interest.”

 

Emma shakes her head, laughing humorlessly. She looks at Henry, who is across the room, playing with the beginner books in the small reading area. “What do you know about his best interest? You’ve known him for a month. Just because he isn’t caught up with your precious checkpoints doesn’t mean he needs extra help learning. This is kindergarten,” Her word vomit seems to be kicking in and she can't stop herself. Her voice dips low and she feels bile rising in her throat as she hisses out, “You’re basically just babysitting him so I can bust my ass with insane hours to keep him fed and happy.”

 

She sees the hardening of the other woman’s shell with her own eyes, soft brown turning to cold cobalt and fingers clenching so hard the tips rival the purest ivory.

 

Shit.

 

“I’m sorry..” She breathes, looking down at her fingers with great shame.

 

“That’s quite alright, dear.” Ms. Mills replies, voice built up so high that she sounds robotic. “It was simply a suggestion. I think we’re done here, if you wish to decline the offer.”

 

Emma looks at the other woman for a hard moment, and she can tell, under all those thorn and brick and cement walls, there's a hurt woman. The guilt comes in with full force. “No, no.. I.. I want him to have his best shot. Whatever you want to do is fine.”

 

“I will just be sending some books home with him once a week so that he can brush up on his words. You’ll need to sign off every Friday and send it back with him on Monday. I will also have some one-on-one writing time with him during the day.” She tells Emma, voice hard and professional and all business.

 

Emma misses that soft, honey dipped tone that had said her name just a few minutes ago.

 

“That’s fine. G-great. I think he’ll like that.”

 

Regina smiles tightly standing up, brushing out the nonexistent wrinkles in her skirt, “Well, only you would know.”

 

And yeah, she deserves that.

 

“I’m sorry again.”

 

“I think we’re done here.” Regina walks over to the door, body as stiff as her voice.

 

“We have to leave already?” Henry whines, slumping over the scattered books.

 

“Yeah, kid. Clean those up and grab your backpack. Ms. Mills has to get some cool teacher stuff done.”

 

Henry looks at the other woman as if asking for confirmation to what his mother told him, and when Regina smiles and nods softly, he sighs and shoves the books back in the bin and stands up, trudging over to his teacher. “See you tomorrow, Miss Miss.” He hugs her tightly as he speaks.

 

It hurts Emma’s heart a bit.

 

Later that night, after Henry is well past fast asleep, she finds that a few beers is just what she needs to do more stupid things.

 

To: ReginaMills@BCUSD.edu

From: EmmaSwan@Gmail.com

Subject: dont ignore this

Sent: 11:42PM 9-3-18

 

Ms Mills,

I know i can be an idiot a lot of the time and say idiot things, but I really am sorry for what I said. Your job is important and Henry really does love being in your class, and he is learning so much from you. I was just panicking. It’s not an excuse but when it comes to my son… He is just my whole world and I don't want him to feel like he’s weird or the odd one out. I felt that growing up and i refuse to let him go through that. I’m totally rambling now but it needed to be said. You’re a good teacher and I wish I had someone like you around when i was his age.

 

PS you have a kickass car

Sincerely, Emma Swan

Chapter Text

Regina

 

By now, Regina should have already been done with Emma Swan. At least in Regina’s mother’s opinion, that is. In the past, she may have even gone as far as transferring Henry out of her classroom and into a different one. Out of sight, out of mind. You never cross a Mills woman. Those famous Cora Mills words echo heartlessly through her brain every day, as if they’d been hammered and stomped and planted deep in her hippocampus (or wherever traumatizing words that your mother enforces are supposed to be stored).

 

But as she sits at her desk a few days later, laptop open and the screen brightly showing the email sent by Emma Swan from the same night as their argument, she can't find it in her to be that ruthless, no-nonsense bitch her mother has raised her to be.

 

Not when it comes to Henry at least. The thought of turning him away because of his mother’s insensitive, idiotic words sends a shiver down Regina’s back. He does not deserve punishment for Miss Swan’s behavior.

 

She stares at the reply button. The devil that resembles her mother for some reason on her right shoulder tells her that all she needs to do is hit delete and forget about the other woman (As much as she can, seeing as she’ll still have to face her every week for Henry’s sake). The angel that's mistakenly Zelena tells her that a little argument is no reason to completely shut a person out, and she should reply with a curt but polite response.

 

It’s torment on her brain right now. She can’t help but wonder why it’s so hard to just shut this insufferable woman out, it’d been more than easy dropping closer friends because of smaller reasons in the past, so why does this woman weigh so heavily on her mind?

 

She looks at the clock, and sighs at the fact that it’s only been about forty-five minutes since school let out. She hadn’t been able to wait with Henry that day because Mal Drake had wanted to talk to her about Lily’s progress. During those long, miserable ten minutes, she’d missed seeing the little boy play with the small battleships he’s taken to bringing along in his backpack, and tries to tamp down the guilt that followed her telling him he’ll have to wait with the aid on pick-up duty. His face had crumpled slightly and he’d nodded his understanding, but she could see the disappointment in his green eyes.

 

Regina shakes her head and shuts her laptop, figuring that it would be pointless to respond now, nearly two days later. She wishes it were Friday afternoon and not Thursday so she can take her weekend to think about these horrible feelings she’s coming to realize she may have for Emma Swan.

 

After deciding that she’ll get no work done here while she’s so distracted, she decides to pack up and take next week’s lesson outlines home to finish instead.

 

When she gathers her things and walk quickly to the main office to sign out, she sees a familiar head of hair across the receptionist’s counter.

 

“Henry?”

 

Bright green eyes peek out over the counter and a wide grin cover’s Henry’s face, “Miss Miss!” his joy at seeing her brightens her mood considerably, and she quickly scrawls her name on the teacher sign-in sheet before making her way around the counter.

 

“What are you still doing here?”

 

He shrugs, looking at the older woman behind the counter. Regina turns to her and arches a brow in curiosity, “His mother called and said that his sitter, Mary Martha-”

 

“Mar-gret!”

 

“-Mary Margaret , had a family emergency and was unable to pick him up. Emma Swan can’t get him until five so I talked to Principal Glass before he left and he said it was fine that Mister Swan here waits with me until his mom can get him.” The old woman explains with a shrug. She turns back to her computer and continues typing.

 

Regina purses her lips. “Would you like to join me in the teacher’s lounge, Henry?”

 

The receptionist turns back, a protest poised on her lips, but Regina holds up her hand, “I will handle Mr. Glass, Judy. But at this point, everyone is gone and I can work with him until his mother gets here. Just send her back when she arrives.” When the old woman still doesn’t look convinced, Regina sweetens the deal, “It’ll give you some peace and quiet while you work.”

 

Judy rolls her eyes and waves her hand, “If Glass blows a gasket because of this, it’s your fault.”

 

“He will do nothing of the sort.” Regina smiles graciously, then tilts her head at the little boy, “What do you say, Henry?”

“I’m allowed back there?” He looks at the door skeptically eyes wide with wonder.

 

“Yes, dear. But just this once.”

 

“Okay!”

 

They make their way to the lounge, finding a table close to the door. Henry sets his backpack on the table and climbs into one of the chairs, legs folded under his bottom to put him above the table top. “So you’re gonna wait with me?” He asks, bouncing lightly.

 

“Yes, is that alright?”

 

“Duh!”

 

She lets the response slide since they’re not in class, and his excitement is much too adorable to scold at the moment.

 

“Would you like to read some of your new books with me?” She asks softly, pointing to his backpack.

 

He tilts his head and sighs, “Mommy makes me read all the time.”

 

Regina feels guilty for being shocked at that. “She does?”

 

“Yup. She even doesn't let me have any of my cookies until I finish three pages after dinner.” He shakes his head, as if it is a complete injustice that his mother makes him read. Regina finds it incredibly endearing. She wonders how long Emma has been making him read, seeing as she only gave him the books the day before.

 

It sheds a new light on Emma Swan. One that definitely doesn’t help the fact that she’s growing more and more fond of the woman, despite her lack of respect and filter.

 

A woman. There’s something she’s never expected from herself. Heaven forbid Zelena find out she’s developing feelings for a woman, or she’ll never hear the end of the I told you so ’s.

 

“Can we play battleship instead?”

 

Henry’s voice snaps her out of her train of thought and she looks at him, puzzled. “The boardgame?”

 

“Huh?”

 

She bites her lip, “What kind of battleship?”

 

He pulls out those small toys he’s had before, “ ohhh.” She can't help but feel a little bit silly. Of course he wouldn’t be carrying an entire board game in his backpack. “Sure, Henry. How do you play?”

 

“You just shoot cannons and try to sink my ship! But I always win so don't feel bad if you don't win. Mommy never wins b’cause my cannons are faster and bigger than hers.” He explains, handing her a ship that’s considerably smaller than his. She smirks at his logic.

 

“Well, maybe we can form an alliance.”

 

He moves his ship around on the flat surface of the table and looks up at her with endless curiosity, “What’s all-ance ?” He asks.

 

Ah-lie-ance.” Regina reiterates, smiling softly at his giggle, “It means team up.”

 

“Oh. Against what?”

 

She hadn’t thought that far ahead. She’d expected him to decline right away, not ask surprisingly valid questions. She thinks for a moment. What in the world can two toy battleships team up against? She looks around the room, seeing a bunch of miscellaneous things that wouldn’t pass for a worthy opponent.

 

“What about an army of fish?” She throws out there, cheeks tinting slightly at the aspect of playing pretend. She hasn’t done this since she was Henry’s age at least.

 

“Sharks!”

 

“Yes, an army of big sharks, who want to steal our ships.”

 

He hops out of his chair and moves to sit in the one right next to her, “We have to be on the same side if we are going to kill the sharks, Miss Miss.”

 

She winces. “Not kill, we’ll just scare them away.”

 

He shrugs, then points to a large blotch in the wood of the table, “There’s the sharks! How are we going to scare them away?”

 

“Well, we shoot cannons into the water near them to startle them.”

 

He nods in assent, and then makes a noise imitating a cannon launch.

 

And that’s how their wait for Emma goes. Both of them making ridiculous cannon noises to ward off the army of angry sharks. They spend the next hour and a half taking turns playing both the shark army and the battleships. Which is the complete opposite of what Regina had suggested in the beginning, that they should team up instead of battle one another, but she figures it’s all semantics to him and he doesn’t know the real meaning of violence yet.

 

They’re in the middle of their fourth round of battle when the door to the teacher’s lounge opens, revealing a guilty looking mother.

 

“Hi, kid.”

 

“Mommy! Miss Miss is playing battleship with me.”

 

One of Emma’s brows arches and she makes her way slowly over to the table, hair in a messy ponytail and the skin under her jade eyes dark and sunken in. She looks exhausted. Regina refuses to believe the redness in her cheeks is irritation from salty tears. “Really? You’re telling me you let someone else play our special game?”

 

Regina can't help but wring her hands self consciously. How does one respond to that?

 

“She’s special too, mommy! She can play.”

 

Emma looks at Regina with this admiration in her eyes and it makes the older woman melt just a little bit. “After today, she’s got full access to the special Swan family games.” She sits down, kissing the top of her son’s head softly before she continues, “Thank you for staying with him… You really didn’t have to.”

 

Regina shrugs, fingers absentmindedly playing with one of the toy battleships in front of her, “It was no problem. It was this or..” go home to an empty house. “Really, it was no problem.”

 

Emma nods, and they seem to be unable to take their eyes off one another. “I wasn’t supposed to work today. I have tomorrow off hopefully, and now Saturday and Sunday as well. One of the nurses working overtime had to take a sick day and they called me in last minute.” She sighs, shaking her head. “I hate being away from him so much, and it helps that he likes school a lot, but.. This is the first time I’ve been unable to leave work to come get him without having a sitter  and..” She takes a deep breath.

 

Regina feels both honored and out of place. Should Emma really be confiding in her like this? It seems so out of character. It’s definitely not what they do.

 

She swallows thickly and squeezes the toy, “Miss Swan, it’s completely understandable. I had much fun waiting with him.”

 

“Yeah mommy, it’s okay! Miss Miss maked a new game and we had so much fun!”

 

Emma smiles warmly at the boy, wrapping her arms around his shoulders tightly. “Good, I’m glad you had fun.”

 

Regina finally lets go of the toy and nudges it away with her fingertips, “Please do not feel guilty over something that is out of your control.” She manages softly, offering the woman a small smile. “He was safe and content and you had patients to tend to.”

 

“Well, I really appreciate this. Like, really.”

 

They stand up, and while Henry gathers his things and puts his toys back into his backpack, Emma steps closer to Regina, a soft hand finding the older woman’s bare forearm. Regina feels electricity and shockwaves and tingles and everything she probably shouldn’t be feeling at the contact. She curses herself for wearing a capped sleeve dress today, of all days.

 

“I know I have a habit of insulting you but I really just.. Can we start over? For his sake?”

 

Regina swallows and looks into jade eyes. “I think that would be acceptable.” She replies softly. And she really hopes her voice doesn’t sound strained, but the hand that’s still on her arm is doing wild and crazy things to her body right now.

 

Why did she not feel this with Robin?

 

She grits her teeth.

 

Or Daniel?

 

“That’s.. That’s good.” Emma sighs softly, squeezing Regina’s arm softly before letting go completely. “So, I’ll see you tomorrow?”

 

Regina furrows her eyebrows.

 

“When I pick him up.”

 

Oh. “Oh, yes, of course.”

 

Emma grins, tucking loose, wild curls behind her ears in a completely innocent and beautiful way. “Cool. Let’s roll out, Bumblebee.” She takes Henry’s backpack and holds out her hand, where Henry immediately slaps his palm against hers before locking fingers.

 

“Autobots!” He jumps, pumping a small fist in the air.



***



Later that night, as she sips her first (half full, and only, she decides) glass of wine, she comes to a decision. After today’s interaction with Emma Swan, she knows that developing any sort of relationship, (doesn’t matter what kind, friendship, business, acquaintance) is a dangerous game to play. Especially with the way she’s feeling.

 

There has to be some rule against teachers having intimate relationships with one of their student’s parents?

 

It will definitely stir the pot, and the last thing she wants to do is ruin her chance at getting tenure.

 

So she decides that from now on, she is going to ignore her feelings for Emma Swan. She will continue being a good teacher to Henry, of course, but when it comes to his mother, Regina must set boundaries.

 

How easy it will be to forget that she doesn’t date women if there are no boundaries.

 

She downs the entirety of her wine and makes her way to the kitchen, ignoring the sinking feeling in her belly.

 

This is for the best. For Henry’s sake, for her career, and for her feelings. It’s better this way.

 

At least, she hopes it is.

Chapter Text

Emma



It goes like this.

 

Mary Margaret’s father had died last week, snake bite on a hike or something, and yes, that’s incredibly sad. Emma feels for the younger woman, truly. So when MM comes by the night before Emma has to go back to work after her (interrupted) four-day break to tell her that she is moving to live in her father’s town to be with her family, Emma puts on a sympathetic smile and nods softly with as much understanding as she can muster.

 

She and Henry had bid their goodbyes (since apparently, MM had decided that she was moving literally that day) and went back inside. Henry was mostly unphased, the only thing he had cried about was the fact that he would get no more homemade cookies–because let’s face it, Emma can’t bake to save her life–nor would he be making any more paper birds to clog the sink up with.

 

So this predicament leaves Emma with two choices.

 

Ask Dr. Hopper for less hours and risk getting fired, or, find a new sitter that she’ll definitely have to pay. Either way, the outcome is a loss of money she really can’t afford.

 

So first, she decides to talk to Dr. Hopper. He’s an understanding and thoughtful man, and has never made her feel bad for asking for early breaks or time off when it comes to Henry, because they both know she wouldn’t ask if she didn’t need to.

 

She’s dropped Henry off at school already and has come into work early and for now, she has time to figure things out a bit.

 

His warm smile greets her as she steps into his office, which is fit more for the comfort of a child. He’s the head Pediatric Surgeon and the amount of children and parents that visit his office is disheartening.

 

“Emma,” He nods to the chair across from his desk and adjusts his small framed glasses, “what can I do for you?”

 

She bites her lip and breaths out, thankful that the older man is waiting patiently for her to talk. “My sitter had a family emergency,” She starts, tucking blonde hair behind her ear, “She moved back to her hometown yesterday and now I’m left with nobody to pick my son up from school or watch him, or even bring him here to the daycare.”

 

He nods thoughtfully, “And I assume you’re requesting time off?”

 

She shakes her head, “No, I-I can’t afford any time off, but maybe just.. Different hours?”

 

“What did you have in mind?”

 

“I could start coming in at 8 AM instead of 10. And maybe get off at 3 instead of 5.” She swallows thickly, hoping that what she’s asking isn't too much. She watches him hum and glance at his laptop for a moment, before offering her another one of those weirdly calming warm smiles.

 

“If you can work something out with one of the other nurses so that they can cover the two hours you’d usually be here, I can accept your request. I know how tricky it is to try and find the time to do things with your son when you have hours like these, so I hope this will put less stress on you.” And really, he is way too kind for his own good. She sighs in relief and looks down, fighting back the urge to cry in relief.

 

“Thank you so much, Dr. Hopper. Really. I’ll talk to someone and see if I can get them to swap those hours with me.”

 

“Thank you for coming to me about this, I’m glad I could help.”

 

She thanks him one more time before making her way out of his office, a new weightlessness surrounding her. She knows exactly who she’s going to ask, and she knows exactly how to get her to say yes.

 

She finds Ruby flirting with one of the cardio residents, as usual, and makes her way over.

 

“Rubes.” She says, garnering attention from both her best friend and the resident. The taller woman sends the man a wink before sauntering off towards Emma. “What’re you doing here, Em? Your shift isn’t until like 10 right?”

 

She shakes her head, “Usually, yeah, but I was wondering if you’d switch a few hours with me.”

 

“Uhhh.”

 

“No, just listen, okay?” She pleads, pulling Ruby into a more secluded area, when the brunette nods suspiciously, Emma continues, “So Mary Margaret’s dad died last week and-”

 

“Shit, really?”

 

“-Yes, and she decided to move back home yesterday to be with her family and I couldn’t make her feel bad for leaving when she’s the one I rely on most when it comes to Henry, and so we said goodbye but now I don't have a sitter, and I can’t afford to hire a real professional one, ‘cuz I didn’t have to pay MM very often, and-”

 

Ruby grasps her best friend’s shoulders, stopping Emma’s rushed rambling, “And so where do I come in, Speedy Gonzales?”

 

“I talked to Hopper and he said that if I could get someone to switch a few hours with me, I could be off by three which is still kinda late but not as bad as five would be and-” She pauses, emotions as high as her adrenaline, “You have 8 to 3 and so I was wondering if we can switch hours.”

 

“So.. I would get 10 to 5?”

 

“Basically, yeah.”

 

“If I do this, you owe me another night out soon.”

 

Emma falters, eyes narrowing, “What part of I don’t have a sitter do you not understand, Rubes?”

 

“My Granny’s been bugging to see the kid for weeks. You owe me another night out or no deal.” Ruby counters, a wide grin on her red lips. Emma’s gotta hand it to her. Maybe that’s where Henry learned how to negotiate like a shark.

 

“Fine.”

 

“Anywhere I choose. For as long as I say.”

 

Fine.”

 

Ruby claps her hands triumphantly, “I was going to do it anyway but it was good doing business with you.”

 

“I hate you.” Emma sighs, but as hard as she tries, she can’t seem to feel exasperated. She’s more relieved than anything at the moment, and not even Ruby’s antics can bring her mood down.

 

“Sure you do.” Ruby wiggles her brows, “Now, you go clock in since it’s already like 8:45 and I’m going to go catch a quick nap.”

 

For the first time, she doesn’t find an argument out of Ruby’s demand.



***



She’s still feeling pretty damn great when she finally leaves at 3 sharp. There’s hardly any traffic near the hospital, which isn’t surprising since it’s not the 5 o’clock rush, but when she gets to the school, it’s packed as usual.

 

She decides to park a few blocks down in the nearest neighborhood and walk.

 

Her smile grows when she sees Henry and Ms. Mills under that tree, along with a few other straggling kids who’ve yet to be picked up. She takes a moment to slow down a bit and just look. The way soft black hair floats ever so slightly in the soft, cool wind, the dark grey blazer hugging her arms and waist, the matching colored dress hugging the rest of Regina’s lovely body, and those heels.

 

She’s really quite the vision.

 

Henry spots her finally and dashes towards her, and she picks him up in a tight hug.

 

She tickles him and he wiggles out of her embrace, pulling her back over to Ms. Mills to retrieve his backpack. “Where’s Bumblebee?” He asks, looking around for Emma’s yellow bug as he slips his backpack straps over each shoulder.

 

“I parked down the street to stay out of traffic.” She tells him, and he shrugs, turning back to talk to Lily and another little boy.

 

“So you call him and your car Bumblebee?” She hears, and her eyes snap up to meet brown ones, filled with amusement and mirth. She can’t stop the grin on her face.

 

“He likes the name. He’d probably call everything Bumblebee if I let him.”

 

Regina nods her head, a small smile tugging at her painted lips. It seems to be the end of their short-lived conversation, because the older woman is now saying goodbye to Henry. Emma suddenly isn’t ready to be out of the woman’s presence, so she steps forward a bit, hand grazing Regina’s.

 

“Actually, I have something to tell you.”

 

A perfect brow arches, “Oh?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

Regina waits for a moment, then leans forward, an expectant look on her face, “Okay, so..”

 

“Oh, right. Um, Mary Margaret moved away yesterday so I don't have a babysitter for Henry anymore,” She smiles nervously at the lack of response, “so I got the OK from my boss to switch my hours up a bit. I’ll be able to pick him up from now on but I get out the same time he does, so I’ll be a bit late.”

 

“I assume it’ll be like today?”

 

“I’m hoping. It for sure won’t be crazy late like last week.” Emma’s cheeks flare up, suddenly feeling a bit embarrassed that she’s spilling so much.

 

“That’s certainly fine, Miss Swan, I usually stay out here until all of my students have left, anyway.”

 

Emma has to stop herself from saying something stupid like that’s so sweet of you or you’re such a good teacher . The last thing she wants to do is come off as a swooning teenager expressing her embarrassing admiration for the older woman. So she sticks to nodding twice.

 

“Mommy, can Lily and Nick come over to play?” Henry cuts in, and Emma’s eyes snap to the other little boy, who now has a name. She feels something flare in her belly. She looks at Regina, who seems to be picking up on Emma’s slight change in demeanor.

 

“That’s Nick?”

 

She feels the soft brush of fingers against the back of her hand and she fights a shiver.

 

“Yes, but they’ve become good friends.”

 

Emma nods, looking at the three children. She finally clears her throat, “Not this time, Hen. You’ve got some reading to do and I’m sure their parents won't like us asking last minute.”

 

He slumps and leans against her legs, pouting outwardly. “What about if you ask next time?”

 

She has no idea what “next time” means to him so she just shrugs and nods, running her fingers through his hair.

 

Regina clears her throat and declares that she needs to go speak to some other parents, and she as well as Lily and Nick walk off. Emma sighs.

 

She decides on the way home that she’s going to figure out how to see Regina outside of the school setting. It’ll be difficult, since the woman is the definition of difficult, but she can’t stand this stupid, drawn out dance anymore. They need to talk like grown ups for once and work whatever is going on between them out.

 

To: ReginaMills@BUSD.edu

From: EmmaSwan@Gmail.com

Subject: I know you read these

Sent: 5: 13 PM 9-10-18

 

So I don’t know how to ask this without sounding dumb so I’m just going to come right out with it. I want to see you outside of school. Outside of when I’m picking Henry up and only see you for like four seconds. It doesn’t have to be a date, It doesn't even have to be something that puts a label on this. We are just two people who are meeting up to talk. I think this will really make things easier for us if we spend some time to just know each other a little better. If you absolutely hate it, I’ll leave you alone forever.

 

If you don't reply I’ll just ask you again tomorrow until you give me an actual answer.

 

Emma

 

She’s not even sure if this will work, but it’s her best shot and she’s feeling pretty confident this evening. So confident, she’s even making a special ‘thank you’ dinner for Ruby (who insisted that her company is needed in the Swan household, and Emma can’t deny her best friend anything for at least the next few weeks).

 

Emma’s sure Ruby will talk her into diving right in and suggesting that she and Ms. Mills just do it already, but as usual, the blonde will shut that idea down and eventually a good idea will work it’s way out. For now though, an email will have to do.

 

And she can only pray for a re-

 

Woosh.

 

-sponse.

 

She stops stirring the sauce in her pan and looks at her open laptop on the kitchen counter. Already?

 

Her nerves are haywire now. She sees the notification in her open mailbox, the blue dot signaling an unread message next to “ From: Regina Mills - Re: I know you read these.”

 

She clicks the email open and holds her breath as she reads.

 

To: EmmaSwan@Gmail.com

From: ReginaMills@BUSD.edu

Subject: Re: I know you read these

Sent: 5:24PM 9-10-18

 

Miss Swan,

If meeting with you in an unprofessional setting is what it will take to put whatever “this” is to rest, so be it.

 

Okay, it stings a little that Regina seems to have little faith in what could be a good –sigh– friendship. She keeps reading,

 

It would be preferable that we schedule this on a weekend, so let me know in advance when you are available. Please do not make me regret this.

 

Regina Mills

 

So, that’s a lot of pressure, but a better response than Emma had anticipated.

 

When Ruby comes barging inside, Emma bites the inner corner of her lip. She’s got a lot of making up to do now. She’s glad she’s already ahead with her best friend’s favorite dinner.

 

As if sensing it, Ruby stops in front of Emma, a suspicious look on her face. “Where’s Hendrix?”

 

“In his room.”

 

Ruby nods, eyes squinting, “Why do you look like you’re about to explode?”

 

“I need you to watch Henry on Saturday so that I can go meet with his teacher.” Emma smirks, hoping the news will loosen the blow of taking her friend’s free time away, “In a non-business setting.”

 

“So, a date?”

 

“Not exactly. But I’m hoping my Swan charm will impress her enough to earn a date. I’m trying not to be too pushy but she just get so...” she sighs dramatically, “under my skin.”

 

Ruby scoffs, looking over the counter at the food, “Please. You’ve ruined your first 45 chances at a good impression with that woman, but I give you kudos for finally landing something with her. Therefore, I will watch the munchkin.”

 

“Really?”

 

Ruby nods graciously, dipping her finger in the sauce quickly and licking her finger clean, a devious glint in her eyes, “Just do everything I would do and make me proud.”

 

Emma rolls her eyes, but smiles. “I love you, Rubes.”

 

“Love you too, Swanny Swan.” She kicks off her shoes and moves to plop down on the couch. “Wake me up when dinner’s ready!”

Chapter Text

Regina



Regina sits at the desk in her classroom late one day, typing up the monthly progress reports for each of her students. It’s only been a few days since she’d decided to do as Kathryn said weeks ago and just drop this thing for Miss Swan.

 

And surprisingly, it works out better than she thought. Perhaps telling herself that pursuing something with the younger woman would be worse than not pursuing something was exactly what she needed to really kick things into gear.

 

She smiles softly as she looks at her computer screen and continues to type.

 

She doesn’t hear the door to her classroom open, instead the sound of heavy footsteps is what jars her away from her laptop, and she jumps slightly at the sight before her.

 

“Regina.”

 

She swallows thickly. She’s never heard her name sound so wonderful.

 

But what the hell is Emma Swan doing in her classroom at—she looks at her clock—5:30 PM?

 

She stands up and makes her way cautiously around her desk, stopping to stand only a few feet in front. “Miss Swan.. Henry isn’t here.. What are-“

 

A blonde head shakes and Regina’s interrupted. “I didn't come here for Henry.”

 

She feels something sink in her belly as she furrows her eyebrows. “Then what did you come for?”

 

“You.”

 

And suddenly, Emma is much closer. Now standing merely a handful of inches away. She can feel the heat coming off of the younger woman’s body, which makes her breathing speed up. She wrings her hands together and steps back until she’s got no room to move.

 

“Emma. What are you do-“

 

She’s cut off by searing lips, and just like that, her No Emma Rule flies out the window. She’s hoisted up onto her desk, Emma’s hands possessively gripping her thighs. Papers and knick knacks go flying off the desk in their haste and Regina moans into Emma’s mouth, skirt hiking up just a bit as she wraps a leg around the other woman’s slender hips.

 

She doesn’t know why she doesn’t stop it—why she can’t stop it. But she doesn’t, and it feels incredible.

 

She gasps, breathless and needy and soft, when Emma yanks her skirt up roughly, revealing her very wet and very bare center.

 

When had she removed her panties and where the hell are they?

 

“You want me, don't you?” She hears softly in her ear, and she can’t stop the whimper that escapes from between her lipstick smudged lips. “I can see how much you want me. I can smell it.” A hand goes between her legs and had she not been sitting on the edge of her desk, she would’ve crumpled to the floor in a gooey mess. “I can feel it,” Emma continues, fingers rubbing her clit not-so-gently before pushing two inside. Regina nearly comes at her next words.

 

“Can I taste it?”

 

And she’s never had anybody want to go down on her but here she is, legs spread for the mother of one of her students, watching as that blonde head descends down her body until she’s kneeling on the floor.

 

All rational thought flees her mind when her legs are pushed further apart. Regina catches herself, leaning back so that her fingers can curl around the lip of the desk behind her. She tilts her head back as a hot, wet tongue pushes inside of her.



***



She wakes with a startling jolt, eyes wide and chest heaving and—jesus—her nipples are poking through her nightgown . Her overheated body touches the cool air and she’s now an aroused, quivering mess.

 

She looks at the clock, which reads 2:23AM.

 

What the hell?

 

She can feel the slick heat between her clenched legs, pulsing with a fiery need that seems as though it’s here for the long run.

 

She falls back onto the bed with a shaky huff, fingers going up to pull at the roots of her hair.

 

“What a mess.” She mumbles into nothingness, eyes gazing up at the ceiling in the dark. What a complete and totally messy goddamn mess of a mess.

 

She tries to will herself back to sleep for a few long moments, but that persistent ache between her legs makes it nearly impossible. She figures she has two choices.

 

Call it quits and just get up for the day.

 

Or, slip her hand under her panties and finish the job that rudely started in the comfort and safety of her own sleep.

 

She decides against staying up and sighs as she gives in and lets her fingers find that stupid abundance of moisture in her sex. She hates that it’s finally come to this, but she can’t help but moan as she replays the very last part of her equally stupid dream in her mind, over and over and over.

 

She thinks about Emma’s mouth. Her tongue, how it slipped inside of her like it had done so a billion times before.

 

It doesn’t take long this time, which is a scary thought in itself considering before, it used to take forever to get off-–whether it was with a bed partner or just by herself, it didn’t matter. She used to think there was something wrong with her. Well, now that thought is garbage. Because it only takes a few moments of constant rubbing against her aching clit before her back is arching off the bed and she’s breathing roughly through her climax, a mewl slipping from her parted lips at every exhale.

 

She slumps tiredly, extracting her hand from her ruined panties and sighing in disappointment. For the first time, she’s not disappointed at the fact that she’s resorted to masturbation, nor is she even really disappointed at the fuel of her arousal. She’s disappointed that she can’t seem to resist, to control herself when it comes to Emma Swan.



***



She manages to make it through the weekend without any sort of lapse in judgment again, finding that her mother and sister are great distractions, albeit annoying ones.

 

She spends the night at her mother’s house, the only reason that she’s agreed to it being that her father is home and she’s missed him dearly.

 

She spends most of her evening there with him in his study, sipping glasses of his famous apple cider and talking about everything they can think of. She’s most comfortable around him, and she thinks that deep down, her mother knows this and respects it, because (for the most part) she seems to stay out of the way during Daddy-Daughter time.

 

When she leaves the next day, she kisses his cheek and hugs him for longer than she hugs her mother and sister.

 

After that, she’d gone home and spent her entire Sunday working on progress reports (which she will now be unable to think about without completely losing her sense of control on her libido). And by the time she was ready for bed, she was tired enough to sleep dreamlessly until it was time to wake up for school.

 

And she surprisingly makes it through the day without completely lapsing into that dreamland as she works at her desk for the most part of her free time.

 

She can’t help but feel a bit of dread now though, as 3 o’clock approaches quickly. The thought of facing Emma Swan now makes her knees a bit wobbly and her cheeks red. But she’s nothing if not mature and composed, so she carries on with helping her students pack up as if nothing is wrong.

 

Henry finds her as they reach the front entrance and make their way out to the pick up area. Following behind are Lily and Nick, and she smiles as all three giggle and talk animatedly with each other.

 

“Mommy is getting me today, Miss Miss!” He informs her, an odd gleam in his green eyes. She raises her eyebrows.

 

“Is that so?”

 

“Yup! Mary Marg-ret moved away so now Mommy is picking me up every day !”

 

She looks at him for a moment, and she sees the way he’s looking back at her. Jesus, is he 5 or 45? It’s too much to think about the fact that he may or may not be baiting her with information about his mom. She chides herself for thinking Henry could be trying to set them up when he knows virtually nothing about that kind of stuff. She’s being ridiculous and paranoid.

 

It’s close to 3:30 when Henry jumps up and scurries to his mom, who is wearing a brighter than usual smile when she picks him up.

 

Remember the No-Emma-Rule. It’s the best she can do right now in her weakened state of mind.

 

She’s polite as they chat quickly about the new set-up, where Emma confirms that Mary Margaret is no longer Henry’s babysitter and Emma now has new hours, and for some odd reason, Regina can’t help but be giddy at the thought of seeing the younger woman every single day.

 

No-Emma-Rule.

 

She finds herself touching the other woman’s hand, and it’s been there for a moment until Emma turns to her son, so she makes a not so quick and very awkward getaway, using some random parent as an excuse.

 

Nick and Lily follow her, and despite how much she loves her students, she wishes they hadn’t.



***



She blames that damned dream on her change of heart. As of now, the No-Emma-Rule is null and void because she’s just agreed over email to a non date date.

 

And under the guise of settling this once and for all, no less. As if she could just write all of this off and continue on with her life.

 

She forgoes wine tonight because she realizes she’s been drinking it too much, no thanks to Emma Swan and the feelings she stirs up.

 

She'd invited Kathryn over for a semi-early dinner because she’s in desperate need of someone to talk to and she absolutely refuses to talk to Cora or Zelena. She loves her family, of course, but not enough to talk about her possible lesbian midlife crisis.

 

She’ll cross (and hopefully not have to burn) that bridge when and if it gets to that point.

 

Kathryn arrives with Chinese takeout and Regina’s stomach growls.

 

“How long has it been since you’ve eaten?” her friend asks, eyebrow arched as she hands off the older woman’s order to her.

 

They settle in the living room, which sort of surprises Kathryn, who knows that Regina is a bit obsessive when it comes to cleanliness.

 

Regina shrugs and digs in, “I missed lunch but I had some yogurt and fruit this morning.”

 

Kathryn rolls her eyes and bites into some orange chicken. “Wasn’t it you who told me that it’s important to have three healthy meals a day, you health nut?”

 

“That may have been your doctor.”

 

The blonde rolls her eyes and shakes her head, “My point is, you gotta keep up with your meals. We can’t have you passing out from starvation in front of the kids and possibly being the reason they need therapy.”

 

Regina chuckles, then shrugs again, “Time just got away from me today. I assure you my meals are regular and aside from this cardiac arrest in a box, I’m eating just as healthily as I usually do.”

 

“Good. Now, tell me, what’s on your mind?”

 

After a moment of thought, she turns her body to face her friend, a knee folding under herself. “I went against what you told me and agreed to meet Emma Swan. In a non-educational, non-work, completely normal setting.”

 

Kathryn’s eyes widen, “Really?”

 

“I just told you so.” Regina snaps, rolling her eyes.

 

“I know, I just wasn’t expecting that.”

 

“And there’s more.”

 

The blonde doesn’t speak, just tilts her head and waits for Regina to have enough courage to continue. They both know how hard this is for Regina to admit to someone else, let alone herself.

 

“I.. had a dream about her. Well, not about her. More about me. Being.. with.. her.” She struggles with her words, cheeks tinting pink and realization dawns on Kathryn.

 

“Like a sex dream?”

 

“Precisely that.”

 

Curious, Kathryn asked tentatively, “What happened in the dream?”

 

“She kissed me, and then um.” she motioned down to her legs, cheeks hot and embarrassed, “with her tongue..”

 

“She ate you out?”

 

Regina flushes white at that, and she turns away, completely and utterly embarrassed. “Do people not find that desirable? Am I..perverted for thinking about it?” She asks, voice strained as she sets her food down. She finds that she’s no longer hungry.

 

“Wait.. No. Regina, that’s like my favorite thing, Freddy does it well.” Regina sighs, relieved that she’s not alone in her desires. “I just mean like, ‘dream you’ really went for it.”

 

“Well, dream Emma went for it, technically. I was simply compliant with her ministrations.”

 

“Just compliant?”

 

Regina shakes her head, “That’s not the point. I’m just worried that this will blow up in my face and I won’t know how to deal with losing someone again if none of this works out. Are teachers even allowed to date their student’s parent?”

 

Kathryn smiles sympathetically, “I don’t think there’s any rules against it, it’s not exactly favorable, but if you were to pursue her, it won’t cost you your job.”

 

Regina doesn’t know if she’s relieved to hear that or if it just makes things worse.

 

“This is a mess.” She sighs, the words soft and exhausted.

 

“Maybe she’ll be good for you?”

 

And frankly, Regina never really thought about if this will be good for her, she more so worried about the negative side of it all. Broken heart, strained professional relationship, and god forbid, Henry resenting her.

 

But there is good that can come out of it, right? Of course. Being with someone she’s undoubtedly attracted to, probably an amazing sex life judging by her dream alone, Henry , a stable thing in her life.

 

The possibilities are almost enough to outweigh the negatives.

 

Almost.

 

She just knows she has a lot of thinking to do.

Chapter Text

Emma



It’s actually not for an entire two weeks, the very end of September, when they can finally meet up. Emma blames work and all the overtime she’s needed to do, but she knows that it’s also Regina’s reluctance that drives the non date further and further away.

 

But they finally settle on October’s first saturday afternoon, in which Regina gives her the address to some place Emma’s never heard of. It freaks her out a bit that the other woman is being so forward about this, and Emma can’t help but wonder just how eager Regina is to set things straight (literally) and end whatever they’ve got brewing.

 

But she tamps down that initial fear; grows some nice, brave, big girl balls, as Ruby so kindly suggested while Emma was getting ready, and is now in her Bug, making her way down a street with entirely too large houses.

 

Those big girl balls are suddenly too small next to these McMansions. Had Regina really given her the address to her own house?

 

Nerves and excitement mix together and she can’t help but wonder if the older woman is hoping that this will work just as much as she is. She hadn’t expressed that desire explicitly through Email or when Emma was picking Henry up from school, but then again, Ms. Mills wasn’t exactly an open book.

 

She parks in front of 108 Mifflin Street and cuts off her engine, letting out a ragged breath as she takes in the stark white contrasting the dark leaved trees surrounding the house.

 

Maybe she’s in over her head a bit.

 

She looks at her outfit, which is similar to what she’d worn the very first night she’d seen Regina, just a bit more classy. But looking at this property seems to cancel out her nice teal button up and red leather jacket and black jeans. She can practically feel the insecurity bubbling up in the pit of her belly.

 

She takes one large deep breath, thinks about all the things Ruby would do the ease the situation, then settles on doing exactly the opposite.

 

When she exits her car, the rusty door creaking loudly in the quiet, overpriced neighborhood, she decides that from this moment on, she’ll show Regina that this will be good and fun and worth the effort.

 

It’s terrifying how much she realizes she wants this. It’s even more terrifying when she realizes that she is liable to do nearly anything Regina asks, conquer every hurdle and jump through any hoop just for this.

 

She reaches the front door and knocks three times, but it only takes a moment for it to swing open, revealing the very woman of her thoughts. She lets her eyes rake over Regina’s body quickly enough to seem subtle but slow enough to gather every bit of information she can. The woman seems to be wearing her usual school outfit, except she can see black lace peeking under a silky red button up, and her pencil skirt is a bit tighter than usual. She won't even mention the slit that goes up to mid thigh.

 

“It sure took you long enough to get from your car to my front door,” Regina quips, eyes serious as can be, but a slight, nearly impossible to catch, amused lilt in that raspy voice of hers.

 

Emma can't help but smirk and tuck her hands in her back pocket, “Were you watching me?”

 

Regina scoffs and opens her door wider, inviting the blonde in. “Please. I heard that horrendous sound the driver door made when you slammed it shut. I’m sure everyone else in the neighborhood did as well.”

 

Emma shrugs off her jacket and looks around, taking everything in at once. “What can I tell you? She’s not as young as she used to be.” She takes the soft eye roll as a small victory and follows the older woman into what seems to be a study. Regina motions for her to sit on one side of the couch, and she can't help but simply obey. “I’ve had her since I was sixteen.”

 

Regina takes a seat on the other side and tilts her head, “Engendering your vehicle, Miss Swan?”

 

“Most machines have a female pronoun, Ms. Mills,” The blonde grins, leaning back and shrugging, “I don’t make the rules.”

 

“Is this all you wanted?” Regina blurts, crossing her legs and weaving her fingers together. Her face is stoic and cool but her body is obviously riddled with nerves, and Emma can feel it radiating onto her. When she tilts her head, Regina elaborates, “To just.. Make idle chit-chat? Because I believe this is something that doesn’t require a private setting. We could’ve talked about female cars at the school, I’m sure the children would have gotten a kick out of that.”

 

Emma lets out a pursed breath, “I want to get to know you, Regina,” she explains, watching the way brown eyes darken to a deeper shade of chocolate at the use of her first name. She finds that she likes the taste of the other woman’s name on her tongue far better than the thought of it in her head. “I’m not the one who suggested your house for this, but..”

 

Regina bristles, fingers picking at each other unconsciously as she responds, “well, surely we couldn’t have gone to any public places, Miss Swan. I can’t risk one of my students’ parents or any of my coworkers seeing me with you. I have to keep my image clean and untattered.”

 

“Right, because I have a knack for tattering images.”

 

“That is not what I meant.”

 

Emma smiles softly, “What’d you mean then?” She has a feeling she knows but this is good. Talking it through is necessary.

 

“You are the mother of my student.”

 

Emma shrugs, “And? What if I were Henry’s dad instead, and I wanted to get to know you. What if I had tried talking to you in that bar a month and a half ago.”

 

The older woman pauses, bottom lip being pulled in between white teeth as she twists at her fingers a bit more aggressively. “I can’t give you an answer to that. The night at that bar was my one year anniversary with my boyfriend Robin. We had ended things that night too, and the only reason I was even there was because it was right down the street from the restaurant we had reservations at, and because I needed a drink.”

 

Emma washes that around her brain for a moment and she looks for any signs of mistruth, but she finds nothing. She feels a wave of guilt wash over her at the thought of the other woman having to go into a seedy bar for a break up shot. “I’m sorry that happened.” She manages, hoping it’s enough to comfort Regina.

 

If there’s anything Emma knows nothing about, it’s surely comfort.

 

“It was amicable.”

 

“Okay..” She picks at a thread in the knee of her jeans, and they just look at each other. It’s awkward but it’s also.. Kind of comfortable. “Why’d you pretend to speak Spanish when I talked to you? You could have just said that you’re not interested, or that you were getting over a breakup or something.”

 

Regina narrows her eyes, “First of all, I didn’t pretend to speak Spanish. I am Puerto Rican and I am just as fluent in Spanish as I am in English.”

 

And yes, that’s kind of hot, but she keeps that thought to herself and lets the other woman continue.

 

“Second, I don't think I owe you any explanation as to why or how I turned you down, Miss Swan. Don’t you think as a woman, you should understand when no means no?”

 

Emma stands up, eyes wide, “I don’t recall you saying no, Regina, I can definitely remember you saying something about how you don't understand english. If you’d have simply said no I would’ve understood.”

 

Regina stands up too, arms crossing defensively over her chest and her eyes blaze a fiery concoction of challenge and defiance. “What about the other numerous times I’ve said I’m not interested? When I told you that I-I am not attracted to women and that I’m straight? That doesn’t seem very compliant to me, Emma.” Her fists drop down to her sides and she clenches them tightly, Emma can see the vein in the crease of her elbow tighten and she knows now that she’s pushing a nerve.

 

“Do you want me to stop?”

 

She can see how caught off guard this leaves Regina. “What?”

 

“I can leave right now if that’s honestly what you want.”

 

She receives no answer, just chocolate eyes staring into her green ones. Conflict moves rapidly around them like the wings of angry bats slicing through the air. When long moments pass without any words, Emma takes a cautious step forward, which in turn makes Regina step back until she’s pressed up against the chair.

 

“I can’t..” Regina mutters, a response to nothing.

 

“Why?”

 

When Emma steps closer again, Regina tenses, one hand reaching behind her to steady herself. “I-I’m st-”

 

“You’re a smart woman, Regina. I’d hope you’re a little more open with labels. It represses so much.” She speaks honestly, seeing that conflict go from tiny angry bats to full blown pterodactyls. “Don’t you think it’s okay to feel what you want for who you want?”


“I’m not repressed... And that implies that I feel something for you.”

 

Emma nods, and lets her hand reach out to touch the other woman’s waist, fingers grazing softly over the shiny black belt and the soft fabric of her silken red shirt. She sees Regina’s chest rise and fall, a pink blush staining that beautiful olive skin at her chest.

 

Her hand slides down slowly, stopping just above the rise of Regina’s ass, “You don't feel anything?”

 

Regina shakes her head, says nothing.

 

“Do you want me to go?” Emma asks again, letting her hand drag up and around, feeling the way Regina’s back tenses slightly before relaxing into the touch. Their bodies are close and it’s all heat right now, and Emma fights to stay nice and strong.

 

“I don’t know.”

 

“I know this is new for you.”

 

Regina swallows, fingers tightening around the soft cushion of the chair, “Yes, it is.”

 

“And I’m probably not making this very easy.”

 

Regina's sharp jaw tenses and releases a few times, and Regina concedes. “You’re definitely not.”

 

Emma smiles and glances down at Regina’s lips, and they look oh-so-kissable with that red tint and enticing scar. She feels them discovering new ground, slowly, and pretty freaking intensely, but it’s happening and she tries as much as she can to keep calm and take small, easy steps.

 

“Don’t you think this could be good? We could be good together.” She tries not to imply to much but by the way the older woman’s eyes dart to her lips, she knows that her words were far more suggestive than she intended (mostly).

 

Regina is breathless, a little frantic, but she seems to be keeping her usual barricade intact, and her resolve is pretty impressive. “Is that what you want?” She asks, voice huskier, and her arm buckles a bit. Emma takes that as an incentive to wrap her arm fully around Regina’s waist in effort to hold her up. She continues despite the shift, “Sex?”

 

“I mean..” Emma smirks playfully, pressing her chest softly against Regina’s, “Yeah. Eventually.” She pauses, “well, I definitely wouldn't turn you down now but we are obviously not there yet and if you can't tell, I’m kind of a gentlewoman.”

 

Regina ignores the playful banter, “You realize that this would have to stay contained between the two of us, right? If someone like Principal Glass or even Mal Drake finds out I’m.. I’m involved with a student’s parents, it could affect my chance at tenure.”

 

“I wouldn’t make you risk your job, Regina.” Emma says softly, finally feeling that tension release from both of their bodies. Not completely, but enough to make her continue, “We can go as slow or as fast as you need, and we can tell whoever you want, when you’re ready for it.”

 

Regina is still reluctant and Emma sighs. Pushing this woman won't get them anywhere. So she cups her chin and turns her head gently, placing a soft kiss on a heated cheek. She leaves her lips there, letting them linger over the silky smooth flesh before she drags her mouth down just to the edge of her jaw, and she whispers, “I won't beg. This is whatever you decide.”

 

She wants to beg for a chance badly, but she won't push. Well.. She won’t push too much.

 

She can't help but want to leave the woman with a little taste of what she could have.

 

So she nips the underside of Regina’s jaw, and then feels the way her head tips back to give her more room, Regina's hands gripping her shoulders tightly before sliding them down her arms.

 

As Emma suckles and drags her tongue softly over as much skin as she possibly can, she feels Regina’s knees buckle slightly and she reaches out with one hand to hold them both up against the chair. Regina doesn’t sit fully, but instead wraps her fingers around Emma’s upper arms, nails urging her on so that her voice doesn’t have to.

 

She’d only planned on leaving a few neck kisses and then moving away from her completely, but when she hears the unmistakable sound of a small moan as she reaches the other woman’s clavicle, it sends her down a spiral of heady need.

 

She nudges the open collar of Regina’s blouse aside and leaves a mark at the top of a full breast, and it makes Regina whisper her name softly, like a prayer.

 

She pulls back and sees the awkward angle in which she’s left the other woman, arched back and chest heaving with definite arousal.

 

She kind of got out of control.

 

“I’m gonna go.” She mutters, unable to tear her eyes away from the purple mark blemishing the otherwise perfect skin of the older woman’s breast. “I’m going to let you think about what I said, and you can tell me what you want when you figure it out.”

 

And as hard as it is to pull back from the woman who slumps heavily back into the chair, she also can't help but be proud that she didn’t go farther. Surely it would have stunted any progress they had kind-of-sort-of made in the past hour that she’s been in Regina’s house.

 

She watches Regina, the way she brushes her dark hair away from her eyes with one hand while the other practically claws into her knee. “Regina,” She murmurs, because she doesn't want to leave on a bad note. Not after what just happened. “Tell me you won't just shut down on me before you have a chance to really think about this.”

 

Regina looks up, eyes shining with so, so many emotions that all Emma wants to really do right now is pull her back into her arms and hug her. A tight smile tugs at painted lips and the blonde doesn’t really know if that's a decent sign or a negative sign.

 

“You have given me much to think about, Miss Swan, and I intend to do just that.” Her words are strained and her chest is still blush pink and that mark is only getting darker. Luckily, it should cover up easily with Regina’s usual work blouses, Emma thinks.

 

“Okay, see, that right there is what worries me.” Emma chuckles nervously, tucking her hands into her back pockets, “That whole Miss Swan plus the fancy talk. That’s too Ms. Mills for me. Give me Regina.. Please?”

 

Regina sighs and shakes her head, but she stands up. Her heels click against the wood floor as she moves towards Emma a few steps. “Emma, I know that you want me to be sure and give you an answer soon, I want to give you an answer on what I want, too, but I just.. I have to process. I can't promise that things will progress so soon.”

 

“I know.”

 

“I would like us to get along until I can figure things out.”

 

Emma smiles, it feels a lot like rejection, but she won't let that discourage her. “I want that too.”

 

“I want to make sure this is worth it.”

 

And Emma can’t fault her on that. As much as she wants to shake her and kiss her and take her while telling her just how worth it it’ll be, she knows that this is going to be rocky. Nothing has ever been easy in her life, so why start now?

 

“Okay.. Yeah. Well, I’m going to go now, and I’ll see you Monday.”

 

“I look forward to it.”

 

She doesn’t know what else to say, so she walks to the door quickly, unwilling to let anything ruin or change this progress they’ve made.

 

She gets into her creaky yellow Bug and counts this one as another little victory.

Chapter Text

Regina



She doesn’t really realize that she does it until many, many moments later.

 

Compulsive movements, no matter what they are, take over Regina’s body when she’s feeling things a little too much . Like right now, nearly an hour after Emma Swan has left her home, she’s compulsively cleaning the same room she’d cleaned before Miss Swan had arrived.

 

She ignores the throb on her upper breast, ignores the fact that a red mark will remain until it turns purple, then blue, then fade to an ugly yellow before disappearing completely, all spanned out within a week or so.

 

Much, much too long.

 

She buttons her collar so she doesn’t have to see it while she moves her cleaning rampage to the kitchen, and it isn’t until she’s thoroughly cleaned the already clean space when she finally sits down in her study with a full tumbler of Apple Cider.

 

What an absolute mess.

 

Mother would be very disappointed if she found out just how weak Regina had been with Emma’s mouth doing that thing.

 

She feels her pulse in that area quicken at the thought, and she swallows down a large mouthful of the amber liquid. Nobody’s ever left a mark; she’s never let anyone claim her in that way. She didn’t find it enjoyable when Robin’s tongue had dragged sloppily over her skin, nor did she really favor the act when she’d lost her virginity to Daniel. Something about somebody’s tongue on her skin made her shiver in disdain.

 

Yet the shiver that wracks through her body as she sits curled up on her study’s couch is completely different from the other one. She finds that she craves Emma Swan’s mouth rather than detests it.

 

She’s loathe to admit that she craves those lips and that wonderfully naughty tongue on her body once again.

 

She wonders if she’s always, deep down, cherished the touch of a woman more than a man. Emma had been demanding yet so soft and seductive and everything Robin wasn’t.

 

Really, there was no comparison, and that terrifies her.

 

She downs the rest of the Cider and pours another full glass, bringing it up to her cheek to cool her heated skin. The smell wafts around her and she lets out a shuttered breath.

 

Ay dios mio .” She mutters to herself.

 

She wonders how many thirty-five year old kindergarten teachers think about their student’s mother in a way that would put even the dirtiest mind to shame. She wonders if other teachers think about said parent in a way that brings up the notion of becoming a family and living that fairytale happy ending.

 

It simply does not happen often though, especially not for Regina.

 

That kind of story is out of the picture for her. Especially if she wants to get tenure this year, which she is certain she’ll lose if she keeps this inappropriate behavior up.

 

Her spot on the Board of Education will be revoked before she even has a chance to truly act as a member.

 

There is too much at risk for a silly little fling.

 

She sips her drink, and dares not to imagine that it could actually be more.



***



Sunday morning she finds herself joining her parents and sister for breakfast at their favorite restaurant in the nicest neighborhood in Brook County. It’s owned and run by Kathryn’s father, John Midas, who also happens to be a close friend with Regina’s father.

 

Regina can’t stop herself from hugging Henry Mills tightly when she arrives, breathing in the scent of his cologne and a hint of their family stables. A wave of nostalgia hits her hard and she presses a firm kiss to his cheek.

 

“If only I’d get a greeting like that..” She hears, and rolls her eyes softly at her mother’s words.

 

“Oh please, mother,” she replies, kissing Cora’s cheek softly before taking a seat next to her sister.

 

“Tell me,” her father smiles, leaning back in his chair as their waiter brings their mimosas to the table, “how has work been, Mija?”

 

Regina beams, “It’s wonderful. I have some very bright students this year.” She especially thinks of Henry. “There’s this little boy who was behind for a little while until I worked with him. Now, he is one of the highest scoring students in my class. His name is Henry.”

 

“Well, no wonder he’s so smart.” Her father’s lightly accented voices is one of the only things that can calm her in any situation, and she’s thankful that he’s still a stable figure in her life.

 

Zelena leans in close to Regina, fanning herself with the menu while her other arm rests on the back of her sister’s chair, “Mother, I think we should just get a separate table. It seems as though we’ve been forgotten.”

 

Regina rolls her eyes and grabs the menu out of her sister’s hand, “You’ve seen Daddy every day since he returned from his business trip, I’ve been working.”

 

“Girls, your father and I asked you to breakfast for a reason, you know.”

 

Regina shifts her gaze to her parents, where her mother seems timid and her father is oddly comforting the usual confident and abrupt woman.

 

“You’re not sick, are you?” Zelena blurts, eyes darting between parents, “Oh god, who’s dying?”

 

Regina slaps her older sister’s arm and shushes her before turning back to her parents, “Is everything alright?”

 

“Of course. I just wanted to tell you both that I’m officially retiring. I had a bit of a scare while in Europe and I think it’s time I pass the torch on.” He looks at Zelena first, and then Regina, and she knows where this is going.

 

“So you are sick?” Zelena asks skeptically, confusion and concern laced in her thickly accented voice.

 

“No. I was just unable to travel back right when business was finished because of some heart issues, but I am fine now. Ever since I’ve been back, I’ve monitored my blood pressure and heart rate. I’m too old to keep working as much as I do.”

 

Regina nods quickly, reaching across the table to grab her father’s hand, “Of course papí, your health is much more important than work.”

 

He smiles, squeezing her hand softly, “So, I was wondering, would either.. or both.. of you like to take up my spot in the family business?”

 

What?” both women say, eyes wide in shock.

 

“What is it that you do again?” Zelena asks, and Regina rolls her eyes while Cora let’s out an exasperated groan.

 

“The trees on our property in California supply apples to many companies across the country, as well as internationally. Mostly businesses in alcohol distribution.”

 

Regina, of course, knows this. Her love for Apple Cider stems solely from her father.

 

“Daddy, are you sure we’re qualified?” Regina asks.

 

“With the right training, you will be. Is that a yes from you?”

 

“It sure as hell is!” Zelena barks excitedly, clapping her hands together.

 

“I..” Regina starts, unsure of what to say. She can’t help but feel guilty.

 

“You don’t have to answer right now, Mija. It’s a big decision.”

 

It is, and by the look in her mother’s eyes, there’s definitely a wrong answer there. But images of Henry Swan and his mother and the dozens of children who look up to her flash in her mind and the thought of giving that up, no matter how great this opportunity is, scares her.

 

“I don’t think I can do it. I love teaching.”

 

Her mother sighs and she ignores the disappointment in Cora’s hazel eyes. It’s a look Regina has long since gotten used to.

 

“I understand.” Henry nods, smiling softly at his youngest daughter. “Zelena is more than capable of keeping things running.”

 

“I am?” The redhead asks, but recoups quickly, “Of course I am.”

 

Regina smiles lightly at her sister and then looks back at her father. She doesn’t know why she feels the need to add more people into her life when she has two (plus mother) very important people to cherish already.

 

Right?

 

It isn’t until about 4 o’clock when she finally arrives home, having gone back to her parent’s estate for a few hours to catch up with her father.

 

She walks through her front door, and stops stalk still when she sees it.

 

That damn red jacket.

 

She stares at it for a long moment, willing it to disappear, but it remains. Red and ugly as the day she first saw it.

 

By the amount of times she’s seen Emma in the horrid thing, she knows she’s missing it by now, and she hopes to god the woman doesn’t take it upon herself to return to Regina’s house for it.

 

She steps closer to it, fingers reaching out to touch the soft, worn leather, and she’s surprised to find out that it feels very real. She grimaces and pulls her hand away. Leave it to Emma Swan to disrupt nature simply for an ugly jacket.

 

She moves away from it, ignoring the smell of that woman seeping off the jacket as she passes.

 

Regina settles in her office, logging onto her laptop and as expected, there’s an email in her inbox from Emma.

 

To: ReginaMills@BCUSD.edu

From: EmmaSwan@Gmail.com

Subject: dont ignore this pt. 2

Sent: 1:47PM 9-15-18

 

Regina,

I left my jacket at your house and I’ve been super cold ever since. I think I should come back and get it. Wouldn’t want to catch the flu or something, right?

 

PS this is not an excuse to see you again, I really miss my jacket.

 

Emma

 

Regina catches herself smiling and she quickly banishes it away. Her inability to remain indifferent when it comes to the blonde infuriates her to no end. She responds back quickly and professionally.

 

To: EmmaSwan@Gmail.com

From: ReginaMills@BCUSD.edu

Subject: Re: dont ignore this pt. 2

Sent: 4:23PM 9-15-18

 

Miss Swan,

I’m not surprised that in your haze of coquettish prowess, you forgot your jacket. You may return to my home to retrieve it, and nothing more, at 7 PM tonight.

 

Regina Mills

 

She hits send and sighs, knowing deep down that this isn’t such a good idea, having Emma Swan back at her house. Alone.

 

She feels her pulse quicken, beating thickly where that wretched mark mars her skin.

 

She’s testing her own restraint, even when she knows she’s liable to fail.. and miserably at that.

 

Regina shuts her laptop and leans back in her chair, a sigh leaving her lips as she closes her eyes slowly. This isn’t what she had in mind for her last free day of the week before work.

 

She steels herself and sits up straight after a moment.

 

She’s Regina Amelia Mills. She knows discipline, she’s lived with it for so long, it’s ingrained in her lifestyle.

 

So, disciplining herself when it comes to her newest weakness, Emma Swan, should practically be clockwork.



***



At 7:06, her doorbell rings. She slips on her heels before answering the door, straightening out her already-perfect royal blue dress before taking a deep breath, grabbing the jacket, and opening the door.

 

Emma is standing there in casual clothes, a cream knit sweater and dark wash jeans, those dark brown boots adorning her legs once more.

 

She smiles at Regina, and it takes everything in the brunette not to smile back.

 

She’s grateful that her mother passed down that trademark Mills Woman poker face.

 

“Take your dead animal, Miss Swan.” She holds the jacket out, the neck hooked on one finger. She arches a brow as Emma laughs and takes the jacket.

 

“It’s vegan, Ms. Mills.” She drawls, winking playfully.

 

Regina clears her throat and nods, “Well. You have it, so I suppose I’ll see you tomorrow.”

 

“You look really pretty.”

 

She stills, eyes snapping up to meet Emma’s green ones. They take in the blonde’s pink cheeks and slightly nervous posture, “What?”

 

Emma shrugs, slinging her jacket over her shoulder, “You look beautiful .”

 

The words throw a wrench in her poker face. Perhaps the first human ever to break her stoicism. Her cheeks redden and she parts her lips, a hand raising to press against the door frame.

 

Don’t invite her in.

 

“I—Thank you..”

 

“You’re welcome.”

 

She swallows thickly, fingers tightening on the jam and she looks around as if worried someone will see them. “Is that all?”

 

Emma’s smile falters slightly, but she shrugs again, which should turn Regina off because it’s very impolite, but instead is quite endearing.

 

“I was kinda hoping we could talk some more.”

 

“You call what happened talking?”

 

Emma blushes and her eyes darken a bit, “Well, we could also do that too, but ..”

 

Regina regrets going down this road. “But?”

 

Before Emma can respond, Regina hears the creaking of a car door, then a loud slam, and in moments, a tiny body is wrapping around her.

 

“Henry?” She gasps, the hand not holding herself against the door frame going to his shoulder.

 

“Hi Miss Miss! We’re at your house!”

 

“I see that..” She mumbles, a small smile crossing her face as she looks at the young boy.

 

“Kid, I said wait in the car.” Emma scolds.

 

“I know mommy, but I see’d Miss Miss from the window!”

 

“Miss Swan, why did you bring him here?” Regina asks in a low whisper, looking down to see the boy leaning around her to look into the house.

 

This is bad.

 

This is very, very bad.

 

“I told you, my sitter moved away.”

 

Regina sighs, “If someone finds out you brought him here..”

 

“Who am I going to tell, Regina?”

 

And the way her name spills from Emma’s lips makes her knees buckle just a little and she drops her eyes to Henry, who is now looking up expectantly at her.

 

“I bringed my Battleships.”

 

“Brought.” Regina corrects gently, eyes shining with adoration for the little boy.

 

He shrugs and it’s so similar to Emma that she caves right then and there. But it’s just for Henry, she tells herself. It’s only because she loves this little boy like her own and she can’t turn him away, ever.

 

It’s not at all because of the way his mother looks at her like she’s something magical. Absolutely not.

 

“Well then, I suppose I have to invite you in to play a game or two.”

Chapter Text

Emma



Watching her at this large kitchen table, playing with the little boy that keeps this fragile existence between them together, is like magic.

 

Emma had every intention of leaving but deep down, she hoped her predictable spawn would invite himself in and she more so hoped that the predictably soft-for-children Regina Mills would let them in.

 

She holds her cheek in her hand as she watches Regina and Henry ward off sharks from their ships.

 

And every so often both women would look at each other, and one (or both) would blush and look back at the animated little boy.

 

“How is he doing in school?” She suddenly asks, garnering the attention of both of them.

 

Regina looks at her with curious, scrutinizing eyes, assessing if this is really what she wants to talk about.

 

Emma looks at Regina expectantly, who finally responds, “He’s doing very well, dear. Just as I knew he would. His energy is still high but it’s quite the treat for boring days.”

 

“Just make sure you’re not a little spaz.” Emma smirks, looking at her son pointedly. Regina looks like she wants to defend the boy but he jumps in with a sassy remark of his own.

 

“I got my spazzy from you, Mommy!”

 

The older woman looks genuinely surprised at this and Emma smiles. “Ruby taught him to say that when he was like three. It’s another one of our things.”

 

“It’s…nice..” Regina clears her throat, and Emma watches as she absentmindedly pushes one of the little battleships toward the pack of sharks. She chuckles when Henry scolds Regina.

 

“Miss Miss, you almost runned them over! Remember, we can’t kill them.”

 

“That’s right, darling. I’m sorry.”

 

And for some reason, hearing the other woman call her son that does things to her that she can’t quite explain. Not for lack of trying, though.

 

“Mommy, can you get me and Miss Miss some snacks?”

 

Emma raises her eyebrows and Regina can’t help but laugh this time, and it’s such a beautiful sound that Emma nearly gets up and wanders to the kitchen she’s never been to just to serve the two most precious people in her life.

 

“Kid, we don’t live here.”

 

He looks at her with question in his green eyes and blinks.

 

“So we can’t just eat Ms. Mills’s snacks. She probably needs them for when she gets the midnight munchies.”

 

“The what?

 

Both Swans look at Regina with wide eyes.

 

“When you get hungry in the middle of the night!” Henry explains.

 

“I don’t.”

 

Emma scoffs, leaning forward on her elbows, “You’re saying you never get hungry for a snack in the middle of the night?”

 

Regina crosses her arms defensively and shakes her head, “It’s unhealthy to eat after 10 PM. Especially if you’re just going to sleep right after.”

 

“Who made that up?”

 

Regina scrunches up her face, “Don’t you work in a hospital? You should know at least a little about health and nutrition.”

 

Emma shrugs. She’s enjoying this banter just a little too much; from the way Regina’s cheeks have been pink for the past 30 minutes, to the tiny little arguments that make her beautiful lips curl up defyingly like a photograph on a humid day.

 

“Yes, and when I did night shift, my lunch was at 2AM, so your point is moot.”

 

“I said it’s unhealthy if you’re sleeping after you eat. Obviously you stay active.” Regina counters, both women now focused on each other and not the perfectly content boy sitting right there.

 

“Oh, you noticed?” Emma winks, lifting her arms and flexing. She'd removed her sweater earlier and is now clad in a thin, tight grey long sleeve.

 

And she notices the way Regina stares with dark eyes and gulps (even though she visibly tried to not look so affected). “I did.” The brunette responds, voice taking on a slightly deeper octave. It does things to Emma’s ego and more importantly, that dormant space below her belly, formerly known as her ovaries.

 

“So no snacks then?” Henry cuts in with an irritated whine.

 

Regina snaps out of it and looks at the boy, and Emma can see walls taking form once more.

 

Damn.

 

“Of course, dear. I’ll go find something for you.”

 

“Regina, you don’t have to. He ate like an hour and a half ago.”

 

Regina stands up, smoothing her dress over her hips (which happen to be delectably prominent in the tight-ish dress), “Nonsense. He is a growing boy and I have more than enough food to share.”

 

“Yeah, mommy, she wants to share.”

 

Emma arches a brow as Regina snickers and click-clacks her way into the kitchen with those very familiar looking fuck-me-heels.

 

“Hey, cool it with the ‘tude, buddy.”



***



By 8:30, they've kind of overstayed, because Henry is out cold on Regina’s living room couch and both women are staring awkwardly at him.

 

“Perhaps it was being in my boring house that made him tired.” Regina thinks aloud, and Emma can tell she didn’t exactly mean to say that verbally because of the way her cheeks pink for the billionth time that night, “b-because I don't have any toys here.”

 

“Uh.. I don’t think you realize how much I’m going to be hearing about how he got to spend time with his favorite teacher outside of school.” Emma tells her, stuffing her hands into her back pockets.

 

“About that.”

 

“I’ll talk to him, don’t worry. Henry’s pretty good with keeping secrets.”

 

Regina sighs and moves out into the foyer so that they don’t wake the little boy. “I don’t like keeping secrets, Emma.”

 

“I like when you say my name instead of that whole Miss Swan sh-tuff.”

 

Regina raises her eyebrows, “Are you capable of having mature conversations?”

 

“Capable? Sure. Interested? No.”

 

“Of course.”

 

Emma steps closer to the older woman, and just like the last time they were alone, Regina takes a step back. But there’s not much fear and nerves there like the time before. Of course there’s caution and curiosity and definitely still a bit of nervousness, but now it’s joined by a type of challenge and desire that feels innocent and dirty all at once.

 

Emma’s hands go to Regina’s waist softly and she feels her warm breath puff out through parted lips. She won’t push further, she just has to have her hands on this woman’s body somehow.

 

“I can’t seem to get ahold of myself when I’m near you.” Regina mutters, eyes looking everywhere but into burning green ones. It’s honest and real and it makes Emma smile.

 

“I’ll have you know that this is just as new for me as it is for you.”

 

“I doubt it.”

 

Emma shakes her head and slides her hands up and down, back in forth, in a rhythm that seems to soothe and wire up Regina all at once. “I haven’t had this much of a connection since Henry’s father.”

 

“Oh.”

 

“He left when I was pregnant. Turned out he wasn’t the man I thought he was.”

 

Regina doesn’t talk, but Emma can tell she’s listening. “Before him, I’d dated a lot, men and women. I was young.”

 

“You still are.”

 

“Young er.

 

Regina arches a brow in that way that makes Emma’s toes curl and stomach coil.

 

“My point is that you’ve got so many other options. I don’t understand why you make it seem like I’m the only one.”

 

It’s very self depreciative, especially for this normally confident, Head Bitch In Charge woman. Emma frowns slightly and tilts her head to the side, looking into deep pools of chestnut colored eyes.

 

“I do have options, and I believe I chose almost two months ago when I walked up to this sexy latina who turned me down pretty quickly. And then chose again when I saw her a week later, and chose again every day after that.”

 

And yeah, it’s a little much for something so unstable and new, like a baby horse. Regina is a baby horse in the form of a hot teacher who is also at least an in-denial bisexual.

 

“If my work finds out that-“

 

“You say that as if know people at school that could ruin your career. Or that I even want to hurt you like that.”

 

Regina humphs and looks away. Emma can tell it’s kind of working. She hasn’t been slapped or kicked out or anything in between and she takes this as yet another small victory.

 

“What exactly do you have in mind for this, then, hm?” The question catches her off guard, like she’s been asked a question that is the key to a bajillion dollars and there are so many right answers and even more wrong ones.

 

She smiles and leans in closer, but not enough to start a kiss. “I want to spend time with you. Alone, or with Henry, I don’t mind. I want to get to know you, I want to do things for you because you deserve it and I just want a chance with you.”

 

Regina’s eyes slip closed and she rests her head back against the wall, and Emma doesn’t know when or how they ended up pressed there with her body sandwiching Regina’s.

 

She lets her hands wander a bit more, because Regina just feels so good, and the older woman is leaning further into her.

 

She slides them gently over the older woman’s beautiful ass and just lets them rest there; not squeezing nor bringing them closer together. She just caresses softly like it’s a delicate relic that should only be handled with gentleness and care.

 

“If I say no?” Regina asks breathlessly, and it drives Emma up the wall in all the best ways.

 

“Then I’ll take my hands off your ass and get my son and leave. I’ll leave you alone.” And she hopes the honesty and fear in her voice at the aspect of giving this up is enough to convince this woman that she’s worth the effort.

 

“And if I say okay?”

 

Emma smirks, “Then I’ll do whatever you want me to do with my hands,” she bites her lip, “at your pace though, of course.”

 

“Okay.”

 

“Okay?”

 

“We go at the pace I’m comfortable with and any sign of trouble with work means it needs to end.”

 

Emma’s head is spinning because she thinks she’s finally got the chance to woo Regina Mills for real , but she’s not entirely sure.

 

“Are you sure?”

 

Regina sighs, “No. But all my life I’ve been doing what’s safe instead of taking chances. I can’t turn down something that may actually end up.. good.”

 

“Love the enthusiasm.” Emma smirks, leaning in to press a kiss to the older woman’s lips. But instead she gets a smooth cheek and fingers cupping her jaw.

 

“Not now.”

 

“I want to kiss you.”

 

Regina smiles softly, pressing closer to Emma’s body. “I know.”

 

It feels amazing to be chest to chest and hip to hip with Regina finally. Surreal. Exquisite.

 

“You want to kiss me.”

 

“I know.” The words come out as an exasperated sigh.

 

“So.. what’s the problem?” Emma squeezes the other woman’s ass then, softly and with enough insinuation to tell Regina that she is definitely wanted.

 

“There’s a right time for everything, Emma. And right now is not the time for a makeout session. It’s getting late and Henry and I both have school tomorrow.”

 

And yeah, she’s right. It’s approaching 9 and they need to get home.

 

“So when?”

 

“I will give you my number and we can talk about you joining me for dinner this upcoming Friday.”

 

“Yeah?” Emma smiles, standing back. She hates that she has to remove her hands but she’s had some good luck tonight and she doesn’t want to push it.

 

“Yes. You and Henry.”

 

Emma saw it coming from a mile away and she takes it easily. “Definitely. Movie night for the three of us.”

 

“Fine.”

 

“Great.”

 

Regina smiles again, that soft, thin smile that reminds Emma of a shy schoolgirl. Her eyes tell a different story though, the dark hues of browns dancing with mirth.

 

“Are you sure we can’t like.. kiss just once?”

 

“Go home, Miss Swan.”

 

Emma groans and lets her head fall back, but she finds herself walking to the living room, where Henry is now sitting up, face scrunched and confused.

 

“Hey, kid.”

 

“Morning, mommy?”

 

“Nope. Still night time. We’re gonna go home and sleep now. Can’t be tired for school.”

 

He nods wordlessly, arms reaching up so that Emma can carry him. She stuffs his battleships in her bag and grabs her sweater, all while letting her son wrap his body around her shoulders and torso.

 

“Thank you for having us.” Emma grins at Regina, letting her eyes roam over the older woman’s figure once more before making her way to the front door.

 

After slipping a piece of paper with her number on it into Emma’s front pocket, Regina unlocks and opens the door for them, watching as Emma steps out onto the porch. She looks like she’s going to say something, but nothing comes out. Emma won’t leave if they’re on a different page, so she arches a brow and softens her smile.

 

“I’ll make it worth your while, Regina. I think this will be good for both of us.”

 

And it looks like Regina almost believed her right now, so she quits while she’s ahead and carries her sleeping son to the bug.

Chapter Text

Regina



Unknown Number: This is so much better than email

 

Regina stares at the text message as she lay in bed later that night, the screen illuminating her features. Great. Emma’s going to want to text nonstop.

 

She suppresses a smile and replies.

 

I’m sorry. Who is this?

 

She waits for a response, much like an adolescent teenager waiting for her crush to text her. Except she isn’t an adolescent teenager. Not at all. So she absolutely doesn’t feel the speed up of her heart beat when Emma’s reply comes a few moments later.

 

It’s just a selfie. Emma’s laying on her pillow, hair spread out, and her face shows sign of annoyance; eyes rolled back and mouth pressed in a line.

 

Ah, yes. Hello, Emma. She decides to indulge the woman a bit, even though she’s done enough that night.

 

Emma: Henry’s asleep and I’m bored.

 

Don’t you have work in the morning, dear?

 

Emma: Nope. I get a day or two off every few weeks.

 

Well then I guess you’re in quite the predicament. I, however, must be getting to sleep now.

 

Emma: Awww, lame

 

Unfortunately one of us has to be an adult.

 

Emma: I’m glad it’s you

 

Goodnight, Emma.

 

Emma: Sleep tight Regina

 

Regina plugs her phone in on her nightstand and turns her back to it, ignoring the temptation to re-read their conversation.

 

She’s been back and forth about this thing with Emma for the past month and now that it’s finally becoming something, her fears have increased tenfold.

 

She’d told Emma that she’s going to try and do something for herself now, but it’s harder to act upon than it is to declare it. Yes, she wants to see where this goes. Yes, she wants Emma in many, many ways. Yes, she adores the thought of seeing Henry more.

 

Yes, she’s terrified that this will end badly.

 

And yes, she does not want to be hurt again.

 

She stares at the window across the room, because if she closes her eyes right now, she’ll picture having happiness that can easily be crushed, and she’ll picture her own flaws being the demise of what could be one of the most important relationships of her life.

 

Love has always been her weakest point. She’s loved too much in the past and it was ripped away from her like a sheet in the wind.

 

And there are so many factors that could easily pose as that wind. Work finding out she’s dating a student’s mother, Principal Glass, Her mother.

 

She’s come to terms with being attracted to women. She’s realized lately that it makes sense, with the way she couldn’t take her eyes off Robin’s sister when they’d been introduced 6 months into the relationship. Or when she’s caught herself looking at women’s lips, or legs, or hands. It makes sense now. She’s not worried about that part anymore. She’s worried about how her work will see her, and the other parents. She knows very well that this isn’t an all-inclusive type of neighborhood.

 

She sighs and finally lets her eyes close. It’s not like their fledgling of a relationship will have to be broadcasted right away. It may even end before it really begins. They may not be as compatible as Emma seems to believe.

 

But until that day comes, she’s going to follow through with her own words and take a chance for once. Being safe would be ending this and continuing on with her comfortable life.

 

This could possibly be what makes her life incredible.

 

She falls asleep to that thought alone.

 

The next day at school, Regina finds Kathryn during the first break. She’s been on edge ever since talking to Emma; full of fear and excitement and confusion. Her first thought when she woke up that morning was that she needed to speak to her best friend immediately.

 

She’s in her classroom, and Regina sighs in relief at the sight of her friend. “I was looking for you.”

 

The blonde smiles and looks up from her laptop, “I was here.”

 

“I see that. I need to talk to you.”

 

Kathryn motions to the bean bags in the corner of her room, smile widening, “Well then, step into my office.” She makes her way over to large bean bag sacks and plops down.

 

“I’m not sitting in that.”

 

“Yes you are.”

 

“I’m wearing a skirt.” Regina argues, crossing her arms as she stares down at her friend. She arches a brow when Kathryn moves a little, head dipping down.

 

“Yeah, and I can see straight up it. So do us both a favor and sit in the damn beanbag. It won't bite.”

 

Regina blushes but does as she’s told. Not without an eye roll, though.

 

“So what’s up, Genie.”

 

“I told you-“

 

“-not to call you that, right. But I do anyway and I don’t plan on stopping, so, talk.”

 

The brunette adjusts in effort to find a more comfortable position, but she can’t, so she slumps back and sighs. “I agreed to see her.”

 

“Henry’s mom?”

 

Regina nods silently, wringing her hands together. “She’s very persistent,” then she hastily adds, “not in a creepy or bad way.”

 

Kathryn smirks, “Well, I think that’s what you need.” At Regina’s eyebrow arch, she elaborates, “Robin was the type of person who went with the flow. He agreed with everything you said just to avoid argument, he gave up when you’d say no to something, he didn’t push you like a normal significant other would.”

 

“We’ve agreed that that relationship was boring.” Regina replied with a tone that said, so, what’s your point?

 

“Completely. But what I’m saying is that ever since you met Emma Swan, it’s been nothing but fire. You’ve gotten worked up and frustrated and it’s been argument after another, yet you still get all… doey eyes when we talk about her. Like right now.”

 

Regina blinks and feels the edges of her vision clear up, and she blushes. Because yes, she’s noticed that too. “I’m just.. worried.”

 

“Well, yeah. When Fred and I first started dating I was terrified.”

 

Regina tilts her head and bites her lip. “But there was nothing at stake for you if you dated him. He works at a different school and there is no conflict.”

 

Kathryn smiles, laughing as if Regina had just said the funniest thing in the world, “Regina, there’s always something at stake when it comes to feelings. Forget work for a minute. If that wasn’t an issue, what would be your top concern about being in a relationship with her?”

 

Regina doesn’t even have to think on it, because it is her number one concern. “Getting hurt.”

 

The other woman shrugs and relaxes into her bean bag. “See. Everybody has that fear. And honestly if you weren’t scared of that, then I’d say skip her and move on.”

 

“Why?”

 

“Because that would mean you don’t care about losing her.”

 

And that hits Regina like a ton of bricks. “Of course I care about her..” She starts, sitting up straight. “But being afraid of getting hurt is about me, not her.”

 

“I know, Regina. But do you really think that if something were to go wrong, you wouldn’t miss her? Or feel guilty and want to fix it?”

 

“I would.”

 

“Why does caring about her scare you so much?”

 

Ah, the million dollar question. She wants to say she doesn’t know, but deep down, she does.

 

“Daniel died the night after he proposed to me..” Regina tells her friend. Kathryn knows the story but she remains quiet, “we were young but I’m sure I was in love with him. It had to be love.. It was so strong.”

 

“I know..”

 

Regina sits up in a flash and grips Kathryn’s hand in her own tightly, eyes wide, “Katie.. When I see Emma, I feel so different .”

 

She sees the realization wash over Kathryn’s face and she closes her eyes and sits back, attempting to take her hand back. Her friend doesn’t let her and she doesn’t fight it.

 

“So you’re worried that if you lose Emma, the aftermath will be worse than-“

 

“Nothing will ever compare to losing Daniel.” Regina snaps, yanking her hand back hard. She immediately regrets how defensively she reacted.

 

“That’s not what I meant.” Kathryn replies softly. “But it’s okay to realize that your feelings are stronger for her than they are for him. That doesn’t make what you felt for him invalid. But you said it yourself; you were young at the time. You’ve grown now, Regina, you’ve changed and experienced different things.”

 

“So you think I should give this a real chance?”

 

Kathryn smiles and nods definitely, “You’d be stupid not to, and trust me, Genie, you’re not stupid. I say let Emma Swan show you what it’s like to be taken care of because nobody is this persistent without having some deep feelings.”

 

Regina smiles and moves her shirt collar down to show the faded, but prominent, hickie. “She left this on Saturday.”

 

Kathryn’s eyes widen and she leans forward, “So wait, you’ve already slept with her? How was it? Did she make you-“

 

“No! Kathryn, no. We didn’t even kiss. She was trying to.. persuade me..”

 

“Well damn, what a persuasion that is. Just imagine what it’ll be like when it’s not for persuasion and solely for pleasure.”

 

Regina blushes a deep red and swallows, looking away from her friend. She’s not modest, per se, but she’s not exactly experienced in the bedroom. Her list of bedmates includes Daniel with their first time, and Robin. Both who have not achieved giving her an actual orgasm (that she knows of).

 

With the way Emma used her mouth and hands both Saturday and Sunday, Regina has a strong feeling that this will be the relationship that gives her that prophetic “sexual awakening”.

 

“Damn, I didn’t mean to turn you on.”

 

She snaps out of it and looks at her friend with incredulous eyes. “I’m leaving.”

 

“Oh, come on, I was kidding!”

 

“Thanks for the talk, Katie. I’ll see you at lunch.” She struggles to get up but when she does, she huffs, straightens her outfit and quickly walks out.



***



When it’s pick up time, she can’t help but feel a bit nervous. The past few times she’s waited with Henry, she’s walked away before Emma could spot her. But that was before their last two encounters.

 

She doesn’t know what it’ll be like now. She knows she can’t avoid the woman any longer.

 

Henry doesn’t take out his ships when they make it to their spot under the tree, instead he takes out the week’s new reading list and begins sounding them out. She feels a wave of pride wash over her.

 

“Why don’t you say them to me, dear.” She suggests, and he looks at her and grins.

 

“Rrrr-Eh-D. Red?”

 

She hums, nodding and smiling softly, and it continues like this until they hear the telltale engine of Emma’s yellow bug.

 

She straightens her posture and smiles (hopefully not nervously) at the blonde who is making her way over to them. “One day you’ll be watching your car get towed.” She arches a brow.

 

Emma looks back at the “no parking at any time” sign right above her car and she shrugs. “It also says ten minute max waiting time. I’ll be gone in nine.”

 

Regina rolls her eyes and smirks, “Of course you like to push boundaries.” She holds in her wince because it definitely means more than one thing.

 

“Only when it’s worth it.” Is Emma’s reply is genuine and light and she offers Regina a smile and all Regina can do is wring her hands and smile back.

 

“Mommy, I’m practicing my words of the week with Miss Miss!”

 

Regina concurs, “He didn’t even pull out the battleships. Went straight for his words.”

 

Emma smirks and looks pointedly at her son, “Why’s that, kid?”

 

Regina arches a brow and looks at the boy, who is now huffing and crossing his arms. “Mommy taked them away.”

 

“Why?”

 

“He decided that sleep wasn’t necessary last night.”

 

“Ah.” Regina smiles, “he had no trouble at-“ she pauses, swallowing. She almost said it out loud at work. And how easy it was.

 

Maybe she’ll be the cause of her own demise after all.

 

“He only wanted to sleep there.”

 

She smiles again. Because, god, she can’t help it.

 

“You look nice.” Emma says, and Regina realizes she’s leaned in a bit closer.

 

“Emma..” She mutters, looking around while taking a small step back. “Not here.”

 

Emma just grins. “You got it, Ms. Mills.” And the way her voice lilts around her name sends tingles through her body. The blonde looks at her watch and sighs, “Well, it’s been eight minutes.”

 

“So it has.” Regina nods.

 

Emma looks her up and down, which is something that apparently is uncontrollable. Their eyes lock, green and brown mixing like a sunlit forest.

 

Henry hugs Regina, breaking her from the intense stare. “I’ll see you tomorrow, darling.” She smiles at him. Regina looks at Emma, “You too.”

 

“I hope so.”

 

And they’re off, both Swans jogging to the yellow bug. Henry’s backpack bounces animatedly as he hops next to Emma.

 

All Regina can think as they leave is that she wishes they didn’t have to.

 

She gets a text later when she’s driving home, and she grows anxious, knowing exactly who it is. She turns her radio up so the urge to check it while she’s driving is tamped by whatever nonsensical teenaged music is playing.

 

Regina lasts a whole 4 seconds after she pulls into her driveway before she's checking her phone. Her cheeks redden in the warm confines of her Mercedes.

 

Emma: Is it okay if I tell you how pretty you are here?

 

Regina smiles at her screen and she feels those familiar tingles in her belly. I suppose.

 

Emma: You’re beautiful.

Chapter Text

Emma



Emma watches her son intently as he plays with his recently returned battleships. He’d finished all of his homework for the night and thankfully was too tired to go outside, so it called for a night in. She doesn’t mind that one bit.

 

“Careful, Em, you’re gonna stare a hole right through his head.”

 

Ruby’s voice brings her back to present time and she arches a brow, looking at her best friend. “I can't look at my son?”

 

Ruby scoffs and shakes her head, leaning back against the couch nonchalantly, “of course you can. But like why so..intensely?’

 

She contemplates not telling Ruby, simply because of the grilling she’ll get immediately after, but thinks better of it. “Regina and I are kinda talking now.”

 

“Talking how..”

 

“Like, we’re going to see where we get if we pursue a relationship.”

 

Her best friend beams, slapping her arm lightly, “No shit! How’d that happen?”

 

Henry’s head snaps up and he gives Ruby a stern, no-nonsense look. “Aunty Ruby, that’s one dollar in the jar.”

 

“Damn.”

 

“Two dollars!”

 

Emma smirks as Ruby stands up with a groan, stuffing two dollars into the jar that reads “ruby’s bad words.” It’s not a communal swear jar because Emma doesn't usually curse in front of her son (usually being a very loose term). It’s hard not to though, especially when things get stressful with taking care of Henry and work and Ruby.

 

“Anyway, how’d you finally land Miss HotPants after 600 months?”

 

“It’s been less than   two months, and all it took was some persistence and my usual charm.”

Ruby nods and wraps an arm around her best friend’s shoulders, sighing in contentment. “You know, Swan, for once I believe you.”

 

“Means a lot.”

 

The brunette winks at her and leans forward, snapping at Henry with her fingers, “Hey, Munchkin!” When he looks up, he's wearing an annoyed and unamused face (much like Emma’s). Ruby ignores it and continues, “Do you like your teacher?”

 

“Miss Miss?”

 

Ruby pauses, confused, “What?”

 

“He means Ms. Mills. What are you asking him?”

 

Ruby holds her hand up and gestures for her friend to wait, “Do you think she’s fun to be around?”

 

“Yup! She always plays Battleships with me!”

 

Ruby turns to her best friend with raised eyebrows and a semi-shocked look on her face. “He let someone touch his ships?”

 

“Told you. The woman’s magic.”

 

“When it comes to the Swan family? Hell yeah.”

 

Henry tosses a ship at Ruby, his aim right on target as it hits her in the cheek, “Another dollar!”

 

“I’m gonna go broke!” She whines, crossing her arms in defiance.

 

“We’re not,” Emma jokes, holding her hand out and standing up. “Pay up, Lucas.”

 

Ruby slaps a five into Emma’s hand, “Just in case,” she mutters, leaning her head back against the cushion of the couch. Emma chuckles and shoves it into the overstuffed jar.

 

“Hen, I think by next summer we’ll be able to buy a pool.” She smirks, shooting her best friend a wink.

 

The little boy, of course, goes nuts.

 

As Emma starts up dinner, she can’t help but smile to herself when she thinks about Regina. The stubborn Regina that took three months to finally agree to see her. Most would call it annoying, but if Emma truly felt that there was no mutual attraction, she would have quit that same day she saw Regina after the bar.

 

But she felt it, deep, deep in her bones. And she saw it too. The way the older woman looked at her made her feel incredibly weightless yet so very grounded to earth all at once. Even when Regina was denying her feelings.

 

“So, when’s the big day?” Ruby jokes, taking a seat at the bar. She grins widely at her friend from across the counter.

 

“We haven’t even gone on a date yet.” Emma deadpans.

 

“So when’s that day?”

 

“Friday. Henry’s coming too.”

 

Ruby makes a face and shakes her head, “No way. I won’t let him coc-“ She stops as Emma glares at her, “I’ll watch him, that way you can have some yummy alone time with her.”

 

“Thanks, but not this time. Henry is to attend per request of the Queen.” Emma relays royally, a smile on her face. “Plus, I don't really mind. He makes things less awkward while they’re so new and tricky. He’s like my little icebreaker.”

 

Ruby rolls her eyes but nods, “I guess that makes sense. It’s kinda weird though, no? Having your son there on your first date?”

 

“Not weird at all. We’ll hopefully have more dates than just this first one to be alone. I think this is a good start.”

 

“Since she’s so skittish right now.”

 

“Exactly.”

 

“I like your thinkin’, Swan. Always taking one for the team.”

 

Emma rolls her eyes and turns back to her tray of garlic bread. She deposits it into the oven and closes it, setting the timer. “I just hope things go at least a little bit smooth this Friday because I’m losing momentum with her.”

 

“You just need to leave her wanting more.”

 

This is true. Because if Emma knows one thing, it’s that she definitely turns Regina on, and she takes great pride in that. Of course she wouldn’t use it in a malicious way, she has only the best intentions for their blossoming relationship. But a bit of teasing wouldn’t be so harmful, right?

 

“I’m not going to like… Embarrass her, though. She’s already pretty unsure of her sexuality and things are okay right now.. I don’t want to fuck it up.”

 

Ruby shrugs, leaning her head against her propped up hand. “Honestly Em, if she hasn’t kicked you to the curb by now, I think you’ll be okay.”

 

Emma gives her friend a small, grateful smile. There’s a small crash in the living room and both women snap their heads toward the source.

 

Henry is sitting in a pile of DVDs, looking guilty and a bit frazzled. “Sorry, mommy.” He mutters meekly, cheeks red from embarrassment. “I’ll clean it up.”

 

Ruby laughs loudly, slipping out of her stool and making her way over to the kid. “I’ll supervise.”

 

“Don’t make a bigger mess, Rubes.” Emma warns, dumping a jar of alfredo sauce into a pot.

 

“Wouldn’t think of it.” But her voice says she is thinking of it.

 

Emma can’t help but think of what it may be like to do exactly this, but instead of Ruby being present, it’s Regina. She thinks about how domestic it is. Even with a son, Emma Swan has never seen herself as domestic. But Regina is this force in her life that changes so many aspects, it’s mind blowing. She knows that if she plays her cards right, she may get this new little vision in her head to be reality, but for now, she settles for being cautious; she likes to think of it as a Tiger trainer. Regina is this devastatingly beautiful Tigress and Emma is the trainer and yes, there could totally be a mutual understanding and love at the end of this, but also, Emma could get her face torn off.

 

Later, after dinner, Ruby heads home and Henry is getting ready for bed. Ever since his tantrum, bedtime has moved up to 8 PM, and although Emma knows he just lays there for about an hour, he respects her terms and doesn’t complain (too much).

 

As he’s climbing into bed, she kisses his forehead and sits down next to him. “Kid, you know how we were at Ms. Mills’s house on Sunday?”

 

He nods, “uh-huh.”

 

“Do you want to go back?”

 

He sits up, an excited smile on his face, “When?”

 

“Friday.”

 

He claps his hands together and Emma lets him be excited for a moment, before she draws his attention back, “But Hen, I need you to really listen, okay?”

 

“Okay.” He agrees, even though he doesn’t know what he’s agreeing to.

 

“You can’t tell anyone about going to her house yet. Alright? It just needs to stay between the three of us.”

 

He nods thoughtfully, “Will they get jealous that we get to see her outside of school and they don’t?”

 

She can’t help but smile at that and nod, “Something like that. So will you keep it our little secret for now?” She hates asking this of him, it almost doesn’t seem worth it, but she thinks of the family they could be in the future and tamps down the guilt.

 

“I won’t tell anyone! I promise!”

 

“Good. It won’t be like this forever, Kid, just for a little while.”

 

“So we get to see Miss Miss after school on friday?” He grins.

 

“Yup. For some dinner and maybe we can watch a movie too.”

 

“I’ll pick it out.”

 

“Deal.” She kisses his forehead and gently pushes him down by his shoulders, “Now, Mr. Man, it’s time for sleep.”

 

He doesn’t argue.

 

When she showers and slips into bed, she decides that she’ll text Regina. Every time she does, she has no expectation that the older woman will respond but she likes to at least start the conversation.

 

How’s your night going?

 

It’s simple and easy.

 

It’s a total of 7 minutes before her phone chimes and there’s a notification from Regina. She smiles giddily at her phone.

 

Regina: Slow. Mondays usually are. Yours?

 

This is a good start.

 

About the same. I have a love/hate relationship with days off.

 

Regina: What’s to hate about them?

 

They’re usually during the week and Henry is at school. Rarely do I get weekends off.

 

Regina: I can see how hate comes into play. May I ask, who looks after Henry on weekends if you’re working and your sitter has moved away?

 

Ruby usually. So far I’ve been lucky these past few weeks that our schedules have been consistent.

 

She likes being able to talk this freely and openly with Regina. She feels those tingles come back and it’s both lovely and jittery at the same time.

 

Regina: May I suggest something?

 

Of course you may

 

Regina: Without overstepping, I would like for you to know that if your friend is not available to watch over Henry, I will be happy to do it.

 

Emma sits up in bed and stares at the message. This is Regina she’s talking to, right? Another text follows quickly, and she smiles, almost picturing the older woman twisting her fingers or the pink stain on her cheeks.

 

Without thinking, she hits the contact information and then the call button, and she’s pressing the phone to her ear.

 

“Miss Swan…-“

 

“Do you mean it?”

 

There’s a pause, and some shifting sounds. “I..Yes. Of course.”

 

“It’s just that.. this thing between us is so new and watching him is a lot to ask. I don’t want to put pressure on you when we’ve just started talking.”

 

Regina sighs on the other end, “ Emma, if it was going to be too much pressure for me, I wouldn’t have suggested. Secondly, I like to think of Henry as a separate party in this. No matter what is going on with you and I, I will never turn my back to him if you both need me .”

 

Emma mulls that over in her head and smiles softly. It’s sweet and a little frightening all at once. But she doesn’t think to hard on it. “Well then, I’m glad you offered.”

 

No problem .”

 

Emma lays down and settles against her pillows. “So, what are you wearing?”

 

Emma!” Regina’s tone is shocked and scolding but also… amused?

 

“Kidding! I’m kidding.” She’s not, because she actually really wants to know, but she’s genuinely just trying to lighten the mood. “Don’t hang up.”

 

You’re so childish sometimes .”

 

“So I’ve been told.”

 

She wishes she could see Regina’s face right now, she hopes that there’s a smile on it, but really, it could be anything. “I told Henry about Friday. And I told him that it would be better if he didn’t tell anyone at school about it. He thinks they’ll be jealous of him.”

 

Jealous how ?”

 

“That we get to see you outside of school and they can’t. Can’t blame them though, you’re something else.”

 

Regina scoffs and lets out a small chuckle, “ I highly doubt jealousy will be the worst of our worries if someone finds out .”

 

“Right, so, he said he’d keep it between us.”

 

Thank you … Is he okay with it?” Regina asks, and for once, her voice sounds meek and not so sure. “ Seeing me more ?”

 

“Are you kidding? He’s over the moon.”

 

Somehow, over the phone, there’s less tension and pressure and it’s easier.

 

And you ?”

 

“And me what?”

 

Are you over the moon ?”

 

“Fishing for compliments, are we?”

 

Regina is quiet for a moment and Emma mentally slaps herself. “ You don’t have to answer, Emma .” The older woman snaps, voice a little bit harder than before.

 

“Regina, all I’ve been able to think about is seeing you. The second Henry and I walked anyway at the school, I wanted to turn around and look at you again. I’m more than over the moon. I’m flung past Jupiter.”

 

And yeah, it’s pretty freaking corny.

 

Jupiter, huh ?”

 

“Wrong planet? Should I have said Pluto?”

 

Regina chuckles then, low and soft and something Emma hasn’t ever heard before, not even with Henry. “ Pluto isn’t a planet, darling .”

 

“R-right.” Emma stutters, because christ. Darling? Directed at her? What has this Regina done with the old one?

 

Maybe phone confidence is a real thing and Regina is experiencing it.

 

“Then Jupiter it is.”

 

Jupiter .” Regina agrees.

 

They talk for nearly two hours before Regina sleepily tells Emma that she’s going to bed. Her voice is slow and raspy and it takes everything inside Emma not to say something stupid, so she just agrees and bids the older woman goodnight.

 

Before they hang up, Regina’s voice rings through, “ Oh, and Emma ?”

 

“Yeah?”

 

A navy blue satin nightgown. It has spaghetti straps and stops mid thigh .”

 

It takes Emma a moment to realize what Regina is talking about, but by the time she does, the line is dead and she’s alone in her dark, quiet room.

 

What are you wearing?

 

Jesus Christ.

Chapter Text

Regina



The week passes with no real excitement save for the anticipation of her date with Emma and Henry.

 

On Friday, she goes about her day like she normally would, waking up and getting ready for class, leaving, doing her normal routine at work, and at the end of the day, she waits with Henry until Emma picks him up. This time, the blonde gives Regina a certain look that sends a red blush seeping down her neck. They exchange a few words, Regina says goodbye to Henry with a quick wink, and is rewarded with a giggle from the boy, small hands covering his mouth in effort not to give away their secret.

 

When she gets home, she immediately slips into the shower, then does her hair, and now, she looks at herself in the full body mirror for a long moment, taking in her slim black dress with capped sleeves. It’s modest enough to not be inappropriate in front of an innocent Henry (only stopping as high as her kneecaps), but curve hugging enough to entice his less innocent mother.

 

She looks at her makeup and squints her eyes. Lipstick. A dark red will look nice with her smokey makeup.

 

She knows nothing intense will happen tonight, but she feels a new-found confidence around Emma, knowing just how much this woman wants her, it tamps her worries and fear and awakens a hungry curiosity that she can't help but indulge in.

 

She checks the clock on her side table and sees that it’s only five. She has plenty of time to cook dinner. She finishes applying her lipstick and caps it, taking one more sure glance at herself before grabbing her heels and making her way downstairs.

 

She feels antsy, more than she felt with her first date with her ex. It’s a little unnerving.

 

Making Lasagna is something she and her father have perfected, and now, throwing one together and popping it in the oven takes less than fifteen minutes. As her home begins to fill with the aromatic scent of italian herbs and spices, she can't help but press her slightly shaky hands against the cool counter.

 

This will be good. She’ll make sure her own insecurities don't get in the way and ruin the evening she’s planned with the two people she can't help but think about constantly.



***



She’s about to take the Lasagna out of the oven when she hears a knock on the front door. She furrows her brows and looks at the time, seeing that it’s only 6:45. They’re early. She sighs, taking the casserole dish out. She can't fault Emma for being more than punctual.

 

She sets the hot dish on top of the stove and rushes to the door, smoothing out her hair and dress before she opens the door with a smile. “You’re early.” She says, taking in the blonde’s usual gettup. Jeans, a button up blouse and leather boots. Emma just looks at Regina with a strange face and the brunette swallows thickly, wondering if there’s something wrong with her outfit. “What?” She snaps.

 

“I don't know why I didn’t realize you’d be so.. Short without those heels of yours.” Emma smirks, eyes raking over the older woman’s body. Regina reddens when she looks down at her stocking clad feet. She’d forgotten her heels in the kitchen in her rush to open the front door.

 

“Yes, well not all of us can be as fortunately tall as you.” Regina replies sarcastically, fingers tucking dark hair behind her ears. “Please, come in.”  She pauses, looks around, and turns back to Emma. “Where is Henry?”

 

The blonde shrugs and steps closer. “Not here. It’s just me and you, Ms. Mills.” Her smirk is wide on those pink, pink lips, and it sends shivers down her back. She clears her throat, unable to voice her disdain. She can't even muster the courage to correct Emma’s poor wording. Emma is standing so damn close.

 

“Surprise!” She hears, and tears her gaze from behind the blonde and she’s never been so relieved to see Henry. He’d been hiding behind one of the columns on her porch.

 

She reaches out as Henry scampers into her arms and laughs, ignoring the amused stare from his mother. “You tricked me!” She squeezes him, and he giggles loudly.

 

“I wanted to s’prise you!”

 

She feels utter joy wash over her and she pulls him inside, taking his backpack and hanging it on her coat rack. “I made my favorite dish, Henry. Do you like Lasagna?”

 

He looks at his mother, who smiles as she closes the front door, “It’s like spaghetti, but with bigger noodles and lots of cheese and sauce.”

 

Regina rolls her eyes but agrees, “It’s cooling off right now. I’ll pop some garlic bread in the oven and make a salad. Dinner should be ready in about twenty minutes.” She pats the boy’s shoulder.

 

Emma cuts in, “So, do you want me to leave and just pick him up later, orrr..”

 

Henry takes off into the house to explore as Regina leads Emma to the kitchen. She slips on her heels, feeling her confidence accompany them, and turns to the blonde. Her breath hitches and she realizes they’re very close once again. “I suppose Henry and I can make some room for you to join us.” She smirks, eyes casting down to look at Emma’s lips.

 

Emma smiles, letting a hand come up to settle on the older woman’s slender waist, “I’m so grateful.” She looks down at Regina’s dress and nods approvingly, “You look.. Very beautiful, Ms. Mills.”

 

And despite her best efforts, Regina blushes even harder. The newness of this kind of intimacy makes her knees weak and body heat up like never before. “You look pretty nice yourself, Miss Swan.” She retorts, smiling shyly. She’ll admit she’s not used to this kind of blatant flirting. Romance was rare in her past relationship, but with Emma, it seems as though romance comes naturally.

 

“I’d better make the salad.” She sighs, pulling away after a few moments.

 

“Let me do it.” Emma offers, going to the sink to wash her hands. “You go find Henry because I’m sure he’s somewhere he’s not supposed to be.”

 

Regina looks at her for a moment, “You sure you can handle it?”

 

“It’s just salad, Regina. Besides,” Emma smirks, green eyes dancing over Regina’s body once more, “you’d be surprised at what I can handle.”

 

She should be used to being checked out by Emma at this point, but she’s not. She doesn’t think she ever will be. So she hides her smile and shows the blonde where everything is before setting off to find Henry.

 

He’s in her study, sitting on a pile of books in front of her wall of books as he flips through what seems to be an American Poetry collection. She smiles fondly. “Did you find something you like?”

 

His head snaps up and he lets the heavy book tumble off his knees, “I tried to put them back but they’re heavy.” He blushes, and it’s absolutely adorable.

 

“That’s okay, darling.” She lets herself crouch down until she can lean fully against the built in shelf behind her. She grabs the poetry book, stretching her legs out and crossing them at the ankle. “Do you want me to read something from this to you?” She knows he won’t understand even half of it but she dreads this little moment ending.

 

How she wishes she had her own child to experience this with. Henry is an exceptional stand in though.

 

He nods eagerly and sits next to her, leaning against her as he looks at the open page.

 

She reads a few lines from a poem by Maya Angelou successfully before he gets antsy. She smiles at his childlike impatience.

 

“I will find some books for kids after dinner. I may have some from when I was your age.” She tells him, setting the book next to her gently.

 

He looks at her with wide eyes, “You were little?”

 

“Everyone was.”

 

“Oh yeah.”

 

A throat clearing makes both of their heads snap toward the doorway, and Emma stands there, leaning against the frame. “The timer for the bread went off and I took it out to cool. Salad’s done too.” Her eyes are warm and something tells Regina that she’s been standing there for a few moments.

 

“How about I go set the table and then we can all eat?”

 

“I’m starving!” Henry boasts, jumping up and dashing out of the room. Regina stands too, bending to grab the books and return them to their alphabetical spot. She feels eyes on her and she dusts her dress off as she turns around to see Emma. There’s no doubt the other woman was copping an eyeful. Regina can’t help but love being desired this much.

 

“Are you starving too?” Regina asks, crossing her arms and arching a brow.

 

“Hmm. Like you wouldn’t believe.” Emma smirks, cheeks pink.

 

“Well, I better not keep you two waiting. Come.”

 

She’s sure she hears a sound come from Emma, like a groan maybe, but she ignores it for now. Henry can only be left unattended for so long.



***



Emma makes a drawn out noise at the first taste of Regina’s lasagna. Her green eyes go wide and she stares at the older woman. “Holy shit.”

 

Regina arches an amused brow and casts a glance to Henry, who is giggling at his mother, mouth full of garlic bread and pasta.

 

“Language.” Regina scolds, taking a dainty bite of her own creation.

 

“Yeah, mommy!”

 

“Sorry,” Emma grins, wiping her mouth with a napkin. “You’re an amazing cook, Regina.”

 

“Thank you, dear.”

 

The blonde winks at her and she can’t help but smile softly, looking down at her food. After a few bites, she looks over to Henry, “So, what movie did you bring?”

 

“Transformers!”

 

“I told him to pick a different one so he grabbed that one and Voltron: Legendary Defender.” Emma rolls her eyes, shooting her son a sidelong glance. “I grabbed a grown up movie as well and he promised me that he’d let you pick from the three.”

 

Henry takes a bite of his bread and shakes his head, “I already know Miss Miss is going to want to watch Voltron. She’s just like Princess Allura!”

 

Emma smirks and tilts her head, staring at the older woman. “They look nothing alike, kid.”

 

“But they act the same! Princess Allura is so nice and smart and so is Miss Miss!”

 

“You got me there.”

 

Regina watches as they banter on about this character and she wonders exactly what they’re talking about.

 

“You’re Pidge, mommy.”

 

The look Emma gives Henry makes Regina laugh, and she chips in, “And which character are you most alike, Henry?”

 

“Lance.” Emma says quickly, “He’s goofy and energetic just like you. ” She grins at Henry.

 

“No! I’m Shiro. The leader.”

 

“I don’t think so.”

 

“I am!”

 

Regina sips her wine and tries not to think about how much she wants this every day. “I suppose we’ll have to watch it now, just to determine who Henry is.”

 

“Yes!”

 

“You’ve done it now, Ms. Mills. You’ll never hear the end of this.”

 

“I look forward to it.”

 

They finish eating and while Regina does the dishes, Emma sets the movie (which turns out to be a series of episodes instead) up and settles Henry with his blanket. He refuses to start without them, so Regina is encouraged to clean fast.

 

She’s halfway through when she feels hands slide onto her hips and a body press into hers from behind. Her actions halt and she lets out a shaky breath.

 

“Dinner was great, Princess Allura .” Emma purrs into her ear, and Regina shivers. She tries hard to appear unaffected and continues washing.

 

“Thank you, Pidge.”

 

Emma laughs and pressed her body closer, her pelvis nearly pressed flush against Regina’s backside. “You know, I always kind of thought they had a thing for each other. Especially in the newer reboot on netflix.”

 

“Imagine that.”

 

She feels fingers brush her hair aside and then warm lips connect with her neck. “When do I get to kiss you?” Emma asks, and it’s less seductive like her previous words, and more of a pout.

 

“I believe you’re doing that right now.” Regina retorts, her will to remain indifferent weakening every moment Emma’s lips and tongue connect with her skin. “I need to finish these dishes or there will be a very pouty boy on our hands.”

 

Emma slips her hands from Regina’s hips to her lower belly, caressing softly. “Then finish them. I’ll wait.” Except instead of backing away, Emma pushes herself completely flush against Regina and sucks a patch of skin into her mouth.

 

“You will not leave a mark, Miss Swan.”

 

“I won’t. Don’t worry. Just wanna kiss you.”

 

The words cause Regina to stop washing completely, hands instead going to the edge of the sink to gain some balance. Jesus, how will she ever be able to maintain control around this woman?

 

“Emma.” She mutters, tilting her head to give the younger woman some room to work. “Henry is waiting.”

 

Emma doesn’t listen this time, only hums as she trails her hands up until her thumbs are brushing the underside of Regina’s breasts. In this moment, she doesn’t see the point in denying Emma.

 

They’ve already crossed that line. They’ve already acknowledged their feelings, already involved Henry, there’s already so much on the line. Even at this point there would be repercussions if things go wrong, so now, there’s no going back.

 

She covers Emma’s hands with her own and move them up, just so they’re resting over her heaving breasts. It feels divine having this woman’s hands on her. She didn’t realize how much she’d really craved this until right now.

 

“You drive me crazy.” She murmurs to Emma, letting her lips part so a soft hum can slide out like velvet.

 

Emma’s hands are massaging her breasts rhythmically, her breath is warm as she replies with a soft, “Now you know how I’ve been feeling.” She smirks into Regina’s neck. “But waiting for you these past few months has been totally worth it.”

 

Regina feels a wave of warmth and assurance wash over her. Any fears or anxiety of this being wrong are flushed away and all that is left now is a wild bloom of curious excitement.

 

Never in her life has she felt this kind of pull to another human being.

 

They hear Henry call them from the den and they reluctantly break apart. The dishes aren’t done yet but Regina lets them go, instead letting Emma pull her out of the kitchen. “Those dishes would’ve been done if you didn’t come in and distract me.”

 

“If you want, I’ll finish them later.” Emma smirks, plopping down onto the couch on one side of Henry. He’s nearly bouncing out of his spot with excitement. “But right now we need to get Voltron up and running.”

 

“Right. Princess Allura and Pidge.”

 

“And Shiro!” The boy chimes in, clapping his hands.

 

“You mean Lance.”

 

No.”

 

“Yes.”

 

Regina scoffs as she turns her television on and pulls up netflix. “Miss Swan, you know better than to act like a child.”

 

“Do I?”

Regina doesn’t bother replying. A smile remains painted on her face though, and she settles down next to Henry, who immediately burrows into her side. She will never tire of being loved by him.

 

“So I just get to sit over here and be cold?” Emma frowns, sending daggers to her son. “Aren’t we supposed to be Voltron cuddle buddies?”

 

“Miss Miss is new to Voltron and she needs a cuddle buddy, mommy. We always cuddle.” He turns to look up at Regina, wide green eyes curiously gazing at her, “Do you have a cuddle buddy?”

 

“Not at the moment, no.”

 

“See, mommy? She needs one.”

 

Emma sighs but smiles, “Fine. I’ll just sit here in the cold while you two cuddle.”

 

“Okay!” Henry says, all too cheerily. Regina smirks at the blonde and wraps her arm around the boy.

 

“Perhaps you can come sit on the other side of me.” Regina finds herself offering, and it surprises both of them. “Since you’re cold.”

 

“Totally. Since I’m cold.” Emma agrees, moving to the other side of Regina and immediately wrapping an arm around the older woman’s shoulder, fingers caressing the bare skin of her arm softly. “So where do we start, kid?”

 

“The very first one. Miss Miss has to see it from the beginning.”

 

“I was thinking the same thing.”



***



She won't ever admit this out loud, but she’s completely enraptured by this show. So much so that she almost hadn’t noticed the way Emma’s fingers had trailed softly up and down her bare arm, or the handful of times she felt those soft green eyes on her.

 

Before he’d completely knocked out, Henry had explained every character as best as he could and Regina thoroughly enjoyed it, listening as she watched the show intently. The way the little boy clung to her as he spoke animatedly made her heart swell four times larger.

 

Now, Henry lay sleeping against the other side of the couch, head propped up on the arm and a throw over his tiny body. As the (surprisingly long) episode comes to a close, Regina leans forward and hits pause on the remote.

 

“Would you like to join me in my study for some cider?”

 

Emma arches a brow and tips her head up, “A small one, sure. I gotta drive home still.”

 

“Of course.”

 

They make sure Henry is okay before making their way quietly back into the room full of tall bookshelves. The silence is oddly comforting as Regina pours their drinks, motioning for Emma to sit down on the small couch near the fireplace.

 

“How did you like the show, Princess Allura?”

 

Regina joins her on the couch, sitting close with her legs crossed. “It was pleasantly entertaining.”

 

Emma sips and hums, a glint in her eyes. Regina watches the way the blonde lickes the excess cider off of her pink lips and she feels her mouth go impossibly dry. She tamps down the urge to down the entire tumbler of cider in one go.

 

“I don't mean to get all,” Emma blushes as she speaks, “I don't know.. Cheesy, but I’m really glad Henry’s found another person to trust. We’ve both kinda been on our own and he doesn’t have many people in his life.”

 

“I-” Regina starts, and then she doesn't know how to continue, because this is definitely not what she expected Emma to say upon their first moments alone, in close proximity, with strong alcohol. “It’s my job.” She finds herself saying, and she wants to slap herself.

 

Emma takes it like a champ though, smirking, “I’m sure part of it is, but most teachers wouldn't go out of their way like you have. Just say thank you.”

 

The older woman squints, fingers tightening around her glass and she pushes out a slow breath, “He is easy to adore.” She says instead. “And he is very special.”

 

Emma smiles proudly and sips her drink a bit more before setting it on the side table behind her. “You know, you’re pretty good at acting like a no nonsense, no B.S. type of woman, but I can tell you’re pretty soft.”

 

And how dare she say that. Emma barely knows a single thing about her. Regina feels her face screw up a bit and the urge to strike back bubbles low in her belly. What stops her is the mirth in Emma’s pretty eyes, and she realizes that the words were not spoken with malice. “I will end you if you-”

 

“Who am I gonna tell, Ms. Mills?”

 

“You’re very irritating, Miss Swan.”

 

Emma grins again and relaxes back into the soft cushions of the couch, “Don't waste your breath on things I already know.”

 

Regina shakes her head and finishes off her drink, letting Emma take the empty glass to place next to hers. On a whim, she finds confidence, “If you don't mind sharing, where is Henry’s father?”

 

Emma seems unphased by the question, and Regina can't help but be a bit relieved at that.

 

“Currently? I don’t know. Last I heard from Neal, he was in a penitentiary in Florida for theft.”

 

Brown eyes widen, “ Prison?”

 

Emma nods, “When he and I were together… it was a really bad time. I had run away from my foster home a few years prior and I was kinda living on the streets, and one day, I was..uh..I was stealing a car, and it turns out that he had the same idea. He’d stolen it before I did and he was sleeping in the back seat while I tried to hotwire it.”

 

And it sounds like a scene from a bad TV show, but the way Emma talks of it tells Regina that this is all painfully true. She can't help but lean in a bit closer and watch as Emma continues on.

 

“We hit it off and then traveled the country together, stealing food and stuff to get by. It was never anything crazy, just snacks and the occasional dine-n-dash. But one time, he came back to our hotel room with a whole bunch of watches and I knew that this would be what gets us in trouble. He tried to get me to go with him to Canada, but I wouldn't, and he left anyway. He got caught and was sentenced to like.. Five to ten years. I found out I was pregnant a few weeks later and came to Brooke County, met Ruby, she helped me a lot through that time.”

 

There’s so much to process in this moment, and Regina can tell that Emma is shocked too; at the way she opened up so easily, at how serious their conversation turned, at the entire moment. She shakes her head and presses her lips together for a moment, assessing her words before she speaks. “If it’s any consolation, Emma, I think you’re doing very well now, and your hard work has paid off.”

 

“I know,” the blonde smirks, nudging the older woman softly. “I’m still learning how to be a grown up with responsibilities but it’s getting easier.”

 

“Were you in love with him?” Regina asks.

 

“At the time, yeah. When we were just teenagers scraping by and outrunning the law. It felt like the whole Bonnie and Clyde situation, minus the murder.”

 

Regina rolls her eyes, a small smile tugging at her lips. “I was in love once.” She admits, feeling calm and safe in Emma’s presence. “His name was Daniel, and we were very, very close.” She feels anger bubble, “My mother didn’t like him, he didn’t have any real prominence in the community and was, in her terms, “poor.” I didn’t care about any of that though. He was so good to me.”

 

“I hear mothers are like that.” Emma jokes, and Regina doesn't hide her small smile this time.

 

“Mine was worse. She’s a lot.. Tamer now, but back then?” She pushed out a breath. “I hated her. She’d walked in on Daniel and I kissing one night, sent him running. I was so angry with her… I remember running after Daniel but he was already in his car, driving away.”

 

“How long ago was this?” Emma asks, and Regina realizes that they’re basically pressed against each other, with Emma’s hand over her own on her lap. She feels completely, utterly comfortable with this woman, it’s terrifying.

 

“Ten years ago. I was twenty-five when my mother found out about us, but we’d been together for two years before that.” She blushes and swallows thickly as she admits, “He was my first.. Everything. I was a bit of a late bloomer. My mother kept me sheltered until I left for college. I met Daniel there. She didn’t do anything about us for a few months after she found out that I was dating him. She mostly just made it known that she didn’t like him.. but when she caught us kissing.. It made her mad.

 

“There I was, a twenty-five year old college graduate, still being dictated by her mother.” Regina shakes her head. “A week after we got caught, we met up at his apartment, and we planned to run away. I had a bachelor's degree and some of my own money and so did he, and I thought we were going to be fine. He proposed to me that night, and I said yes immediately.” She hates this part of the story, she hated telling Kathryn about it, and she hates thinking about it.

 

“He died the next night though. In a car accident.”

 

Emma’s hugging her from the side now, arms wrapped around her shoulders tightly. “I’m sorry you went through that.” Emma tells her softly, and for the first time since Daniel’s death, Regina feels at peace. With the fact that he’s gone, with the moving on, with everything. At least in this moment.

 

She looks at Emma, their proximity making it so their faces are only mere inches apart, and she feels that inevitable pull once again.

 

She feels vulnerable and weak and a bit needy, and it’s so out of character for her that she wants to scream. But at the same time, she can't help but crave this. Now that she knows what it’s like to be held by this woman, by someone she truly cares about, she doesn’t want it to end.

 

“And other than Daniel, I’ve only been with Robin, my ex. I told you about him. It was a boring, unhealthy relationship.”

 

“Hey, I’m no love expert here, either,” Emma smiles, bringing her fingers up to caress Regina’s cheek. “I know you’re a bit wary of this, and I respect it. I may be over eager sometimes and a bit touchy feely, but-”

 

“A bit?”

 

But, I will respect your decision if you want to take things slow. I don't want to hurt you. I just want to.. I wanna be with you.”

 

And she’s glad she’s not standing, because surely she would’ve collapsed after hearing Emma say those words.

 

“I take it you’re patient person.”

 

“Oh, absolutely not. I’d have you now if you said so. I just also know when things are worth time and effort. And you definitely are.”

 

Regina stares at Emma intently for a few moments, lip pulled in between her teeth. It takes only a few moments before she makes the decision that this woman has earned more than a simple conversation and some cuddling.

 

She leans forward slightly, and Emma takes that as her cue to close the gap between them, pressing their lips together in a soft, but firm kiss.

 

One hand is spearing through Regina’s hair while the other takes home on the outside of her thigh, caressing lightly over the material of her dress.

 

She feels her insides burst with life as Emma kisses her, lips moving in tandem and both of their breaths puffing out against one another’s flushed cheeks. Regina lets her lips part slightly so Emma can take the lead, because frankly, she’s too wired up to do anything at the moment. Especially when the younger woman’s tongue is moving softly over her bottom lip.

 

She can't stop the small hum that leaves her throat, the kiss deepening as her hands move up to cup Emma’s head.

 

It’s too perfect to try and put into words.

 

Luckily, she doesn’t have to, so she just lets Emma pull her on top of her.

Chapter Text

Emma



The moment is surreal. She repeats the words “I’m kissing Regina” in her head over and over like some sort of sacred chant. It's absolutely perfect and unreal.

 

Emma runs her hands up Regina’s back softly, feeling the contours and curves of her body as they kiss languidly. Her lips taste like apple cider, warm and inviting and so very intoxicating. Emma thinks she could maybe get drunk like this.

 

Their tongues brush occasionally, not fully delving in like she wants to, but it’s just as good.

 

She’s wanted to do this for months (this and a whole lot more), but now she knows why it’s good that they waited. They’ve talked things through and have come to somewhat of an understanding, they know what they want for the time being, and now as they kiss, the timing couldn't be more perfect.

 

She feels Regina moan quietly against her lips just before the older woman pulls away, chest heaving against that wonderful black dress.

 

Emma relaxes back into the cushions, head resting on the arm of the couch, and she wears a lazy smile. Regina lets out a quivered breath as she brushes her hair back and bites her swollen, red lip.

 

“Don’t look too pleased with yourself, Miss Swan.” She bites, but it’s weak and a bit endearing.

 

“You’re a great kisser.” Emma shoots back, shrugging. She doesn't hide the way her eyes wander over Regina’s body as she adjusts on the couch.

 

Finally she receives a small smile and blush tinted cheeks, “You aren't so bad either.”

 

“I was aiming for great.. But I guess I’m willing to do a retrial.”

 

“Of course you are.” Regina smirks.

 

Emma sits back up so that they’re close again, because she doesn't think she can go longer than a few seconds at a time of not being near her. “You’re just so…” She trails off, scooting closer, green eyes catching brown, “kissable.” She reaches up to brush a dark strand of coiffed brunette hair away from Regina’s cheek and smiles. “Speaking of..” She leans in again, and so does Regina, and they’re about to kiss for the second time, but then Henry’s voice slices through the moment.

 

He’s crying out for Emma, and she jumps back. “Damn.” She murmurs, pressing her cool hands to her hot cheeks. “He probably woke up super confused.”

 

Regina swallows and stands up, nodding as she looks at anything but Emma.

 

They make their way back to the living room, where they’re met with the sight of Henry standing next to the couch, blanket clutched close to his chest and tears streaming down his cheeks. “Mommy,” he sniffles, reaching an arm out to Emma.

 

She sits down on the couch and pulls him into her lap, but he’s still crying. “Kid, it’s alright, we were just in a different room.” She soothes.

 

Regina stands next to the couch awkwardly, hands wringing together and face etched with concern. “I will make him some hot cocoa.” She mutters, stalking off quickly before Emma can respond. The blonde sighs into Henry’s hair and kisses his head.

 

“Buddy, what’s wrong?”

 

“It was dark.” He whispers, breath catching in his throat with every inhale. “Where’s Miss Miss?”

 

“She’s making you some cocoa.” Emma smiles, and he nods solemnly.

 

A few minutes later, Regina is making her way back into the living room with a mug, “Are you alright, sweetheart?” She asks, sitting down next to Emma. Henry surprises them both when he scoots over, climbing into Regina’s lap carefully. She looks up at Emma and the blonde shrugs with a smile. “Take a sip of this.” She tells him softly.

 

He sniffles and sips, licking his lips as he takes the mug in his tiny hands. “It has Cin-min.”

 

“Mhm.” Regina smiles, brushing his hair back softly, “My Abuelita used to make it like that when I was sick or couldn't sleep.”

 

“Allalita?”

 

“My grandmother.”

 

“Oh.” He takes another sip, and both Emma and Regina are relieved to see he’s calmed down. “It’s good.”

 

Emma knows how he gets at new places, especially when he’s sleeping, but she was so caught up with Regina that she didn't think he’d wake up. She’d feel guilty, but now, looking at the way Regina comforts him, all she feels is butterflies. Ruby had to go through at least twenty tantrums before successfully being able to calm him during a fit.

 

But it just come naturally for Regina, and hell, Emma would be stupid not to fall just a little bit harder.



***



It had been hard to leave Friday night, for many reasons. One, Henry nearly threw another tantrum at the fact that he had to leave Ms. Mills’s house for a second time (the only reason he wasn't was because he was bribed with the promise of another “date” soon). Two, Emma hadn’t gotten to kiss the older woman again, because she was too focused on Henry getting in the car without screaming his lungs out.

 

Regina had walked them to the car, given Henry a tight hug before helping him into his booster seat, and Emma was rewarded a nice, unobstructed view of her ass in that dress. But really, that hadn’t been enough. Nor had the light peck on her cheek from Regina. That was definitely not enough. She’d pouted and leaned in for a real kiss, but Regina only leaned away and smirked, saying, “Time and place, Miss Swan.”

 

Ruby had said to leave Regina wanting more, but somehow, it had ended up backwards. Because two hours later, as she’s lying in her bed, she’s still pouting.

 

So she does the logical thing, and texts Regina. I think you should’ve just let me kiss you goodbye.

 

And another one. You’ve created a mess now.

 

Regina: Shouldn’t you be asleep?

 

It’s only like 11 PM. But even if I wanted to sleep, I can’t.

 

Regina: Oh? Why’s that?

 

I told you. You should have just let me kiss you. It helps me sleep.

 

Regina: Don’t be so dramatic.

 

It’s the truth. I can tell these things. It’s my super power.

 

Regina: How did you sleep before you met me, then?

 

Pretty badly, to be honest.

 

Emma’s grinning like a fool, and she feels giddy all over again. She can't help herself. Not when it comes to Regina Mills.

 

Her phone vibrates and she reads the older woman’s next message, Regina: I have a hard time believing that.

 

She hits the call button, and Regina answers on the second ring. “ Yes, Miss Swan ?”

 

Emma nestles into her pillow, “I love it when you talk exasperated to me.” She can practically hear the eye roll on the other end of the line, and it makes her smile.

 

It’s quite easy to do with you. ” Regina replies, a smile in her voice. “ How is Henry ?”

 

“Went down like an angel on crack.”

 

Perhaps next time we should plan better .”

 

Emma perks up, “So there’s gonna be a next time?”

 

“I suppose .”

 

“Don’t sound so excited.”

 

Regina laughs and it’s beautiful, and all Emma wants to do now is go back over to her house and kiss her nice and hard. “So,” Emma starts, “I think tonight was nice, aside from the tantrum.”

 

I agree .”

 

“Except-”

 

I should’ve let you kiss me ?”

 

“Yup.”

 

Regina’s voice sounds as if she’s smiling, and Emma wants to see her face. “ Where’s the fun in that if I just let you do whatever you want ?”

 

“The fun is that I’ll get to kiss you and you’ll get to kiss me.” Emma replies lamely, and she gets yet another laugh from the older woman. “That seems like a pretty good deal to me.”

 

Well, like I said. There’s a time and place for everything .”

 

“I guess.” Emma sighs, “So, what are you wearing?”

 

Are you going to ask me this every time we talk on the phone ?”

 

“Of course.”

 

Same thing I was in when you left. ” Regina answers, “ I had to finish the dishes and clean up the living room .”

 

“You act like we destroyed your house.” Emma smirks, rolling onto her side and letting her phone balance on her ear. “For our next date, maybe you can come over to my place so that Henry can go to bed in his own room and we won't get interrupted.”

 

Maybe .”

 

“Your ‘maybe’ sounds a lot like ‘no’.”

 

It sounds like maybe because it’s maybe .” There’s a pause, “ But it’s leaning more towards yes .”

 

“I like the sound of that.”

 

As do I. But right now, I need to shower and get ready for bed. So…

 

Emma’s brain gets stuck on the word ‘shower’, and she thinks about Regina soaping up under a hot spray of water. She curses herself for falling back into that metaphorical gutter. “Shower, right.”

 

Don’t blow a fuse, Miss Swan .”

 

“Fuse. Right.” She shakes her head, “You’re gonna kill me, Ms Mills.” She groans, flopping down onto her back.

 

I hope not .”

 

“I had a good time tonight.”

 

Me too .”

 

“Next time, let me kiss you.”

 

Goodnight, Miss Swan .”

 

Emma laughs and as they hang up, she still feels the overwhelming need to kiss Regina, but not enough to hinder her sleep now. She sets her phone down on the side table and cuddles up under her covers.

 

She and Henry are already so drawn to Regina, and it’s only concerning because she hasn't been this attracted to a person since Neal. It’s nice to finally have something like this to think about, almost like a little escape from work. She feels her toes curl up and her belly flutter and heart beat faster when she thinks about the older woman, and it’s so new and refreshing that she can't help but feel like a teenager with a crush.

 

She falls asleep thinking about Regina’s lips, the way the older woman’s body felt on top of hers, and the thought of being able to do it all over again.  

Chapter Text

Regina



Zelena does a good job of popping up at random times, and by now Regina should be used to it, but of course it still surprises and irritates her. She loves her sister dearly but only on a once every few months basis, and so far it’s been more like once every two weeks.

 

So on sunday mid-morning, there’s a knock on her front door. When she opens it, her smiling sister awaits on the other side, wearing a hideous combination of bright green and black.

 

“Well if you actually tried to make plans with me, sis, this wouldn’t be so unexpected.” Zelena tuts, brushing off her younger sister’s muttered words and eye roll.

 

They make their way to the kitchen, and as usual, the older woman tosses her bag and jacket and every other detachable accessory onto every surface she passes. “So, what’s for breakfast?”

 

“It’s 11:30, Zelena.”

 

“Brunch? Lunch? Whatever.”

 

Regina rolls her eyes and opens her refrigerator and bites her lip. Not much to choose from. She’d been too distracted to go grocery shopping this weekend.

 

“We can go out.” She shuts the fridge door and brushes her hair back. “I was going to go grocery shopping today but something’s come up.”

 

“Fine by me.” Zelena claps her hands, rushing back to gather her things. “There’s a nice little cafe on the boulevard that I absolutely love.”

 

“Sure.”

 

Regina grabs her own belongings and slips into her most comfortable pair of pumps, following her sister to the green monstrosity that is her car. “What is it with you and the color green?”

 

The redhead smiles wickedly as she gets in, “it goes fabulously with my hair and eyes.” She sighs wistfully, starting the engine as Regina gets in as well, “besides, isn't life too short to be dull and practical?” She finishes with a pointed gaze, and Regina rolls her eyes.

 

“I believe mother emptied out all of her eccentricity onto you, Zel.”

 

“Shame.” Zelena tuts, and then they’re off.

 

Regina is grateful for the semi-quiet car ride, which is thankfully only interrupted with the smooth jazz her sister listens to. It’s not quite Regina’s taste but she finds that at the right times, it can be soothing and calming. Like right now.

 

She figures she should tell Zelena about Emma, seeing as now that things are starting to warm up for Regina and the blonde, the information will come to light sooner or later.

 

She bites her lip as she thinks about Emma Swan, and she wonders just how she let such an irritatingly obnoxious woman capture her mind and heart as much as she has. It feels unfair.

 

Her biggest concern with Robin was that when she was with him, she often times found herself far too distracted to concentrate on anything, even work. That is, essentially, what put her off of dating (until she met Emma). When she was home with Robin, she was thinking about her family or work, when she was at work, she was thinking about house chores and the little get togethers Robin would throw (but leave the planning up to her) for him and his work friends, or even what to make for dinner so that Robin doesn’t start up with the guilt tripping about how he’s tired and now has to make food and clean up when he’d rather just eat and go to bed.

 

So when they’d ended their relationship, she felt a weight lift off of her shoulders at the aspect of not having to worry about someone else’s needs and instead just focus on her own career and needs. Heaven knows nobody else will do it.

 

Except Emma is effortless. Annoying as well. But in the way that makes Regina smile and roll her eyes, and feel that hot sensation all over her body that tiptoes the border of irritation and adoration.

 

Even now that they’ve started some sort of relationship, she doesn't feel the same pressure she had with Robin. It’s both relieving and curious.

 

“Earth to Reginaaaa.” She hears, and she looks up from where she’d been burning a hole in the dash to see that they’re parked in front of the small cafe. “Where’d you go just now?”

 

The brunette shrugs, unbuckling her seatbelt as they both get out of the car. “I was just thinking. It’s been a stressful few days.” It really has, just not in the “busy” stressful way. It’s more like the “I’m falling for a woman who is also the mother of one of my students and it’s taking a lot out of me at the moment” kind of stressful.

 

“Care to talk about it?” They remain in the car and Regina lets out a tight breath.

 

“I need to talk about it.. I will.. Just not right this moment. Let’s just get some lunch first and maybe we can talk after, okay?”

 

Zelena doesn't argue for once, only nods softly and gives her younger sister a light tap on the chin- something she does as a gesture of endearment.

 

Sometimes Regina loves her older sister dearly.



***



“-And mother won't get off daddy’s back about the company, like he hasn’t been running it for its entire existence. Honestly that woman is insufferable.” Zelena blabs, forking another bite of her chicken salad into her mouth. “I need to find another place to live, and soon because when they’re not fighting they’re flirting and that leads to fucking and then I’m left puking.”

 

Regina lowers her sandwich back to her plate and clears her throat, “that’s a new record for you. Ruining my entire appetite in four seconds.”

 

“I aim for excellence.”

 

“But honestly, I am worried about Daddy. Is he doing okay? Being around mother so much now that he’s retiring must be putting a lot of stress on him.”

 

The redhead shrugs and waves her fork around, “He’s laid back now which is weird to see but I’m glad. And mother is usually out for the most part of the day so he doesn't have to suffer too much.”

 

“But you’re around.” Regina retorts, smirking at the look she gets from Zelena. She takes a small bite from her sandwich and then sips her herbal tea, humming softly at the flavor. She feels confident enough to at least bring Emma up.

 

“So.” She starts, and Zelena surprisingly gives her her undivided attention. “I have.. Started seeing someone. Sort of.”

 

“I knew it.”

 

“What?”

 

Zelena shakes her head and crosses her arms, “You haven't complained about Robin once in a month and you don't look nearly as stressed as you did a few weeks ago.” She nods her head triumphantly, “You’re getting some nookie, aren't you?”

 

“N-No! It’s new.. For both of us, really. We’ve only kissed.”

 

“How many times.”

 

“Once.”

 

The older woman’s hands go up in exasperation, “Oh Christ, Regina. You’re such a prude.”

 

“I just have standards. You know I’d never sleep with someone before I get to know them.” She snaps back, crossing her arms defensively. “If you’re going to be this way then I’m done talking about it.”

 

“Okay, fine. Sorry. What’s his name, anyway?”

 

“Emma.” She blurts, only realizing after she’d said it that her sister had said “his.”

 

“His name is Emma?”

 

What an idiot. “No. Her name is Emma. Emma Swan.”

 

Zelena grins, “So you are a lesbian now. I guessed it first, you remember? Back when we talked on the phone about you and Robin breaking up?”

 

“I recall.”

 

“So how does it feel?” Zelena smiles widely, leaning in close as if about to share a deep secret.

 

“I told you, we haven't had sex.” Regina grouses, rolling her eyes and taking another sip of her tea.

 

Zelena shakes her head and waves her hand, “No, how does it feel being a lesbian? Being attracted to women?”

 

Regina shrugs and bites her lip, looking past her sister to the plain white wall littered with paintings and photographs. “I don't even think I’m a lesbian. I just know I’m attracted to her. But.. it feels normal. I thought I would feel.. I don't know, wrong, but it’s not. Nothing’s felt more right.” She smiles when she thinks about how Emma had kissed her, “It doesn't feel forced or routine, and when I think about Emma, I just..”

 

“You’re soft .” Zelena finishes.

 

As much as she hates to admit it, yes. She goes soft. “It’s not just her though. She has a son whom I absolutely adore. His name is Henry.”

 

Zelena smiles and nods, then pauses, eyes narrowing. Regina can tell she’s coming to some sort of realization and she can't help but panic a little bit. “Henry as in smart little Henry in your class?”

 

She swallows thickly and nods, fingers wringing together. This is the fact that will always make her self conscious about being with Emma. The deciding factor as to whether she’s a decent person or not. Dating a student’s parent.

 

“How’d you meet her then? Just from her son being in your class?”

 

She arches her eyebrows for a moment, but shakes her head, “Actually a week before school started. The night Robin and I broke up, I walked down the street from the restaurant we were at to a little bar and she was there with her friend.”

 

“And you didn’t sleep with her?”

 

“No. She was awkward and a bit nervous and asked to buy me a drink but I turned her down by pretending to not know any english.”

 

Zelena bursts out laughing, drawing the attention of a few other patrons in the cafe, and Regina’s cheeks tinge pink at the attention. She’s glad her sister is taking the awkward news as well as she is though, and she’s grateful that there’s no negativity.

 

“Stop laughing.”

 

“It’s just so you. But I bet she found it hot.”

 

Regina scrunches her nose, “Being turned down?”

 

“No,” Zelena rolls her eyes, pausing to shove another bite of her salad into her mouth. She chews and swallows, “Speaking spanish. People love accents, different languages, it’s exotic.. Take it from me. A hot British woman living in a small town in Maine. The fellas are all over me.”

 

“Oh, I’m sure.”

 

“Well, anyhow. I’m happy for you, sis. As long as you’re doing what you want, then I’m supporting you.”

 

Regina smiles softly and thanks her sister. She has to admit that telling someone other than Kathryn feels amazing and it takes a huge weight off her shoulders, and now all she wants to do is go see Emma and tell her that they have someone in their corner.

 

And it makes her wonder, just when did she become such a softie?



***



Monday goes by like any other day, the mixed lazy rush of tired and excited students occupying her time for the most part, and she’s grateful for it. She likes to stay busy, she likes to be doing something productive.

 

Henry is just as energetic as he always is, except this time with a bit of a glint in his eye every time they look at each other. Like they have the world’s most precious secret. She loves this.

 

She handles lunch with Kathryn like she usually does, deflecting crude comments about sex and blushing about Emma. She doesn't know who is worse, Katie or Zelena.

 

Yet despite that, she can't seem to break away from her happiness. The giddiness of seeing Emma after school ends during those 8 minutes where she can remain in the 10 minute zone. She feels light and unstoppable and like she’s never felt before. And she wonders why she didn't let this happen a little bit sooner, because Zelena was right. This is what she wants and damn anyone who tries to come in between it.

 

When school is over, she’s in her usual spot with Henry, Nick and Lily, who seem to be her new little pack of puppies, because they follow her everywhere until their parents come to get them. It’s not something she’s experienced in a long time, in most of her years as a teacher, really. She can't say she minds the affection.

 

Nick is the first to go, his father politely waving at her as the little boy hugs her and his two friends before bounding off toward him.

 

She waits patiently for Emma to pull up in her bug, occasionally glancing down at Henry and Lily to talk to them for the few seconds they want her attention, and then she looks around and nods, waves, smiles at parents until she starts the process over. It’s on her third go when she hears the loud engine and sees the yellow of the car stop in the pick up zone.

 

Emma is in front of her in moments, standing a bit too close, but she doesn't have the courage to move away. Not when she’s been feeling this good all day. “Miss Swan.” She tips her head and smiles softly, eyes taking in the younger woman’s scrub clad body.

 

“Ms. Mills.” Emma retorts, doing the same with her own eyes. A warmth spreads through Regina.

 

“How was your monday?”

 

“Boring and busy as usual.”

 

She arches a brow, “Don't those contradict each other?”

 

“You can be busy and still be bored.” Emma grins, leaning in closer to nudge Regina’s side with her arm. “Believe me. Working at a hospital and doing the paperwork can keep you occupied for hours but at the same time you want to light yourself on fire.”

 

“It’s a good thing you’re already in a hospital then.” Regina chuckles, and Emma’s face goes blank for a moment, confused. The older woman thinks she’s said the wrong thing for a second before Emma’s eyes widen and she laughs loudly.

 

“Oh my god, that was a joke!”

 

Regina’s face smooths out and she rolls her eyes, stepping back and looking around to see if anyone’s watching them. “I have a sense of humor, you know.”

 

The blonde wipes a fake tear from her face as she tamps down her laughing, “totally, yeah. You’ve just been pretty non-jokey with me for the entirety of us knowing each other. Baby steps.”

 

“Non-jokey?”

 

Emma grins, shrugging as a response before looking around and stepping a little closer. The two kids by their side are content with chatting about whatever as the women talk, and Regina’s heart picks up when she sees green eyes dip to her lips. Stay cool.

 

“You should come to my house for dinner.” Emma blurts, and her usual charming swagger is gone, replaced with shyness that is too endearing to laugh at.

 

“Tonight?”

 

“I know it’s a school night but-”

 

“I would love to.”

 

And Regina can tell that Emma wasn’t expecting that answer judging by the look on her face, and she offers the blonde a shy smile.

 

Baby steps is right.

 

Emma looks at her watch and sighs, “It’s been like twelve minutes and that security guy has been staring my car down for the past four, so I better go. I will text you my address and you can come over whenever you want.”

 

Regina chuckles and nods once, giving Henry a goodbye hug and a Emma a “see you later” smile.

 

When they’re driving away, she looks down to see Lily playing in the grass, large pink coat engulfing her small body. She smiles and crouches down, “Your mother’s usually here by now,” she notes, and Lily nods.

 

“She told me she wanted to talk to you after school.”

 

Regina arches a brow and smirks. Mal Drake always has something to say. She sees the taller woman walking over with that arrogance she always possesses, and Regina stands, smoothing out her skirt. “Mrs. Drake, how are you?”

 

“I’m well, thank you. How about yourself?”

 

Pleasantries irk Regina, but she puts on her best politician’s smile (her mother taught her well), and nods, “I’m fine. What can I do for you?”

 

Mal’s smile drops a bit and she looks at her daughter, “Lillian, why don't you tell Ms. Mills what you told me.”

 

Regina furrows her brows and looks at Lily, who doesn’t seem phased by the ice in her mother’s voice. She smiles as she speaks, “Henry told me that he got to go play at your house and you watched movies with him!”

 

And she should’ve known that Henry would talk to his best friends. Her stoicism remains though, unbroken as ever, and she’s happy that she hasn’t gone completely soft. “Excuse me?” She asks, directing the question to Mal.

 

“I always wondered why you favored Henry Swan so much. Now I know why.”

 

Regina’s jaw clenches and she tilts her head, fingernails digging into her palms as she curls her fists, “Not that it’s any of your business, Mrs. Drake, but what exactly do you think is happening?”

 

Mal steps closer and lowers her voice, “If word gets out that not only are you sleeping with your student’s parent, but you're a lesbian as well, I bet you’ll be looking for a new job. This town isn’t as progressive as your actions imply.”

 

“What do you want?” Regina grits out, fists clenching with anger and fear and white heat.

 

“Nothing. Yet. But be sure to keep the favoritism to a minimum, dear. We wouldn't want the wrong person getting ahold of this new bit of information. Would we?”

 

Regina just stares blankly at the other woman, keeping her rage concealed under her unmoving visage. These are the kind of sharks mother warned her about. This is the kind of person that you need to be cautious of at all times. She smiles softly as Lily gives her a goodbye hug, bidding her farewell as she and her dragon of a mother walk toward the ridiculous Escalade parked in the handicapped spot.

 

Fucking bitch.

Chapter Text

Emma



Emma had texted Regina her address nearly two hours ago, but there hasn’t been a response yet. Naturally, she worries. There’s no reason to, seeing that when she’d left the school at 3:30, they’d been on a good note; flirting, even. On school grounds.

 

She takes a long shower, shaving and grooming everywhere she’d been forced to miss the past few months because of how crazy her schedule has been. When she gets out, she dresses in a pair of jeans and a loose sweater, then joins Henry in the living room for some classic Voltron reruns (on VHS).

 

“What do you wanna have for dinner, kid?”

 

He shrugs, eyes glued to the television, and Emma rolls her eyes. She nudges him and covers his eyes, “I asked you a question, Henry David.” She uses The Voice (the one moms develop immediately after pushing a child out).

 

“Pizza?”

 

She mulls it over. Does Regina even know what pizza is? She’s so classy and proper, she probably hasn't had pizza in a day in her life.

 

But she tries not to assume. So she nods, “We’ll get one with lots of cheese and veggies.”

 

“No veggies,” He counters, eyes stuck on the screen.

 

“Yes veggies. Regina might come over for dinner and you know that she likes veggies.”

 

“Fine.” He turns to look at her, eyes excited, “Veggies only if Miss Miss comes over.”

 

“Deal.”

 

She stands up and grabs her phone, seeing that it’s almost 6PM, and she hopes that Regina isn't gonna stand them up. She probably shouldn't  have told Henry, but speaking things into existence works, right?

 

And as if the Gods above had been listening to her, a text from Regina flashes on her phone. She grabs it and unlocks it, seeing only three words.

 

On my way.

 

She bites her lip and smiles, tucking her phone into her back pocket. She’ll place the order for the Pizza now and they’ll have about thirty minutes of relaxation before Henry goes crazy over the cheese.

 

Her nerves are so haywire as she waits for Regina to get here that she watches Henry watch TV, and luckily he doesn't notice her intense gaze. The house is clean for once, and Emma is grateful, but it’s nowhere near as nice as Regina’s mansion.

 

She can’t change that though, so she’s working with what she has.

 

It’s ten minutes after the text when their doorbell chimes through the house, and Henry is torn from the TV. He bolts to the door and looks out the side, and squeals. “Please, please lemme open it! It’s Miss Miss, not a stranger, lemme open it!” He begs, and Emma chuckles and nods.

 

“Chill out kid,” she says, but it goes unheard as Henry opens the door and flings himself into Regina’s arms as if they hadn’t seen each other in years.

 

“Come see my room!” He claps, pulling the older woman inside.

 

Emma closes the door and snaps, “Hey, Henry. I said chill out, okay? She’ll be here for a little while.”

 

He sighs, but his grip still remains on Regina’s hand.

 

“After dinner?” He asks hopefully.

 

“If she wants to, yes.”

 

He looks at Regina and smiles, and Emma knows that not even the tough as nails Ms. Mills can resist that smile.

 

“Of course, dear.”

 

He hugs her once more before returning to the living room to watch Voltron.

 

“Hi.” Emma says shyly.

 

“Hello.”

 

And Emma can see that there’s an edge to Regina’s tone and jaw that hadn’t been there before. She tilts her head and frowns a bit, “you okay?” she asks, leading Regina to the kitchen island.

 

Regina nods, setting her purse and jacket down onto one of the stools. “I’m okay. I just need to talk to you about something after…”

 

“When Henry goes to bed?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Okay. Is it bad?”

 

Regina smiles softly then, shaking her head, “It’s nothing to worry about for us. I hope.”

 

It’s not really enough, but Emma doesn’t push. “Okay.”

 

She’s caught off guard when she feels a hand slip around her neck, “I may be prickly sometimes, Miss Swan, but I promise you don’t need to be so cautious around me.”

 

Regina’s so close to her that she nearly ignores the words, but she pushes down the urge to kiss the older woman senseless and just nods instead, “I kinda like the tough girl act anyway.”

 

“It’s no act.”

 

“Whatever you say.”

 

Regina rolls her eyes and pulls away, but the smile on her lips tells Emma that there’s no animosity there. Just two women engaging in some playful banter.

 

“We ordered pizza for dinner. But I got it with tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms and olives since you like veggies so much.” She leans in a bit and stage whispers, knowing Henry can hear them from the living room. “Also, the kid promised to eat all the veggies on it if you did too.”

 

“Well, then I suppose I have no other option.” Regina chuckles. She shifts awkwardly and looks around for the first time since being in Emma’s house, and suddenly, Emma feels a bit insecure.

 

“It’s not huge but it’s our home.”

 

The older woman shakes her head, “No, it’s cozy and it feels like a home. Lived in. My house, even when my ex lived there, always felt empty to me. But it was a gift from my mother and she’d skin me alive if I tried to sell it.”

 

“Your mom sounds like a piece of work.”

 

Regina laughs then, for the first time since she’s been here and it thins the ice between them considerably, “She’s not the kindest person, but fortunately for my sister and I, she’s mellowed out.”

 

“Mommy when is the pizza gonna be here?” Henry cuts in, dangling his body off the side of the couch. Regina chuckles from beside her.

 

“Soon, kid.”

 

“Miss Miss, come watch the old Voltron with me. Mommy says it’s better but I like the other one more but this one’s pretty good too. Wanna watch it?” Emma loves that he’s talking so much, and since he’s been in Regina’s class, she can tell just how much he’s improved. She’s so distracted for the moment that she just stares as the older woman joins Henry on the couch, subtly having him move from the side of the couch to next to her.

 

She pushes the stool holding Regina’s things in a bit then makes her way over to the couch, sitting on the other side of Regina. She still isn't sure what’s okay to do and what’s not, but lately the older woman has been warming up to the idea of them and being more affectionate and it makes the butterflies in her belly go haywire. “Can I watch too?”

 

“You’ve seen it!” Henry retorts, snuggling into Regina’s side.

 

“So? That doesn't mean I can't watch it. You’ve seen it too.”

 

“Fine.”

 

“Thanks, Lance.”

 

Henry turns to his mother and glares, “It’s Shiro!”



***



Dinner had been interesting. Interesting in the way that has Emma not wanting to go near pizza in public for the foreseeable future, because the way Regina ate it was literally criminal.

 

At first, the older woman had rolled her eyes as Emma tried to hand her a fork and knife, and joked, saying, “You think I don't know how to eat a pizza?” Which promptly led her to raise her slice up high so that she can take the point (which also happened to have a lot of drippy cheese) into her open mouth.

 

And yeah, it’s a pretty fucking normal way to eat a pizza, maybe even the most elegant way she's ever seen, but also, she wishes (sorry, Henry) that Henry hadn’t been in the room to witness the way the brunette hummed around her bite, licking her grease covered lips. And Emma blushed at the sight embarrassingly like she’d just watched the raunchiest porn ever.

 

But other than that, it went well and Emma had found herself laughing more than she thinks she ever has in the span of an hour and a half dinner.

 

Henry, as predicted, was reluctant to take his “shower bath” (a shower with the drain plugged to eventually make a bath) because of their company, but as usual, Regina got him to listen to Emma and wash up. They read stories after that, all huddled on the couch as Regina expertly read a few of the books she’d sent home with him the friday before, and eventually Henry fell asleep on top of both of them. He was out like a light, and Emma found it fairly easy to move him to his bedroom.

 

Now, she and Regina are back on the couch, the clock nearing 8:30 PM but no end to the evening in sight.

 

“I gotta say,” Emma started, scooting in close so that their bodies are touching, “I didn't think you’d agree so easily to pizza.”

 

“Why?”

 

“You seem like a health nut.”

 

Regina shrugs and smiles, “Sure I keep my diet relatively healthy, but I enjoy the occasional artery clogger.”

 

“Good to know.” Emma smirks, her fingers reaching out to brush dark strands of hair away from Regina’s cheeks. “I don't think I can look at another pizza again though. Not with the way you ate yours.”

 

Regina’s cheeks tint pink and she bites her lip, “I knew I saw you blushing.”

 

“You’d make a Eunuch blush, babe.”

 

Regina arches her brow at the endearment and it makes Emma blush again. She was just trying it out, but Regina doesn’t seem like a pet name type of woman. “It slipped.” She amends, chuckling nervously as the older woman looks at her with those brown eyes.

 

“I don’t mind it.. I’m just..” Regina sighs as she leans back a bit, surprisingly more into Emma’s body than the couch, “This kind of affection is new to me.”

 

“Really?”

 

“You know I’ve only been in two serious relationships.”

 

Emma shakes her head and wraps her arm around the other woman’s shoulder, “I mean, didn’t your ex show affection?”

 

She wonders if it’s too inappropriate to ask, but Regina simply shakes her head. “No. He and I were never really like that. He called me Reggie more often than not and it grated my nerves. Reggie like I was one of his work buddies and not his lover.”

 

Emma’s blood seems to grow hotter at the mention of Regina’s ex, and yes, she brought it up, but the way Regina talks of their relationship always succeeds in making her just a teensy bit angry. “Well, I promise I will never call you Reggie.”

 

“Thank you.”

 

“No problem, love muffin.”

 

Regina scrunches her face and shakes her head. “If that’s the alternative..”

 

“So is babe okay then?”

 

“I suppose.”

 

“Sweet.”

 

Regina smiles and lets her fingers drift to the slight tear at the knee on Emma’s jeans, playing with the frayed fabric. “Lily’s mother knows about us.”

 

Emma freezes, “PTA snob?”

 

“Mm. Apparently Henry had told Lily about you two coming to my house for dinner and watching Voltron and she told Mal Drake.”

 

Emma groans, letting her head fall back onto the couch cushion. “That kid…”

 

Regina squeezes the younger woman’s knee tightly and Emma is forced to look at her, “Emma, we shouldn’t have made Henry keep a secret in the first place. That’s.. It wasn’t right to ask that of him.”

 

“What did Mal say to you?” Emma asks, annoyed.

 

“She accused me of sleeping with you, to which I denied, because technically I’m not-“

 

“Yet.”

 

Regina blushes but rolls her eyes, and Emma can’t suppress the smile, “And she said that it would be a shame if that information got to the wrong person.”

 

“And all for what?”

 

“She thinks I’m playing favorites with Henry. Which is absolutely not true. I adore each and every one of my students.”

 

Emma shakes her head with a frown. “We can lay a bit lower for a little while, then. Whatever you want.”

 

“Maybe it’s best if we just.. put this on hold until-“

 

“No. Absolutely not. I’m not gonna let some bitter PTA mom dictate our relationship. We can handle it like adults...And just less obvious.” She nods definitively, pulling Regina close and cupping her cheeks. “Okay?”

 

“Miss Swan..”

 

Emma cuts her off with a chaste kiss, pressing one to her cheek, then the corner of her lips, and then right on her mouth. “It already took forever to get you to go out with me.” She nearly whines, pulling back and caressing Regina’s soft skin.

 

She knows it’s a bit needy but fuck it, she doesn’t want to let something like this come between them.

 

“Then we’ll need to make sure we don't make anything apparent while at school. Or when we’re around anybody from my work.”

 

“Totally. We’ll keep it at your house or mine.”

 

Despite their temporary resolution to the issue, she can see that Regina is still cautious and worried. She can sense that things are still a bit tricky with their blossoming relationship, and she can only hope that things resolve soon. The prospect of losing Regina now after all this time is more terrifying that she’ll admit out loud, knowing it may scare the older woman off. “I’d offer you wine if I had some.” She chuckles nervously, hand reaching up to scratch at the back of her neck.

 

“I don't think that would be a good idea anyway. I have to drive home at some point.” Regina points out, but she leans in closer to Emma, and that relaxes the blonde a bit more. They’re settling a bit now and it eases Emma’s worry.

 

“But not yet.”

 

“No?”

 

Emma grins and shakes her head, “I still haven't gotten to kiss you.”

 

Regina arches a brow and her face looks so beautiful that Emma nearly loses her train of thought. “I believe you just did, Miss Swan. Thrice.”

 

“You know what I mean.” Emma rolls her eyes.

 

And then Regina is leaning back against the arm of the couch and pulling Emma down with her, one hand at her shoulder and the other around her neck, and she’s muttering, “ Why are you still talking?”

 

Emma has only one thing to do then, and that’s press her body against Regina’s deliciously, and her mouth against those red stained lips. It feels so good to be able to kiss her like this, to be able to savor and take all at once. And she learns quickly that Regina gives as much as she takes and it makes for a really, really, hot makeout session.

 

She keeps her hands at a pg-13 level, only groping lightly above the older woman’s work clothes. Their kisses however, are anything but pg-13, tongues caressing slowly and deliberately, lips meshing in just the right way that it creates an erotic smacking sound. Regina moans softly against her lips and the kiss deepens, and once again, Emma is sucked into the whirlwind that is Regina Mills.

 

And it’s just.. Perfect.

Chapter Text

Regina

 

Halloween prep has always been Regina’s least favorite time of the school year. And now as a member of the school board, she’s required to be even more involved than usual.

 

Dr. Glass had assigned the annual school Trunk-Or-Treat to her, leaving the planning and setting up to her.

 

Of course she’d accepted without hesitation, earning a grateful smile from the group of members who’d gotten stuck with it for several years prior.

 

So now she’s working longer hours, asking parents and other staff if they'd like to volunteer, and for the most part, only receiving unpromising answers that strongly point toward the answer “I would, but I don't want to.”

 

Her stress levels are through the roof, and to add to it, she hasn't seen Emma since their last dinner date several days before. Not even during after-school pick up. Ever since Mal’s threat to out them, they'd avoided most interaction at the school like the plague . And during the evenings she’s too busy with board work and planning that she can't even see either of her two favorite people.

 

And it’s made her extremely grumpy.

 

Grumpy and irritable .

 

Gone is the fear of being too attached to the Swans, gone is the wariness. It’s replaced with a sadness and yearning that she never knew she would experience because of a significant other and their child. She’s missing them too much to acknowledge that it's scary and unusual for her.

 

She sits behind her home office desk and sighs, unable to remain concentrated enough to finish her work. One thing that does bother her is that she’s not as disciplined with her work as she used to be.

 

She removes her glasses, dropping them onto the desk with a sigh and leans back in her chair.

 

And then a realization hits her.

 

It's not that she’s getting lazy… no, she’s never been lazy and never will be. It's that she now has things (people, rather) in her life that are just as (if not more) important as her job.





She caves and decides to call Emma at around 8 PM later that evening, hoping that she'll at least be willing to help set up the Trunk or Treat on the Friday before Halloween.

 

After getting into her silk nightgown and matching robe, she settles on top of her bed.

 

Emma answers on the third ring, sounding a bit breathless, and Regina can't help but wonder what she’s interrupted.

 

Hey, you,” Emma breathes, “ to what do I owe this pleasure?”

 

Regina rolls her eyes, a smile on her lips, “I have a small favor I’d like to ask of you.”

 

Yes .” Is Emma’s fast, eager response. It's adorable and endearing and Regina can't help but laugh a little.

 

“I haven't even asked you yet.”

 

“So what? My lady needs something. I must deliver.”

 

“So you’ll help me with the School Trunk or Treat next Friday?” She asks hopefully. There’s a long pause on the other end and she flops down onto her back with a huff, “you can't do it, can you?”

 

Now hold on a sec. What time is it at?”

 

“School lets out at noon that day and we start setting up at 1:30. Trunk or Treat starts at 5.”

 

Another pause, before Emma’s voice fills her ear once again, “I think I can get that day off, I’m one of the only nurses with a kid so they're pretty easy on me. I’ll let them know it’s for Henry’s school.”

 

It’s not technically a lie but it still succeeds in making Regina feel a bit guilty. She tugs at the sash of her robe softly, “You don't need to go through any trouble if you can’t, Emma.”

 

Lucky for you, I want to.”

 

Regina smiles softly, and in a moment of confidence and happiness, she bites her lip, “ask me what I’m wearing, Miss Swan.”

 

Emma verbally chokes on the other end and Regina has to bite down on her lip harder to contain her laughter, “ What.. Uh, what are you wearing ?”

 

She feels a tingle of electricity shoot through her body at the nervous way Emma asks, and she pulls the sash loose, letting the robe fall open, “A silk nightgown. Dark green, with a matching robe.”

 

Yeah?”

 

She carefully slips her arms out of the robe and tries not to shudder at the cool air brushing over her exposed arms and legs. “Well, now it’s just the nightgown.”

 

“Woah..” Emma breathes out, “ Regina, I-”

 

“What were you doing when I called? You sounded a bit.. winded.”

 

Oh, uh, I was in the shower and I heard the phone ring so I got out to answer it.”

 

“I see.” Regina can picture quite easily in her mind the way Emma clumsily stumbles out of the shower and to her bedroom, hastily wrapping a towel around her body. “And what are you wearing?”

 

A towel.”

 

Regina’s mouth goes dry, “You must be cold,” she says, and then immediately wants to slap herself. She’s not used to this kind of foreplay.

 

Actually I’m feeling kinda warm now,” Emma chuckles nervously, “ you know, you don't have to seduce me because I’m willing to help.”

 

Regina sits up quickly, “I’m doing no such thing.”

 

Uh huh. I’m happy to do things for you because I care. I’m not saying this isn't appreciated, because damn, you're hot. But I just don't want you to do it because you think that's what'll get me to help you out. I’ll do it either way.”

 

Regina sighs and picks at the hem of her nightgown, “Thank you.”

 

Anytime, sexy.”

 

“How eloquent you are, Miss Swan.”

 

One day you’ll start calling me Emma.”

 

“Just not today.” Regina smiles, “ask me what I’m thinking.”

 

What're you thinking right now ?”

 

“I’m thinking about how cold I am now that my robe is off and how nice it would be if you were here to help me warm up.” And it feels naughty, saying what she’s thinking out loud. It’s not something she’s used to doing, but the thrum or excitement it brings her coupled with the way Emma groans, makes the newness of it less nerve wracking.

 

You're evil, woman.”

 

She smiles and hums, feeling the most content she’s felt in a long time. Even with the underlying threat of Mal Drake exposing them or the stress of the Trunk or Treat weighing heavily on her shoulders.

 

Emma somehow always has a way of making things less chaotic. She’s so caught up in her thoughts that she nearly misses Emma’s next words, “ Ask me what I’m wearing.”

 

She bites her lip, having a vague idea of what Emma is wearing already. She can't help but fall prey to the blonde’s seductive tone though, “What are you wearing, Em-ma ?”

 

She hears the soft thump of something hitting the floor and her own breath hitches, “ nothing, now.”

 

In this moment, all Regina can think about is how much she wants.

 

Wants to be near Emma, curled in her warm embrace. Wants kisses and sweet words and lingering glances, she wants the knowledge that there is a person, a woman who has not given up on her, stopped at nothing to shower her in affection.

 

She also thinks about how it was never like this with anyone, she never felt this deep, rooted feeling. It's consuming and nerve wracking and exhilarating.

 

“Emma, I want to know.. I want..” She struggles with her words, the fact that she’s never had to express this kind of need to a lover before. She sighs shakily, and Emma cuts in soothingly.

 

Hey, what's wrong? Are we going too fast ?”

 

Regina laughs breathily and presses her free palm to her hot forehead, “No, no.. I just don't know how to say this without sounding..” raunchy and desperate, is what almost comes out, but she catches herself, “vulgar.”

 

Emma is quiet for too long. Regina bites her lip nervously and fights the urge to hurl her phone against the wall and never show her face again.

 

I won't judge. Whatever you want to say, I’m not going to judge you.” Comes Emma’s response and a Regina nearly bursts into tears at the loving and care filled way Emma treats her.

 

It gives her the confidence to embarrassingly blurt out, “Have you had intercourse with a woman before?”

 

inter- ” Emma laughs then, and Regina growls. So much for no judgement. “ No, babe, wait. I’m sorry.” The blonde soothes, “ In my B.H. days, that's Before Henry, I had a few hookups. But I was pretty young so my experience isn't vast.”

 

Somehow that information doesn't make Regina feel better about her own experience. She feels vulnerable, but okay in this moment though, and the thought of opening up doesn't frighten her as much as it used to. “I never reached orgasm with Rob- with my ex-boyfriend. Not unless I did it myself. He wasn't an.. attentive.. lover.”

 

Most men don't notice.”

 

She lets her fingers skim over her knees, soft from the lotion she’d applied before slipping into her nightgown, “And women do?”

 

From what little experience I have, I’d say so. Women know what women like. We know what we like and that gives us a general idea of what others like.”

 

Regina takes the information in like a sponge, absorbing every word Emma speaks. “I hardly know what I like.” She admits, “Sex has never been something I spent time thinking about.”

 

Emma hums, and she sounds content, comfortable. “Have you ever touched yourself?”

 

Regina chokes a bit on her breath and she scoots up her bed quickly, bringing her knees up close to her chest, “I-I.. Of course. I’m not a complete prude.”

 

What about uh.. Have you ever made yourself come?”

 

This is definitely new territory, very very new, and she presses her knees further into her chest to quell the dull ache of her hardening nipples, “Yes. It’s the only time I've ever been able to.. to come,” she hisses the word, vulgar and pungent on her tongue.

 

Then you kind of know what you like.” Emma says simply, as if talking about the weather or work or what she plans on making for dinner.

 

“I suppose.”

 

I definitely am eager to find out, too, though.”

 

Find out- “What I like?”

 

Mhm.”

 

Naughty thoughts prance through her head, and she finds that her breathing is picking up, and she’s certain that Emma can hear her shallow breaths coming out sporadically.

 

“Is this phone sex?” She asks abruptly, cheeks and chest going a deep hue of red.

 

Emma holds in laughter on the other line, and Regina hears her shift softly in her own bed. She wishes she were there currently, finding out just what makes the blonde’s body tick in the way hers is currently.

 

No, I believe phone sex would include one of us telling the other what we’d be doing to each other.”

 

And that certainly sounds promising, albeit a touch embarrassing. “Oh.. I-”

 

For instance,” Emma interrupts, voice a bit lower, “ I might mention how much I want to kiss you. How nice it would feel to slip on top of you and kiss you until you can't breathe. Or something along those lines.”

 

All she can think at the moment is how drastically this night has taken a turn, and she can see it ending with her hand between her thighs and head turning and thrashing on her pillow.

 

“What else?” She whispers, uncaring of how needy she sounds. Her nipples feel like they're going to poke straight through her nightgown.

 

Emma seems to be considering her next words, taking her time before purring out, “ I’d probably tell you how soft your body feels against mine, how good you feel. I’d ask you what you want.”

 

“What I want?”

 

“Yup. If you'd want me to touch you slowly, trail my fingers up your thighs and kiss your breasts. Or if you'd want me to slip all the way down your body, kiss your-”

 

E-Emma..” Regina stutters, nails digging into the back of her thigh and knees so tight against her chest she nearly stops breathing. “What are you doing to me?”

 

Nothing yet.”

 

Her fingertips dip around her thigh, closer to where she feels the building pressure. “I've never felt so-” she stops herself, biting her lip to reel in some of her control. She never loses control. “I don't know how much longer I can wait.” She says tightly, fingers massaging the back of her own thigh in effort to stop herself from touching anything inappropriate.

 

Me too,” Emma chuckles, sounding just as turned on as Regina feels. “ But just know that whenever we do finally take that step, It’ll be special and not rushed. I'll wait as long as you need me to.”

 

Regina lets her head thump back against the headboard and her eyes slip closed.

 

She just needs to get through the stress of Halloween, over that little bump in the road, and then she’s sure she’ll take Emma up on that offer of exploring each other’s likes.

 

Her breathing evens out eventually and as the near the end of their phone call, she’s completely relaxed once again.

 

She almost doesn't remember that Emma is naked on the other end of the line.

Chapter Text

Emma

 

The following day, there’s a pop in Emma’s step. She'd woken up full of energy despite the late night, and her usual sleepy morning routine this time around was done with delight. Henry had picked up on her good mood as well and had made her morning even better, full of giggles and a toaster strudel with his oatmeal and a nice drive to school.

 

“Someone looks happy.” She hears, and she spins around to see Ruby staring at her with a mischievous grin. “If I didn't know any better, I'd even say you look freshly fuc-”

 

“Don't finish that,” Emma rolls her eyes, but she can't help the grin that spread over her face. “I’m not, but Regina and I did make some great progress last night. We talked on the phone for nearly two hours.”

 

“She tolerated you for that long?” Ruby’s eyebrows shoot up.

 

Emma nodded, “It shocks me too.”

 

“Well hey, Sensei Rubes is proud of you, young grasshopper.”

 

“Sure, yeah…” Emma pauses, grabbing her stack of paperwork from the nurses station before turning around, confused, “What are you doing here, your shift isn't until 10.”

 

“Oh, uh..” She leans in, “There's a new doctor here that I've had my eye on.”

 

“Didn't you have your eye on some guy-”

 

“I did but now...” Ruby juts her chin in the direction of the elevators, and Emma turns her head to see a petite brunette. “Dr. Belle French, Cardiothoracics physician.”

 

“Right on.” Emma grins.





Later that day when she parks in the no-parking-zone to pick up Henry from school, she sees Mal Drake lingering near Regina and she scoffs. The woman has been unreasonably breathing down Regina’s neck over something that doesn't concern her.

 

She ignores the glare the older blonde gives her as she saunters past her and up to Regina, who is talking animatedly with Henry, Lily and Nick.

 

“Hi kids,” she smiles, “Ms. Mills.”

 

“Hello, Miss Swan,” Regina smiles politely, a hint of nerve in her voice. No doubt from Mal’s presence, “Henr-”

 

“Emma Swan, is it?” She hears, and her smile nearly turns into a scowl when she sees Mal standing next to her now. “Nice to meet you. I’m Lily’s mom. Mal Drake.”

 

“Yeah, hi. Nice to meet you too.”

 

“Our children have become quite close these past couple of months,” she notes, smiling fondly at her daughter, “they talk about everything under the sun.”

 

“I've heard. They've got quite the imagination.” Emma smirks. She sees Regina shift awkwardly in her peripheral and eases up. “We’ve gotta go unfortunately, Henry’s aunt Ruby is on her way to the house.”

 

“Of course,” Mal nods, “Oh, before I forget. You're going to the Trunk-or-Treat this Friday, yes? It’s one of the school’s biggest events.”

 

“Uh, yeah. Actually I’m volunteering to help set up.”

 

“Oh?”

 

Shit, she thinks, seeing the way Regina tenses up. Wrong move.

 

“I think I’ll have to volunteer as well then, since I seem to be the only other parent you know. Wouldn’t want you to be alone.”

 

“Uh..”

 

Mal’s grin is scarily polite as she glances to both brunette and blonde, “So I’ll see you both there?”

 

“Of course, Mrs. Drake,” Regina finally cuts in smoothly, and Emma can practically feel the sharp edges of her words. “If you'll both excuse me, I have a question for Nicholas’s father.” She gives Lily and Henry a warm goodbye before making her way with the other little boy over to his dad.

 

“Yeah, we’ve gotta head out too,” She smiles sheepishly, picking up Henry’s bag off the ground and slinging it over her shoulder, “again, it was nice meeting you.” She waves, not waiting a moment longer before she and Henry strut off to her car.

 

“Shit ,” she hisses, seeing a ticket under her windshield wiper.

 

A $50 fine and almost illegible writing scrawled across the bottom, It clearly says NO PARKING ZONE, yet you park every day.

 

It's almost humorous. Maybe if the fine wasn't there it would be.

 

“You cussed mommy.” Henry pipes, opening the passenger door and hopping in. “That’s a dollar in the Ruby jar.”

 

“That jar is for Ruby.” She tells him, climbing into the bug, pulling on her seatbelt before peeling away from the curb. She makes eye contact with the security guard and he shakes his head.

 

“Yeah and you cussed like a Ruby.”

 

“That's fair.” She concedes, “But don't I get one pass?” she asks as she makes her way to the house. Despite running into Mal and the parking citation, she’s still in a pretty great mood. She just can't say the same for Regina at the moment.

 

“Why would you get a pass?”

 

“Because I got a ticket and I had to talk to that scary dragon lady,” she tells him, and he giggles. She pauses for a moment, “don't repeat that to Lily.”

 

“M‘kay. But you still have to put a dollar in the Ruby jar.”

 

“Fine.”





Henry is only mildly disappointed when he finds out that Ruby wasn't, in fact, coming over. He’s quickly won over with the promise of a movie marathon after his homework and a small scoop of ice cream for dessert.

 

Bribery isn't the best tool to use on a five year old, but Emma figures once or twice won’t stunt his mental growth too much.

 

It’s right before Henry’s bedtime when there’s a knock at the front door. Emma immediately thinks that it could be one of two people, and sure, she loves Ruby, but she hopes it's the other option.

 

She smiles when she opens the door to reveal a slightly frazzled, but still very beautiful Regina Mills.

 

“I wanted to apologize for how I left earlier today at school.” She rushes out, stepping forward to link her fingers with Emma’s.

 

“No worries, Ms. Mills. Mal is a piece of work.”

 

“She's a dragon lady!” Henry comes bounding out in his battleship pajamas, hair slicked back from his bath.

 

“Shi- Henry! Remember I said not to repeat that?” Emma scolds, chuckling lamely at the way Regina arches her brow.

 

“You said not to tell Lily. That’s Miss Miss.”

 

“He’s got you there, dear.”

 

“Yeah, yeah.” Emma grouses, growling lightly as she locks the front door and darts towards Henry. He squeals and tries to get away but Emma scoops him up in her arms and lifts him above her head, “Remember what mommy said about smart allick boys?”

 

No tickles!” He screeches, holding his arms out for Regina.

 

Emma looks over just in time to see the dazed look in the older woman’s eyes as she watches the scene in front of her.

 

Emma’s arms are on full display as she holds Henry up and Regina stares dopily at her muscles.

 

“Easy there, Mills.” Emma smirks, loving the blush that paints itself across tanned cheeks. She sets Henry down, giving his damp hair a tousle before nudging him, “Time for bed, kid. Say goodnight to Ms. Mills.”

 

He hugs his teacher and bounds off to his room, and Emma waits for the slam of his bedroom door before turning to the other woman.

 

“To what do I owe this pleasure?”

 

“I told you. I wanted to apologize.”

 

Emma shakes her head, not accepting the answer, “You could've called. Or texted. Or Emailed. I think there's something else-”

 

“I missed you.” Regina rushes out, dropping her coat to the floor and wrapping her arms around Emma’s shoulders. “Is it so preposterous for a woman to visit her-” she pauses, as if mulling the choices over in her brain, “her girlfriend..?”

 

Emma sputters, “was that a question?”

 

“Well actually, it was. But I was trying out the word.”

 

Emma lets her hands find their way to Regina's hips, squeezing firmly before sliding around and up her back, “Of course it's not preposterous. I just wanted to hear you say it.”

 

“If you’re finished, Miss Swan, I’d like to kiss now.” Regina says impatiently, pressing her body firmly against Emma’s. “Otherwise I can just go home, turn in early-”

 

Emma’s lips press firmly against hers, stopping whatever nonsense she was about to spew. They kiss like it's been years, firm, but soft as they coax their ways into each other’s mouths. Emma’s body tingles as Regina sighs, sinking into the kiss further and letting her tongue take over.

 

“You really missed me,” Emma whispers, pulling Regina back so they end up on the couch, Regina sitting sideways on Emma’s lap.

 

“How could I not? After.. well, what you said last night was..” Regina is once again at a loss for words, something Emma rarely saw before, when her walls were built so high, Rapunzel's tower paled in comparison. “I haven't been able to think of much else.” She concludes.

 

“Which part in particular?” Emma smirks, letting her hand trail up Regina’s slack clad leg, squeezing her upper thigh softly.

 

“Don't play coy.”

 

“It was worth a shot.”

 

Regina shakes her head and leans in again, slipping her fingers through Emma’s hair and bringing her closer.

 

Emma deepens the kiss this time, hooking her fingers on the inside of Regina’s thigh to ground them, her other hand clasped around the back of Regina’s neck. Their tongues meld like hot candle wax, no identifiable separation between them.

 

“I want to know, Emma,” Regina pants, shifting to straddle Emma. Their bodies press together everywhere and it’s so overwhelmingly delicious that Emma nearly passes out.

 

“Know what?”

 

The older woman untucks her blouse and takes Emma’s hands, sliding them under to press against her hot skin, purring at the sensation, “how it feels to be touched by a woman. By you.”

 

Emma’s brain short circuits for a moment, first at the touch, then at Regina’s words. Hot and heady and-

 

“I've never felt this way,” Regina mutters, “So utterly helpless to my own feelings. So overwhelmed by thoughts of you.”

 

“I knew you’d change my life.” Emma tells her softly, fingers dancing softly up Regina’s ribcage. “You're always in my head, you're all Henry can talk about.” She pushes her fingers under Regina’s bra cups and drags her palms against erect nipples, “you're everything to us, Mills.”

 

Regina moans softly, arching her body wantonly into Emma’s exploring fingers. Her grip on Emma’s shoulders tighten as she involuntarily grinds her hips against the younger woman’s.

 

It's unexplainable how good Regina feels, how warm and silky her skin is, how much she wants her right now . She squeezes Regina’s breasts firmly, feeling herself get wet just from the way the older woman’s breath hitches and hips grind and eyes flutter shut for a few seconds.

 

She pulls her hands out from under Regina’s bra and hastily pushes her shirt and bra up, exposing dark nipples to the soft, orangey light of her living room. She lets out a moan and leans in to plan soft, wet kisses in between full breasts, never touching the sensitive buds only centimeters away.

 

She knows that this is a big step for Regina, and pushing her too far is the last thing Emma wants to do. So she focuses on running her hands softly back over ribs, down to hips, fingers slipping ever so slightly in the waistband of black slacks. Her lips suckle on the soft flesh of Regina's breasts and she revels in this moment. Perfect and erotic and sweet all wrapped into one.

 

Emma,” Regina purrs, voice a soft whisper, “please.”

 

She lets herself loose then, leaning down and greedily taking a nipple into her mouth, sucking hard. Regina’s back arches and she grinds down roughly into Emma’s lap. Her voice is muffled by Emma’s hair as she moans, a few unintelligible words resembling “yes” and “please” slipping hastily from her lips.

 

Never, Emma thinks. She will literally never get over how perfect Regina’s tits are. It's not the most eloquent thought, but as the older woman grinds and pants right there in her lap, eloquence just so happens to be the last thing she’s aiming for.

 

She feels the vibration from her back pocket start right as she begins moving to the other breast, eager to pay equal tribute. She groans out a string of no ’s before pulling back to answer. She flops back onto the plush couch cushion and presses the phone to her ear.

 

As she listens to her co-worker on the other end, she takes in the sight of Regina, who is panting, cheeks flushed and hair tousled slightly. What’s more is that she has yet to fix her bra or her top, and her chest stays exposed, perky nipples jutting out and begging to be bitten.

 

She tosses her phone aside when the call ends and sighs. “I need to go in, there was a bus accident and it's all hands on deck.”

 

Regina nods breathlessly, moving to fix her bra, but Emma can't help but stop her, cupping her breasts softly and humming contently. “That’s it. I’ll just quit.” She decides, fingers tugging on Regina's nipples.

 

The older woman rolls her eyes and suppresses a moan, “You certainly will not.”

 

“But-” She squeezes again before Regina tugs her hands away firmly.

 

“Go in.”

 

“Fine.” She pauses, face contorting in frustration. “I’ll have to wake the kid up and take him with me since Mary Margaret is gone and Ruby will be working too.” She sighs and lets her head flop back.

 

“Do you recall what I said a few weeks ago?”

 

“That I’m childish?”

 

“Yes, but before that.” Regina smiles, pulling her bra down and tucking her shirt back into her pants, all while remaining perched on Emma’s lap. “I said if need be, I’d be happy to watch Henry. Including now.”

 

“Oh, Regina, this could be all night.”

 

“Well then, I suppose I better stay over.”

 

Emma huffs, her frown turning into a smirk. “So our first sleepover happens like this, huh?”

 

“Indeed it does. When do you need to be in?”

 

“Next thirty minutes or so.”

 

Regina nods, “You get ready, I will run home and grab a few things. I’ll be back in time for you to leave.”

 

Emma feels relief and a bit of guilt. She went from sucking on Regina’s nipples to leaving her to babysit Henry in less than ten minutes.

 

She pats Regina's ass softly, then caresses it, “Fine. You have to let me set up a date for us then. No Henry, just me and you and lots of romance.”

 

“Oh, how will I ever cope with such a negotiation.” Regina deadpans, leaning down to kiss Emma once, deep but quick, before sliding off of her lap. “I’ll be back soon.” She tells Emma, picking her coat up off the floor, checking for her keys, then sleeping out the front door.

 

What a whirlwind, Emma sighs. She puts on a pot of coffee, knowing she’ll need the caffeine, and then sets off to her room to gather the things necessary for a long shift at the hospital.

Chapter Text

Regina



Regina’s alarm wakes her up at 6 AM, and she’s surprised to find an extra blanket had been spread out over her body sometime during the night, indicating that Emma had returned home.

 

She sits up on the couch slowly, her achy muscles stretching and adjusting as well. She isn't sure if she should gather her things and go home to get ready or stay and be with Emma and Henry.

 

She doesn't want to leave but she’s sure that they aren't ready for family morning routines despite the large step she and Emma took the night before.

 

Her body tingles at the memory of having Emma’s mouth on her.

 

Faintly, she hears the opening of a door and she wonders if Emma had heard her phone alarm go off. But the soft, childlike padding of footprints tells her that it's the younger Swan.

 

Henry looks tired and groggy as he appears from the hallways, and Regina fights a grin. “Good morning.” She tells him, and he looks at her for a long moment, confused.

 

“What’re you doing here Miss Miss?”

 

“Your mother had to go to work last night so I stayed with you.” She replies, holding her arms out to take him into her lap.

 

“But she's in her room.” He counters, and she smiles softly.

 

“She got home very, very late.”

 

He nods and sinks into her body, and for a moment, she thinks he’s drifted back to sleep. He smells like watermelon shampoo and laundry detergent, and she can't help but wonder how she'll be able to leave them this morning.





When Emma comes out about thirty minutes later, Regina and Henry are cuddled on the sofa eating oatmeal.

 

Regina wasn't sure if they were allowed to eat in the living room but she couldn't muster the strength to say no to Henry when he asked.

 

She blushes as she catches Emma staring at them. “I-I made enough for you as well. It’s on the stove and still hot.” She relaxes when Emma smiles as wide as her tired face allows.

 

“Thanks,” Emma says softly, green eyes lingering on brown. She licks her lips and turns to Henry, head motioning to the TV, “before you're dressed for school?”

 

“The pointer isn't on the seven yet, mommy!” He defends, pointing to the large wall clock by the kitchen entrance.

 

“Yeah, yeah.. finish your breakfast and get dressed. Then you can come back and watch Voltron until it’s time to go,” She leans down and kisses his head, “don't forget to brush your teeth too.”

 

He nods, standing up to take his bowl to the kitchen and then dashes off to his room, leaving both women alone.

 

Regina sets her bowl on the coffee table and stands, “I’m sorry, I just-”

 

“It's okay, babe.” Emma smirks, wrapping her arms around Regina’s slender waist. Immediately, Regina feels calmer, and she relaxes into the embrace. “Morning Henry is hard to resist. It takes years of practiced intolerance.” Emma jokes.

 

It feels fantastic to be in Emma's arms like this, and Regina can't help but lean in further, bringing their bodies closer together, “He certainly is very charming.”

 

“Gets it from me.” Emma grins goofily, leaning in to kiss Regina softly.

 

And she’s so very content, despite the fact that she needs to get ready for work and leave early enough to get there before any of her students. She’s content and happy and it's so unusual for her that it throws her world off kilter just a bit.

 

When the kiss breaks, Regina lets her arms rest on Emma’s shoulders, and she leans away, “What time did you get back from work?”

 

“Three hours ago.”

 

What?”

 

“Yeah, I have to be back at 8. But good news, I was going to get today off because of the overtime but I switched it to Friday. And I already had Saturday off. Two free days.” Emma wiggles her eyebrows and grins.

 

Regina doesn't know how that is good news, considering Emma is only running on 3 hours of sleep at this point, but she keeps quiet, knowing it’s not her place to mother Emma. “You work too hard,” is what she settles for, softening it with a lingering kiss against the blonde’s pink lips.

 

“Gives me time to miss my kid and my best girl.” Emma shrugs, chasing the kiss. It deepens for a few long moments, tongues brushing against each other languidly. The kiss is so good that Regina nearly wants to call in a substitute and make Emma stay home just to make out like teenagers.

 

Regina pulls away after a long moment, lips kiss red, “I suppose.”

 

Emma gives Regina’s waist a firm squeeze before pulling away, “I need to hop in the shower, feel free to use the bathroom by Henry's room to get ready for work.”





Friday comes slowly, the only time Regina is able to see Emma is after school for a few strained moments, mostly because Mal has taken to lingering close by until Emma leaves. It’s definitely a threat by now, Regina knows this for sure. The way Mal smirks at her every time Emma makes her way over, the way the older blonde talks to Emma like she knows just a little too much, and it's starting to overwhelm Regina greatly.

 

So by the time school is out on Friday, both Emma and Mal (along with the rest of the volunteers) are in the parking lot where the Trunk-or-Treat is being held, Mal standing close to an uncomfortable Emma.

 

“Thank you all for volunteering to help this year,” Regina starts, her familiar political smile on her face, “we have just enough cars to fill the parking lot. I've donated some of my own money for candy and games, but for those who have also donated, you are greatly appreciated.”

 

Everyone is divided up into groups, each working on the cars in sections of 6 cars per group. Regina supervises and delegates each group, helping where she can. She tries hard not to linger near Emma’s group for too long, knowing that Mal is watching and waiting like the tiger she is; ready to pounce when they least expect it.

 

She takes to working in the group where her own car sits eventually, trunk popped and empty and decorations scattered around. Her mind drifts as she sets up the witch themed trunk.

 

She wonders if Emma is able to focus, knowing what they’d done together just a few nights before on the blonde’s couch. Regina blushes when she thinks about where Emma’s lips had been, and she can still feel the blazing hot tracks of Emma’s tongue.

 

She has to take a moment to calm herself before she continues. She closes her eyes and grips the tiny broom sticks in her hands tightly.

 

Of course Emma Swan is the one to awaken her body and make her realize that sex is indeed more than an obligation.

 

She’s completely flipped Regina's world on its axis she’s completely off balance. It’s not a bad thing either; she realizes that maybe she’s ready for more sooner than she initially thought.

 

She stores that thought away for the time being and finishes her trunk.

 

By the time everyone is finished, they all make their way to the gymnasium where the kids whose parents have been helping play. There are snacks waiting; mini sandwiches and drinks and crudités, and Regina hadn't been aware of just how hungry she’d gotten during the Trunk-or-Treat setup.

 

“You did amazing with the planning, Genie,” Kathryn sidles up to her. Regina had assigned her and another teacher to to watch the dozen or so children, “be careful, Glass might have you be the planner every year.”

 

Regina smiles and gathers a small plate of food, making brief eye contact with Emma. She pops a cherry tomato into her mouth and smirks as Emma’s eyes follow the action. She turns back to Kathryn with a slight shrug, “If I’m honest, it really wasn't that bad. If I’m assigned to do this again next year, I'll be more aware of what to expect.”

 

Kathryn nods, now uninterested in the conversation, “So I’m assuming blondie with the red monstrosity of a jacket is Emma Swan?”

 

“What-”

 

The other teacher lowers her voice and smirks, “You literally mouth fucked a tomato just now right in front of me. The only one looking was that drooling blonde over there.”

 

Regina turns back to Emma, who immediately spins around, turning her attention to the group of kids, including Henry, and loudly offers to play a game of duck duck goose.

 

“Yes, if you must know. That’s Emma.” She searches for Mal, and is pleased to see that she is a good distance away, “Mal kind of found out about us.. somewhat.. so please keep your inappropriate thoughts and words to yourself, okay? She won't hesitate to expose me.”

 

Kathryn scoffs, stuffing a carrot into her mouth, “Ugh. What a Dragon.”

 

Regina smiles, “That's what Emma called her.”

 

“Well,” the other woman perks up, “I, for one, like this Emma Swan. Good judge of character.”

 

Regina looks back over to where Emma is playing an intense game of duck duck goose, and is currently being chased around the circle of children by a first grader. If it was ever possible, she thinks she’s fallen just a bit harder for the beautiful oaf.





Five o’clock hits, and the parking lot fills up quickly with costumed children and their families. Regina had settled on a modest dark purple pantsuit that she kept in the back seat of her car for the day, smokier makeup, and a witches hat to top off her look. Nothing too scary for the children.

 

Emma and Henry had decided to walk home around 3PM to get ready and then come back, and Regina is slightly grateful for the momentary separation from them. The longer she’s around those two, the harder it is to tamp down the urge to be close to them.

 

It also gives her a breather around Mal, who seems to wane off as the afternoon turns to evening.

 

The sun is setting and the event is in full swing, and Regina sees all of her students one by one, shyly approaching her car during their car hop with their bags of candy held out.

 

She sees Henry, Nick and Lily hop to her car, and they all hug her, Henry more enthusiastic than the other two.

 

“You're a witch!” Henry squeals, “I’m Shiro. I wanted to be bumblebee but mommy couldn't find enough cardboard to make it but this costume is still AWESOME!”

 

Regina smiles, “You look wonderful, Henry. What about you two?” She turns to Lily and Nick.

 

“I’m a m’canic, like my daddy.” He stretches the fabric of his tiny jumpsuit to show Regina the name tag, which says “Michael”.

 

Lily adjusts her large headpiece and grins, “I’m Maleficent,” She pronounces slowly but perfectly. Regina knows that Mal probably rehearsed it with Lily a hundred times in order to impress people. Regina has to hand it to the other woman though, it's adorable.

 

“You all look amazing.” She tells them adoringly, unable to stop the wide grin on her lips.

 

“You're the classiest witch I've ever seen, Ms. Mills,” She hears, and she looks over to see Emma swan walking up in a pink nurses uniform.

 

Regina blushes and smoothed her already pristine jacket out, “At least I didn't come dressed as a teacher,” she retorts, motioning to Emma’s getup.

 

“Oh this?” Emma smirks, looking down at her scrubs, “Automatic halloween costume every year. Plus, when I inevitably get called in, I’m already prepared.” She crosses her arms and grins in triumph. "It's worked every year, foolproof, really."

 

“Laziness at its finest.”

 

Emma shrugs, “You call it lazy, I call it efficient.” 

 

The night goes off without a hitch, and Regina can't help but feel relieved that it's going so well, knowing that all of her stressing and prepping has paid off. She watches Emma hang around Henry and his friends, keeping a professional distance from each other while, at the same time, sharing lingering glances and smiles. 

 

A parent stops to talk to her as she refills her cauldron with candy, and she smiles at him politely. 

 

"This is probably one of the best trunk-or-treats so far. Last year's was boring." And briefly, Regina tries to remember who'd planned it the previous year. Dr. Glass mostly.

 

She can't help the grin that spreads over her face and she nods, "I had lots of help though, and some good donations to make it a bit more entertaining for everyone." 

 

"Well, you should plan every year," he grins, almost flirtatiously, "my daughter Grace was in your class last year, she'd had only good things to say about you." 

 

Just as Regina is about to respond, the sound of Henry and Nick calling out to them rings through and Regina spins around to see Lily on the floor, a tiny hand clawing at her throat. Her eyes widen and she freezes, looking around for Mal, who is sprinting toward them with an expression of terror.

 

She realizes she’s moving too slow and that Lily is choking, and she turns back around to see that Emma is already over there, kneeling behind the little girl and delivering firm, hard blows with an open hand to her back.

 

What’s happening?” Mal rushes out, skidding to a stop on her knees in front of Lily. The little girl’s face is nearly a pale bluish purple.

 

Nick sobs next to Henry, who looks sick. “She eated a chocolate and then she fell,” Henry tells them.

 

“She’s choking,” Emma says, and she immediately started on abdominal thrusts, pulling the girl up to her feet like a rag doll. “C’mon baby,” she says quietly, and a Regina can only watch on in horror. In all of her years of teaching, she'd never had a student choke. 

 

Moments later, a large chunk of chocolate flies out of Lily’s mouth, landing in the grass, and she starts coughing. “Atta girl,” Emma sighs, and everyone that had gathered around them releases a similar sigh of relief.

 

Regina watches as Emma helps Lily sit back down on the grass, carefully taking the girl’s headpiece off and loosening the costume cape ties around her neck to help her breathe better. She holds Lily’s arms above her head, then turns to Regina and Mal, “She’s okay now but I think you should take her to the ER. She was out of air for quite a while and she’s still looking very weak.”

 

“I’ll call an ambulance?” Regina suggests, already pulling her phone out of her pocket. She isn't sure if an ambulance is necessary but she'd rather over compensate than not have the right resources.

 

Mal comforts her daughter as Emma talks her through the aftercare, and Regina takes note of how completely different she is when in work mode. She’s checking Lily’s heart rate and breathing every few minutes and demanding strangers to get water, and it’s incredible.

 

Regina finally sinks down next to Henry, unable to stand his crying any longer, and she holds him to her tightly, motioning for Nick to join them as well. Mal looks at her from over Lily’s head and somehow, there’s an understanding between the two women, something about a life or death experience washing away all other cares. The main concern here between everyone is keeping all of the kids safe.

 

“I hear the ambulance,” Emma tells Mal, “keep her arms above her head and have her take a small sip of water in a minute or two. When the EMTs get here they’ll take over and you'll be able to ride with her to the hospital, okay?”

 

Mal nods quickly, “Thank you.. so much..” there are tears streaming down her cheeks as she takes over holding Lily’s arms up, “how did you know..”

 

“I’m a pediatric nurse at the hospital, so I know a few things..” She smiles kindly, patting the older woman’s shoulder. “She’ll be okay, that's the important thing.”

 

Regina just holds onto Henry tightly, and Henry holds back. Nick holds onto Henry's and Regina hand, just wanting to be near.

 

“Mommy’s a real life hero.” Henry mutters, and Regina nods, placing a kiss on his head.

 

“She is.”

Chapter Text

Emma



Emma nearly collapses onto the ground after the EMTs drive off with Lily and Mal, her heart beating a million times a second. She’d told Mal confidently that she’s done this many times before but really, she’s only ever had to do it a handful of times and in the presence of at least 3 or 4 doctors.

 

Her hands are shaky and she glances at the large chunk of chocolate on the pavement, and she feels sick.

 

Lily had been out of oxygen for a total of one minute and four seconds, longer than Emma should've allowed. Especially for a child. A few seconds longer and the little girl would have probably passed out from lack of oxygen and her organs would've began to behave erratically.

 

She presses her palm to her forehead and sighs, ignoring most people as they pass by her and scatter.

 

But she feels the presence of someone and immediately knows who it is.

 

Regina places a warm, shaky palm on her back and kneels down next to her, Henry not far behind. It looks as though Regina doesn't care about what people see because the older woman cups Emma’s jaw and turns her head.

 

“Darling, you were amazing,” the brunette mutters, dark eyes locking with green.

 

“You saved her mommy!” Henry bursts, wrapping his arms around her neck tightly. She can't help the grin that spreads across her face then, and she kisses her son’s cheek.

 

“I'm glad you got my attention when you did, Hen. You saved her.”

 

Henry’s proud smile brings wide smiles to both women’s faces.

 

Regina’s name gets called and the older woman sighs, “I have to go..” She tells Emma, “enjoy the rest of your halloween. Maybe..” She glances around to make sure nobody is within earshot, “maybe you and Henry could come over later tonight. You could..spend the night at my house.” She doesn't need to say the words for Emma to know that Regina wants them close tonight, and her heart jumps at the thought.

 

“We’d love that.”

 

“Wonderful.” Regina grins shyly and stands up straight, smoothing her purple blazer out before nodding her goodbye to Henry and walking toward a group of teachers.





“You fuc- freaking saved a little girl’s life today?” Ruby blurt, and everybody within 10 feet of them stop and look.

 

Emma chuckles nervously and shushes Ruby.

 

They're trick-or-treating with Henry in Emma’s neighborhood now, having left the Trunk-or-Treat at 7 when it ended.

 

“Quiet, Rubes.”

 

Ruby shakes her head, “No way, Swan. You deserve to be praised to high heaven. You should get employee of the month if the hospital has that.”

 

“You wouldn't know.” Emma jests, dodging a piece of taffy that Ruby chucks at her. “I just don't want to make a big deal about it. It was scary for everyone.”

 

“Lily turned blue.” Henry chimes in, sounding grave, even as he swings Emma’s hand back and forth as they walk.

 

“Oh shit.”

 

“Thats'a dollar, Aunty.” Henry scolds.

 

“I put five in last time so i'm covered.”

 

Emma rolls her eyes, “I’m just glad she’s okay. Regina called for an ambulance so Lily and her mom should be at the hospital now getting checked out.”

 

“Dr. Booth is on duty tonight, too, so she's in extra good hands.” Ruby adds, mostly for Henry’s benefit. “What're you doing tonight, by the way? I say we show Henry his first scary movie marathon since it's Halloween.”

 

Emma smiles, “Actually, we’re going over to R-e-g-i-n-a’s tonight.” She’s learned not to say her girlfriend’s name out loud in front of Henry or he’ll lose it and bug her about the older woman for the next foreseeable hours.

 

Ruby sulks for all of four seconds before Emma sees her light back up with a suspicious glint in her eye, “Remember how I told you that granny is dying to see the kid?”





She’s as nervous as she was the first time she knocked on Regina’s door, sans Henry and eager to impress. Only this time, Regina truly wants her to be there, but she’s also expecting Henry to be with her.

 

It takes longer than usual for Regina to open the door, and When she finally does, Emma knows why.

 

“I didn't realize it was so late,” Regina says sheepishly, crossing her arms in front of her. She’s wearing a silky robe and her hair is soaked. Her feet are covered in a pair of white fluffy slippers that Emma hadn't expected the older woman to own, but the sight is nothing if not absolutely adorable.

 

“Yeah, I was with Ruby.. we took Henry Trick-or-Treating in my neighborhood for a couple of hours after we left the school.” She explains, adjusting the strap of her duffel bag on her shoulder. She smirks and motions inside, “You gonna let me in or…”

 

“Right,” Regina steps aside, one arm still covering her breasts as if she’d forgotten that Emma’s seen her breasts. Well.. mostly. “Where is Henry?” She finally asks, glancing outside before closing the door.

 

“Ruby and granny basically forced me to let him stay there. Granny’s missed him.” And at those words, the air shifts. Regina lowers the arm covering her silk covered breasts, “I hope that's okay..”

 

“Of course, dear.” Regina smiles sweetly, reaching out to take Emma’s hand in hers.

 

Emma can't help but look then, finally letting her eyes wander a bit. From the dark, curly hair to her impossibly smooth looking legs, to the way her body is so exposed yet covered in that thin silk robe. Her nipples are poking through the fabric, either standing at attention due to the chill in the air or from Emma’s wanton gaze.

 

“I have a television in my bedroom, if you’d still like to watch some movies.”

 

Emma pulls Regina closer, finally relaxing a bit, “Only if we can watch horror movies. It’s halloween and we must celebrate accordingly.”

 

“I have to admit, I've never been big on movies so I don't have a wide selection of horror.”

 

Patting her duffel, Emma shakes her head, “Not to worry, baby. I've got enough movies to last all night.”

 

A dark brow raises and Emma bites her lips, letting her hands clasp Regina’s waist lightly as the older woman hums. “All night, hm?”

 

“Maybe even all morning too.” She murmurs, stroking Regina’s back up and down slowly, “one right after the other.”

 

Regina nods wordlessly, breath hitching softly as she leans in and presses her lips to the corner of Emma’s mouth, “What about food and…” She trails off when the younger woman’s hands make their way to her ass, and Emma smirks against her lips. “I know how big your appetite is..”

 

“Oh, I’ll have plenty to eat.”

 

And that seems to snap Regina out of it. Emma nearly chokes on laughter as the older woman shivers and pulls away, breathing ragged, “You lasted longer than I expected, Ms. Mills.” She grins.

 

“You're evil.”

 

“Hey, I wasn't lying. But we can do whatever you want, whatever you're comfortable with.”

 

Regina ignores her blushing cheeks and tilts her chin up, “Just come with me.”

 

“My pleasure.”

 

They make their way upstairs and into Regina’s bedroom. Regina closes the door softly and moves to her dresser, “Let me just get some pajamas. I’m going to finish up in the bathroom and then you're free to utilize anything you need in there.”  

 

Emma nods, “I’m going to change in here while you're...” she motions awkwardly in the direction of the bathroom, cheeks finally tinting a light pink, “in there.”

 

When the bathroom door clicks shut, she finally lets out the nervous breath she’d been holding in since arriving here. She didn't know what to expect when she showed up without Henry, and the flirty, seductive confidence she’d displayed by the front door was all for show.

 

Because inside, she’s pretty fucking sure she’s having a meltdown.

 

The air around them seems completely different from the last time they were alone together; they're going to be sleeping in the same bed tonight.

 

A whole new wave of excitement and nerves washes over her as she strips quickly and slips into her modest pajamas (baggy shorts and a t-shirt).

 

Her things are organized neatly back in her bag and placed on the bench at the end of the bed before she awkwardly sits down on the soft, cornflower blue comforter. And then she waits.

 

And waits.

 

And waits.

 

It almost seems ridiculous how much she waits. Regina seemed like the person to take her time but it’s been nearly forty-five minutes and nothing.

 

Emma bites her lip and plops down on the bed, arms resting behind her head as she stares at the ceiling.

 

Her first thought is that Regina’s bed is probably the most comfortable, most heavenly mattress she’s ever had the pleasure of laying on. Her second thought is why the hell is Regina not cuddling with her yet?

 

And finally, after what feels like a billion seconds, she hears the bathroom door open. She sits up, propping her body up with her elbows, and her third (and final) thought just happens to be: Holy shit.

 

She’s pretty sure she said that out loud because Regina stares at her with wide brown eyes and a small smile on her pretty, pretty lips.

 

Emma drinks her girlfriend in slowly. Regina is standing there, one hand holding onto the bathroom doorway, dressed in the smallest, silkiest, laciest teddy nightgown Emma has ever seen. Her breasts are barely covered, and her legs are exposed all the way up to the very top of her thighs. Regina’s hair is tousled so perfectly to the point where it looks like it was professionally tousled, her makeup is light but also enhances her features amazingly.

 

“Holy shit.”

 

Regina’s tan cheeks are stained pink, but her eyes are wide and smoldering, “I believe you said that.”

 

“I wasn't sure the first time.”

 

Emma sits up more and scoots back, resting against the headboard and she sighs, “Why are you so far away?” she asks, holding her hand out.

 

Regina makes her way over to the bed, then leans over to crawl up from the end of the mattress. “Aren't you going to ask me what I’m wearing?” She jokes, voice quiet and dripping with nerves and excitement and provocation.

 

Emma’s eyes are glued to every exposed area of flesh, from the valley between Regina’s breasts to her arms to her upper thighs as she crawls her way up Emma’s lap. When she settles, straddling the younger woman’s hips, Emma lets out a shaky breath. For once, she’d like her mouth to work. Or her brain.

 

“I think it’s painfully obvious.” She chokes, letting her hands rest lightly on Regina’s silk covered hips. “What about watching movies, hm? Do you really think I’ll be able to focus on anything but you while you're wearing… this..?”

 

Regina’s confidence is growing, Emma can see it bubbling in her with every smirk and blink. “I must admit.. I had no intentions of watching movies with you in this bed. Not tonight at least.”

 

“What are your intentions, then?”

 

Regina breathes out shakily and reaches down to drag Emma’s hands up her body to cup her breasts, “Emma Swan, I thought it was painfully obvious.”

 

Emma feels Regina’s nipples as they pebble against her hands and she can't suppress the light moan that escapes her lips. “You're sure you're ready for that?”

 

Regina settles into Emma's lap further and smiled softly, “Watching you save Lily today.. I could see how scared you were, yet you kept going and stayed calm. I see how..” she takes a deep breath and cups Emma’s jaw with both hands, “how much you care about everyone and it's so, so beautiful Emma. I want to be with you, and I want you to be with all of me.”

 

Emma moans when Regina leans down to kiss her deeply, tongues caressing immediately and lips meshing as close as they possibly can. She pulls away breathlessly and pushes her chest out into Emma’s hands, which are still cupping her breasts lightly. Emma feels like she’s going to pass out, seeing this side of Regina, so open and honest, turns her on to no end.

 

“All of you..” Is all she can mutter, transfixed on the way Regina rocks her body slightly, gently over hers, grinding her hips in slow circles.

 

“I want to make love, darling,” Regina whispers, cheeks tinting pink and breath coming out just a bit shaky.

 

Emma’s brain short circuits and she goes into overdrive. She can't help herself when she bites her bottom lip and flips them, pushing Regina onto her back and sliding in between her legs. Their bodies mold as she holds herself above Regina, arms on either side of the older woman’s head.

 

“God,” she says, looking down at Regina. Her hair is splayed around her head, skin glowing in the golden light of the bedroom, dark eyes nearly black with nerve and arousal. “You're gorgeous. Fucking beautiful.”

 

“My, my,” Regina smiles, wrapping her legs tightly around Emma’s lower back, “a true poet you are.”

 

Emma smirks and leans down, placing light kisses along Regina’s cheeks and lips. “I'm gonna need you to tell me what you want. This is a first for both of us.”

 

“I thought you said you've been intimate with a woman before.” Regina replies, uncertain.

 

“I have, but not one I care this much about. You told me that your past lovers couldn't make you come. I intend on doing that.. more than once,” Emma punctuates her statement with a slow grind of her hips. Regina lets out a shuttered whimper, and Emma can't hold in her smirk, “so I’m gonna need you to work with me. So far, only you know how you like it.”

 

“I’m sure you'll learn quickly.” Regina whispers.

 

Emma’s fingers toy with the thin strap of Regina’s silk nightgown, pulling it to the side and off her shoulder slowly. Regina shivers at the touch, and Emma leans down to place soft kisses on her shoulder and collarbone.

 

And then she makes her way down, pulling the dress with her. Regina slips her arm out of the strap and lets Emma pull the material down to expose one of her breasts, and immediately, Emma takes the exposed nipple into her mouth.

 

This time, she sucks hard and savors it, knowing she has all the time in the world.

 

If anyone were to ask Emma what she thinks heaven is like, she’s pretty sure she'd describe the sound Regina makes as she sucks on her nipple.

 

Thighs tighten around her hips and she grinds down slowly, rubbing the fabric of her shorts against the apex of Regina’s thighs. She can feel how hot it is, can almost feel the pulsing in Regina’s needy p-

 

“Emma, it's not enough…” Regina pants, nails digging into the back of Emma’s neck.

 

“Can I take this off of you?” Emma asks, pulling away from Regina’s breast with a wet smack. “I-I mean it's not like I don't appreciate it, cuz wow, you look hot in it, but-”

 

“Take it off me, Miss Swan.”

 

Emma quiets, biting her bottom lip as she sits up in between Regina’s parted thighs and she freezes in place momentarily. Her gaze narrows quickly, now only focused on the patch of damp, heather grey lace barely covering Regina's sex.

 

Regina catches on and attempts to bring her knees together, but Emma holds them apart, gently prying them back open, “No, please.. God.. can I look at you?”

 

Regina blushes but relaxes her legs, letting Emma spread them wider.

 

Emma’s lost in her own world now, leaning down to kiss the inside of Regina’s left knee, then her right, and then she makes her way down, kissing and nipping the increasingly sensitive flesh of Regina’s thighs. The closer she get to her pussy, the more she can smell just how aroused Regina is.

 

And damn. She never wants to be anywhere but in between Regina’s beautiful thighs.

 

“Okay, we gotta get you naked like, now.”

 

Regina laughs out loud, sounding nervous, but relieved, “You too.”

 

“Of course. Me too.”

 

Emma moves quickly then, shucking off her shirt and shorts, leaving her in nothing but a pair of boy short panties. She ignores Regina’s hungry gaze and tugs at the hem of Regina’s nightgown, “can I?”

 

Regina nods wordlessly and sits up, lifting her body slightly to pull the gown up and over her head.

 

And now, they're both naked save for their panties, and it's surreal.

 

“I'm kind of speechless right now.” Emma mutters, taking in every ounce of Regina’s body. Fully displayed in front of her, legs spread, nipples hard, cheeks pink from arousal. “I'm definitely..” She trails off, too fixed on Regina’s breasts.

 

“You're quite adorable when you're flustered. I would've thought you'd be more… in charge while in bed. Turns out you're just as nervous as I am.”

 

Emma grins and presses their bodies together quickly, pushing a thigh in between Regina’s legs and grinding slowly, roughly. “I’m just enjoying the view. But if it’s action you want, then I’m happy to oblige.”

 

Regina moans out and spreads her legs more, one hand going up to press against the headboard while the other spears through Emma’s hair. “ Yes.”

 

“I can feel how wet you are. Is that for me?”

 

She can tell her dirty talk surprises Regina, but it works in turning her on more. Regina leans up and captures her lips, biting down gently on Emma’s bottom lip before suckling it, “It’s all for you.”

 

She hums and grinds faster, keeping the same pressure against Regina’s pussy as she speeds up. The older woman’s head tilts back and she lets out a shaky whimper as Emma moves between her legs.

 

They set a steady pace; somewhere in between calculated and frantic. Their breasts rub together at every thrust and it turns Emma on even more.

 

“Touch me. Please , I want you to touch me. I want you.” Regina begs, voice on the verge of turning into a whine.

 

Emma’s never seen her so unhinged. The ever collected Regina Mills is now a writhing, wet mess, and it's possibly the sexiest thing Emma has ever seen. She can't help but feel honored to be the one to make the older woman feel this wanted and turned on.

 

“I’ll get there. Just let me take care of you.”

 

Emma moves her mouth down to take the nipple she hadn't worshipped yet into her mouth as her hands go to the waistband of Regina’s panties. Her fingers dip inside just barely, grazing the flesh that lies beneath. She suckles and nips as she tugs the wet fabric down slowly.

 

She gets confirmation when Regina lifts her hips slightly, and she pulls the panties all the way down, tossing them to the side on the bed.

 

“Emma, if you don't touch me now, I’m going to exp- ohh,” Emma props herself up with one hand while the other goes straight between Regina’s legs, finding her clit immediately and pressing down on it.

 

Regina arches slightly and her mouth drops open and her legs quiver, bending to spread even wider, “ There,” she gasps, wrapping her arms around Emma’s shoulders.

 

“Here?” Emma rubs slowly, pressing down with every stroke against Regina’s clit. She leans down, pressing her cheek against the inside of Regina’s knee and lets her fingers trail down to her slick, hot opening. She kisses Regina’s skin as she pushes two fingers in slowly, curling them up against the older woman’s g-spot. She watches on with pride as brown eyes flutter shut and breasts arch up.

 

“God, that feels so good .” Regina moans, unable to resist spreading her free leg wider.

 

Emma raises her eyebrows as she speeds up a bit, “not good enough if you're still coherent,” she mutters, and then pushes her fingers in faster, rougher.

 

Regina’s eyes snap open and she releases a high pitched moan, and Emma can tell she’s entirely shocked by the sound coming from her own mouth. So Emma fucks her harder, leaning down to kiss inner thighs, then just above the trimmed thatch of hair, “Lemme hear you, Ms. Mills.” She murmurs, then attaches her mouth onto the older woman's clit and sucks hard.

 

Regina’s hands go straight to Emma’s hair and she moans out with every exhale, punctuated by, “ Don't stop,” and “ Yes!” and “ Oh God, right there,” coming out in broken pants.

 

Emma sucks and licks and fucks her fingers into her lover relentlessly, not caring if she passes out from lack of oxygen. From the way Regina is tightening around her fingers, Emma can tell she’s close. She pushes a third finger in, rubs directly where it makes Regina’s toes curl, and in a few drawn out moments, thighs are closing up around her head and fingers are digging tightly into her scalp, and Regina is coming hard.

 

“I’m coming,” Regina blurts in what sounds a hell of a lot like shock, back arching as she cries out.

 

Emma waits until Regina’s calmed, falling back onto the bed in a breathless heap, lips parted as she swallows thickly. “You made me come,” she rasps, looking over at her bedside clock, “in less than ten minutes.”

 

Emma sits up and licks her fingers, wiggling her eyebrows childishly as Regina watches with raw lust. She pulls her fingers out with a suck and a pop, “I know a thing or two about a thing or two.”

 

“I’m not so sure I can do the same for you as perfectly as you did for me,” Regina blushes, rubbing her knees together as she props herself up on her elbows, “but I’d like to give it a try.”

 

“Uh.. I’m pretty sure all it would take is you on top of me to get me off. Watching you come was probably the sexiest thing I've ever witnessed in my entire life and I’m one right move away from blowing.” Emma grins, feeling her heart swell at the blush and eye roll she receives from Regina.

 

“Well then, darling, lay down and let me see what I can do.”

 

Emma complies, bringing Regina down for a deep, hot, needy kiss, because she went too long without her girlfriends lips on her.

 

Regina slips a hand down tentatively, touching Emma’s clit softly, then she starts rubbing small circles with the tips of her pointer and middle fingers.

 

And as Regina whispers sweet, dirty things into Emma’s ear in between sucking on the skin below it, Emma can't help but be overwhelmed with how much she cares for this woman. It tiptoes past the line of adoration and into a territory she hadn't experienced since Neal was in her life.

 

She comes hard when Regina’s fingers pick up the pace and press down harder, squeezing the older woman’s ass as she wraps her legs around curvaceous hips.

 

She won't say it out loud yet, she won't risk ruining this euphorically perfect moment, but in her head, one though rushes through her whirling brain as she comes down from her orgasm.

 

I love her.

Chapter Text

Regina



Her entire body quivers, legs feel like jelly and her brain like mush. The hot spray of the shower cascades down her back as she presses her hands against the cold shower wall and drops her head forward.

 

Emma is inside of her at the moment, from behind, three or four fingers in (she can't tell really, she just knows how good it feels to be taken like this).

 

Her moans and breathless whimpers get lost in the sound of water droplets hitting the shower floor, and she pushes her body back to meet every thrust inside of her.

 

Emma,” She chokes, bringing a hand down to her own clit without thinking and rubs vigorously. She wants to be as vulgar as Emma is, saying things like “fuck me,” and demanding what she wants, she feels that carnal need bubbling inside of her, but she’s still too inexperienced and slightly embarrassed to let that all out on their first morning after .

 

Being with Emma has opened a new doorway for her though, and she can't stop picturing in her mind the endless ways they can make love, the amount of positions they can fuck, and maybe even bring toys into the mix in the future. She feels like a different woman. Kathryn was right about her feelings changing once she starts getting some.

 

“You like it?” Emma murmurs from behind her, and yes, god yes, she loves it, but words aren't something she can really manage right now, so she just nods vigorously, wet hair slapping her cheeks. “I love being inside of you, Regina. I love how wet you get for me.” Emma kisses the back of her neck and her knees nearly buckle.

 

It doesn't take long before she’s coming hard, bending down and dragging her hand along the shower wall as she lets out moan after moan.

 

Emma bravely slaps her wet ass and she blushes, because who knew she’d like that so much? Holding herself up with a hand against her thigh, she catches her breath, absorbing the moment into her brain for a few seconds.

 

She sighs and turns around after a while, wrapping her arms tightly around Emma’s neck. She kisses her roughly, pushing the younger woman back against the wall. She’ll give just as good now, she feels confidence bubbling inside of her and she wants desperately to make Emma scream.

 

She drops down, kneeling with her ass against her heels and she kisses Emma’s toned stomach, licking the water droplets and humming, her eyes turn up and she smiles at her girlfriend, “In case I forgot to say it, good morning.”

 

Emma grins, running her fingers over Regina’s forehead and cheek softly, eyes full of love. Regina can see it clearly. “The best morning.”

 

“I’m going to use my mouth on you now.” Regina tells her, leaning back in to kiss Emma’s thighs and hips, “Put your leg on my shoulder.”

 

“Yes ma'am.” Emma complies, hooking a leg over Regina’s shoulder, the other holding herself steadily up.

 

Regina realizes that she’s a greedy woman when it comes to oral sex. Yes, she loves when Emma does it on her, it feels beyond amazing. But as she runs her tongue through soaked folds, sucking and humming and completely making out with Emma’s sex, she knows she won't ever want to leave this spot. How could she?

 

Emma moans, resting her head back against the shower wall and rolls her hips.

 

Regina runs a hand up Emma’s body and cups a firm breast in her hand, squeezing and molding it in her hand as she devours Emma.

 

Emma comes with a hard shudder, fingers tightening in Regina’s hair.

 

After, they wash each other, sharing long kisses in between, touching each other softly as they go.

 

This is quite possibly one of the best days of Regina’s life.





Emma invites her to come pick Henry up later that day, then to her house for a family day in. Those were her exact words, and who was she to ever say no to that?

 

She’s too drunk on Emma to refuse anyway, so as Emma gathers her things, Regina makes them a quick lunch and gets a small bag together just in case she stays over there.

 

“You want me to ride in that?”

 

Emma stops momentarily, looking up and over her shoulder from the lock on her car door and feigns hurt, “Some would consider it an honor..”

 

“An honor to make it out alive, you mean?” Regina jabs playfully, rolling her eyes when Emma pouts.

 

Emma caresses the roof of the car gently, “It's okay Bumble, she didn't mean it.”

 

“You're ridiculous.”

 

“You weren't complaining about my ridiculousness when I was three fingers in-”

 

“Save the vulgarity for the bedroom, darling,” Regina interrupts, leaning in to kiss Emma’s lips chastely, “And that’s because I was too busy biting my lip to keep from waking the neighbors.”

 

Emma groans and Regina makes her way around, getting in when it's unlocked.

 

And it’s so incredibly easy to be this way with Emma, so comfortable and wonderful.

 

Regina is surprised to see that Ruby and Granny live above a diner, which also serves as a motel. It’s cozy and inviting.

 

“Miss Miss!” Henry squeals, and Regina turns to see him bounding out from the back. She hugs him tightly and kisses the top of his head, “Did you have a fun Halloween?” She asks, taking note of the chocolate smeared around his mouth.

 

Emma groans, “How much sugar did you have, kid? Be honest.”

 

“Not a lot.” He shrugs, and Emma fixes him with a knowing look.

 

More honest, otherwise I’ll ask granny.”

 

“I don't know mommy. I eated- ate the ‘mmount that aunty Ruby allowed me to have.”

 

Regina bites her lip because if she knows anything about children, is that they're awful at making rehearsed lines sound organic.

 

“Yeah..” Emma squints.

 

Ruby and Granny are finally making their way out, and Regina can see Henry physically relax at the temporary distraction. She runs her fingers through his hair and hugs him close again as Ruby saunters over to them, “ So, how was your halloween night, ladies?” She asks, and Regina has a feeling that Ruby already know how their night was. Granny offers to make them all coffee (and orange juice for Henry) and heads behind the counter and into the kitchen.

 

“It was great. How much sugar did you give him?” Emma asks, eyebrows raised coyly.

 

Ruby just shrugs nonchalantly, “Not much. How much sugar did you give her?” She gestures to Regina, and she blushes hard, eyes narrowing at the way Ruby teases her. The younger brunette is just as brash as the first time Regina saw her in the bar, wild and drinking and laughing as if nobody was in the room with her and Emma.

 

“Mommy, you and Miss Miss had candy too?” Henry whines, twisting in Regina’s arms. He looks betrayed, as if he hadn’t just got done eating candy himself. They all sit down in one of the booths as they continue to chat.

 

“Yeah, a little. But hey, we can have some more tomorrow. I get the feeling you had enough today already.” The little boy tosses his head back and sighs. “Thanks for watching him, Rubes,” when granny makes her way back out with their drinks, Emma helps her, “You as well, granny. I can pay-”

 

“Nonsense.” Granny brushes her off, patting her shoulder softly before stepping around to give Regina her coffee and Henry his orange juice,  “Bring him by anytime… I suspect you’ll need it more often than before.” She winks at Emma and Regina is blushing again.

 

Emma just shrugs and looks over at Regina, and the older woman can’t help but smile at her.

 

The amount of happiness she feels just being with Henry and Emma is amazing, and surprisingly, she doesn't mind the slight embarrassment of knowing that Ruby and granny know just what they did on their Henry free night. She feels freer and relaxed and open and not much can really bring her down from her high right now.

 

“Regina, how is teaching going? Emma mentioned that you’re a teacher.” Granny asks, sitting down next to Ruby across from them.

 

“It’s wonderful. It’s been my dream career since high school, I wouldn't want to do anything else.” She smiles, looking at Henry. “It’s so amazing seeing young children go from barely knowing the alphabet to writing their own sentences and counting.”

 

“We always knew Henry would be a smart little boy,” Ruby boasts proudly, high fiving Henry from across the table, “we can pretty much thank my cosmo magazines for his brilliant reading skills.”

 

Emma rolls her eyes, “If believing that helps you sleep at night, Rubes, then yeah, sure.”

 

Regina watches Emma banter back and forth with her friend, sipping her coffee silently with a smile on her lips. Henry leans against her, only moving away to take a sip of his orange juice before moving back to curl into her.

 

Despite the outgoing personalities both Ruby and Granny have, which happen to be the opposite of Regina, who is reserved and rather quiet, she feels comfortable in their presence, at ease, and she can picture more afternoons and mornings and evenings like this; sitting with Emma’s family, sharing stories and talking and bonding.

 

She realizes she’s deep in thought when a squeeze on her thigh jolts her back to present time and she smiles at Emma, who looks a bit concerned. “You okay?”

 

Regina nods and laces her fingers through Emma’s, “I’m perfect, darling.” She murmurs.

 

“Ugh,” Ruby interrupts, earning a slap to the arm from granny. “What?” She turns back and makes a face, which causes Henry to burst out in giggles, “They’re too perfect, it’s sickening.”





Regina grudgingly goes home Sunday morning, knowing there’s things she needs to do before school the next day. She’d spent the night at Emma’s on Saturday, and they made love quietly that night (which was a hard task to do seeing as Emma somehow knows every spot to make Regina’s body absolutely quake) after Henry had gone to sleep.

 

They ate breakfast together the next morning, then before Regina had to go, the kissed deeply in front of the door, knowing that their week would separate them.

 

Now, as she sits in her study, doing paperwork for the board, she can't help but think that it seems unfair that Emma had willingly and welcomely introduced Regina to her family, yet Emma barely knows a thing about Zelena or Daddy or Mother.

 

She’s nervous to tell her mother about the other woman, but she’s so head over heels that whether or not Mother accepts their relationship, Regina will continue to be with Emma.

 

Zelena will most likely tease the blonde, but somehow, Regina thinks Emma will tease right back.

 

And Daddy will be happy no matter what, especially at the fact that Emma makes Regina so, so happy.

 

Regina sits back in her chair and bites her lip. It took almost five months of dating Robin before she introduced him to her family. But Emma is so different and special. Henry is now a big part of her life as well, and she wants them to be in her life fully.

 

She swallows thickly as she realizes something scary. She’s in this… forever if they’ll have her.





Monday morning she arrives at school to find Mal Drake waiting for her by the front doors. She furrows her brows and steels herself, knowing that anything could happen right now. “Mrs. Drake, what can I do for you?” She looks around, “How is Lily doing?”

 

“She’s okay.. She’ll be staying home with me until Wednesday, we’re still a bit shaken up.” Mal replies, and there's a lack of malice and bite and the usual cockiness in her voice. Regina softens a bit at the way the older woman rubs her hands together in the chilly November morning air.

 

“I bet. I’m certainly glad she’s getting some time to recoup.”

 

“Yeah..” Mal pauses, blowing a heavy breath out, “Could I join you in your classroom for a few minutes? There’s something I need to say.”

 

Regina purses her lips together in contemplation, “Mrs. Drake, I–”

 

“Regina, please.”

 

And so Regina sighs, unable to keep going like this. She nods silently and uses her key to enter the school, holding the door open for Mal. She walks with the confidence she doesn't really have and she prepares herself for anything. Mal could drop a bomb on her and say she’s outing her to the principal or school board, she could also accuse of playing favorites again, and she’s prepared to fight back. Nothing anyone can say or do will get in between her love for her work and students and her love for Emma and Henry. Her family.

 

When they get to the classroom, Regina unlocks the door and turns the lights on, “I’m afraid I don't have any adult chairs aside from mine.” She informs, dropping her things onto her desk.

 

“That’s fine. I won't be here long.” Mal takes a deep breath and shakes her head, “I just want you to know that I won't say anything. I won't hold whatever is happening with you and Henry’s mother over your head.”

 

Regina squints. This is the exact opposite of what she was expecting. “Why?” She asks, and Mal huffs.

 

“My daughter could have died.” Mal states plainly, “And you want to know where I was while that was happening? I wasn’t with her.”

 

“Things like that happen, Mal. Yes, they’re absolutely terrifying but she would’ve eating the candy whether or not you were standing a foot away or a yard away. The important thing is that she’s safe now and she’s okay.”

 

Mal nods, “Emma Swan saved her. Henry got your attention in enough time for her to stop my little girl from choking to death. And I’m assuming you’d told her about my.. My threat.”

 

Regina blushes and looks down, arms crossed, “Of course I told her. I was scared I’d mess up my chance at..” She pauses, unsure of whether or not it’d be save to divulge any personal information. “That doesn't matter. Emma is a nurse and she knew what to do in that situation and she did what anyone would do.”

 

“Well, I’d be a complete bitch to ruin something for the woman who saved my daughter’s life, wouldn't I?” Mal says dryly.

 

Regina finally loosens up, letting out a short chuckle, “Perhaps.” She sobers, “I want you to know that no matter the relationship I have with Henry’s mother, and no matter how close Henry and I get outside of school, that will not and does not affect the way I treat him or anyone else in my class.”

 

“I know. You’re.. You're a great teacher.”

 

Regina sighs, “Then why try and ruin my career?”

 

“I can’t tell you that because I don't even know myself. I’m sorry though. Really. Somehow it just felt like we were enemies when you’ve never even really done anything except teach my children.”

 

Regina nods and holds her hand out, and Mal shakes it firmly, “Thank you,” the brunette says, and Mal smiles.

 

“I’ve gotta get home, Lily will be up in a few hours.”

 

“Tell her that her classmates and I are thinking about her.”

 

“Will do.”

 

And then she’s gone, leaving Regina standing in the middle of her classroom, shocked and relieved.

Her first instinct is to call Emma, but she knows that mornings are busy with Henry being a morning person. So she’ll wait to tell her lover. And while she’s at it, she’ll ask Emma to think about meeting her family.


She smiles to herself, absolutely enraptured with the way things are falling into place. After years of only existing, she’s finally living. For herself, for her students, and more importantly, for her family.

Chapter Text

Emma

 

For the most part, Emma has a wonderful week. Even though she and Regina haven't been able to talk much now that it’s early November and everyone’s slipping slowly into the Holiday spirit; which means more PTA meetings, more emergencies, more hectic schedules.

 

There's still a pop in her step because she finally got to be with Regina. Who is quickly becoming the woman of her dreams.

 

The end of the week arrives smoothly though, and she plans on spending more time with Regina. She plans on telling her how she feels—how intense her feelings are and she plans on showing Regina how she feels. Being with Regina is the most addictive thing she’s ever experienced, and she doesn't want to spend another week going without it. Even just being near the older woman makes her feel so incredibly good and she practically floats. She’d called Regina earlier that Friday morning, asking if she’d like to come spend the night with her and Henry.

 

Regina said yes without hesitation, saying she’ll stop at home after school to gather a few things and then make her way over.

 

They’ll have to spend the evening with Henry but afterwards, it'll be just them. It'll be like any normal family evening, really, and that thought sends Emma over the moon.

 

When she picks Henry up from school that day, she sees Regina standing there, body fit in a red blouse tucked into a black pencil skirt, and she smiles widely as she takes the older woman in.

 

Henry hugs her and she winks at Regina, who rolls her eyes and squares her shoulders, “behave.”

 

Emma throws her hands up and shrugs, “I didn’t say anything.”

 

“Do you have super ears Miss Miss?”

 

Emma ruffles his hair and covers his ears, “No, but she has super lungs-“

 

“Go home, now.” Regina scolds, a blush on her cheeks. But Emma catches the smile curling up at the corners of her lips and she can’t be bothered with feeling embarrassed or guilty.

 

She shoots another wink at her girlfriend and uncovers Henry’s ears, “Let’s go kid. Gotta stop at the store on the way home.”

 

“Can we buy a movie?” He asks, dashing over to give Regina a big hug, unknowing that he’ll be seeing her later, then moving back over to Emma to take her hand.

 

“We have like.. 200 movies,” she argues, and she can’t help but look back at Regina, who is now talking to some other parent or teacher.

 

God, she’s beautiful.

 

“Did you hear me, mama?”

 

“Nope, sorry.”

 

He lets go of her hand and leans against the passenger side of the big dramatically “I said, we see’d all of our movies already and we need a new one.”

 

“Maybe.” She smirks when he pouts, and can’t help but ruffle his hair as she helps him into his booster in the back seat. “How was school?”

 

“Good! Lily is back finally!”

 

“I’m glad, kid. Were you excited to see her?” She asks him, closing the passenger door quickly and making her way around to the drivers side. He talks still, unphased.

 

“Yup. And she tell- told me that she got to eat a lot of ice cream while she was gone.”

 

He speaks as if he’s considering choking just for the sake of eating ice cream all day. She eyes him in the rear view and shakes her head, “You can have ice cream too, kid. Maybe not as much as Lily but don’t go choking on candy just so you can eat ice cream.”

 

He giggles and she rolls her eyes, smiling as she drives toward the neighborhood supermarket.





Henry had talked her into buying two new movies, but she refuses to believe she’s a pushover; he had been right after all, when he said they’d seen all of their movies. So they buy Thor: Ragnarok and Guardians of the Galaxy 2. She’s been wanting to see them anyway, she reasons.

 

She’d texted Regina before starting dinner to let herself in when she arrives later that evening, and received a quick text back, saying, Okay, darling.

 

Regina isn’t much of a texter, and it shows with the way she’s confused with half of the text lingo Emma uses. But it’s endearing and adorable and it makes Emma want to text her even more .

 

For now though, she focuses on the potato casserole in front of her, mixing ingredients and putting it together in the casserole dish. Henry loves when she puts crushed chex cereal on top, so she does that before sliding it into the oven.

 

The front door opens and closes as she sets the timer, and she looks up to see Regina putting her coat and purse on the hook by the front door. Emma smiles wide, she can’t help it, when they lock eyes.

 

The woman of her dreams.

 

“Miss Mills, what an unexpected surprise.”

 

Regina breathes in, linking her hands together in front of herself as she looks around, sterling her features professionally, “Well, Miss Swan, I’m merely here to see if Henry has been reading at home.”

 

Emma smirks, wiping her hands on a dish cloth before slinging it over her shoulder, “of course, every day.”

 

“Hm. And has he been writing his words as well?”

 

“Sometimes,” Emma says. He does it every day but she’s curious as to where this will go. For now, Henry is in his room, still asleep for his after school nap.

 

“Only sometimes?” Regina scolds, crossing her arms tightly over her pretty breasts.

 

Emma stops in front of the older woman, who is only half an inch shorter in those sexy heels of hers. “Sometimes less.”

 

“As his instructor, I should inform you on the importance of consistency-“

 

“As your girlfriend, I should inform you on the importance of hello kisses.” Emma counters, pulling the dish cloth off her shoulder and wrapping it around Regina’s waist, pulling her in tightly, “And of course Henry writes his words, Miss Mills.. have you met his teacher?”

 

Regina purses her lips and wraps her arms around Emma’s neck, “She sounds like a caring, competent teacher.”

 

“Mm. She is,” Emma hums, “plus, she’s sexy.”

 

“Miss Swan, I believe a kiss was in order.”

 

“Then do it.”

 

Regina threads her fingers through Emma’s hair, shooting tingles and sparks down the blonde’s spine. Being this close to the older woman will never fail to ignite every inch of her body and mind.

 

Their lips press together softly at first, and mid kiss, the realization strikes that this is their first one in days. So it grows deeper, tongues sliding together languidly, fingers tightening in hair, and Emma drops the cloth to grip Regina’s hips firmly.

 

Regina pulls back with a moan, lips wet and swollen, “I’ve missed that.”

 

“Feels like it’s been weeks.” Emma mutters, trailing soft kisses down Regina’s jaw. “God, I just wanna..” She trails off, bringing her hands down to the older woman’s firm ass.

 

“Not now.” Regina says breathily, pulling away. “Where’s Henry?”

 

“Still napping. Casserole is in the oven… So, c’mon, let’s make out while we’re alone.” Emma pouts, tugging Regina closer again. They both sit on the couch, but Regina keeps things PG.

 

“I’m afraid I won’t be able to stop if we continue on the way we were.” She blushes, crossing one leg over the other. Emma sinks back into the couch and sighs, eyes wandering from the pointed tip of Regina’s heel to the perfectly coiffed hair. Regina blushes, “I haven’t been able to concentrate all week now that we… well..”

 

Emma leans in conspiratorially, “Now that I’ve made you come hard?” She whispers, and grins at the scandalized look on Regina’s face.

 

“Do you have to be so vulgar?”

 

“What can I say, baby. You bring it out of me.”

 

Henry pads out into the living room tiredly then, rubbing his eyes as he makes his way toward the two women on the couch. “Miss Miss, you’re here?”

 

“Hi, little prince,” She murmurs, scooting over to let him cuddle up in between them, “is it okay if I join you for dinner?”

 

He nods silently, kicking his feet up into his mother’s lap as he cuddles into Regina’s waist.

 

Emma pats his back softly, “Do you want some wine?” She asks Regina, and the older woman looks at Henry, as if contemplating drinking in front of him, “hey, don’t worry. I’ll get you a small glass.”

 

Regina smiles gratefully then snuggles into the couch with the little boy, and Emma can hear the older woman sigh in contentment.

 

This is her family.

 

They watch some TV while the casserole finished up, and later, Regina finds her way into the kitchen, glass of wine in her hand as she makes a few side dishes out of seemingly nothing. Emma rolls her eyes when the older woman insists on helping, so she just sits back and watches her lover work. Henry sits contently on the couch while both women are in the kitchen.

 

Regina makes a salad and butters some bread, sprinkling some herbs Emma didn’t even know she had on the slices, turning a simple casserole dinner into a full meal.

 

“How was your week?” Emma asks, mostly keen on just listening to Regina speak.

 

“It was fine, it went by very slowly.” She pauses, “Mal Drake talked to me earlier in the week.”

 

Emma raises her eyebrows, “Really?”

 

Regina sips her wine and hums, “Complete 180. She said she’ll back off about us and won’t be a bother.”

 

“It’s because I saved Lily.” Emma smiles, and Regina nods, “It’s a shame that that’s what it took to get her off our backs, but I’d do it again regardless.”

 

Regina sets both dishes on the island when she’s done, mindlessly smiling as she says, “You’re a selfless woman, you care deeply for others. That’s why I love you so mu-”

 

Emma stares hard then, unable to comprehend in the moment what had just slipped from Regina’s lips. The brunette pauses, staring down at her shoes and gripping her glass in a death grip.

 

“Regina, I-“

 

“Disregard that, darling. I realize it’s too soon. Just a.. a slip of the tongue.” She turns around quickly and pours a little more wine into her glass, and Emma bites her lip.

 

Is there ever a right moment for these kinds of things when everything just feels so perfect? She could wait months or years and still feel this way.

 

She sees Regina’s shoulders tense and hears the deep breath she lets out and immediately without hesitation, she’s up and sliding around the counter. “Hey,” She murmurs, “Look at me.”

 

Regina huffs and leans against the counter. Emma smiles softly and wraps her arms around the older woman, “What’re you thinking right now, Regina?”

 

It’s quiet for a moment before Regina finally speaks, “I haven’t said that to anyone but my father since..” she pauses, clearing her throat, “not since Daniel. I have not felt romantic love since Daniel.”

 

“Really?” Emma asks, hands tightening around the other woman’s waist, “Aside from Hen’s dad, I haven’t either.”

 

“Which is why you can disregard-“

 

“You’re not hearing me.” Emma mutters, a hand reaching up to thread through soft brown hair, “I haven’t felt this way since his dad. Maybe even ever. You’re different than anything I’ve ever experienced.”

 

Regina looks into her eyes and there’s some sort of understanding between them. “For someone whose foot is constantly in her mouth, you sure have your charming moments.”

 

“I’d say my foot is in my mouth only 30% of the time on a bad day.” Emma counters, smiling widely before leaning in and pressing their lips together. “We can still go at your pace, babe. Say it when you feel comfortable. Could be right now or in a billion months.”

 

Regina breaths out softly, bringing her hands up to cup the back of Emma’s head and they kiss hard, putting every ounce of emotion into it. It says more than words ever could.

 

They only part from each other for two reasons:

 

  1. They need air.
  2. Henry’s voice interrupts them with a confused,

“Why are you kissing Miss Miss, mommy?”





Tonight is the first night Emma has ever needed to lock her bedroom door, and it surprisingly doesn’t bother her. Of course she feels a little guilty that she’s keeping Henry from slipping into her room to sleep next to her, but also… Regina.

 

More specifically, Regina naked.

 

Which is exactly what Regina is right now. Naked and staring at her with a whole lot of arousal and love.

 

“Have I ever told you that you’re sexy?” Emma stutters out, pulling her shirt off of her body and then her jeans. “Because you’re really fucking sexy.”

 

Regina smiles shyly, as if she’s not laying on Emma’s bed with her legs spread open, “It’s always nice to be reminded.”

 

“I’m gonna make you feel so good.” Emma’s ridiculously breathless as she speaks, cheeks blushing as she crawls up the bed to nestle in between Regina’s legs. She can feel and smell how wet her lover is, and she grinds her belly against that wetness out of desperation, ripping a moan from deep in Regina’s throat. “You can’t get too loud, baby.”

 

Another moan, this time almost like a whimper, “Maybe sex isn’t a good idea with a sleeping child less than 20 feet-“

 

“Don’t. We’ll just have to adapt.” Emma murmurs, leaning down to kiss the older woman’s full lips. “You’ll have to learn how to not scream when you come.” She smirks, fingers cupping Regina’s breasts softly.

 

“Oh, like you don’t get loud too.”

 

Emma brushes the older woman’s words off, instead trailing her hand lower until she’s pushing two fingers inside her body without warning. Regina’s back arches and she gasps, nails digging into Emma’s shoulders. “I’ve been thinking about this all week.” Emma sighs in relief, as if being inside Regina is what pulls all of the stress out of her body.

 

Regina nods quickly, spreading her legs wider as she relaxes into Emma’s thrusts, “I’m so close already,” Regina pants, letting her head fall back against Emma’s plush pillow. Her cheeks are red and she sounds embarrassed, so Emma speeds up.

 

“It’s okay, you can come. I’m not even close to being done with you anyway.”

 

Regina covers her mouth and breathes deeply, rocking her hips in time with Emma’s thrusts.

 

Emma watches her intently, “I’ll never get tired of this.” She purrs, grinding her palm down against Regina’s clit.

 

Yes, yes, please… God, don’t stop,” Regina whispers, mouth dropping open as Emma fucks her.

 

She comes a few moments later, forearm catching her moans.

 

“Keep coming,” Emma murmurs, speeding up, and it makes Regina arch higher, moan louder, come harder.

 

Emma feels her body relax after a while and she stops, pulling her fingers away. She sucks them into her mouth and hums at the taste of her girlfriend.

 

Regina sighs happily, reaching down to pull Emma’s chin up for a deep kiss. Emma’s hand goes straight to an aroused breast, cupping and kneading the flesh as they kiss languidly.

 

“I want..” Regina starts, pulling away slowly to take a deep breath, “can you use your mouth again?” She purrs, grinding up softly against Emma’s hips.

 

Emma smirks and bucks her hips, and she can’t help but want to be obscene about it, knowing how much it turns Regina on despite the older woman claiming it to be vulgar. She leans down and sucks on the older woman’s breast, nibbling and licking a distended nipple before tugging it with her teeth. Regina groans and huffs.

 

“What?” Emma says coyly, “You said use my mouth. You never specified where.” She leans back down to suck on Regina’s nipple.

 

“Not there ,” Regina moans, hands pushing at Emma’s shoulders.

 

“Then where?” She teases, trailing down to lick around Regina’s heaving ribs and upper belly.

 

And then Regina surprises them both, letting out a hoarse growl and demanding, “Fuck me with it, Miss Swan.”

 

Emma stares up at her, eyes wide, before they go dark. She pushes Regina's legs apart roughly and slinks down, wasting no time before shoving her tongue as deep inside Regina that it’ll go.

 

“Unhhh Yes-“ Is the last thing Emma hears clearly before thighs close around her head.





Emma wakes up around 7am to an empty bed. She wonders briefly if Regina had left and she fights back the wave of hurt. But then she hears movement in her bathroom and sighs. “Babe?” She murmurs, sliding out of bed and pulling an oversized t-shirt over her naked body.

 

Regina is, to Emma’s surprise, fully dressed and made up, and she stares in confusion.

 

“I have to go.” The older woman mutters, voice strained.

 

“Wh-Wait why?”

 

Regina takes a deep breath, “I got a call from my sister about thirty minutes ago, my father had to go to the hospital. They think he had a stroke last night.”

 

Emma’s heart plummets, and she steps forward, “Regina, I’m so sorry. Is there anything I can do to help?”

 

“He’s had heart problems before, I just… I feel dumb for not paying more attention. I don’t visit him as much as I should.” Regina spits, turning back to shove her toothbrush and hairbrush back into her overnight bag.

 

“Gina, whether or not you visit him more often won’t stop something like a stroke..” Emma soothes, moving closer to turn Regina around by her tense shoulders.

 

The older woman stares into her eyes for a moment before blurting, “Come with me.” She pauses, looking down at her shoes, “If… If it’s serious, I don’t want to be alone with my mother or sister. Please come with me.”

 

“Of course. Let me call Ruby and see if we she can come over and watch Henry.”

 

At the boy’s name, Regina’s eyes water. Emma aches as she remembers Regina saying one time that Henry is also her father’s name.

 

“Let me call Ruby and get dressed and we’ll go as soon as we can, okay?” Emma says, cupping Regina’s face softly and kissing her lips. Regina relaxes slightly and nods.

 

They move quickly after that; Emma to her phone to call Ruby and Regina to the bedroom to gather her clothes from last night.

 

“Hello?” Ruby answers tiredly, and Emma immediately shoots off in a quick explanation. Ruby cuts her off mid babble and declared she’ll be over in fifteen minutes.

 

In twenty, Emma is fully dressed and Ruby is settling on the couch while Henry still sleeps soundly. “Thanks again, Rubes. I’ll call you in a few hours.”

 

“Don’t worry about it Ems,” Ruby yawns, then shoots Regina a soft smile, “I hope your dad is okay.”

 

“Thank you, dear.”

 

They make their way outside, the sky is clear and it promises a nice day. Emma hopes desperately that everything turns out okay. Seeing Regina this upset is something she doesn’t ever want to experience, the heartache and feeling of not being able to help too overwhelming.

 

They’re quiet as the get into Regina’s Mercedes, and for the first few minutes after they pull out of the driveway as well.

 

“It’ll be okay.” Emma finally speaks. Her hand finds Regina’s thigh and she squeezes comfortingly, hoping that for now, it’s enough to calm Regina’s nerves. At least while she’s driving.

 

“They said he’s stable on the phone,” Regina mutters, eyes never leaving the road, “but I just need to see for myself.”

 

“I get it.”

 

Regina glances over at Emma, sad brown eyes shining with love. “Thank you for being here, Emma.”

 

“Always.” And she means it. She’d do anything for this woman.

Chapter Text

Regina



Regina doesn’t drop Emma’s hand when they make their way into the hospital despite how nervous she is that Emma is about to meet her mother and sister for the first time ever in less than five minutes. When she was introducing Robin, she’d told her parents and sister that he was her friend. It wasn’t him personally that made her not want to show her family that part of her life, but it was the fact that she didn’t want them to know that much of her at all.

 

But as her girlfriend leads the way to the ward where her father is staying, she can't help but fear not having everyone in the world know how lucky she is to be with someone like Emma.

 

They stop outside the doors leading to cardiothoracics and Emma turns to her, bright green eyes shining with endless support. “You’re okay, right?” She asks, tugging Regina closer.

 

“I am. I think it’s a good sign that he isn’t in the intensive care unit.”

 

“It is. It means he’s out of the woods.”

 

Regina nods, taking a deep, calming breath before taking the lead, pushing through the heavy doors. Immediately, she sees her mother and sister standing outside his room, cups of coffee in their hands.

 

Regina speeds up, but keeps a firm grip on her lover’s hand, “Mother, how is he?”

 

Cora turns to them and arches a brow, and she feels Emma’s hand clam up. “He’s fine, darling, didn’t your sister tell you? It was a false alarm again.”

 

She stops in front of Zelena, finally letting Emma’s hand go and she clenches her fists, “No, she didn't tell me that.” She harrows her eyes and stares menacingly at her older sister, “Why didn’t you tell me that?”

 

“Calm down, Gin, I called you right before they told us that he’s fine, I just thought I’d wait to tell you when you got here.”

 

“Regina, why don’t you introduce us to your friend here, hm? No use fighting over something that is no longer a concern. Your father is fine, he’s just resting and will be going home later today.” Cora cuts in, staring icily at Emma for a long moment.

 

Regina huffs and turns to Emma, who is still standing there with a nervous look on her face. The older woman reaches out and takes Emma’s hand in hers, “Emma, this is my mother, Cora, and my sister, Zelena.” Regina tells her, and Emma puts on a wide smile as she moves to shake both Mills women’s hands.

 

“I’m sorry we’re meeting under these circumstances.” Emma says politely.

 

“She’s my girlfriend, mother.”

 

Cora freezes, as if she hadn’t noticed them holding hands tightly, or the lingering looks. Regina feels her stomach drop as the older woman grinds her jaw and walks away with a huff, leaving her with Emma and Zelena.

 

“She took that far better than I thought.” Zelena chimes, a wide smile on her lips. The redhead turns to Emma and sighs dreamily, “So you’re the woman whose got my baby sister’s knickers all in a twist?”

 

Zelena .”

 

“It’s okay, Gin, we’re all women here. Anyway, excuse our mother’s temper tantrum, she’s unfamiliar with the notion that people can actually fall in love.”

 

Regina’s cheeks pink up, but she can't help the laugh that escapes her lips. What a morning.

 

“That’s alright, from what Regina has said about her, I’m a bit surprised that I haven't been threatened yet.” Emma grins, removing her hand from Regina’s to wrap her arm comfortingly around the brunette’s waist. Regina immediately relaxes into the embrace and finally, she feels relief.

 

“Do you know how long Daddy’s been resting? I’d like to see him.”

 

“Just an hour, but he’s sleeping light so you can probably wake him without an issue.” Zelena turns to Emma with a wicked grin, “I’ll wait out here with this one.”

 

She pushes down the discomfort of leaving her girlfriend with her sister, but figures Emma will have to endure this sooner or later. So she just shakes her head and makes her way into the room where Henry has been staying.

 

Her father lay in his bed, eyes half closed as if he’d just woken up but is still feeling the remnants of sleep. Regina’s heart tugs painfully at the sight of his pale, unshaven face. “Daddy,” she murmurs, and he looks toward her with a weak smile.

 

“Mija, how are you?” he asks in his true, neverending thoughtful nature. Leave it to Henry Mills to be in a hospital bed, asking about someone else’s well-being.

 

“I’m fine, dad, but you gave us all a scare.” She says, voice watery.

 

“I know, I know. They’re putting me on heart meds and I’m going to be taking it easy from now on.”

 

She sits down next to him on the edge of the bed and takes his hand in hers, “I thought you were taking it easy?”

 

“Well, there were still some things I needed to finish up at work, and I’ve been training Zelena…”

 

“Have someone else do it, papi, there are plenty of people high up enough to train her.”

Her voice is stern and her eyes are watery and she can see the sadness in her father’s eyes, the way he accepts how right she is. She leans down and kisses his forehead, “I know you like working, but you’ve done so much for so many years. It’s time you let yourself relax and do what retired people do.”

 

He smiles at her, “And what about you, mija? Have you let yourself relax?”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“Your mother and I knew how unhappy you were with Robin. We didn't interfere because it is your life to live, but you weren’t really living it while you were with him, hm?”

 

She stares at him and shrugs, perhaps something that’s rubbed off on her from spending so much time with the Swans. “I don't know..”

 

He laughs and relaxes back into the bed, hand intertwined with his daughter’s, “well, in any case, I can see how much you’re living now. You show it in your eyes.”





Her father is discharged a few hours later, and she says goodbye to them all, promising to come by the house in the morning for breakfast. She won't bring Emma or Henry to this one, considering the circumstances, but soon, she promises herself. They will all meet properly soon.

 

The rest of the afternoon and evening is spent with Henry and Ruby, who had started on dinner a little while after Emma and Regina arrived back at the house.

 

Despite how scary the day had started out, her father’s words had stuck with her as she left, and she couldn't help but feel lighter because of them. Even now, as she plays with Henry while Emma and Ruby finish dinner, she feels she’s doing exactly what her father had said.

 

Living.

 

She feels lightness inside of her chest, filling the spot that had been oh so empty since Daniel died. Her soul is full and she feels so deeply now that it’s almost terrifying. Almost, if it weren’t for how much she absolutely cannot fathom her life without her new little family.

 

Later that night–after Ruby leaves and Henry gets washed up and tucked into bed, after Emma undresses her slowly, kisses her until she’s breathless, after they make love tenderly in the shower, and then in bed–they lay there silently, sated and content.

 

She’s too overwhelmed with how she feels to hold her emotions in, so she turns over and hooks a leg over Emma’s waist, holds herself up with her elbow by Emma’s head and looks into her eyes. Her shaky fingers thread through tangled blonde curls and she feels so deeply. She feels like she’s been flung past Jupiter.

 

“I love you, Emma. I love you and Henry so much.” She whispers, eyes never leaving Emma’s fiery jade ones.

 

Emma smiles up at her- grins at her, and nods, “We love you too.”

 

It’s hard to comprehend in the moment, for Regina at least, that she’s in love.

 

In love. “I’m in love,” she murmurs. To herself or Emma, she isn’t sure, but she says it again, and again and again until they’re kissing deeply and passionately, and Emma is slipping her hand between them, her fingers finding their way inside of Regina.

 

And they’re moving hastily, all while Regina rides Emma’s fingers and pants, voice high and watery as she cries out.

 

I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you.





On Monday, she’s early enough to go into the teacher’s lounge and maybe catch up with Kathryn.

 

Sure enough, her best friend is already there, drinking her morning coffee and eating a bagel.

 

“Hey, Genie,” Kathryn greets as Regina sits down, “Where’s your lamp?”

 

“That will never be funny, no matter how many times you say it, Katie.” Regina rolls her eyes, pulling out her own breakfast and unpacking it. She’s still too damn happy to really take offense though. She’s too in love to feel anything but gratitude of the people she has in her life.

 

“Worth a shot. How was your weekend?”

 

Regina shrugs as she sips her coffee, “Had a bit of a scare with my father, but he’s okay for now. Otherwise… I spent it with,” She looks around, sees that nobody is paying attention to them, and finishes, “Emma and Henry.”

 

“The whole weekend, huh?”

 

“Yes, Kathryn.”

 

The blonde wiggles her eyebrows and pops another chunk of bagel into her mouth. When she swallows she leans in conspiratorially, “So you’ve gone there, huh?”

 

Regina thinks about denying an answer, she thinks about dismissing the whole conversation entirely, but something in her doesn't really care anymore. Not when it comes to Kathryn at least She owes it to the blonde in some ways, for talking her down from her green-eyed-red-jacket-yellow-bugged induced panics.

 

She shrugs, “I have. Several times.”

 

Kathryn’s eyes widen and she straightens her back, “Really? How was it?”

 

“I don't think this is a discussion for work, Katie.”

 

“Please, nobody’s even listening to us. Just tell me if she made you-”

 

Several times.” Regina repeats, hoping Kathryn takes the hint and backs off.

 

“Damn.” Kathryn whistles, “I’ve never been more proud. We’ll talk about this in more detail this weekend when you invite me over for lunch.”

 

Regina smiles and shakes her head, taking another drink of her coffee. They finish their breakfasts in peace, occasionally talking about Frederick or the upcoming holidays, and are nearly finished with their food when Dr. Glass comes in.

 

“Ah, Regina. I’ve been looking for you,” he says, and it’s off. Regina pauses, setting her to-go mug down and clearing her throat.

 

“Hello, Dr. Glass… Is there something I can help you with?” She can't help but be a bit nervous as he smiles at her, something about his entire visage always heightens her nerves.

 

“Would you mind joining me in my office, actually? There’s something I need to discuss with you.”

 

She nods, “Of course.” Kathryn is pursing her lips together when Regina turns to look at her, blue eyes curious. Regina sighs and gathers her things tossing her leftover food into the staff fridge and then shouldering her bag.

 

“You seem worried,” Sydney notes as they make their way out of the teacher’s lounge and past the front desk where Judy sits typing away.

 

“You haven’t exactly told me why I’m being brought to your office,” she hopes her tone doesn’t sound as biting as she feels, but with the way Dr. Glass glances at her, she know that she wasn't very subtle about her worries.

 

“Please have a seat.”

 

She does, setting her mug and bag on the floor next to the chair and crosses her legs, spine straightening for whatever blow she feels coming. This could go so many ways-

 

“You’ve been approved for tenure.”

 

Her breath stops and her eyes widen, because this is definitely not what she’d anticipated happening. Fired for inappropriate conduct with a parent, maybe, but not this.

 

“Really?”

 

“Yes, but.. They want you somewhere else in the district. After the year is up, of course.” He seems aloof about it, nonchalant and non-caring, like this is something he isn’t exactly happy about. “They’d like you to look into being superintendent of the district.”

 

“I-” She starts, ready to argue and question him, but she’s stunned. “Why?”

 

Dr. Glass shrugs, lips pursing, “You’ve been working here a long time. Not as long as I have, of course, but someone higher up likes you and they like your credentials. They also how you teach and your results with the students. Robert Gold retired at the end of this past spring and we’ve had a fill in but it’s not permanent. They want you for the position.”

 

“My results with the students?” She feels like a fish out of water, grasping onto anything she can find to try and make sense of what’s going on.

 

“Yes. They want you to make a curriculum for the entire district for all kindergarten classes, as well as maybe looking into grades 1-3,” he pauses, adding in once more, “given your credentials.”

 

She nods, swallowing thickly. She can see now why he isn’t happy about this, it’s a job he’s been working and kissing up for, and they’re just… handing it to her. Based on her merit, of course, but out of nowhere to say the least. “Do I have time to think about this?” She asks, wringing her fingers together.

 

“Why would you want to? It’s a great opportunity. Better benefits, your methods will be used in the entire Brooke City Unified School District, you’ll get a pretty decent pay raise. You’d be silly not to grab it before someone else does.”

 

She narrows her eyes at him, “I understand that, Dr. Glass, but I only mean that I’d like to think it over before jumping in. I love working one on one with the children and it seems like I won't get much of that if I take this job.”

 

“Of course.” He grits, thinning his lips out into a smile. “You can have the week to decide, but they need to start the paperwork for next year and your transfer, so it can’t be much longer than that. And of course if you say yes you’ll still be able to finish out the school year with your class.”

 

“Thank you. I promise I’ll let you know my decision by Friday afternoon.”

 

“Wonderful.”

 

She smiles, bending to grab her things, and as she turns to make her way out the door, Sydney chimes in, voice even more bitter now than before, “Oh, and Ms. Mills? Please keep in mind that though... personal affairs... with a student’s parent isn’t strictly prohibited, it’s not exactly favored, so please use other forms of communication in the future.”

 

Regina’s cheeks pink up, “Excuse me?”

 

Sydney stands up and dusts off his blue suit jacket, “Don’t use your work email for personal conversations.” He says curtly, bitterly, tucking his hands behind his back in an effort not to fidget.

 

She blushes furiously and parts her lips as if she’s going to respond. She thinks better of it though, and instead, she nods quickly and slips out of the office.

 

As she makes her way down the hall toward her classroom, she can't help but grin . Excitement bubbles up in her belly, and she so desperately wants to skip and hop down the hall just like Henry. She’s been offered tenure and a position as the district’s superintendent.

 

She flips the light on in her classroom and just stands there, looking at the artwork on the walls and the vocabulary from last week still smudged on the whiteboard. Conflict hits her as she realizes that she would be giving this up if she really decides to take the job.

 

She begins setting up for the day with an unmade decision weighing heavily on her mind.

Chapter Text

Emma



Henry is wired as ever, buzzing in his seat, all dressed in his nice shirt and snazziest jeans. He tries (Emma can tell he’s trying very hard) to not look bored as Regina’s Mother talks about their family business during their very first official meal together.

 

Regina, on the other hand, looks like she’s about ready to explode. Her tense glances toward both Emma and Henry say as much.

 

“Regina, did you hear me?”

 

Dark brown eyes flick back over to her mother, who is sitting at the head of the large dining table. Zelena doesn’t hide her boredom and her father just sits there, content as always. “No, mother, what was the question?”

 

Emma bites her lip at Regina’s snarky tone, trying desperately to hold in a laugh. She slips her hand over Regina’s thigh and squeezes lightly.

 

Cora sighs in exasperation as she lays her palms flat on the table, “ Have you decided on whether or not you’ll be taking over for your father with Zelena?”

 

Regina purses her lips together and Emma can tell the question is a touchy one, but something in her believes that Cora Mills doesn’t really care about anyone’s feelings but her own.

 

“I thought we clarified many weeks ago that I wouldn’t be taking over, mother, you know this.”

 

Zelena nods, doing nothing to hide the snark as she chips in, “Yeah, mum, I’m perfectly capable of running an entire business on my own. Right Daddy?”

 

Big Henry smiles lovingly at both of his daughters, “Of course.”

 

Regina takes a deep breath, catching Emma’s attention immediately. She’s got something to say, and Emma can only furrow her brows slightly as she watches her girlfriend mentally prepare herself.

 

“Actually, I have something I wanted to tell you all.”

 

Emma’s eyebrows raise and Little Henry perks up, “Do you have a s’prise for us?” He asks bubbly, thinning out the overcharged air.

 

“Sort of, darling. Principle Glass had asked to see me in his office a couple of days ago and he told me that.. The school is looking to maybe hire me on as Superintendent.”

 

Emma grins immediately. “No way!”

 

Regina smiles fondly at her - that smile that is usually given after some amazing sex and they’re lying in bed and just looking at each other. Emma melts in her seat as Regina nods, biting her lip as she continues,

 

“He said that they’d been considering me because of my credentials and my teaching methods. They want me to take on the task of creating syllabi for all of the K through grade Three classes.”

 

Big Henry holds up his water, a grin on his face, “I’m proud of you, Mija.”

 

“Mother, isn’t that amazing?” Zelena grins, clinking her glass against the older man’s.

 

“I think it’s more fitting for you than a simple school teacher.” Cora says, but Emma can see the pride in her eyes despite the backhanded remark. Regina had told her that it takes nearly the impossible to outwardly impress Cora Mills, but seeing the way she smiles fondly at her youngest daughter makes Emma evermore proud of her partner.

 

“I think the more kids she can help the better. Everyone needs a Regina Mills in their lives one way or another.” Emma chimes in, looking directly at the eldest Mills woman. Her hand remains on Regina’s thigh, tightly holding on to convey her feelings. Eventually, she turns to Regina and nods once, giving the warm muscle of Regina’s thigh a firm squeeze.

 

“I’m super freakin’ proud of you, Mills.”

 

Emma hadn’t expected Regina to be overly affectionate - she’d expected the bare minimum at least, what with her hawk of a mother being around. But as soon as those words leave her lips, she feels the softness of Regina’s mouth pressing against hers.

 

It’s spontaneous and sweet and tastes a bit like the food they’re eating.

 

But god it’s freaking magic.

 

Ew!” Henry gasps, pulling at Emma’s knit sweater.

 

She pulls back from the kiss, cheeks pink. “Well then.”

 

“Henry, dear, come here. I think your cheek needs a big celebratory kiss as well.” Zelena grins, and Regina sighs next to Emma, both of them relieved that the older redhead has taken liberty to break the tension.





Later at Emma’s, after a full evening of playing, then a reluctant bedtime routine, Henry goes to sleep. Emma watches, completely and totally and utterly in love, as Regina stands in the open bathroom doorway, removing her jewelry, feet bare and still clad in her sexy grey dress.

 

“So you’re really not going to be a teacher anymore?” Emma asks, leaning back on the bed as the older woman removes her belt from her waist, coils it up and stuffs it into her overnight bag along with her jewelry.

 

Regina sighs, shrugging her shoulders helplessly, “It would be stupid not to take this job, but I’ve dreamed of working with children my whole life. It’s had me twisted up all week.”

 

Emma feels for the older woman, the hard decisions you have to make in life really fuck you up in the moment. “When did you find out?”

 

“Monday morning. I have to tell Dr. Glass my answer by Friday. Something about paperwork needing to be started.” She rolls her eyes.

 

“I think you’ll be able to do a great thing with this new job though,” she tells her girlfriend softly. She’s trying hard to focus on their conversation, because it’s a very important one, but instead she finds herself tilting her head, watching as Regina peels her stockings off. “Mmm, do that slower.” Because god, she can’t help herself.

 

Regina’s head snaps up and her eyes are wide, mostly surprised that those words followed the encouraging ones like nothing. She smirks and bends down slowly, running her finger tips over her skin as she pushes the transparent material down her calf, one leg after the other. She tosses them on top of her bag by the bathroom door and stands up straight, shaking her head as Emma bites her lip and relaxes into the bed.

 

“I know I’ll most likely fall into a good routine with this job, I just hate...”

 

“Change?” Emma offers, laying flat on her back and patting her lap. She grins when Regina complies, rucking her dress higher up her thighs and climbing up onto the bed slowly. Regina straddles her thighs as Emma folds her arms under the back of her head and breathes out contently. She takes the moment before Regina speaks to really look at her; she’s all soft, glowy skin and curves and jesus, so so beautiful.

 

Her breath hitches when Regina purrs, “though, some change is good,” and her fingers move up and down Emma’s abdomen. Emma feels like she struck straight out of the ballpark with this woman - home run and game won.

 

“I have to agree with you there, lady,” Emma sighs happily, “and hey, I think the Superintendent title suits you. Woman in power, running a tight ship, head bitch in charge-”

 

“Must you be so crass?”

 

“I think that’s how you like me, Ms. Mills.”

 

Regina leans down and kisses Emma softly, hips wiggling for comfort. She pulls away, resting against her arms by Emma’s head, “I think I’m grateful that my job is the most stressful part of my life.”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“Every relationship I’ve had has never felt this right. It’s never been this easy and loving and healthy. I know that no matter what happens with my job, I’ll still have you and Henry by my side.”

 

Emma moves her hands, threading her fingers through Regina’s soft hair, “That’s right, Mills. Don’t you forget it. You’re stuck with us.”

 

“However shall I cope?” Regina mocks, smiling softly.

 

Emma rolls them over, sinking between Regina’s thighs and grinding softly, “the only real way to cope is by letting me take this nice dress off so I can love this sexy body of yours.”





Friday morning starts with Regina waking her up an hour before her alarm, basically at the asscrack of dawn, to do some really naughty things in her shower. In total, her grumpiness from being up earlier than usual is compensated greatly with the four shared orgasms between them in that very shower.

 

They have breakfast with Henry after getting dressed, rushing around like any normal little family would on a weekday morning, and Emma isn't able to think twice about it because she and Regina are so busy trying to hurry Henry along.

 

But it’s perfect anyway, and she can't help but love the chaos that takes place when the three of them happen to do this. It feels so fucking right.

 

Regina always leaves 45 minutes earlier so that she can set up before her students get here, but this time, she’s heading out the door nearly an hour before Emma has to get Henry to school, stating that she needs to talk to Dr. Glass to let him know that she’s willing to start the process of transferring jobs next school year. Emma pouts until Regina gives her a sweet goodbye kiss, holding a hand over Henry’s eyes as she bites Emma’s lip with a promise to the blonde that she’ll see her later.

 

Ruby is at the Hospital when Emma gets there, waiting in the nurses station. “Guess what.” She barks, unable to control herself, and Emma can't help but bite back a grin at her best friend. Sometimes she thinks Henry got his nonstop energy from being around Ruby so much.

 

“What?” Emma humors the brunette, moving to the computer to clock herself in as Ruby launches into whatever’s got her so excited.

 

“So you know that Doctor I told you about a few weeks ago? Dr. French?” She pauses, though it’s not long enough to let Emma reply, “Well I chatted her up for a bit and found out that she’s had her eye on me for a while too, and-”

 

“Woah, wait.. You just straight up started hitting on her?”

 

Ruby looks confused, “Yeah, why?”

 

Emma can't help but find the humor in it all. Ruby had convinced her to talk to Regina all those months ago and Emma had bombed badly.. So fucking badly… yet here Ruby is, smooth as ever.

 

“Nothing, continue..”

 

“Anyway, to make a short story shorter, I’m kind of dating a freakin’ heart surgeon.”

 

“Kind of?”

 

Ruby leans in, grin on her red lips, and whispers, “We’ve fucked in the on-call room at least four times now.”

 

Emma’s brows raise and she can't help but laugh at this point. “Good for you, Rubes. Ever the shining employee. You think this one will last?”

 

Ruby leans against the counter dreamily, “I hope so. She’s amazing.” She lets out a sigh and then returns to her unnaturally bubbly self, “Oh! How are things with you and Miss Teacher?”

 

Emma leans back in the computer chair and grins widely, “Steady. She’s come a long way, and I guess I have too. I love her.”

 

She means every word, especially when she thinks about the first two or so months of her interactions with Regina, how tense and angry they usually were. Now every time they so much as look at each other, it’s as if they’re teenagers in love. “Henry can’t get enough of her either,” she adds proudly, “she’s one of the best things to ever happen to us.”

 

“Aside from yours truly, of course.” Ruby adds cheekily. “Besides, you wouldn't have even approached her that night had I not made you.”

 

“Oh, yes I would have. Maybe not right away, but she’s still Hen’s teacher, and I would’ve been drooling all over her no matter what.”

 

“Now you have the option to drool inside of her.”

 

Emma scrunches her face, “That’s disgusting, Rubes.”

 

Ruby shrugs with a cackle before letting the moment drift onto a serious note. “I’m really happy for you, too, by the way. You deserve this, so does Henry, and even though I don't know her well, so does Regina.”





Regina’s beauty reminds Emma of Renaissance art. The intricate sculptures of beautiful woman from that time, the delicately painted portraits, all of it. The most classic kind of beauty.

 

When she sleeps, her face smooths out, almost as if she ages backwards in minutes, and she relaxes so much that it almost makes Emma laugh out loud. The woman is usually so wound up during the day, most of the time not on purpose. But when she sleeps - it’s a sight that Emma could spend literal hours looking at.

 

The hardest part of falling asleep (something she used to cherish so much, crave, think about for hours on end) is that looking at Regina has to end for a while. And as incredibly fucking corny as it sounds, it’s true.

 

But the moments before, like now, when she’s on the cusp of sleep, still unwilling to cave in, she just looks.

 

Flung past Jupiter.

 

With Neal, she’d felt the pull to him, like maybe the earth to the moon (and vice versa). It was organic and easy and thrilling at times. She was young, the whole “bad boy wanting you” thing making her feel like the most important person in the world. Until, of course, that bad boy finds out you’re pregnant and leaves you like you’re the last person he wants to see.

 

Regina is Jupiter, something so much bigger than a moon or the earth, something so authentic and untouched and interesting - the pull is even stronger with her.

 

Emma scoots closer to Regina instinctively, and the older woman remains undisturbed all the while. She reaches up after a moment of internal debate and brushes her fingers against a soft cheek, feeling the coolness of the bedroom air mingle with the warmth of olive toned flesh. She kind of really wants to wake Regina up just to kiss her and tell her how much she loves her, but it’s late and Regina needs her sleep, so Emma’s content with just brushing her fingers over the older woman’s soft skin.

 

It’s that which lulls her to sleep, the contact with her girlfriend relaxing her enough to finally give in.

Chapter Text

Reg ina

Spring has always been her favorite time of year. Her flowers are in full bloom by the time it hits late April, and she spends more time outside than she does inside. Something about the springtime has always felt newer than New Years, when life sprouts from the ground once again and her apple tree is as ripe as ever. 

 

She loves it so much more this year, though. Thirty-five years into life and she feels as brand new as her Azaleas; she feels warm like the midday air, happier than she thought she’d ever be. 

 

Two days ago, May 25th, had marked her last day as a kindergarten teacher - a job she has had for the better part of a decade, and although she had felt the melancholy wave of sadness hit her, she also felt the hope of new beginnings. She’ll be able to do so much more as a superintendent, make sure every child under her care (even indirectly) will get the education they need to succeed in their academic life. 

 

Today, she brings out a tray of sandwiches to the table in her back patio, Emma following behind with a pitcher of Arnold Palmer and three cups. 

 

“Hey, kid! Lunch!” Emma calls, holding his Battleship towel up. 

 

Henry looks up from the slip-n-slide Regina had gifted him for his sixth birthday a month ago and sprints through the slippery, wet grass, Regina holds her hand out and immediately he slows down, his sprint turning into a speed-walk of some kind. 

 

“Are you having fun, darling?” 

 

“Yeah! But can you and mommy come play with me after lunch? Please?” 

 

Regina raises an eyebrow as she cuts his sandwich in half, pouring a mixture of pretzels and chopped veggies onto his plate as sides, “You asked this already, Henry, I’m much too old to play on that.” 

 

Emma grins wolfishly, “You’re not too old to play with me.” 

 

Regina shoots Emma a scowl and shakes her head, but Henry speaks before she can reprimand Emma, “What! You play with mommy?” 

 

“Not anymore.” Regina says pointedly, popping a carrot into her mouth, “I’m sure your mother would love to play with you, Henry,” she turns to Emma, eyes squinting as she adds, “it says children four and up, Dear, so it’s right up your alley.” 

 

“Perfect,” she grins, sending a wink over to Regina. No matter the amount of times they’ve been intimate, the small, affectionate gestures still somehow manage to bring a blush to the older woman’s cheeks.

 

“You’ll play?” Henry asks Emma, and the blonde nods with a good natured eyeroll and a smile. Regina almost laughs when she sees that the younger woman is already nearly a quarter of the way finished with her lunch.

 

Regina sips her drink as Henry digs into his lunch, content for now, and Emma leans in to kiss her cheek softly, trailing her lips subtly to whisper a soft, “I love you.” 

 

Regina turns her head and smiles, eyes drifting from shiny green ones to pink lips, “I love you too, darling.” 

 

“Love youuuu!” Henry chimes in, a wide, Emma Swan like grin on his face. 

 

She loves them both. Her little family - the one thing she’s wanted her whole life. Happiness. And it’s right here in her backyard.





Never in her life did she think that her sex life would bloom just as much as the flowers in her garden. Along with her new life as a girlfriend in a loving relationship and a guardian of a child, she’s a desirable, sexual being. 

 

And her needs are met almost every day (or night) by Emma. Talented, skilled, Emma. 

 

Henry’s room (or the room he stays in when they spend the night) is two doors down, Emma wanted him close enough to where she can get to him if need be, but far enough so that they don't have to worry too much about being quiet. 

 

And Regina has learned over the past several months that she’s not very quiet when Emma is between her legs. 

 

She’s learned that she sometimes needs to bite down on something to keep from screaming when she comes. Or, more recently, when Emma vigorously puts their new strapon to use. 

 

Regina has never really had the kind of drive and libido that she does now, and she’s learned that a healthy sex life can do wonders to make a relationship stronger. Especially when you’re madly in love with your sexual partner. 

 

Emma teases a lot, uses the knowledge of the effect she has on Regina to arouse her and make her so wet she can barely stand, and then she works some sort of incredible magic to make her come hard. Something that once took nearly ten minutes on her own is crunched down when Emma works diligently and steadily. 

 

And when they make love slowly, with Emma’s hand stroking her, and her own in between Emma’s thighs, it’s like she’s the prophetic phoenix, burning down completely before rising back up, a new being ready to start anew. It’s soul awakening, mind blowing, the most intense feeling she’s ever experienced. The most love and want she’s ever felt in her entire life.

 

...

 

She’s on her knees this time though, one hand bracing herself against the headboard and the other holding herself up as Emma grips her hips. 

 

It’s the kind of lovemaking that she’s grown to favor, rough and needy but so very intimate. She trusts Emma with everything in her. 

 

And she loves when her ass gets slapped. 

 

Emma thrusts hard once, the base of the toy nestled against her sex, and Emma hunches over her, breasts pressing into her warm back. “Are you close yet?” She asks childishly, panting. Her hips move slowly, gyrating, and Regina doesn't even try to suppress the moan. 

 

“I was until you stopped.” 

 

Emma groans, threading her hand through Regina’s hair, “It usually doesn't take this long.” 

 

“I want it to last.” 

 

Emma’s knees spread Regina farther apart, and she pushes the older woman’s shoulders down softly. Regina takes the hint and sinks into the bed, her ass propped up in the air with her face turned to the side, watching her lover out of the corner of her eye. 

 

“It’s lasted.” 

 

“You can stop if you want, Miss Swan. I can finish myself off and we can call it a night.” Regina grumbles, but her arched back and wiggling hips tell Emma a different story. 

 

“That’s not what I meant.” Emma cooes, picking up speed again. She’s opting for deep, long strokes, the kind that make Regina’s toes curl. “I just wanna hear you come, Gina,” she breaths, gripping the older woman’s ass firmly as she lets herself go, thrusting harder than before in an effort to push Regina over the edge.

 

And god , Regina thinks, it’s working. 

 

She shoves her face into a pillow and moans - loud . The loudest she’s ever been, because so far, this is probably the best she’s ever had. The sound of Emma’s proud yesses is what finally sends her over the metaphorical cliff, head first, into the biggest orgasm she’s ever had. 

 

Emma holds her hips still and keeps the pace up, and it isn’t until Regina is completely spent, reaching back to press a hand against Emma’s stomach, that she realizes she’s pulled the sheets off the bed in a desperate attempt to hold onto something. 

 

“That was so hot.” Emma laughs, flopping onto her back in a tired heap of blonde curls and sweaty skin. 

 

Usually, Regina would be ushering her out of bed already to get the sheets in the washer, but she’s too tired to move right now. 

 

“If not for the fact that I love you, Dear, I think I’ll keep you around for that .” 

 

Emma laughs again turning her head so that they can look at each other, “My strap game was extra strong tonight, wasn’t it?” 

 

Regina rolls her eyes, (or at least she thinks she does, she’s still numb all over) “careful, Miss Swan. We wouldn't want that head of yours to explode from overgrowth.” She’s limp against the mattress, lying on her stomach and arms loosely sprawled by her head.

 

Emma rolls over, both of them having forgotten the flesh colored sex toy in between them, and Regina gasps as it brushes over her ass. “Careful with that,” she adds, and Emma moves to slip it off before resuming her position nearly on top of Regina. 

 

“Thank you for trusting me. Every time we do that.” 

 

“It’s hardly a chore.” Regina mumbles, humming when Emma kisses down her back, then slowly making her way up.

 

“Still.” 

 

“Give me a few moments, darling, and I’ll be happy to show my appreciation.” 

 

“We’ve got time.” 

 

Regina pauses, then pushes Emma away for a moment so that she can flip over onto her back. “No rush?”

 

“Not right now at least,” Emma smirks, leaning down to kiss Regina slowly, languidly, “we might not be able to control our speed when we start back up again, though.” 

 

Regina smiles at her, and though she knows Emma is mostly joking, the words resonate inside her. They’ve got so much time. More months, or years, or maybe even a lifetime. She looks into Emma’s eyes and bites her lip, unsure of how to articulate her thoughts into words. “Emma..” she sighs, and if she didn't still feel the vibrations from her orgasm, she’d think she’s dreaming. “We have time.” 

 

Emma looks at her with confusion for a moment, and then it clicks, because despite her goofiness with Henry and Ruby, she’s one of the brightest people Regina knows. Chock full of life experience and knowledge on how the world really works, in its rawest form. A woman all alone in the world. Until now of course, where they make up a family .  

 

“Plenty of it, babe.” 

 

“Forever.” Regina adds, brushing her fingers through Emma’s hair, “You and Henry.. It’s forever.” 

 

Emma smiles at her, bright and full of pride. 

 

Finally. Happiness.




End.