They're friends, or at least that's what they call this amiable peace between them. It took tooth and nail to fight for what they have now, and it is a truce. A truce between two mothers, between two women, between two very opposite ends of destiny. Regina's changing, trying to be a better person, seeking her redemption through every non violent measure she utilizes to defeat the foes threatening to crumble the town. Through her less harsh views of Snow and her idiot husband (though not as big of an idiot as before) and every other resident here who is not Henry.
And Emma's becoming more mature, more understanding, less black and white about everything. The boots of the Savior were big ones to fill, but both women find that Emma can fulfill the role better, and Regina can get closer to being good, if they only work together. Time and time again their combined magics prove to them they are better off friends than enemies. So they grow and develop and learn through their trials and slowly learn to trust and rely on each other when they cannot on anyone else.
That's why this friendship is fragile and well fought over. Emma doesn't trust easy, not ever since she'd been abandoned as a baby, not ever since she'd found herself with her legs spread in prison while she gave birth because nine months earlier she had spread her legs in the back of some stolen car with stolen seconds of what masqueraded as love. She had no reason to trust foster parents, all who treated her like another piece of furniture. For too long she had trusted herself and now in this town of caring people, she had to learn to give up pieces of herself to them, to let them know what is going on in her life.
And Regina does not trust easily either. Why should she, when all those close to her lead her astray, only used her to their own ill ends. She only has a broken heart to show for her trust and broken hearts do not trust easy, do not shake off betrayal like a coat of rain, but suffer and smother under it like six feet of dirt. Yet, she begins to trust Henry first of all, and then Emma. What can be said of the rest of the town is uncertain for now, but perhaps they don't deserve to have her trusting them yet. They do not deserve to know what troubles plague her, or what she feels behind that queenly facade of hers.
Emma hopes their friendship can continue to prosper. She's never been this close to someone before and it feels nice to know someone has her back like that, that someone would never betray her like that because they all too well know the sting of it and would never inflict it upon another. So when part of Regina's elaborate curse breaks apart, yet another chunk of the massive and intrinsic spell, Emma begins to fear that what they have might fall apart.
The town is in a flurry and panic over this spell. Some fear it, and some relish it. "It's been too long since I've felt this sort of animilistic calling," Ruby says, stretching out her limbs and neck, somehow seeming bigger than her 5'9 frame suggests. There is this air around her that screams power, and she inhales deeply, nose flooding with the scents of those marked around her. "I missed it back in the Enchanted Forest. It was so common to use back there, but once we arrived to this human world, Regina's spell took that part away from us. Now I can say I feel fully complete."
"What are you talking about?" Emma asks because she's felt the earth sort of tilt and take on a different hue, more colorful and vivid, like the shades are screaming at her in intensity, like she's suddenly seeing life in HD, but other than that everything is the same for her.
"The ranking system," Ruby says calmly as a couple of the patrons in the nearly deserted diner also stretch their limbs like they are shaking a heavy sleep from their skin, like they are just breathing in fresh air for the first time.
"You're going to have to be more articulate than that," Emma says as she raises the cup of hot chocolate to her lips and holy hell, since when has this drink smelled so...strongly? Its like the essence of it has been magnified by a hundred. Chocolate crowds her nose and she sets the drink down, suddenly put off by it. Have all her senses been enhanced?
Ruby arches a brow at how similarly Emma sometimes sounds like Regina. The woman's vernacular is rubbing off on her, permeating her speech from time to time, dotting it with little touches of the woman's intellect, of her style. Emma likes to not notice it, because she has enough people doing it for her. Regina too has been affected by Emma, using a looser speech pattern, and not a GRE chocked filled diction like she once used to. But no one wants to point that out to her. They still fear her somewhat.
"Back in the Enchanted forest, we had this concept of ranking based on Alpha's and Beta's."
"So like a wolf pack system?"
"You could say that," Ruby said as she slid into the booth in front of Emma. This close up Emma could smell Ruby's scent. It was hot and heady, peppered with the scent of pinewood and underneath it all, wolf fur bathed in moonlight. Emma had never thought a person's scent could be this complicated- that it could be this detailed. She rubs her nose, miffed and mystified by her own self. Will everyone smell this nuanced? "Basically, Alpha's are at the top of the pack. They can mate with whoever they want, though often they go with Beta's, who are second ranked and often less aggressive than Alphas, thus providing a good balance in pairings. And then lastly there are the Ome-"
"Is this all about sex?" Emma asked, confused. She thought the Enchanted Forest was a pure place, believing in true love and such.
Ruby tipped her head to the side, considering if she should try to dress it up a bit but then shrugged. There was no point to it, Emma would see it for herself anyways in time. "Yea, pretty much. I liked the system since I was an Alpha. Got me a lot of tail," Ruby waggled her brows and Emma rolled her eyes at her friend.
"I don't really care much for it. I feel like it might cause a lot more issues than we need right now, given our weekly rotation of villains."
Ruby scrunched up her brow and Emma wondered if she'd offended the brunette who seemed to love this thing but it was only Ruby thinking. "You know, I can't place your scent."
"I have a scent?" Emma was self conscious about that. She hoped she didn't smell bad. If everyone's senses were this sensitive than that meant she'd be super paranoid about staying fresh.
"Everyone does. Yours is just...odd," she mussed, sniffing heavily. "It's very appealing. Like a lot. As an Alpha, I want to snatch you up. But at the same time it's kind of like a warning...very strange." She bit her lower lip, pondering this. "Emma you smell like the sweetest of flowers but there's this hint of burnt wood under it, along with a tinge of how the deeper darker parts of a stream smell. Perhaps it's because you haven't spent your adulthood in the forest so the curse doesn't know how to place you?"
That wasn't too helpful of an observation. "Is everyone this sensitive to scent now?" she questioned.
"Yup. It's part of the attraction system. You smell someone good, the scent calls to you, and you want to fuck them. That's kind of how ruts and heats work. During that time period, the male or female is letting out a lot of pheromones and it attracts mates to them to help stop the need for sex."
"Essentially, unbearable hornyness awaits the residents now? Ruby, why did you like this so much, it sounds like torture," Emma chastised her friend, exasperated.
"They only last about three days. It's not too bad," Ruby pouted. "Say, do you think Regina's gonna let us keep it this time?"
At that exact moment, Regina called Emma's phone. She dug it out of her pocket. "Speaking of her, she's calling. I should probably see what she wants."
Ruby made a whipping noise as Emma frowned at her and strode out of the diner to answer. "Hello?"
"Emma," Regina breathed into the phone. "The curse broke apart again and it's-"
"Yea I know. I'm out on town right now and I've been talking to Ruby about it. She's told me the essentials of it."
"Oh, okay, good," Regina was surprised by the efficiency of that- she had been prepared to launch into a diatribe. "I just think we should look into this more deeply. See if we can shut it down."
"Not a big fan?" Emma waved goodbye to Ruby through the diner window's as she strode a bit further down the street.
"No...not really," there was something hesitant in Regina's voice, like she was refraining memories from pricking her speech and turning it sour. "Besides, we live in different times in a different world, I think it is best if we left something this antiquated back in our pasts."
"I'll help you deal with the issue no problem." They had been a team, dealing with magical mishaps and maladies. Regina was the first person Emma called for advice on such things and vice versa. And their magic worked like...well, magic to deal with such things. "Where are you right now?"
"Inside the mansion." In a breath Emma teleported over right into Regina's study after ending the call.
Regina swiveled on her heel to greet Emma but the smile on her face died and her hand descended onto her stomach as if it could crush the sudden twists going through it.
"You okay?" Emma asked, cautious. She could smell Regina from across the room, that's how powerful her scent was. It was dark, like the never ending black of an abyss. Cool and calm like still water, yet vivacious with tense energy, crackling like a storm before the calm. Despite all it's tempestuous nature, there was warmth running through it, like a lone lit match in inky night to scare the black away, like a flickering candle in a howling windy tunnel under a bridge. And there was power lurking in it. Just like how Emma could scent the true state of Ruby's wolf nature under her more human scents, she could sense the magic pulsating and suffusing every iota of Regina. It was a rich, beating in time with her heart, and it was spiced like cinnamon.
Emma felt herself a little lost as she took all of that in, her body greedy for more of it, it acting like an aphrodisiac to her like the scent of warm apple pie cooling on a windowsill did to hungry travelers. And good lord- there was a whiff of apple pie scent to Regina, warm and topped with cream. How was it possible for a person to smell this good and in such a myriad of scents without it smelling awful? Was part of it belonging to the Evil Queen? Was the darker scent, the one of abyss and storm like ozone and magic, her? And the warmer more human scent, Regina's? Or was the opposite true?
"I...I'm just," Regina's voice came out as a dry whisper, fingers clenching onto her shirt jacket clad stomach harder to keep her grounded, her eyes drinking in Emma's form in front of her. God, she had forgotten how this felt. How the hunger to claim and conquer pulled in her. And here Emma was, clearly not an Alpha, but then what? Her scents were off, something familiar that tugged at Regina's brain, but foreign at the same time.
Take a garden of roses and lilies and sweet peas and Emma's scent would still be sweeter than that. It's mental image conjured that of a sunlit garden with fluttering butterflies and birds chirping over head as a warm sun shone down. It was inviting, fresh and sweet and ensnaring. If pure joy had a scent, than that was it. But underneath it, shifting sometimes and overpowering the scent of flowers was the smell of burning pine and oak and redwood. It was smoky and acrid, but not entirely unpleasant either. Just...a reminder that this person could be nice but was also powerful and not entirely submissive. Water additionally suffused the fiery scent, a soothing smell meant to downplay the hotter qualities, however the water also held key notes of warning to it, danger bubbling in under the surface, in the darker parts of the stream. And surrounding all that, holding it in like a basket or a fuzzy recently washed blanket, was Emma's magic signature. It wasn't harsh and demanding like Regina's own scent, one she was familiar with and which she could feel press under her skin even when the curse had not been broken. Emma's was light, pure light. The way a room with wooden floors, deep plush carpets, and shelves of books would smell as the sun streamed in through the window, setting dust motes afloat. It was comforting, like a home well known.
Regina had sensed Emma's magic before and she knew it felt kind, and fierce and protective, but she'd never smelt it before and she knew now she would never forget the scent or impression of it ever in her life.
"...adjusting," Regina breathed out, hating the airy quality of her voice right now. Her body was warring, the human normalcy she had come to abide in being roughly shoved aside by the ancient needs and rites of the Enchanted Forest. She had hated it, being enslaved by such primal things. Even as an Alpha she didn't like the way her body forced her to declare dominance on others. Sure, it worked well as Evil Queen, but now, she no longer had any desire to strip others of their freedom, to take them body and heart. She wanted to respect others, would hate to put them through what Leopold had done to her.
He had been an Alpha and she an Alpha and that didn't mix well. She had fought hard not to submit to him but he was stronger and older and he took what he wanted, hurting her, degrading the Alpha in her. He had no consideration at all for what she wanted, each night in the bed a struggle for dominance, for her pride and wholeness to being true to herself. She never won. That's why she would never do that to someone else, never strip them of their dignity.
And she especially knew it was going to be hard around Emma's scent. It wasn't like anything she had smelled before and it beckoned to her, holding all the things she loved and liked. Like security, happiness, and just under it all, the faint trace that was a smell only Emma and Henry shared with each other. A scent of blood bonds undamaged by time. And because Regina loved Henry, that part of Emma was much harder to ignore.
"Is it me?" Emma asked and Regina had to retrieve her focus from where it had gone diving between Emma's thighs. She wondered if Emma would taste as amazing as she smelled.
"Hmm?" was all that managed to make it out of a throat too tight.
"Ruby said my scent was off. Different from others," Emma provided, worrying over her friend's reaction. Ruby hadn't had nearly a hard time like this, brushing off Emma's scent almost entirely. But Regina looked like someone had taken a photo of her, not moving at all.
"It is...but I don't know why," words formulated slowly in Regina's mind as her old instincts arose, roaring awake thanks to Miss. Swan's arrival. She could already feel the need to get closer to Emma, to wrap her fingers in her hair, to drag her tongue down her throat and then to...prostrate herself in front of her and wait for orders?
An Alpha didn't do that. Didn't fantasize about being submissive.
Was Emma an Alpha then? The more dominant Alpha could battle the other into being more receptive, into being almost like a false Beta for their sexual needs. But no, her scent wasn't aggressive. Alpha's usually had woodsy, or earthy, heavy scents. Betas had more delicate ones, like fresh linens, or flowers, or even fruity scents. And omegas, which were not as common as the rest, had scents that were the very essence of desire itself. Normally their scents were weak, unnoticeable, almost blank, like cucumbers or scotch tape. But when in heat, suddenly everyone noticed them, and went after them.
Emma smelled like a beta, delicate, but also like an alpha because of the water and fire scent. Maybe the curse had goofed, because Emma hadn't matured in the Enchanted forest? Or maybe she smelled different because she was the product of true love?
"Well, uh, anyways, I can come back later if you're not feeling well," Emma said hesitantly, knowing this curse was affecting her friend more than she could openly say.
"Oh, no, I'm fine," Regina said, suddenly desperate not to have Emma away from her. "I was just a bit blindsided by your scent is all. Please, make yourself comfortable." She gestured to the couch and then hurried over to the liquor cabinet because she was going to need a little something to help her nerves.
She knew right away that she needed to get rid of this new addition to her town.
She wouldn't be slave to her needs anymore.
Emma sat down on the couch, watching the sharp lines of Regina's shoulder. Something wasn't entirely okay with the brunette but Emma wasn't going to press for answers. They weren't into the unconditional heart to heart part in their friendship yet so it was best to zip her lips before her questions made Regina falter back into her shell more.
Regina poured both of them a glass and Emma took the offered one from the shaking brunette's hands. Regina knew that Emma knew her hands were shaking, so she avoided eye contact with her, not wanting to talk about it.
Emma took a sip while Regina sat down on the other end of the couch gulping down heartily. She set the empty glass back down and ignored the way Emma's eyebrows went up. "Okay, how do we stop this curse?" Emma asked setting her nearly full glass down.
"We can't stop this curse, because stopping the curse caused this. We need to manufacture a spell to revert this portion of the curse back into being."
"And do you know how to do that?" Emma asked, making herself more comfortable on the couch.
"To only single out a small part and then add it back in as a perfect fit...that would take some time and skill. Think of it like making a surgical cut. There are shapes and edges unique like a jigsaw puzzle and I have to cut out a spell the exact same way."
"Shit, when you put it like that," Emma rubbed the back of her neck and Regina's eyes were drawn to the strong line, to the color and softness of it. She wanted to run her lips down there and mark it with her teeth, turn that pale honey shade into something red and blue. She bit her lip as she felt a tug on her groin. And then Emma would also mark her, climb on top of her and ravish every inch of skin-
Regina lost her train of concentration on what Emma was saying, her eyes slipping closed as lust played with her mind, entertaining her with visions of a dominant Emma pinning her down and skipping her hand down-
"Regina?" Emma waved a hand in front of the mayor's face, the woman startling back.
"Huh?" she said unintelligibly, something Emma had thought she would never hear out of Regina's mouth.
"I was talking and you zoned out."
"Yes, I'm aware," Regina sighed out and clamped her thighs together tightly. "I must be more thrown off my game by this curse dropping than I thought," she fidgeted with the collar of her shirt, too hot, and got up, ready to walk Emma out.
Emma took the cue and got up, lips puckering at how quickly their conversation had been cut. But she didn't push on it; Regina was from the Enchanted Forest so this could be affecting her terribly. Emma wouldn't want to get in her way. "How's Henry? Has he been affected-?" Emma let that hang there, too afraid to even finish the suggestion. She didn't want her son to suffer from this weird rite and Regina felt the same way though she had nothing too positive to say.
"I don't know. He was asleep when the curse broke. I cannot tell for sure until next morning and even then I do not know if the magic will strike him because of the fact that he is not a true fable."
"Right." Emma nodded her head curtly, assured. She placed a hand on Regina's shoulder and that caused a small whimper of delight to receive life in the back of the brunette's throat. Thankfully, it was small enough for Emma not to notice. "Let's talk about how to fix all this tomorrow morning. If you need a hand with anything, you know where to find me."
Regina could already tell where that hand would be needed but she purposefully shifted so there wouldn't be too much pressure between her legs. Then, Emma was gone and Regina was left wondering if she was going to react this way to all non alphas in town or just Emma.