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how many times do i have to say i'm sorry

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Waking up on Regina’s couch should be weird. It should be weird and uncomfortable, but the couch is warm and the three blankets Emma is wrapped up in are unbelievably soft.


She smells bacon wafting in from the kitchen and she hears Henry from the hall, “Is Ma still here?”


She can’t hear Regina’s response, it’s just a low hum, and a minute later Henry is in the doorway, still in his pajamas. “Ma?”


“I’m up,” Emma yawns, stretches her arms above her head. “I’m up.”


“Mom’s making breakfast,” Henry shifts from one foot to the other and Emma cranes her neck in an effort to see what the fuck is going on with his slippers.


“Dude, are those Uggs?”


“They’re warm. Get over it,” Henry turns on one shearling-covered heel and walks back toward the kitchen.


Emma finds Regina at the stove, tending to a baking sheet lined with foil. And bacon.


“Wait, you bake your bacon?” Emma’s rubbing sleep from her eyes and she might be half-asleep but she doesn’t miss the way Regina’s eyes linger on the sliver of stomach where her t-shirt rides up.


“It’s less of a mess,” Regina places three slices on a fresh plate.


“Mom also drizzles them with maple syrup halfway through,” Henry is using a slice of bacon to point at the jug of syrup on the counter. “It’s unreal.”


Regina rolls her eyes but her smile gives her away. “Eggs, Miss Swan?”


“Please,” Emma nods and shuffles toward the coffee maker.


“Mugs are in the third cupboard to your left,” Regina brushes past, black silk robe tied loosely over a silk pajama set the color of the god damn merlot they drank last night. She’s got a tiny smudge of mascara under her right eye and Emma thinks she can’t possibly be more beautiful. But then she smiles again and Emma’s fucked.



It’s Monday morning when Emma knocks on Regina’s front door again. She has a bag of fresh croissants and two lattes balanced carefully between her left arm and her chest. She hears Regina fussing with something on the other side of the door before it opens and she holds up one finger. She’s on the phone, looking rather irritated and steps aside for Emma to come in.


“No, I specifically told you the last time we spoke that I would absolutely not—” Regina pushes the door shut behind Emma and flips the lock before bringing her hand to her temple. She sighs and motions for Emma to follow her into the study. “Snow, I am not — It’s simple really, if you took a moment to read the — No, I will not. You’re pushing your luck, Snow White. I said e-mail me the budget proposal and I’ll look it over. I will by no means do it for you. Now, I have to go, your daughter is here.”


There’s a pause.


“No, I don’t know what she wants. Goodbye, Snow.” Regina hangs up the phone and looks from Emma’s face to the bounty still squished between her arm and torso. “Good morning, Miss Swan.”


“I brought croissants and stuff,” Emma offers one of the Granny’s To Go cups to Regina.


“Thank you,” Regina takes the cup and places the phone back in its cradle on her desk. “Your mother needs more mayoral help,” she rolls her eyes and takes a slow sip of her latte. “Is there lavender in this?”


Emma nods and sets her latte and the pastry bag on the coffee table, “Ruby’s trying something new. Honey too.”


Regina takes another sip, “Not awful. Sweet, but not entirely awful.”


“She’s a queen though, doesn’t that mean she’s used to leading and… mayor-ing?” Emma places a croissant on a napkin and places it on Regina’s desk next to her laptop.


Regina shakes her head and sits down at her desk, “Two entirely different things. She’s going about everything as if she’s running a kingdom.”


“Isn’t she though?” Emma puts up both hands in surrender when Regina glares at her. “I’m not defending her.”


“Sounds an awful lot like that,” Regina sips her latte and opens up her computer. “Your mother is emailing me the budget she was supposed to submit for revision last week. Do forgive me for being rude.”


“No worries, I get it.”


Regina smiles and reaches for her glasses.


“Do you do this often? Help my mom, I mean.”


“Not when I don’t have to.”



An hour later, Emma is still on the couch in Regina’s study. Though she’s gone from sitting to laying and Regina laughed at her fuzzy socks. Regina is still working, editing Mary Margaret’s budget proposal, writing notes on a yellow legal pad. Emma’s got her phone out, scrolling through TMZ like it’s her job.


“You’re not shirking your official duties to lay on my couch, are you?” Regina pauses in her writing and looks over her glasses at Emma.


“No, David’s taking today. Unless someone commits some felony. But I’m guessing that’s not gonna happen.” Emma shrugs and clicks on some stupid link to a story about Kanye West. “Since when do you wear glasses?”


“None of your business,” Regina pushes the frames further up her nose and continues to write. She writes quickly, pen pressed tight to the paper.


“Maybe I’ve got a librarian fantasy.”


Regina rolls her eyes, “Please, Miss Swan. I’m far more likely to believe you’ve got a penchant for swashbuckling and other such nonsense. You’re already into all that leather, it’s not hard to draw some sort of conclusion.”


“Gross,” Emma makes a face and presses the lock screen button on her phone before she sits up. “Firstly, I have absolutely no interest in any of the things that swashbuckling entails. Also, it’s a gross word. Secondly, liking badass leather jackets has absolutely nothing to do with S&M, lady.”


“And what would you know about either of those things?” Regina’s tapping her fancy fountain pen against the swell of her bottom lip and Emma turns her head to look.


“I know enough to prefer silk scarves to handcuffs and solid ground to the high seas,” Emma smirks.


“I see,” Regina tosses her legal pad onto her desk. “Librarians,” she repeats. “So Belle’s more your type?”


“If I was into chasing straight girls, maybe,” Emma shrugs, thinks about adding that’s not what I’m doing here, right?


Regina drops her pen on top of her abandoned legal pad, “You, Emma Swan, are an enigma.”


“That wouldn’t be the first time I’ve heard that.”


Regina’s slow to remove her glasses, twirls them by one of the temples, “I’m not surprised.”


“If I wanted to surprise you, I’d probably talk about silk scarves a little more.”


“I have a feeling, Miss Swan, that would hardly be surprising,” Regina folds her glasses and sets them on her desk. She reaches for her croissant and breaks off the end, “You underestimate me, dear.”



Emma’s still laying on the couch at lunchtime. Regina had abandoned banter somewhere after the fifteen minute mark and returned to work.


“What’s for lunch?” Emma’s turned her attention to the Fluffington Post.


“I do not believe you were invited to lunch,” Regina pauses in her typing and looks over at Emma.


“I’m inviting myself. I brought you breakfast.”


Regina rolls her eyes and continues to type. Emma’s lulled by key clicks for a few minutes but there are only so many animals she can fawn over before her stomach gurgles.


“Seriously, can I order a pizza or are you cooking?”


Regina looks at her watch and sighs, “I suppose I’ll make something if you’re going to interrupt every five minutes.”


“It’s lunchtime.”


“I’m working.”



Regina slides a panini across the kitchen island, there’s a small helping of sea salt and black pepper potato chips and some leftover roasted cauliflower. There’s also a mini can of Diet Coke and a cookie.


Emma reaches for the cookie first.


“Predictable,” Regina picks up her sandwich and takes a dainty bite.


“You just can’t ever be surprised, can you?” Emma takes a less dainty bite and wipes crumbs off her lap.


“I’ll be surprised when you give me something to be surprised by.”