Regina, Emma, Snow, and David were dusting themselves off in a random clearing in the woods after another unsuccessful confrontation with Zelena.
"You ok, Regina?" Emma asked. The former queen had rushed in to deflect an attack back at their enemy, jumping in front of a fallen and disoriented Emma in the process. She'd been pushed back a few feet from the blow and if Emma hadn't been so close she wouldn't have seen the brunette wince at the hit. However, she'd managed to absorb the magic and send it back at the other woman, forcing her to flee.
Emma wondered when she'd finally get the hang of her magic and stop being such a liability that Regina had to take every substantial blow that came her way. It was almost more frightening than getting hit herself, the thought that Regina could get seriously injured because she couldn't handle herself. She always got the sickening image of Regina splayed out on the ground in front of her, of Henry's face when she told him what had happened—what she had let happen. Why the hell didn't her magic come with an instruction manual?
"I'm fine," Regina said stiffly. Emma didn't take her tone personally. She guessed Regina was mostly annoyed that once again their foe had escaped. She hoped it wasn't frustration with Emma's failings as a magic student, despite the hours the older woman had been putting in to teaching her.
"You guys good?" Emma belatedly asked her parents, looking over from her position next to Regina, but they hadn't really been involved in the magical fight so their wellbeing slipping her mind is understandable.
"We're fine," Snow answered, but she didn't look it. Snow exchanged a worried look with David before the couple made their way over to the two women. She reached out a hand, as if to place it comfortingly on Regina's shoulder, but evidently thought better of it. "But Regina…"
Snow smiled like she was trying to put on a brave face, but it was clear she was actually quite concerned, "Don't worry. We'll figure this out."
Regina just furrowed her brow in confusion, "What are you talking about, dear?"
"We saw what you did," Snow admitted, looking a little guilty, like she'd seen something she knew Regina hadn't wanted her to see. She'd been on the opposite side of the clearing, hoping to get around to attack the Zelena from behind and she'd seen the bolt of energy headed for her daughter. More importantly, she'd seen Regina jump in front of her without hesitation. The look in her eyes alone…
Regina paled because that tone and the suggestive look in Mary Margaret's eyes; there was no way Mary Margaret had managed to figure out that Regina had developed feelings for her daughter, was there? No, because then there'd be a lot less pity in her eyes and a lot more shrill yelling. She was sure of it. That was just her own fear of Snow White figuring out and spilling her secrets again. But then what else could it be? "What do you think you saw?"
She glanced at the others present to see if she could gleam any clue as to what the younger brunette was going on about. David clearly was on the same page as Snow, although with more understanding than pity in his eyes and, she noticed with relief, seemingly less likely to try to give her a hug. Emma, also typically, seemed completely lost and was staring at her mother much the same way Regina herself was. It made her feel a little gratified that she wasn't the only one confused, but only a little as this was Emma she was talking about.
"Regina," Snow spoke as if to a child pretending he hadn't just sneaked a cookie right in front of her. It made Regina want to grind her teeth. "We saw what you did. I saw the look in your eyes. I know what that means."
Now Regina was getting more nervous because Snow White could not suspect that her feelings. She just couldn't. However, the other woman's next words completely threw her. "I promise we'll figure out whatever spell she put on you and remove it. Alright?" Snow had switched from righteous indignation to surpy sweet reassurance so fast Regina's head spun and yet she found herself even more confused than before.
Snow gave her another look, like she was trying too hard to pretend. "Clearly, the Wicked Witch has put some kind of spell on you that makes you believe you're in love with Emma."
"What?!" Regina and Emma exclaimed simultaneously.
"I remember what you looked like when you were in love. And the way you looked just a minute ago when you saved Emma," Snow clarified.
"Don't worry, I'm sure Mr. Gold has something that can help break the spell," Snow patted Regina's arm in what she assumed was a comforting manner, although all it did was make Regina flinch and look at the place Snow had touched her with disgust. Snow didn't notice, she continued to speculate out loud. "I wonder what her game is though? Why would she do this?"
"Maybe she thought it would distract Regina?" David guessed. "Or maybe she needs Regina's heart and for her to be in love too?"
"But if she used magic to make Regina feel love, then it isn't real and so that wouldn't fulfill that sort of requirement. Right?" Snow wondered.
"I'm not under a spell," Regina said through gritted teeth, trying to make Snow actually hear her.
"But then that would mean you were in love with Emma," Snow said, her voice slow.
"I. Am not. Under. A spell," Regina repeated back just as slowly, refusing to make eye contact with Emma.
"Um, Snow…" David began, eyes focused on Regina's body language and the look in her eyes. Unlike Snow or Emma, he had been in the stables. He had seen how this, older Regina had looked then with Daniel. Looked now. "I don't think she's lying. I don't think Regina's under spell."
"Don't be silly," Snow brushed the statement off. "Regina can't possibly really be in love with Emma."
"Excuse me?" Emma got over her shock at the idea that Regina could have any sort of romantic feelings for her in enough time to sound very offended.
"Oh, honey, it's nothing personal," Snow tried to reassure her. "But come on, Regina's a queen, for goodness's sake. You two simply aren't…compatible."
"So what?" Emma said defensively. "You tried to set her up with forest boy so I don't see how I'm lower than that."
"Robin is in charge of his own band," Snow replied.
"Well, I'm the sheriff. That has to count for something."
Regina and David simply stood there in disbelief, watching as mother and daughter argued back and forth. Neither quite sure this was actually happening.
Snow frowned and pointed out, "I thought David was the sheriff now."
Emma waved her hand, "Semantics. Bottom line is, you think I'm not good enough for her, don't you?"
"I never said that!" Snow protested
"But you think it, don't you?"
"That's not it," Snow sputtered. "It's just… You have nothing in common.
Emma huffed, "Well, to start with, we happen to share a son. I'd say that's a pretty big thing."
"That doesn't have anything to do with romance," Snow dismissed.
Emma scowled, "Oh, of course. Pardon me, Snow White, romance expert."
"That isn't what I meant either, but I do happen to know a good amount about love," Snow preened.
"You've been in like, one relationship, and that makes you an expert?" Emma lifted a brow skeptically.
It was Snow's turn to look defensive although she was quick to cover it up with pride. "Well, I married him, so yes, I think it does.
"Please," Emma scoffed. "You got lucky."
"Well, you're both straight so I don't see how any of it matters anyway," Snow said, folding her arms across her chest, as if she'd clearly just won.
Emma grinned triumphantly, "Actually, I'm not. I'm bi so you're at least half wrong!"
Snow huffed before the arguing pair turned to Regina expectantly.
"Well? Tell her she's wrong!" they said simultaneously.
Regina looked back and forth between them, clearly trying to decide how much to reveal. Proving Snow wrong about this would be easy, and while she was no longer 'evil' she still found a sort of perverse pleasure in messing with the younger brunette, but that made Snow's earlier proclamation seem more likely and she didn't want to give herself away. "I… don't like labels?"
"Ha! Only people who aren't straight say that!" Emma proclaimed.
"She just wants to prove me wrong!" Snow retorted. "She knows if she lies outright, you'd know."
"Um," David tried to get their attention and regretted making any sort of noise when he got it. "I think this whole thing has gotten a little out of control. Snow, we made a mistake—Regina isn't under a spell. And Emma, your mother didn't mean to make you feel as though she didn't think you were good enough for Regina, or anyone. We know that anyone would be lucky to love you and have you love them, including Regina, alright?"
Emma looked mollified by her father's words and began to rewind the conversation that had just taken place, a flush spreading across her cheeks at her own words. had she really just argued with her mother about why Regina might have romantic feeling for her?
"Well, of course. I don't think that at all, honey," Snow told Emma. However, she couldn't seem to leave well enough alone and continued, "But I still don't think that you and Regina are suited to each other—romantically."
Regina pressed a hand to her forehead in frustration. "Snow…" she growled. "Drop it. It doesn't matter whether or not you think we're suited for each other because there is no spell and therefore none of this matters."
David had been watching both Emma and Regina since the topic had first been brought up and had a sudden epiphany—Emma and Regina had actual, non-magical, feelings for each other.
"I was just saying…" Snow muttered while pouting.
"Yes, but it doesn't matter, does it? Even if Regina did like Emma or if Emma liked Regina back," David said, pointing with his head at their daughter.
Snow furrowed her brows before looking at Emma, clearly going over their past conversation in her head. Her eyes went wide, darting back and forth between the two women standing frozen in front of them. "Oh, right. Of course not. We would support both of you, not matter who liked who." She gave them each a wide and supportive smile.
Regina's scowl deepened and Emma rolled her eyes, her cheeks turning slightly pink. "Mom…"
"No," Snow protested. "We're really sorry about any mix up. In fact, I think its time we get back to town. You can get a ride home with Regina, right sweetie? David needs to come with me to town hall for an important meeting, that, wow, starts in just a few minutes. We're going to be late. Regina, you can drop Emma off at the station, can't you?"
Regina wanted to wince at how ridiculously transparent Snow was acting, and while she had no desire to spend time alone with Emma after what had just happened, she did desperately want Snow and David to leave. (Plus, if she didn't go along with this now, who knows what the silly woman would come up with next.) "Of course."
"Great!" Snow replied brightly. Before Emma could open her mouth to say that since town hall was only a couple minutes walk from the station, she could just as easily come with them, her parents said hurried "goodbye"s and practically ran away.
"So…" Emma said after a minute of silence where the women avoided each other's eyes. "They're not very good at subtle, are they?"
"No," Regina replied flatly. "That is not one of your family's strong suits."
"Yeah…" Emma trailed off, no idea what to say next, but feeling she needed to say something. Given the moment to think, her head went back to spinning at the implication Regina might have romantic feelings for her. It was impossible, she knew that—Regina had jumped into to save her because she was Henry's mother and Regina been rather reckless recently, what with Henry still not remembering her. She opened her mouth to let her know that Emma had no such delusions, despite her defensive and embarrassing argument with her mother, "Regina, I—"
"Miss Swan," Regina cut her off, too unsure of what the blonde thought of the situation. She decided to go on the offensive to seem like she was in control, rather than be overly defensive which she was actually aching to do. Denial would just make her seem guilty, right? "I'm well aware you do not have feelings for me, no matter what your father seems to think. You do not have to worry about me teasing you or anything else along those lines. Let's just focus on getting back to town." She began walking through the forest to demonstrate her point and Emma automatically followed.
"Oh," Emma said, blinking in surprise. That wasn't where she had expected the older woman to go. She expected harsh remarks, or insults about how her mother was clearly delusional when it came to her presuming to know Regina's feelings. She studied Regina more closely, as they continued to pick their way through the forest.
Somehow, Regina dismissal of the possibility of her feelings, bothered her almost as much as her mother's implications she wasn't good enough for the older woman. It was almost as though, beneath the posturing, Regina believed the reverse—that she wasn't good enough for Emma to have feelings for. Emma couldn't stand for that. She'd promised herself that she would do better this time, in Storybrooke, especially with Regina, especially after the priceless gift she had given her.
Emma took a deep breath, before coming to a decision. "Actually," she began, noticing the sudden tension in Regina's body and the way she angled herself towards Emma even if she still wouldn't look at her. "David's not wrong, not about me, I mean."
Regina turned around to face her, both women coming to a halt, with a hostile look on her face. "What?"
Emma shrunk a little, but told herself it was just Regina trying to protect herself. She forced a nonchalant shrug, "I said, David was right. I do like you, romantically." The hostility fell from Regina's face to be replaced by complete shock. Emma might have laughed if she wasn't taken aback by her own nerve. "That's the real reason I said some of what I did. Mary Margaret just hit a little too close to home with how she was so sure the only way you could ever return my feelings was if you were under some spell."
"And I know you probably don't like me—for all the reasons she said and more, but, I don't know. I still don't really agree with her. I happen to think we do have a lot in common. Like, not superficial stuff, but I don't know." Emma frowned as she tried to find the words because if she was doing this, she was going to do it as best she could, "I feel like you get me, more than anyone else does, and, sometimes, I think I get you too. And I missed you. Even during the year where it was just me and Henry and I didn't know who you were. It felt like there was a missing spot at our table, for you. So, yeah."
"That's what you really think?" Regina said, shock leaving her face and intensity taking its place, a strange light in her eyes.
Emma sighed, interpreting the tone as disbelief, and looked down at her feet, she should have known she was misreading what was going on. She always used to feel like she might belong only to find out she never would. She'd thought the years would wear off the sting.
Emma didn't see Regina taking a step over to her, well into her personal space, but she felt Regina's presence closer and looked up automatically. She found bright, deep brown eyes only a few inches from her own and her breath caught. The sudden proximity was enough to give her the courage to nod slightly. "Yeah. It is."
Regina made an agreeable noise in the back of her throat before wrapping her arms around Emma's neck, pulling the younger woman against her. "Good," her voice was low and soft. "I think so too." And then they were kissing.
Emma barely had time to process what Regina had said, not that it mattered much given her actions were more than clear enough. However, after her mind was able to think about anything besides the feeling of soft, full lips on her own, of arms around her, of Regina's body pressed against her, of her own arms around Regina's waist (when had that happened?), she managed to connect Regina's words with her own.
They parted just enough to be able to speak, though not enough for their lips not to brush as they formed words. "Really?"
Regina gave her a small smile, "Really."
Emma smiled back before closing the short distance once more, opening her mouth immediately. This kiss was all passion and heat, longing and desire put on hold for too long. Emma's hands began to roam Regina's back and sides while Regina's buried themselves in blonde curls as she gave as good as Emma was giving her. Someone moaned into the kiss as Regina's mouth opened for Emma's tongue but not before she gave the younger woman's bottom lip a nip.
They continued to make out, never parting long enough to speak, until Regina's back hit a tree and Emma began a trek down her neck. Open mouthed kisses and small bites made Regina bare her neck further to Emma's ministrations. "Emma?" Regina's voice was low and breathy. Emma gave her muffled noise to show she'd heard her, but did not stop. "Perhaps, we, hm, should move this—right there—somewhere with a bed, or any horizontal surface with less dirt?"
"Don't wanna wait that long," Emma almost whined into Regina. She didn't want to unwrap herself from the wonderful smelling woman in her arms, she didn't want to stop mapping her neck or drawing such delightful noises from her.
Regina chuckled, "Simply give me a moment to gather myself and I'll transport us to my house. How does that sound?"
"Perfect," Emma admitted, pulling away but unable to help herself from placing a quick peck on Regina's lips. Regina gave her a dazzling smile in response as they were enveloped in purple smoke.