Never ever get between a predator and its evening snack, Emma Swan thinks with a pained grimace as she tries hard to bite back the pained groan sitting in her throat. In this case, between a cougar and the deer that was supposed to provide Emma with meat and skin, both for herself as well as for trade. She didn’t even have time to get her Winchester up to shoot at the cat before it was on her with a ferocious growl, jaws open wide, claws out. The only saving grace for Emma was that she has her Bowie knife strapped to her thigh and managed to get it out to swipe at the cougar a couple of times. She nicked the cat, she knows, but that is little comfort when it got her good and well in return before running off.
And the deer is long gone, too.
Emma takes a deep breath as she surveys the damage the cat has done, trying to focus through the black spots dancing before her eyes. The sun is setting fast now, and she knows she needs to get off this mountain or the cougar is sure to come back to finish what it started, and with it half its family probably. Her soft black shirt is ripped across her stomach, her leather vest proving ineffective against sharp claws, and she can see the ugly gashes on her stomach. Not too deep, she thinks, hopes. There are more tears in her shirt on her left arm, and it feels sticky everywhere. Emma is almost happy she can’t see the blood stains on the dark material but she really doesn’t need that information anyway to know it’s not looking good right now. She can feel the blood running down her body, and when she puts her knife back in its sheath, she can also see a few long gashes across her left thigh. She squints to see if there really is white bone visible in one of the deeper wounds or if she’s imagining it because it hurts so damn much. Her stomach rebels at the sight, and she loses what little she had to eat for lunch. There’s no doubt that she needs to get help, and fast.
Well, this is going to be pleasant, she thinks as she lets out a weak whistle to call Snow. Her horse ran at the first sight of the cougar, but now it comes back, shaking its head as if in regret. The white horse nuzzles her face before Emma walks to the side and tries to pull herself onto the saddle with only her good arm and her good leg. It’s almost impossible but finally she manages to swing her injured leg over the saddle by leading Snow to the side of boulder and using that as a boost. She holds her breath and focuses on not keeling over and falling straight back down when the pain of all her wounds hits her at the same time after the massive effort. After several minutes of deep, albeit ragged, breathing, Emma straightens in the saddle, jaws clenching so hard against the pain that she’s afraid she’s going to break something. But at least she stays conscious, and Emma knows not to take that for granted.
So far, so good.
She digs in her saddle bag for a long strip of leather and ties her legs to the saddle close to the hips, hoping it would help stop her body from falling off since one of her legs is pretty much useless. Then she steers Snow in the direction of Dorado Crossing and hopes for the best.
Emma isn’t even halfway down the mountainside when Snow jerks away from a raccoon that crosses their path unexpectedly in the dark, jostling Emma's whole body, pulling open wounds that had just barely begun to stop bleeding.
And then everything goes black.
Emma regains some of her senses some time later — minutes, hours, days? —when she feels a shadow looming over her. She tries to get to her knife to defend herself but her body doesn’t heed her commands, and she is left with faint scrabbling movements of her hand against her leg. Somewhere in her brain she registers that she’s not on a horse anymore, and that what her fingers are touching is not the leather of her breeches, but surprisingly soft cloth.
There are softly spoken words, more of a murmur, but Emma can’t make out any of what is being said. All she registers is that she doesn’t feel threatened and the pain is not as bad as it was. She fights her body’s desire to just go back to being numb, but it is to no avail, and before she can even fully wake up, she’s out again, never really seeing the figure standing next to her, pressing a cold compress against her forehead, whispering words of comfort.
The next time Emma becomes aware of anything it’s the sound of two voices having a hushed conversation somewhere close to her.
“Do you think she’s going to be all right?” a voice asks, and it sounds like a boy.
“I don’t know,” a woman replies. “I’m doing what I can.”
Emma tries to move but there are spikes of pain all over her body, so she groans instead. She hears footsteps through the rushing in her own ears, and the woman’s voice is suddenly much closer. “Henry, bring me some more of the tea.”
Emma fights her way to consciousness but it’s a slow process. She tries to open her eyes but they won’t work, so she tries to push herself up on her elbows instead to show she’s awake. Her left arm protests loudly but before she can sink back into the mattress, there’s an arm behind her back, steadying her, holding her up, and Emma has no choice but to accept the help, no matter how much she hates relying on other people. Looks like you don’t really have a choice when you manage to almost kill yourself.
“Easy,” the woman murmurs as she carefully pushes her up into a reclining position and puts more pillows behind her back. “There you go.”
“The tea, Mom,” the boy’s voice is back, and it’s not quite as young as Emma first thought.
“Thank you, dear.” There’s a pause, then Emma can feel the rim of a wooden cup against her lips. “Here,” the beautiful voice murmurs, “drink this. Slowly, it’ll help with the pain.”
Emma recognizes the smell and tries not to recoil at the expected bitter taste. Willow bark tea, her brain informs her, but there’s also something else. She sips slowly, and wonders if it’s the tea that’s relaxing her body immediately or the slow, soothing movement of a thumb at the back of her neck. “Thank you,” she tries to say but what comes out is a rasp and a cough.
The cup disappears but the hand and thumb don’t, and oh this feels nice. Emma sighs as she feels herself going under again with alarming speed. The tea then, is her last thought, and it's somehow disappointing.
Emma feels the mattress dip a little as someone sits down at the edge of the bed. The covers she's lying under are drawn back, and soon she can feel sure fingers against the wounds on her stomach.
“Can you open your eyes?” the woman asks when Emma gasps at a touch.
Emma is determined to finally put a face to the voice and struggles to follow the request. It feels like it takes forever but finally her eyes open enough for her to make out the sight of the woman.
She gasps again but this time it has nothing to do with pain.
The woman withdraws her hand immediately. “I’m sorry if I hurt you, Miss Swan,” she says. “But I need to check the bandages. The wounds on your arm are healing quite well, but your stomach and leg are proving to be rather more … obstinate.”
“How …” Emma clears her throat. “How do you know my name, Mrs.—?”
“Mills,” the woman replies with a small smirk. “Regina Mills. You may call me Regina, I guess.”
Emma struggles to sit up a little straighter and flushes hotly when Regina has to help her and accidentally brushes against her breast. “Regina,” she tests out the name and likes the way it rolls off her tongue. “My name is Emma, but I guess you knew that already,” she says with a small smirk. “What I still don’t know is how …”
Regina returns the smirk with a crooked smile. “You haven’t changed that much in the past ten years,” she replies. “And Henry has an unfortunate fondness for outlaw stories. You were notorious enough for him to have your wanted poster in his collection.”
“Ah.” Emma looks slightly uncomfortable. “I’m not that person anymore.”
Regina makes a non-committal sound. “I heard,” she murmurs. “Pity, really. I might have had use for a gunslinger around here.”
“Why are you helping me?” Emma remembers to ask. “Even if I’ve changed, the law is still looking for me in these parts. Why are you not scared?”
“Henry found your horse with your unconscious body half hanging off the saddle at the eastern edge of our land when he came back from repairing a fence,” Regina explains. “I’m not in the habit of ignoring people who need help, and you needed all the help we can give … and maybe even more. It’s your bad luck that Dr. Hopper is away right now.” She sighed. “What on earth did you wrestle with? A bear?”
“I’ve never seen gashes so deep like the one on your leg … I had a hard time stitching that close. You shouldn’t put any weight on that leg for at least another week.”
“Thank you.” The words are heartfelt, and Emma’s smile is genuine. The smile she gets in return is wide, almost blinding, and robs Emma of her breath. “What does your husband have to say about this?” she asks.
The smile slides from Regina’s face. “There is no …” She shakes her head once. “It’s just Henry and me.”
Emma takes a breath to say something … anything, but before she can open her mouth, Regina shakes her head again. “Enough talking,” she rasps. “Let me change your bandages, Miss Swan. You don’t want these gashes to become infected.”
Emma grits her teeth, against the pain and against the closeness of Regina’s hands to parts of her body that are way too happy about it. She tries to put it down to not having been touched by loving hands in far too long but a big part of her knows that’s not it, at least not entirely. Not when Regina’s smile made her stomach feel funny, or the thought that there was no husband filled her with a kernel of something warm in her chest.
Over the next few days Emma gets stronger and her wounds begin to heal better, especially since Regina sternly reminds her to stay in bed. She’s met Henry, who asks her a million questions about the life of an outlaw whenever Regina is busy with something else. Given that she and Henry run the small farm alone, one of them is always busy, and most of the time it’s both of them.
In the evenings, and whenever Regina comes in to take care of her, she and Emma talk, and Emma has never felt this kind of connection between strangers before. Regina reads her poetry and articles from the month-old newspaper and when Emma admits she can’t read or write very well, Regina offers to teach her. At first Emma wants to decline, but only until Regina sits down on the bed beside her, leaning against the headboard, shoulder to shoulder with Emma so she can point out the letters as she voices them.
Emma is a willing and eager student — even when Henry takes over when his mother is otherwise occupied — but finds it very hard to focus on letters when she can feel and smell and see Regina from this close. The longer this goes on, the more it becomes torture for Emma. But oh what sweet torture it is.
She knows she shouldn't feel this way, shouldn't crave Regina's smiles, her touch, being near her, just breathing the same air, but she can't really help herself. She knows it's wrong — she's only ever met one other woman who shared her proclivities —, knows that Regina is only helping her because it's the good, Christian thing to do, and rewarding that by looking at her with hungry eyes is uncouth and just plain wrong.
Emma knows all of it, but it really doesn't matter to her body — or her heart —which leaves her with only one course of action: as soon as she's able, she'll get on her horse and ride away from this place and the people in it as fast and as far as she can.
Emma is so busy beating herself up that she completely misses the way Regina looks at her whenever Emma is unaware. Like she's looking at her right now.
“You’re not paying attention,” Regina murmurs softly, and her voice and breath tickle Emma’s ear.
“I am,” Emma protests. Just not to the letters.
"I need to wash," Emma declares the next morning when Henry is out checking fences. "Is there a trough out back or something I can use?"
Unexpectedly, Regina flushes. "Nonsense," she chides. "I'll ready a bath for you. It might not be piping hot but still better than the trough. Besides, you'll need help."
"But Henry ..."
"Henry won't be back for hours yet," Regina says confidently. Then she leans in with a playful grin and sniffs. “Yes, I’d say your last sponge bath was too long ago. How neglectful of me.”
Emma swallows hard at the images in her head. “Sponge bath?” When had she missed that?
“How else do you think all that blood disappeared from your body?” Then she leaves the room, leaving Emma to stare after her with a mostly silent groan.
Regina drags the heavy tub closer to the fire, all the while berating herself for suggesting the bath. She knows that it’s either that or another sponge bath — Emma’s body surely isn’t up to a dip in the horse’s trough outside, and she would never make anyone do that anyway — but both options present a problem for Regina: she’s going to have to help Emma, and Emma’s going to be naked.
And Regina has no idea how she’s going to manage not to stare or touch that body where she isn’t supposed to.
She fills their two largest buckets with water and sets them on the stove to heat, then goes outside to get some more water from the pump. She wonders when she started looking at Emma that way, but she fears it’s been almost from the very beginning. It confused her at first, this inability to tear her eyes away from the body that was revealed under the clothes, and she remembers biting her lip almost all the way through when she saw the ugly wounds marring that beautiful flesh.
She can never let Emma know that she mapped her whole body while she was unconscious, can never reveal that the exercise of cleaning her, of binding her wounds, of taking care of her made her want to touch, touch, touch that body. She hasn’t, though, would never, but the temptation is there every time she changes a bandage, which is mostly why Emma hasn’t gotten a sponge bath in a few days.
Now that Regina has come to know Emma a little better, has talked to her, has learned to appreciate her quick wit, has seen her good heart despite her bad past, now it’s getting ever more difficult not to stare, not to let those feelings come out. Feelings she shouldn’t be having, feelings she’s never had for another woman, feelings she would be driven out of town for. Feelings her mother would kill her for.
Feelings Emma can never know about.
And Henry … oh God, Henry. What would he say if he knew?
No, she thinks as she fills the wooden tub with water, she has to bury these strange feelings deep, deep, deep down as long as Emma is still here, and then, once Emma is gone again … well, she’s sure the feelings will leave with her.
At least that’s what she hopes.
“Did I do something to upset you?” Emma asks from where she’s leaning against the doorframe leading to the bedroom, wearing nothing but one of Daniel’s old shirts, the softest one Regina could find, and her drawers that Regina had to cut off very close to her private parts to take care of the wound. The shirt covers her to about mid-thigh when she’s standing but it looks oh so enticing. Apart from the thick bandages around her leg but even those can’t mar the beauty that is Emma Swan.
Regina has to clear her throat. “No, why would you think that?”
“Your face is all stormy,” Emma explains around a small chuckle, the sound doing nothing to make Regina feel less.
“I was just thinking …” Regina busies herself with the water buckets, emptying them into the tub until the water is a few inches high. “That’s all we can use right now,” she says apologetically, not turning around to face Emma again. She can’t. “You can’t get your wounds wet.”
Emma’s voice is close enough to cause a shiver down her spine, which Regina hopes goes unnoticed.
It doesn’t. “Are you cold?” Emma is closer still, just a few inches away now.
Regina’s hands curl into tights fists to stop them from reaching behind her. She’s never felt that way, and she is mortified at the lack of control she seems to have over her own body’s reaction to the former outlaw.
Regina shakes her head — she can’t possibly speak right now lest her voice betray her thoughts — and takes a few quick steps away from Emma. More water, she thinks, looking for an excuse. She grabs a bucket, and almost runs out the back door.
Emma watches her, puzzled, wondering what has her so spooked all of a sudden. Her own body is buzzing from how close they just were, and then she realizes that she might have been too close, that Regina must have been uncomfortable. Swan, you idiot.
Regina returns, looking a little less frazzled. “You should get in there before the water gets cold,” she orders without looking up.
Emma blushes and clears her throat. “Look, I know you’re uncomfortable around me,” she blurts, causing Regina to look up sharply. “And I’ll be out of your hair as soon as possible but …” She bites her lip. “I think I might need some help.”
Regina can see how much it costs Emma to admit that. Her heart opens a little more to the woman in front of her. She nods and closes the distance between them. “Allow me,” she rasps, grabbing the hem of the shirt covering Emma’s body.
“What are you doing?” Emma’s voice is shaky, and she’s suddenly breathless at the thought of being naked in front of Regina. That wasn’t what she had meant.
“You can’t keep that on,” Regina explains softly. “That would defeat the purpose.”
“Henry …” It’s the only thing Emma can think of to say.
“I told you he won’t be back for hours.” With that, Regina pulls the shirt up, and Emma raises her arms without a second thought, leaving her standing there in her cut-off drawers. Emma fidgets with her arms, feeling rather vulnerable like this.
Regina raises an eyebrow when she notices. “It’s nothing I haven’t seen before,” she murmurs. “I have been cleaning your wounds for the past week …”
Emma exhales slowly and tries to relax but it’s harder than she thought it would be, standing here in front of the woman she finds so damn distracting and alluring. She picks at the hem of her drawers.
“Sorry,” Regina winces. “I had to cut them off to get at the gashes on your leg,” she explains. “And since Henry was present, I couldn’t very well take them off. I tried to keep you covered as best I could.”
“That’s all right.”
“Well, Henry’s not here now …” Regina hints. When Emma just stares at her, she rolls her eyes and adds, “If you take them off, I’ll wash them together with the shirt. You can have a fresh shirt after the bath and you can have one of my knickers.”
Emma hesitates for a long second, then shrugs. She’s never been particularly modest, so why is she making such a fuss about being naked now? Ignoring the voice inside her head that tells her exactly why she’s feeling this way, she carefully pulls down the drawers and steps into the tub as quickly as she can with her injuries.
“Careful,” Regina warns, by Emma’s side in a second.
“I’ve got this,” Emma replies softly but she’s grateful for the steadying presence of the hand on her back. That was the help she knew she needed and almost forgot about in her nakedness.
“I’m sure.” Regina’s voice is unsteady, and she has to focus much too hard on just keeping her hand on Emma’s muscular back without starting to roam all over it. She stares upward, counting the beams in her very familiar ceiling because it’s the only way she’s not openly staring at the wonder that is Emma Swan.
Finally, Emma sits in the shallow water, legs bent to fit into the small tub. Regina clears her throat and grabs the small sponge and a piece of soap, and without a second thought, starts running the sponge over Emma’s body. She starts out as business-like as she can, not lingering in any way, not even noticing Emma’s stunned silence. But second by second her hand moves slower and slower, and it’s not just the sponge that touches skin, it’s the tips of her fingers as well.
Regina’s eyes are roaming all over Emma’s body now, as if in a trance, following the trail of her hand hungrily. She doesn’t notice Emma’s stare, doesn’t see the flush covering most of her skin until she runs her hand down Emma’s front — careful of the wounds on her stomach, always careful — and there’s a breathless gasp. Regina’s hand stops against Emma’s stomach while her eyes wander up to meet Emma’s.
The fire she sees in them, the answering hunger, causes her to drop the sponge and withdraw her hand as if burned.
“No!” Emma’s command comes out as a low, guttural growl. “Don’t stop … please don’t stop.”
Regina swallows hard, once, then a second time. And then their mouths meet in a furious kiss, the likes of which Regina never knew to be possible between two women. She has no idea who moved first — nor who lets out the almost pained moan — but it really doesn’t matter. She hasn’t felt like this in years, if ever, and she can’t get enough.
Emma turns her body towards Regina, tangling her hands in dark hair, and kisses her with everything she has to give. Soon enough, however, the edge of the tub presses too hard against the side of her breast, and Emma wants to feel Regina’s body, wants to touch Regina, not a wooden tub filled with a couple of inches of now tepid water.
Emma wrenches her mouth away from Regina’s, realizing her mistake only when Regina begins to apologize immediately. “Sorry, so sorry,” she mumbles, looking shocked. “I didn’t … I shouldn’t … I don’t … I jus—”
“Regina,” Emma murmurs. “Look at me.”
Regina looks up, meeting Emma’s eyes reluctantly. “I just can’t seem to help myself,” she rasps. “I know it’s unnatural, but I feel so … drawn to you. I can’t seem t-to take my eyes off you.”
“I feel the same way,” Emma replies. “I only stopped because I think I should get out of this tub.” She grins shyly. “Do you think we could maybe go back into the bedroom?”
Regina smiles mischievously. “Are you tired?” Despite her smile, Emma can hear the concern in her voice.
“No,” she replies softly. “Not even a little bit.” She pushes herself to a standing position in the tub and revels in the way Regina’s eyes are glued to her body, unable to look away from the water droplets running down her legs and towards her private region. If there ever was a confidence booster than it was Regina Mills looking at your naked body like you were dinner, Emma thinks as she climbs out of the tub with as much swagger as she can muster, dragging a speechless Regina into the bedroom with her and closing the door as they go.
They stop next to the bed, shyness returning with a vengeance. Emma becomes acutely aware of her nakedness as Regina stands before her, still in her dress, looking almost perfectly put together apart from her slightly mussed hair and her flushed cheeks.
“May I?” Emma asks, indicating Regina’s hair.
There’s just the slightest moment of hesitation before Regina nods, and it only takes a second for Emma to pull out the hairpins, loosen the braid, and run her hand through the silky, dark locks. “You’re so beautiful,” Emma whispers reverently, pressing close to Regina, before leaning in and kissing her again. The kiss starts out soft, almost innocent, before the fire in their bellies takes over and pushes them closer together, striving for deeper contact.
Regina’s knees buckle under the pressure of the feelings coursing through her and she holds onto Emma with all her might before she remembers that the woman she’s clinging to still has some major injuries from a cougar attack. She loosens her hold on Emma, or at least she wants to, but Emma pulls her back in, not willing to let her go even an inch. It doesn’t take long for Emma’s hands to start grappling at Regina’s dress, and almost no time at all for Regina to assist the wandering hands with the opening of buttons, hidden and not, and the removal of barriers.
And then they’re both naked and simply staring at each other, until that becomes unbearable and they’re crashing together like the waves on a rocky shore. Emma moans loudly and feels her knees actually buckle. She digs her fingers into Regina's shoulders to steady herself and breaks their kiss. “Need to … lie down,” Emma says but before they can move even an inch, they are kissing again.
With the way Emma’s tongue is delving deeply into her mouth, Regina agrees that a horizontal surface might be a good idea. She has no idea how long she’ll be able to stand if Emma continues kissing her that way. They tumble onto the bed, Regina’s breath escaping her in a rush when Emma lands on top of her. Emma lets out a small groan at the unbelievably good feeling of Regina’s small, firm body trapped beneath her own. Their breasts are perfectly aligned, hard nipples rubbing against each other, and Emma can feel every tiny, wonderful reaction of Regina’s body.
Regina looks up into Emma's eyes, seeing the desire that is threatening to pull her in, making her forget everything around them. Then Emma starts sucking on the pulse point on her neck, which has Regina pressing her head deeper into the pillow with a drawn-out moan. Emma gently licks the mark before returning once more to Regina’s lips, exploring her mouth for a moment before retreating just as quickly to travel down the beautiful body spread before her.
The second her lips close around a nipple, Regina's back is arching and a hiss escapes her lips as her hands fly into the mass of golden hair to hold onto something. Emma’s mouth wanders down, her tongue tracing stretch marks, teeth nibbling on soft skin. Regina doesn’t know whether to groan in pleasure or try to roll away and hide herself, so new is the sensation. Nobody’s ever used their mouth to caress her on any other body part but her face or hands, but the feeling is as exhilarating as it is frightening.
Emma can feel the muscles under her lips tense. ”Does that bother you?" she murmurs, crawling up a little, unable to resist pressing a kiss against Regina's sternum.
“I don’t … what are you doing?” Regina whispers roughly.
“Learning you,” Emma replies softly, her lips pressed against Regina’s throat. ”Trying to make you feel good.”
She rocks her hips, pressing her thigh against Regina’s sex, and smiles at the noise she manages to draw forth with that. “Do you like that?”
Regina nods and tightens her hands in Emma’s hair. “Can you … do it again?”
“I can do something even better,” Emma promises as she moves both her legs into the cradle of Regina’s hips. She presses their bodies together, then starts moving slowly. Her leg throbs a little but she ignores it, just puts her weight more on her knees and hips.
Regina gasps at the feeling, and it only takes a second for her to wrap her legs around Emma’s hips to increase contact. This is something that’s at least a little more familiar, and it feels amazing. Her hands wander around Emma’s back, mindful of the scrapes there, needing something to hold onto while her mouth seeks out Emma’s in a desperate, open-mouthed kiss.
Emma’s arousal spikes so suddenly that she can barely breathe, and she feels herself already closing in on her peak. The way she’s pressed against Regina puts just the right kind of pressure on the bundle of nerves at the top of her sex. She presses herself up on her good arm — indescribably pleased to hear Regina whine when their lips part — to reach between their bodies with her other arm. Her fingers find Regina’s clit, eliciting a gasp and a sudden jerk of the hips, then move a little lower, tracing the wetness that has accumulated between them, moving her finger every which way.
“Lord have mercy,” Regina breathes. “Oh, Emma.”
The raw voice has Emma breathless and even closer in a heartbeat. “Jesus, Regina … you feel so good. This feels so good.”
Regina mutters something that Emma doesn’t quite get but soon the words that Regina keeps repeating become clearer. “More … Emma, harder … more …”
Emma is not quite certain what Regina wants more of but she has an idea, so she moves her hand to Regina’s entrance and lets the tip of a finger slip inside.
The response is an immediate, growled “Yes!” and Regina’s hips move faster and harder against her. “More … please.”
Taking that as an invitation, Emma pushes her finger deeply into Regina’s tight, warm entrance, then pulls out again, falling into a fast rhythm that has them both panting and moaning. Emma’s thumb lies between their bodies, pressing against Regina’s clit but also hitting Emma’s every time she rocks her hips, and the result is a fast climb upwards. On the next move, Emma withdraws completely, only to push back in with two fingers. She can feel Regina tighten around her, can feel the inner walls clenching around her fingers, can feel her own insides coil with tension, can feel the heat spike at the base of her spine.
Regina’s hips are moving up and down as if driven by some outside force, while her brain can only register the pleasure Emma is bringing her. She hasn’t felt like this in … far longer than she can remember, and even with Daniel this kind of frenzy and mind-blowing pleasure was rare. He had always been exceedingly gentle and slow with her, touching her with reverence. Not with the wild abandon that Emma is now touching her with. Regina can feel her body tighten, can feel her feet tingle of all things, can feel a kind of pressure inside, and it’s not a feeling she’s too familiar with. It alarms her a little but then Emma strokes a little firmer, deeper, and all the tension resolves itself in a moment of utter bliss, forcing a cry from Regina’s body that may have been Emma’s name.
Emma can feel Regina’s climax all along their lengths, feels the tension in her body release, hears the most beautiful scream of her name she has ever heard. She keeps on moving, trying to prolong the feeling for Regina, for them both, rocks against her own hand once, twice, three times before following Regina over the edge and into pleasure with a hoarse cry.
Then she collapses on top of Regina, fingers finally still inside her body.
After a minute, Regina exhales slowly and turns her head so she can look at Emma’s face, which is nestled in the crook of her neck. She presses a kiss to Emma’s forehead, nose, and finally her lips. They kiss for long moments, enjoying the feeling of just lying there together, until Regina flinches slightly.
Emma carefully pulls out her fingers and moves her weight off Regina before bringing the fingers up to her mouth without a conscious thought. She only realizes she’s licking Regina’s arousal off her fingers when she catches Regina’s wide-eyed stare. “You taste amazing,” she shrugs, hoping Regina isn’t too horrified.
“I do?” The question is quiet and doubtful.
“You absolutely do,” Emma assures her, and leans over to kiss Regina as proof, half expecting her to recoil. Regina’s reaction, however, surprises her. She kisses back with fervor, tasting herself on Emma’s lips, then sneaks a hand down to Emma’s sex and runs her fingers through the lingering wetness there.
Emma is stunned when Regina brings the fingers to her mouth and licks them, tongue peeking out through her lips at first, then stuffing a whole finger in her mouth. The visual is enough to drive Emma crazy, and Regina barely has time to remove the fingers before Emma is on her again, kissing her like there’s no tomorrow.
“Again?” Regina pants between kisses, against Emma’s lips, as if it’s the most unusual thing she’s ever heard, and maybe it is.
“If you want to,” Emma replies softly. “I don’t think there will be a moment I won’t want to do that with you …”
“What is it about you,” Regina muses, “that allowed you to come into my life half dead and still steal my heart?”
Emma swallows at the words but tries not to take them too seriously. “My unconscious charm and ghastly injuries?” she jokes.
“Unconscious indeed,” Regina replies with a roll of her eyes, but the smile on her face is beautiful and full of adoration. Emma feels her own heart expanding painfully and returns to kissing Regina, so as not to think about how much this complicates everything.
They make love again, slowly, only stopping when they hear Henry returning, which leaves them just enough time to get dressed again before he comes in from settling his horse in the barn. Regina fixes a simple dinner, which the three of them share at the table for the first time, and they both have a hard time taking their eyes off of each other. If Henry notices, he doesn’t say, declaring instead that he’s tired from the day and needs to sleep.
Once he disappears into the second bedroom, Emma turns to Regina. “I never asked …,” she begins softly. “Where have you been sleeping?”
Regina laughs lightly. “Over there, on the floor.” She points to a corner and that is when Emma sees the bedroll lying there.
“I’m so sorry,” Emma blurts, “I never meant … you should have … this stops now.”
Regina gives her a long, measured look. “Yes, I believe it will.”
“What are you going to tell Henry if he asks?”
“That two women can share a bed,” Regina says with a small shrug, knowing he won’t ask. He’s fourteen and has other things on his mind, like the girl he’s been pining after, Paige. “That I was just giving you time for your injuries to heal.”
Emma can’t find fault with that logic — not that she’s trying — so they wash the few dishes, then go to bed very early, seeing no point in wasting time sitting around. Regina insists on shirts and Emma finds a creative way to work around that, which Regina enjoys and doesn’t object to. The biggest issue is noise, not shirts, they realize quickly and with a shared giggle, and they both become familiar with the feeling of Regina’s pillows between their teeth.
The last thought Emma has before she finally falls asleep — sated and content in Regina’s arms — is that she should thank that cougar.
Probably by turning him into a rug for this lovely home.