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Emma figures that she should probably be worried about how familiar 108 Mifflin Street looks under the cover of darkness. Chances are, she concedes wryly, that she should also worry about how easy the habit of parking the bug somewhere discreet and walking the rest of the way came to her; especially since her route usually takes her through more than one wooded area and/or someone's back yard.

Christ; she hasn't snuck around like this since she was a teenager.

But having a key of her own to the back door… that makes up for a lot of sins. And she's honest enough - with herself, at any rate - to realize that this is the best solution, because she wouldn't even begin to know how to explain it to anyone else.

So what are you up to, Ems?

Oh, the usual. Sheriffing, the occasional saviouring, and of course fucking the former Evil Queen until I still have marks on my back from those perfect nails two days later.

Right. Emma swallows a snicker as she unlocks the door and slips inside. That'd go over like a lead balloon.

She doesn't leave her boots by the door, though she does take them off there before ambling through the halfway-lit house in her socks. One time doing that with her boots on had been enough, though it had admittedly also been raining for hours, not to mention busy enough during the day that she herself had barely been able to form a coherent sentence at the end of it.

Regina had not been amused at the sight of sopping, muddy prints tracing across her flooring and carpets, and Emma figures that she should probably also worry about just how attractive she finds her when she gets worked up like that; all fiery, snapping eyes, prowling stride and bared teeth.

Her own lack of coherency hadn't been an issue that night, though. In fact, it had rapidly deteriorated into complete nonsense pretty much from the second that she found herself caught between a wall and an unfairly alluring Regina Mills.

It's an easy arrangement, this little thing they've worked out. It's sex, pure and simple, but without the hassle of sweaty bodies in a bar, STD- or pregnancy scares, or the irritatingly familiar steps of the is-this-sex-or-is-it-more dance. Hell, it has even helped them get along a fraction better outside the walls of the mayoral mansion, and frankly, it'd be just about perfect if Emma didn't find herself needing to tamp down on wanting more.

It kind of pisses her off that she even has to. The absolute last person she ever expected to find herself fall-- appreciating in this way is Regina Mills, but damn if there isn't something… not fun , precisely, but exhilarating about her; something that is at once both soothing and maddening in equal measure, and something that she really needs to get a handle on before to-may-to, to-mah-to turns into let's call the whole thing off.

It is just sex, she reminds herself as she settles her boots and jacket and what-all else in a little-used closet where they won't be spotted by an unexpected visitor (a habit that started after a close call where the items were poofed to her in one of the upstairs bedrooms). Just fucking, really; the one area in which she and Regina are actually surprisingly compatible, considering how much effort it can still take for them to hold a simple, civil conversation.

Just. Fucking.

And that's fine.

Henry is sleeping over with a friend tonight; for obvious reasons, he's never home when Emma lets herself in. And Regina… she pauses in the middle of a step halfway up the stairs, and inhales once before smirking.

Regina is in the shower.

Emma can't hear the water running - not just yet, at least - but she can just barely smell the expensive products; a mix of jasmine and woodland with the faintest hint of apples around the edges, because what else?

So she climbs higher, and doesn't take any particular amount of care to be quiet because they're alone in the house anyway and she's fairly sure that Regina can actually hear grass grow if she puts her mind to it. Four steps left to the top, another thirteen to the master bedroom and ten more than that to the ensuite door, and her body has spent hours feeding a slow simmer low in her gut that only flares hotter the closer she gets.

Fuck. She takes a breath when she can hear the rush of the water, and wipes her palms against her jeans because at this stage, being nervous is ridiculous.

Opening the door sends a warm, moist wave of sweetly-scented almost-mist towards her (Regina likes her showers just about hot enough to scald), and she breathes it in, tells herself to just don’t , closes the door behind her and curls a hand around the edge of the shower curtain.

And finds herself slammed backwards by invisible hands until she hits the wall with enough force to knock the air from her lungs.


“Hardly.” The icy eyes glaring at her from below the spray ease, and the pressure against her front vanishes when Regina flicks her fingers and sighs. “Were you never taught to announce yourself, Miss Swan?”

Emma straightens and rolls her eyes; more to keep from staring than anything else. “I figured you'd be able to hear footsteps, what with bitching me out for breathing too loud just a few hours ago.”

All that earns her is a haughty sniff; barely audible below the rushing of the water. “You're early.”

“Better than late.”

“Only just.” A single eyebrow quirks - sarcastic or irritated or amused or all three, she can't tell - but there is a definite, smug little upwards pull at the corner of that mouth when Regina crosses her arms and Emma's eyes drop to follow the motion. “Voyeurism, now? Tsk.”

“You're the one naked and dripping without even attempting to cover up,” she returns, but guesses that the definite husk in her voice probably negates the snark. “Exhibitionism, now?” she mocks, regardless. “Tsk.”

“I am standing in my shower, in my home,” comes the unimpressed reminder; Regina setting her hands on her hips in a particularly effective display of a body confidence that she definitely has every right to. “I wasn’t expecting a peeping tom.”

Emma snorts. “Well, then you shouldn’t have invited me.”

She could be imagining it, but she swears that she sees the briefest flicker of amusement; not of the usual oh-look-you’ve-gone-and-made-an-ass-of-yourself-again kind, but more of the that-was-actually-somewhere-in-the-vicinity-of-witty variety. If it is there, however, it vanishes faster than she can blink, and then Regina is rolling her eyes in that oh-so-put-upon way and beckoning her closer.

“Come here.”

This time, Emma is the one to quirk an eyebrow. And to cross her arms. “What’s the magic word?

Everything happens very fast. She has maybe one hundredth of a second to see Regina’s lips purse before there’s a bare, shimmering arm reaching out and grabbing, and the next thing Emma knows, she’s been backed into a corner of the still-running shower; fully dressed, and with probably the most attractive woman in any realm pressing her bodily against the tile.

Naked. And dripping wet. And Jesus Christ no one should be able to have such a strong effect on her in the blink of an eye.

“Abracadabra,” comes the half-breath, half-growl a hair’s width from her mouth, and she has less than the span of a single heartbeat to be glad that she left her phone in her jacket before those lips are on hers.

Heat; like an injection of concentrated want into every vein in her body all at once; starting from the wine-tinged sweetness of Regina’s breath on her tongue and spiraling outwards until she forgets about phones or wallets or increasingly drenched clothing. Everything narrows to lips (soft, but hard and deep and wanting), hands (firm and knowing and fuck , that just isn’t fair) and skin . So much skin; all of it warm and supple and wet and in reach , and it’s honestly a wonder that Emma is able to even stand.

This whole thing about being stuck between Regina and a wall, however, is something that she could probably get to like just a little too much. So she tenses and twists them into trading places in a whirl of rushing water and hard exhales, and pushes Regina by her hips (not her wrists; never her wrists) until she can taste the startled, hissed inhalation and feel her arch at the sudden chill against her back.

“You are insufferably stubborn,” is the low comment to that, and there’s a lot that Emma could say in response ( Takes one to know one is high on the list, as is Hi, Pot; Kettle here ), but all of it is too close - too familiar, too open - and so is bitten back.

Instead, she presses harder; one hand hooking behind a bare knee and one denim-clad thigh pushing in and up until Regina hisses for a very different reason; until there are five nails digging into her back and five more into her arm even through her clothes and the want is swirling in those dark eyes like a vortex.

“Shut up.” Just sex. Just fucking. Just don’t. Her teeth close around Regina’s lower lip; not too hard - they never leave marks where they can’t be easily covered - but enough to make her gasp and rock while the water drums against Emma’s back.

Those hands are on her shoulders now; searching and pushing until her shirt lands on the tile floor with a sodden plop. They slip over her bare arms, then, and the faint trace of nails becomes a definite sting when Emma’s hands in turn stop pinning and lifting to instead grab and guide; slow and steady and firm until her teeth are dragging over warm skin and Regina’s breathing is stuttering next to her ear.

The stuttering becomes an actual sound - low and soft and barely even audible, but still a sound - when she slips one hand lower. Not in, but on; the tips of her fingers focusing the pressure from the weight of her thigh while Regina swears like Mayor Mills never does and slim fingers tighten in her waterlogged hair until her scalp stings.

Emma bites - not hard, but enough - because she knows Regina’s body as well as Regina knows hers, and because pressing her teeth into tanned skin makes it all but impossible for her lips to shape a smile when her actions earn her a sharp jerk and a breathless curse. So faster, now; Regina’s hips setting a pace and Emma’s fingers just refusing to match it completely because the long groan that earns her never fails to make every nerve in her body hum; satisfied, wanting, pleased and frustrated all at once.

A hot mouth latches on to the skin below her ear while the fingers in her hair curl into fists, and she sucks in a hard breath and lets her head drop forward against the tile with a muted thump.

“I am not in the mood to be toyed with,” comes that husky voice; low and rough and tight with arousal while one hand drops to rake stinging lines across the small of her back. “Get on with it.”

Emma's smug little chuckle nets her a bite that is pointed and swift and so exactly in her weak spot that the moan almost makes her throat close up. Damn this woman for being so… everything .

“Heaven forbid that I leave Her Majesty wanting.” Her voice is no more than a growl as her hands fold around the edges of a trim waist and lift, and the fact that it earns her no more than a low, self-satisfied laugh even as Regina’s legs wrap around her waist is enough to make her blood boil.

Damn her. Damn her for being attractive and intelligent and infuriating; damn her for knowing every single button to push; damn her for finding every tiny crack in Emma’s emotional armor with unerring accuracy; damn her for being sweet and sensitive but not with her, and damn Emma for being a fucking glutton for punishment and still wanting more when she knows better.

Every glance into those heavily lidded eyes makes it clearer still that Regina is perfectly content with keeping things exactly as they are; that the two of them doing nothing more than using each other for simple, physical pleasure is all she wants , and that whatever Emma may or not may not want is irrelevant.


Fine, then. Old news.

Somewhere in her chest, it almost feels like a tiny box clicks shut - one among many, really - and the irrational anger fades in favor of a odd sort of calm determination.

Just fucking.

Just don’t.

Regina is apparently growing bored, and sighs. “I really don’t have all night, Miss Sw--”

Emma’s teeth close around her lip again - the top one, this time; just over the tiny scar - and while it still isn’t a hard bite, it’s quick and precise and seems to do the trick.

“Shut.” A whisper of her voice, the glide of her palms over smooth skin, and a long, even look into hooded eyes. “Up.”

It’s a game, and it always has been. She knew that - knows it better with every passing second - and spares a tiredly grateful thought for the fact that at least it’s truly hitting home now and not another month or more down the line. At least at this stage, she knows what steps to take to keep things from spiraling further.

It isn’t Regina’s fault. No one can discourage what they don’t know, and Emma sure as hell isn’t about to go spilling her metaphorical guts at this point because she knows the line between unfortunate and just plain awkward. Damn her, but she likes the woman and would prefer to salvage at least some semblance of amiability out of this; one that isn’t purely for Henry’s sake.

But this? This has to end, because she knows herself well enough to realize that keeping it up is only going to get her into more trouble than she can get herself out of. So she lets their lips brush once - lightly - and finds a chuckle for the immediate, suspicious narrowing of those eyes.

Just fucking. And since it’s ‘just fucking’ for ‘just one more time’, she’s going to make it a damn good one; to maybe make Regina miss this . Even if she could certainly have her pick, and even if it probably is a few flavors of petty.

She doesn't ‘toy’ anymore. Instead, she focuses on every last sensitive spot she has ever found; her mouth moving from the indent behind the curve of Regina’s jaw and down to the hollow of her throat, the tips of her fingers dragging firmly along the curve of her spine, and her hand grabbing one hip hard enough for four fingers to dig into soft skin while her thumb finds the hollow of the bone and presses .

Regina shudders; back warping, head dropping back and one hand curling around the upper edge of the shower wall while the other digs its nails into the back of Emma's neck. Her eyes have slipped shut, her mouth dropped open the tiniest bit and when Emma pushes her harder against the tile, the raw little sound barely even reaches her ear and is still enough to almost make her knees buckle.

That is when she enters her; in a single, deep stroke right to the knuckle, and with not even a heartbeat to spare before she curls her fingers and presses up.


Hardly. She doesn’t say that, though; mostly because Regina is usually very quiet, which presumably means that teasing her about being loud is going to make her go back to being quiet and that is not going to happen. She doesn’t get to hear her like this near enough as it is, and she definitely isn’t going to ruin her own chances at memorizing that throaty tone.

So she listens to every gasped breath and groaned exhale, and uses her mouth not to speak , but instead to taste every patch of wet skin in reach; to lick and suck and bite at old, fading marks of her own making in order to pull them back to the surface while Regina’s fingers twist and pull at her tank top until it must be stretched all to hell and and little use for wearing ever again.

Emma doesn’t mind. They’re much too close for the fabric to be removed - the only things keeping Regina off the floor is the press of their bodies and the strong hold wrapped around her waist by those legs - so if Regina wants to take her frustration out on $5 worth of cotton-blend, she can go right ahead.

Regina isn’t wearing any clothes that Emma’s hands can pull completely out of shape, but that’s okay. Her fingers have other things to focus on, like that spot inside of Regina; the one that makes her head snap back and her fingers tighten against Emma’s skin, or the one at the apex of her thighs where her thumb now settles and circles until Regina mewls against the side of her head and the tendons in those ridiculously attractive shoulders are standing out in vivid relief.

She is not hers, Emma reminds herself firmly, and bites harder. Not now; not ever , and she is just going to have to deal with that.


For now, she focuses; stroking and biting and sucking until Regina’s legs tighten impossibly harder around her waist; until those fingers clench against her skin hard enough to bruise and there’s a shout echoing off the tile walls that she greedily absorbs and commits to memory in any - every - way that she possibly can.

That - this one moment; the one with fingers clawing at her shoulders and hot, tight velvet clenching around her digits while sinfully soft lips tremble by her ear - is hers. Even if nothing else is.

That’s enough. It has to be.

“Are you quite finished?” Regina asks - demands - when they’ve both caught their breath and Emma’s hands are in her own pockets instead of curled around warm, smooth skin no matter how much she wants to steady those shaking legs with a gentle touch, and if Regina’s voice is a little uneven and her eyes not quite as sharp as usual, then neither of them comment.

“..  yeah.” She guesses from the glance that her voice doesn’t sound as unaffected as she hopes. “I’m done.”

The water she wrings from her discarded shirt spatters loudly against the floor of the shower stall, and she listens to that instead of the rush of the water or the heavy push and pull of Regina’s still-labored breathing.

“I’m gonna--” She pulls the soggy fabric over her shoulders and tries not to reveal anything when she looks into those suddenly distrustful eyes. “-- go. Uh.” God, how is it always so hard to lie when faced with that look? “I just… have a headache.”

Regina rolls her eyes, but ducks back under the spray. “Suit yourself, Miss Swan.”

Emma takes the reprieve while her heart pounds against the inside of her ribs; slipping out of the door before letting it click shut behind her, and then slumping back against the surface of it while she tries to remember how to breathe.

Usually, it’s a more even dispersal. She’s glad that Regina accepted her admittedly shitty excuse, though, and spends a few moments just taking in the room that she is now standing in; the cool blues and the small, occasional hints of purple that combine so seamlessly with the drawings in Henry’s hand.

The one room they’ve never ended up in, regardless of how long this has been going on.

Emma presses a hand over a mouth and laughs - maybe a bit hysterically - as quietly as she can.

It’s either that or cry , but she takes a breath - or thirty - and calms herself either in spite of or because of the steady soundtrack of Regina’s ongoing shower.

It’s this or go back to being enemies, and… well, the lesser of two evils.


She does startle, however, when she is roughly half of the way back to her car and a purple mist surrounds her for not even the time that it takes to blink an eye; swift and gentle and scented with just the barest hint of apples, and leaving her toasty warm from the tips of her toes to the top of her head while her clothes dry in less time than it takes for her to take a breath.

Emma pauses in her trek, and casts a glance back over her shoulder to the one, lit window that she can still see.

Uncomfortable as the trip would have been in wet clothes, she would rather have been spared that off-hand but so very characteristic bit of kindness, because knowing that Regina actually thought of it - thought of her?

It’s sweet. But it really doesn’t help.