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we dreamt like martyrs

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Hook is downright spiteful toward Regina, and she’s starting to think she deserves it. He’s pissed off and she’s catching the effects, but his accusations still hit home. He’s right, about all of it.

Regina can’t stop asking herself why Emma saved her, and he isn’t making it any easier.

He tries stealing the dagger from Emma, but she’s unrelenting, refuses to let anyone have power over her ever again.

“She’d give it to you!” he shouts, and she can feel his rage, his heartbreak. “Always you, Regina.”

Regina scoffs; Emma was never hers.

“Get out of my office, pirate.”

“You think this is funny? You’ve got her wrapped around your finger, making her think this is her load to bear when it should have been you, and you think it’s funny?”

Somehow, his words aren’t as devastating as watching Emma vanish, watching the dagger clatter to the ground in her place.

As far as devastating moments are concerned, Regina doesn’t think anything will ever top that.

“You don’t love her,” Regina sneers.

“Oh, I don’t?” He laughs. “And what do you know about love, Your Majesty?”

“I know that I’m in love with her.” Regina frowns. “You’ll ruin her and call it romance. You just love who you want her to be.”

She almost wishes that he’ll stay, that he’ll keep running his mouth so she can throw fireballs his way and watch him burn, burn, burn for thinking Emma could belong to anyone but herself.

But he turns his back and storms out, slamming her door behind him.




He keeps Regina’s secret for a little over a year, and it’s never brought up.

Until it is.

Until Emma is on her way to Regina’s house after what was probably definitely the end of it with Killian. Or, at least she wants it to be. There are feelings that don’t seem to add up with him anymore, not after he had casually mentioned that Regina…god, as if Emma had known. As if it were obvious how Regina felt about her.

“It shouldn’t mean anything to you,” he had said, practically ordered. “This was back when you were the Dark One. You and I are getting married, Swan.”

Emma had considered it for no longer than a second before she looked down at the engagement ring on her finger. She had taken it off, placed it on the table where he could see it.

“No,” she had said.

And then, everything had sort of…tilted. Not necessarily in a way that makes her world feel off balance, but maybe in a way that makes her world feel like it’s finally being turned upright.

But Hook, he…he gave up his ship for her, he was so…persistent, and maybe that’s love? Maybe she even owes him?

Snow’s voice plays in her head.

You owe it to yourself.

Emma grimaces as she speeds through town.

As if she meant that. As if she thinks Emma’s hardships can be solved by going on a date with a man.

She’s not sure she knows how to owe herself something, to do something good for herself. But if she did know how, she doesn’t think her reward would be a man, a boyfriend, a marriage.

Emma fiercely blinks away tears and shouts in frustration as her fist hits her steering wheel, turning onto Regina’s street.

Come on, come on, get it together.

Because all she’s ever wanted is a family from the very beginning. All she’s ever wanted is to be enough. And Hook makes her feel…pressured, maybe? Like all the good he does is simply to win her over. Like he couldn’t care less about the fate of the town or its inhabitants, as long as Emma thinks he’s noble. Which…he’s not, but he manages some version of trying. So, she can try for him, right?

She lets out a hoarse, humorless laugh as she pulls up to the curb in front of 108 Mifflin.

She doesn’t want to try for him. She shouldn’t have to. She doesn’t have to try when she’s having dinner with Regina, Henry, and her parents. She doesn’t have to try when she drops Henry off at Regina’s office after school, makes half-assed jokes to annoy Regina as she does paperwork. She doesn’t have to try when they have movie night, the three of them curled up on a couch. Because that’s her family. Those are the people she’s good enough for, the only people who see her as more than anything she was ever meant to be. The only people who don’t expect something from her.

She’s never been very good at knowing what she needs, but as she’s banging on Regina’s door at something like ten o’clock at night, she doesn’t think it’s an engagement, or even a life with Hook at all.

“You weren’t gonna tell me?” Emma asks, and she means for it to come out louder, angrier, but she’s met with the sight of Regina in her pajamas as she opens the door, and her throat closes just a little. “You…you didn’t think I deserved to know?”

Regina blinks, and Emma continues.

“I…I had to hear it from my fiancé. The man that I am supposed to marry.”

Emma’s been crying; Regina can tell. Her eyes are red and slightly puffy and her cheeks are blotched with color, and Regina knows exactly what this is about.

“Your pirate just couldn’t keep his mouth shut,” Regina sighs.

Emma steps closer.

“Is it true?”

“Oh, what does it matter, Miss Swan?”

“Don’t call me that!” Emma says, finally finding her anger. “It does matter! I have been fighting with Hook all day over things that don’t matter anymore because this makes sense to me!”

“Would you keep your voice down?” Regina hisses. “Henry is sleeping, and I’d rather not air our dirty laundry on my front porch.”

She opens the door wider and Emma exhales before she enters, beelining for the study. Regina follows, shutting the door behind her. Emma falls onto the couch and crosses her arms.

“Would you like-”

“I don’t want a drink,” Emma says stubbornly.

Regina concedes, joining Emma on the sofa.

“Then what do you want?”

And Emma just…starts sobbing. She tosses her head down into her hands and her shoulders shake and it breaks Regina’s heart. (It’s funny how they’re still standing after all these years holding broken pieces of themselves…or maybe it’s not funny at all.)

“Emma,” Regina whispers, placing her hand over Emma’s back. “I’m so sorry.”

“I am so angry at myself,” she cries. “I don’t know what to do.”

“I know,” Regina says softly, because she does. She knows what it’s like to be your own villain, to live a lie, to have no idea who you are and only what other people have told you to be. “I know.”

Emma keeps crying and Regina keeps rubbing small circles over her back through her leather jacket.




“Do you want to talk about it?” Regina asks gently.

Emma stays silent, just shakes her head and keeps staring at the ceiling. She’s calmed down and the tears have finally stopped falling, but Emma hasn’t spoken, won’t speak.

Regina bites her lip nervously, then asks, “would you like me to leave?”

Emma shakes her head again, then reaches out and grabs Regina’s hand.




“Can I say something?”

Regina blinks, Emma’s sudden question startling her from her thoughts.


Emma turns her head and finally looks at Regina, and she wants to look away, but she can’t because Regina’s eyes are so damn deep and dark and she’s thinking about how she could maybe see the world in them. (Regina’s already surrendered herself to Emma’s emerald green eyes, and she accepted this a long time ago.)

“I think I’ve known,” Emma manages, like she’s almost afraid to say it, "the whole time."

There’s a tense silence in the room and Emma shifts uncomfortably and lets out a shaky breath.

“Me, too,” Regina says.

Honestly, Emma’s not sure if that helps or not. Now they both know how they’ve felt the whole time and have to live with the fact that neither of them did anything about it.

She just keeps holding Regina’s hand until her brain shuts up.




Her brain doesn’t shut up.

She’s searching every moment that she’s had with Regina, everything she’s felt in her heart that she simply brushed away. She ignores the pain that comes with knowing, and she briefly thinks that maybe ignorance is bliss.

“When did you feel it so much it was like you couldn’t breathe?” Emma asks.

Regina lets out a soft hum as she reflects on memories of apple cider, sharp words, and custody battles, then memories of magic, meaningful looks, and subtext subtext subtext.

“You tethered your soul to a dagger made of dark magic to save my life, Emma, and that was…significant.”

“It wasn’t just some…I don’t know, gesture,” Emma says. “I don’t want you to think that I just did it because I’m the-” Emma stumbles over her words, gets choked on those two syllables that won’t come out, “just because I’m supposed to.”

Regina squeezes Emma’s hand gently.

“Of course I know that.” Regina’s quiet for a moment and frowns a little before she clears her throat. “Your turn.”

Emma sighs, loud and long, and closes her eyes. She thinks of vengeance and curses and her first year in Storybrooke. She thinks of redemption and sacrifice and everything Regina’s ever made her feel.

She thinks of how she had been a little harder on Henry after Pan’s curse, after Regina had basically placed her heart in Emma’s hands at the town line, after I can give you one. Because she has all the memories and it’s like she was actually there, like she was there for him when she really hadn’t been, she just hadn’t, and it’s her biggest regret. But what Regina had given her was intimate, and almost romantic, and Emma takes that very seriously. Those memories may have been fake, but the feelings were real. That’s when Henry started feeling like hers to parent, and Regina couldn’t have shared anything more special.

“When I had to take Henry to New York,” Emma says. “You gave us good memories and you trusted me with him. That made me feel something.”

“Like you couldn’t breathe?” Regina asks.

“Yeah. Like I couldn’t breathe.”

“It’s a nice feeling,” Regina says softly, distantly, like she’s still thinking of every stitch that’s woven their relationship together.




Emma thinks there’s a chance that it could be…the important thing. The true love thing. She says as much out loud, and Regina squints in thought.

“I…suppose that’s a possibility,” Regina tells her.

“Would that, um,” Emma shifts, “would that…change anything?”

“Of course not,” she promises, leaning in closer to Emma. She moves their hands to her chest, placing Emma’s palm above her heart, feels the thump thump thump under her hand. When Regina speaks, her voice is gentle. “If you feel it, then it’s already real.”

Emma nods, slightly dizzy from having her palm over Regina’s heartbeat, always holding this woman’s heart in her hands, always.

“You’re better at loving people than I am,” Emma admits quietly, removing her hand.

“I’m not asking for anything.”

“I know, but I want to give it to you anyway, which is probably stupid. Like, showing-up-with-a-single-rose-when-your-date-brought-a-bouquet stupid.”

“I always thought a single rose was more romantic,” Regina muses. “Intention is everything, and if yours is true, then why does it matter how many roses you buy me?”

Emma laughs a little at that and goes easier on herself; she won’t argue with Regina on this because she’s not about to start questioning an amazing thing.


Regina smiles softly, so softly, and Emma’s never been more beautiful to her than right now when she’s learning how to love herself, learning that she might be good enough for someone after all.




Emma listens to a clock tick somewhere in Regina’s study, wonders how much time she’s spent here. Wonders if Regina minds.



Emma squints.

“My life has never been mine,” Emma sighs, trying to navigate her emotions. “It’s like I’m just some player in a game.”

Regina has her head resting on the back of the sofa, the soft skin of her neck exposed, and she’s still holding Emma’s hand as she lets out a delicate snort.

“That’s…painfully relatable,” Regina comments.

“But you’ve been a constant.” Emma stares at the way Regina’s eyelashes flutter when she blinks. “It’s like, if you were around, things could make sense. Like…I could make myself be okay.”

“But that wasn’t enough.”

“No, it wasn’t.” Emma frowns, moving closer. “I want you to be more than just…that.”

“And you want your life to be your own,” Regina supplies, finally looking at Emma, and Emma nods.

“I don’t feel lost when you look at me.” Emma shrugs. “That’s probably important.”

“Probably,” Regina agrees, mouth quirking like she’s fighting a smile.

“I ignored it. I pushed it away. I was scared to…be honest. With myself. I can’t go back and fix that.”

Regina looks at her with sympathy.

“You don’t have to be scared,” she reminds her. “There’s nothing to fix.”

“I’m not anymore. Not really, at least.” Emma inhales and shakes her head. “I’m just still trying to sort it out.”

“Honesty is liberating, Emma,” Regina tells her.

“Yeah, maybe.”




Regina watches Emma cook breakfast at midnight from her place at the island bar (because Emma had been hungry, but insisted that she could cook for herself when Regina had offered.) Regina wonders if Emma had eaten today during her arguments with Hook, in between screaming matches. Probably not, Regina thinks. But she supposes that’s the kind thing to do, to worry and fuss over your…best friend? The term feels off somehow, but perhaps it fits.

“Um,” Emma starts, flipping a pancake on one of Regina’s griddles, in Regina’s kitchen. “I’m sorry about Robin.”

Regina’s eyebrows pull together in confusion.


Emma sets the spatula down and turns to face Regina.

“You could have been happy with him,” she explains. “I should have never…I shouldn’t have gone to the underworld. I’m sorry.”

“I think I was happy,” Regina says. “But you don’t have anything to apologize for.”


“Don’t, Emma. It’s okay. He and I were just…not meant to be. It was a mess from the beginning.”

“But you were happy.”

Emma’s voice is small, and Regina thinks they’re right back to Emma loathing herself, right back to guilt and anger.

(Regina is tired of guilt and anger.)

She stands and gently moves around the counter to Emma. Regina frowns and places her hands on Emma’s face, cradles it, thumbs stroking her cheekbones.

She leans in and feels Emma tense, feels her go still, but when Regina kisses her, Emma comes to life. It’s gentle and reassuring, and Regina’s lips are so soft against hers, over and over and over.

“I am more than happy right where I am,” Regina breathes after she pulls away.

Emma’s eyes slowly open.

“Yeah, me too,” she says, meeting Regina’s gaze, then she inhales and steps back. “Um, the pancakes are ready.”

Regina smiles.

They share a plate of pancakes and Emma does the dishes after they’re done. (When Emma kisses Regina again, her lips taste like syrup, and Emma thinks home home home.)




They’re always running. Always. Running from monsters and villains and darkness. Running around each other and their relationship. Running out of time. Always running.

Except now.

Right here, lying on the sofa in Regina’s study, they’ve never been more content to just…be still.

The sun is rising and catching on the windows, sneaking in through the curtains. Emma won’t move, won’t break the moment. She holds Regina a little tighter at the thought of being away from her.

There are fingers grazing her knuckles and Emma’s heart is so full, so heavy, but in the best way, and this is intimacy. Something people actually fear, something Emma used to fear. But there’s nothing scary about the weight of Regina curled into her.

“I want this forever,” Emma says, because she does, and she wants Regina to know.

Regina’s eyes are warm when she looks up at her, always warm, and it reminds Emma of a story about a stable boy, a girl who just wanted freedom, and a secret whispered in misplaced confidence. Regina leans up on an elbow to sort of loom over Emma and runs her thumb across Emma’s bottom lip; she thinks she could kiss her a thousand times and still feel magic.

“In that case, I just might keep you around.”

Emma smiles and Regina replaces her thumb with her lips, and then she’s straddling Emma, her knees pressing into Emma’s sides as a silent plea for her to never leave, to never let this end. (What Regina doesn’t know is that it would take a natural disaster for Emma to leave, and maybe not even then with the way Regina’s tongue is stroking over her own like that.)

Being with Regina is easy, always easy, because Emma can be herself, and it’s like walls have no place in her life anymore, like they’re no longer necessary, and Emma never thought this was in the cards for her.

“Can we talk about the wish realm?” Emma asks, lips brushing against Regina’s.

“What about it?”

“About how you kamikazed your way in with no escape plan just to make me remember who I am.”

Regina raises an eyebrow.

“You make it sound like believing in you is difficult for me.”

“I watched my parents turn to ash,” Emma whispers. “But Henry threw that sword at you, and I just, I remembered, Regina. I remembered you, and home, and that was…I mean, my parents talk about true love like it’s something that transcends worlds, like it’s the only thing that matters when everything else is wrong.”

There’s a palm against her cheek and Regina is leaning down, giving her a lingering kiss that makes Emma see stars, and how all too right it feels.

“I’m trying to talk about my feelings and you are totally derailing my train of thought,” Emma says after she pulls away, running her fingers through Regina’s hair (it’s softer than she even thought was possible).

Regina hums.

“So then talk,” she purrs, leaning down to bury her face in Emma’s neck, pressing her open mouth to the skin there.

Emma shivers.

“I kind of just want to kiss you now,” she tells Regina.

So, Emma kisses her. She kisses her soft and slow, then her mouth falls open under Regina’s and she loses track of time.

(They fall asleep several hundred seconds later, fingers locked together.)




That’s how Henry finds them an hour later.

He’s up getting ready for school and he suspiciously pours himself a bowl of cereal, wondering why his mom isn’t already in the kitchen making breakfast.

And the coffee pot isn’t even on.

He narrows his eyes.

“Mom?” he calls after jogging upstairs.

After he checks her room, he goes back downstairs.

He knocks on the door of the study twice before entering and is met with the sight of his parents straight up spooning. He knows his expression is one of confusion, but he thanks his lucky stars that they’re at least both fully clothed.

But…Emma isn’t sleeping. She glances at him when he peeks his head into the room and…just smiles at him, and Henry grins back because his mom is snoring into his other mom’s hair, and Emma looks happy like she hasn’t in a while.

“Hey, kid,” she whispers, and Regina stirs, wraps her arm tighter around Emma’s waist.

“Hey, love you guys,” he whispers back, because he does, so much.

“We love you.”

At Emma’s hushed response, he gently closes the door. She hears him shuffle around for a while before the front door opens and closes.

Regina shifts at the sound.

“What time is it?” she mumbles.

“Close to eight,” Emma says. “Henry just left for school.”

“How long have you been awake?”

“A few minutes.” Emma grins stupidly at the way Regina has refused to open her eyes to the day yet. “You’re gonna be late for work.”

She hums like she’s not concerned.

“I can’t wait to leave the comfort of my home to deal with Grumpy’s incessant complaints about the lack of bars in Storybrooke.”

“At least you can avoid my parents longer than I can. I work with my dad. He’s going to treat me like I’m fragile because of the Hook thing, and it’s just gonna ruin my mood.”

“Please,” Regina scoffs, “I avoid your mother about as well as a bulldozer. I would compare her to a parasite, but I suppose she means no harm.”

Emma makes a face and doesn’t think she’ll ever truly understand the relationship between her mother and Regina.

“What should we tell them?”

Regina opens her eyes then, and Emma’s completely taken by how beautiful she is.

“I think the right answer would be the truth,” Regina sighs.

“Yeah, I guess.”

“It won’t change this, Emma,” Regina reminds her. “This is whatever we choose.”

Emma smiles a little.

“I know.”

She leans forward, captures Regina’s lips because she can’t not kiss her right now. The sun was making Regina’s face light up, and her eyes, her eyes, everything about her is-

Regina’s teeth tug at Emma’s lower lip, and Emma breathes out, pulls Regina on top of her. Her hands move down to settle on Regina’s hips, guiding her body into a rhythm that she matches.

Regina leans down, buries her face in Emma’s neck and mouths at her skin.

Emma’s phone lets out a sharp ring and a buzz as Regina’s lips find her pulse point.

“Damn it,” she huffs as she fumbles in her pockets, and Regina just chuckles and moves off, which Emma pouts at before she checks her messages. “It’s David.”

“Duty calls,” Regina sighs.

“This sucks,” Emma grumbles as she stands. “I’ll text you.”

“Henry gets out of school early today,” Regina reminds her.

“Got it. I’ll bring you guys lunch.”




“Mom, I have to go,” Emma groans, balancing her phone between her ear and her shoulder.

She’s got two bags of takeout from Granny’s and is currently trying to make it into Town Hall. The third degree from Snow on the other line is not helping. She’s frantic and filled with questions about Hook, about the wedding, about how David told her everything.

(That’s what Emma gets for opening up to her dad at work earlier this morning. She should have known.)

“The wedding is not happening,” Emma hisses into her phone, ignoring the looks she gets as she makes her way to Regina’s office. “Hook and I are done. I will explain everything when I’m ready, and that’s gonna have to be good enough for now.”

She hears Snow sigh, doesn’t wait for a response before stuffing a bag under her arm and using her free hand to hang up.

Then she’s walking into Regina’s office and Regina is sitting behind her desk and their eyes meet, and Emma just sort of stops halfway, remembering last night, remembering this morning.

“Hey,” Emma says, matching Regina’s soft smile with one of her own.


Henry keeps looking back and forth between them before he goes to stand in front of Emma, grabbing the bags from her hands and startling her.

“I think you’re drooling,” he teases.

“Shut up.” She gives him an affectionate shove before throwing an arm around his shoulder. “How was school?”

“Not as interesting as what happened between you two, I’m guessing.”

Emma starts unloading food from the bags.

“Tread carefully, sweetheart,” Regina warns, and Henry holds up his hands in surrender.

“I know, none of my business.” He grins. “So, Emma, how’s Killian?”

“Alright, kid,” Emma sighs, crossing her arms, “I made out with your mom last night.”

“Gross,” Henry says.

Regina frowns, mutters, “you took that very well,” as Emma hands her a salad.

“I can pretend to be a teenager about it, if you want,” he offers.

“Or you could just stop being a smart ass,” Emma says as she hands him a burger wrapped in foil.

“He gets it from you,” Regina says.

Emma takes a bite of her grilled cheese and rolls her eyes.

“Ha ha,” she says flatly.

(When Regina gets salad dressing on the corner of her mouth, Emma reaches out and dabs her mouth with a napkin, careful not to smudge her lipstick. Henry watches them and can’t keep the smile off his face.)




Emma likes the docks. She doesn’t think that will ever change, regardless of Hook. The water is nice to lose your thoughts in, and the breeze is warm tonight. She especially likes the docks when Regina is sitting next to her on the bench.

“Do you miss him?” Regina asks.

Emma looks up at the stars and thinks before she shakes her head, thinks about how a question like that would be considered ill-mannered, but for them it’s just curiosity. There’s not a trace of judgement in Regina’s voice.

“No,” she finally answers, and she’s not quite sure what it says about her, that she doesn’t miss someone who tried so hard to fit his way into her life like a bad puzzle piece for years. “It didn’t feel like it used to. Or maybe it never felt like it was supposed to.”

And it feels good to be honest.

The ride back to Regina’s house is mostly quiet. Emma laces her fingers with Regina’s as she drives to keep from thinking about how Henry stayed with her parents tonight, how she and Regina will be in their own respective houses alone.

It seems like a shame. They have the opportunity to wake up together, which is maybe Emma’s new favorite thing, but she won’t push Regina. She’s very determined not to screw this up.

She pulls up in front of Regina’s place, expecting Regina to get out of the car, expecting them to go their separate ways, but Regina is leaning over the center console to kiss Emma, slow and deep, and Emma is kissing her back. Regina grabs the collar of Emma’s leather jacket and tilts her head, and Emma thinks that maybe this is a nice way to lose your thoughts, too.

Regina breaks the kiss, but doesn’t let go of Emma’s jacket. They’re both breathing in the dark silence of Emma’s car. Emma watches Regina’s tongue dart out and wet her lips, face lit by a dim streetlight.

“Would you like to come inside?” Regina asks.

Emma’s heart leaps and she feels fire burn in her veins as she nods.





It takes Regina two tries to unlock her front door, but once they’re inside, Emma is pushing her against it, making it slam shut. Her lips find Regina’s and Emma grabs her hips, pulls them up into her own. Regina moans into Emma’s mouth and it’s a sound that Emma wants to hear for the rest of her life.

Regina’s hands move from Emma’s hair down to her neck, and Emma breathes sharply as she imagines Regina’s fingers tensed tight against her throat, but her hands slide to Emma’s shoulders. She pushes the jacket off Emma’s arms and the leather lands in a heap on the floor.

One moment Emma is pulling Regina backward, toward the stairs, but in the next, she’s being wrapped in purple magic. They reappear in Regina’s bed and Emma relaxes a little underneath Regina.

Her shirt is being pulled up and off, and her pants are removed with a small wave of Regina’s hand. Then, Regina maneuvers out of her dress, and she’s back on top of Emma, staring down at her. She traces Emma’s lower lip with her thumb, watching how her mouth falls open for her, watching Emma’s eyes graze over her chest, over the lace of her bra.

Regina crushes her lips to Emma’s, licks her way into Emma’s mouth and rolls her hips down into Emma’s.

“Are you using magic?” Emma asks, because she can’t catch her breath, and her heart is beating like it never has before, and magic would be a logical explanation.

She can feel Regina’s breath against her lips.

“No, why?”

Of course.

Of course she’s not.

No, because these feelings are too real, and maybe it just feels like magic because…because this is how it should have felt all along.

It’s just…it’s right, and Emma is confused. She thinks a moment like this with Regina might be the one thing that makes every battle in her life worth fighting, that this is maybe all she’s ever needed.

She hates that this feeling of belonging is still so foreign to her, so unknown. There are so many things she can handle, like breaking curses and catching bad guys, but this is…new. And it shouldn’t be. That’s where the problem lies; she could have had this all along, if she hadn’t been so stupid. If she hadn’t-

Emma feels Regina’s thumb swipe gently under her eye and Emma frowns.

“You’re crying,” Regina whispers.

“Sorry,” she mutters, wiping at her eyes, and Regina grabs one of her hands, looks at her so softly.


Her voice is the furthest thing from sounding like a woman who embraced darkness for decades.

“It’s okay,” Emma says, pulling Regina closer, closer. “It’s okay. Trust me. This is where I want to be.”

She leans up and kisses Regina, flips them so that she’s above her.

Emma doesn’t want to stop kissing her, like, ever. Regina is really good at it, and the way their skin touches and tingles and burns is intoxicating.

But Emma tears herself away, buries her face in Regina’s neck and starts sucking, biting. Hard. Regina presses up, rolling her hips into Emma’s, and damn, they’re still wearing too much, too much, Emma needs to feel her.

She reaches underneath Regina, pulls at her bra clasp, fumbles once, twice, (nerves), until it gives. Emma throws it somewhere behind her and Regina is bringing her back up, kissing her fiercely, and Emma manages to lose her bra, too. (Her vision had gone hazy when Regina was sliding the straps down her arms; whatever, she’ll find it tomorrow.)

And this. This moment is when Emma truly loses the ability to comprehend anything but Regina. Emma shivers and sighs into Regina’s mouth as their chests brush.

Emma moves, presses her lips to Regina’s sternum, hovering over her heartbeat. She gently palms Regina’s breast and moves her mouth to the other, taking a nipple between her lips, between her teeth.

Regina’s breath is coming out in soft moans, and Emma moves down, down, then looks up at Regina as she hooks her thumbs over Regina’s panties.

“Are you alright?” Regina breathes out.

Emma’s brain screams I love you, I love you, over and over again.

She swallows.

“I’m good.”

Regina’s hand moves to cover hers and slide the final piece of fabric down her legs until Emma is pulling them from around her ankles and tossing them away.

Emma leans back down, rests her forehead on Regina’s lower stomach and presses a burning kiss to her skin. She keeps going, obsessed with the way Regina’s fingers are tangled in her hair, the way they flex when Emma sucks lightly at the soft skin of Regina’s inner thighs.

She strokes her tongue over Regina once, then wraps her arms under Regina’s thighs and feels them brush against the side of her face. (Emma thinks crushing under the weight of Regina’s thighs around her head would be the only acceptable way to die.)

When Emma runs her tongue across her clit, Regina lets out a throaty moan. So, Emma does it again. And again. She sucks Regina’s clit into her mouth, makes Regina cry out and grind up. Emma’s grip on her thighs tightens as she keeps them solid, Regina riding her face as she glides her tongue through the slick folds.

It’s taking a lot for Emma to go slow, to not just devour her, because the noises that are spilling from Regina’s lips are criminal.

Then, Regina says Emma’s name, voice thick, breath heavy, and Emma is done for.

She dips her tongue inside Regina, moans when Regina pulls and tugs at her hair. Emma stops holding back, stops going slow, pushes Regina closer and closer with every lick, every suck.

Emma,” Regina groans as she trembles, muscles locking, and Emma can’t stop, won’t stop, not until Regina is shuddering through another orgasm and dragging Emma up to her.

Regina’s teeth catch on Emma’s lip when she kisses her, and Emma grinds against Regina’s thigh, seeking out friction.

“Take these off,” Regina pants, touching the waistband of Emma’s underwear, and Emma can’t move quickly enough.

Regina reaches down, hand sliding over Emma’s hip, then lower, and her fingers flutter over Emma, gentle and patient. Her fingertips stroke Emma’s clit, teasing at her entrance, and Regina looks at Emma, who leans down to press her forehead to Regina’s.

They’re both breathless, and Regina’s fingers slip just inside, pressing further, softly. Emma is moaning and sighing and sinking onto her fingers, rocking her hips on Regina’s hand.

“Harder,” Emma begs, their noses bumping, breaths mingling.

Regina angles her wrist and Emma breathes out a god, yes, and clenches around her fingers with every shallow thrust, every brush of her thumb against Emma’s clit. When Regina curls her fingers, Emma bites her lip and turns her head to muffle her groans in Regina’s neck.

She whispers Regina’s name like a prayer when she comes, riding it out with emotion welling up inside her chest.

Regina withdraws her hand and wraps her arms around Emma, holding her close, holding Emma down like solid foundation, like safety and freedom all at once.




Regina drifts off to sleep after a while, (after quite a while), but Emma can’t seem to close her eyes; she doesn’t feel tired. She feels like she just slept with Regina Mills, and she smiles every time she thinks of it.

Giving into the insomnia for now, she gets out of bed, throwing on Regina’s robe hanging on the back of her door and going downstairs.

She makes a cup of hot cocoa and adds some extra cinnamon. While she’s leaning over the counter taking sips from the mug, she eyes Regina’s house phone.

After a lot of thought, she walks over and picks it up, dials Snow’s cell phone. It’s eleven something o’clock, so if she doesn’t answer, then whatever, but Emma just thinks it would be nice to talk to her mother right now.

“Hello?” Snow answers on the third ring.

“Uh, hey, Mom. It’s me.”

“Emma?” she can practically hear the confusion on Snow’s face, knows her mom is probably double-checking the caller ID. “Is everything okay?”

“Yeah, everything is more than okay,” Emma assures her.

There’s a brief pause on the line.

“Were you calling to talk about anything?” Snow asks tenderly.

“Sort of,” Emma chuckles.

“Would it have something to do with why you’re at Regina’s so late?”

Emma wants to prolong this as much as she possibly can, especially at the knowing tone in Snow’s voice.

“How’s Henry?”

“Asleep,” Snow says. “He went to bed a few minutes ago. He and David have been playing this new video game all evening.”

Emma stares at the countertop, worries the pad of her thumb with her teeth before she sighs.

“I’ve never felt like this. She’s everything to me, Mom, and I don’t know how it happened, but it did, and I’m happy.”

“Oh, Emma,” Snow says warmly.

Emma exhales a little, relaxes.

“You’re not pissed?”

“Of course not.” Snow’s voice is firm. “I wasn’t there for you while you were growing up, and I promised myself that if I ever got that chance, I would never let it go again.”

“But my happiness isn’t what you wanted it to be.”

“I want your happiness to be real. That’s all a mother could ever want for her child.”

Emma shakes her head.

“I just didn’t want to upset you. I didn’t want…”

“I know,” Snow says gently. “You are so brave, Emma.”

Emma breathes in and blinks away the tears stinging her eyes. She glances up and sees Regina making her way downstairs, wearing Emma’s shirt and a pair of underwear.

“Hey, Mom, I’ve got to go,” she says.

“I love you,” Snow says, and Emma says it back before she clicks the phone off.

Regina walks over and stands in front of Emma, smiling fondly.

“Figured you’d be long gone by now,” she teases, and it gets Emma to grin.

“I’m not going anywhere.”

She curls her hands around Regina’s waist, pulls her in and kisses her deeply, backing her into the counter.

Her heart beats and thumps and her brain echoes home, home, home on repeat.