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A Better Idea

Chapter Text

The sky was a rich blackish blue when Emma dropped Ruby off at her grandmother's.

It was not the easiest thing in the world, being her best friend, Ruby's designated driver. The red head could be obnoxious at times and had almost gotten sick on the dash board a few times. Emma also had other uses for her Friday, Saturday and sometimes Tuesday nights (most of them involving a bed and a well rested morning). But never would Emma leave her intoxicated friend at the mercy of strangers, foster care having instilled in her a healthy fear of drunken vulnerability.

Driving home along the long stretch of highway, the street lamps and cloudless sky allowed for Emma to see a woman limping along twenty yards even. Even from a distance, Emma could tell she wasn't a prostitute. It was an area streetwalkers tended to avoid and she wasn't moving like a person who was marketing themselves. Emma guessed she was someone who had been forced to walk home after a lover's spat.

Emma slowed down her vehicle to drive along side the woman. "Hi," She greeted from the rolled down passenger side window, "you look like you've got a ways to walk. Can I give you a ride home?"

The woman stops walking to peer at Emma in surprise. "Alright. Thank you," she replies after a long while.

Her voice is undeniably familiar. Emma scours her brain for where she might know this woman from. Surely, she would remember someone so attractive and from her expression, the other woman seems to have recognized Emma. Emma's mouth hung upon when she realised who it was. In disbelief, she turned her head to look at the other woman for a little longer than was absolutely safe, none the less needing the extra confirmation. Never in her wildest dreams had she expected to be see her English teacher, Miss Mills, limping along the highway at such an hour.

There had always been something in the way Miss Mills held herself and the way syllables came out of her mouth. Hers was the only class, Emma chose to sit the front row of. From that vantage point, Emma could study the different parts of Miss Mills body. She also wondered things about the other woman. How old was she? Where was she from originally? Was there anything she didn't like eating? These were things she never dared ask Miss Mills directly. She was too professional. To talk about oneself seemed beneath her. Miss Mills also had a sarcastic and borderline cruel side, Emma preferred not to be on the receiving end of.

Still, she was not so unapproachable that Emma could not have fabricated a reason to talk to Miss Mills after class or joked with her the way she did with the other teachers but she always stayed away.

And then suddenly, there she was, sitting in the passenger side of Emma's Volkswagen Bug, looking like a woman coming home from a bad date.

"You have a very nice car," she said politely. Emma wondered if she was telling the truth, given it didn't seem to align with the other woman's taste.

"Thank. Hey, ah, where do you live?" Emma ask, failing to sound relaxed.

It turned out she only lived a block or two from Emma's parent's house.

"Wow, it's funny that we only live a block away from each other." Emma rubbed the back of her neck.

"I just moved in," Miss Mills said conversationally, "have you lived there a long time?"

"My parent's have but I haven't." Emma tightened her grip on the steering wheel, cursing herself for not giving her usual response of the amount of time she'd been living there plus something bland about the neighbourhood.

"Oh, how does that work?" Miss Mills inquires, intrigued.

"I was in foster care for a long time," she answers uncomfortably.

"You're Mary Margaret Blanchard's daughter," Miss Mills says in a way suggesting she doesn't understand how the two facts could exist in the same universe. Emma had almost forgotten Miss Mills was also her mother's colleague.

Emma knew what was assumed of the parents of foster children; they were either drug addicts, abusers, convicts or some terrible combination of the three. Afterall, who else would give their precious child to such an uncaring system? "She had me when she was really young," Emma adds quickly.

"I'm sorry that that happened, you being in foster care," Miss Mills says sympathetically.

"It is what it is." If her mother was there with her, she would add something about her not having had a choice. But this was something Emma was unable to believe regardless of how often it was repeated to her. Alone, it wasn't something she liked lying about.

The remainder of the trip was more or less silent. Emma wished she hadn't told Miss Mills, hating that the other woman already seemed to be looking at her differently.

It was only once they reached Miss Mills modest house that she noticed the gash on the other woman's arm. "Wait," Emma said as Miss Mills was undoing her seatbelt, "I have a first aid kit. I can clean it"

"I'm really alright." Miss Mills replied, holding the wounded limb closer to herself.

"No. Please. It's better if someone else cleans it for you. You really don't want it getting infected."

Miss Mills looked at her in concideration before silently presenting Emma with her arm. Carefully, Emma reached across the other woman for the first-aid kit in the glove box, easily slipping on a pair of disposable gloves from inside.

"This is gonna sting a little," she said, pouring some hydrogen peroxide onto a piece of cotton.

"I tripped on my way home," Miss Mills explained, wincing when the cotton touches her skin. The dark read blood contrasted strongly against her soft pale skin. Emma remained fully focused on the work at hand, assuming it would be the first and last time she was allowed to touch Miss Mills in any meaningful way. Cleaning the wound, made for a better view of the cut. There were smaller scrapes on the skin, making it easy for Emma to believe the other woman's story.

"How're your legs? Are they scrapped too?" She asked, spreading a little antiseptic cream over the gash.

"No. Just bruised."

Carefully, Emma covered the wound with a long bandage. The two sat in silence for a moment.

"Thank you for the lift," Miss Mills said in a voice Emma had never heard from her. A gentle voice.

"It really wasn't a problem." Emma smiled a little.

"Well, I suppose, I'll see you on Monday," she said sounding stiffer and more like her usual self.

"Goodbye, Miss Mills"

"Goodbye, dear."

Emma felt a twinge of something at hearing that word. Something she hadn't known she was craving.

Emma had to be careful when she entered her house. Awakening her little brother too many times was a good way of putting an end to her chauffeuring Ruby in the early hours of the day. Thoughts of Miss Mills lingered. She felt a strange gratitude at the other woman's existence. She was beautiful in ways Emma couldn't describe.

For the first time since Emma could remember, she was happy when Monday came around.

Chapter Text

Emma awoke early on Monday morning. In the kitchen she was met with the narrowed eyes of Mary Margaret. Cavalierly, Emma poured herself a bowl of cereal, knowing her mother's attention would dart back to Neal at the first gurgle.

The cereal tasted better than it had other mornings. The wheat was crunchier and the milk fresher. Emma wondered if Miss Mills ate breakfast also. Probably. She might even have been eating hers at that same moment. She pictured Miss Mills sitting across from her, remember the feel of the other woman's soft and pale skin under her fingers. David's voice was received by her ears. From his tone, she knew he was addressing her mother. Mary Margaret gave a quick involuntary laugh.

On time, Emma strolled into her English class with Ruby, who was in the process of telling her about Ruby's grandmother having done something off colour the day before. The details of this encounter went half listened to. More effort was not needed, as Emma was aware Ruby was not in the mood for a conversation partner.

For a moment Emma's eyes met Miss Mills'. The shared secret lingered in the air between the two of them. Ruby continued to talk, oblivious to the exchange going on between teacher and student. A bit of tension left Miss Mills body when she guessed (correctly) that none of the events of Saturday night had reached Ruby's ears.

A few times during class Emma caught Miss Mills looking at her. Whenever noticing this, it was as if a switch were flipped inside her. Her heart would beat faster and steady concentration would seem impossible. Fortunately, the class ended before Emma could fully realise it. Slowly, she slipped her pencil case into her beg, preparing to feel the loss of her favourite teacher's presence for the remainder of the day.

"Oh, Miss Swan," said Miss Mills casually, "could stay for a little while? I'd like to discus something with you."

Ruby grimaced at Emma from where her teacher couldn't see her expression. "I'll meet you by the library," said Ruby sympathetically. A few people craned their heads to give Emma strange expressions, wondering what covert act had landed her a seat at the front of Miss Mills desk.

Miss Mills shut the door after the last person sauntered out.

"How's your arm?" Emma asked, glancing at the other woman's long sleeved blouse. Immediately Emma regretted the question, her concern seeming out of place.

"It's much better. Thank you." Miss Mills smiled.

Emma could tell Miss Mills was searching for something else to say. "I haven't told anyone. About the other night." she added to keep possible eve's droppers from getting the wrong idea.

"That's good. It's not that we've done anything wrong. It's just better if it stays between the two of us. A student driving me home at two in the morning just might seem...strange. Other people might not understand."

"I totally understand. And ah, the whole, ah, foster care thing," Emma rubs the back of her neck, "I'd feel better if that wasn't mentioned to other people. I mean, I don't know why you would. And Ruby and a few other people know but I don't usually advertise it." Emma laughed awkwardly.

"No problems there. There's actually another reason why I asked you to stay after class."

"Oh, yeah?"

"Yeah. I've been meaning to talk to you for a while actually. I feel like you could be a very good writer. I certainly see talent in your work."

"But I need to apply myself more?" Emma shifted a little in her chair.

"Well, that too." Miss Mills smiles at her a second time. "Actually, what I was thinking you could benefit by, is more instruction. Part of it is technical. There are a few mistakes you could correct really easily if you got the chance to look at them with someone. And since we live so close to one another, I was thinking, I could give you some tutoring."

"Oh." Emma furrows her brow, signalling the offer had not been one she had expected.

"Only if that's what you want."

"No, no, no. Tutoring would be great. If it's not a problem." It was hard to picture anything better than spending an hour or two alone with Miss Mills. Too late it occurred to Emma that she was shortening the time it would take for the other woman to tire of her, as was usually the case when Emma found herself in a teacher's good graces.

"Really, it's no problem. I know you have to meet with Ruby and I have a few things I need to do. So, why don't you come to my house at...4:30? Oh, and bring your latest essay. The narrative one."

"Okay. Great," Emma said a little more enthusiastically than she had wanted to.

As promised, Ruby was waiting for her in front of the library. The initial rush of people leaving school has died down such that only a few people walked passed them. "So, what was that all about?" asked Ruby keenly.

"She wants to tutor me," answered Emma cynically.

"No, really?" Ruby laughed a little.

"Really. She sees talent." Emma kept her voice as casual as possible lest she reveal anything embarrassing to her friend.

Ruby's face changed in realisation of Emma's seriousness. "Well," she said trying to sound jovial, "that'll teach you for applying yourself in class. More time with the Evil Queen. Why don't I just shoot you now?"

"Yeah." Emma laughed awkwardly, only feeling a little guilty at her own duplicity.

"So, are you doing it?"

"Yeah. I mean, why not. It couldn't hurt, right?"

"Yeah, I guess.

Four-thirty came slowly. So, slowly Emma found herself knocking on her teacher's door a whole five minutes early. "Come in. Oh, but please take your shoes off."

Inside, most of the furniture was made out of wood. Not the elegant, lacquered kind Emma would have expected. Instead much of it seemed worn and rugged. A large crossbow hung above the fire place. The only thing missing seemed to be an animal carcass.

The only exception was sofa in the living room. It might have been the most stylish Emma had ever seen. It was what she had expected the house to be populated with; tasteful, fashionable and horribly uncomfortable for people with bad posture.

After being declined her offer of something to drink, Miss Mills patted the space beside her on the couch, the same hand moving to sweep a few stray leggo pieces into a plastic container. Sitting beside her Emma noted the two were seeming less and less like student and teacher.

Emma placed her essay on the table. Miss Mills slipped on a pair of reading glasses from the coffee table. She pointed to some of the notes she had made, explaining them to Emma. "Another problem is that you don't really have the best introduction. The structure wouldn't really be a problem if you were trying to get it published but the standardized tests can be very finicky about that sort of thing."

"So how should I change it?"

"Well, the highest scoring ones tend to start by establishing the setting immediately. One of their favourite ones started with 'At my family's cabin in Minnasota, I knew woods so dark that my hands dissapeared before my eyes' or something like that. That sort of thing is what you should be going for.

"Okay." Emma nodded her head in understanding and smiled to herself a little. Coming to the house was seeming more and more to be an invaluable use of time. She also felt each shift the other woman made through the couch and were the two any closer, Emma would be able to smell the other's perfume.

They stayed like that for a while until the front door opened.

"Hello," said Robin Hood jovially, looking mainly at Emma.

Somewhere the back of her mind, had known that he was seeing Miss Mills. Mary Margaret had mentioned it months ago. Emma suspected she had forgotten due to how hard it was sometimes to connect Miss Mills to "Regina" as Mary Margaret called her. One was vile and contemptuous and the other couldn't be more different.

He gave Miss Mills a chaste kiss on the cheek. Emma couldn't help but notice he was still wearing his boots in the house.

"Hello, dear. This is Miss Swan, she's the student I told you, I'd be tutoring."

"Hi" said Emma giving the clock a quick glance. Fortunately, it was late enough for her to excuse herself politely. "Hey. Ah, I should probably be heading home. It's getting pretty close to dinner time."

"You don't need to leave on my account. I'm easy with you staying as long as you like," explained Robin.

"No, no. My mother is expecting me back soon."

Emma knew this statement was not true in the way she was presenting it. Since Neal, her absence wasn't as felt. While technically they had been expecting her, neither of her parents would be particularly upset at her missing a meal with them if given a quick call or text message.

Emma didn't bring up the tutoring at the dinner table. She wasn't quite sure why. She imagined her parents would have been happy for her. Mary Margaret's complaints had always been directed at Miss Mills as a person and never her teaching abilities. Surely, Mary Margaret would have understood that Emma had been given a great opportunity. In spite of this, there was something about the situation that Emma wanted to keep as much to herself as possible. Telling Ruby didn't seem an issue but Emma didn't want her parents to know.

At least not yet.

Chapter Text

A muscular arm slid around Regina's waist. For a second she worried it might move lower. Already, she felt pain between her legs, as if her walls were tightening pre-emptively.

She missed the way things had been before. When her body would still allow for her to enjoy Robin's agile hands along with his other extremities. Fortunately, the arm stayed put, allowing Regina to soak in the special security found when Robin pressed the two of them together.

"Did much happen today, Dear?" Asked Regina.

"No, not really." He had relieved himself twice during the day. His hand was nothing like Regina's warm inside. He missed her body. There was a formal name for her problem Robin had heard somewhere. It was a German sounding word. Regina would seem perfectly relaxed. She would say she wanted him. Then her walls would tighten without her meaning for them to. He imagined it must be what rape felt like. The thought made him feel vile to his core.

At some point, he had gotten the idea into his head that it would be better if she relaxed. That was the problem wasn't it? On Sunday he had inched beyond her comfort level. Instead of relaxing she had gotten angy and he in turn had gotten more frustrated. Was it so wrong of him to want her back, physically?

He had assumed the closing off would be temporary. A wound that over time would scab over. She had said she wanted to get better. She had said she wanted him to enter and then she had gotten so unbearably tight. He wanted so badly to understand her. He adjusted his grip a little. As a couple they would get through this. Robin was sure of it.

It was five minutes to nine and Emma was, unsurprisingly not sitting in her regular seat.

Ruby leant forward over her desk, pocking Neal, who was sitting in the row ahead of her, with the point of her pencil. He flinched at the contact with his neck. "What?" He hissed, swatting away the writing implement.

Ruby moved closer to his ear. "You got tutoring last year, right?"

"Yes," Neal gave a faux whisper.

"From her?" Ruby nodded her head to Miss Mills, whose eyes were fixated on her desk.

"No. You couldn't pay me to do that and I don't think that's something she does, anyway. Why?" Neal said, actually keeping his voice down and carefully watching for signs Miss Mills might be listening.

Ruby moved back into her chair, no longer worried about being heard. "I don't know. I got the idea in my head somehow that you had." She caught sight of her blonde friend sprinting to class.

"Seriously, Rubes," said Neal, "Why do you-" Neal stopped talking when Miss Mills stood from her desk.

Ruby had seen a few of Emma's essays. Reading them she had witnessed no hidden talent. It was strange that Emma had been offered tutoring and that she had accepted it. Because she had never expressed an opinion to the contrary, Ruby had assumed Emma felt the same way about Miss Mills that everyone else did. Weird.

Emma had more courage during her second visit to Miss Mills house. Discretly, she managed to get in a few glances at the other woman's busom. The shape and size of her breasts appealed to the blonde. She wondered how much of that was a good bra. You're not ever gonna find out, she reminded herself. Still, she couldn't help imagining sliding her hands under the brunetes stylish blouse, feeling the warmth and softness. It wouldn't matter what they were really like. What would matter was that they were hers.

A few weeks rolled by more or less uneventfully. Mary Margaret started slipping little mentions of the importance of birthcontroll into the meal time banter, suspecting that Emma had found a boyfriend. Both parents sensed a change in their daugther. One they were happy hadn't come at the expense of her grades. Emma felt guilt at not telling them the truth.

This was overshadowed by the familiarity she felt growing between herself and Miss Mills. On a good day she could even make the other woman laugh. She took a special pride in knowing she was the only member of her class to have done this intentionally.

Clouds were gathering in the sky when Emma arrived at Miss Mills' house for an eighth time. She had been given permission to let herself in a few sessions earlier. As usual the door was unlocked. It slid open easily, unlike the door to Emma's parent's house which creaked and wobbled when opened.

Miss Mills was waiting for her on the living room couch, though seeming a bit different. Thirty minutes into the session, Miss Mills inexplicably burst into tears.

Emma's first instinct was to comfort the distraught woman. Her second instinct was to slink away. Maybe Miss Mills wasn't the sort of person who liked to be comforted, least of all by a student. Overstepping her bounds was a great way of putting an end to their recent closeness.

The more she looked at the other woman, so small and vulnerable, the less she cared about the consequences of preserving those boundaries.

"Miss Mills," she said softly, resting a hand on the other woman's forearm, "Whatever it is, I'm sure it's gonna be okay" The other woman only sobbed harder at this. "Would it help to talk about it? Sometimes I feel better when I talk about things" Even as she was saying them, the words felt stupid. Even stupider was when she unthinkingly wrapped an arm around her teacher's waist.

Emma felt better about the latter decision when Miss Mills leaned into the embrace. "It's just, it's extremely personal." "You don't owe me anything," Emma explained tenderly, "if you want, we can chalk it up to your period or we can just forget about it." Emma stroked her waist. "But if you want to talk about it, I promise I won't think any less of you for whatever it is."

Emma knew her own pain well. There were few people who knew how to deal with it when showed to them. Miss Mills drew in a deep calming breath. Emma could feel the expansion of her diaphragm. It felt wrong that she was still attracted to the other woman in such a state. "That night you picked me up, you told me you were in foster care." Miss Mills looked deeply into Emma's eyes.

"Yeah." Emma said soberly.

"Were you ever-

"Yes," Emma responded quickly.

Miss Mills gaze softened, something like relief shining in her eyes. "Can I tell you something personal?"


"My father died when I was young and my mother got remarried. She liked his money, she liked his connections. Those were the sorts of things she cared about," Miss Mills paused for a second, her voice moving down on octave "he wasn't a good person. He didn't act around me the way a man should around his daughter. He did things..."

Emma's eyes widened.

"I shouldn't have told you that." Miss Mills' said, fearfully retracting herself from the blonde's warm embrace.

"I'm glad you told me," Emma said unthinkingly, "I want to know you. Even the stuff that makes you unhappy."


"Of course. You're beautiful. All of you." Emma realised what she had just said. From the look in Miss Mills eyes, she could tell the other woman had heard her. Awkwardly, the blonde rubbed the back of her neck. "I mean, you know, everyone deserves to be happy." It was too late though. After seven tutoring sessions and an interesting car ride, Emma knew she had finally revealed herself. Fuck!

Chapter Text

"It's true," said Regina cautiously, "everyone does deserve to be happy."

"Yeah." Emma contorted her face into a strange smile. Silently she cursed herself. It was too late to take be what she had said and too early to go home. Her eyes travelled down to her assignment, which lay exposed on the coffee table. Emma swallowed. "You know, I guess we should probably get back to it, if you're feeling better," she said joylessly, pressing her number two pencil pressed a little to firmly into the paper.

Regina said nothing for a whole moment. Then her hand came to rest over the Emma's. The contact sent mini electric shocks up the girl's arm. "Emma," she spoke so softly that she would have been unheard were they more than five feet apart, "you think I'm beautiful?" Emma nodded stiffly, "I'm glad. I think you're beautiful." She pressed the back of Emma's hand to her cheek. Emma stared for a moment into the rich brown orbs, darkened further by arousal.

"A lot's been going on," Emma said, part of her knowing it was already too late, "maybe, you're not thinking right."

"Maybe, I don't care if I'm thinking right." With those words, evaporated the last modicum of Emma's self-control.

She pushed forward, lunging at the other woman like a crazed hyena, transferring the faded flavour of apples into her ambitious mouth. Clumsy hands fiddled awkwardly and surprisingly successfully to get Regina’s blouse off. The woman's bra clasp fought back at Emma's attempts to Regina's assets from their lacy prison, leading defter fingers to intervene

Even in her wildest dreams Emma would not have predicted the way Regina moaned when Emma's hands finally caressed her uncovered breasts.

Regina reciprocated the treatment with more care, nimbly working her way through her companion's layers of clothing, intermittently gifting Emma with short kisses to her bare skin.

Emma threw her head back, making an otherwise embarrassing sound that was somewhere between groaning and whimpering. In a brief moment of regained self-control, Emma reached for Regina's zipper. A soft hand intercepted her.

"You have to slow down," explained Regina. Emma deflated, feeling like a starving person at a buffet who had tried to gobble everything into their mouth at once. "It's not that I don't like it," Regina reassured, "I tighten up. If you're not gentle it can get painful. It just means you need to slow down."

Emma took a calming breath. Regina slid open her zipper then took Emma's hand in hers. "You've done this before?"

"Yeah." Emma nodded in partial truth; her extensive practice having been without the benefit of a partner.

"Gentle." Regina reiterated.

Emma kissed the back of the hand clasping hers. "I promise."

She tugged at Regina's underwear, sliding it down her smooth knees. The other woman placed her legs on either side of Emma's waist. Fear pooled in her chest at the sight of the other woman's smooth lower lips.

Her porn saturated mind still considered kissing and petting to be relatively innocent activities which could later be apologized for with little reproductions. What she was now on the cusp of doing, Emma knew, she would never get the chance to take back.

A soft hand caressed her cheek. "I trust you."

Emma stared into the other woman's dilated pupils with the unwarranted bravery of a cliff diver.

Regina flinched a little when Emma did touch her. She had not been lying about the tightness. Acquainting herself with the other woman's similar but still foreign anatomy was made easier by it's sleekness. "You're so wet," she said with a mix of joy and astonishment.

"Yeah." Regina moaned, writhing her head back. "Right there." She said breathily.

"Here." Emma drew circles in the same area.

"Yes. Right there." Her hips gyrated. "Harder." By which she really meant faster. Emma's other hand went to squeeze the other woman's succulent chest. Even from, the outside Emma could feel inner walls contracting. "Ah, ah, Emma." Emma had never felt so much pleasure at hearing the sound of her own name.

Regina let out one last, unbearably loud moan.

A moment later she was resting against Emma, letting out a deep contented sigh when loose arms encircled her waist.

Emma smiled to herself at the other woman's surprising cuddliness. "Did that make you happy?" She asked smuggly.

Regina replied with a sly smile.

Emma rubbed languid circles into the woman's smooth back, feeling the expanding and shrinking of her companions diaphragm along with her throbbing heartbeat. I

Without meaning to, Emma caught sight of the living room clock. "Fuck!" She muttered to herself.

"What is it?" Asked Regina, pulling away to gage Emma's expression.

"Dinner started five minutes ago." Emma gently retracted herself then reached into her pocket. The dead battery explained why the two hadn't been interrupted.

All her clothing was back on in under a minute. What was she forgetting? Makeup. Emma darted into the bathroom.

"Where do you keep your makeup remover?," she shouted to the other room. No response. "Is there any makeup remover?"

"Third shelf in the cabinet," came the distracted reply.

Regina put her head in her hands.

What have you done?

Part of her still didn't fully grasp what had happened. It almost didn't seem possible that she, Regina Mills, upstanding citizen that she was, could have been capable of such a blunder. Now she could loose everything; her license, her reputation, her relationships. The people close to her would, Robin, Rolland, Kathryn would find themselves tarnished by association.

What have you done?

She had lured a vulnerable student, who a childhood in foster care had robbed of a proper sense of boundaries, back to her house to be taken advantage of.

Regina felt a slight relief when heavy footsteps darted out the front door. Robin would be home in twenty minutes.

In what could only be described as a perverted apology, Regina had mechanical intercourse with him.

For reasons that were beyond her understanding, nothing tightened unnecessarily.

In place of pain, she felt numbness.

Chapter Text

"Emma," said Mary Margaret when her daughter came waltzing through their front door at 6:14, a near quarter hour after the established time for dinner, "what were you doing?"

Emma's face betrayed a rare semblance of guilt then turned neural. "I was at Ruby's."

"Are you sure?" Interjected David calmly, "Your car's been in the driveway all afternoon." Emma stared at them phlegmatically, as she often did in moments of sheer panic. "Sit down." David gestured to the dinner table. "The food's getting cold." Emma did as she was told.

"We've been thinking," said Mary Margaret in what she hoped was a firm and understanding tone, "and we understand you having a boyfriend. I mean, your father and I were together at your age." David blushed. 'But we need to know where you are. There are a lot of people in this town who are very unhappy with your father. We worry when you're not home by dinner and you haven't called."

Emma relaxed. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have lost track of the time."

David and Mary Margaret both blinked. Could it be that their usually headstrong daughter had finally softened? Had she really matured so much since the birth of their second child?

Internally, Emma thanked whatever deity had been responsible for her good fortune, although she retained the paranoia of an unfaithful husband who worries the slightest involuntary twitch will reveal his indiscretions to his deceived wife.

She regretted not having washed her hand at Regina's, fearing her parents would notice the musky smell of arousal. Although this fear didn't stop her from using the family silverware to dish herself a hearty helping of mashed potatoes.

David reached across the table to pass her the gravy. At the sight of his defined arm, Emma remembered Robin.

Not once had she thought of him that entire afternoon.

At some point during her visits to the Mills-Hood household, Emma had gotten the idea the couple were unhappy together. Sitting at dinner with her family it occured to Emma that her perception might not have much grounding in reality. Dysfunctionalty within their relationship, had not even been asserted by Mary Magaret who had a habit of treating all romours about Regina as fact.

Before then it had seemed inconceivable for Regina to ever be satisfied with anyone other than Emma. Another strange idea she had gotten into her head that Regina was only a few tender kisses away from leaving Robin. As the meal went on, these assumptions were seeming less and less plausible.

Looking beyond all the complexities and seeming contradictions of the older woman's personality, at her core Regina Mills was a practical person. What practical person would leave their mature partner of several years, with whom they lived and who acted as the second part of their duel income for a high school student without even so much as a part time job?

"So," started Mary Margaret conversationally, "Feel like sharing anything about this new boyfriend?"

Although the statement was phrased as a question, Emma knew there was actually no way of not answering it. "A good person but," she sighed, "I don't think we're gonna be together much longer."

The next morning, Emma told her parents she was feeling unwell, which was partially true. David and Mary Margaret exchanged worried glances but chose to say nothing.

Thoughts of Regina kept coming back to Emma. Although, the intensity had faded, Emma could still get a strong whiff of the other woman's arousal, if she held her fingers to her face. She tried memorising the aroma, knowing her mind was the only storage others wouldn't access to.

On the other side of down, Regina sat anxiously at her desk. At five minutes past the hour, she knew Emma wouldn't be coming in.

After Robin had drifted off to sleep, the night before, Regina had had time to think about the situation with Emma. She imagined all sorts of scenarios involving the two of them; sneaking off to supply rooms, escaping on two week vacations together. It didn't matter how the scenarios started the ending was always the same: discovery, public shaming, loss of relationships, expulsion and possibly even jail time.

Initially, she felt relief at having another day of not dealing with the problem. Then she felt dread.

It had been a mistake letting Emma leave without coming to an arrangement with her. Now, there was no telling whom she might have told. What better time to reveal her genetic predisposition for gossiping. Regina also remembered that Emma was still a teenager. Years of working in the field had left her privy to the destructive actions of those with undeveloped prefrontal cortexes.

The waiting was to much.

Emma's cell rang at 3:30. Unknown Caller. She sighed, making a note to block the unfamiliar telemarketer's number after they successfully wasted thirty seconds of her time.

"Hello," she greeted unenthusiastically.

"Hello. Emma?"

"Oh, hi." Emma sat up a little straighter at her recognition of the voice on the other end. Her brow forrowed, "How did you get this number?" She asked lightly. Definitely not from Ruby.

"I have all my students' numbers on that piece of paper I got you to fill out the first day."

"Oh right." Emma wondered at what point she had forgotten Regina was also her teacher.

"Are you alone?" Regina said quietly.

"I am. Well, I'm alone in my room. My mom's in the house but she can barely hear me even from outside my door and she won't hear you 'cause I have earbuds in. Is there anyone with you?"

"No. I'm in my car. I wanted to talk to you today but you weren't at school."

"Yeah. A cold," Emma laughed nervously.

"Listen," Regina started remorsefully, "I wanted you to know, I had a wonderful time tutoring you but," she paused for a moment, "I don't think it's something that can continue."

Emma felt daggers in her chest. It didn't seem possible for something so predictable to still be so painful. "Alright," she answered stoically.

"I really did have a wonderful time."

"Is there anything else?"

"Yes. Um. It's better it...stays between the two of us."

"Okay. Anything else?"


With that, the line was severed.

Chapter Text

Regina was on edge for weeks after the indiscretion. There seemed an infinite number of ways for someone to discover. Perhaps a dog walking neighbour had glanced through a window at a compromising moment or it was possible that an incriminating piece of Emma's wardrobe had unknowingly slipped into the couch before being found by Robin, (although Regina had cleaned every nook of the room several times for that very reason.)

Fourtunately there was no longer any risk of sexual chemistry revealing the student-teacher pair. Emma barely looked at Regina since the phone call. Her speaking to the other woman was brief and always out of necessity. The longing had all faded from the girl's eyes. To catch a smile, Regina had to observe Emma interacting with someone else.

The only place Regina could be with the prior Emma was in her mind. And what fantasies she invented for the two of them.

She was in the processes of one such fantasy when she heard the high voice of Tinker Bell, who was usually easy enough to not pay much attention to from the back of the class, say, "did you see that shirt she's wearing today? My god, what a dyke!" A few people snickered with her.

Tinker having somehow discovered seemed ludicrous. There was no reason to think Emma had told her and the girl hardly had the intellect to discover such a thing on her own. Yet Regina had heard the words as clearly as she'd seen the color of the red pen she'd been using only a minute earlier to mark a student's paper. Regina's heart raced. A poor response was out of the question.

"Miss Bell," she said successfully keeping the terror she felt from seeping into her voice. "Is there something you would like to share with the rest of the class?"

Tinker froze, half the class now keenly turned towards her. "No. We were just discussing our novel," Tinker Bell replied with a forced confidence.

"That wasn't what I heard you talking about."

"Then we started talking about Fa Mulan's new shirt." Tinker added, looking to a few of her friends, silently pleading for them to rescue her.

The tension left Regina's body. Of course, Miss Bell doesn't know. With the whole class watching the exchange, Regina knew it was time to pivot. "So I take it Miss Mulan is making your fashion decisions now?"

"No, Miss Mills," the girl replied, sounding puzzled.

"Then, I suppose it's no concern of yours how she dresses." A wave of low laughter rippled through the class, many of it from people who had been on the receiving end of Tinker's remarks.

"Yes, Miss Mills"

Hypocrite, thought Emma, who had unwillingly heard most of the conversation by virtue of the group not being particularly conscious of volume. She was disgusted at how easily the female members disregard their own quasi-homosexual encounters. Tinker herself had a special skill for an all-female version of spin the bottle.

Never would they have dreamed of attaching the word "dyke" to themselves. It's 'cause they hid it. People like Fa, who don't hide or can't hide, I guess, they're the ones that get called dykes.

Emma was overcome by the urge to see Fa Mulan again. She decided to approach her locker after class.

"Fa, hey," said Emma, walking up to the other girl's locker, "how's it going?"

She was a certain kind of attractive. School athletics had left her strong and lean. Her appearance was not one Emma was naturally drawn to. Fa lacked the kind of shapely elegance encapsulated perfectly in the likes of Regina Mills. Still, Emma imagined her features could be gotten used to.

"Good," said the other girl as she got out her history text book. "What about you?"

"I'm good, too. Listen, I was wondering if you might wan'na go out tonight? We could drive somewhere in the bug."

"What? Like a date?" she smiled in jest.

"Yeah," said Emma, confidently.

Realising Emma's sincerity, Fa stared at her a moment, not accustomed to being asked on a romantic outings by people she was atracted to. "Alright," she said cautiously.

The positive answer surprised Emma. To the best of her knowledge Fa had not departed from the closet. Then again, neither had Emma.

"Perfect. How's 5:30?"

Fa's parents watched their daughter's 5:35 departure vigilantly. Neither of the elder Mulan's harboured much trust for Emma Swan, although even they didn't quite no what piece of incriminting evidence they were waiting for the girl to reveal.

Fa climbed into the passenger side of the bug. "Nice car," she said nervously.

Emma smiled. Fa was the only person she could remember giving a false opinion about the bug. Ruby's most positive comment had been that it was clearly "not junk", which was true, although the junkyard would very likely be its next home.

Fa relaxed more as the evening went on. Emma was able to get acquainted with the other girl's sense of humor, which had a pleasant touch of lewdness Emma would have never imagined during their time in social studies together.

"But seriously," said Fa as Emma was nearing the end of a fit of laughter, "why did you ask me out tonight?"

"I like you," Emma explained, moving the car into a parking space, "I like that you don't hide who you are," she spoke softly, leaning closer, "I'm tired of the people who do that." In the other girl's eyes, she saw permission to move closer.

A second later the two were kissing.

Lack of practice and natural talent kept Fa from being a skilled kisser. The experience was still one which Emma enjoyed. She willed herself not to think about how much more enjoyment would have been felt, had it been Regina she was kissing.

Emma came home around ten o'clock without having done much more than kissing. Unlike with Regina, she hadn't felt the searing urge to push things any further.

She took a deep breath. Her and Fa had both agreed on being as open about their relationship as possible. Now, it was time to fulfill her half the bargain.

David and Mary Margaret were still awake when she entered the house. In the living room where they were sitting, there was an air of quaintness. They could have almost been mistaken for a charming elderly married couple.

"Hi, honey," said David cordially, "how was your date?"

"That's actually what I wanna talk to you guys."

"Well," said her father, placing his book on a nearby table, "you can always tell us anything," he turned a keen eye to a very worried looking Mary Margaret.

Emma swallowed, "Well there is something and It's not bad or it doesn't need to be bad. It's kinda hard to say it...because well... It's just I'm..." She hated the word with a passion. There was a certain kind of unpleasantness she had always associated with it. The feeling was so strong, she almost wanted to lie and say she was bisexual. Both parents were bracing themselves. She took a deep breath "I'm-I'm a lesbian." Emma looked away from them.

Both parent's mouths fell agape then David started laughing. "Honey, you have no idea how happy we are to hear that. You can't imagine the things we were thinking you were gonna tell us." He patted the space between him and his wife, "Come on." Emma did as she was offered. "You know we don't care about that stuff."

"I know." Emma's shoulders slumped. Her anxiety at telling revealing this part of herself to them, was seeming sillier and sillier.

"It's true," Mary Margaret supported "you could be dating," she searched her mind for an outrageous candidate, "Regina Mills and we'd still love you."

At this, Emma burst into uncontrolled laughter.

Chapter Text

Emma's phone gave a small buzz. Looking at the screen, she chided herself for having forgotten to inform Regina of her appointment, at the beginning of class. Like most things, the older woman was particular about being informed promptly about reasons for leaving class.

A few people whispered amongst themselves as Emma headed toward the front of class. She attributed the recent fascination with her openness about her relationship with Fa. Unlike her time in foster care, no one spoke at a volume she might have heard. It helped that there was a rumour circulating around the school that offended LGBTQ students could have politically incorrect schoolmates sent to fascistic, weekend sensitivity training.

She approached the teacher's desk. From her new seat at the back of the class, Emma had not noticed the new differences to Regina's appearance; her hair had more of a shine to it, her skin appeared smoother, her clothing seemed to accentuate the naturally attractive parts of her body more.

Had she offered Emma the chance to touch her again, Emma knew she would have taken it without a second thought. The blonde felt a twinge of resentment at the power the other woman still had over her.

Regina looked up from the paper she was marking.

"Ah, Miss Mills," Emma rubbed the back of her neck, "I forgot to mention that I have a doctor's appointment soon. So, I'm gonna have ta leave class a fifteen minutes early."

Regina set her pen down. "You're sure?" she asked, her voice ripe with antagonistic undertones, "you're not leaving early to meet up with Miss Mulan? Fitting in some extra curricular activities?"

Emma clenched her fist, clutching at her diminishing composure. "No, I'm not."

"So this isn't some clever excuse to get a good licking in during class hours?" There were a few gasps from the classroom. People turned to the person sitting next to them to make sure their ears were not deceiving them.

"Well, if you wanna check, you can always call my parents," growled Emma.

Regina's expression morphed back into that of her pattented indifferece. "I might just do that." She looked back to her desk. "You're free to go." She waved Emma away with a dismissive hand gesture.

The blonde lingered a moment. So many things she would have said, if not for the academic control Regina still held over Emma's life, regardless of their brief but memorable stint as lovers.

Defeated, Emma slinked to her appointment.

Aurora stared at Mulan from the row behind her.

People had been speculating about the other girl's sexuality for years. Aurora had written most of it off as unkind gossip. "Just because she dresses like a tomboy doesn't make her a lesbian," Aurora would defend. Not that her words mattered. None of her schoolmates had seemed capable of comprehending the intricacies of a complex personality like Mulan. Aurora herself, at times, had difficulty understanding; why Mulan would randomly withdraw from conversations; why, for no clear reason, she had started resenting Philip and more recently; why Mulan had allowed her to be mistaken about her sexuality for so long.

There was nothing Aurora did not feel safe sharing with Mulan. Pieces of information even to personal for Philip, had graced her friend's ears. Was it a matter of her doubting Aurora's unconditional friendship? Had Mulan worried her friend would not accept her?

Aurora stalked behind Mulan after class, playfully grabbing hold of the other girl's arm as they walk. Usually, the gesture went over well. Today, Mulan stiffened. "History, history, history," Aurora let out an exaggerated yawn, leaning into the other girl "puts me right to sleep."

"Unlike everything else," japed Mulan.

Aurora swatted at her playfully. "Anyway, I was thinking we could have a movie night. We haven't had one in a long time."

"Sounds like a good idea." Aurora smiled. Her friend's way of accepting invitations had always been endearing to her.

"Emma can come too," she continued, "If she's gonna be your girlfriend, I want to get to know her."

"Really?" Mulan seemed touched by the offer.

"Of course," Aurora squeezed her friend's arm, "I'd want you to do the same for me if I ever wound up with anyone who wasn't Philip. Not that I want anyone except Philip."

At this, Mulan stiffened again. She truly was difficult to understand.

Driving home hours later, Regina was still shocked at her own words. Never in her years of teaching had she committed such a breach in professionalism. It almost didn't seem possible for her to have been so venomous about something so impersonal.

Emma was an attractive young woman, whom she had released of any potential obligations the second she ended their relationship. It was logical that Emma would quickly find someone who was available. And yet, the knowledge of this had led Regina to behave like a petulant adolescent. She despised her lack of control.

Robin's car was in the driveway when she arrived at the house. Work must have ended early. Regina was glad. With him near, she was sure she would spend less time lamenting her mistakes.

Inside, Robin was sitting on the kitchen counter (a habit she had still had not fully adjusted to) with the landline resting beside him. "Hello, dear," she said warmly, leaning forward to peck his cheek.

"Hey, Gina. Took you a long time to get home."

"Not that long. I stopped to get gas." It was true that Regina had lingered at the pump.

"The principle of the school called."

Please be joking. "Oh? And what did he say?"

"He wants to meet with you tomorrow. He said there was a complaint."

Regina's shoulders slumped. Tonight, there would be no escaping the day's mistakes. From his face, she knew they would be discussing it. "Did he say anything else?" Asked Regina, partially out of curiosity, partially to buy time.

Robin softened his voice sympathetically. "Apparently, some student had gotten the idea you had said something homophobic."

"Homophobic!" Regina retorted back, incredulously. Her insides twisted at the thought of their being another disastrous incident. One which, she had not even had the advantage of being aware of.

"Yeah, there was some weird story about you asking Emma Swan something demeaning about her sex life." He laughed. "I can't believe the stuff these kids make up."

Thinking over what she had said, Regina realised that to students, 'homophobe' was actually a much more logical conclusion to draw than 'jealous ex-lover'. A mischaracterization which would be challenging to explain. "Robin," she took a calming breath, "I did say something inappropriate to Emma Swan about her sex life. I don't know what came over me. I just-

"You what?" Spat Robin, running his fingers through his jelled hair. "Jesus Christ, Regina."

"I know that it was a mistake. I'm going to-

"Is that why you stopped the tutoring so abruptly? Was it that her sexuality was a problem for you?"

"No! Robin, you've known me for how many years?"

"I don't know, Regina," he paced excitedly. Had she not felt so guilty about the indescretion, the brunette would have been getting annoyed it his lack of composure. "I know what your mother thinks about it." Regina stiffened. Even with all the distance she had put between them, Cora Mills had still somehow managed to weezle her way into the discussion. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry," Robin apologized, "I shouldn't have said that. You're nothing like her."

"No, I'm not," Regina teetered on the brink of tears. Something was terribly wrong with her. Her emotions seemed too extreme and were fluctuating too quickly for her to have a proper harness of them. It had been like that for the last few days. Hopefully, it would stop soon.

"Hey, hey," Robin consoled, having almost completely forgotten his indignation at the sound of her so distressed. He rubbed a soothing hand along her shoulders. "I'm sorry, you don't need me freaking out like this. You're a good teacher, Regina. I'm sure there was a good reason for what happened."

At this, she did burst into tears.

Chapter Text

It was early evening when Emma and Fa arrived at Aurora's house. The interior was mostly what Emma had expected.

A summer job at the Storybrook country club had left Emma intimately acquainted with the talk surrounding her host's family. One side had acquired most of their money within the last few generations, either through cars or real estate, Emma wasn't sure. It was said that the other side was descended from French or German royalty (or possibly both). This divide was echoed in the furnishings. Some pieces came from chick designers, the likes of Corbusier, Eames and Risom while the rest was ancient family heirlooms. Not that this distinction mattered much, as Emma made a mental note, to touch as little as possible, regardless of age.

Aurora's father was a kindly older gentleman. He took time to introduce himself to Emma. Clearly, having forgotten the several times he had already met Emma during her time at the country club. Aurora had mentioned she had a baby brother. Did she like having a baby brother? She did. How was the rest of her family? They were well. He even imparted a charming story about his own brother as a baby before vanishing into his study for the rest of the evening.

During her time at Storybrook High School, Emma had never gotten personally well acquainted with Aurora herself. Emma never doubted her kindness. She did, however, at times, find herself doubting the other girl's intelligence. Aurora seemed the only person in the school who had not noticed Fa's keen fixation on her. Even with Emma present, her new girlfriend had a hard time concealing her lustful glances in Aurora's direction.

A sizeable portion of their first date had been spent exploring their differing opinions on horror movies. Fa had described the genre as 'full of predictable schlock'. And yet, there they were, absorbing the critical merits of Chucky VI: Puppet Master's Revenge, while Aurora clutched at Fa's hand and occasionally buried her face in the other girl's side.

Emma knew it was something that should have inspired more of a reaction in her. If nothing else, Fa's split interest would prove damaging to the relationship later on. Instead she felt strange sympathy, as her girlfriend stoically listened to Aurora gush over her boyfriend and the seering sexual frustration the physical contact undoubtedly aroused in the girl. Emma felt the years of pining and false hope. The blonde was reminded of all the times Emma had been certain that Regina would call, to tell her she had made a terrible mistake and would Emma please forgive her, only to glance at her phone screen and find nothing from the other woman. Twenty minutes later, there would still be nothing.

That night, Emma didn't reapeat any of her observations to either of the other girls. She was certain it would oblige Fa or herself to put an end to the relationship. In spite of their issues, Fa was a good companion and Emme certainly didn't mind the visceral reaction the relationship had inspired in Regina.

Regina sat in the principal's office like a repentant child, almost as if she were making up for her publically obediant childhood and adolescence.

"This isn't good, Regina," said the pricipal, shaking his head to draw out the point.

"I don't know what came over me. I've had LGBT students before. Never has anything like this happened."

"This is not good," he repeated.

She held the bridge of her nose. "I'm not a homophobe," she said pleadingly.

He sighed. "Personally, I don't think you are." He reached forward, sedatedly sipping from a class of water. "Like you said, you've had students like that in your classes before. There's never been an incident. No one's ever complained. But," he set the glass of water down, "it's not like it was when we went to school. Well, I shouldn't say that. You're quite a bit younger than I am." He smiled for her benfit. "Either way, things have changed. People are more sensetive about this sort of thing now. Other schools have been getting into a lot of trouble. Of course, it doesn't help that this was Mary Margaret's daughter this happened with."

Regina blinked. It was strange thinking of Emma as Mary Margaret's daughter. "I don't know what came over me." Liar.

"Well," he shifted in his chair, "I've met Emma. She's a reasonable girl. She also wasn't the one who made the complaint. A lot depends on how she takes this. It'll be important that you apologize to her.

Regina nodded. "I will."

"And Regina, is there anything going on? Something in your home life?"

Regina bristled. "Is that why you called Robin? To ask him how I was doing?" Regina spoke with complete control over her voice.

"You didn't pick up your cellphone, so, we called your home phone. When Robin picked up, yes, we did ask him if anything had happened."

"Well, everything is fine. Like I said, I really haven't the faintest idea of what was going through my mind at the time."

"Alright then. Oh, and one last thing." Regina braced herself. "While I'd like to end things here, there needs to be something done that looks like we've handled the problem. You're going to be taking a workshop in sensitivity training, this weekend. Paid for by the school."

"I can't believe that woman," said Ruby while they were still a safe enough distance from the classroom, "What if a guy had said those things? He'd have been kicked out of the school."

"Maybe something was going on with her," defended Emma absently.

"That doesn't matter. I have plenty of bad days. I'd never in a million years ask you a thing like that to you and I'm your best friend."

"I just wanna move on. She probably regrets saying it."

"She probably regrets the consequences."

"What consequences?" Asked Emma, genuinely worried for Regina.

"Emma! She was acting like a total homophobe. How can you be so okay with that?"

Homophobe? "I never said I was okay with it." They rounded the corner. The classroom was only two doors away. "Let's talk more after class."

Emma took her quiz from the pile of graded pieces of paper on one of the desk. 93%, hurray! She turned the paper around for good measure, to see where the mistakes were. In the upper right hand corner of the page, in fine pencil (not Regina's writing implement of choice) stood in eloquent handwriting, Meet me after class. Emma's hart raced. It seemed like eons since she had gotten the opportunity to speak with Regina privately.

Emma was slow to pack up her things at the end of class. She turned to Ruby. "I'll be out in a bit." The red head gave her look which questioned her friend's judgement but didn't challenge the notion further The rest of the class scuttled from the room without noticing Emma had lingered behind. Discretely, Regina went to close the door. Emma took her place at the front of the desk. Regina scanned the room, as if to check no one was hiding in any corners then her gaze shifted to Emma, none of her usual self-assurance present in her face.

"I asked you here to apologize. I shouldn't have said those things to you, yesterday. It was inappropriate of me."

Emma stared at her a moment to gage her sincerity. "Alright. Thank you," she replied distantly.

A moment passed where neither said anything. Regina's expression softened. "How have you been?"

Emma swooned at Regina's tone of voice. It was an effort to keep the boundaries up between them. "Good," she answered stiffly.

Regina raised an eyebrow. "Good?" She asked jovially. Emma felt the urge to leave. She'll draw you in and spit you out. That's what she does.

"What do you want?" Asked Emma a bit too loudly, still glued to her seat, "For me to be paralyzed? You can have your little family and I get to sit in the corner and cry?"

Regina reverted back to the exposed mass she had been at the beginning of the conversation. "I don't know what came-

"Bullshit!" Emma lost control of her volume. Something broke within Regina. The blonde felt awful for having done that to the usually feriocious Regina Mills but refused to let this remorse show, harking back to all the pain the other woman had inflicted upon her. "Look," she stood from her chair. "thanks for the apology, but I have to-

Regina grabbed her arm. "You're right." The words shocked Emma. "It was unreasonable of me to think - I don't know what I thought. Please sit down.

"What do you want from me, Regina?" Emma reiterated, all the bite gone from her voice.

"I don't know," Regina answered sincerely, "Please, sit down," she pleaded.

Emma did as she was told like a person following a hypnotic suggestion. There was a moment of silence between them. "I thought it would be easier." Emma looked down. "You know," she smiled to herself, "Getting you outta my head."

Regina was still holding Emma's arm. She rubbed the area with her thumb. "I do know."

"What are we gonna do?" Asked Emma. She didn't push when the other woman gave no reply. Part of the blonde had not expected her to. Emma felt emboldened to make a decision. She slid her arm back to take hold of Regina's hand. "I wanna see you again. Really, see you again. It can be just once. If that's all you want." Regina gave her a look which implied the brunette still had her rational faculties. "I don't care if it's a bad idea. I wouldn't be asking if I didn't think it was something you wan'ned too."

Regina looked at Emma for a moment. "Alright."

Chapter Text

They decided upon a little motel on the outskirts of town. During the drive over, Emma considered turning around. On some level, Regina would have understood or at least, Emma knew, her change of hart wouldn't have been punished. But it was too late. It had already been too late when Regina had grabbed her arm. Emma was compelled to go to the motel, as if she were under a spell.

As planned, Regina arrived at the establishment ten minutes before Emma, to book them a room then texted the blonde the number. The rooms were placed in an 'L' shape around a particularly ugly concreate fountain, which had at one point been a swimming pool. A few long time residents sat outside their rooms, smoking cheap cigarettes. None of them noticed the blonde making her way to room '217'.

The door was open a crack. Regina was sitting on bed. "Was it expensive?" Asked Emma reacting for the 'do not disturb' sign.

Regina leaned back, "No, dear," she yawned, "not for accommodation." Emma was unsure of where to sit. "I'm thinking, I might just sleep. I've been so tired lately," Regina teased.

Emma smiled, determining she would sit beside the other woman. "If that's what you'd like"

The other woman took Emma's hand. "Thank you for suggesting this." Her tone turned serious. "I wanted to ask you. I didn't have the courage."

"You've got more to lose," Emma purred.

Regina kissed one of the blonde's knuckles. "Do you still want to discuss things?"

"I'm sure they'll be plenty a time for that." Emma pulled Regina in for a searing kiss. She felt like an alcoholic consuming her first drink in years. Regina's taste was addictive. She flinched when Emma found her breasts. "Sorry, sorry." Was she too rough? Her touch had never been a problem for Fa.

"It's alright, they get like this around this time of the month."

"Sexy." Regina swatted at Emma playfully. "What?" Emma feigned shock, "You're the sexiest person I know."

"That's better."

More experience with the female form had left Emma more agile. Regina's body was also looser and more receptive. Her moans seemed louder than they had the first time. When done, she collapsed beside Emma.

"Someone's gotten better," the brunette stated languidly.

"Is that gonna be on my report card?" Emma gave a satisfied grin.

"More practice?"

Emma stiffened. "Why are you asking?"

"Just curiosity." Jealously was not present in Regina's voice, Emma suspected, because she had managed to mask it.

"Would you answer me if I asked you about Robin? If I'm curious?" Emma drew away to see the other woman's expression.

"Depends on the question." She paused a moment. "You also can't get angry if I tell you something you don't like. And I did ask you first." Regina smiled suggestively.

Emma considered the terms. "Alright." She stroked Regina's hand. "We haven't done anything passed kissing and groping."

Regina's eyes widened. "Really?"

"Yeah. People assume we have but...yeah." Emma rubbed the back of her neck. "What about you? I mean, is Robin good that way?"

Regina sighed. Although, she had allowed herself a back door to escape from uncomfortable questions, Emma's openness created an obligation to respond in kind. "He can be...good. I told you before, I've had some bad experiences that colour my perception."

"What about me?" Emma asked playfully, "Am I good?"

"You make me feel good. As you get to know my body more, it'll get better." Emma blushed, not minding Regina's hint that she might not the most skilled of lovers.

"That's what I want, more practice, I mean. I know it'll be complicated but...

"I know." Regina rested her head on Emma's chest. "That's what I want too."

Emma stroked the woman's shiny brown locks. Upon glancing at the alarm clock on the bedside table, she noticed it was already quarter to six. It occurred to her how little she had thought of her life, outside of Regina. "I need to go soon. I can cancel dinner but it's too late to make up an excuse about spending the night somewhere. But there can be together like this again. Just with time for an alibi."

"You're right." Regina sighed. "How's tomorrow?"

David was cutting into his pork chop when Emma walked in the door at 6:23, having sent them a text message informing them of her tardiness thirty plus minutes earlier. Neither him nor Mary Margaret thought to question how it could have possibly taken her thirty-five minutes after realising it was nearly dinner time, to reach the Nolan-Blanchard household. Story broke was not a particularly large town. The furthest Emma drove on a regular basis was to Ruby's grandmother's house, which was only twenty minutes away by car.

"So," he started conversationally, "how are thing's with Fa? Are we gonna be having her over for dinner anytime soon?"

Emma looked down at her food. Only during the car drive home, had she thought of her official girlfriend. There had technically never been an explicit agreement between the two of them, forbidding the involvement of other people. Emma also suspected that if given the chance, her girlfriend would have gladly engaged in similar activities with Aurora. Implicitly, Emma knew these things were irrelevant. She was a weak traitor. Not only to Fa but also to herself. Begging Regina to use you again. What the fuck is wrong with you?

"Fine," she replied to David out of reflex, "Well actually," Emma backtracked. As an experienced liar, she knew to keep things as close to the truth as possible, "I'm thinking we might brake up."

His interest piqued. "Oh, why's that?"

I cheated. I slept with my teacher. It's not right to string her along. "I think she's more interested in someone else." The words came out so easily.

Emma's parents looked at her with a sympathy, she knew she didn't deserve. "Well, I'm sorry ta hear that."

"It is what it is."

Emma arrived early to school the next morning, in the hopes of finding studious Fa in one of her regular haunts, the library being one of them. On her way to that section on the far end of the building, Emma was intersected by a fuming Ruby. "Shit," Emma cursed herself, "I'm sorry, Rubes, I didn't mean ta forget."

"What the fuck Emma?" The red head pushed her index finger to Emma's chest. "Do you have any fucking idea how long I waited for you?"

"If you'd told me you couldn't make it, I coulda gotten a ride from somebody else, instead of waiting around like some idiot till everybody had left. I had ta walk to work. You know how late I was for my shift. He said I'm out next time that happens." Passers-by followed the spectacle with their eyes, waiting for the situation to break out into violence.

"I'm sorry."

"Are you?" Ruby asked accusatively.

"I am." Emma was beginning to lose patients. Disappointments had always been challenging for Ruby. Emma reasoned it was mostly due to the red head's hugely unreliable mother. This narrative made such outbursts easier for the blonde to mange. Still, Emma was reminded of how many pains she had taken to be a stable force in the other girl's life. Which, at present, seemed to have been entirely forgotten in the interest of keeping things as melodramatic as possible.

"I almost lost my job."

But you didn't lose your job. "I know. I'm sorry."

"Jesus Christ!" Ruby threw her hands up in the air. "Of course, you fucking bale."

Thus broke the last straw. "You know what, I shoulda fucking been there. I'm sorry I fucked up one time.But you know how many times I have been there? If you need someone to take you home at two in the morning, I'm there. If you need someone to bail you outta prison, I'm there. Jesus Christ! I miss one thing and suddenly I'm" your drug addict mother "I don't know what." Emma started walking away from the confrontation.

"What were you even doing with Miss Mills, anyway? First the tutoring, now the private meeting after class. Are you two fucking? Is that it?"

Emma willed herself to keep walking. Responding would only draw attention to the accusations. Leaving was enough. Ruby hated being abandoned.

The blonde wasn't able to spend time with Fa until lunchtime.

Fa spoke sympathetically through the clamour of the cafeteria. "I heard the thing with you and Ruby this'morning," So you were close by. Dammit! "I don't understand why she couldn't have just texted you or something?"

"Her phone's been bust for the last few weeks. She's waiting for her next paycheck to get a new one," Emma scanned the crowded cafeteria. Too many people. She didn't want another spectacle. "Listen, can we go someplace tonight?"


"Oh wait, fuck." How could you possibly have forgotten the thing with Regina? You're so stupid. "Can we actually talk now but someplace more private?"

"'Kay," Fa answered suspiciously. Aurora, who was sitting a few tables away, followed them with her eyes, as they left the large room. "So, what's up?" Asked Fa from a safely secluded place behind the school.

Emma had a whole speech planned. One unsurprisingly rife with clichés. Looking at her worried soon-to-be ex lover, the script disappeared. "I don't think this is gonna work out."

"What?" Fa's expression had stayed mostly neutral.

"I've seen the way you look at Aurora. I know you want me to be a distraction from that but it won't work." Emma words came as the result of a long search for a reason that would allow for a continued friendship, as she had enjoyed their time together.

Fa sunk to the ground in defeat. "Was it that obvious? I'm sorry, it must have been humiliating for you."

It would have been easier if Fa had done something unpleasant at that moment. The more Emma got to know the Chinese girl, the sweeter she appeared. Emma knew this deception would weigh heavily upon her conscience. "It wasn't just you?" The blonde rubbed the back of her neck.

"What do you mean?" Fa looked up curiously.

"Well, I...Remember how I told you about that older woman, the one that was still in the closet?" Fa nodded. "We got together yesterday and ah...

"So, you slept with her?"

"Yeah." Emma hung her head in shame, ready for the verbal lashing she surely deserved.

Fa's expression remained blank as she pondered the information presented to her. "What if we don't break up?"


"Maybe we don't break up. We don't need to. I mean, it doesn't sound like you can be public about your other relationship." Emma stayed silent a moment. "Unless you didn't like being my girlfriend." Fa added hastily.

"I do," Emma quickly corrected, "But you're not hurt?"

"A little bit. It would be more painful if I'd been in love with you." Although Fa had technically not provided Emma with any new information, the sentiment still stung. "And I don't like that you cheated. But I don't know what I'd have done, given the same opportunity." Fa gave a lopsided smile.

"So, why do you wanna stay together?"

Fa retreated into herself. "It's complicated. There are a lot of perks to being in a relationship."

Emma grinned, leaning back a little. "You mean, you like the effect it has on Aurora. You truly are a practical people."

"Shut up." Fa batted at Emma half-heartedly.

True to her word, the blonde had recounted to her parents a fictitious Biology assignment, which being a team product, would require for her to spend the night at a classmates house. Whether David and Mary Margaret had believed her or were putting on the façade of belief, she was not quite sure. Either way, her terms were agreed to.

The sinister concrete fountain was still in the centre of the complex of motel rooms. Many of the same patrons were gathered on the grounds. Scarcely had Emma made it inside the motel room, that Regina captured her in a searing kiss. It was almost as if they were old lovers, greeting each other freely, as one does for the thousandth time "Happy to see me?" Asked Emma teasingly, resting her forehead to Regina's.

"Very. If I had my way, I'd have seen a lot more of you today."

"Really?" Emma craved the sound of the words.

"Don't play coy. You know what you do to me."

The blonde grinned, sliding her arms around Regina's waist. "Sometimes. You're so proper, sitting there at your desk," Emma said enthusiastically, "You're like, I don't know, a...a queen." Emma laughed awkwardly. The words sounded unbearably stupid after they exited her mouth.

"Is that how you like me?" Regina asked, a hint of vulnerability in her voice.

"I like you more like this; completely alone with me." Regina chortled, indicating to Emma she had responded correctly. They moved to the bed. "I wanted to be with you too today. I kept thinking of you." Thoughts of Regina had invaded everything spare the interactions with Fa and Ruby. Their mouths met a second time and then a third. Emma imagined it was something she could do indefinitely, were it not for the plethora of other activities available to her.

They assisted each other out of their cumbersome clothing. Regina moved down Emma's body, placing sweet kisses on her exposed flesh. Emma shivered at each contact.

"It's time I do something for you," Regina said when she reached the apex of Emma's thigh, "You've let me get away with being terribly selfish."

"You're not selfish," Emma deflected, "I felt good doing it. That's why..." She let out an involuntary moan as Regina continued tasting her. "Regina, I...I've never..." The words came out without Emma wanting for them to.

The minstrations stopped. "You haven't?"

The blonde looked down, embarrassed. "No. Only with myself."

"So, I'm the first you've ever done anything like that for?"

Emma nodded. Regina felt sick. Literally sick.

Chapter Text

Emma rubbed soothing circles into Regina's back as the older woman’s frame tremored in violent contortions untill slowly, her body realized that it had run at of contents to expel.

Weakly, Regina pushed herself away from the porcelain bowl, resting her weight to Emma's chest. "You should have told me you were a virgin," she said between pants.

"It never came up. What difference does it make, anyway?"

With her arms wrapped around Regina's waist she could feel the expansions and compressions of the other woman's chest. Were it possible, she would have liked to have been closer. Even during the short times she had been inside Regina, it had somehow not felt like enough. This was, at least, in part due to the creeping awareness that intimate moments with Regina were, by necessity, short lived.

The same ache had not been present to make her want to venture beyond kissing and touching when still with Fa. Emma almost regretted not seizing the opportunity to rid herself of the aparant handicap.

Now, she was stuck in the delicate situation of convincing her older lover that she was more than a schoolgirl with a crush? Was such a classification even inaccurate?

Emma reasoned, the lack of experience, was something she could make up for with practice, it Regina would allow her. It seemed a cruel paradox that in order for her to be in a relationship with Regina, she must have sexual experience but to gain such experience, she must be in a relationship with Regina.

Regina let out a weak little groan. "I'm sorry. It's only recently started getting this bad," apologized Regina.

"Is there anything else I can do?" Asked Emma, "Maybe rub your-" her hands reached for Regina's abdomen.

"It's fine, dear." Regina took hold of Emma hand with sweaty palms. "This is enough," she spoke warmly.

Emma had an epiphany. A smarter person would have noticed the day before, during sex. Some part of her had already known. It was practically obvious given the weight gain, the sore breasts, the slight changes in appearance and now the upset stomach; all of them symptoms she had seen in Mary Margaret only a year earlier. Worse yet was the fact that Regina knew. Of course, she knows, it's her body.

Without fully realising it, hope had remained that the relationship with Robin would end. They were not married and had no children. Emma was certain that one or both those things would change.

"What is it?" asked Regina, turning to read Emma's expression.

"You're pregnant." The words came out without Emma having meant for them to. It should have been something she built up to gradually, possibly providing Regina with subtle opportunities for confession.

Regina's face fell. Even in the harsh light of the bathroom, tinted green by sick, it was still an exceptionally beautiful face. One Emma couldn't bare looking at any longer. She detached herself from the embrace. Regina said nothing. Emma considered going for the door, only making it as far as the bed. She put the tips of her fingers to her temples. She needed to think.

Her crime had become severe. Not only had she perverted the teacher/student relationship, thus enabling infidelity to a long-term partner, she had also, potentially, ruined a family before it even had the chance at a beginning. This was unless Regina opted for the obvious solution. Emma suspected she wouldn't.

Soft footsteps padded toward her. The blonde kept her eyes fixed on the circus themed wallpaper. To her left, the bed weighed down with another form.

"Were you gonna actually tell me or were you gonna wait for the thing to drop?" Emma asked monotonously.

"I was going to tell you soon but it was difficult because I didn't know how you were going to react."

"How do you should I react?" While phrased sarcastically, had Regina handed her a script, she would have read it.

"Anyway where you don't leave."

"What am I supposed to do? Stay? Ruin your family." Emma stood from the bed to pace around the room, passing by the door but not passing through it.

"You haven't ruined anything." There was a bite to Regina's voice. "I'm the one in charge of my relationship."

Emma wanted for that statement to be true. That way her mind could have twisted their relationship into something beneficial for Regina. Who could say that the older woman wouldn't simply find someone else; someone less equipped at keeping secrets. Emma knew she was deceiving herself. Nothing would have happened had she not pushed for it. "Fine. Then I don't wanna be the one to help you wreck your family. Jesus, Regina. You deserve your happily ever after."

"Emma," Regina's voice softened to the point of almost being condescending. "I used to think I wanted one thing," she took hold of Emma's hand, "now I realise I want something else entirely."

"Regina I-

"You don't have to stay," Regina went back to the bed, "I want you to but you don't have to. I know my market value has gone down recently." Emma opened her mouth to refute the statement when Regina continued. "I'm leaving Robin."


"It's not fair to him, it was never fair to him."

"Regina, you can't do that now," Emma could hardly believe she was going against her adolescent fantasies, "Unless..." Emma felt a tightness in her chest lessening. Perhapse, she had forgotten how sensible a person, the older woman was.

Regina's eyes widened with the realization of what Emma was alluding to. "You can leave now." Her voice was cold


"I said, 'you can leave now'."

"Regina, no," Emma pleaded, knealing in front of the other woman to emphasize her sincerity, "I'd never ask you to do something like that." She took hold of Regina's forearms.

"But it's what you want," Regina spat back but didn't recoil from the contact.

"Because our lives would be so much easier if-" Emma pivoted quickly, "but that doesn't matter. Your tough, your so fuckin’ tough. I don't like it that things are so hard. But maybe that's the way they have ta be. You know what you need. I won't have it any other way then the way you need it ta be." There were tears in Regina's eyes. "God, why does everything have ta be so fuckin difficult?" Emma wiped tears of her own away with her shirt sleeve.

"I don't know, dear." Regina took Emma in her arms. Her skin was still a little clammy. Her smell was still distinctly her own. After both women had been drained of their tears, they toppled onto the bed.

"Still feeling pukey," asked Emma almost seductively.

"No." Regina shook her head.

"Good. Then you can rinse your mouth. I brought mouthwash."

"What kind?"

"Listerine." Regina let out an exaggerated sigh. "I guess you don't like the stuff."

"No, dear, but for you, I will endure." In place of kissing Emma, she caressed her cheek, swaying her hips wonderfully as she made her way into the bathroom.

Chapter Text

The bed was only a small distance from the door; a few short steps and Emma would be out of the motel room. The blonde needed to move quickly. All hope would be lost once Regina had returned from the bathroom. It took distance to brake whatever vile spell she was under.

Regina had been wrong in asserting that she could leave Robin. How could she when Robin was with them at that very moment, a part of him securely nestled inside her inner most parts. Robin had layed claim to her body in a way that Emma could never manage.

Contemptuously, Emma remembered the platitudes bestowed upon her by Mary Margaret: "We'll always be there for you, Emma" "We'll still have time together after the baby's born," "Don't worry, I'll still help you with your assignments." They had all been lies, of course.

Regina's phone vibrated violently on the night stand, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight times! After that, the vibrations only ceased briefly before starting up again in full force. Emma almost felt tempted to answer the device herself.

The room had lapsed back into quietness when Regina returned, her face freshly painted. The blonde had not moved more than an inch from where she was sitting when Regina had entered the bathroom.

"Your phone was ringing," informed Emma, absently.

Regina sat down beside Emma, curiously distant from the nightstand. "If it's important, I'm sure they'll call back." She looked at Emma intently. "You stayed."

"Of course, I did," Emma clasped Regina's hand, knowing it was always better to feign certainty in these sorts of situations. Emma grinned “And you can’t leave me. I’ve seen Basic Instinct, I know how to stalk someone.”

Regina laughed. “Dear, are sure you don’t mean Fatal Attraction?”

“Whichever one had Jane Fonda in it.”

Regina laughed again, her melodic voice turning all complications bearable, until her face once again turned serious. The blonde could feel what was the beginnings of a headache forming. "Emma-

"Let's not talk about anything important." She squeezed the brunette's hand. "We can if you need to, but I'd rather we do something else."

Regina raised an eyebrow. "What do you suggest?"

"Not that. What a dirty mind you have, Miss Mills. No. I meant we can talk. You tell me something about you, I'll tell you something about me. Like normal people." Already, Emma could feel the heavier topics fading into the back of her mind.

"What do you want to know?" inquired Regina curiously.

Emma knew exactly what she wanted to know. Much time and energy had been spent scanning Regina's walls for photographic evidence, never to any avail. This was the first real opportunity to ask. "You went horseback riding when you were a girl?"

"I did. How did you know?"

"I didn't. But I can picture you doing that, your hair back in a pretty braid." Emma tucked a few stray locks behind Regina's ear. "Riding your trusty Butterscotch."

"Buttercup," corrected Regina indignantly. "I can't believe I'm that predictable."

"That stuff is. But I'm sure there's more to it than that."

"You're right. There is," Regina affirmed.

"Are you still sure about leaving Robin?“ asked Emma abruptly.

"I am." Regina took Emma's hand. "You don't need to worry that it's for you. It's because," she paused a moment, searching for the appropriate words, before finally settling on, "I don't want the baby born into the situation I have with Robin right now. We aren't happy together anymore."

Of course, it's for the baby, thought Emma with a twinge of envy. She kissed Regina‘s cheek.

Regina grinned. „Don‘t you want to talk?“

“I want a lot of things.“ She kissed Regina‘s lips. As always they were plump and full. She moaned, tilting her head back, exposing her long elegant neck. Looking at her, Emma felt like a vampire. She wanted to drink Regina up into herself but kisses would have to suffice.

“Don’t stop,“ Regina moaned.