The day that Emma knew she was screwed, figuratively, was when she started becoming friends with Regina.
The woman was funny as hell in that sarcastic, snarky way of hers that when you really listen, never really stops and occasionally, in times when Emma’s not really supposed to laugh, she just hears Regina mutter under her breath beside her and she’s cracking up. It gets her in trouble but seeing Regina’s eyes glimmer with amusement each time is always well worth it. And also, because they’re friends now, she’s really beginning to understand the appeal of being on Regina’s good side, because she’s getting first hand experience of Regina’s care and it’s overwhelmingly tender and soft and she wants more and more of it.
Unfortunately for her, she’s fallen, hard, and there’s no chance of her getting back up again.
Because Regina always goes for men that are safe and Emma’s a big giant flight risk. It makes sense, knowing the other woman’s history with personal relationships in general, that despite how close they’ve gotten, they’ll never be any closer due to well, them being them. And Robin was there, then he was not, and Regina kinda just curled in on herself, only really fulfilling her duties as Mayor and Mother and the occasional Best Friend where Emma tries to bring her out to eat or even just coaxing her out of her room with a movie. It’s upsetting to see how even a bland guy such as Mr. I-Smell-Like-Trees could cause so much devastation to a wonderful woman like Regina. A woman who just gives her entire being to someone, enough to break herself, and Emma vows that even if they’ll never be together, she would never leave, flight risk or not.
Which is why, three months later, when Emma was literally screwed, she not only was not expecting it, but she also didn’t know what to do with herself.
And Regina was getting better too, willing to go out for drinks and party with her Queens of Darkness crew - all of whom, Regina assures, are not her best friends - and she’s standing tall again, confidence in herself that’s not that shoulder-tense, fake confidence she usually exudes, but a really relaxed and ‘I know I’m amazing’ type of confidence that Emma loves to see and loves to poke at. Regina’s back to her full on snarky self where she gives as much as she can take and their banter returns full force in a way that she feels a fire light inside of her each time they step in each other’s personal space. And oh, the fire in Regina’s eyes; she misses getting so close they’re practically nose to nose and seeing that glimmer of passionate anger simmering right behind big brown eyes.
It’s actually during their ‘full-out banters’ where Emma finds out she’s never going to recover, because one step, turns into two, and then three, and then they’re right up in each other’s space, breathing heavily against each other. And then suddenly, she’s pushed up against the mayor’s door, slamming into it with a force that causes her to gasp and Regina practically pounces on the opportunity.
There’s hands and clothes, and then no clothes, and three orgasms in, she’s on the couch with Regina riding her face and moaning out her name behind a hand clasped around her mouth. She’s suffocated when Regina climaxes and she wonders if this was the way she was gonna go; but oh, what a way to go though.
After what felt like hours, Regina clambers off of her, breathing heavily through her nose and quietly picking up her clothes, as well as handing Emma hers and Emma just kinda lies there, not quite believing what just occurred.
Did they just have sex against the door, the desk, and then the couch? It all feels like a dream, something she’s been hopeful about for so long that she can’t quite tell if her mind is playing tricks or if reality is finally giving her a break.
Regina’s sheepishly coming up beside her, sitting on the glass table that lies across from the couch, staring at her with thoughtfulness and Emma’s a little afraid to turn and look. Afraid of what she’ll see in those expressive eyes, afraid of what she won’t see. Because despite everything, despite all her promises, and despite not really being a flight risk anymore, reality has never been good to her.
She’s still half naked on the couch, refusing to move even though Regina’s already gathered up her clothes and piled them on her stomach. She’s still lying there with traces of Regina still around her mouth and down her chin, skin still tingling with her touches all over her body, and she wants to both wipe away all evidence and brand herself with it all at the same time. But she slowly turns when she hears the other woman softly call out her name. She regrets it though, when the first thing she sees is an apologetic expression and she immediately sits up and angrily starts to put on her clothes, turning away sharply, not wanting to see the beginnings of regret, maybe even pity.
She gets it, she does; she’ll never be anything more than a friend and she just happens to be there for Regina, there for her to use, to be happily used, whenever Regina’s in the mood. She’s a Queen, she has needs, and Emma takes in the small comfort that at least she was able to satisfy them instead of someone else.
Then she regrets that train of thought because she of course starts to think of someone else being the one Regina turns to next.
This is when she starts to get up and leave but Regina’s hand pulls down on her wrist and she pleads for her to stay. Emma wants to, but also she can’t , because it’s too much and not enough at the same time.
“I need time,” she manages to spit out and she chances a glance, seeing the understanding in Regina’s eyes before she’s let go. She tries her best not to flee from the room and instead manages a very brisk walk to the door, fiddling with the knob to quickly throw it open before flying out the door and back into her cruiser. She takes a drive because her mind is a mess.
Apparently, when someone tells Regina that they ‘need time’, Regina will back off immediately and not bother to make any sort of contact - she makes this grumpy observation in the quiet of her rented room at Granny’s Bed & Breakfast - because she literally has not seen Regina for the past week. She can only assume she’s being actively avoided and it’ll only continue until she makes the first move. Which is fine , she’s made peace with the fact that this will be the closest she’s ever going to get in being with Regina. Friendship cuddles and the occasional friendship fuck will be all it ever amounts to and it’s a role that she’s run over and over in her mind since that time in the office. Though, after thinking it over, she might not even get to do that second thing ever again considering how she just ran out last time. Regina’s considerate, or well, considerate enough , in a way where she trials and errors her way through human interaction, having grown up with none, and Emma’s gone through the same thing when she was 11 and remembers the embarrassment enough to know that human interaction is not something inherent in people.
But despite years of learning and studying people and their habits and being rather adept at capturing people who run from paying their bail, Emma’s still awkward when it comes to dealing with her own emotions, her emotional baggage almost rivaling Regina’s. So of course her first go-to is to enter Regina’s office, carrying a big takeout bag and asking Regina to eat with her like everything’s normal. And Regina’s blinking up at her like she’s grown another head before going along with it and it’s fine , everything’s fine and she’s refusing to think about how Regina writhed and moaned right on the table they’re eating on.
Thankfully Regina manages to break her confused trance and soon she’s making jokes again, harping about her eating habits and she allows this, welcomes the teasing because it’s familiar and it’s them and she’s thankful nothing has changed.
Obviously, she spoke too soon, because not even two weeks later, what was presumably a normal night on Regina’s couch in her study filled with drinking and laughing, soon turned into her being face deep between Regina’s legs. She loves being this close and seeing Regina lose control somehow - getting a taste of it once and apparently unable to get enough of it. She also loves when Regina tugs and pulls on her hair, gripping roughly at her head as she pushes it more firmly against her. It makes her feel like Regina wants her closer, and she does, in that moment, and it’s the only moment she gets.
So of course, being the idiot that she is, she gives her all, giving a piece of herself knowing that Regina will take it and give it promptly back when she’s done with it.
And Regina, in the throes of passion tugs at her hair, scrapes her scalp lightly and urgently up, and she looks to see dark eyes looking back down at her. It’s a plea, she sees, a plea for her to not ask but also to be close and she complies, of course she does. Pulling away for only a moment just to bring their lips together, never breaking eye contact until she’s slamming two fingers in and Regina’s eyes flutter closed in climax. She’s pressed close enough that she can feel the moan that rumbles past Regina’s ribcage and up her throat until Emma catches it in her own mouth but it’s not enough.
Even when their mouths are practically melded together and she feels every single breath Regina takes, she wants to be closer.
When the shudders stop, she’s pushed back gently, at least until they’re far enough to see each other clearly and Regina has this heartbreaking tenderness in her eyes as she brushes her thumb lightly against her jaw. Emma forces herself not to run away, having already done so once; twice would probably offend the other woman at that point and she’s already made peace - kinda, not really - with the fact that this will just be another thing that they do.
And at least she’s not being pushed away, Regina’s guard isn’t fully up and there’s only a small tinge of regret in her brown eyes but Emma gets it. She’s not what Regina wants but at the moment she can take pride in the fact that she’s currently what Regina needs, and she’ll settle for that.
She stands up after an appropriate amount of time has passed, pulling her clothes back on, gingerly picking them up off the floor and taking her time. Her name is called out again and Emma turns to look over at the other woman still sitting on the couch and she’s stunning. Her hair is mussed and her lipstick is smudged, her blouse ripped open, hanging loosely around her arms and Emma’s tempted to step back and kiss down all that revealed skin once again.
And she really almost does, because Regina’s eyes plead for her to stay but she can’t. Leaving in the night will be the only thing that will keep her sanity but she does step over and press a kiss against Regina’s forehead, aiming specifically for that vein that likes to pop out whenever the other woman tenses up and she feels Regina melt against her and it takes another herculean effort to make the decision to leave.
“Emma!” Regina calls out to her in a panic when she’s almost out the door. “Are we okay?” And it’s probably the closest they’ve ever gotten to address this thing between them.
She smiles, weakly, but a smile nonetheless. “We’re okay.” And she leaves.
The next following weeks were normal, or became their normal, actually she’s not sure what normal even means anymore. They eat lunch together like they did before, they hang out and talk like before, and there’s family dinners with her, Regina and Henry just like before. The only difference is that during their late night talks in the study, they do a little more than just talking.
Regina’s prepared the room better and went ahead in soundproofing the room, and she learns, with some manner of excitement, that Regina’s loud . And has a rather voracious appetite for sex, never seemingly satisfied and Emma’s all too happy to try and accomodate.
She likes her fingers, Emma has also observed quietly. Emma can’t quite figure out if it’s because Regina just likes the feeling of being wrapped up Emma’s arms as their bodies press right up against each other, or if it’s because Emma’s thrusting deeply, so deeply, inside Regina. Because even if she starts off giving oral, she’s always pulled up right before the climax, Regina pleading through kisses.
Regina demands at one point, and she manages to fit three fingers inside wet warmth. It’s tight, much tighter than with two fingers and she slows down in fear of hurting the other woman only for Regina to shake her head and tell her to “don’t stop”. She knows she’s stretching her, can feel Regina molding around her and the fleeting thought of ‘more’ passes through her mind. She’s always amazed at how easily she can get Regina so wet and she doesn’t know how she’s going to spend her nights now if she loses her favourite soundtrack of Regina’s high pitched moans.
It’s fascinating, the way Regina’s husky voice raises in crescendo as she reaches her peak, and it’s absolutely breathtaking when she throws her head back and screams, her back arching to unbelievable heights and flexibility before falling gracefully down, completely boneless. She watches this entire process with rapt attention, burning the image into her mind in case she loses this.
She’s a stand-in, she knows, so she takes what she can get. But her gut twists when Regina opens her eyes again, face soft and tender as she’s pulled in for a beautifully painful kiss because this kiss isn’t for her, it’s filled with affection and gratitude and it’s for the future person that will take her place.
“Stay.” Regina pleads to her with her eyes, a hint of desperation in her voice that makes Emma’s heart rise and plummet all at the same time. It makes her senselessly hope that maybe she’s a little more than just a bed warmer but then she remembers that nobody wants to keep an Emma Swan . So she shakes her head and pulls away, the hand on her arm falls loosely by Regina’s side when she does.
Tonight’s a night where she’s not at Regina’s for once. Ruby, getting sick and tired of her moping, decides they should head out for drinks. She was ready to refuse, a bunch of excuses saved up for her to use, but then she thinks better of it, knowing that she really neglected her friend while she spiraled into her own despair.
Ruby doesn’t take it personally though; she looks at her with inquisitive eyes and Emma knows Ruby’s a lot more observant than she makes herself out to be. So she messages Regina about taking a raincheck and now she’s out drinking.
One drink turns into four and soon she doesn’t know which way is up and which way is down, but for once she’s not stuck in her own head and just enjoying herself.
She doesn’t notice that the Queens of Darkness posse are out too, having finally dragged Regina out while Henry’s sleeping over at Mary Margaret’s. And normally she would notice when Regina would enter a room, her magic prickling at the base of her neck as it’s drawn to Regina’s own brand of magic and they will almost always catch each other’s eyes. Emma would find herself staring more often than not no matter what she was previously doing or who she was talking to. But this time all the alcohol has dulled her senses and she dances and drinks without a care in the world.
She doesn’t notice, until she does.
Because, of course, even with her magic dampened by inebriation, she still manages to figure out that Regina’s in the same room as her. She feels a sense of longing in the pit of her stomach and she’s well used to that feeling being associated with one person. And when she glances around to look, she spots the group of ex-villains all looking in one direction and she follows their line of sight.
Regina’s with some guy; good looking, blond hair, clean shaven, charming smile, safe and good and she feels irrevocably sick.
She bolts out of the building without even really thinking about it, needing air in her lungs and for the pain in her heart to stop. She feels a hand at her wrist and she turns and jolts away, wide-eyed, hoping and yet not hoping that it’s Regina. It was not, it was Ruby and she stares at Emma with concerned eyes and Emma shakes her head to avoid questions.
“Okay.” Ruby nods with understanding and suddenly she doesn’t feel drunk anymore, all the events shocking her system enough to turn her sober for years. They head back to the B&B, she’s been renting a room there long enough for Ruby to figure out something is wrong but Emma’s given just the right amount of space to know she can count on her werewolf friend to just be there for her. They’re friends, but Ruby’s no Regina.
And it’s just not fair of her for feeling so sick when Regina so much as interacts with someone else. Regina’s not her girlfriend, Regina’s not her anything , they’ve both been clear enough to know that what they’re doing does not hold any expectations or emotions in it. But that still doesn’t mean she wasn’t holding any hope. In a way, she was hoping if Regina was with her - in whatever small capacity - that maybe Regina wouldn’t be with anyone else, at least until she got bored of Emma.
There’s no containing a beautifully attractive woman such as Regina though, and she’s learning that the hard way.
They stumble up the stairs and into her room because despite how clear headed she feels, her legs still feel horribly unsteady and Ruby’s just been great moral support as well as actual support for her to lean on. “C’mon, you disaster,” she hears the other woman mumble next to her as she’s heaved onto the bed unceremoniously. She forgets that werewolves are much stronger than they look and Ruby more than easily manipulates her body until she’s tucked under the covers.
“Thanks, Ruby.” The words sound fine in her head, but she can hear the words slur out of her mouth when she says it to her friend leaving her room.
She gets a sigh as a response though. “I hope you figure it all out soon, Em, I’m worried about you.” The door closes then and the only source of light gets cut out and Emma’s now left in the darkness with blurred thoughts.
She thinks about Regina, because of course she does, and she imagines Regina touching the arm of some random guy who’s bland but also hopefully good for her - or else she’ll have some words - and how Emma’s just going to be left in a corner, discarded like an old toy. She already considered the fact that Regina was going to find someone else, but knowing the concept and seeing it and then imagining it are completely different things and just the thought makes her want to throw up. Though she wonders if that’s just the alcohol making her queasy.
When she wakes up the next day, she can’t tell if the knocking is coming from the door or inside her throbbing head. She groans as she haphazardly slaps at the nightstand to find her phone. When she finally manages to grasp it, the first thing she sees when she unlocks it is the 20 unread text messages and 8 missed calls. She curses under her breath and she finally deduces that the knocking is actually coming from her door.
She scrambles up, miraculously not tripping over her own feet and yanking the door open. She’s not one bit surprised when the person who blew up her phone while she was comatose, is standing right in front of her.
“Regina,” she breathes out and the other woman steps forward until they’re both in her dingy rental room.
“Where have you been ?” Regina hisses at her as she takes a good look at her up and down as well as all around the room. “Have you been staying here all this time?”
It’s way too early for this, at least she slept and woke up with pants this time, not that it’d make much difference since they’ve definitely seen each other in less. And she knows Regina’s being somewhat quiet - despite the rising volume in her voice, she’s trying not to full-on yell at her - but it still sounds like Regina’s talking to her through a megaphone and her head hurts. She goes to sit down on her bed, her head supported solely on her hands.
“Emma.” She feels a weight on the bed beside her and she looks up and sees worried eyes. She takes out her phone and glances at the time; it’s unbelievably late so it makes sense that Regina would look for her. Normally she’d be surprised that there would be that much panic over her not showing up to work but she’s grown somewhat used to Regina’s capacity to care so she doesn’t take it all for granted.
“m’sorry,” she mumbles to her best friend and Regina softly shakes her head before taking her hand, squeezing it lightly.
“What happened last night? You ran out of the club.” And her heart stops, her breath catches in her lungs because of course, of course , if she can feel whenever Regina enters the room then Regina must be able to feel her as well. Which means Regina knew way before her that they were at the same club.
The reason I ran was because you don’t need me , is what she wants to say, but the words make her sick even as she thinks them. “Why didn’t you come say hi?” She says instead and forces herself to jokingly smile, she knows it doesn’t quite make it to her face when Regina stares at her intently.
And then Regina looks down at their hands, her eyes downcast as she fidgets with their fingers. “You looked like you were having fun, I didn’t want to ruin your night out.” She nearly sighs aloud but manages to hold it in, because yes, Emma has a slew of issues but so does Regina and she’s not being the best of friends right now.
“You can come talk to me any time, Regina, you know that.”
Big bright brown eyes look up and narrow at her. “I could say the same to you.” It sounded like an accusation and Emma gulps because there were a lot of things they haven’t said to each other, a lot of unspoken words and topics they’ve avoided, whether it’s been for her sake or Regina’s, she’s unsure.
But instead of talking about all her fears, she squeezes the hand entangled in hers in what she hopes is reassuring and smiles. “There’s no one else I would rather speak to.” And it’s the truth, but from the furrowing of her brow, it wasn’t the answer Regina was looking for and she’s never been so grateful for the other woman’s lack of tact and ability to handle these situations. Because Regina’s looking like she’s trying to navigate through a minefield and unfortunately, Emma wasn’t going to help her through it.
She stands up, checks the time again, and reaches out a hand to help pull Regina up. “Thanks for waking me up, I guess I’ll head to work now.” And it’s innocuous, but with the mayor standing there - confused and mystified and with a slight gape - she can’t help but step in close and kiss her lightly on the mouth. “See you tonight?” she mumbles breathlessly, fleeing without waiting for an answer, fleeing before she gives even more of herself away.
By the time she’s at work, it’s late and she has to skip lunch, and apparently, that was one of the main reasons for Regina looking for her. It becomes even more apparent when Ruby leisurely strolls in and plops down a bag of lunch on her desk. To be honest, she’s been so busy trying to distract her thoughts from roaming over to Regina that she’s been engrossed in her work, but that all goes away when she smells the aroma of grilled cheese and her stomach growls in protest.
She’s a little afraid however, at the shit-eating grin Ruby has on her face and she warily asks, “what?” Ruby just shrugs, grin still there, and instead of answering directly, the grin just gets wider.
“Madame Mayor looked rather happy today.”
She raises an eyebrow at the statement, not sure what to make of it. She doesn’t deem it a reply however because Ruby looks like she’s about to burst from holding in a secret and she’ll gladly wait it out, though she can’t imagine what it could be. There hasn’t been all that much time between her being at the station and the last time she saw Regina; her mind briefly flashes to their last moment and when Emma stupidly kissed her and she quickly waves the memory away, because there’s no way something like a stupid kiss from Emma of all people would ever make someone like Regina happy.
Emma proceeds to just take out her sandwich and eat it, and the brunette’s grin slightly falters. She has to hold in her own grin when she chews obnoxiously loud to annoy her friend and Ruby’s eyes narrow at her instead. “You know, Em, I have a really good sense of smell.”
She stops midchew, not liking where this is going and the grin is back again. “And one thing I’ve noticed recently is that Regina always seems to have someone else’s scent on her.” Ruby’s drawing it out, she knows what’s happening, and she also knows she’s the one who’s been all over Regina - at least, she hopes she is - so she has an idea of what’s going to come out of Ruby’s mouth next but she doesn’t quite know how she’s going to answer it.
“Is that like one of those celebrity perfumes where you get to smell like them?” she jokes with a disinterested voice and Ruby huffs at how obtuse she’s being.
“No, you dingus, it’s you! I know I smell you all over her for these past few days!”
And considering how much she’s panicking internally, she’s impressed at how impassive her face remains. “We’re just friends, Rubes,” she says with a shrug, to which Ruby just snorts.
“Sure, I’ll just go inform Snow that this is what friends do then.”
She makes a face. “Ew, don’t, that’s so gross, don’t talk about my mom like that.”
“Like what?” Ruby flutters her eyelashes obnoxiously. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, but I was talking about a hug.”
She groans. “Go away, Rubes, I don’t want to deal with you right now.”
Her friend sighs and stops teasing, her grin quickly drops. “Is that why you’ve holed yourself up at the B&B? Is this because you’re-”
“No. It’s not because I’m trying to run away,” Emma cuts in with gritted teeth, then she tosses her sandwich to the side and hangs her head, her appetite lost. “I really don’t wanna talk about it, Rubes.”
But Ruby doesn’t back down like usual and gives her an unnerving stare as if Ruby’s trying to piece everything together now. “You know, all this heartbreak is for nothing right?” Ruby finally says, and Emma’s head snaps up to look at her incredulously. “It’s obvious that’s what this is all about so don’t bother to deny it.”
Emma frowns, her eyebrows furrowing to the point where she can feel herself gaining wrinkles. “We’re friends , Rubes, and that’s all we’re ever gonna be.”
“God, what bullshit . You know Regina didn’t even give that guy a second look when you ran away? She looked like she was going to chase after you herself but she saw that I went instead, and then this morning she stormed into the diner looking everywhere for you, wanting to know if you were okay. Then she walks out of your room, happy and smiling and smelling like you and I’ve only known Regina to hinge her entire emotional range on one person, and that was Henry, but now you affect it more than you think. Em,” Ruby says with exasperation, ”Regina loves you.”
“Regina loves the idea of me!” Emma stands up in anger and Ruby looks up at her with a frown. “Regina, she loves the idea of being with someone, for someone to be there for her whenever she needs it, for someone that won’t betray her, for someone she can care for with that fierce love of hers. I’m that idea, I’m the stand-in until that idea becomes reality, until she really finds someone that’s good for her, someone safe and simple like that guy at the bar.”
She starts to pace and she hates the look Ruby’s giving her right now. “But I’m none of those things, I’m just me. I’m messy and a risk with emotional issues piled up to the sky. I’m just there for Regina for as long as she needs me until she doesn’t anymore because I’m not good for someone like Regina, I’m not good for anyone, but I know this already so you can stop looking at me like I just kicked a puppy.”
She stops her angry rant with a glare and Ruby stares back at her impassively until her friend sighs.
“This is ridiculous, do you even hear yourself? You think Regina would just trust anyone to be some sort of stand-in? Some sort of substitute until the real thing? You know, I know, the whole town freaking knows that it’s almost impossible to gain Regina’s trust but you have it and Regina wants you to be there for her because you are what she needs.”
Her mind races but Emma sits back down, shaking her head and pulling her sandwich back to her so she can prod at it as a distraction. “You don’t know what it’s like.” And she thinks about all the times she’s been discarded, all the times she’s tried to be whatever the other person needed only to never be enough. She always does this and it makes her want to laugh, makes her want to cry, because she always wants to feel needed and she’ll do anything for it. She messed it all up with Regina, she knows she has, but right now she’s taking what she can get and giving what she can until there’s nothing left of her to give. “I just don’t think Regina thinks of me in any other way.”
Ruby tilts back her head until she’s sighing up at the ceiling and then she’s up on her feet. “Running isn’t always physical, Em.” Emma opens her mouth about to object but she’s quickly cut off before she could even start. “Please just think about it, Em, and maybe consider the possibility that she wants you too.”
Her friend then just leaves her to her thoughts and of course it revolves around Regina again. She hates this, hates feeling the slow bloom of hope when she knows she’s just going to be let down again. Her mind flashes back to eyes filled with tenderness and the way Regina would stroke her jaw. Then she recalls the way Regina’s eyes would sparkle when they’re sitting at Granny’s, talking about everything and nothing. She thinks about soft brushes against her arm when they walk side by side and she remembers the warmth and safety of family when it’s movie night.
She can’t. Emma presses her fingers against the bridge of her nose in pain, the start of a headache beginning to form starting at her temple. She can’t be hopeful or there really won’t be anything left of her after this.
She dived into work, the paperwork seemingly endless, but she crashes back down to reality when she gets a text from Regina asking if she’s still okay with dinner tonight. That’s unfair , she almost wants to reply, because she can never deny Regina anything so she sends a nonchalant ‘ of course’ back instead.
And she tries to put Ruby’s words out of her mind but it creeps back when she’s at the mansion and having dinner with Regina and a rambling Henry. She considers the possibility of Regina feeling the same way, tilting her head and watching the way Regina watches Henry with soft eyes, the way any proud mother would. Regina turns then, catching her staring and her heart melts when Regina gives her a fond smile.
This is enough, she thinks, because she’s already receiving so much, she’s afraid to ask for more.
“You were quiet today,” Regina points out later in the night when she hands Emma a drink before finding a comfortable position on the couch. Henry’s tucked upstairs, passed out from all the excitement during their three hour long Marvel movie, and it’s so uneventful and domestic that she wishes for these days to never stop.
She feels a light touch on her arm and she looks up, realizing she drifted off in her thoughts again. “You know,” Regina starts, giving her a wry smile, “I always thought it was odd that a person’s thoughts are only worth a penny.”
She snorts. “Is that your way of saying ‘ a penny for your thoughts ’ without actually saying it?” Regina just gives her a cheeky shrug as a reply.
She looks down and stares at her glass of cider, running the words through her head, deciding what she should say. Is it possible for us to be something more? “Is- is there a reason why we’ve never been in your bedroom?” she asks instead and she silently kicks herself while Regina contemplates the question.
Regina puts her glass down and then just stands up, reaching a hand out to her to do the same and she follows. She’s led to the stairs and they both slowly creep up, trying not to make too much noise in case they wake Henry up, the creak of the floorboards the only sound between them. There’s no such reservation however, when they get into the master bedroom. She finds herself pushed against a wall as soon as the door closes behind them.
She asks if they need to be quiet and she’s told the room was already soundproofed. “Presumptuous,” she murmurs against Regina’s mouth and she can feel the smirk stretching across the other woman’s lips.
There’s some trepidation for her when they both stumble towards the bed and it’s because she wants it too much that she’s afraid of it. There’s a certain amount of intimacy when she sees Regina’s body splayed across the mattress and it feels like this is the point of no return. She asked for this though, asking for the shovel to dig her own grave, and Regina happily supplies the tools to her demise.
She takes her time to strip the beautiful woman before her, taking in her form like art. She wonders if this will be their new normal now, migrating from the study to the comfort of Regina’s bedroom. It feels like a move forward but to what she’s not sure; it’s also what might be the last thing that tips their unspoken arrangement over as Regina realizes that it’s not Emma she wants in her bed.
That’s not what she wants to think about right now though, she wants to focus on Regina, only Regina, always Regina, and she lays kisses against each stretch of skin that gets revealed. By the time she’s between toned legs with no clothes blocking her sight, she can smell how aroused Regina is and she can’t help but lean in for a taste.
Regina’s moan is almost drowned out from the sound of her own groan when the thick liquid of salty-sweet is once again on her tongue and she whines in protest when Regina pulls her up for a kiss. Regina probably knows by now that if given the chance, she would stay there and spend her entire life servicing her. But that's evidently not what Regina wants right now as the woman spreads her legs and leads Emma's hand between her legs.
“ God, ” she groans out when her finger slides through the tightening muscles, “you’re always so wet .” And she thrusts slowly, listening for the audible cues of Regina’s mewling. She wonders if other people can get Regina just as aroused with the small amount of foreplay she did or if this is just a privilege granted solely for her. She hopes, dreams that it’s the latter. It doesn't take long for Regina to take in a second finger, the copious amount of liquid letting her slip in the extra finger unobstructed and she wonders if Regina's wet enough for another.
She swipes a third finger along puffy lips. “Can I?” she asks, begs with kisses down the column of Regina’s throat, to feel the other woman stretch against her once more.
And Regina’s wrapping her arms around her shoulders, pulling her in. “Please.” The raspy scream that follows when she manages to slide in three fingers is something she’ll always have etched into her mind. It surprises her, how easy it was to slip in and it takes some restraint for her to not wildly thrust into warm, tight heat.
It’s addicting, this feeling, this moment, the way their bodies are so hot up against each other, the way Regina’s breath hitches whenever she hits a certain part inside of her, and the way arms tighten around her neck, nails digging into her skin when the woman beneath her climaxes. It’s a masterpiece.
Regina trembles against her, humming quietly by her ear. There’s a certain calmness in this moment, like the world is on its equilibrium, like everything is right, and she loves it, loves Regina . She never wants this moment to end.
Which is why she slowly starts up again, pushing in and out at a slow and even pace, knowing Regina’s still feeling a little sensitive. She takes the time to feel all the dips and ridged skin inside, rubbing against them with fascination, addicted to the sensation. But then Regina’s opening her legs again, widening them, accepting her, accepting more, wanting more and she pumps her hand a little faster, hitting at angles that make Regina’s breath hitch.
The hand that’s wrapped around the back of Emma’s head, pulls and scratches, Regina craving their bodies against each other, craving them to be closer even when it’s impossible to get any closer. And Emma feels the way Regina breathes into her skin, feels the soft kisses behind her ear, feels the way her name is constantly on Regina’s lips, and she wants this, wants more of this.
She slows down, placating with kisses when Regina starts to protest, and she wonders how much more can she give, what more of herself is left that’s not already Regina’s. She thinks about trust and closeness, intimacy and love, and she thinks she wants to try something. She loves the way the muscles inside Regina contract and expand, accommodating her fingers no matter how many she puts and she thinks about how wet and messy but how perfectly them it all is and Regina deserves more, always deserves the best.
She leans back and taps at thighs, asking for them to widen even more and Regina looks at her curiously. “Breathe,” she instructs and she hears Regina start taking even breaths, she smiles at the unspoken trust and she leans down to nip on the skin of Regina’s smooth stomach, admiring the way it ripples in pleasure. She moves her three fingers in and out a few more times, spreading them out to prepare Regina’s body for a bigger stretch and she eases in a fourth finger until she hears a sudden inhale. She stops.
“Okay?” Regina takes a moment, and they both breathe, briefly suspended in this limbo of Emma’s fingers there but not quite there, and she eventually nods. Emma inches in a little more, hearing the obscene squelch as Regina’s most sensitive part takes in almost all her fingers. And with how wide Regina’s open right now, it wasn’t difficult to slip in her thumb as well, scrunching up her fingers to make her hand as small as possible.
“Wow,” she breathes out without meaning to, completely in awe at how much Regina’s taking her right now. She's never done this before, only knows about it peripherally, but she didn’t know how intimate it would feel. She’s never felt close enough to anyone for this, never felt like she trusted the other person or the other person trusted her enough to handle it. She feels the tight squeeze on her fingers, her wrist, her whole hand and she kisses up the expanse of skin until she’s nuzzling her nose against the side of Regina's neck, thanking her for this trust. At the other woman’s insistence, she starts to move in and out only a little at a time, letting Regina's body get used to the massive intrusion. “You’re doing so well.” She moves her mouth back down from neck to collarbone to breasts, laving attention around the pliant flesh as well as to the tips. The combination of the assault on Regina's body only makes her pull Emma in tighter, hooking her legs around Emma's waist and tangling her fingers in Emma's hair.
Regina’s only making incoherent noises at this point, and it leaves her little to no instruction but she does what she feels right. Her ears are perked as she takes in notice of changes in breath and which parts of her body causes louder sounds and which part doesn't. She's attentive and relearning Regina's body in a way where nothing else has captured her attention so fully before and this feels like a new exciting side to the woman she's grown to know intimately. And she’s finally feeling that more and closeness that she's been craving, being inside the woman she loves in a way that ties them together for as long as its allowed. There's trust, there's intimacy, and there's love, even if that love is not the same, she knows that Regina has at least some modicum of love for her to allow herself this vulnerable and she breathes it in. Takes as much of the moment as she can.
It doesn't take long for the strength in Regina's legs to go weak as she unhooks her legs from Emma's waist, pressing her feet firmly against the sheets instead and using that leverage to move her hips in time with Emma's hand. She feels more than she sees the trembling that starts from Regina's legs to up her thighs, until the body underneath her is completely shaking. She moves up a bit so her head is resting against the crook of Regina's neck and she hears the panting breaths against her ear much more clearly. " Emma, " she hears Regina whimper out, her only warning, before repeating her name in rising crescendo as Regina says her name like a prayer. She feels the tightening of arms around her neck and she briefly wonders if this is how she suffocates.
But what another wonderful way to go, as she feels the orgasm pass through Regina's body like she's never felt before. Being completely inside, there's such a tight grip on her hand that it makes it impossible to move so she stays as still as possible, not wanting to hurt Regina as Regina takes, takes all she can. And take she does, as her legs move up around her waist again, her hands clawing into her back frantically, clambering and finding purchase all over Emma's body as if she's trying to climb her and Emma wraps an arm around her waist, assisting, pulling her in. She's the only thing keeping Regina up now, her body almost completely off the mattress as Regina cries, sobs, screams Emma's name - her name bouncing across white walls.
Regina's so lost in the moment that she doesn't even realize moving her head down and viciously biting on Emma's neck to stifle her screams, probably leaving a mark, probably unconsciously owning her. Because they've never marked each other before in any shape or form, there were no grounds for them to feel any sort of possession on the other person, and Emma feels the urge to leave a mark herself, marring this beautiful body and claiming it as hers even when it's not. She wishes Regina would mark her, take her skin and suck on it until there’s different sizes of black and blue, she's Regina’s, she always is, and she willingly gives herself to this situation as well as to this beautiful woman before her. Her name still on Regina's lips but muffled now against her shoulder.
She feels a sudden gush against her hand and it surprises her but makes her no less pleased. There's a certain pride in bringing Regina this much pleasure because for these few moments, Regina can think of no one else but her. Her thoughts beginning and ending with Emma, and it’s a sort of a non-physical branding she likes to make the most of. And when Regina finally falls limp, her arms and legs hitting the soft sheets with a whump , splaying out like a tired starfish, she leans back to admire the breathless view that's afforded to her. Regina’s skin glows even as she lies there spent and Emma’s free hand strokes and worships down her body, feeling the way muscles tremble at her touch as Regina groans and continues to feel the aftershocks.
She watches in fascination as Regina slowly regains control of her limbs again, the muscles waking up from their shock, and Regina flutters her eyes open. There's such a raw feeling in her brown eyes that Emma’s almost shocked at the amount of affection that's held deep within them. The affection she's been seeing before was only but a drop from an endless sea of emotion. But then Regina quickly hides them by closing her eyes and bringing an arm around her face, shutting out Emma, and Emma’s heart plummets to the ground when she realizes that she's not the recipient for such love, that the emotion isn’t for her.
And normally she would take this moment to leave, viewing Regina's guard as a subtle way of kicking her out, and she tries, moving her hand to pull out even when the insides of Regina tries desperately to pull her back in. But when she moves to get up, she notices the tears falling off the sides of Regina's face, unblocked by her arm, and she quickly moves back to hover over the woman, dragging a thumb to wipe away the tears and feeling the way Regina goes tense. "Did I hurt you?" she asks softly, worriedly, but Regina shakes her head and she's confused at what else could cause such a reaction. "What's wrong then?"
She frowns when the other woman remains silent but she waits, lying down and pulling her in until the tiny body is wrapped within her arms, squeezing with as much reassurance as she can. "Regina, you can always talk to me." And she hates this, hates when Regina’s hurting and hates that she can’t do anything about it. There’s some finality to this moment and she wonders if she went too far, wonders if she asked for too much. Her mind replays the entire night, going through all the scenarios of what could have gone wrong and wonders if her initial fears of being in Regina’s bed being the tipping point were coming true after all.
Regina sniffles against her collarbone. “It’s too much.”
Her heart drops, she feels it all the way down in her stomach and she feels nauseous; this is it, this is the moment when it all ends. Regina must feel her stiffen because she quickly backs away and turns, facing away from her and leaving Emma alone to her own heartbreak.
"You don't want this anymore?" she croaks out, her voice cracking as she stares at the way the muscles in Regina's back jump when she speaks out. She holds her breath as she waits, not really knowing if she wants to hear the answer but knows that she needs it, knows that she needs it to make a clean break from this. No more ambiguity, no more nightly visits. She needs to hear the words or she'll just crawl right back whenever Regina feels the need again, even if hearing them will be making her cry into her ice cream and watch soap operas all month, she needs the finality to heal.
But Regina quickly turns around and stares at her incredulously, her eyes still puffy and red but the glare offsets it all. "I want this too much!" Regina yells and Emma’s taken aback by the sudden emotion. She thinks, and the words whir in her mind, her heart mends itself with hope as her lungs fill back with air.
Regina rolls her eyes and it doesn’t give off the same derisive effect when she’s naked with puffy eyes as it does when she’s donning her power suit and pants. “I know you don’t feel the same so just-” she waves a hand in the direction of the door, “leave me like you always do.” There’s resigned anger now, like Regina’s annoyed but has already decided that this was her fate, already given up on resisting, and Emma laughs. A breathy laugh where she wheezes out air as tears start to fall and Regina goes from offended to alarmed in three seconds.
And despite the fact that Regina’s under the absurd notion that Emma doesn’t love her, she still reaches out and tries to wipe away her tears, even though there doesn’t seem to be an end to them. Emma’s still laughing though - and sobbing uncontrollably - because Regina believing that Emma doesn’t reciprocate her feelings is just the kind of self-deprecating bullshit she should have expected from the both of them.
She pulls Regina’s hand away and wipes harshly at her own tears before confessing, “I want this too.” Her voice is rough and filled with tears but the way Regina’s eyes widen to unbelievable proportions at her words is comical enough for her to choke out another laugh. Because she doesn’t think Regina understands just how much she wants this, been wanting this since even before they started sleeping together.
“But- I thought-” Regina’s eyes narrow at her. “I don’t believe you.”
She laughs again, shaking her head at the way the Regina’s always so blind when it comes to herself, unable to see just how truly amazing she is and how it’s impossible for Emma to want anyone but her. “I’ve been an idiot,” she says with a smile as her hand reaches out and idly caresses the contours of Regina’s cheek. “All this time, I felt like I didn’t deserve you or you could never possibly want me and was holding out for someone better. I was always going to be a stepping stone for you and I’ve made peace with that. My leaving every night was my only way of holding that last remaining piece of myself because I’ve given almost everything to you a long time ago. I love you, so much .”
Regina then looks at her with awe as if she couldn’t believe the words coming out of Emma’s mouth but tears start to well up again. “You are an idiot,” she admonishes gently, “how could I ever want anyone but you? How could anyone replace you? You, who despite all the pressure of being a saviour and feelings of self-doubt, always helps others in need and always puts others before herself. You, Emma, are wonderful and smart and has become a great mother for Henry. You’re my best friend and confidant, always there and supportive when I need you.” A tear trickles out from the corner of Regina’s eyes as she continues to look at her intensely.
“And I need you, always. I love you, Emma Swan, you big idiot .”
She laughs, cries, a combination of both, before she leans in and kisses the love of her life. She knows the words are real, Regina would never carelessly toss words like love around unless she really means it. So she gives her all like she’s never given before, finding more pieces of herself to give to this wonderful woman, moving her mouth in tandem with Regina’s as their tongues tangle in a dance. She runs a hand down Regina’s arm to graze softly against her ribcage, catching the moan and breath hitch in her mouth.
Her hand moves to Regina’s smooth back, tracing each vertebrae with her fingers before Regina pushes her back, inhaling sharply to regain her breath.
“Stop,” Regina demands breathlessly, “I’m still sensitive and it should be your turn right now.” She bites her lip guiltily because she never wants to stop touching Regina and it’s only a problem because Regina makes it a problem. Some nights she’d just keep going until Regina’s too exhausted to do anything back to her and Regina would get her revenge the next night. The Queen always viewed it as if she’s losing and she hates to lose, loves to give as much as she gets, and sometimes Emma feels a little proud of her handiwork when she sees Regina boneless and unable to continue, maybe it feels a little bit like winning, maybe she’s a little competitive as well.
But that’s one of the best things about Regina, about them; it’s one of the things she loves about their dynamic, the way they challenge each other - a passion that has yet to disappear despite years of knowing each other. She briefly wonders if Regina would be willing to try and insert her whole hand too, wonder if she would enjoy that feeling of intimacy as well, wonders what else Regina’s willing to try with her.
But, when she thinks about it, they have forever from now on, don’t they? Forever to grow old and try new things and she never has to leave Regina’s side ever again.
She leans in for another kiss, which Regina allows, but it’s a much shorter one this time and she nuzzles her nose against Regina’s neck. “I love you” she says again, the dam to her emotions broken and she can’t stop the flow of it. She presses the words softly against Regina’s ear and feels the shudder that travels down Regina’s back. “I want this, in every way possible. I want you, and me, and Henry as a unit.”
She feels the tenseness in her heart dissipate, all the stress she didn’t know she was holding in seeps out of her bones and she realizes just how exhausted she is when her body is filled with nothing but relief. “And tomorrow, I’ll wake up, see you, and kiss you, and we’re going to make breakfast together.” She feels Regina smile against her cheek and her eyes begin to droop, the serenity of the moment making her relaxed. “And one day, I’ll move in, if you’ll accept me, and every night I’ll be here, loving you...”
“Emma?” Regina taps her back and she can only hum in response. “Emma, no, wake up, I still want to-”
Without looking, she moves her hand from Regina’s back to slapping it against her mouth, it may have taken three tries to find it. “Shhhh, love you, sleep now.”
She hears Regina indignantly muffled against her hand before she feels it being wrenched away. “I can’t believe you.” She feels the pout before feeling a peck against her cheek. “Good night, don’t think you’ll get away from this.” She laughs at Regina threatening her with that husky voice of hers and she pulls the woman in. Settling against each other until they’re pressed and molded together, the body in her arms feeling so right, the sigh of content escaping both of them as their warmth lulls them to sleep.
She hums, feeling her own voice vibrating against soft skin. “Love you too, night.” And tomorrow she knows Regina’s going to practically attack her, only letting her go when she’s satisfied - not Emma - but the thought only makes her look forward to tomorrow. She didn’t even consider that there would ever be a guaranteed tomorrow for them and it fills her heart with unbridled hope which she doesn’t bother to stifle anymore.
Ruby’s going to be insufferable for the next year she just knows it, but she would never trade this for the world.