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In Love & War

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Emma Swan was a dreamer. Just like any 18 year old teen her age. Life always seemed to want to knock her down through out her lived years. But, Emma was never one to know when to quit. No, the blonde was always a fighter. A strong one at that. Despite not ever knowing her real parents, or why they didn’t want her, she loved every bit of her life. She became the pick of the litter once Ingrid Fisher laid eyes on her when she was just a baby. As a girl, Emma loved hearing that story over and over, on how they were meant to find each other in the most gloomy day Storybrooke had ever seen.

The town of Storybrooke, Maine was all the blonde ever knew. But, there wasn’t a day in her life where Emma didn’t always thrived for more. She ambitioned having her own life, meeting the right girl, finally having a family of her own. Finding her true love. Yes, she still believed in finding true love. Who didn’t, really? As it was said before, she was a dreamer. Just like she also dreamed to one day become the best writer there ever was.

Someday…

For now, she kept notebooks and notebooks of whatever she was feeling, stories she would make up in her head that someday, she knew, would become something great.

Today, for now, the blonde began to take her own path to her own life.

Ingrid would always tell her that she was meant to do so much for this world that didn’t deserve any ounce of her kindness and enormous heart. So, on the very day of her graduation from Storybrooke High… Emma Swan enlisted to serve in the army.

It wasn’t hard for her to do, given that she was 5’7” and in excellent physical condition. She was more than ready to take this step forward.

Ingrid watched the blonde proudly as she stood in front of her mirror while she placed her red leather jacket on. Giving herself one last look over.

Emma turned to face the other blonde as she saw her through the mirror, smiling at her ever so warmly.

“You all set?” the other blonde asked, her eyes already filling up with tears for the hundredth time today.

“Let’s go.” Emma nodded, walking towards the door, but not before giving her bedroom one last glance.

“Emma…” the blonde turned to look at Ingrid as her name was called. The other blonde’s hands resting on each of her biceps as she continued once their eyes met, “I want you to know that I am so proud of you.” her voice caught in her throat as she fought back more unshed tears, “Promise me that you’ll train hard and become the best soldier this country has ever seen.”

Emma nodded proudly, “I promise,” almost instantly she was pulled into Ingrid’s motherly embrace as she held on to her just as tightly. They lasted in the embrace for a while until Ingrid pulled back from the hug, fighting back more tears.

“Well,” the older blonde sighed, forcing a smile, “Let’s get going.” she held out her arm, guiding Emma through the door as they walked down the stairs of her house and out the door.

Tires screeched on the bare driveway of their home as a red convertible suddenly arrived in a hurry.

“Emma, wait!” Ruby, Emma’s best friend since childhood came running up the past the driveway, up the steps and onto the porch, huffing and puffing for a breath. Her waitress uniform still on her body as she had left work. She smiled over at her best friend, “You didn’t think I’d let you leave without coming along, did you? Granny gave me the rest of the day off just so I could go with you guys and,” she held up a packet of oreo cookies, “She bought these for you to eat on the road.”

Emma smiled a pearly white smile as she took the packet of oreos from her best friend, “Thanks, Rubes.” she couldn’t help but to hug the brunette then and there as Ruby’s eyes filled with pools of tears.

“Alright, come on. You can hug her when we get to the airport. We have to get going or you won’t make your flight.” Ingrid rushed them as both Ruby and Emma ran to the older blonde’s car.
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Emma looked up at the bulletin board up on a wall, her eyes quickly spotting the 1880 flight was on time to its destination. She turned to look at Ingrid and Ruby, hugging them both individually one last time as all three said their goodbyes. Emma walked towards the checkpoint line, turning back around one last time as she smiled and waved at Ingrid and Ruby.

“Kick ass, Em!” Ruby shouted, causing a few heads to turn her way as she gave the blonde two thumbs up, while Ingrid wiped away all the tears she had been holding in since this morning.

Emma passed through the checkpoint fairly quickly, as the only items she was carrying with her were her passport and driver’s license. Everything else that was required for her to bring with her, she had shipped out beforehand.

In just two hours, she would be arriving to Atlanta, Georgia on her way to Fort Benning, presenting herself to BCT (Basic Combat Training) for nine weeks.
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Emma grunted as she received a direct punch right to her face. Another punch was soon delivered her way, only this time, she blocked it as she delivered two direct punches of her own.

Hours later, her camo pants and white t-shirt, along with the blonde tips of strands of hair that hung freely over her face were now muddy. Training was definitely hard, but fun. She wasn’t about to give up, not now- not ever. She crawled her way through mud and hard pouring rain, making her way through barbed wire. When she wasn’t doing that, her instructors would have her doing push-ups and sit-ups, along with other types of physical activities.

“Come on, Swan! You can do it!” August Booth shouted, looking up at the blonde as she used all her arm strength to climb up a single piece of rope. Her bicep muscles well exposed as she raced up that rope, determined to beat her opponent all in a good day of fun. She won, of course. She had become that good with her arm strength.

Gun fire was heard on other days. She learned to use all types of weapons from rifles to M-4’s to pistols. In very little time, Emma had worked hard and would hit her targets every single time. Her shots echoing beautifully through the training areas as she smoothly moved through every single obstacle that she was presented with.

And, in her spare time? She would write. Write about all of her training and experiences. No matter what, she would never stop writing. Even August, who had become like the big brother she never had was included in her writing. He would constantly tease her about her writing, how she would forget all about him once she became this big hot shot writer. Or how she should make him appear taller than he actually was, “You have to leave some girls for me, Swan!” he would say.

Emma came to learn that August’s dream was to travel the world, going around making people furniture as he was very good with carpentry. Both had become such great friends in so little time that he had carved out a small swan that could fit in the palm of her hand out of wood. It was a friendship that would last a lifetime- she already knew that.
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Once her nine weeks were up, she flew back home for good, just until she received orders on where she would be shipped out. She was sad to leave August, but happy to be home. Especially when Ingrid and Ruby waited for her at the airport with tight hugs and loving kisses. After she was done answering every single of Ruby’s questions, pestering her to tell her all about what she did out in Fort Benning, Emma collapsed on her bed. The room and sheets themselves smelling different to her from being absent so much time. But, it was home.

Usually for a soldier to get deployed it would take 12 months, but for Emma it came a little faster, given that the army was needing more recruits.

A faint knock was heard at the door of her bedroom as she sat by her desk, near her window. “Yeah?” her body shifted in her chair as Ingrid came in greeting her with a warm smile and a cupcake with blue frosting and a single candle.

“I know, I know,” the older blonde held up her free hand to prevent Emma from speaking as she was already throwing her a deadly glare, “you’re not big on birthdays, but given that you leave tomorrow for God knows how long, and your birthday isn’t until a couple more months- oh, just humor me!”

Emma chuckled as Ingrid held out the cupcake for her to take, which she did, her lips pursing as she drew in a breath.

“Ah! Don’t forget to make a wish.”

Emma rolled her eyes, a smirk on her lips as she closed her eyes for a minute. What did she wish for? What was most in her heart. Love.

“Don’t forget to write me once you can.” Ingrid smiled a sad smile.

Emma stood up from her chair as she hugged her with the most tightest hug in the world. A hug, to which Ingrid’s arms quickly wrapped around the other blonde’s form.

“Take great care of yourself out there, Emma.”

“I love you, Ingrid.” Emma’s voice was a soft whisper. She could have sworn she had heard the other woman gasp in surprise. Of course she knew Emma loved her, but it still took her by surprise. So much that tears began to fall from her eyes.

“I love you too.” her voice broke, “You come back safe and sound, you hear me?”

Emma nodded, staying silent for the remainder of the night.
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AFGHANISTAN - 1 Month Later

A soldier, joined by three others scoped out a two floor building as nothing but the heat of the sun, a few abandoned buildings, along with hot desert dirt surrounded them. Men were conversing, as children played around the area. Everything seemed quiet enough for the day.

“We’ve been here for a while now. I say we just take them out.” a soldier whispered over.

Graham, who awaited further orders and more back up, shook his head, “Not yet.”

A bead of sweat started coming down his helmet as he observed. His hand coming up to the radio that was strapped to his uniform by his shoulder, “What’s your view from the skies, Swan?”

“All clear for now.” Emma laid flat on her stomach as her sniper was placed on its base. Her eye remaining right on the scope as she was able to get a closer view of everyone down below, “Backup is on the way to you.”

Heads turned at the sound of boots crunching against dry dirt as August along with 3 of his men entered the building where each had been hiding.

“It’s about time.” Graham whispered over.

“We have movement.” Emma reported, her voice sounding off Graham’s radio as the man looked forward out a broken window as every one of his men remained hidden. Emma’s green eyes were so focused, she didn’t blink. As she looked through her scope, she could see a woman dressed all in black, covered from head to toe, looking rather suspicious. “Eyes up front. Something’s up.”

Everyone in the room stopped breathing as the woman kept on walking. She walked until she was past the kids, while in the blink of an eye, the group of men were gone.

“Where the hell did they go? Talk to me, Swan.” Graham ordered, when suddenly there were gunshots as the men that were in their line of sight were now trying to ambush them. “Swan, we need your wings down here! Now!”

Everyone moved, hid and took cover as they started firing shots of their own, bringing down a couple of men, as more started coming in. Everyone moving in different directions of the giant building. Graham raised his weapon as he fired a couple of shots before him, saving a couple of his men from being killed. He grunted in pain as he felt a bullet go right through his leg, just above the knee. His body fell to the floor as two weapons that didn’t belong to any of his men were aimed right at him. A loud shot echoed in the distance as a single bullet which came from Emma’s sniper pierced right through their heads, earning her two direct head shots in a row.

Graham blinked as he saw blood splatter against the walls, very little specks of blood reaching his face as the bodies fell before him, dead.

“I have you covered, get out of there now!” Emma shouted, taking a few more shots as more men went down one by one. In just a month, Emma had already become an expert marksman. She had to do and live unimaginable things, but this is what she signed up for. This is what she wanted to do, and she was good at it.

Graham moved as fast as his feet could carry him out of that building, limping from one leg, shooting others in the process as he watched others go down around him by Emma’s sniping alone. Thank God he was with him on this day, or he could swear he wouldn’t make out of here alive.

Slowly, every man that had been shooting at them were going down one by one. All that was left now was the woman who had come out of one of the buildings. Who was now reaching for something inside of her robes, looking rather suspiciously.

August’s eyes widened as the woman took out an explosive device which she quickly began to set the timer to, “Bomb!”

“Swan!” Graham shouted into his radio, another shot quickly echoing through the air as the woman herself went down in that very instant.

Emma’s eyes finally blinked. Rapidly. She panted out breathes of air that she had been holding as she could still see the woman’s dead body through her scope as everything finally grew quiet around them. The kids no longer in sight.

Mission complete.
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"I heard there was a familiar bird in the sky!" Emma's head snapped up at the sound of August's familiar voice. Her smile flashing towards him as the blonde placed her notebook down as they embraced each other in a hug.

August couldn't help but cheerfully laugh as he lifted the blonde off of her feet, "Swan! You are one crazy sniper if my eyes ever saw one." he patted her arm playing.

They were all resting for the night. They were still sweeping the areas however, which Emma and August decided to once again after actually calling it a night. Once that was done, they returned to their spot where Emma had been taking a moment to write some things down in her notebook.

August's eyes fell on the red cover of the notebook as Emma held it in her hands once again. It was torn from an edge and folded in others. A white creased line noticeable right down the middle from where she had folded it. Her name E. Swan written in bold black lettering right in the center.

The man nudged the blonde's arm, "When are you getting that thing published, Swan?"

Emma smirked, her cheeks turning a slight pink color as she looked down at her notebook, "This is more for my reading pleasure. No one wants to know about my life experiences. People get enough of war on TV."

"Are you kidding me? You publish this baby someday," he pointed towards her notebook, "I guarantee it will sell. People love reading a good story that someone else has personally lived." he nudged her again, "It'd be even better if you were to find love in the middle of all this hell hole, huh?"

Emma smirked, "Yeah, right," she replied, but on the inside- being the dreamer that she was- she wished for it.

Could it be possible that within all the horror's she's come to witness in just a month, there could be an angel waiting for her at the end of it?

"Have you written to your father?" she asked him.

August nodded, “He’s been keeping busy. Says he has a ton of work for me for when we go on home,” he chuckled, “How about you? How’s that hottie back home you have for a mom?”

Emma raised a brow as she glanced over at the man beside her, “Ew,” she laughed along with him as he reached over for his water. A laughter and calming time that soon turned into a nightmare as a loud explosion was heard right near them. Sending both of their bodies to fly off due to the impact. Other grenades followed, along with bullets and screams from other soldiers and the enemy alike.

They had been ambushed.

The earth shook as grenade after grenade kept going off. Emma’s green eyes shot open as she grunted in pain. Her face feeling as if it had been impacted by a sledge hammer. Her ears ringing from the explosion that went off near them. She couldn’t move. Her body was feeling as if it had received the worst impact. She could feel a giant weight on her body as it laid before her. Her head laid back on to the dirt as her eyes momentarily closed.

“August?” she called out in a whisper. More for herself than for her friend to hear, really. She wanted to make sure she was still breathing. Even that in itself hurt to do right now. The pain was so surreal, she feared she might’ve broken a rib.

Screams echoed, along with gun fire as her eyes opened up again. The night had never seemed darker. Clouds of dirt were around the blonde as she finally began to move. She needed to keep moving. She needed to find August.

“August?!” She finally shouted, grunting as her body ached to move. Her arms came up as she placed her hands on whatever heavy object had fallen upon her, “Ugh!” she grunted as she pushed it off with the very little strength she had left in her. She couldn’t tell for sure, but if she could, she was sure the tips of her fingers turned white from all the strength she had to use as the heavy object turned, clanking loudly as it fell off of her.

“Ugh- ah!” Emma screamed in pain as she was getting up, her hand cupping right where her rib was located. Now, she was sure it had to be broken as the pain became more visible the more she moved.

She pushed up again as she stood, moving as fast as she could. “August!” She shouted the man’s first name through pants. Streaks of blonde hair covering her face as her helmet had flown off due to the impact. Her eyes quickly scanning every dead body that was around her, looking for that familiar face. Suddenly a scream was heard coming from behind her, which caused her body to quickly react. She twisted her body, moving through the sharp pain her rib kept reminding her of, as she pushed the weapon that was aimed right at her away with one quick motion of her arm. Her leg came up next in a hard kick delivered right to the man’s knee cap, as she quickly reached for the weapon that was holsted against her hip, firing two direct shots into the man’s chest as his body fell stiff to the ground.

She kept moving throughout the shots and screams, grunting in surprise as another man charged right at her, knocking her on her back. “Ah!” she screamed in pain, not at all needing a reminder that her rib was probably more broken that it had been before after that tumble. Her weapon flying off her hands as both of her arms came up as her caught sight of a knife being aimed directly at her. She grunted, using all of her force to fight with the man who was determined to kill her. The very tip of the knife moving closer and closer towards her eye as the man pushed further and further down, having more strength than the blonde did in that moment.

It was then she reacted differently as her bare hand came up, wrapping around the bare blade of the knife, feeling the sting as it began to cut away at her flesh. Already a red line of blood sliding down her arm. She let out a long, loud grunt as she pushed up, feeling as the blade began to cut her hand more. A shot was heard as Emma’s eyes blinked rapidly as the man had now been shot. Seeing that as her chance, she reached for her own knife which she had hidden away, her own blade easily piercing the man’s skin as she aimed it right for his jugular, pushing it in even further with full force causing blood splatter to hit her directly in the face as the man coughed out blood.

She pushed the body off of her, as she quickly turned to see who had helped her by taking the one shot that saved her life. It was August, who fell to his knees as soon as she turned and raced right to him.

“August!” She shouted, holding on to her friend, as her eyes looked directly towards his stomach. He had been shot, several times. She applied pressure to the wound on his stomach. It was deep. Obviously, having been caused by the explosion.

“Emma…” he whispered, feeling more and more weak by the minute as the younger woman held him in her arms, “Tell my father-”

“August, don’t you say it! You hear me?” her hand gripped on to the man’s face, forcing him to look her in the eye, “That’s an order, soldier! You’re going to be fine, you hear me?” she sighed, knowing they had to keep moving or they would be killed. “I’m getting you out of here. Come on.” she lifted the man up, forcing him to walk with her across the deserted field. Shots still being fired around them. She grunted and panted as she rushed through as quickly as she could manage.

Shots were fired, bullets bouncing off, leaving their trails against the dirt by the blonde’s very feet as two shot directly towards her left leg, “Ah!” her body fell to the floor, along with August’s very own. She grunted as she pulled him up again, “Stay with me, Booth! Come on.” she limped across that field, all bloody and bruised. Trails of blood decorating the side of her face from injuries she had suffered from the blast. Finally, her body gave out as she collapsed on the dirt once again. She couldn’t move any longer.
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It was an early morning in Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. Regina was a volunteer nurse who felt a deep passion for her profession. After losing her father due to the war, she decided to volunteer for the Red Cross and travelling to Germany to help all of those wounded soldiers was a way of honoring her father’s memory. She hated the war. She remembered her being against her father leaving for it when she was just a child.

She stood near a window, looking out onto the beautiful buildings of Germany. Such as life, people out there living their lives, going on normally while inside this building, time would stop every single day. People died.

“Are you alright?” the brunette’s head turned to the sound of a familiar female voice, providing her friend and another fellow nurse with a warm smile.

She nodded, “Just taking a breather.”

“I know. It can get overwhelming sometimes.” Kathryn smiled over to her friend, “I hear we have a new doctor.”

Regina sighed, releasing a chuckle, “We don’t need more doctors, we need more supplies.”

“Tell me about it,” Kathryn snorted, “If we keep getting more soldiers sent our way, we’ll be running out of space soon as well.”

“Coming through!” a male voice was heard shouting as a doctor along with a couple of nurses came rushing in with a gurney, carrying an injured soldier as they pushed past Kathryn and Regina. Both women giving each other a look.

“Break’s over.” said the brunette as they began to quicken their steps towards the entrance of the hospital.

“Just remember…” Kathryn spoke, speaking in unison with the brunette who already knew her friend’s motto by heart, “We’re here to do a job.”

Regina pulled her stethoscope from her pocket as she placed it behind her neck, letting each end hang down her shoulders as more and more beds came rushing in. Soon, the very little silence both women had been enjoying turned into agonizing screams and cries from injured men and women in service. Both the brunette and blonde checked on random soldiers as they ordered them to different rooms around the floors of the hospital.

The brunette pulled a curtain back as she quickly snapped on gloves, placing the end of her stethoscope near a wounded soldier’s heart, “Can you hear me?” her voice firm as the man barely had the strength to open his eyes. As she got no response, she quickly retrieved her flashlight from her breast pocket, clicking it on as her light shined right at the man. Her thumb coming up to the man’s face as she pulled the man’s lids open, checking his pupils. “Move him to area 11, quickly!” she ordered, quickly moving to another man who was screaming in pain. Her brown eyes falling to his leg which looked as if it was hanging from a string of whatever was left of it. “Kathryn, I’m going to need sterilization here!”

Kathryn came rushing over with a shot in hand with antibiotics, her eyes falling on the man’s hanging leg, “We’re going to need to amputate.” she whispered over to Regina.

“No! No! No!” the man began struggling, going through a sudden panic attack as other nurses began to hold him down, along with the blonde and brunette.

“Put him under!” Regina ordered as Kathryn quickly took another injection filled with anesthesia, handing it over to the brunette, which she quickly took off the blonde’s hands, injecting the man as he started to slowly calm down, after clearing the area of all the trails of blood and disinfecting it. She turned to her friend, “Take him into surgery.”

Kathryn nodded as she and other nurses rolled the now unconscious man away.

“Incoming! We have a female with a broken rib!” Regina’s head turned to another shout as Emma was now being rolled in on another gurney. She quickly made her way past other doctors and nurses as she rushed over her, placing her stethoscope on the blonde’s heart, underneath her ripped and dirty uniform, hoping to hear a heartbeat as the blonde was imoble.

Suddenly, it was as if the brunette’s brown eyes were brought back to life as she heard a faint heartbeat, “She’s alive. Bring her to area 9, quickly!” she rushed over, taking her previous bloody gloves off as she quickly washed her hands, placing new gloves on in the blink of an eye. She pulled the curtain back to where Emma had been taken, her eyes quickly examining every wound on her face and body.

The curtain was pulled back again, as the new doctor rushed in right after Regina, “What’s the story?”

Regina’s eyes looked over at the man, as his eyes connected with her own, “Two shots on her left thigh, a couple of bruises, broken rib. She’s alive.”

The doctor checked out the unconscious blonde with his own stethoscope, checking her pupils with his flashlight, and inspecting her leg as her pants had been cut up while in the ambulance, as well as the rest of her uniform. “Her leg is in bad shape. Prepare her for surgery.” he ordered as Regina nodded, moving quickly to get everything in order as Emma was rolled away to another room.
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As night fell upon the hospital, the hallways finally grew quiet. Some soft murmurs and distant coughs were heard every now and again as Regina made her last rounds for the day. She entered the last room for the night. Room 232 as monitors beeped. Her eyes falling upon the young blonde that had been brought in hours ago, almost dead. Noticeable bruises now decorating the blonde’s cheekbone, all the way up to her part of her forehead as a now bandaged cut rested just above her eye. Her left leg wrapped up in bandages. Her blonde hair now resting behind her as ends of it covered her shoulders.

“This one was a crazy one.” Regina’s head snapped up at the sound of Kathryn’s voice, as her friend now stood behind her, her eyes looking down at Emma as well, “Paramedics told me they found her out in the field. Seems she tried to get another soldier to safety despite her injuries.”

Regina shook her head, her eyes filled with sadness as they once again met the blonde girl who remained passed out before her, “She can’t possibly be more than 18.”

Kathryn walked over to the foot of the blonde’s bed, taking her chart from the pocket where it had been placed, as her eyes studied it, “E. Swan. She turned 19 today,” she placed the chart back in its place, “God gifted her with another chance at life. This one’s a fighter.” she walked over to Regina, “I’m going to finish my rounds. Are you going home after this one?”

Regina nodded, “I’ll see you there.” she smiled at her friend as the blonde left the room, her head turning right back at the blonde as she slowly heard a grunt escaping the young girl’s chest. She quickly moved over to her bed, placing a hand on her shoulder as she tried to move, “Try not to move so much. You need to heal first before you can do that.”

Emma’s eyes exhaustively opened as Regina’s studied the green color that coated them. Even tired, they were the most mesmerizing green eyes she had ever seen. As the blonde girl’s eyes met with her own brown ones, Emma was captivated. Could she be dreaming? Maybe dead? Was it possible that before her stood an angel that came to take her towards heaven’s golden gates and into an eternal light? This woman before her had to be an angel. She had a smile and face of one.

Chapter Text

“Are you thirsty?” asked Regina, not giving the blonde a chance to even nod her head as she quickly walked over to a glass pitcher, taking the top off of it as she used it as a glass. Emma’s eyes, now a little more awake followed the brunette’s every move. “Here, let me help you.” Regina’s voice was so soft, just as her touch as her hand tucked behind her golden locks as she gently lifted her head up, while her other hand held the glass closer to the blonde’s thin lips, waiting patiently for her to have a drink of cool water.

Emma’s eyes momentarily closed as she felt the coldness of the water run down her throat. She released a sigh, her eyes following the brunette’s every move as she placed the glass top back in its place and walked right back to her.

“Is the pain coming back?” the brunette asked as she heard another grunt coming from a tired and beat Emma. Once the blonde nodded, too tired to even speak, or too in awe with the woman’s beauty- whatever the case. Regina prepared another injection of morphine as she tapped lightly on the syringe, while the neeld squirted out the remanding air and liquid before injecting it into the intravenous (IV) bag.

“It’s morphine,” she explained, noticing her tired green eyes on her, “It will help with the pain. Unfortunately you will be experiencing it for a while since you broke a rib, but it looks like you will make it. You are quite a fighter, soldier.” there was that pearly white smile again. She walked over to Emma as she was finished injecting the liquid into the IV, looking down at the once again sleepy blonde, “Rest now. Tomorrow will be a brand new day.”

“I love you.”

The blonde’s whisper caused the brunette’s features to turn serious for a short moment, but then smiled as she realized, it could have been just the morphine talking. So she simply smiled.

“Would you marry me?” Emma whispered once again, not caring if she felt anymore pain due to talking.

Regina couldn’t help but chuckle as a light shade of pink nicely covered her cheeks. The blonde wasn’t the first patient to bare their love to her through a trip of morphine, but the way her words sounded made her blush unexpectedly, “Rest up, soldier. You’ll be better soon.”

And, just like that, Regina was out the door, but not before giving the now sleeping blonde one last glance.
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Two days later, Emma was fully awake and even though she would still experience some pain from time to time she was slowly healing. Regina came in, early morning, providing the younger blonde with a warm smile. That never failed.

“Well, look at you. You are quite a fighter, aren’t you?” Regina asked, helping Emma sit up on her bed as the blonde could no longer sit still with just two days of recuperation. “How are you feeling this morning, Ms. Swan?”

“Not bad.” Emma’s fully awake green eyes followed the brunette’s every movement as she wrapped a strap around her bicep as she began to squeeze on the pump from the other end, while air hissing sounds sounded off with each squeeze, checking on her blood pressure, taking notice that Regina’s own eyes took a quick glance at her bicep, then her own green eyes. Now that it was day time and Regina could see them with the rays of the sun streaming in through the window. The blonde’s green eyes were quite something to stare into.

The Velcro of the strap sounded as Regina ripped it open and removed it from the blonde’s arm in a hurry as she placed the device back in its place, “Well, you’re blood pressure is finally stable,” she quickly moved around the blonde’s bed to be at her left side now. Disinfecting her hands with one quick squirt of hand sanitizer, and a new pair of gloves before having any type of contact. Emma’s eyes never failing to follow her movements. “Let’s take a look at that leg of yours now.” she pulled back the cover, baring the blonde’s leg as she slowly began to undo the bandage that surrounded it.

Brown eyes suddenly looked up, surprised but not that the blonde was still watching her like a hawk. The blonde’s stare felt so intense, she could feel it burning her. It made her body stiffen but that didn’t stop her from continuing to do her job. As she uncovered the leg completely, she looked down at the incision done to her leg. It looked normal. “It’s looking good. I’m going to change that bandage for you and provide you with more antibiotics,” she explained, moving around the room, retrieving fresh new bandages, a pack of gauze, and a bottle of peroxide.

The woman looked so passionate about her job, Emma could watch her all day without blinking.

“You love your job, don’t you?” Emma finally voiced, throwing the brunette off balance, given that the past two days she thought either the blonde was too shy to speak or too embarrassed given that she had asked her to marry her in her state drowsiness. “Did you always want to help people?” she asked, given that the brunette simply smiled when asked her first question.

“She speaks,” Regina teased in a murmur, nodding. Her hands ripping up the medium sized back of gauze as she placed it gently on the blonde’s leg, right on her incision, quickly moving to wrap up the fresh new bandage around her leg, lifting it up ever so delicately with one hand while the other began its work. “I’m sorry.” her eyes filled with worry as the blonde hissed once her leg was moved.

“Ingrid always taught me never to ask a lady about her age and her teeth.” Emma commented, remembering Ingrid’s words in her head about how, it’s never polite. She realized how stupid her random wording sounded right after. So, she wasn't an expert on how to talk to a girl before- er, woman.

Regina chuckled once again, not being able to help it, “25, and they’re all mine,” she smiled, standing up to toss everything in the trash, except for her gloves just yet. Next, she moved to another cupboard near the door, preparing an injection of antibiotics.

Emma’s heart began to beat faster inside her chest. She knew the woman had to be older than her, that much was clear. But, age never mattered to her. The heart wants whom it wants. Yes, it sounds crazy, I know. Who falls in love at first glance? Even Emma never thought it would be possible, but here she was, completely and utterly smitten with this woman who she knew nothing about, except for the obvious: she was a nurse and she loved her job.

“Regina...” the brunette’s eyes quickly looked up from the injection, directly into the blonde’s eyes as she heard her name being sounded off her thin lips, “That’s a nice name.”

Regina couldn’t help but glance down at her identification she wore clipped to the bottom of her scrubs shirt. Of course, Emma would notice it. That’s how she got her name. She smiled politely as she stood before her now, “Turn around for me, please.” she instructed, lifting up the sheet off the younger girl’s body, waiting for her to do as she was told.

Emma lifted a brow, teasingly, “We haven’t gone on one date yet and already you want me to expose myself to you?”

Regina lifted a brow, her free hand on her hip as she glared directly at the teasing blonde. Boy, was she ever such a child. She walked up to the edge of the bed as Emma then did what she was told. Regina lifted the back flap of her hospital gown, exposing the blonde’s ass cheeks. My, was it well formed too. She blinked as she quickly disinfected the area and poked the needle straight in as her thumb pushed down on the plunger.

Emma laid still on her side, not even feeling any pain from being injected. She couldn’t imagine Regina ever hurting her, really. The woman’s touch was so soft and gentle, she certainly was in the right profession. She wasn’t like other nurses who made patients feel as if they didn’t love their job and it was more a nuisance than a pleasure to care for the wounded.

“I’m sorry to say I left my car at home.”

Regina’s brows furrowed at the blonde’s random words, “Excuse me?”

“For our date,” Emma looked over her shoulder, not knowing that she could turn around now, mentally kicking herself again for blurting random words out again.

“I haven’t said yes yet. You may turn now.” Regina informed her, helping the girl lay on her back carefully as she was still rather sore from her entire body.

“You haven’t answered my question.” Emma followed the brunette’s every move as she walked up to the nearest trash bin and disposed of her gloves, along with injection.

“What question would that be, Ms. Swan?” the brunette walked up to the side of the blonde’s hospital bed. Her hands resting behind her back as she waited for her reply.

“Emma.” the blonde quickly replied, “My name’s Emma.” her eyes never moved away from the brunette’s as she continued, “I may have been on a highly dosed morphine trip, but I do remember asking you to marry me.”

Regina couldn’t understand why that caused her heart to momentarily stop, but as she always would do with her patients- even those who had a sick puppy type of crush for her- she smiled, “Well, get in line, because about half my patients in this hospital have already beat you to that question. I’ll be back later in the day to check on you. Breakfast should be brought in momentarily.”

“Would it be so bad to marry me?” asked Emma, causing the brunette to stop in her tracks as she reached the door.

Regina looked over her shoulder at the still injured blonde, “Remind me to lower your morphine dosage. Good day, Ms. Swan.”

And, just like that… she was out the door, leaving Emma with a smile that reached from ear to ear.
____________________

After making more rounds that morning, Regina sighed as she was on a small break once the afternoon came around. Looking out the window, staring out onto the morning sky, as her thoughts wandered in her head once again. She couldn’t understand why, but in a moment of peace, her thoughts were consumed by a certain blonde soldier.

“What has got you smiling so big this morning?” Kathryn now stood beside her best friend, looking at her with a raised brow, “The last time I saw a smile like that on you was when you broke up with Robin. Or Dr. Locksley,” she rolled her eyes as she lowered her tone of voice while doing an impression of the man, “The nerve of him transferring here. You know he’s only here because he’s hoping to win you back.”

Regina shook her head, not even realizing she had been sporting a big smile on her, “It doesn’t matter. I am not going back into that relationship, Kathryn.”

“No… you prefer wounded soldiers now, huh?” Kathryn smirked, teasing her friend about the obvious.

Regina’s brows furrowed as she looked over at her friend, “What the hell are you talking about?”

Kathryn playfully slapped the brunette’s arm, “I wasn’t born yesterday, Regina. I see the looks.”

Looks? Regina shook her head, “I don’t know what you’re talking about, Kathryn.” she picked off an imaginary lint off of her scrubs, breaking eye contact with her best friend. Feeling rather nervous.

“Oh, come off it. You’re going to stand there and tell me that you haven’t gotten lost in those green eyes of hers? Don’t forget, I’m not just your friend- I’m your best friend. And, I know the real reason why you broke it off with Robin.” Kathryn nudged her playfully, as Regina looked down at her shoes, suddenly finding them rather interesting, “I’ve passed by that room, I’ve seen how you smile at her.”

Regina scoffed, having heard enough of this ridiculous assumption, “I smile at all my patients, Kathryn.” she pushed herself off the wall and walked down it, even with Kathryn in tow. “Whatever crush Ms. Swan has on me, is just that- a crush. She will go home once she’s all better and forget all about it.”

Kathryn smirked as she walked beside her best friend, “You have to admit. Underneath all that bruising, she is quite a looker.”

Regina chuckled, “And very young,”

“Lunch? I’m buying.” the blonde offered, changing conversation.

“Please.” Regina nodded as both women kept up their journey down the hallway.
____________________

Robin was making his own rounds throughout the hospital. His next destination was to check up on a certain blonde. He lightly knocked on the door, as Emma’s eyes opened up from her sleep. Her tray of food already empty and set aside.

“Ms. Swan, you’re looking better.” he smiled, picking up her chart from its place, studying it over.

“My leg has really been hurting today, doc,” her hands gently massaging her own leg on top of the covers, “I think it might be swollen.”

“Let’s have a look…” he moved towards the blonde’s leg, pulling back the sheet as his hands softly wrapped around the bandaged leg, not even bothering to take it off. As Emma hissed again due to the pain, he inspected the bandage more, seeing a spot of blood had gone through it. “You seem to have torn up your stitches. I’ll call in a nurse and we’ll have you stitched up in no time.” he smiled.

“That still doesn’t explain the swelling.” said the blonde.

Robin covered her leg back up again, walking over to the call button as he pressed it, “You must have really hurt it. The surgery I had to perform on you to remove the bullets that went into your leg is still rather fresh. Unfortunately, tearing can happen. Especially if you move around a lot in your sleep.”

Is this guy serious? Emma couldn’t help herself and threw a glare directly at him, “No offense, doc, but if you’ve seen what I’d had to see out there, you would move around in your sleep too.”

Robin simply chuckled as if the blonde had just told him a joke that had humored him a little.

“Yes, doctor?” a much older nurse came rushing into the room, waiting for further instructions.

“Stitches came loose. Please, be very careful and stitch her back up.” Robin ordered, his eyes moving back to the blonde as the nurse nodded and began retrieving up the supplies needed, “I’ll issue you a dose of stronger antibiotics.” he nodded her way and walked out without any worry.

Emma’s eyes looked over at the nurse as she uncovered her leg and began undoing the bandage, “Do you know where Nurse Mills is?” she couldn’t help but ask.

“It’s her lunch hour. She should be back later in the day.” the woman smiled. A nice, sweet, gentle smile at that, but it wasn’t compared to the brunette’s. Suddenly a wave of sadness washed over Emma’s eyes. Okay, so she realized Regina could not only attend to her, but she couldn’t help but wish for her to be the one stitching her leg back up right now.
____________________

By 2pm, Regina made her round towards Emma’s room, which made the blonde’s heart skip a beat. She had never seen anyone look so beautiful in hospital scrubs. She wondered then and there, what the brunette would look like outside of work.

“You had a much later lunch today.” Emma smiled. A smile that made Regina stop breathing, but she instantly shook it off with a smile of her own, followed by a raised eyebrow.

“You memorized my lunch hours?”

Emma shrugged, a flush of pink covering her cheeks, “I observe a lot, and happen to have a great memory. Especially with you.”

Regina chuckled, quickly changing route of conversation, “I was told you had a tear earlier,” she checked on the woman’s vitals on the machine, writing everything down in her chart.

“Yeah, you missed all the fun of having to stitch me back up.” Emma teased, her eyes watching the woman like a hawk. Admiring every part of the woman’s beauty.

“Well, maybe we can remedy that. I could just open it back up.” the brunette smirked an almost evil smirk at the look on the blonde girl’s face, reaching for the blue strap, wrapping it around the blonde’s bicep as she began to check for her blood pressure.

Emma chuckled, “That would be something to write about.”

“Oh?” brown eyes met green ones.

“I’m a writer. Well- I want to be anyway. I had a notebook with me the night of the ambush, but…” Regina’s features turned sad at the change in the blonde’s tone. She could hear the pain in her words. See it in her eyes. “There was another soldier with me that night. August Booth,” she paused, “Is he here? Did he make it?”

The velcro of the strap sounded as Regina removed it from her arm, placing it back in its place, “I honestly don’t know. A lot of you came in that day. I know that a lot of other soldiers were transferred to another hospital. It’s possible that he might be one of them.”

Emma’s eyes closed as she leaned her head back onto her pillow as she fought back tears that began to sting at her eyes. Beginning for an exit. August was in bad shape when last she saw him. But, if she was able to make it out, he had to have made it as well. He had to be alright.

The blonde’s eyes opened as her eyes looked down to her where her hand had been resting, feeling a warm and soft touch to it as Regina’s hand gently cupped hers.

“I will try to find out what happened to your friend.” Regina smiled a sad smile, her eyes connecting with Emma’s as the blonde’s hand slowly moved, as if she was too scared to try, but her fingers soon took in the brunette’s in the palm of her hand. Sending a shock of waves throughout her entire body in the instant their fingers met.

Emma’s stare was as sweet as its owner to Regina. She did a quick study of the blonde girl’s eyes and could swear there was an ounce of love in them. Could it be possible? No. Emma was her patient and nothing more. It was a stupid thought to even consider.

Regina quickly removed her hand from the blonde’s light grasp, clearing her throat in the process, “I’ll be back in an hour or two.” she quickly walked out the door without looking back.
____________________

And, she was. She would make her rounds and check in on the blonde as well as other patients. Every round she would stop by to see Emma, she would come out with her cheeks blushing or a shake of the head, or a smile due to the looks the girl would give her. Her eyes were truly the most beautiful, it made her feel things she hadn't felt for anyone in such a long time. How was that possible? She knew nothing about this soldier and already she felt the need of taking care of her. And it wasn't just because of her profession.

Regina sighed as she sat in the cafeteria. Her eyes closed as she gave her right shoulder a light massage. She jumped a tiny bit as she felt a pair of masculine hands cup her shoulders as his thumbs massaged its muscles a tad roughly.

"You always did work hard," her stress became heavier at the sound of Robin's voice. Her eyes followed him as he walked to the other side of the round table, motioning towards the empty chair, "May I?"

The doctor pulled out the chair and sat right before the brunette, given her silence.

"It's really good to see you, Regina."

A chuckle was heard coming from the brunette, "I wish I could say the same."

Robin gave the woman before him a smug type of glare, “You aren’t still mad at me, are you? What happened was a small affair. That’s it. I’m not even with her anymore.”

Regina raised a brow, “Poor you. I’m sorry,” her tone was sarcastic, “If you expect me to feel sorry for you, I’m sorry to inform you that I don’t.”

“I didn’t come here for you to feel sorry for me, Regina,” he continued as the brunette crossed her arms over her chest, “I came here for another chance. A chance to win your love back.”

Regina’s eyes fell upon the man’s hands as they now held on to her own, locking eyes with him right after.

“Things just happen,” Robin shrugged, “I’m a man, you understand how that goes. Don’t you?”

Regina smiled sarcastically as she nodded, “Of course I know. I understand that you’re a man who clearly never had respect for me. And you never will.” she yanked her hands away from his, while standing up from the table, “Excuse me, I have to continue my rounds before I call it a night.”

Robin sighed, sitting back on his chair as he watched the brunette leave the cafeteria without another word or another glance his way.

Regina released another heavy sigh as she walked down the hallways. The nerve of that pompous ass. How could he possibly even think that by transferring all the way to Germany just to be close to her would make her want to forgive him for all the times he lied and cheated and hurt her? In what right mind did anyone think that would make it all okay? There was no way!

“Hey!” the brunette’s head turned, an exhausted smile on her face as she looked at her friend who now walked beside her. A frown on her face as she looked her over, “What’s wrong, are you alright?”

Regina nodded, “I’ll be fine. Are you going home?” she asked, wanting to push Robin out of her mind for the remainder of the night.

Kathryn nodded, “Yes, but…” she smirked.

“What?” a raised brow came from Regina. She knew that smirk of hers all too well.

“I have something I need to show you first. Come on.” she grabbed on to the brunette’s hand without giving her a chance of protesting against it.

“Kathryn, I have rounds I need to fin-” Regina stood firmly on the cold hospital floor, making the blonde roll her eyes.

“It’ll just take a minute!” she dragged Regina away without another word.

Regina walked through the hallways, trying to keep up with her friend’s steps, “Where on earth are we going?”

Kathryn looked around as she quickly opened the door to a supply closet as she shoved Regina inside, following soon after. She flipped on the switch to the light as she bent down, digging through a box as she pulled out a red covered notebook, placing it right in front of the brunette. Regina’s eyes studied every corner of it. It was more beaten up and dirty. Olive hands came up as they held onto the very notebook that belonged to Emma Swan herself. A few corners of the pages in that notebook were already burnt as she flipped through them, not really reading what was inside it.

“I figured I’d give this to you before they take these things out of here and others take them, claiming them as theirs.” Kathryn smiled, even as Regina’s eyes remained on the blonde’s journal, “I know your soldier will appreciate having something back.”
____________________

Regina walked down the familiar hallways that lead towards Emma’s room, a beaten up notebook gripped firmly underneath her arm, as she kept it close to her chest while she made her last rounds for the night. Monitors beeping around her as she walked past one room, then another. Stopping in her tracks as she caught sight of a passed out soldier through the glass windows of the room. She slowly opened the door, walking near the sleeping blonde’s bed as she slowly tucked her notebook right underneath her pillow for her to wake up to in the morning. She couldn’t help but stare at the younger woman’s sleeping state. The bruises on her face still visibly there, but even with the black and blue markings on her face and small cuts, Regina had to admit that Emma was one beautiful woman. Watching her sleep made her not want to leave for the night, but she had to. Before doing that, however, her eyes remained on the soldier for one more moment. Her hand tempted to brush back a lock of blonde hair behind her ear.

“What are you doing to me, Ms. Swan?” she whispered, her brown eyes looking down at her until she finally walked towards the door, slowly closing it in place.

Emma’s lips formed into a small smile as she heard the door, her eyes remaining closed as she drifted off again into what she felt would be her first peaceful sleep

Chapter Text

Emma smiled bright and early that morning. Except for this throbbing pain in her leg, which became worse as soon as the sun came up, the blonde was feeling every reason to smile.

"You sure are looking happy today." Regina came in with a smile of her own, stopping in her tracks at the sight of the blonde soldier's notebook as the blonde reached for it.

"Thank you." Emma looked down at the beat up notebook, "At least something came out looking better than I am,” her eyes looked back down to her notebook as they had momentarily moved up to look at the brunette, “With a few bumps and bruises but it’ll tell one hell of a story.”

“So will you, soldier.” Regina chuckled, wrapping the same strap around the blonde’s bicep as she began to check her blood pressure.

Emma chuckled at the brunette’s encouraging words, “I am more beat up than this notebook I’m afraid.”

“Nothing I can’t handle,” Regina’s eyes connected with Emma’s. Her features becoming that of concern once she glanced down at the numeration concerning the blonde’s blood pressure. It was high. “Are you in pain again? You’re blood pressure is really high.”

Emma’s hands were quick to massage her leg again, “It’s my leg. That doctor stitched me up, but I told him it’s been having some swelling. He issued me more antibiotics, but I’m sure the infection is becoming bad.”

Regina released the blood pressure device as it fell on the bed, the strap still on the blonde’s arm as she quickly lifted the sheet off the bed, bringing the blonde’s leg up as she carefully began to unwrap it. Emma hissed as the gauze that had been placed on top of the incision needed to be removed from her leg even slower than the bandage as the fabric had stuck against the cut. Regina’s eyes grew wide at the sight of the severely infected leg. Not only was it still swollen as the light skin on her leg was now decorated with light reddish coloring, but the cut itself had begun to ooze out thick white puss. The edges of the incision were becoming slightly black and purple.

Regina didn’t waste any time in pressing the call button, several times in fact, she quickly ran back towards the soldier as she glanced up at her and saw that for the first time, Emma was scared.

“What’s going on?” Kathryn rushed in, panting a little from having ran across the long stretched hallway.

“Get the doctor, now! We need to prepare for surgery.” Regina turned back to Emma as she began to prepare an injection of morphine, injecting it into the IV as Kathryn ran to find Robin. “Who’s your doctor?”

“Locksley.” the blonde’s reply was plain and simple.

Regina rolled her eyes at the name as she explained to Emma what was going on, “You need to go into surgery. This has become severely infected already. For that to happen, there must be something still inside that caused it and it needs to be removed.”

Emma’s eyes never left the brunette, even as she wasn’t looking directly at her, her hand stretching out as it grabbed a hold of her arm, “Regina,” their eyes connected as Regina looked into the blonde’s frightened green eyes, “Be honest with me. Am I going to lose it?”

Regina became frightened. She knew that Emma knew of there being a slight possibility of amputation. She couldn’t lie. Not to her.

She shook her head, “I won’t let that happen.” her voice almost a whisper.

“Regina,” Kathryn ran into the room once again in a pant, “I can’t find her doctor anywhere.”

Regina groaned in aggravation, “Of course not,” she looked over at Emma, then at her friend as she removed the gloves she had placed on, tucking her stethoscope into one of her scrubs pocket, “Prepare everything for an emergency surgery. I’m not waiting on a damn doctor, this leg can’t wait another minute.”

Kathryn’s eyes grew wide as did Emma’s, “Regina, you can’t possibly be considering what I think you’re- you aren’t a doctor-”

“There’s no time, Kathryn! If we wait around for a doctor, she will lose this leg! Now go!” at the bark of Regina’s order, Kathryn found herself rushing down the stretched hallway once again.

Emma was in awe at the woman’s transformation. Maybe passion was the wrong word to describe what Regina Mills felt for her job. There was determination, professionalism to a key. She lived and breathed it. And that alone was enough to make the blonde’s heart beat for her more.

Regina placed a hand on the blonde’s shoulder, her voice soft once again, “Try to relax. We need to bring your blood pressure down before we go into surgery. I won’t let you lose your leg. That’s a promise.”

Emma’s eyes looked into the brunette’s and she knew… oh, she knew that whatever Regina had to do while she was under the knife, it would be the right thing. She nervously chuckled, “I’ll try.”

“Lay back.” the nurse ordered, providing her with a warm smile that made her obey almost immediately. As the blonde’s eyes closed, Regina sat next to the edge of the bed to be closer to her. Her voice a whisper that was only meant for her to hear as she spoke, “I want you to think of the most beautiful place you’ve ever seen in your life. Your favorite place. Go there and tell me what you see.”

Emma only heard the beautiful sound of what was her voice, as if it were the act of magic, her mind took her back to the one place she ever felt any peace. The corners of her lips curving into a tiny smile, “Near my hometown, there’s nothing but forest. There’s a spot that has this opening and right in the middle of it there’s this cabin. It’s the size of a house, not a small one. It’s abandoned, of course, but right behind it, there’s a trail. If you follow it, as the line of trees come to an end there’s a river with a dock. It’s great for fishing.” her lips curved into an even bigger smile, “I love it there. I would spend hours out there whenever I felt sad.”

Regina couldn’t speak as she pictured the soldier’s description in her mind, clear as day. She hesitated, but couldn’t help to bring down her hand as it rested on top of the blonde’s as she gave it a gentle squeeze. She smiled as her fingers pressed down at her wrist as she calculated her blood pressure, which had quickly stabilized.

“Regina,” Kathryn came in, rushing towards the other side of the bed as Emma’s eyes snapped open, “We’re ready.”

Regina nodded as she and Kathryn began to roll the bed away, while she wheeled the IV bag with her other free hand.

Emma’s eyes looked up at the rushing bright lights as she was wheeled down the outstretched hallway. They turned to Regina next, “You know, if I lose my leg… you’ll owe me that date.” she teased.

Regina chuckled, completely ignoring Kathryn’s glance over at her, “Why don’t you focus on getting better first, Ms. Swan?”

The preparations were quick. Regina had quickly changed in different scrubs as she wore a mask over her face. Kathryn there beside her as she kept an oxygen mask placed on a now knocked out blonde’s face, keeping an eye on her blood pressure as the machine beeped, giving signs of their patient’s stability.

“Are you sure you want to go through with this? You could get fired.” said Kathryn, Regina’s dark eyes connected with her best friend’s in that very moment.

She looked down at Emma for a moment, then back up into Kathryn’s blue eyes, “It’s not an option anymore. She wants to keep her leg. I made her a promise,” her eyes looked at every assistant that was in there with her, “If anyone wants to leave, feel free to do it now.”

“You know I’m with you every step of the way.” blue eyes looked into brown ones as Regina once again nodded in a form of a thank you.

“Scalpel.” the brunette’s hand closed around the sharp metallic object as it was handed out to her. She wiped beads of sweat that were already formed on her forehead as she looked down at the infected leg.

She drew in and exhaled a puff of air as she began…

The incision on the blonde’s leg was held open as the first thing Regina began carefully doing was cutting and scraping away all of the dead skin cells around the edges of the incision to prevent any gangrene from forming and spreading any further. If she pulled that off successfully, there would be no need to amputate the leg.

As she pulled aside some of the muscle tissue using a pair of curved edge forceps, leaving it hanging on the edge of the blonde’s leg as it kept the muscle away from her line of view. Giving her better working access as she could now see the damaged point and where the infection had come from. She grew angry as she could see bullet fragments within the leg, which had caused the infection, which rapidly spread towards the sciatic nerve, damaging it severely. She released a heavy sigh, mentally counting down from ten as she proceeded by removing each of the leftover fragments, one by one.

As instructed by the brunette, tools were handed down to her as the wound would constantly need to be cleaned away from blood that would get in the way, sucking away all the bloody liquids soon after with a small suction tube. Stronger antibiotics were injected directly into the wound as Regina now focused on aiding the damaged nerve. Her heart racing inside her chest as her hands moved on their own, quite expertly. She had no idea where this sudden courage had come from in performing this surgery on her own without a doctor by her side. But, she was here and doing this. Job be damned if she couldn’t complete this task until it reached its end.
____________________

Eternal hours later, Regina released a breath she had been holding as she pulled the mask off of her face, washing her hands until they were covered in white foam of soap. Her head turned towards the bathroom door as it pushed open, her eyes looking at her best friend and her still shocked look.

“You do realize the director will be hearing about this, don’t you?” the blonde stood with a hand on her hip.

Regina nodded, pulling a few paper towels from the dispenser as she dried her hands up, “I’ll chew that food when I have to.”

Kathryn chuckled, a pearly white smirk on her lips, “You might’ve chewed more than you can swallow on this one, Gina. You saved that girl’s leg and her life.” she paused, staring into her best friend’s eyes as she now faced away from the sink and directly at her, “Look, whatever happens… I’m behind you and I am proud to leave this hospital with you if that’s what’s decided.”
____________________

Regina was back in her nurse’s uniform as she walked down the hallway. It felt as if all eyes were on her. Some were. It was admirable what she dared to do, but also very risky. But, as the brunette nurse walked down those familiar hallways, her head was held up high.

“What’s this I hear about you operating on my patient?” Robin stopped beside her.

“Where the hell were you?” Regina snarled, trying to remain as calm as she possibly could, considering this wasn’t the place or the time. But, Robin had done an irresponsible act, and there was nothing that infuriated the woman more than a poor excuse for a doctor. “Her leg was in bad shape, she could have lost it. You saw the inflammation and did nothing-”

Robin looked around as eyes watched the pair argue, “Let’s not talk about this now, Regina.” he murmured.

Regina chuckled at his embarrassment, “You know for a doctor, you did a really poor job in removing the bullets. I found fragments inside the wound. You do know what that implies, don’t you?” she continued even as the man’s jaw tightened in anger, “That bothers you, doesn’t it? The fact that I knew how to do your job.”

“I said not now.” Robin’s tone was menacing now. A tone Regina remembered all too well.

Only this time, the brunette stood with her hands placed on her hips, staring him down in silence.

“Regina?” both heads turned towards Kathryn, her eyes shifting between Robin and the brunette, “The director wants to speak with you.”

Enough said, Regina just walked past Robin, leaving Kathryn to throw daggers his way with her stare alone as she too walked away soon after.
____________________

“Now, then…” Robert Gold closed the door to his office, right behind the brunette as she stood in the middle of his office, right before the older man’s desk. “Have you suddenly become a surgeon overnight, Ms. Mills?” he asked, standing before her now as she made his way around his own desk.

“No, sir.” Regina looked at the man dead in the eyes.

Gold motioned towards the chair next to the brunette, “Have a seat, please.” he sat in his chair just Regina sat in hers. He released a sigh as his gaze fell upon the brunette nurse, “Tell me, Ms. Mills- are you a doctor?”

“No, sir, I’m not.”

“Then, would you mind telling me what is a nurse, such as yourself doing operating on a young girl’s leg without a doctor present? Especially with very little experience in that field.” his tone raised an octave. He remained silent as he waited for the woman to reply.

Regina drew in a breath as she spoke, “May I speak frankly, sir?”

“Please.” Gold awaited her explanation, his tone still very much upset.

“This soldier’s leg had already been in bad shape. It was becoming better. I treated it myself. My patient- this young girl informed doctor Locksley about the swelling and pain in her leg. He chose to do nothing about it. Instead he only prescribed her a different set of antibiotics and went on his way. You can ask her yourself, she will confirm that what I’m saying is true.” she paused for a short moment, never breaking eye contact with the director, “When I arrived this morning, I came to discover that her leg was severely infected. I sent for doctor Locksley, but he was nowhere to be found. No other doctor was on call at the time and it would have been wrong to just wait for one and do nothing. She would have lost her leg.”

Water poured into a clear glass as Gold served himself a glass of water, his eyes pinned on the brunette.

“I realize I’m not a doctor, much less a surgeon. It was my choice to risk this soldier’s life in that operating room. We both know, along with every doctor and nurse working in this very hospital that if a wound isn’t properly cared for or cleaned of anything that could create and infection, the result could cost a patient’s life. Doctor Locksley removed the bullets from this young girl’s leg when she was first brought in. But, frankly, sir- I could have done a much better job at it. Had I been this soldier’s doctor, I wouldn’t be sitting before you now.” Regina’s eyes looked down at the glass of water that was placed before her by the man himself, taking a much needed drink from it.

“I should have your job for this heroic act you pulled today.” Gold finally spoke, “What would you say to that?”

Regina drew in another breath, “If that’s what you decide, sir. So be it. I only ask that you allow me to finish up this day, and that you don’t punish the rest when it was entirely my doing.”

Gold sighed, his hands resting above his desk as he spoke more calmly, “You miraculously removed the fragments from this young girl’s leg, prevented the infection from spreading any further, which ruled out the option of amputation. Better than any doctor in this hospital.” Regina’s breathing as well as her heart stopped altogether as she caught sight of a sudden smile on the man’s face, “You are one of my best nurses in this institution. Frankly, I wish half the nurses here were just like you. You did what no nurse has dared to do in all the years I’ve been in this hospital. I would hate to lose you.”

Regina released a sigh, along with a nervous laugh. Did this mean she could continue working, looking after Emma?

Gold chuckled, “I am willing to overlook this heroic incident of yours. You may stay. Just…” he held up a finger in warning, “Do not make it a habit. Stick to your profession. Unless, of course you have a sudden desire in becoming a surgeon. Are we clear?”

“Crystal clear. Yes, sir.” the brunette nodded as she held in her excitement.

“You may go.”

“Thank you, sir.” Regina was out the door, a smile from ear to ear as she walked out that office door.

Gold chuckled, admiration flowing through him for the young nurse. He picked up his phone as he punched in a single number, “Please send over doctor Locksley.”
____________________

“What was the verdict?”

Regina smiled as she looked over at her best friend, “I’m staying. He was angry at first, but even more impressed that I was able to pull the surgery off with flying colors.”

Kathryn couldn’t help but squeal in excitement, wrapping her arms around the brunette in a tight hug even as heads turned to glance their way. “This we have to celebrate! Drinks tonight?”

Regina released a chuckle, nodding in agreement. She could use some drinks after the day she had after all, “Drinks. It is our day off.”

Kathryn’s smug look overtook her, “I know someone who’ll miss you.” she smirked as Regina threw a glare her way, “Which reminds me. Your soldier is fully awake now, and has been asking for you.”

Regina walked on as her best friend softly nudged her over.

Emma’s head turned to the sound of the room door opening, a pearly white smile exposed before the brunette as she grunted in pain after wanting to sit up on her own.

Regina quickly walked over to the younger girl’s bed, placing a hand on her shoulder, “Easy there, soldier. You need to heal before you can do that.” she sat by her bed carefully, “Everything came out a success. I was able to save your leg,” she smiled, “By tomorrow you can start walking on it, but don’t overdo it. I’ll have a cane issued to you.”

“I can really start walking on it?” asked Emma, her brows raised in disbelief.

Regina nodded, “Only for a short minute. You may walk on it more and more with each passing day. It’ll take about four weeks before you can be a hundred percent better. Although, I should tell you that your sciatic nerve went through a lot during the surgery. I took care of it, however due to the bullet fragments that were still left in your leg, causing the infection, you will develop a limp.”

Emma’s eyes locked on the brunette’s, which caused her heart to stop in place, especially after they suddenly grew sad. “Is it permanent?” her voice a whisper.

“I’m sorry.” was all the nurse could say.

Who knew her career in the army would come to an end so quickly. Green eyes connected with brown ones once again, “You saved my leg,” she smiled a sad smile, “Thank you. At least I’m staying in this hospital for another four weeks. That gives me plenty of time to prepare for our date.”

Regina chuckled, “Sorry, Ms. Swan, but the deal was I’d go on that date with you if and only if you lost your leg,” she raised the bed sheet, giving the blonde’s bandaged leg a quick glance, “All seems to be there.”

“You have to give me some credit. After all, I risked my life trusting you to place me under the knife in that operating room. I could have died,” she continued through Regina’s mocking chuckle, the brunette not believing that Emma was playing dirty now.

“Oh, now you don’t trust me, do you?” Regina’s brow raised mockingly, a smirk on her lips. She shook her head as she looked into the blonde soldier’s eyes, “You’re crazy. You do realize I am seven years older than you,” she continued as Emma rolled her eyes, “I’ll bore you.”

Emma’s hand suddenly cupped the brunette’s, her eyes intimately connecting with hers, “You couldn’t possibly bore me, Regina. Age is just a number. I would love you even if you were forty.”

Regina’s eyes moved from looking up right into the green to their now joined hands as Emma had intertwined their fingers together, back to her captivating gaze. She couldn’t understand it why in that very moment she looked into those eyes as they were sharing this suddenly intimate moment… she wanted to kiss her. She could, but it scared her to give in. That was the truth. Emma Swan was so daring, so inviting with her words alone that it frightened her. She couldn’t get lost like this again.

Her hand jerked back slowly as she rapidly blinked away the thoughts of their lips coming together in a kiss, “I’m sorry. I have to go.” she gasped as she stood, feeling Emma’s very hand quickly grab on to her forearm, preventing her from leaving the room.

“Regina.” eyes met once again as the blonde’s grip didn’t loosen, “What are you so afraid of?”

“Good night, Ms. Swan.” the brunette yanked her arm away from the blonde’s grasp as she quickly left the room. It was then Emma realized that the woman had not had an easy life. She had seen pain in her eyes, as well as sadness, loneliness even. But what she most saw above all that was love. She knew that somehow Regina felt the same way about her. And maybe it was crazy, but if there is one thing Emma knew how to do well was to fight for what she wanted. She didn’t get this far for not doing so after all.

Chapter Text

“Earth to Regina!” the brunette rapidly blank, surprised to see Kathryn’s hands waving in front of her as she had spaced out for the tenth time that night after having a few drinks, given that the next day would be their day off.

“I’m sorry, could you say that one more time, please?”

Kathryn’s brow raised, as her friend has been spacing out all night. Truth being, Regina’s mind found itself being occupied by a certain blonde with emerald green eyes.

“What’s the matter with you tonight?” she nudged her friend’s arm, “You should be proud of yourself for today! You saved your soldier’s life.”

Regina threw a hard glare at the blonde, “I wish you would stop calling her that.”

“What-?”

“She’s not mine, alright? She’s just another day to day patient.”

Kathryn smirked with a chuckle, seeing how Regina drank down the remainder of her drink, “That’s not what your heart says.” she teased.

“Oh, Kathryn!” Regina slammed the top of the table with her palm, so hard it even stung, “Forget what my heart says! I absolutely can not and will not get involved with one of my patients, especially one who is still a kid. Much less another soldier.” she shook her head as her eyes seemed lost behind pools of tears.

Brown eyes landed on Kathryn’s hand as it gently rested on her arm, “Regina, you and I both know that Daniel chose his path. That was years ago. You two were around Emma’s age when he joined. That’s how life is. But, that girl… she isn’t going back into war, not with her leg the way it is,” she shrugged, “Maybe this is life’s way of helping you find love again in a soldier who will actually stick around for a change.”

“She won’t want that.” she shook her head, sad green eyes clear in her mind, “You should have seen the look on her face when I gave her the news about her leg. It was devastating.”

“Emma will be okay. She wanted to keep her leg, no matter at what cost.”

“She likes serving her country.”

Kathryn rolled her eyes, “No more than she likes you. Give her some credit, Regina. The girl is pretty mature for her age.”

Regina’s brows furrowed after downing another drink, “Why are you so fascinated by this girl? Seems to me like you’re the one who likes her.”

It was then, Kathryn let out a laughter that made heads turn in the bar they were in, “Me? Regina, it is true I made out with a girl once, but that doesn’t mean I like women.” she nudged at the brunette who smirked at how red her face had turned, “Come on. You can’t tell me you aren’t curious to know how well that soldier kisses.”

Regina was curious. Despite the fact that to her friend, she was rolling her eyes- her mind was back at the hospital with a certain blonde. It frightened her to think what would happen if she were to allow herself to fall in love again. Especially with someone much younger than she was. It was a constant battle between what her mind thought, apposite what her heart felt. For a now 19 year old, Emma Swan was pretty intimidating when she wanted to be. Maybe without even realizing it, but she sure could make Regina feel everything. To butterflies in her stomach just by looking into her eyes, to a desire she hadn’t felt in years for anyone. This was definitely too scary.
____________________

“Whoa, there soldier, not too fast. You mustn't force that leg.” Regina heard Kathryn’s voice echoing through the patio of the hospital. She leaned over the ledge of the 2nd floor, looking down at Kathryn as she had her arm wrapped around Emma’s form, helping the blonde be able to walk a little as she used one crutch, instead of two.

It had been a week already, and Emma- the fighter that she was- was already moving faster than anyone else would on her leg.

“Time for a break, Kat! I’ll take over.” shouted the brunette as Kathryn and Emma both looked up at the brunette who found herself rushing down the stairs to the patio. Fixing a couple of loose strands of hair as she tucked them behind her ears, her hair being tied in a small messy ponytail. She stood before the blonde soldier as Kathryn had left her alone. The bruises and cuts on her face were completely gone by now, which made it impossible for Regina to look away. Even with those bruises and cuts, she thought her to be beautiful, but without them she was breathtaking.

“Well, look at you. Only using one crutch now, I see.” Regina smiled, happy to see her up and about, “You sure are a fighter, Ms. Swan.”

“You keep calling me Ms. Swan. I’ve told you, my name’s Emma.”

Regina walked over to her quickly, wrapping an arm around her waist as she intended to walk around some more, “Go slow.”

“Your friend Kathryn has no problem calling me by my first name, you know.” Emma’s arm wrapped around the brunette’s neck for more support as they walked around the patio.

Regina chuckled, “Well, I’m not Kathryn.”

“She told me you have a date coming up. Is that true?” Emma’s eyes were focused on Regina’s features as the brunette kept her own eyes on the blonde’s leg as they walked.

Regina sighed. She was going to kill Kathryn for opening her big mouth, “That’s quite personal, Ms. Swan.”

“Emma,” she walked as slow as Regina instructed her too, “Is it doctor Locksley?”

Emma was finally able to get a reaction out of the brunette as she looked over at her with furrowed brows, “God, no,” she shook her head as she turned around, holding onto Emma as they walked their way back

“Who, then?” Emma’s brow raised as Regina simply chuckled, “You can tell me. I promise I won’t get jealous.”

Regina couldn’t help but smile as she shook her head. Emma was definitely a tough one to beat at anything, “Not that it’s any of your business, but I believe you know him. Doctor Whale.” her head turned towards the blonde soldier as she now stood completely still.

“You and Whale?” Emma’s lips parted in surprise.

Regina’s brow raised, “Is that a problem?”

Emma’s jaw tightened, but she quickly shrugged it off, “No, no problem,” she kept on walking as did Regina, “I just honestly can’t see you two together, that’s all.”

“Are you saying he isn’t my type?”

Emma couldn’t help but smile, “What I mean is, it’ll never work out.”

“Oh, really? And, may I ask why not?” her brow raised again as she looked over at the blonde.

“Because you’re in love with me.” Emma replied.

Regina couldn’t help but let out a slight laugh this time, “Oh, I am, am I?”

Emma nodded, her eyes locked on Regina, “Yeah. You just don’t know it yet.”

Regina chuckled, placing her free hand on the blonde’s stomach to offer her more support, “Well, what about you? I mean, I would hate to be the only one in love here.” she joked.

“Oh, I love you already. Nobody will ever love anyone as much as I love you.”

Regina stopped walking at the blonde’s words, her eyes locking on Emma’s green ones, “Emma…” her stare was daring, so full of love it frightened her. She stopped herself from speaking any further, as she realized she had finally called her by her first name. As for Emma, her eyes shined bright as she looked into brown ones. There was no doubt that she loved this woman. Yes, it was possibly crazy, there wasn’t a day that went by without her thinking that herself- but, she couldn’t help it. This wasn’t a simple crush that she would grow out of in time. This was the real thing, and no matter what it took, however long it took, she would make Regina see that.

For now, Emma decided to change the sour subject of her having a date as she walked on along with Regina’s help.

“Any word on August Booth?” she asked.

Regina shook her head, “I’m afraid not. I’ve asked around, but no one seems to know where he is at the moment.”

A sadness came over the soldier’s face, “Well, no news is good news, I suppose, right?” her smile was sad as she looked at the brunette. Deep down she was scared shitless for her friend’s well being, but she wanted to keep her attitude positive on his whereabouts. She would see him someday. She had to.

Regina, being ever so supportive to the blonde, smiled right back at her, “No news is good news.”
____________________

Hours later, Emma decided to walk around the hallways by herself. She needed to make her leg stronger that was true, but right now her real reason was to see Regina before she went off on her date.

As luck would have it, Regina was walking her way down the same hallway. Her brows furrowed as she looked over at the blonde, “What are you doing out of bed soldier?”

“I needed to see you before you went off on your date. Are you really going?” Emma met her halfway down the hallway.

Regina looked around the staff that walked past them, feeling rather uncomfortable. She cleared her throat, her tone low, “Yes, I am, Ms. Swan. Now, let’s get you back into your room.”

For the first time since Regina knew her, Emma stood still. She allowed the brunette to momentarily wrap her arms around her form to help her walk to her room, but she absolutely did not move. Her eyes just looked deeply into her own brown ones, practically pleading her not to leave.

Regina stepped back, glaring at the childish blonde as she refused to move an inch, “I really must get going, Ms. Swan, now are you going to let me help you get back to your room, or not?”

“I will if you stay.” Emma replied.

Regina sighed, looking down at her watch, “Emma, I really don’t have time for this. I have to leave. We agreed to meet outside a restaurant for this evening.” she wasn’t sure why she decided to blur that out to the jealous soldier in front of her- because, yes, Emma was in fact jealous- it’s not like she had a right to know about her personal life.

Once again, Emma’s jaw tightened as she swallowed hard, “Well, then you better get going. You don’t want to be late.”

Regina scoffed at her childish attitude, “Grow up, Ms. Swan, really.” she shook her head, “I’ll get someone to help you get to your room.” she walked away without another glance at the blonde, feeling rather furious about her absurd behavior. How dare she act like this now? Especially when it wasn’t the place nor the time.

"I'm afraid that's a battle you won't be able to win, Swan."

Emma turned her attention towards the open door of the room that was next to her. Her eyes spotting a familiar face through the clear glass that looked into the room. "Humbert?" Her smile flashing before the wounded man as she entered the room. She saluted him as he was a higher rank.

"At ease, soldier." He nodded her way as the blonde quickly relaxed herself around him, "I heard about your leg. I'm very sorry, Swan. I'll surely miss having your wings behind my back."

Emma looked down at her leg, an immediate sadness coming over her.

"Hey," at his voice, green eyes looked up at him, "You will always be my best. What you did… was beyond courageous, Swan. You'll be awarded a medal of honor for your act of valor."

"I really don't care for a medal, sir."

He chuckled, "You aim for a higher medal, don't you, soldier? One brunette nurse with deep, beautiful brown eyes and a smile that was molded by God himself."

Emma looked away, out of respect for Graham and his rank, she didn't want to give him a glare of any kind.

"Listen to me, Swan. While you were out in that field, fighting by my side, having all our backs- there was no doubt in my mind that you would get out of that ambush alive when it happened." he paused, continuing after the blonde's eyes met with his, "However, matters of the heart, that is a constant battle that you have to be more ready than you were while being out in that field. Especially when you are looking to get discharged to travel back home to that hometown of yours," he shrugged. "Now it's not my business who you are smitten with, but allow me to advise you as a friend. That nurse- despite her career path- is a woman who comes from a good family. I just don't want to see you lose a battle for the first time in your life."

Both heads turned as a knock was heard on the glass window, neither of the soldiers having any time to say anything else given that in that moment Kathryn made her way inside Graham’s room.

“You have to come with me, soldier. We need to give that leg of yours a break.” Kathryn smiled, her eyes moving towards Graham, “I’ll come back to check on you after I get this one to her room.”

“Don’t worry, I’m not planning on going anywhere.”

Emma raised a brow, surprised at the soldier’s smile. It was a smile very much like hers every time Regina would walk into her room. In the few months she’s known Graham Humbert, he was always known not to have much reason to smile. And now, seeing him smile was a big change for the blonde. Emma walked down the hallway with the help of her one crutch and Kathryn, getting into her bed without any protest.

“Did Regina really go on that date?” she finally asked.

Kathryn nodded, helping her raise up her leg onto the bed. "I wouldn't let it get to you, soldier." she sat on the edge of the bed, her eyes focused on the blonde girl's jealous features, "Let me let you in on something you don't know about Regina Mills. She has closed herself to the world entirely. I’m probably the only person in this world she ever truly opens up too, and that’s once in a while,” she brushed a strand of blonde hair behind her ear, “You aren’t the first patient here to have a major crush on her.”

“It’s more than just a crush.” Emma assured her.

“Well, whatever it may be, you are the first patient to ever succeed in making her get all flushed. But, tell me, because as her friend I’m concerned. What will you do when you have to return home? She won’t be able to go with you, at least not yet.” Kathryn was concerned. “If you say it’s more than crush, and she were to accept you, what would you do?”

“I plan on going to school. I won’t be able to serve any longer, so I can do that. I may have a job lined up back home. We could always write to each other until I’m able to save enough money to visit her.”

Kathryn’s brow raised. As much as she could see how serious Emma was about Regina with each passing day, it still surprised her to see that the blonde has actually thought ahead of things. She was never someone who was opposed to age difference. Besides, 7 years age difference was nothing. What worried her, was of someone hurting her best friend. But, nothing about Emma made her think that the blonde could possibly hurt or play with Regina’s emotions whatsoever.

“I can’t imagine what it must have been like, being out there. Fighting for your life and country everyday.” she paused, her eyes looking into emerald ones in front of her, “Regina… she’s been through this before. She was in love once before with another soldier who loved her deeply. Her father was a soldier. Both died in war a long time ago. She’s afraid of losing herself again in someone who in the long run will have to go away.”

“I understand that, completely. But, with this leg…” she looked down at her leg before her, “I won’t be going back. You said so yourself, I’ll have to go home soon. All I want is for a chance and I’ll make her see that she doesn’t have to worry about that with me. Because I’m not going anywhere.”

Kathryn smiled as she patted the blonde’s hand gently, “You got it bad, soldier. Don’t worry about Regina’s date. She’s not big on expensive dinners. Rest, you’ll see her tomorrow.”
____________________

That evening, Regina did find herself enjoying Victor Whale’s company. He was a good man. A very successful doctor at that. But, there was only one problem… he wasn’t Emma. She took a sip of her wine of that evening, growing frustrated with herself for even thinking of the younger girl back in the hospital. It was absurd. She should be concentrating on Victor right now, not thinking about a patient who behaved very much like a jealous child earlier. She took one more sip of her wine, clearing her throat as she decided to once again pay all of her attention to the man in front of her.

“Is everything alright, Regina?” he asked her.

Regina nodded, smiling once again, “Of course. This is a really beautiful place. Thank you for dinner.”

Victor smiled, providing her with his own nod, “Thank you for allowing me to enjoy the pleasure of your company. I haven’t been out in such a long time, I’m afraid I’m a little out of practice.”

Regina chuckled, “You’re doing just fine.”

Victor sighed, nervously smiling over at the brunette, “Well, I certainly hope so.” his eyes followed the line of Regina’s stare. Looking over at an elderly couple dancing to soft music that began playing around the restaurant that evening. “Would you like to dance?”

Regina smiled, standing up just as Victor did, reaching for his offered outstretched hand. Both headed to the middle of the floor, her hand resting on his shoulder as his hand rested on her waist. Their swaying following the soft rhythm of the song. He was quite respectful, which was something the brunette quite enjoyed about him.

“I hope you don’t mind me leading.” Victor whispered, as their bodies came closer together.

“Not at all. This is very nice.” Regina rested her head on the man’s shoulder as they continued their dancing for the evening. And just like earlier, her mind couldn’t help but think of the blonde that was in the hospital. She wondered, if Emma liked dancing. She wondered, what it would be like to dance with her. To look into her eyes as they danced.

As much as she mentally kicked herself, she couldn’t help but wonder… what it really would be like to kiss Private Emma Swan.
____________________

Emma groaned and moved in her bed. The nightmares getting the best of her again as she had found sleeping slumber sometime during the night, until morning. Beads of sweat already displaying on her forehead. Her breathing becoming heavier and heavier.

“Ms. Swan…?” Regina’s voice was soft as she reached for the blonde, her eyes growing wide as Emma’s hand quickly grabbed onto her wrist in a very hard manner. “Emma, it’s me. Relax. It’s just me.”

Emma blinked several times as her grip loosened around the brunette’s wrist, suddenly realizing where she was, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to-”

“I know. It’s okay.” Regina smiled, which made Emma’s heart stop in its place. She grabbed the blood pressure cuff, wrapping it around the blonde’s arm as the hissing of the pump was heard.

“So, how was your date?” Emma asked after remaining silent for a short while. Her tone with a still a hint of jealousy as she avoided eye contact with the brunette now.

Regina smiled, her eyes moving towards the blonde and back down to the blood pressure cuff meter, “It was fine. He was quite the gentleman.” she placed the cuff back in its place as the blonde’s blood pressure was as good as could be.

Emma’s eyes looked over to the brunette’s brown ones, “If things went well, that means that more happened between you two, right?”

For the first time ever, Regina’s features were serious before Emma, “I’m not sure what you’re assuming you know about what happened afterwards, Ms. Swan, but whatever it is- I strongly advise you not to say it.” she scoffed, “I thought you were done with these childish acts, Ms. Swan, but I can see I was wrong. Excuse me.”

Emma closed her eyes, mentally kicking herself for her poor choice of words, “Regina, wait.” she looked over at the older woman as she turned to face her again, “I’m sorry, I’m… I’m just a little- I’m an idiot.”

“Finally, something we can agree on.” Regina’s brow raised, her arms crossed over her chest.

“You can’t blame me here. I know that you and everyone around here thinks that what I feel for you is just a crush. But, I can assure you it isn’t. I’m just going crazy here.” she paused, “I’m going crazy because I know you love me, yet you go out with Doctor Whale who’s, who’s good looking, successful-"

“Who's also gay.” Regina nodded, her tone still serious.

Emma's brows shot up in surprise at her words, "he's-?" the words caught in her throat, for that's all she could say.

Regina nodded once again, not moving away from the door, "Believe it or not, there is such a thing as doctors who have other sexual preferences. Yesterday's date was more of a favor. Had he been straight there was no way I could accept." she continued as Emma remained quiet, "And to think, that I was coming in here today to tell you that once you were out of this hospital, I would gladly accept a date from you." she shrugged as she walked out the door.

"Wait! Regina," Emma moved as fast as she could out of her bed, she hissed as her leg was hurting today. A pain she would have to live with from time to time given that her tendon was now permanently damaged. Her fist slammed against the bed in frustrating manner.

Boy, could she put her foot in her mouth sometimes.
____________________

Regina walked along the outstretched hallway when she was suddenly stopped by Kathryn, as the woman had a saddened look on her face.

“Kathryn? What’s wrong?”

Kathryn held up a paper in her hand, her voice soft, “I have bad news. It’s about Emma’s friend. August.”

Regina immediately took the paper from the blonde’s hand, her eyes reading over every single word on that paper. Her hand coming up to her mouth in shock, “Oh, God,” brown eyes met blue ones, “How am I going to tell, Emma?”

Chapter Text

Emma’s eyes looked surprised as she saw Regina coming right back into her room. “Regina,” she sat up in her bed, “Look, I-”

“Never mind that, Emma.” she walked a few steps before the blonde, clutching the paper tightly in her hands, “There’s something I need to talk to you about.”

Emma’s brows knitted together, her tone questioning, “Okay?”

Regina joined the blonde as she sat beside the edge of her bed, “I’ve just received word on your friend’s whereabouts.”

Emma’s eyes lit up with hope, “August? Where is he? Is he alright? Did he make it?”

Regina’s face fell as well as her gaze as she looked down at the paper she still held in her hands, along with two of his dog tags that had been given to her by Kathryn.

Emma’s eyes fell on the dog tags, one of them burnt as the corner had chipped off, which caused the blonde’s insides to suddenly turn inside her stomach. She knew.

Brown eyes looked into saddened green ones, tears wanting to be let free, only as a nurse Regina was taught that she should never let her emotions get the best of her when it came to a patient. There shouldn’t be any type of emotional attachment. Never let things get too personal. But as she looked into Emma’s eyes, seeing the tears fall from her very own eyes- as she clutched to the soldier’s burnt dog tags tightly in her hand- she couldn’t help but feel that sting behind her own eyes. An ache in her heart at the blonde soldier’s signs of pain.

“I’m so sorry, Emma.” the brunette’s voice was soft, her hand resting on the blonde’s shoulder for support. Whatever little she could provide at that moment.

“I need to talk to August’s dad. Marco.” Emma’s voice began to break, “Please? Is- is there a way? Would you help me?”

Regina nodded, “I’ll see what I can do. I know the army is paying a visit to the hospital this weekend. They’ll want to issue you your medal of honor soon.”

Emma chuckled, wiping away her tears, “There is nothing honorable in what I did. I couldn’t even save him.”

“But, you saved yourself. And I’m sure you fought like hell to be able to get him out of there.” Regina’s eyes looked down at Emma’s hand as she held onto the man’s dog tags in a much tighter fist, her hand finally reached over to cup Emma’s, “You did your best, Emma. He would be proud of you.”

Emma wiped away at her few fallen tears, her eyes looking down at their now joined hands, quickly looking up into the brunette’s own stare, “Thank you.”

Regina smiled a sad smile of her own, both women remaining still as if time had frozen around them. Her own brown eyes looking down at their joined hands as they fit perfectly together. Both women were so lost in their own little moment that neither took notice of Robin as he had paused just outside the glass window. He had showed up that day to pick up some of his things that were still inside in what used to be his office.
____________________

Regina packed up her laptop for the next day. This was the only way she think to help Emma communicate with Marco. She held on tightly to the laptop, holding it in her arms as she grabbed her keys with her free hand before heading out the door.

“It’s not in person, but at least in a way it’ll be face to face.” Regina explained, having set up her laptop on the small breakfast table as she rolled it over to the blonde. Skype already opened up and ready for use, after she had set up an account for the soldier to use as her own.

“Could you stay? Please?” Regina nodded at the blonde’s plea, standing silently beside her the entire time.

Emma drew in a breath, releasing it rather sharply as she clicked on Marco’s name next, the ringing sound sounding faintly as the volume remained low. Soon enough, after two rings, the video call was answered. Her eyes immediately tearing up at the sight of the man’s sad features through the screen.

“Emma? It’s nice to finally put a face to the name my son made so famous in his years of service.”

Emma smiled a sad smile at gray bearded man. Him and August looked a lot alike, “August told me a great deal about you too, sir.” she paused, eyes stinging with built up tears, “I’m terribly sorry for your son’s fate. I tried, I-”

“I know. I know you did and I am eternally grateful that my son wasn’t alone. That he didn’t die out there in that battlefield all alone.” the older man’s voice broke with a lot of kept in emotion that had been bottled up inside of him. Emma could see a but of his lip quiver as the man cleared his throat to gain the very little composure he had back, “You are welcomed to come by and visit anytime you’d like. I have a job waiting for you here, just as my son asked.”

“Thank you, sir.” she sniffed, wiping away a few fallen tears, “I’ll be sure to visit on my way back home.”

And that’s when the brunette felt it. She felt a sadness take over, to the very thought that soon, Emma would have to leave this hospital and this country.

“Thank you for calling me. Thank you for getting my son out of there.”

“Take care, sir.” a chime was heard coming from the brunette’s laptop as the call finally ended. Without anymore thought, all Emma could think to do was cry. She cried, letting all of her pain that she too had been holding in. As Regina quickly removed away the breakfast table with her laptop still placed on top of it, that’s when she placed a hand on blonde’s back. Emma lounge forward towards the brunette nurse as she held on to her tightly, losing all sense of self control as she cried her eyes out even more, her free hand clutching tightly to the woman’s blue scrubs.

Regina was taken by surprise, to say the least, but what truly surprised her was that even at work, she found herself returning the blonde’s hug as her own arms wrapped around the crying girl’s form. Her body settled more on the edge of the bed as her hug only became tighter. Her hand caressing the girl’s golden hair in a soothing manner. Seeing Emma this devastated this heartbroken truly broke her own heart. Before the brunette even realized just how personal she had allowed this inevitable situation to become, a few of her own tears began to roll down her cheeks.
____________________

Saturday morning, Emma stood in her room, sharply dressed in her new uniform the army had provided for her- in honor every injured soldier there, including herself, the hospital agreed to have a small celebration. Her hair was tied back in a bun without a strand of hair in sight. Her head quickly turned at the sound of a whistle that was meant for her.

“You sure do clean up nicely, soldier.” Kathryn smiled, walking into the room.

“Thanks.” Emma smiled, her eyes looking behind the blonde nurse as she held up her hands.

“Don’t you worry. Regina is coming, she’s just running a little late today. So, she sent me to help you.” she handed the crutch over to the soldier, “Ready?”

“Yeah.” Emma nodded, taking the crutch under her right arm as she walked out with Kathryn’s help. Time was passing and she could now walk on her leg a little now, but she still didn’t want to force it.

Kathryn held on to the blonde’s form firmly as she walked along with her, her eyes focused on the blonde’s leg, “You’re leg is looking better and better.”
____________________

Patients, doctors as well as nurses gathered out in the patio area as it was already set up for today’s small gathering the hospital had set up for every soldier. Being back in uniform for that small party made Emma feel like herself again. Not that she never felt like herself, but she did love wearing that uniform. She loved serving her country. This was one of the things that Emma was always dead on, passionate about doing. A smile grew out on her lips as she made her way into the patio, walking towards a few fellow soldiers that were deep in conversation with Graham.

“Private Swan.” the man stood proudly before her as Emma saluted him, “At ease,” he’s voice softened, “I heard about Booth. I’m terribly sorry, I know you two had become quite close.”

“I’m sorry I wasn’t able to do more, sir.” Emma replied.

“You did more than any of us could have done in that moment, Swan. I am truly honored to stand before you today and see you well. You should be quite proud of yourself.”

Emma smiled on the outside, only on the inside she was hurting. Proudness was wearing the uniform, serving, defending her country she loved so much. She couldn’t feel proud for August not being able to make it. In a way, she hated to admit it to herself, but she felt responsible for not being able to save him.

Her eyes moved over to the crowd of nurses and doctors who stood before them- on to a particular brunette who had just arrived. Her smile turned pearly white, as was Regina’s while their eyes connected with one another. No words needed. As the party began to take place, and Emma was called up to that mini stage, shaking hands with each and every photographer and journalist that assisted that day’s event, brown eyes never moved away from that sight alone. Regina clapped as flashles from camera phones were seen hitting the young soldier. She couldn’t help but think just how good she looked wearing that uniform, standing up on that stage with a smile so bright it made her own cheeks burn.

After that was done, individual pictures were being taken of each and every soldier that was in that same battlefield as Emma was. She was next as the press gathered around her while she posed for a few photographs.

“Alright, why don’t we get some shots of you with some of the nurses?” the photographer suggested, walking up to a few nurses as he motioned them to get closer to the young soldier.

Kathryn cleared her throat as she softly nudged Regina to walk on up, following close behind her.

Regina’s heart skipped a beat as she stood beside the blonde, not because of how close they were, but because she clearly felt Emma’s hand rest on the small of her back. Respectfully, of course. But she was human, who much to her denial felt attracted to this younger girl beside her. She shook it off, blinking a couple of times, her smile on point as they were all told to smile pretty for the cameras.

“Great one. Now, how about a picture with just one of you?” he pointed towards Regina, as Kathryn quickly stepped aside, not giving her friend any time to protest. Emma held on to Regina, her gaze now burning a hole right through her as she didn’t care to look right into the camera. Two pictures were taken, as Emma’s eyes remained right on the brunette. For the second picture, Regina found herself staring right back at her. The photographer being as passionate as he was about his job, couldn’t pass up to snap a picture of that very moment, sensing a chemistry between the two women almost immediately.

Even after the flash passed as the picture was taken, both women remained looking into each other’s eyes.

The photographer was long gone without either of them taking notice. It wasn’t until they heard the clearing of a throat near them that they snapped out of their small trance.

“Ladies…” Kathryn whispered, handing each of them two cups filled with fruit punch, “Control yourselves. I can practically see the sexual tension radiating off of you two from afar.”

Emma chuckled as her cheeks turned red, while Regina’s just turned red while her elbow met Kathryn’s ribs.

“Kathryn, please.” Regina whispered, glaring long and hard at her best friend.

“Oh, what? Don’t act like a saint. I’m sure Emma here has had plenty of girlfriend’s back home,” her eyes looked over at the still blushing blonde, “Haven’t you, soldier?”

Emma swallowed the bit of punch she had taken into her mouth, clearing her throat as she quickly provided the nurse with an answer, not wanting to reveal that she had never had a single sexual experience in her life yet, “Girlfriend’s? Sure. Plenty.”

Regina’s brow raised in surprise, “Plenty? At eighteen?”

Emma shrugged, her cheeks turned pink once again as she smiled shyly at the brunette, “Well, when you’re popular.”

“Sounds to me like the word popular might be an understatement with you, dear.”

Emma’s green eyes met with Regina’s, and for a moment she could swear she saw a hint of jealousy in them. Same as Kathryn.

Kathryn cleared her throat, elbowing Regina in the ribs this time, “You know, technically Emma is nineteen now,” she smirked at the blonde, “Two more years and you’ll be able to truly celebrate, soldier.”

Emma chuckled, “I don’t see myself drinking so much, actually.”

Kathryn smirked, impressed, “That’s very responsible of you.”

“Well, let’s just say I had plenty of bad experiences with someone who used to be married to the woman who raised me.” She paused as both women’s eyes fell on her in shock, “But, that was years ago.”

“Kathryn, why don’t you go get us some more punch, hm?” Regina handed her friend her empty cup, as Kathryn quickly walked away, feeling quite embarrassed for bringing up a painful memory for the blonde soldier- even if she had no idea of it. “I’m terribly sorry about that.”

The young soldier shook her head at the brunette’s apology, “No harm done. It was a long time ago, really. It’s alright.”

Regina looked into the pair of green orbs before her, amazed at how she saw no pain in them. Not even by a bad memory, “How do you do that?”

“Do what?” asked Emma.

“Not seem hurt by a memory that could affect anyone, physically and emotionally.”

Emma thought about it for a short second, “I don’t know. I guess it’s because; just as bad people have come into my life, good ones always come to show me quite the opposite,” she paused. “It’s like this war. I knew what I would have to face, everything I would have to fight against. I could have died out there but life brought me here. And every time I see you, I just realize that I’ve never seen anything or anyone more beautiful.”

Regina’s heart stopped in its place right inside her chest. She could feel as its beat decreased until its stopping point. Her breath caught in the back of her throat. That’s when she knew that what she was beginning to feel for Emma, and possibly felt ever since she first laid eyes on her was more real than anything she had ever felt before.

She chuckled, a light shade of pink over taking her cheeks, “You certainly are meant to be a writer. You do have a way with words.”

Emma smiled, “I’m glad to know not only my words are able to affect you, but knowing about my girlfriend’s has too.”

Regina furrowed her brows, “What is that supposed to mean?”

“I think you know well what it means…” Emma circled the brunette, smirking, “You were jealous.”

The brunette scoffed, “Jealous? Don’t be absurd.” she waved the soldier off, shaking her head at her crazy thought.

Truth is, she was jealous. Not because the blonde wasn’t a virgin, I mean after all, they did live in the twenty first century. No, it wasn’t that. It was because she wanted to be the one to be able to touch her, kiss her, and have her do the exact same.

“Regina.” the nurse’s breath caught in her throat once again, as she looked into those pair of eyes again, and heard how sweet her name sounded as it came from a pair of thin lips, “Only you have my heart.” Emma whispered.

Regina swallowed the lump in her throat, blinking a few times as if pulling herself away from the trance that was Emma’s eyes, “I have to get back to my duties.”

“Regina-” the brunette gasped as she felt a tight grip around her wrist come from the blonde.

“Please, Emma.” She pleaded, “Please.”

As soon as Emma’s grip loosened from her wrist, the brunette didn’t waste time in running away from her, leaving a sighing blonde staring at her every movement until she disappeared from the patio.

“She’s a tough one, isn’t she?” The soldier turned to the sound of Kathryn’s voice as the blonde stood beside her, focused on Regina as she walked away, “Don’t let her get you down, soldier. She’s been hurt one too many times too. She also likes playing hard to get.”

“I would never do anything to hurt her.” The blonde’s voice was low as a whisper.

Kathryn’s eyes soon found Emma’s, a hopeful smile curving up on the corners of her lips, “I believe you wouldn’t.” It was then she came up with an idea that couldn’t possibly fail, “Would you say you’re getting better and better from that leg of yours?”

Emma chuckled, looking down at her bad leg, “I don’t think I will ever be a hundred percent well from this leg, but yes. I guess you can say that.”

Kathryn’s lips pursed, “What are your plans after your discharge from the hospital, soldier? You know, now that you can’t go back into the army.”

“I was actually thinking about hanging around here for a while, before I fly back home to Maine.”

The older blonde smirked, “Perfect. As soon as you’re discharged you will be like any civilian, wouldn’t you say?”

Once again, the blonde chuckled, “I may be younger, but I’m certainly not stupid. What’s this about?”

Kathryn shrugged, “I’m simply trying to say that a certain brunette and I enjoy taking a night stroll through a park that’s near our apartment. Sometimes they happen to play movies for people to watch, kind of like a drive-in. Who knew they had those here.” Emma’s lips curved into a tiny smirk as the older woman continued, “I haven’t been feeling well, you know- I might be coming down with a cold. So… if you just happen to show up there, to keep her company on my behalf… I would be eternally grateful.”

Emma took one last drink of her fruit punch, hiding her smirk.

“I was thinking once you were discharged from our care, I could provide you with the address to the park and you could pretty much take it from there.”

Emma nodded in understanding, “Of course. I’d be more than happy to.”

A spill was heard as Emma’s eyes fell on the red liquid falling out of the other blonde’s cup as she had turned it over, causing it to spill.

“Oh, silly me. I’m in need of a new refill, “Kathryn cleared her throat, “Eight O’Clock.” She whispered, walking away leaving Emma smirking with joy.

Chapter Text

A single light from above Emma’s bed provided just enough light, as she was so focused on her writing on her second sheet of paper. She was so focused in fact, that only by her senses alone did she sense someone walking into her room. Her pen dropped down, her smile on point as she was met with her favorite nurse in the world.

“Come to kiss me goodnight?” Emma teased, as Regina’s brow raised.

“I’m sorry, how old are you again?” she asked, not being able to stop herself from smirking this time, as she sat on the edge of the bed. Her olive hand coming up, as her fingers brushed away a strand of hair, tucking it behind her ear.

“Heading home?” asked Emma.

“No, actually I have a date.” Regina’s smirk was pure evil as she could see the blonde’s face grow pale at the sound of her words alone. “Yes, Ms. Swan, I’m heading home.”

Emma sighed with relief, her heart beating back to life, “I can’t believe you would joke around with something so evil.”

“Are you saying I’m evil?” The brunette’s brow raised in question.

Emma shrugged, “With a joke like that, your status is questionable I’m afraid.”

Regina scoffed rather playfully, her eyes falling on the letter that now rested on Emma’s lap, “You’re one to talk…” her hand grabbed a hold of the letter, brow raised once again as she flashed it before the soldier, “Writing letters, are we?”

“Well, I have to let my girlfriend back home know I’m alive.” A pearly white smirk was visible on the soldier’s lips this time, just as or twice as evil as the brunette’s was a minute ago, as Regina’s face completely fell before her, “If it makes you feel any better, I’m telling her all about you. I mean, I have to end things with her if I want to get anywhere with you first.”

Emma couldn’t help but burst into laughter as the sound of papers sounded before her. Regina had tossed them back, literally in her face.

“Good night, Ms. Swan.”

“Regina, wait!” Emma called out through laughter at the sight of an angry brunette, “Please.”

“What?” She snapped, arms crossed over her chest.

Emma’s shoulders shook with laughter. She could definitely get used to her jealous sight, “Sit down. Please.” At the sight of a raised brow from the brunette, she continued, “Please. I was only joking, I swear.”

Regina was hesitant, but eventually gave in, joining the blonde once again. Her eyes fell on the now crumpled up papers, as they were offered for her to take once again.

“It’s just a letter to Ingrid. My adoptive mother,” the soldier explained, holding out the letter which the nurse hadn’t yet taken.

Regina’s eyes fell on the letter once again. She couldn’t believe it, but she was actually jealous for a moment. She had no right to question who the soldier wrote to or if she even had a girlfriend back home, but she couldn’t help to take the letter into her hands once again, her eyes reading the first few lines of the letter. She would have read it all, of course, but didn’t want to over step the confidence the soldier was clearly giving her. Instead she brushed the same strand of hair back behind her ear, as she handed the letter back.

“She hasn’t heard from me and I know she must be sick with worry.” Emma’s voice was soft this time, “Would it be too much to ask, if you could mail it out for me? I really want her to know that I’m alright.”

Regina took the letter, folding it once, twice as she tucked it inside her scrubs pocket, which was deep enough to hold it well. “I will deliver it first thing in the morning.” Her voice filled with embarrassment as she stood from the edge of the bed.

“Regina.” Emma’s voice caused her to stop in her tracks, turning back around to face a now smirking blonde, “Don’t I get a kiss good night?”

Regina walked slowly towards the young soldier, to which action caused Emma to freeze in place, as green eyes studied every delicate detail of the nurse's lips as they drew closer. Stopping right near her ear, “Good night, Ms. Swan.” she whispered in a low husky tone. Her hot breath caressing the blonde's ear.

Emma's smirk grew as Regina walked right out of the room, disappearing into the still bright hallway, “Good night,” she whispered.
____________________

The night grew darker as Regina arrived just outside her apartment complex, with only the street lights shining above her. She could not wait to get some much needed sleep. Truth was, she looked forward to sleep, as her dreams were the only place she wouldn’t be too afraid to give in to her new found temptation that was Emma Swan.

Her brows furrowed as a man she could not make out stood up from having been seated on the three steps just outside the building, “Robin? What on earth are you doing here?” She asked, finally recognizing the doctor.

“I came to see you.” His voice slurred, clearly a sign of intoxication, which Regina wasn’t in the mood to deal with right now.

“Well, you saw me.” She felt a strong pull, as she intended to make her way inside the building, causing her to turn back to face a drunken Robin.

“Just wait a minute, will you?” He almost shouted, which alarmed the brunette instantly.

“Robin. Let me go.” Her eyes fell upon his tight grip around her bicep.

“No.”

“Robin.” Her voice sounded threatening towards him, her eyes focused on his hold as she could see it starting to loosen. “Look, you’re clearly intoxicated, so-”

“I’m not leaving until you talk to me-”

“I’m not going to talk to you while you are in this state, Robin.” She sighed, “Please, just… don’t do this. Not now. It’s late and I really would like to get some sleep, I have work tomorrow.”

He chuckled, holding onto her arm again, only this time, with not such a hard grip, “Work. It was you who ratted me out to Gold, wasn’t it? Hm?” he smirked, knowing well it was her, “Yeah, it was you.”

“So, what do you want an apology?” Brown eyes looked right into blue ones, “A poor girl had a serious infection because of your neglectance, Robin. She was about to lose her leg.”

Robin chuckled, “But you saved it. Hm? You always have to play the hero, Regina. Don’t you?”

Regina yanked her arm away from his grip, backing away as he was welcoming himself closer and closer towards her, “That’s more than I can say for you. Had you done your job, you wouldn’t have lost it. Now, go home. Get yourself some sleep.”

She was suddenly stopped from heading inside her apartment complex, her head whipped around as she felt a strong grip grab onto her bicep.

“Is everything alright out here?” Kathryn’s voice suddenly broke the tension that was beginning to create. Robin’s grip loosened as his eyes fell on the blonde that stood defensively.

“It’s fine. Robin was just leaving.” Regina glared at the drunken man, as Robin simply nodded.

“Yeah,” he muttered, “Yeah, I’ll be… I’ll leave now.”

Kathryn walked up to her best friend as Robin continued to walk away, her hand resting on the brunette’s arm, “Are you alright?”

Regina nodded, smiling over at her best friend, “Thank you.”

“Let’s go inside. We both need some much needed sleep.”

Regina chuckled, “Sleep sure sounds delightful.”
____________________

“You take great care of yourself, Em.” Graham’s arms were wrapped around the blonde’s soldiers form in the tightest hug possible.

“Always.” She returned every ounce of the man’s hug, smiling as they pulled apart. “Look me up if you’re ever in Storybrooke.”

Graham smiled, resting his hand on the blonde’s shoulder, “You bet.”

Both heads turned as a light knock sounded at the door, followed by the sight of a smiling brunette nurse.

Being discharged from the army was the hardest thing for Emma, but being discharged from the hospital, after the four weeks she had to remain in this very hospital were even harder. Especially, when she would be leaving someone as beautiful as Regina Mills.

Graham cleared his throat, waking Emma from her trance, “I’ll be going now. Excuse me.”

Regina nodded his way, providing him with a warm smile, her eyes looking back at Emma as she now stood before her, dressed in a pair of clothes they were able to provide for her. After a few moments of silence, she spoke, “Where will you be going from here, soldier?”

“Well, I have a place I could stay for the night. It helps to have many girlfriends.” She teased, with an evil smirk of her own, which only grew after Regina threw a hard glare her way.

“I have something for you.” Regina decided to change the conversation, revealing a cane she had hidden behind her back, as she held it before the blonde now. As Emma’s eyes fell onto the cane, and her hands took it from within the brunette’s grasp, her eyes took in the simple details of it. Not that she was an expert on, or a lover of canes- however, giving her condition now and seeing she would have to use one from now on- might not be a bad idea to become one. This cane was made entirely of fine wood. It was finely sealed with a substance that made it shine as the sunlight hit it. The wood was a color between dark brown and red, as the handle of it was molded in with the rest of the items body. It wasn’t a long handle, it wasn’t a curved one, but a small round one with a flat top.

As Emma pressed the end of it to the ground, her hand was surprisingly comfortable as it rested on the round end.

“It takes a while to get used to the ones the hospital provides you with,” the nurse explained, as green eyes met up with her, as she nervously brushed a strand of jet black hair behind her ear, “The ends of it are sometimes too big, They can get uncomfortable. I figured you would enjoy one with a single end.” Her eyes fell upon the cane that had found its new home in the soldier’s hands.

Emma's lips curved into a tiny smile, "You bought me a cane?" Her smile grew as the nurse shrugged. "Thank you. Now you'll have to let me treat you to dinner or a movie."

"And what would your girlfriend's have to say about that?" Her voice was somewhat teasing.

This time it was Emma who shrugged, "They're not the jealous type."

Regina cleared her throat, which Emma could read well as a nervous habit she had, next to brushing her hair back.

"Hey!" Kathryn came in smiling, throwing herself into the younger blonde's arms, as she embraced her in a hug. A hug that even Regina took notice in, "You're going to miss around here, soldier. But don't go getting yourself hurt just to end up back here now."

Emma chuckled, "That's a promise. Thank you for everything."

"It was a pleasure." She hugged her once again, "Remember, tonight at 8 O'Clock." She whispered, breaking apart their hug.
Regina’s gaze followed her best friend, as she walked out the door and onto the hallway, leaving both women alone. The brunette’s brows furrowed at her strange behavior.

“Well…” The brunette broke the silence, “On your way, soldier.”

“Don’t I get a kiss goodbye?” Emma teased, smirking as she earned a hard glare from the brunette, “Suit yourself. You’ll miss me though.”

Regina chuckled, “I highly doubt that.”

“Well, just in case you do,” Emma reached inside the pocket of her sweat pants, handing the nurse a card, which she immediately took, “This is where I’ll be staying.” Emma’s eyes grew wide as she took notice at the raised brow on the brunette, “For you to call me. You know, maybe we can agree on a date.”

Regina tucked the card of the hotel inside her scrubs pocket, smirking at how nervous the blonde had become just now. “Best of luck to you, soldier.”

Emma smirked as Regina finally walked out of the room. She hated the idea of having to leave and not seeing Regina for an entire shift, but come tomorrow night- she would see her again. After walking out of the hospital, she needed to buy some clothes. She needed to look her very best.
____________________

“Danke.” Emma made her way out of the taxi she had taken from the hospital, all the way to her hotel. She walked in, supporting herself on her new cane, which surprisingly was a comfortable use on her hand. Not rough at all.

“Guten Morgen!” The receptionist at the front desk smiled brightly at the blonde.

“Guten Morgen. Mein name ist Emma Swan, Ich habe ein Zimmer reserviet.” Emma wasn’t a stranger to different languages. Being in the army had its perks and she learned plenty in such a short time. Including German.

The receptionist smiled, handing her a key to what would be her room for a couple of days, “Zimmer 209. Genieße deinen Aufenthalt.”

“Danke.” Emma swung her duffel bag over her shoulder, walked towards the elevators, as she took it towards the second floor of the building. Once inside her room, she flicked on the lights, dropping her duffel on a small breakfast table that was by the far wall, near the only window the room provided her with. It was a cozy room. Nothing luxurious but certainly not a hell hole either. She had a full sized bed all to herself, a small couch near the breakfast table, a TV stand with a flat screen TV (not that she would need to watch TV) she quite enjoyed the peace and quiet. A bathroom that came with a toilet and a single shower, along with a sink. That was all she needed.
After she had settled in her room, she went out for the day, primarily to get herself something to eat, which she had discovered (thanks to the receptionist) that nearby was a small breakfast and lunch place. It smaller than Granny's diner back home, but the pancakes she had enjoyed that morning before continuing on her day, hit pretty close to home. Still… nobody made apple pancakes better than Granny Lucas.

She walked from place to place, her eyes taking in every beautiful sight Germany had to offer. She stopped dead in her tracks as something blue caught her eye. It was a beautiful blue leather jacket that resembled her red one, she had decided in the end to leave back home with Ingrid. I know how much you love this jacket, you wouldn’t want to lose it, the older blonde had told her, which brought a smile to Emma’s lips, as she walked right into the store.

She handed the money over to the woman behind the counter, who luckily for Emma (even if her German was pretty good) spoke English. She had a thick accent to her, but was well understood by the blonde. “Thank you.” She smiled, almost walking away, as her eyes once again, spotted a circular pendant hanging by a single necklace. The silver of it was shining accordingly to the rays of the sunlight beaming in through the windows, it almost blinded her. “May I see that necklace?”

The woman was quick to retrieve the necklace from the hook she had it hanging from, handing it carefully over to the blonde.

Emma’s eyes studied the necklace with greatness, as her thumb caressed the swan that decorated the middle of the pendant.

“How much for this?” asked the soldier, holding up the pendant towards the woman, who instantly smiled back at her.
____________________

Emma’s duffel was heavier than ever. Nothing the blonde couldn’t carry, of course. She was glad to have bought herself some much needed clothes. She dropped her bag next to her bed as her body was next to hit the soft clouded mattress. She released a heavy sigh, as her eyes closed momentarily. She was exhausted, but glad to be moving again.

Her head turned towards the phone, as her eyes were instantly glued to it. Regina hadn’t called. As soon as she arrived back into the hotel, she had asked the receptionist if she had received any calls, which of course she hadn’t. But that didn’t matter, because she would soon be seeing her tonight. And she needed to look her best. She soon shot off of bed, gathering up a change of clothes, as she headed into the bathroom to shower.

Meanwhile, Regina’s mind was inserted in the letter the blonde had given her to mail out for her. Her salad was only half way eaten, as the scribble of the blonde’s handwriting had captured her attention during her meal. Okay, so it was wrong to re-read it for the third time, but to be fair, her shift had started early and the post office wasn’t open that early, and she would mail it out once she was out of work today. Plus, Emma’s words were captivating, even if the letter was to her adoptive mother. She could tell how much she loved and missed her just by her words alone.

“You worried she has a girlfriend back home she neglected to tell you about?”

Kathryn’s voice startled the brunette out of her trance the blonde’s words had placed her in. She chuckled as she joined her best friend at a table in the cafeteria of the hospital, while the brunette folded the letter back up, placing it in its envelope.

“Does your soldier know you kept her letter?” she asked.

“If you must know, I only have it because she asked me to mail it out for her.” Regina snapped back, tucking the letter safely inside her scrubs pocket as she continued to eat away at her salad.

“Well, at least you know she’s single for sure. She wouldn’t be giving you one of her letters if it was for someone else.” Kathryn teased, to which the brunette nurse rolled her eyes.

“Can I eat, please?” Regina asked, already annoyed, but not at her best friend, no, at the thought of Emma actually having someone back home. Even though she had no right to care who Emma dated, the fact was she did. She cared. A lot.

“Are you still up for going out tonight?” Kathryn asked, “They’ll be playing Young Frankenstein- your favorite film.”

Regina nodded, swallowing a bit of her food, “If you can remain quiet for the remainder of our lunch hour, yes. We’ll go.”

Kathryn took a bite out of her sandwich, mockingly indicating that she would and could stay quiet. Which made the brunette chuckle in response, as both continued enjoying their lunch in peace.
____________________

Emma looked at herself in her bathroom mirror for the tenth time that night. She would continuously shift on the balls of her feet, feeling anxious and nervous all at the same time. She would finally see Regina again, tonight and outside of the hospital. Not as a patient, but as a civilian.

Okay, so maybe she had no reason to be nervous. It wasn't an official date after all. It was more like a set up, planned out by the nurse's best friend. She shook her head, because date or not that didn't matter. Tonight Regina would be seeing her in an entirely new light.

She straightened her jacket, as it hugged her slim form well. Her fingers picked off a tiny piece of lint that had been resting on her tight black jeans. Her blonde curls rested over her shoulders. Her converse new and on point with her entire outfit.

She was ready.

Chapter Text

Kathryn walked along the brunette nurse, both women dressed out of their scrubs and in something more preferable for the night. Kathryn sporting casual ripped jean shorts, a white shirt underneath a white colored blouse, decorated with leaves and pink flowers. While Regina sported casual jeans that were ripped at the knees, along with a black plain shirt that complimented her upper body quite well. The night breeze was a calm one as both friends walked along the park, their arms linked together like the great friends they were.

“Wait a minute. So, you’re telling me she gave you the name of the hotel she’s staying at, and you haven’t yet called her?” Kathryn snapped at her best friend, her eyes wide in surprise at the brunette’s hesitance in contacting the soldier. “Regina, that girl is obviously into you. What on earth are you waiting for?”

“She is not.” Regina tucked her hair behind her ear.

“She is. I don’t understand why you are playing hard to get.”

“I am not playing hard to get.” Regina rolled her eyes.

Kathryn stopped in her tracks, forcing her friend to do the same, “Regina. You may enjoy playing this cat and mouse game with Emma, but you know better than to beat around the bush with me. Now, I know you like this girl. We’ve been friends a long time for me to know these things about you.” She continued as the brunette released a long held sigh, “At first, alright, I understand. You couldn’t see yourself with her because she was under your care, but she’s discharged now-”

“Kathryn-”

“From both the hospital and the military!” The blonde interrupted, “Be reasonable, Regina. Age be damned, Emma could have gone home but she’s hanging around Germany for you.”

“You don’t know that.” Regina replied, “Besides, sooner or later she will come to her senses and go on home. What then? What type of relationship could that possibly be?”

This time it was Kathryn who rolled her eyes, “It’s not like we are staying here forever. We’ll be going back to Boston before you know it,” she smirked, “Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t her small town somewhere in Boston?”

“Are you finished?” The brunette glared at Kathryn this time.

She shrugged, “Fine. What do I know? I’m just your best friend.” She continued her walking, ahead of the brunette, Regina hurried to catch up to her, linking arms again as they both shared an apologetic look.

“I’m sorry.” said Regina, her voice soft.

Kathryn smiled, “I’m sorry too. You know I only push because I love you and I want to see you happy.”

Regina chuckled, nodding, “I know, I love you too.”

“And, you know I’m right.” This time Kathryn glared her way, “Come on, aren’t you the least bit curious what a date with her would be like? Not everyone is Robin, you know.”

“Robin…” Regina murmured, releasing a sigh as she could feel a headache coming on just at the mention of his name alone. Too many bad memories there.

“Hi.”

And just like that, her headache had gone at the sound of an unmistakable voice.

“My, oh my! This is certainly a surprise!” Kathryn exclaimed, nudging her best friend’s arm playfully, “Regina, look who it is. It’s Emma. Hi Emma. What brings you here on this fine night?”

“I couldn’t sleep, I thought a walk might help me clear my head.” said Emma, supporting herself easily on her cane.

Kathryn smiled, as Regina remained frozen, “Well, you certainly do clean up nice. Doesn’t she, Gina?” She nudged her again, waking the brunette up from her trance. She was surprised to say the least to see her here of all places. Not only that, but Kathryn was right, Emma did clean up nicely. Even with the light the moon light provided, along with a few lights here and there of the park grounds, it gave the soldier a new and improved look. She was nothing like she had seen her in that hospital while she was under her care. No bruises or cuts decorated her face anymore, giving a new meaning to the word gorgeous. That was an understatement.

Regina provided Emma with a nod, “Ms. Swan. It’s good to see your leg is coming along quite well.”

“Well, I have you to thank for that.” replied the soldier. Emma’s gaze moved to Kathryn who moved her eyes towards Regina’s direction, indicating her to say something nice about her appearance. She swallowed the bundle of nerves down to the pit of her stomach, “Y-you look amazing. This is a big difference compared to wearing your scrubs. Not that you don’t look just as amazing in those.” She quickly corrected that last line.

Kathryn rolled her eyes at the nervous voice that came out of Emma, it was oozing so much out of her, she decided to speak up next, before either of them made a run for it. She could already feel Regina’s arm ready to unlock from hers to do that very thing.

She tightened her arm more around Regina’s, smiling over at Emma, “Why don’t you join us?” She quickly nodded as Regina turned to glare her way, her eyes shifting between the brunette and back to the blonde, “I’m sure the movie is about to start.”

“Is that alright?” Emma looked over to Regina, who was looking back at her direction after trying to hide her blush from her compliment a few minutes ago, “I wouldn’t want to impose.”

“Of course-”

“Will you excuse us for a moment, please?” Regina soon spoke, dragging Kathryn farther away from Emma’s listening distance. “Kathryn, what the hell are you doing?” She whispered.

“What?” Kathryn whispered back, acting with complete innocence.

“What is this?”

“What’s what? Oh…” she paused, glaring at her friend, still whispering, “Regina, you don’t think that I would-?”

“I very much do. Kathryn, I am in no mood for-”

“For a nice evening with some lovely company? And by lovely company, I mean me. Emma being here is a bonus.”

“Kathryn Midas…” Regina spoke through clenched teeth, both her and Kathryn looking back towards Emma’s direction who simply smiled back.

Kathryn slowly walked her way towards Emma, forcing Regina to walk along with her as she whispered in the brunette's ear, “This is just an innocent evening between friends. You don’t want to be rude, do you? The poor girl doesn’t know anyone here. Give her a break, let her be with us for a while.” She smiled once they stood before the blonde, “We’d be delighted for you to join us.”

Emma smiled, her dimples well exposed by this point. She motioned for them to lead the way, “After you.” She followed close behind both women as they walked ahead.

“You know, Emma, this is Regina’s favorite movie.” Kathryn repeated herself from before, glancing back at the younger blonde.

“Really?” Emma walked right beside Kathryn now, easily keeping up with their pace.

“Oh, yes, she’s all about the classics. Anything you don’t understand, she can explain it to you.” Kathryn motioned towards her best friend.

“This film isn’t hard to understand.” said Regina, earning an elbow to the ribs by Kathryn.

Kathryn stopped as they reached the crowd of people that were already at home on several spots of a field of grass, in front of a huge projector where the film would soon start on. “How about some snacks, hm?” She smiled at both women.

“I can-”

“No!” Kathryn’s hand was held up in front of the blonde’s chest as she chuckled, “I can get them. It’s no trouble at all. You stay here and keep Regina company.”

And just like that, she was gone. Leaving Emma and Regina awkwardly standing in the middle of the endless field of grass, as they exchanged quick looks among each other.

“I apologize for her strange behavior,” Regina soon spoke, “We had a long day today at the hospital.”

Emma chuckled, looking over at Kathryn, “It’s fine. I like her. I find her entertaining.” She turned to face Regina this time, “She certainly seems happier that I’m here.”

Regina’s eyes grew wide, her cheeks red with embarrassment, “I’m- I-”

“Regina, I’m kidding.” Emma smiled, as Regina relaxed before her eyes, “I know you missed me.” She turned back to look over at Kathryn’s direction.

This time Regina scoffed, which made the soldier look right back at her, “Me miss you? That’ll be the day, Ms. Swan.”

“Are you saying you didn’t?” She raised a brow, quite mockingly.

“Would you be hurt if I said no?” asked Regina, a small smirk appearing on her lips now.

One which Emma mirrored instantly, “Crushed.”

“Good.”

“Good.” Emma turned her attention back to Kathryn who was now paying for whatever snacks she had purchased, “I didn’t really miss you either. I was just trying to be nice.”

Once again, Regina’s eyes bulged out of her head. A smile creeping up on her as the blonde still had her back to her. Of course, Emma didn’t need to look her way to know she had just made her smile either. Both certainly enjoyed these games they had picked up together. Regina couldn’t remember the last time she felt quite like this around someone. After Daniel, it had been quite a long time for her.

“I think I was just hit on by the vendor guy!” Kathryn’s hands were busy with small bags of peanut M&M’s, a hot dog (which had been bitten into already), and two small bags of popcorn. She quickly handed a bag out to Emma, which the blonde too, along with a bag of M&M’s for each. “They ran out of popcorn, so you two will have to share. Had I waited, that creep would probably have asked for my phone number.”

Regina glanced over at the guy behind the small snacks section that had been set up for the movie night at the park, “He seems nice to me.”

Kathryn chuckled at her friend’s teasing comment, “Please. I bet you Emma here would disagree. Wouldn’t you, soldier?”

Emma glanced over at the man who had become their source of conversation for the night, “He seems fine, but definitely not for you.”

Kathryn gave her friend a look that screamed, see! A proud smirk on her lips, as Regina looked towards Emma’s direction, “Oh? Suddenly you have a lot of experience, do you?”

“He is clearly too old,” Emma motioned towards his direction.

“He can’t be that old.” Regina rolled her eyes.

“He has gray hair and a bald spot.” Emma stated.

Regina raised a brow, “You of all people talking about age differences? How old are you again?”

“Alright, let’s not ruin my night by talking about some old perverted guy, please.” Kathryn finally spoke, breaking apart the two women’s battle. “Let’s find a spot, shall we?”

Both followed her quietly as she walked on ahead. Regina didn’t take long to start walking beside her best friend, looking her way as soon as she noticed her place her hand over her stomach.

“Are you alright?” asked Regina.

“Yeah, I’m fine, I just…” Kathryn drew in a sharp breath, letting it out just as quickly as her hand remained on her stomach, “Oof… I don’t think I should have taken a bite of that hot dog. It’s not sitting well.”

“Shall we go-?”

“No!” Kathryn interrupted the brunette, “No, you two stay, I’ll go.”

“Kathryn, there is no way I’m going to leave you-”

“Regina, I’ll be fine. It’s just an upset stomach, I’ll tend to it once I get home and I’ll be all better tomorrow.” She locked eyes with her best friend, “You just stay here with Emma, yeah? Tell me all about it tomorrow.” That’s when Regina caught on, and before she could say anything in protest, Kathryn quickly moved towards Emma, embracing her in a hug, “Emma, it was great seeing you. I’m so sorry I have to leave, but you know…” she tightened their hug, whispering into the blonde’s ear, “Good luck,” she placed her hand over her stomach again, “Ugh, stay away from those hot dogs.”

Both women followed the older blonde’s movements as she walked away, leaving them all alone again. Soon, their gazes met once again.

“Is she going to be alright?” Emma asked, playing along with Kathryn’s game.

Regina’s stare went back to Kathryn as she became farther and farther away, “For her sake, she better not be.” Her voice was menacing, because of course she knew what all this was. Right from the very start. She sighed, giving up and deciding to get this night over and done with as she looked back at Emma, “Shall we?”

“Actually…” Emma quickly spoke, preventing Regina from taking a seat on the grass beneath them. She was quickly growing nervous again, “I know of a better spot. That is if you… if you’d like to go there.”

Now she knew for sure this had been a set up. She simply nodded, mocking Emma with what she had said earlier before, “After you.”

Emma walked on, smiling, obviously happy that Regina decided to stay. She looked over at the nurse as she heard a low chuckle escaped her. “What?” She couldn’t help but ask.

“I have to say, this was sneaky of you two to pull on me, but I must admit it was rather good.”

Emma’s eyebrows shot up in surprise, “Wait, so you knew?”

Regina smirked, looking ahead of her as the blonde continued to look her way, “Kathryn has never been that good at pretending, dear. I can read her like a map.”

Emma chuckled, looking down at her feet as she walked, “Well, she wanted to help,” she looked back up at the brunette, “Besides, I had asked you on a date before and you turned me down. You didn’t give me much of a choice.”

Regina nodded, “True, but if you recall, I once told you that we would get you better first, and then we could talk about a date.”

Emma stopped dead in her tracks, shocked at the brunette’s words. She remembered that moment well, like all her moments with her, “So… that was your way of saying yes?”

Regina chuckled, “For someone with many girlfriends you failed to see that.”

Emma smirked, “So this is a date then? Officially.”

“Oh, no. It would have been, had you caught on.” Regina kept up her walking, even though she had no idea where Emma was leading her.

The blonde stood in place, watching the brunette walk on, completely taken by surprise. Touche, she thought as she quickly caught up with Regina. Who didn’t walk that fast, in consideration of her leg. “Alright. A ‘pre-date’ then.” She said.

Regina stopped once again, her brow raised, “A Pre-date?”

Emma nodded, “You know, something that exists or occurs earlier than-”

Regina couldn’t help but smile at the blonde’s noticeable nervousness, as she was about to actually explain what the word predate meant, “I’m well aware of what pre-date means, Ms. Swan.” She paused momentarily, locking eyes with the younger woman before her. She had to be crazy to be doing this, but even she had to admit- she would be even crazier to keep refusing or playing around the subject, “Alright. And if all goes well, then we can talk about an actual date.”

Emma’s smile grew, it made her cheeks hurt as the brunette simply walked away again without another word. That was until they arrived at the very spot Emma had already reserved just for the two of them.

Regina raised a brow at the sight of a single blanket that was laid out in front of a single, gigantic tree, “I hope you weren’t planning on seducing me, soldier. I could still change my mind and leave you here all alone.”

Emma raised a single brow in return, a playful smile on her thin lips, “Well, the thought did cross my mind, however if I wanted to seduce you, I wouldn’t do it this way.” She motioned for Regina to sit first, “You’re safe with me, I promise.” She said, as the nurse hesitate to sit down at first.

Somehow, Regina could feel that she was safe with her. However, as she sat, she raised a brow in warning. Emma sat down next, supporting herself with her cane, hissing as her leg reminded her to watch her movements.

“Easy.” Regina’s voice was soft, as she held onto Emma’s hand instinctively to help her sit. Even on her days off, her nursing instincts always kicked in.

“Sorry.” Emma’s face fell, looking down at her leg as it was stretched out before her, “I’m still trying to get used to this situation.”

“It’ll take a while, I’m afraid, but you’re doing great so far from what I’ve seen.” Regina smiled warmly. A smile that disappeared as soon as she glanced down and noticed she was still holding onto her hand, which she released immediately. “I’m sorry,” she murmured under her breath.

There was a pause before Emma’s soft tone was heard, “I’m not.”

Green eyes looked right into brown, as both pairs looked down again at the newly joined hands.

“Emma…” Regina’s voice was a whisper as she pulled her hand back again, brushing her hair back behind her ear.

Emma decided not to push her luck, not yet at least. She simply smiled, holding out the bag of popcorn for Regina to take. Which she did, taking a single popcorn to her mouth as she elegantly chewed it down. Her eyes focused on the film as it began playing before them. It was there that Emma took in every detail of the older woman’s features, once again. Every curve of her cheekbones, lips, nose, eyes and lashes. Regina always seemed like the most beautiful woman for her- because she was- but underneath the moonlight and glow of the film before them, she looked absolutely breathtaking. And she was on a date with her! Well, pre-date, but still… it was with her of all people.

Regina looked over, surprised to find Emma staring. She noticed as the blonde momentarily tensed up, expecting her to say something about it, but instead she just slightly dipped the bag of popcorn before the soldier, offering to share it.

Emma smiled as she took a few popcorn with her fingers, chewing away at the one she had placed in her mouth. Her eyes focusing on the black and white film before them.

“Kathryn saying this is your favorite film,” Emma whispered over to the brunette, “Was that true?”

Regina nodded, knowing well Emma had turned to look at her, “Truth.” she tipped the bag of popcorn towards her again, as Emma reached for more, “What was your reason for staying here, honestly?”

Emma’s eyes turned from the film towards Regina, “You. This date.”

“Pre-date.” Regina corrected, which made Emma smile.

“Right. Pre-date.” She paused, “When’s the last time you were on a date?”

This time Regina turned her attention towards the blonde. Daniel, that was her official last date. Sure she went on one with Robin, but it wasn’t her favorite as he went ahead and had ordered for her and decided what she would drink that night.

She cleared her throat before answering, “It’s been several years.”

Emma looked over at her, eyes wide, as she quickly looked back at the film, “I find that hard to believe.”

“Why’s that?” Regina chuckled.

“It’s simple. You’re simply too beautiful. You deserve to be taken out on as many dates as possible. Anyone who doesn’t take that opportunity…” Green eyes looked over once again, “Is a total idiot.”

This time Regina didn’t reply, she simply opened up her bag of M&M’s, spreading it open on the grass as she began to separate the red ones from the rest of the bunch. In this little habit, Emma took notice.

“Why do you do that?” Emma asked in a whisper.

“The red ones are my favorite. I save those for last.” replied Regina.

Emma tore open her bag, the very same way Regina did, as she began to pick out the red M&M’s from her bunch. She counted three in her bunch. She held them out towards the brunette, “Three red ones, for three questions?”

Regina smiled, nodding, “Deal.” She held out her hand as Emma dropped the first candy in her hand.

“Your parents. Are they dead or alive?” Emma asked, loving this game they were playing.

“My father unfortunately passed,” her tone was sad at the mention of it, “My mother is very much alive.” She placed the candy down within her own. At this rate she had forgotten all about the movie, deciding that this game Emma had come up with was much more fun.

Emma dropped the second red M&M into the brunette’s hand, “What do you like to do when you’re not working in the hospital?”

Regina pursed her lips in wonder, “Hm… go on dates with wounded soldiers.” She teased, which earned her a glare from the blonde. Her eyes looked down at the last candy that was dropped into her hand, “Last one. Choose wisely.”

Emma thought for a second, “Have you ever been in love?”

“Yes.” Regina answered truthfully, placing the last red M&M to join the others.

“With who?” Emma’s curiosity had gotten the best of her.

Regina smirked, shaking her head, “You’re out of the red ones.”

Emma smiled, looking down at her ripped bag as she began separating all her yellow chocolates. Her eyes moved towards the brunette's hand as she held out all her yellow ones before her.

"Two yellow ones for two questions?” asked Regina.

Emma smirked again, “I’ll give you three,” she held up one of her own yellow M&M’s, “It’s only fair.”

The nurse asked her first question, counting the chocolate Emma had held up, “Alright. What’s the one thing you miss from back home?”

“Hm…” The soldier thought for a short moment, “My car and Granny’s grilled cheese sandwiches.”

Regina dropped a chocolate on the blonde’s hand, “What made you decide to join the service?”

“I don’t know,” Emma sighed, really thinking about her question, as she leaned back on her elbows, “I guess I just wanted to serve a big purpose in this world, bringing it some good by fighting all that is out there that others can’t. Bring everyone a sense of peace.”

That made the brunette’s lips curve into a small smile, “You already do that, Emma. You have this way different way of looking for the beauty in things,” she held up her last yellow chocolate, her brow raised, “First make out spot?”

Emma’s eyes grew wide as she sat up, “No fair! I should have asked that, I didn’t know I was allowed to ask that one.”

Regina smirked, “That’s not an answer, Emma.”

Emma rolled her eyes playfully, her cheeks going red, “It was in my room, after my thirteenth birthday,” she scrunched her nose at the memory, “Neal Cassidy. He’s the son of the pawn shop keeper in town.” She explained, chuckling, “It was terrible.”

Regina couldn’t help but laugh at the soldier’s facial expression, a laugh that stopped as soon as she was about to brush her hair back again. It stopped because the next thing she saw coming towards her was a pale hand as soft fingers brushed it for her, tucking it gently behind her ear. Green eyes locking into brown orbs once again for what felt like the hundredth time tonight. Regina’s heart beat faster and faster as Emma’s face was only inches apart from her own now, and only moving closer… and closer…

Would she dare to kiss her? If she did, would she let her?

Suddenly a beautiful violin & piano collaboration of John Legend’s All of Me began playing off in the distance that caused both women to turn. As they looked back at each other, both smiled, their cheeks a shade of pink as they realized what was about to happen.

Before anything could be said, Emma slowly stood up, supporting herself on her cane, grunting as she felt a small pinching sensation within her leg. Regina stood on her knees instinctively again to help her.

Emma stretched out a hand towards her, “Dance with me?”

Regina looked up at the blonde before her, then at her outstretched hand and back at her. There was a bit of hesitance at first, but she took the blonde’s hand as she stood to her feet. Her eyes followed every movement of Emma’s hand and fingers as they delicately moved around her own. And as Emma’s arm slowly wrapped around her form, she gasped. Her touch alone sending an almost electric current feeling up her spine and back down to the pit of her stomach. Most people would have placed a single hand on her waist, but not Emma. Of course, she would go for an entire arm to have her as close as possible.

“Are you sure your leg is up for dancing, soldier?” The brunette asked, looking up into those green eyes, which was starting to become her favorite color.

Emma smiled a heartfelt smile that accelerated her own heart rate again. Her teeth pearly white, “We’ll go slow,” she whispered, swaying slowly, as she began to lead with her right foot.

As their eyes connected again, (not that they had ever parted from one another) Regina’s breath caught in her throat. Because it was in this moment. This precise moment, under the full moon, under this very tree, and in this soldier’s strong embrace that she knew… she was falling more and more for Emma Swan. Was she crazy? Probably. But crazy or not, this was a moment she wouldn’t mind reliving.

Regina’s smile automatically grew as Emma took her by surprise, suddenly spinning her out just as slowly as their swaying had been since they started dancing, bringing her right back into her adoring embrace. Fitting perfectly together like two puzzle pieces.

Normally she was a few inches shorter than the blonde, but right now they were at perfect eye level.

Regina chuckled as this time Emma slowly dipped her, leaning over her, holding back on as they came back up. No words were needed when their dance that night said it all.
____________________

As they walked their way towards the brunette nurse’s apartment from the park, the night remained quiet and peaceful. Regina was sporting the blonde’s blue leather jacket, as it wrapped around her shoulders like a cape, protecting her from the small chill that had set in the night air.

“Tonight wasn’t bad?” asked Emma, walking right beside the brunette. Her cane being the only thing making light tapping noises on the concrete floor.

Regina smiled, because ever since she stopped holding back tonight, she had been doing just that. “Not bad at all, soldier. Thank you.”

“For what?”

“For tonight. I haven’t had this much fun in years.” Regina admitted.

“I should be thanking you,” Emma replied, “Tonight was everything I thought it would be. Everything I dreamed of it being since the moment we met.”

Regina stopped her walking as she stopped in front of her apartment building, standing on the first step of the stoop as she looked into Emma’s eyes, seeing all her love reflecting in them. Yes, she was probably crazy, but she would feel like a complete fool if she kept holding back on her own feelings any longer. Besides, every time she looked into the soldier’s eyes, it made it impossible for her to want to do so.

“This could come with challenges. Battles we can’t possibly win.” She whispered, pausing for a short moment to swallow the lump in her throat, “It’s been so long. I’m afraid love may not be for me. Every time something good happens, life finds a way to rip it away.”

Emma’s eyes were just as locked, just as focused onto chocolate brown ones, “Then we’ll fight it. Whatever challenges, whatever battles we are destined to face- I want to be there with you every step of the way.”

Regina’s lips curved into a small smile, loving the assurance in Emma’s voice. “Emma…” She whispered, “I don’t know how to love very well.”

Hands joined once again, this time both, as Emma linked her fingers with the brunette’s, speaking so softly, it made both their bloods boil, “I’ll show you.”

Just when Emma couldn’t possibly think the moment could turn towards more perfection, soft, plumped lips suddenly pressed against her pink, thin ones in a gentle wave of the most purest, most loving, most electrifying kiss she had ever been given. Both women’s heads were swimming in a pool of love and desire. What started as a gentle kiss, turned more passionate but still remained just as gentle as the soldier’s hand came up, resting delicately on the back of Regina’s head, pulling her into a more heated kiss. The way she grabbed her and pulled her sent chills down to her very core.

Was she crazy to pursue this into something more? Probably. But after sharing that kiss, she was sure of one thing. She too was in love.

As their kiss parted, both women drawing in a gentle breath, their eyes met again, and now more than ever, Emma could see it.

“Good night, Regina.” She whispered, remaining close to the brunette enough for her nostrils to take in her sweet, intoxicating perfume.

“Good night.” Regina whispered, feeling her world spin out of control as the blonde slowly backed away. Their hands stretching as far as they could go before they broke apart from one another.

Smiles met one last time for the night, as both women glanced at each other again, as Regina looked at her from behind the held open door, while Emma continued to slowly walk away, glancing happily at her direction. Their smiles only growing as the distance between them became more and more. If Emma could do a backflip right now, she would gladly do it. However, her heart was already doing that for her as it only beat faster, along with the butterflies flapping around happily in her stomach.

Chapter Text

“Look at you,” Kathryn smirked at Regina who was just coming out of her bedroom, her hair still a bit of a mess, and her bathrobe wrapped up around her body, “I’m assuming your date went well last night?”

“Whatever happened to ‘an innocent evening between friends’?” asked Regina, taking the cup of coffee her friend handed over. Drinking in a gentle sip.

Kathryn rolled her eyes, “Alright, so I set you up, but you can’t deny having had a great time with Emma,” she smirked again, her smirk only growing as she caught a glimpse of the smile on the brunette’s lips, not to mention the spark in her eyes at the memory of the kiss they both shared. “Judging by the dreamy look on your face, I’m guessing a kiss happened?”

Regina took another sip of her coffee, shrugging as she swallowed it down, “It was fine.” Of course, she didn’t want to admit it to her that their date was actually the best she’s had in a long time.

However, Kathryn wasn’t buying it, as she raised a brow, leaning up against the kitchen counter, “So, little Emma was a bad kisser then?”

Regina rolled her eyes, “Can we not refer to her as if she were a small child, please?”

That made Kathryn laugh, setting down her coffee mug, “So the soldier knows her stuff, huh?” She wiggled her eyebrows at her.

This time, Regina chuckled, “If you must persistently know- yes.” There was that dreamy look again, as she smiled, “She’s actually quite good.”

Kathryn chuckled, “Quite good?”

The brunette rolled her eyes, “Alright, she’s amazing at it. Is that better?”

“Much.” Kathryn beamed with satisfaction, taking another sip of her coffee before she spoke again, “So, when are you going to see her again?”

Regina sighed, exchanging a look with her best friend.

That’s when the blonde before her immediately deflated, “Oh, I know that look. Don’t even go there-”

“This is crazy-” said Regina, as Kathryn jumped in afterwards.

“What love isn’t?”

“We shared one evening and a kiss, Kathryn. That doesn’t mean we love each other.”

Kathryn rolled her eyes with annoyance this time, “Well, that look on your face and that smile you were sporting minutes ago says otherwise, honey.” She neared her friend as she let out another heavy sigh, forcing her to face her as she held on to the brunette’s shoulders, “Regina. Listen to me. You can’t keep running away from a good thing when it comes along,” she paused, “I’ve seen that look on you before, and neither of those times compares to this. Who cares what happens? Life comes with complications, it always will but that doesn’t mean you have to stop being happy. Especially not for any one else’s sake.”

Regina looked into her friend’s eyes, remaining silent.

“Ask yourself this question and answer it truthfully, with your heart. Do you love her?” Kathryn’s voice was soft this time.

Regina was lost in her thoughts, in last night, on their first date, her thoughts locked on that kiss. There was no doubt in her mind, or her heart that she did feel the same way for Emma, as she felt about her.

She nodded, releasing a long sharp breath, “As crazy as this is, yes. Yes, I love her.” She paused, unable to help the smile that was now on her lips, “I don’t know how it happened, but last night was one of the most incredible nights of my life. It’s been years since I’ve felt so alive with someone.”

Kathryn smiled, “Then, what’s stopping you? You are a grown woman, Emma is a grown woman- a little on the younger side,” she continued through the brunette’s eyeroll, “But, still very mature, and honey, whatever life throws at you two, she seems capable enough to handle it.”

Before either of them could say anything else on the subject, there was a sudden knock at the door.

Regina looked back at her best friend after turning towards the sound of the knock, “Are you expecting someone?”

Kathryn’s grin spoke for itself, “Not me- you.”

The brunette nurse glared at her best friend, “Kathryn… what did you do?”

Kathryn moved slowly towards the front door as another knock was heard, she shrugged, “I may have called a certain hotel, leaving a certain message for a certain blonde, asking if she would come over and meet with me for breakfast. Oh, and by me I meant you. I was just pretending to be you over the phone.”

“Kathryn!” Regina hissed, fuming, looking down at her attire, “I’m not even properly dressed!”

“Well, then you better hurry,” Kathryn whispered, “You wouldn’t want to keep her waiting- hi, Emma!” She smiled at the soldier as she pulled open the door, as Regina ran right back into her bedroom to change.

“Hi.” Emma smiled shyly.

“Come on in.” She stepped aside, allowing Emma to step inside, shutting the door behind them, “Regina is just changing.”

“I trust your stomach is better.” said Emma, looking around the apartment. It was quite cozy for the two of them.

“Oh, you know… comes and goes…” Kathryn brushed it off, smirking, “I trust your date went well?”

Emma smiled, looking in her direction, “I never kiss and tell.” She winked.

Kathryn nodded, still smirking.

Heads turned as Regina came out of her bedroom, dressed and ready, the blond’s blue leather jacket resting over her forearm. Kathryn stood, exchanging looks between both women. If stares could talk, theirs would have a lot to say.

“Well, you two enjoy your breakfast.” She looked towards the brunette, “I may do some grocery shopping later, we’re running low on a couple of things.”

Regina nodded, “Fine.”

Kathryn smiled happily, gesturing both women as they walked out the door, “Have fun. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.”

Regina’s cheeks turned red, as Emma simply chuckled, hiding a shade of pink on her cheeks as they walked down the stoop and onto the sidewalk together.

“I’m glad you called,” Emma broke the silence between them, “Had I known kissing you is what it took to get you to call me, I would have done it sooner.”

Regina chuckled nervously, “I have a confession to make.” She stopped her walking, as did Emma, both looking into each other’s eyes, “Emma…” she paused, “I-”

“I already know.” Emma jumped right in, taking the brunette by complete surprise.

“You do?” At the blonde’s nod, she bit down on her lip in embarrassment, “I’m sorry. She’s never meddled like this, if you don’t want to have breakfast-”

“Regina,” Emma’s voice was soft, just like the smile she was providing her with in that moment, “Whatever it takes to go out with you again, it doesn’t matter who does what. I just want to be with you.”

Regina’s smile soon reflected Emma’s. Could this soldier be more perfect? It amazed her how absolutely nothing seemed to bother her, not even the fact that Kathryn took it upon herself to have them meet up again after setting them up at the park. Maybe Kathryn was right, maybe this time was worth enjoying and pursuing into something more. Maybe this time it would be something that would permanently last. Assuming she never grew tired of her.

She glanced down at their joined hands as Emma had linked her fingers with her own. Her eyes looked back up into green ones, as they both walked on their way.

Regina looked down at the blonde’s jacket that still hung over her forearm, “Oh, I brought your jacket. I completely neglected to return it last night.”

Emma looked down at her jacket, smiling back at the brunette beside her, “Keep it. You never know when you might need it again.”

Regina stopped dead on her tracks in shock, “Keep it?” She chuckled, “You can’t be serious.”

“Why not?”

“Emma, this is yours. I can’t just keep your jacket-”

“Of course you can,” Emma gently placed her hand on the brunette’s forearm, stopping her from handing it back to her, “I’m giving it to you, so I want you to have it. I have another one back home, it’s red and it just happens to be my favorite.”

Regina’s smile only grew as Emma hurried, cane and all to stop a cab. She wondered then and there, what on earth did she ever do right to deserve a chance at meeting someone as amazing as her. It was official, Emma Swan made her feel like a teenager again. She walked towards the cab, hopping in first as Emma held the door open for her, closing it as she too sat inside, as Regina instructed the driver where to take them for that morning.
____________________

“So, did you always want to be a nurse?” Emma asked, taking one last bite of her french toast, her plate already empty.

Regina shook her head, “Believe it or not, I grew up wanting to be a jockey,” she explained with more detail as the blonde gave her a confused look, “Horse jockey. My parents and myself own a ranch in Boston. My father and I used to care for them for a living.”

Emma swallowed the bit of juice she had drank in, wiping her mouth with her napkin, “Wow. So, not only are you good with people but with animals too, huh?”

The nurse chuckled, smiling, “I guess you can say that, yeah. I grew up around them, because of my father and…” she sighed at a memory, “I used to love riding every morning with him. We would have races sometimes, towards the end of the field. My favorite moment is exactly when the sun is rising. Riding towards it, feeling the wind in my hair, it’s the most freeing sensation.”

Emma’s lips tugged upward into a smile, her eyes shining as she took in every word and detail of the older woman before her.

“He sounds like he was a wonderful father.”

Regina smiled a sad smile, her voice a whisper, “He was,” she cleared her throat, fighting back the tears that stung at her eyes, “Lt. Henry Mills.” Emma’s eyebrows shot up in surprise, even if Kathryn had already mentioned once to her that the brunette’s father had been in the military.

“He was Lieutenant?” she asked.

The brunette nodded, “He served for many years, many soldiers served and died under his command. Times became hard, many under him wanted to give up, but he wouldn’t let him. ‘Leaving any one of my men or women out in that field would pain me just as much as it pains me to leave you and your mother behind.’”

Emma felt a sense of admiration. Not only because he was in the military and served just as she had, but Emma would have loved to be under his command, “It sounds like he did some pretty amazing things out there.”

Regina smiled, “Well, he was a pretty amazing man. I admired him so.”

“Of course, he had to be…” Emma’s eyes never left Regina, “He certainly had himself an amazing daughter.” Her eyes looked upon brown ones now, as well as a set of pink blushing cheeks.

The nurse shook her head, “I’m no hero like my father was.”

“Tell that to all the lives you’ve touched day by day.” Replied the blonde, her voice soft, “I was one of them, and I definitely admire you for what you did for my leg. Had it not been for you, I probably wouldn’t be sitting before you right now, enjoying the pleasure of your company.”

Regina brushed back a strand of her hair, her smile only growing, “You are perfectly fit to be a writer, Ms. Swan. You certainly have a way with words.”

The soldier’s brow raised, she stared at the brunette in silence, watching her take a sip of her coffee.

“What?” Regina asked, placing the cup back down before her.

“What will it take for you to just call me Emma?” asked the blonde.

Regina raised a brow, mirroring the blonde’s expression, playing along “Why so surprised? We hardly know each other well enough for me to call you by just your name.”

“I beg to differ,” The blonde rested her chin on her hands, propping herself up with her elbows, “We’ve been on a date already, which ended in you kissing me, and now we are enjoying a really nice breakfast, as well as getting to know more about each other.”

Regina chuckled, “I kissed you? Oh, you must have been dreaming, It was you who deepened it into a kiss, I simply lost my balance exactly when you were leaning in.”

“And fell onto my face?” Emma’s brow raised again, a smirk playing on her lips.

The brunette rolled her eyes, crossing her arms over her chest, which was a look Emma grew quite fond of in so little time. She loved it so much, it made her laugh with joy. A laugh Regina instantly grew to adore.

“Alright, so, would you call me by name all the time if I asked you to be my girlfriend?”

Regina’s eyes grew wide, her mouth parted in surprise. Girlfriend? Did she really mean that? That she was not expecting. She cleared her throat, “Girlfriend?” She chuckled as the blonde gave her a simple nod of the head.

“What’s so funny?” asked Emma, her tone as serious as ever.

Regina raised a brow playfully again, “Correct me if I’m wrong soldier, but you already have many girlfriends back home. I doubt you could handle another.”

This time it was Emma who did a roll of her eyes, her smirk never leaving as she caught on to the brunette’s game, “Well, I can assure you, they aren’t the jealous type.”

“But maybe I am. Have you ever thought of that?” Regina smirked.

“Then, I would have to face each one of them back home, be honest and tell them that I have fallen in love with the earth’s most beautiful, kind, head strong woman, so what we have to end it.”

Regina shook her head, her smile never leaving, “You really are something special, soldier.”

Emma leaned in, reaching for an olive hand across the table, “Go on a date with me, then. Two more,” she held up two fingers, “that will be three in total, counting last night’s. If by the third date I haven’t completely swept you off your feet, I will walk you home and you never have to see me again. But, if I do… I will repeat my question and expect an answer from you.”

Never see her again? That certainly was something the brunette nurse didn’t want happening. Although, she was certain Emma would have to travel back to Boston sooner or later, leaving her behind. But that time wasn’t today. But, before agreeing to two more she needed to play just a little more with this charming soldier.

“Why would you possibly want to go on two more dates with me? Why am I so special?” She asked, a tiny smirk coating her ruby red lips.

Emma smiled a dimple cheek smile, the chair underneath her dragging on concrete as she slowly moved closer to be only inches apart from her favorite nurse, “Because I want to be there each and every time you lose your balance to catch you.”

Her voice was a gentle whisper, her breath tickled on her plump lips, it took her very breath away. And just as Emma’s lips barely brushed her own, she felt as she moved up, placing a loving and respectful kiss on her forehead. It was impossible not to fall deeper and deeper in love with Emma.
____________________

Regina’s keys rattled inside the lock of her apartment, as she made her way in, only to be startled by her best friend as she ran right up to the door, pulling her into the apartment quicker as the door slammed shut.

“What on earth is wrong with you?” Regina’s brows furrowed, staring at already creepy grin on Kathryn’s lips.

“Details. How was it?” asked the blonde.

Regina chuckled, walking past her best friend, “It was a lovely breakfast. We talked.”

“That’s it? Lovely breakfast, you talked? Really?” she crossed her arms over her chest, her blue eyes taking notice in the jacket that she now had on, “That’s Emma’s jacket.” she grinned, her eyes following the brunette as she headed towards the hallway, “Where are you going?”

“To take a shower,” Regina looked over her shoulder with a teasing smirk, “I have a date.”

Kathryn smiled, rushing towards the bathroom door which had closed, “Another date? That’s wonderful! I’ll need details of that later tonight!”

Chapter Text

The date was scheduled for exactly 5pm sharp. It was 4:58 as soon as Regina walked out of her bedroom, wearing a simple summer white dress that covered her legs down to her knees, it had short sleeves that finished just as at her biceps. To finish off, she chose to wear cowgirl boots that complimented the dress nicely. Kathryn to say the least, was ecstatic when she saw her best friend smiling and actually excited about tonight’s date.

“What’s the plan tonight?” Kathryn asked, a bowl of popcorn sitting on her lap, while the TV played at a low volume.

“Dinner and some sightseeing.”

Kathryn smirked, popping a popcorn into her mouth, “Sightseeing, I’ll say. With that dress she will certainly be seeing.”

Regina glanced down at her dress, growing worried, “Does it look bad? What? I didn’t think it would be too revealing.”

“No, it’s not, it actually compliments your body very well.” Her eyes studied her friend’s figure from top to bottom, “I’m sure Emma would love to see your legs. You do have killer legs.”

Regina’s brows furrowed, chuckling, “Maybe you should get a date.”

Exactly at 5pm, there was a knock at the door, to which Regina quickly rushed to answer, as Kathryn remained on the couch, chewing down another popcorn.

“Right on time, good for her.” Kathryn murmured, taking in another popcorn.

“Hi.” Regina smiled, taking in Emma’s attire for the evening. She had gone with her usual tight jeans, a black t-shirt underneath a green military jacket that ended right above her knees, really bringing out the green color in her eyes out more. Her blonde curls resting along her shoulders.

As for Emma, she was in awe. Her lips parted, her eyes moving up and down as she took in the beautiful sight before her. Just when she thought Regina couldn’t possibly turn herself into a monument- she was proven wrong. Her heart raced inside her chest, the butterflies that had found a home in her stomach ever since she laid eyes on her were flapping so hard, it made her hand rest right on it.

“Wow.” She breathed out, her eyes so focused Regina couldn’t remember ever seeing her blink once since she opened her front door, “Just when I think you can’t possibly get more beautiful by the minute, you prove me wrong.”

Regina smiled, a blush creeping up her cheeks, “Why, thank you. You don’t look so bad yourself, soldier. Shall we get going?”

Emma nodded, “Whenever you’re ready.”

“I’ll see you later, Kat.” Regina turned to look over her shoulder.

“Oh, Gina, wait!” Kathryn jumped off the couch, running towards the door, speaking in a low whisper as she neared her friend, “Should I expect you back tonight, or are you going to make her beg for it?”

“Good night, Kathryn.” Regina hissed, her eyes growing wide as she quickly shut the door, fearing that Emma had heard her. She smiled a pearly white smile as she stood before Emma once again. “I’m so sorry about that.”

Emma mirrored her smile, obviously not having picked up on the other blonde’s comment, “Everything alright?”

“Yes, of course. Shall we?” Regina walked along, as Emma walked beside her down the same stoop and sidewalk as before, her cane gently tapping to her steps. She turned to look over at the blonde as she could feel her quietly staring. She was, of course, because as soon as she turned to look, Emma quickly looked up ahead, which only made Regina smile even more.

As soon as they spotted a cab, Regina once again instructed the driver on where to take them, given that her and Emma had agreed that the brunette would get to choose where they would go for tonight.

As they arrived, Regina decided that first they would do a little sightseeing to work up an appetite. She showed off a beautiful spot of Germany, it looked like a village that came out of Hansel and Gretel, minus the houses being made out of candy and gingerbread. There was a crowd that surrounded by other tourists, which made Emma feel a little uneasy at first, but as soon as she felt a hand slip right into hers, and she saw those brown eyes that had captivated her staring right at her- everything was tranquil.

The village was quiet, and the scent of the flowers that surrounded each building as they walked along the pathway made it all even more worth seeing. The back of Emma’s hand would softly caress the flowers as she walked past them from time to time.

Emma’s ears were filled with the brunette’s laughter as she had finished telling her the story of the time her and her best friend Ruby had made out.

“What was that kiss like?” Regina asked, seeing as Emma scrunched up her nose.

“Mm, it was okay.” the blonde replied, chuckling as Regina raised a questioning brow, “We were both fourteen. After that kiss with Neal, I sort of realized that my inclinations maybe went another way. I told Ruby about it, her being my best friend and all and-”

“And she kissed you?” Regina jumped in.

“Actually, I kissed her,” Emma smirked, loving the hint of jealousy in the brunette’s eyes as they now walked along a long stretched out bridge that was held a breathtaking view of another village on the far end, surrounded by endless waters. As Regina released her hand, she stood beside her, admiring the peaceful look of the dark blue water. “It was nothing compared to kissing you, that’s for sure.”

“I certainly hope not,” the nurse murmured under her breath, keeping her gaze on the calm water.

Emma glanced at her, smiling, “No one can compare to you,” she held a hand before the brunette, that surprised Regina as she turned and glanced down to see what Emma had been holding. It was one of the flowers they had walked by.

Regina was in awe, of course, the girl was in the army, she was taught how to be sneaky, even with a cane. But it was still surprising. Their fingertips touched as she accepted the flower from the blonde’s hand. Oh, she was a smooth one alright and it was working on her like a cast spell.

As they continued their walk to the other side of the bridge, they entered a small area that began playing music from the 60’s. If there was one thing Germany was famous for was that they loved oldies music. Which the blonde could see how the brunette’s eyes lit up at the sight of people dancing to it. It was being held near an outdoor bar, it was friendly oriented and care free.

“We can dance if you want to.” Emma finally said, as the song that had been playing soon ended.

Regina looked at her wide eyed, “To this pace? No. I can’t.”

“Sure you can, if you can slow dance, you can dance to this.”

It warmed her heart that all Emma was thinking about was showing her a good time, “I meant for you. The steps are a little fast, this would hurt your leg. Let’s just sit at one of the tables.” She suggested.

Something Regina didn’t know about Emma was that she absolutely loved dancing. Thanks to Ingrid and her dance classes, Emma had become her dance partner for many years, so she had actually become quite great at it, and if Regina wanted to dance, not even her leg would stop her.

Emma dug inside her jacket pocket, the rattling of pills sounded as she retrieved a pain pill from her prescribed medication, chewing it for instant relief.

Regina shook her head, already seeing the determination in the crazy blonde’s eyes, “Emma, no, your leg-”

“Will be fine,” she grabbed onto the brunette’s hand, taking her towards the spot that was the dance floor of that night, placing her cane on an empty table nearby. As she did, singers in the next song hummed as the voice of Dion began singing the slow melody to Runaround Sue. “Besides, if it hurts, you can always take care of me.” She winked, holding tightly onto Regina’s body and hand for support.

Regina shook her head but had a smile to her, “I hope you can keep up.”

Emma grinned, “There’s only one way to find out.”

As the words picked up to the song, same as the beat, Emma’s feet were just as quick as Regina’s in the steps they began taking towards the beat. It was fast paced, but it left the brunette in complete awe at how amazingly Emma was able to keep up, despite her bad leg. She spun her around and brought her right back, her feet never missing a single beat as they jumped off the ground in sync with the music and lyrics of the song. She felt a couple of pinches of pain within her leg, but damn it, she would not stop. Not when Regina was having the time of her life and was owning the night looking radiant dancing along with her.

Regina was having fun, to her surprise, Emma was an excellent dancer. She never had the chance to dance much with Daniel, they slowed dance maybe twice, including on their wedding day, and Robin… well, he wasn’t into dancing at all. Kathryn danced with her from time to time but not to everything. Emma however, she could surely keep up and beyond. Her feet, her hips moved accordingly to every rhythm. She loved watching her dance, it might just become her favorite sight of her.

As the song reached its end, Emma was a little breathless, not because she hadn’t done anything physical in a few weeks, her leg was starting to protest against the dancing she had just done. It wasn’t so bad where she couldn’t stand it, so did she regret over using it just to see Regina smile? The answer was no.

“Where on earth did you learn how to dance like that?” Regina asked through her smile. Clearly impressed.

Emma’s dimples exposed as she smiled quite shyly, “I’ve been Ingrid’s dance partner for years.” She couldn’t hide it anymore, she massaged at her leg as she remained held on to the brunette’s shoulder.

This worried the nurse immediately, “Emma, I told you your leg wouldn’t be able to handle it.” She tightened her hold around the blonde’s waist, “Let’s sit you down.”

“Wait,” Emma didn’t move as the song We Belong Together started playing next, instead of worrying about her leg, she smiled, taking Regina’s hand into her own once again, “Come on.”

Regina pulled her back, refusing to dance anymore, “Emma, no. You really should rest that leg-” her voice changed to a gasp as she felt a strong pull towards the blonde. Emma had wrapped her arm around her waist, forcing her to close their distance, their faces only inches apart. She couldn’t possibly protest now. Her arms just moved on their own as they wrapped around the blonde’s neck like a snake.

Emma’s arms also had a mind of their own as her arms wrapped around the older woman’s waist, their stomach’s practically touching now, as well as their chests.

Their eyes were glued to one another for a short moment, as both pairs began to study each other’s lips and facial features and back to their lips. Their embrace only locking in more within one another.

Regina couldn’t help smiling as she then saw thin lips moving in sync with the lyrics of the song. Her green eyes displaying all the love in the world, a love Regina had never seen in anyone else’s eyes, including Daniel’s and boy did he love her in his time. Of course all that bubble of love and adoration burst once Regina’s eyes couldn’t help but land on a familiar face in the crowd, sitting with his back turned at the bar.

“What’s wrong?” Emma immediately taking notice in the brunette’s tense behavior.

“We have to go.” said the brunette, breaking their embrace as quickly as she grabbed the cane from the table top, handing it over to Emma as she took hold of her hand, racing out of there as fast as she could, so fast it made the blonde limp a little.

“Regina, what’s going on? Talk to me.” Her cane clanked at a fast pace as the music became a faint sound in the background as they crossed the same bridge they had just come from. “Regina!” Emma grew a little uneasy with the silence surrounding them now, “Can you at least slow down for a minute, please?” She grabbed onto her arm, stopping her from walking any further, “What happened back there? Who did you see?”

“Nothing!” She snapped, sighing as her eyes closed, opening up to meet with Emma’s once again, “No one. Everything’s fine.”

“You’re lying.” Emma called her bluff, studying the woman’s eyes well enough to know she was in fact lying through her teeth.

Regina’s hands went to her hips, “Excuse me? We go on two dates and already you think you know me that well?”

“I do know you- well enough to know you aren’t telling me the truth. Now who did you see?” This time Emma snapped, which Regina wasn’t about to stand down from.

“I don’t have to explain myself to you-!” She yanked her arm away from Emma’s grip, her eyes growing wide as a loud bang was heard off in the distance, followed by another, then another.

By pure instinct, Emma quickly ducked down, but not before grabbing onto the brunette, holding her safely within her embrace as she now laid on top of her, protecting her at all cost as both women remained on the floor. Her cane clanking loudly on the bare floor.

Regina’s grip was tightened around the green jacket, so tightly her knuckles turned white as she looked up at the sky and realized that the popping sound had come from a few firecrackers that a couple of kids were playing with.

Emma’s head came up, her body remaining on top of the brunette’s, “Are you alright?” she asked with worry in her eyes.

Regina nodded, “I’m fine.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.” Her hands cupped Emma’s face as saw the lost look in the soldier’s eyes, “Emma. Breathe, it’s alright. They were just a couple of firecrackers. That’s all it was.”

“Firecrackers?” Emma breathed out, her eyes looking up at the kids who were laughing in the distance, mindlessly playing. She looked back down at Regina, “I’m sorry,” she whispered, “I thought- I-”

“I know. But you’re safe, you’re with me.” Regina brushed fallen golden locks away from the blonde’s face, “You’re alright now.” Her lips didn’t waste any time in crashing with Emma’s again, just as slow as their first shared kiss. And just like magic, Emma’s breathing had calmed, her body relaxed more on top of the brunette’s, as Regina’s hands went from cupping to each side of her face to sliding across and around her neck. Only this time, their lips and tongues were doing the dancing.

She wasn’t sure when, but Emma’s tongue had invited itself within her mouth, and by God if the feeling of it dancing around her own wet tongue didn’t turn her on. A slow grunt escaped the brunette, as the feel of Emma’s soft touch burned the skin of her arms as she slowly moved downward past her side and waist. There they were having a mind of their own again. Emma couldn’t understand how someone could make her lose this much self control, but damn it, she had kept her hands to herself, or rather on that concrete long enough.

Emma’s neck and cheeks were burning with a desire for this woman. And that wasn’t all. The butterflies that took refuge in her stomach every time she was around Regina, had now transported themselves somewhere else. The throbbing feeling she was suddenly feeling made her forget all about her leg, made both women forget all about their tiny battle of shouts they had had a few seconds ago.

Regina wasn’t breaking their kiss, and neither was she. Her touch alone sent shivers down her spine, the exact same feeling Regina would get as Emma’s hand traveled more and more down, caressing her thigh on top of the fabric of her dress. It was a sigh that Emma suddenly let out that made her pull away, leaving both of them completely breathless.

“I’m sorry.” Emma murmured, looking down at a panting brunette, “This wasn’t- I…” she was stammering again, trying to find the best way to an apology, “I’m not looking to sleep with you.” Her eyes grew wide as Regina stared at her with a raised brow, “No! I mean not that I haven’t thought about it-” she shook her head, “I mean, shit- that’s not right. I’m not making any sense.” She sat up, leaning her head back on the bridge, her cheeks red with embarrassment and arousal altogether.

“I’m afraid not, dear, but I’m having fun watching you try.” Regina chuckled, taking notice in the young soldier’s embarrassing moment.

“You’re laughing at me!” Emma hid her face in her hands, her elbows resting on her knees.

This brought out laughter from the older brunette, a laugh that made Emma forget about everything in an instant. “I’m sorry, no, I promise I’m not.”

Emma smiled, shaking her head, her eyes meeting brown ones again, “I’m sorry if I shouted at you. You just took me by surprise.”

Regina shook her head, taking a hold of the soldier’s hand, “No, I’m sorry. Not only did I shout as well but I was rude and you didn’t deserve that. You’ve been nothing but incredibly sweet with me, the least I could do is explain why-”

Emma squeezed her hand gently, “You don’t have to-”

“No, it’s alright. I want to. However, I am kind of hungry now, so it might be a good idea to tell you over dinner.”

Emma smiled, looking up at Regina as she stood up to her feet, helping her up as well, picking up her cane along the way. Regina wrapped an arm around the blonde’s form again, giving her even more support for her leg as they walked away calmly.

“How’s your leg?” she asked.

“Oh, didn’t I tell you? Your kisses are like magic. I am pain free.” Emma joked, chuckling as Regina playfully pushed her away.
____________________

It didn’t take them long to find a nice restaurant for the night. During their meal, Regina had filled Emma in on part of her past that involved Robin. She told her everything to how they met, and what had pushed her to date him, which in great part had to do with her mother. She explained how she never really ever loved Robin, not strong enough anyway. He had come into her life days after she had lost her husband Daniel to the war, and was in a very bad place, unable to cope. Robin was undoubtedly charming and he was persistent, and with her mother’s pushing, she began to date him. Of course all that left out the window as soon as he started showing her his true colors.

This angered Emma so. She was a witness, first hand on Ingrid’s relationship with a man who was just like Robin. She hated to think that Regina had to go through the same cowardly treatment all because her mother pushed her towards him.

“I was stupid, I know. You don’t have to say it.” The brunette chuckled, grabbing a hold of her glass of red wine, “I grown woman manipulated by her mother.”

Emma kept her eyes on her the entire time, “I don’t think that at all. You were in a bad place, going through a rough patch. You were vulnerable and it seems to me that your mother knew that.”

Regina swallowed the gulp of wine, “That she did,” she smiled, shaking the bad thoughts away from her head, “But she moved to New York, and I moved to Boston the first chance I got a transfer to a hospital there. Robin and I broke up and, some time later, I ended up here.”

Emma smiled a sad smile, “Not that I’m happy that you had to go through all that tragedy. The loss of your father, your late husband, and having to be in a loveless relationship with someone who’s a sucky doctor.”

The brunette chuckled, “Your the one who had to have him as a doctor. If anything, I’m sorry.” Her fingers caressed the thin neck of her wine glass as she spoke, “I believe that had it been up to him, he would have chopped off your leg.”

Emma chuckled then, “He might’ve not stopped there.”

Both shared a much needed laugh. Emma brought up her glass filled with water, as Regina had brought up her wine glass as they both clinked them together in a form of cheers. After enjoying the rest of their dinner, both had fought as to who would pay the bill. A round which Regina ended up proudly winning.
____________________

As they walked back to the brunette’s apartment complex, Emma removed her jacket as she placed it around the brunette’s shoulders, very much like she had done with her blue one. Regina twirled the flower Emma had given her by its stem.

“So, Emma, do you ever think you would get married?”

Emma shrugged, “I wouldn’t be opposed to it if it were in the cards for me. There’s just one problem.”

“What’s that?” Regina turned all her attention to the blonde by this point.

“I haven’t asked you yet.” Emma grinned as Regina’s cheeks turned pink. She tucked her hands inside her jeans pockets, “Besides, you still have to say yes to being my girlfriend. Which, by the looks of things, I say I’ll get a yes.”

Regina chuckled, “What makes you so sure I’ll say yes to being yours?”

‘Being yours.’ Emma did love the sound of that. She stopped walking, facing the brunette as they reached her stoop, “Because you already are. You could have turned down tonight’s date, but you didn’t. You could have left that night at the park, but you didn’t. You didn’t have to kiss me, yet you did.” Her hand came up as she had taken the flower from within the brunette’s fingers, finding a new home for it as she tucked it behind her ear. “I’ll only be staying for a couple more days, but I am certain that you will say yes to being mine before I have to fly back to Boston. And believe me, I won't be going anywhere, unless you tell me to leave you alone. But I’m certain you won’t because your kiss alone tells me that you’re in love with me too.” Her eyes locked into her own, “They say good things are worth waiting for. I would wait forever for you, Regina.”

This time as Emma moved in closer, her lips didn’t aim for her forehead, but her lips. It was a kiss that was quick but soft, it confirmed her of everything the blonde had just told her. Leaving her floating on air, even as Emma parted away, but not too far as their foreheads remained touching.

“You won’t ever have to be afraid with me, Regina. My love for you is as real as the very air you breathe.” She gave her a warm smile, slowly backing away, “Good night.”

She wanted to run after her, kiss her, hold her again. Tell her that she was right, that she did love her with every beating of her not so black heart anymore. For the first time in a long time, she felt like she didn’t have to walk around with her heart on her sleeve anymore. With Emma all could be different, it was different. It was better. But she also enjoyed how things were escalating between them, that was for sure. Why move so fast anyway? There was no need, when they had all the time in the world. However, Emma was right… after date number three, Regina would happily say yes to being hers.

Chapter Text

Emma finished writing on a postcard the next morning, handing back the pen that had been handed to her as she wrote back home to report to Ingrid that she would be going home in a couple of days. She handed the postcard to the lady behind the counter, as it was going on a different pile of mail for fast travel. She made her way out the doors, crossing the street as soon as it was safe to do so. She came across a bakery, purchasing a cream cheese bagel as she left. She took one bite when she witnessed a brunette girl, around her age, being bothered by a guy who by the looks of it was older than her. Both looked to be American as they were shouting in English, the girl begging for him to let her go as the guy only held on tighter to her jacket.

“Hey!” Emma shouted, causing more and more pedestrians to look as the commotion took place. “That’s no way to treat anyone. Why don’t you just let her go?” She had walked so fast over to them that her bagel was even forgotten.

“Who the hell are you?” asked the guy, glaring at her as his grip only tightened more around the poor girl’s arm. He’s eyes falling on the dog tags that were hanging around her neck. “You know what, it doesn’t matter. Why don’t you just mind your own business, Rambo?”

That made the blonde chuckle, “I can’t do that now. Come on, you’re making a scene, you’re a little intoxicated. Whatever problem you guys had, I’m sure it can be worked out when you’ve sobered up.”

It wasn’t her business to get involved, but this guy was clearly drunk and growing up with a drunken stepfather and watching him constantly beat up on Ingrid was never acceptable for her. It was instinct for her to want to stand up for anyone facing the same situation, and judging by the bruise on the girl’s cheekbone- she had already taken a beating. It was a personal matter for her.

“Just please, listen to her-” the girl said, only to make the guy angrier.

“Shut up!” He shouted, raising his fist, ready to strike her again, his head turned towards the blonde who was quicker than he was as she had grabbed onto his arm with a surprisingly stronger grip than his.

“Yeah, I can’t allow that.” Emma released his arm, stepping back, holding out her arm as she moved the brunette behind her as the guy suddenly pulled out a gun. Aiming it right at her. People around screamed in fear as they made a run for it, while others stood to watch in the distance. Emma held out her free hand as a sign of peace, “Take it easy!”

“I don’t have a problem with you, why are you getting involved? This isn’t your problem!” he shouted, keeping his weapon on aim.

“You’re right- it’s not. But look around you, look at all these people.” The blonde spoke calmly, “Do you really think that treating her like shit in front of all these people implies something good about you? Your pointing a gun at me, do you really want to go down that road?”

“She’s my business, mine- not yours!”

“Emma!” The blonde’s eyes grew wide at the sudden sight of Regina and Kathryn as they stood within the crowd that had formed again, all staring in pure fear. They had a later shift that day, so they agreed to have breakfast once again. Emma reacted even quicker, as Regina’s voice was enough to distract the intoxicating guy. She allowed her cane to drop on the floor, her hands reached out for his weapon, one pulling it from his grip as the other twisted his arm, causing him to grunt in pain as he dropped to his knees.

People gasped and screamed in surprise, as well as Kathryn and Regina as they could do nothing but watch in awe. Emma’s reflexes were simply mouth dropping.

Emma pulled the slide of the weapon back as it clicked, clanking of the bullet that was inside the chamber was heard as it dropped on the concrete floor. She released the magazine from within the butt of the gun, letting it drop to the floor. To finish off, she pulled the weapon apart with such ease, tossing it towards the guy who watched her skills in amazement. His eyes falling on his own weapon as it was shattered into two separate pieces before him.

“Never pull your gun on someone who’s trained to use them, you’ll always lose. You’ll do well to remember that when someone pulls out a gun, it’s because they’ll use it.” She looked over to the brunette girl who was amazed at what she had witnessed, providing her with a curt nod. Emma bent down to pick up her cane, walking over to Regina and Kathryn.

“Emma, are you alright?” Regina was filled with worry, wrapping her arms around the blonde in a tight hug.

Emma nodded, her arms automatically wrapped around the older woman’s form, “I’m fine now.” A smile was just forming on her lips, when suddenly Regina pulled back as her hands began to slap and push at her chest and arms, “Wha- Regina!”

“You idiot! You could have been killed!” Regina snapped, giving her another slap right on her bicep.

Kathryn was all smiles, “Are you kidding? That guy didn’t stand a chance!” She turned her attention to Emma now, “Emma, that was amazing! How on earth did you know he wouldn’t shoot?”

Emma smiled shyly, “Military trained me well, I guess.”

“This calls for a little celebration. Breakfast is on me today.” Kathryn wrapped her arms around both women’s forms, walking away happily with her friends. Leaving the brunette girl watching her new mystery savior disappear into the crowd.
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As all three friends enjoyed a calm breakfast, after Emma’s heroic moment, she opened up about her life in Storybrooke and how the town was so small, it wasn’t even found on any map. How growing up, her and Ruby were terrified of Mr. Gold and his cane. Which in time, Emma was brave enough to go into his home and actually have a wondrous conversation with him, finding out that in reality he was just as lonely as she was at the time. How her and August grew up in the same small town and never talked until they both joined the war, and how in such a short time, they became the best of friends. Or how Ingrid was passionate about dancing and still taught it to those who wanted to learn it.

“So, everything is literally at walking distance?” Kathryn asked, intrigued by the soldier’s small town. She shook her head as the blonde nodded in confirmation, “I could never live in a small town. I love the city too much. Would you ever move into the city?”

Emma thought about it at first, “If the occasion called for it, sure.” She sipped at the tea she had ordered, “What about you? Anyone special in your life?” She asked, wanting to know more about her new friend.

“God, no. After witnessing first hand what Regina had to go through with her love life, I think I’m perfectly fine the way I am.” Kathryn took a sip of her coffee.

Regina turned to her friend, chuckling, “Hey, it wasn’t always bad.”

Kathryn chuckled, “Yeah, now that you finally gave Emma a chance.” Her gaze turned to the soldier, “Thank God you got hurt and came to us when you did, otherwise Regina would have grown up an old cat lady.”

Emma laughed as Regina playfully smacked Kathryn’s arm, “Thanks, I guess. You know, it’s a shame you aren’t interested in meeting someone. I think my friend August would have been perfect for you.”

Kathryn shook her head, “Me date a soldier? I mean, no offense, but Regina and I already wear matching outfits to work,” she motioned towards her scrubs, “We both don’t need to be dating soldiers.”

“How did you two become such great friends?” asked Emma.

“Oh, our families knew each other. Regina and I have been stuck together like glue ever since we came out of mother’s wombs.”

Regina smiled, shaking her head as she stood up from her chair, “If you’ll excuse me, I need to use the bathroom before we leave for work.”

“Mm…” Kathryn swallowed the last sip of her coffee she sipped, standing up before Regina would leave her behind, “I’ll come with you. I need to go too.” She smiled over at Emma, “We’ll be back. Don’t you pay for anything.”

Emma chuckled, remaining in her seat as she quietly sipped on the rest of her tea. Her eyes focused on Regina as she entered the restroom of the establishment. The brunette did look sexy in those scrubs of hers.

“There you are,” Emma turned to a female voice, who smiled down at the blonde, welcoming herself to sit down, “I recognized you and your friends. I didn’t have a chance to thank you earlier for your heroic act.”

Emma smiled a friendly smile at the brunette sitting by her now, her eyes looking at her bruise decorating her cheekbone, “I’m sorry for getting involved. I hope all is better now.”

The brunette rolled her eyes, “Who cares. Serves him right. He was a loser anyway.”

Emma laughed, “Well, I’m glad your doing better.”

The girl smiled, “What’s your story, Rambo? Are you here on vacation?”

“No, I… I was in the military until I got discharged. I’m only here for a few days and then I’ll be flying home.”

“Where do you call home?”

“It’s a small town near Boston.” replied Emma, intrigued by the blonde even more.

“Really?” She smiled, “I’m here on vacation.”

“Alone?”

The brunette shook her head, “Me and a few friends,” she eyed the soldier before her up and down, “You could join us tonight, if you’d like. We’re all doing a little sightseeing, and I could use you as a bodyguard.”

Emma chuckled, smiling as she knew exactly what the girl was implying, “I appreciate the offer, but I can’t.”

The brunette chuckled, “What, do you have a curfew or something?”

“Are you ready?” asked Regina as she came out of the bathroom, joining Kathryn again as she stood in awe watching the scene that was happening before her.

“Yeah, however… if I were you, I would tell Emma that you accept being her girlfriend and quick,” she nodded her head towards the scene before them, as Regina looked over, instantly fuming with jealousy.

Emma smiled, “I’m actually seeing someone.”

“Oh.” The brunette paused, “Lucky girl,” she stood up from the seat, taking out a pen from her jacket pocket as she wrote down on a napkin, tucking it into the blonde’s breast jacket pocket, “Just in case, you never know, there’s a chance we may meet again.” As she turned to walk away, Regina and Kathryn were already behind her, causing Emma to quickly stand from her seat. “Oh, hi again. Don’t mind me, I was just leaving.” She turned towards Emma, waving off as she walked away, “Thank you again. I hope to see you again soon.”

“Well, look at you. You’re a regular Casanova, aren’t you, soldier?” Kathryn asked, her arms crossed over her chest.

“It wasn’t anything like that.” said Emma, her eyes shifting over to an upset brunette, “She was just thanking me for helping her out.”

“Oh, I know,” her hand reached inside Emma’s breast pocket, inspecting the napkin as she flashed it before the blonde, “She even slipped you her number.”

“Regina, honest, it’s not what you think-”

“No?” Regina’s brow raised.

“Of course not. I wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize what we’ve built. We still need that third date.”

Regina tossed the napkin on the table, “Why don’t you call your new friend? We have to get to work.” She turned to glance at Kathryn, “Let’s go, Kathryn.”

“Wha- Regina!” Emma was ready to rush after her, but was stopped by Kathryn. “What is her problem? Nothing was going on. I wasn’t even planning on calling her.”

“She knows that. Unfortunately, Regina has just gone through so much, anytime she feels threatened she will put up this shield.” She held up her hands in front of the blonde, placing them on her shoulders gently, “Trust me, I haven’t seen her this threatened by someone since her late husband. She loves you, Emma.”

Emma chuckled, her hands on her hips now, “Well, she has a funny way of showing it.”

“Just give her some space. She will cool down and come to her senses, later you can charm her with whatever you have up your sleeve.” She winked, “Trust me, the last thing she wants is to lose you too.”

Emma plopped back down in her seat as Kathryn paid the bill and left the blonde alone with her thoughts. “Great.” She mumbled to herself. Of course Regina loved her, that was never in question. She could see it in the woman’s eyes, feel it in her kiss alone, the way she would get jealous out someone that to Emma wasn’t at all important. Not the way Regina was to her. But boy did she hate these sour moments too. Then again, not everything could be rainbow kisses and unicorn stickers, could it? Kathryn was right, Regina was a woman with far more experience than Emma has ever come to have in her lifetime. She’s been hurt one too many times, so of course she would panic at the thought of this spark between them not developing into something more in the end, all due to some stranger who wanted a call.
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As night fell, Regina was the last one to arrive home. She was utterly exhausted, a typical day at the hospital. As much as she missed her car sometimes, she was glad that on tiring nights such as tonight, she didn’t have to drive home. She could just take a cab. Her tired expression completely gone as she witnessed her best friend rushing towards her, meeting her by the front door.

“Good, you’re home!” Kathryn’s smirk grew, if it could possibly grow even more, “Someone’s here to see you, and I suggest you be nice.” She nudged the brunette into their living room, where before her stood Emma, sporting that adorable, kid like smile Regina came to adore so much.

“Emma.” Regina breathed out, her eyes no longer looking as exhausted as before.

“Well, you two probably want to be alone, I’ll just be…” Kathryn motioned towards her bedroom as she stared at Regina, “You know where, I’ll be in there.”

“How’s your leg?” The brunette asked, having neglected to ask about that earlier.

Emma looked down at her leg as she slowly wiggled it, “Good as new. As much as it can be anyway,” she smiled, pausing for a short moment, “I’m sorry for coming by so late, I just really hated how we left things.”

“You mean how I left things. I wasn’t exactly fair to you… again.”

Emma shook her head, “I perfectly understand-”

“No,” The nurse sighed, “Emma, stop being so nice to me, I don’t deserve it.”

Emma walked over to the brunette without the use of her cane. She could walk on it just fine without it, but it gave her more support when she needed to walk more than just two steps to reach for Regina’s hands. She pulled her forward as she sat down with her on the couch. “That’s not true. You deserve everything that’s good.”

Regina chuckled, “You have too high opinion of me, soldier.” she looked down as she could feel something soft being dropped in the palm of her hand. As she studied it, she noticed it was the same napkin with the same phone number written in pen from earlier. It had been ripped up. Her brows furrowed as she looked back up at Emma, as she quickly explained.

“I told her I was seeing someone, and she said whoever I was seeing was one lucky girl.”

“Lucky indeed,” Regina’s eyes locked onto Emma’s, “You definitely have given my heart a reason to start beating again.”

Emma started leaning in towards the brunette, a small smile tugging on her lips. After already having the pleasure of kissing her, she couldn’t wait to do it again. Their lips barely touched when a knock was heard, interrupting them both.

Regina sighed, “Who could that be at this hour? Excuse me for a moment, I’m sorry.” She walked up to the door at a quick pace, pulling it open, “Robin?” Her eyes grew wide at the sight of him in a drunken state, holding a bouquet of flowers. “Do you realize what time it is?”

“I know, but I had to see you. I haven’t been able to sleep, Regina.”

The brunette chuckled, “I’m surprised, with the way you’ve been drinking lately you should be on the verge of passing out.”

Robin held out the bouquet, almost losing his balance in the process, “I bought you these. I know they’re your favorite.”

“Go home, Robin, please. I can’t deal with this right now.”

Robin threw a glare her way, “Are you with someone else?”

The brunette closed her eyes, “This isn’t about someone else, Robin and if it was, it would be none of your business. We’ve been over a long time, remember?” She shook her head, not wanting to see his state any longer, “Just go home.” She gasped as his foot met the door, stopping her from closing it. The loud banging the door made as it hit the wall even made Emma stand from the couch.

“I will only leave if you take them.” He held out the flowers before her again, determined to make her take them.

Regina rolled her eyes, yanking the bouquet from his hands, “Fine, are you happy now? Can you leave, please?” She tried closing the door once again, only to be surprised by Robin as he grabbed her face in his hands, pressing his lips hard on hers. Regina pushed him away as quick as she could, “What the hell are you doing?”

Emma saw red. She quickly walked towards them as she pulled Robin off of her. She moved Regina behind her to keep her safe.

“You?” Robin mumbled in surprise as he stared at Emma.

“Robin, what the hell are you doing in our apartment?” Kathryn was fuming, exchanging looks from the intoxicating doctor to both women as they stood within the living room.

“I’m just here to talk to Regina.” He raised his voice.

“You have a funny way of wanting to talk to her. Get out, she doesn’t want to talk to you.”

“Why not?” He shouted, his blue eyes looking over at Regina, as well as Emma, “Why does she get to be here and I don’t? Who is she anyway?” his voice sounded slurred as the alcohol he had that night was already becoming too much for his body to handle.

“Kathryn!” Regina shouted as her best friend grabbed the man, pushing him out of the apartment.

The next thing they knew, Robin had pushed her back as her body lost its balance and fell to the kitchen floor. He grabbed a glass apple the brunette had on display by the door as he tossed it with all his mite towards the brunette. If there was one thing he would always lose when he drank was his temper. This wasn’t new to Regina.

As the glass ornament flew across the room, Regina’s eyes grew in surprise, immediately growing with worry. A loud grunt was heard but it wasn’t Robin or Kathryn… it was Emma. As the army had taught her, when someone you care about, like the family you make while in service, when your instincts are to protect the others with you- you leap before you even think. No hesitation. And that’s exactly what the blonde had done. She moved right in front of the brunette, wrapping her arms around her as her body covered all of her to protect her from getting struck by the flying object. Instead, she took the hit right on the back of her shoulder.

“Emma!” Regina shouted, falling to her knees next to the soldier, who’s shoulder was clearly throbbing with pain in that moment.

Kathryn had been up from the kitchen floor, madder than ever as she pushed the drunken man out of their apartment, this time with more force than she ever thought of having. She slammed the door shut, making sure to lock it. She ran back to her friends, helping the brunette stand Emma up, “Is she alright?”

“I’m fine.” Emma grunted, reaching for as much of her shoulder as she could touch with her other hand.

Regina purposely felt the blonde’s shoulder, pressing on it in a way she knew she wouldn’t injure it any further, but that it would unfortunately hurt her. At the hiss the blonde let out, she quickly acted, “Kathryn, quick, bring me the first aid kit from the bathroom.”

Kathryn didn’t waste any time in running towards the bathroom.

“I’m so sorry, Emma.” said Regina, helping her walk towards her bedroom as she flicked the lights on in the process.

“You were seeing that but you won’t accept to date me?” asked the blonde, trying to lighten the situation with sarcasm.

“This isn’t the time to judge me, Ms. Swan or to be funny,” the nurse rolled her eyes in annoyance, carefully removing the blonde’s green jacket, “Sit on my bed.” She instructed her, taking the first aid kit from Kathryn as she ran into the room, “Thank you.”

“Maybe we should call the cops?” said Kathryn.

Regina shook her head, “And tell them what exactly? The cops here are different, they’ll need to see signs of a break in more of a struggle, one injured shoulder won’t be enough. Robin most likely already left, for all you know he’s passed out somewhere and won’t remember any of this. He didn’t even know who Emma was.”

“Well… I don’t know about you but I’m sleeping with a bat underneath my bed. Just in case.” Kathryn said, her eyes focused on her best friend, “Are you going to be alright?”

Regina nodded, “We’ll be fine. Thank you Kathryn.” As Kathryn left, Regina lifted the blonde’s shirt upward, her eyes seeing part of the bruise that had already formed, “You know what, I can’t work like this. Take off your shirt.”

Emma’s eyes grew wide, she quickly turned to look at Regina in surprise.

The brunette rolled her eyes once again, “I need to get a better look at your shoulder. Whatever you have I’ve seen it all before, soldier. Just do it.”

Emma obeyed, carefully removing her shirt from her body as Regina walked out of the bedroom and went into the bathroom again. Emma tossed her shirt at the foot of the bed, feeling utterly exposed. Being half naked in the hospital was one thing, she was unconscious at the time they had to place her in a hospital gown. But being here, in the house (bedroom) of the woman she loved, half naked… that was different. Her cheeks turned a shade of pink as Regina walked back into the room, the brunette stopping in her tracks at the sight of the soldier’s well formed abs. Not to mention well built biceps.

Regina rapidly blinked, clearing her throat as she sat back on the bed, just as Emma did so, her back facing her now. She forced herself to remain focus on the task at hand and not on the details of the muscles on the blonde’s back. Her bruise a shade of purple with some swelling and a few cuts the impact of the hit had created. Fortunately, no signs of broken bones, she knew that when she had touched her shoulder earlier.

The brunette opened up a bottle of rubbing alcohol, dabbing a cotton ball with it as she softly pressed it on the cuts, which caused the blonde to hiss in pain. “I’m sorry, I have to.” She paused, “You didn’t have to get in front of me, Emma. That was a stupid thing to do.”

“I couldn’t just let it hit you, that would have been even more stupid.” her eyes shut tight as she could feel a hint of a sting starting up again. “Besides… it all turned out great in the end.”

Regina chuckled, “If you call this great.”

Emma turned her head to the side, looking over at the brunette with a small smile tugging at her lips, “Any day that starts and ends with you is great. Especially if you’re tending to my wounds.”

Regina looked up at the blonde, her hand coming in contact with the bruise on her shoulder as she applied an antibiotic cream next.

Emma closed her eyes as she felt the older woman’s gentle touch. Despite it hurting a little because of the swelling, it wasn’t anything she couldn’t stand. Nothing could beat the sensation Regina’s touch made her feel. She definitely had a good touch.

The room fell silent as Regina couldn’t help but inspect a scar the blonde had on the back of her other shoulder and on the side of her bicep on her left arm, by the looks of it, it looked as if it had been made from too many beatings she may have received. Her fingers softly touched over both scars, causing the soldier to turn her head towards her again.

“Carl, Ingrid’s ex husband…” Emma spoke, “He would beat her sometimes, until one day I got in the way of those beatings, so he wouldn’t hurt her anymore.”

Regina’s eyes watered with unshed tears, as she quietly listened to Emma’s story.

“Eventually she threw him out and her and I were the family we always wanted to be.” Emma turned over to face the brunette this time, her hand softly cupping her face, “Believe it or not, I understand perfectly where you’re coming from with Robin. But that’s over now, because no matter what happens, I will always be there to keep you safe.”

Regina’s eyes locked with Emma’s, her hand coming up to cup the blonde’s that rested against her cheek. “I love you, Emma.” She whispered, as Emma didn’t waste anymore time in leaning in, capturing the woman’s lips in a passionate kiss.

It was in that moment that Emma knew, that Regina’s answer to being hers and hers alone was yes.

Chapter Text

Regina walked down the hallway of the hospital, entering the cafeteria and grabbing a packed turkey sandwich for lunch today, along with a water.

It didn't take long for Kathryn to join her as she hurried through, "I'm here!" She huffed, strands of blonde hair covering the sides of her face, her hair held up with a clip today. "That last patient is quite a handful. He insists on walking on his own, I keep telling him there is no way he will be racing out of here with a leg that's been shattered in three different places. He's so impatient!"

Regina moved along the line of the cash register, "Not all patients can be easy, dear."

Kathryn chuckled, "You mean, not all patients can be like your soldier. Emma was practically a saint. Speaking of which, how was she?”

“Sore, but what I gave her helped her. I placed more cream on this morning before leaving.”

Kathryn’s eyes widened, her grin visible, “You mean she spent the night?”

Regina shrugged, “It’s not a big deal.”

“Oh! It is a very big deal! Tell me, did you two…?” She wiggled her eyebrows.

“No, we didn’t.” The brunette whispered, glaring at her best friend for almost shouting, “Care to shout that out a little louder? I don’t think the entire hospital heard you.”

Kathryn paid for her lunch rather quickly as Regina had paid first and went to sit at a table in the cafeteria. She hurried to their table, wanting to know more about what happened in her bedroom. “So, let me get this straight, you tended to her- in your bedroom, might I add- after she saved you from Robin’s drunk stupidity,” she rolled her eyes at the man’s name, “you two kissed and made your relationship official… and you’re telling me that absolutely nothing happened between the two of you?” She shook her head, “How?”

Regina bit into her turkey sandwich, “The subject hasn’t come up.”

Kathryn rolled her eyes, “Oh, come on. You can’t tell me that you don’t…” She whispered this time, leaning more up against the table, “Feel the desire when you two are kissing.”

Regina glared, “Of course we do. We aren’t monks, Kathryn.”

The blonde chuckled, reaching for her apple juice as she brought it up to her lips, “Well, I’m afraid you’re on your way,” she paused as she took a quick sip, “The poor girl must be in desperate need. After all, with that hit she took for you, I’d say she deserves to get laid by you. And I know you can very well use some mutual attention. I mean, you haven’t had sex since-”

“Alright, Kathryn…” The brunette hissed, taking a bite of her sandwich as this discussion was dropped. For now that is.

Of course Emma made her feel things. Lots of them. She would be lying to herself is she didn’t admit that last night in her bedroom, while they kissed, she didn’t want it to go on further than just a simple make out session. Not that she was complaining. After they had made out, Regina didn’t allow her to go back to the hotel. She wanted to be near her, keep an eye on her wounded shoulder. Emma was restless, of course, but she held onto her all night, while the brunette slept as comfortable as ever, wrapped up in her warm embrace. That for her was beyond better than any other feeling. The last person who held her like so, were long gone.
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Both friends walked out of the hospital with matching smiles, happy that their morning shift was over and done with. Their schedules had become a little crazy and would keep switching up, but Regina didn’t mind. They were able to leave the hospital a little earlier today, and the brunette was known to be dedicated to her job, so when she asked for the weekend off they saw no objection. She never asked for time off in all the years she began working. She loved her job and before Emma came long she never saw a reason to take unnecessary time off. But again, that was before Emma… now with the blonde being a few days away from flying back to Boston, she wanted to spend every moment she could with her.

“So, what are you two doing later-?”

“Regina!” Both women turned to see Robin running for the brunette. Sobered up this time.

“Oh for the love of God,” Kathryn rolled her eyes, “Can’t you just leave her alone?”

“I just want to talk.” said Robin, his eyes shifting between the two women.

“Yeah, that’s cute, Robin.” Kathryn pulled on the brunette’s arm, walking away with her “Let’s go, Gina.”

Robin rushed towards them again, stepping in front of them, “Please. Just-” he sighed, “Just hear me out. Look, I don’t know what exactly happened last night, but I do remember going to your apartment-”

“Yeah, and almost hurting her.” Kathryn’s voice went up higher, as Regina held the blonde back.

Robin had had enough, “Kathryn, can you just let me talk to her?”

“No!” She shouted.

“Alright, enough! Both of you!” Regina finally shouted, sighing in frustration. She did not need this right now, “This isn’t the place to do this,” she mumbled to Kathryn, her eyes turning towards Robin’s direction now, “Robin, I think you said enough last night.”

“I’m sorry,” he continued, even through Kathryn’s scoff, “For whatever it is I did.”

“I’ll get us a cab, I can’t listen to his bullshit.”

Robin’s eyes glared Kathryn’s way as she walked away, moving back to Regina, “Did I really hurt you last night?”

Regina’s brows furrowed, “You don’t remember beyond you coming into my apartment?”

Robin shook his head, his eyes looking down at the ground in shame, “No. What happened?”

If he didn’t remember beyond that, then that meant he didn’t remember Emma being there. Good. Better for him not to remember, Regina sure wasn’t going to mention her being there either.

She shook her head, “You pushed Kathryn, and you kissed me and became angry when I ordered you to leave.”

“Nothing else?” He asked, his eyes locked into her own.

Regina shook her head again, “Kathryn didn’t give you a chance to say or do anything else.” She lied.

He reached for her hand, “I’m really-”

Regina yanked her hand away from his grasp, holding out a hand in front of him to stop him from saying or trying anything else, “Robin. This isn’t the first time we do this. You always make these type of mistakes because we aren’t together anymore. We dated once and it didn’t work out. Remember?” She sighed, “Please, I am beginning you, just leave me alone. Please.”

Robin’s jaw tightened as she began to walk away, “Are you seeing someone else?” he blurted out, which made Regina turn back to look his way. “That’s it, isn’t it?”

She rolled her eyes as she turned, “Robin, this has to do with me. Not someone else. I am much happier without you in my life, is that what you want to hear?” She walked away without so much as a second glance. Leaving him watching as both women mounted the cab and drove away.
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As the days went by, their outings were the best ever for both of them. They becoming utterly inseparable. They enjoyed many other films at the park- with and without Kathryn- where M&M’s and confessions about one another had become their thing. All three would go to dinner, unless Kathryn had to work late, then it would just be the two of them. Even Kathryn had the opportunity in sharing a dance with Emma one night they all decided they just wanted to go out and dance. And on another night, they spent it in a carnival.

Enjoying games such as whack a mole, competing to see who could get the most hits. There was a point where Regina dared to bonk the blonde on the head with pallet, breaking into a fit of laughter as she had this surprised look on her face that she wished- had she known that would be Emma’s expression- she would have taken a picture of. All three of them got on the bumper cars ride. Emma tried out the shooting range at some point, which of course, she never missed a single target. The prize? A giant stuffed teddy bear, which she gladly gave to the brunette after winning it.

After a while, all three women went into a photo booth. That one being kept by Kathryn, of course. Afterwards, Emma and Regina took another strip of photos of just them two. Their hands joining together as they typically would. In the first photo both had made a set of funny faces, in the second one, Regina grabbed onto the blonde’s face with one hand, underneath her chin as she had placed a big wet kiss on her cheek, leaving lipstick right on it. In the third picture, both their gazes met, very much like when that reporter took their picture for the newspaper. All their love displaying in that one stare. And lastly, a kiss was captured as their lips had come together, locking in a passionate and loving kiss.

Each of them were able to keep a set of pictures for one another. After that, they spent that night playing the rest of the games. Emma and Regina competing again with water guns as they aimed for their targets, racing against one another to see who would make their character move faster towards the finish line. Which this time, the brunette had won. That game ending in Emma squirting her with the water gun as it turned into this big water gun fight between the two.

Their night at the carnival of course, ended with Emma buying Regina a candy apple, resulting in the brunette telling her wondrous stories about her Honey Crisp tree back in Boston and how her tree was the only one that gave the sweetest apples in all the world.

On a different day, Regina took Emma on an outing a little out of the city. While staying in Germany, she had found a great spot out in the countryside that she just had to share with her now girlfriend. She even rented a car for that special outing to drive her herself. They drove by green fields of endless grass and colorful flowers. It was absolutely breathtaking. But what was even more breathtaking for Emma was the woman sitting beside her. Regina seemed more free with herself ever since the night she had said her first ‘I love you’.

As they arrived to the brunette’s particular spot, both rested upon a hill of grass. The sun was beginning to set, but it still provided them with good enough light.

“You know, if what you want is to seduce me, you could have just kissed me.” Emma joked, earning a low chuckle from the brunette.

“This is not that. But good to know.” Regina smirked, looking out into the empty field as she could see something approaching it. She nodded to the direction she was looking at, “Look.”

As Emma looked straight ahead, her lips parted when before her, but father out on the field were horses, both adults and babies alike. They looked beautiful running in groups, carefree and liberated to do and go as they pleased.

“Wow.” Was all the blonde soldier could say, still in awe.

Regina smiled as she saw the look on her face, “This is the one place that makes me feel close to home,” she looked up ahead as the horses scattered all over the field before them, “I didn’t want you leaving without sharing it with you. Sometimes I could just sit here for hours and just gaze upon how free they are. It’s a beautiful sight, isn’t it?”

Emma’s gaze was now focused on the brunette’s, and orange and yellow color reflecting on both their faces from the sun setting, “The most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen in my life.”

Regina’s brow raised as she looked over to the blonde, “I meant them, Emma.”

Emma chuckled, “Them too, but you will always be more beautiful to me.”

Regina shook her head, her smile never leaving her, “You are such a child.”

The soldier shrugged, “I can be pretty grown up for some things. Just ask my girlfriends back home.” She joked, laughing as that had earned her a hard slap across the arm, “Ow! Regina, I’m kidding!”

The nurse remained silent, looking out at the horses, as Emma found her place on the grass, laying all out with her hands tucked underneath her head, her eyes closed as she sighed feeling pretty content. That’s when Regina realized that their time together was coming to an end. Emma would be leaving soon, tomorrow in fact and it was already killing her. Just when she was the most happy, she had to return back home to Boston. They would soon be miles and miles apart, at least until she too was back in Boston for good. Time sure does fly fast.

“Emma…” She spoke softly.

“Hm?” Emma hummed, her eyes remaining closed as she was in her most relaxed state. Taking in the peace and quiet.

Regina swallowed the lump in her throat, her stomach becoming a bundle of nerves, “I want to do something else with you before the day is done. We haven’t really talked about it, however the subject has come up and I think it’s time we discuss it, considering that you leave to Boston tomorrow.”

Emma’s eyes slowly opened, her head turning to look at the brunette who was already looking at her. She wet her lips as they had become dry, knowing exactly what that thing was. She could clearly see it displaying in those beautiful brown eyes before her. “You mean…?” She propped herself on her elbows as Regina quietly nodded. Her stomach now a turmoil of emotions.

“We absolutely don’t have to, I just thought-”

“No.” Emma interrupted, because of course she wanted to. Who wouldn’t want to? Especially at her age, and it excited her all the more knowing that Regina wanted to as well. “I- I mean… I do, of course I do. Only if… if you want to.” There she was rambling again, feeling like a total idiot to herself. Feeling afraid that she would blow it.

Regina chuckled, “I am the one offering to, dear.”

Emma let out a nervous chuckle, “Right. I’m sorry, I just… you took me completely by surprise. That’s all.” That wasn’t all of course. She was a nervous wreck. Sure she joked and all with the brunette because it was so much fun, but the reality of the situation was that she had never had a single sexual experience in all her life. Not yet anyway, because now here was this wonderful, breathtaking, and gorgeous woman willing and ready to be her first. In fact that’s what made her the most nervous. It wasn’t her lack of experience, but the fact that Regina wanted her. Her! A still teen who had a crush on her since day one and won her way into her heart. This was actually happening.

“So…” Emma decided to break the awkward tension by her attempt at a flirtatious joke, “Your place or mine?” She threw in a wink just to try and even it out.

She relaxed as the next thing she heard come out of the brunette was a beautiful laugh, “How about yours? I don’t think Kathryn would appreciate walking in on us… you know…”

Damn these butterflies in her stomach. Kathryn walking in on them would be the most awkward of situations.

“Right, yeah. That would totally traumatize her, not to mention me.” Emma replied. She thanked God that Regina wasn’t holding her hands right now, because they suddenly decided to turn into two giant sweat glands. She wet her lips again, her mind swimming in thoughts of what it would be like to be with Regina intimately.

“I’ll need to head on over to my apartment first, but I could meet you at your hotel.” Regina’s voice broke into Emma’s thoughts as she rapidly blinked.

“That sounds perfect.” Emma smiled a nervous smile before looking ahead towards the endless field. Tonight would be their first night together, officially. It would be her first time. She only prayed she didn’t do anything wrong and completely mess it up for her, for both of them. Not that she was a complete stranger to sex. Like anyone her age, she’d seen videos, done things herself of course, however now there was Regina. And she wasn’t just some video, or object. She was very much a flesh and bones woman. Her throat became dry instantly. She had a lot of time to prepare so everything would be fine. This was nothing out of the ordinary when two people loved each other.
____________________

Kathryn shrieked with delight once Regina told her what was happening tonight.

“Finally! The heavens have opened up!”

Regina chuckled, standing in front of her mirror as she brushed her hair after a much needed shower, “Alright, Kathryn.” It was going to be her first time with Emma, and her first time in a long time, so she needed every inch of her to be as flawless as possible.

“Did you shave?” The blonde asked, earning a glare through the mirror from her best friend. “I’m just checking!” She raised her hands in defense, leaning against the doorway with a smirk, “So, are you nervous?”

Regina sighed, placing her hairbrush down, her back still to her friend but her eyes looking at her through the mirror, “I’m terrified.”

Kathryn nodded, “As you should be. She is a teen.”

Regina turned around this time, throwing another hard glare her way, “Well that’s comforting.”

“Hey, don’t worry about a thing.” She rubbed the brunette’s arm gently, “You’re going to be great. It’s going to be great. You deserve this, both of you.”

“Thank you.” Regina smiled.

Kathryn chuckled, “Go, don’t make her wait any longer. Knowing Emma, she’s not as nervous as you are and is ready and able.”
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If only Kathryn had been right. If only Emma had the very least bit of confidence, but the truth was she was dying of fright inside. She paced back and forth inside the four wall room, her hands constantly rubbing on the side of her jeans, wiping away the constant sweat that kept building within them. She looked over at the clock on the nightstand table by the bed, it was marked the time 4:30. Regina wasn’t scheduled to arrive until 6 that evening. Her eyes looked over to the bed, the sheets well made over it. Habits of being in the military.

She moved towards the restroom, standing in front of the mirror, drawing in a few breaths. Her heart pounded within her chest faster than it ever had before. Even more when there was a sudden knock at the door. Her brows furrowed as she rushed to answer it, her eyes immediately meeting with familiar brown ones as her lips parted in surprise.

“Regina.” She spoke softly, her hands sweatier than ever and breath completely drawn out of her.

“I couldn’t wait.” Her voice was low and husky, unlike Emma had never heard it before. She helped herself into the room as the soldier stepped aside to allow her entrance. The door shutting behind them with a click of the lock.

Chapter Text

The light in the room was dim, only the lamp on top of the nightstand was providing them with illumination. Regina’s intoxicating perfume was quick to hit Emma’s nostrils as she walked past her. The scent hit her so quick, it made her head spin. Regina’s eyes explored the room, finishing with the bed that was before her. Emma remained standing by the door, her eyes focused on the brunette’s every movement. Neither of them spoke a word until Regina turned to face the soldier, providing her with a tiny smile.

“It’s a nice room.” said Regina.

Emma tucked her hands within the pocket of her jeans, her eyes shifting around the room in a nervous habit, “It’s okay.” Then it hit her. How could she had agreed to meet here? This wasn’t supposed to happen here. Regina deserved better. She was a woman to be treated like royalty, not treated to a hotel room.

Her million thoughts came to an end as she saw Regina place her purse down by the TV stand, her feet moving her slowly towards her. And that look in her eyes, those brown dark eyes that even in the very little lit room, could still steal every ounce of breath she had in her. She couldn’t move, all she could do as the brunette stood before her, now inches apart from her face, was speak in an almost quiet whisper.

“This wasn’t supposed to happen in a simple hotel room,” The blonde breathed out, her eyes focused on the nurse’s brown ones, even as she felt how her hands began sliding off her jacket as it pooled on the floor, “I always imagined us being on the most beautiful place on God’s earth.”

Regina’s eyes locked into green ones, she could see or rather feel how nervous Emma was. Her arms wrapped around the soldier’s form, as an indication that she wanted to stay right where they were. “Then close your eyes.” She whispered, to which Emma did as she was told.

The blonde’s breath was once again drawn away, for the next thing she felt were how soft Regina’s lips felt as they slowly captured hers in tender but passionate kiss. A kiss that she could swear made her reach heaven itself. Her own lips were quick to move with the brunette’s, their kiss becoming a little more heated while she felt a rush of heat fill her cheeks.

Emma’s arms wrapped around the brunette’s form on automatic, the tips of her fingers pressing against the older woman’s hips, while Regina’s hands traveled upward and back down the blonde’s biceps. It wasn’t enough to say that Emma’s hands started shaking, shaking with desire, with fear all at once.

“Regina…” She breathed out, their lips brushing against one another, still sharing a few kisses here and there. “You know before… when I said about my girlfriend’s back home… that wasn’t true,” she whispered, “I’ve never actually been with anyone.”

To this, Regina couldn’t help but smile in between their shared kisses, her voice just as a whisper as the blonde’s, “I know.” her lips finally parted as both pairs of eyes met, “Does it bother you that I’m not?”

Emma knew exactly what she was asking, her hand coming up to caress her bottom lip, “I couldn’t dislike anything about you. It’s impossible when you are as beautiful as you are. All that matters to me now is that you’re mine.”

Regina kissed away at the blonde’s thumb, taking her hand within her own as she guided her towards the foot of the bed. She gently pushed her, making her take a seat on the bed as she remained standing before her. Emma’s eyes drank her in. She had worn the same white dress she had before. Regina could tell how much Emma did appreciate the sight of her in that dress after all.

The room fell silent again, neither of them made a sound. Regina simply turned over, as the blonde stood from the bed, while her hand were quick to come up to the button on the back of her dress. Her lips making contact with the brunette’s neck, unable to help herself as her fingers slowly undid the button. Emma gulped as Regina turned to face her now, lust in her eyes. Emma’s heart wanted to jump out of her chest once her hands came up to slide the straps and sleeves off of the nurse’s body. Her eyes taking in the monument before her as Regina now stood in nothing but a pair of matching underwear and bra set. The dress already pooled around her ankles.

Emma’s lips parted, becoming incredibly dry as Regina handled the rest, removing herself from her bra and panties as they soon joined the now forgotten dress and jacket on the carpeted floor.

Emma’s green eyes turned a shade of dark as her eyes feasted the nakedness before her. She was wrong. Regina wasn’t simply a monument, but a work of art. She was truly perfect in every way. Her skin was as flawless as she was to her from head to toe.

“Beautiful.” The soldier breathed out, preventing herself from blinking or she would miss a detail from the body before her.

 

Regina’s cheeks were warm now. No one, not even Daniel had referred to her nakedness as something beautiful. No one had ever looked at her the way Emma was right now. “Have you never seen a naked woman before?” She asked out of simple curiosity.

That’s when Emma’s eyes lit up, her eyes not moving from the form of perfectly rounded breasts, a beautiful pair of legs, a perfectly lean stomach all the way to the most intimate of areas. “I have,” she whispered, walking slowly towards the woman she loved, “But not one that’s mine.” Her hand came up slowly, almost frightened to reach, cupping the brunette’s left breast within her gentle grasp. Her thumb softly caressing a hardened nipple, when she felt a hand grab onto her wrist, preventing her from going any further.

“You’re turn, soldier.” Regina whispered, her hands already pulling up on her shirt, carefully removing it from her body as her shoulder was still bruised, despite it being much better. Her hands undid the belt buckle that was wrapped around her jeans, followed by the button, then the zipper. She watched as Emma pulled them down to meet her ankles, carefully walking out of them as they remained pooled on the floor.

What joined them next were her panties and bra.

Emma’s cheeks turned a shade of pink as she was completely and a hundred percent exposed before the older brunette. Sure, she worked out, but at the end of the day, Emma was a teen who still felt insecure about her body. Especially before someone as beautiful as Regina Mills.

Regina however, didn’t mind the sight before her at all. Her eyes darkened as she took in every single muscle on Emma’s stomach and arms. She had every adult beat. Her body looking as if it was sculpted by angels. She noticed the nervous look upon the blonde’s face as she reached for her hands to take within her own. Both standing at the foot of the bed, as naked as the day they were born.

“Now I’m in the most beautiful place on God’s earth.” The brunette whispered, their lips instantly meeting in a heated and passionate kiss. It wasn’t enough to say that with the heat of their naked bodies pressed together, both felt more than just butterflies this time. There was a throbbing between both their legs now. As it was to be expected.

Emma’s hands were quick to rest on the small of the brunette’s back, quickly becoming breathless as she felt how good Regina’s nails dug on to her biceps, while her hands rested on them. Regina’s hands soon traveled to the soldier’s back, her hands mapping out every curve and detail of her back muscles. Being careful not to hurt her wounded shoulder. All while Emma’s hands began to map out the curves and sides of the brunette’s body. They exchanged low grunts as Regina’s nails dug and scraped away at the muscles on Emma’s back, while Emma’s hands traveled upward, her thumbs softly teasing the sides of olive toned breasts.

Regina backed up onto the bed, without breaking their kiss, allowing Emma to fall on top of her as the blonde pressed herself against the older woman’s body. A grunt escaping Regina as she felt all her weight on top of her. Surprisingly enough, Emma’s muscles weighed on her.

“Emma…” She whispered, her hand stroking at golden hair, “You’re crushing me.”

“Shit,” Emma held herself up a bit more with her arms, her eyes locked into brown ones, “I’m sorry.” She couldn’t help but smile as Regina had, finding the blonde’s worried expression absolutely adorable, “Are you alright?”

“Are you?” Regina chuckled, her fingers brushing back golden locks that had fallen over her shoulders.

“As long as I can do this without suffocating you.” She joked, to which Regina couldn’t help but let a laugh escape her.

“You’re doing just fine, dear. Don’t you worry.”

Their lips met in a kiss, as hands roamed all over each other’s bodies again. Emma couldn’t help but become breathless as she felt how Regina’s hands moved down, cupping her butt cheeks. A moan was inevitable as Regina squeezed, forcing her to rock back and forth, guiding her on her grinding motion right on her soaked sex.

Regina bit down on her lip, her hands moving up the blonde’s back as Emma kept up her motions. Her legs spreading even further apart now, allowing her to adjust her body right on hers again, this time where it felt right for both of them.

Emma’s lips hungrily kissed at the nurse’s neck, her tongue leaving wet, gentle trails on each path it took. “Oh, my God…” Emma moaned again onto the brunette’s neck, biting down instinctively, soothing it immediately with another lick. Her knuckles turned white as she tightened her grip onto the covers underneath them, her other first tightened around jet black hair, gently tugging it as she kept up her movements. There was no way she would or could stop now.

Nor did Regina want her too. The more Emma moved, the more she would feel her body ready to explode. Moans started coming out of her, calling out the blonde’s name again and again. Which only encouraged her movements. She couldn’t even remember the last time she felt this amazing getting lost in someone like she was in Emma. It was then she realized, as her lips explored and caressed the blonde’s wounded shoulder, that there had never been anyone like Emma Swan.

Sounds of inevitable pleasure sounded, filling the room rather softly. Breathes began to exchange between them, especially once Regina’s hips moved upward to meet right with Emma’s movements. That caused the blonde to moan out the nurse’s name like a song. Her moans being the most beautiful sound Regina had ever heard.

Emma’s arm muscles stood out, beautifully sculpted in the dim of light as she supported herself up more, grinding even quicker this time, completely unable to stop giving her all to the woman she loved. Beads of sweat decorated her forehead as the heat between both women was felt. The scent of sex filling the room. Her eyes closed momentarily, opening back up as they gazed upon lustful brown ones.

Regina’s hand wrapped around one of Emma’s biceps, her thumb gently caressing one of her scars. Her arm stretched out, wrapping around the blonde’s neck as she pulled her back down on her. Both moaning in pure pleasure as their lips met in a much heated kiss. Tongues dancing within swollen lips. The brunette’s tongue licking its way up from the soldier’s neck up to her lips.

Moans and breathless panting mixed together as both flew on a trail of ecstasy. “Regina…” Emma panted, keeping up with her movements.

“Don’t stop.” Regina ordered her, feeling her entire body already on edge, and she knew that Emma was nearing it too.

“Mmm!” Emma’s eyes shut tight, her body exploding in the most pleasurable of ways, just as Regina’s did right after. She couldn’t help but drop down on the brunette’s naked body, completely out of breath and feeling herself shaking.

“Mmm…” Regina’s arms wrapped around the blonde’s form, taking in her trembling, as she kissed away at her wounded shoulder once again, as well as her arms in a loving manner. Her hands soon caressing at her back muscles, “Are you alright?” She asked breathlessly, looking up into the blonde’s green eyes as she nodded. She smiled, her hand brushing back strands of golden hair.

“I love you.” Emma huffed, her chest rapidly moving up and down. Her lips quickly met with Regina’s in a passionate kiss, leaving the brunette whispering her own ‘I love you’ in between kisses.
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They had fallen asleep wrapped up in each other, only to awaken again shortly after a couple of hours. Regina’s eyes opened to the sight of a pair of green eyes staring back at her.

She smiled as Emma soon moved closer, decorating her back with a trail of kisses. “Was it everything you thought it would be?”

“Better.” Emma whispered, biting at the woman’s shoulder.

Regina chuckled, “You keep doing that, dear and we’ll have to go again.”

“Then we’ll go again.” Emma smirked, resting her body on top of the brunette’s from behind, her hand reaching down below as this time fingers slipped between the sheets and her still throbbing sex. Her fingers massaging at her clit as they coated rapidly with wetness.

That rapidly got a reaction out of Regina as she released a moan, her eyes closing, her teeth biting down at her lip, “Mmm…”

“Does it ever stop?” Emma whispered against jet black hair, placing another kiss on the woman’s back as her hand kept up its work.

“What?” The nurse whispered back through rapid breathing.

“Wanting you.” Emma’s own sex began to coat itself with its own wetness again, loving and taking in the hot sensation of the older woman’s coated sex.

Regina’s hips began to rock back and forth to the rhythm of the soldier’s hand as she felt a finger enter her, “I hope it never stops.” She whispered back, lifting herself up this time as she pinned the blonde back on the bed on her back.

Emma’s eyes watched her carefully, hissing loudly as Regina took in one of her nipples between her teeth, soothing it lightly with her tongue afterwards. Her brows furrowed with wonder as the brunette began kissing her way further down, “What are you doing?”

“Trust me.” Dark eyes looked up at her from between her legs now, as Regina spread them apart even further, placing one of Emma’s legs over her shoulder as her head dipped down below.

It wasn’t enough to say that the feeling of a hot, soft tongue as it tasted away between her legs made her almost jump. Her hand grabbing a fist full of the woman’s hair as her moans were quick to start up again. Regina’s hands came up to her thighs, leaving faint red scratch marks decorating them as Emma almost closed her legs on her due to the feeling of her tongue entering her opening. As weird as it felt for her at first, after a while she couldn’t help but want more of it. Amazing her how with her tongue alone Regina could sent her off flying into outer space, crashing immediately back down to earth.

This hotel wasn’t her ideal place to loose her virginity too, but in the end she was here with the woman she loved. And that’s what made it all heavenly in the end.
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It was 7:30am by the time both were up, showered and dressed up again. Regina wanted to take her to the airport herself. Her eyes studied the soldier as she swung her duffel bag over her shoulder. The heaviness of her leaving in a couple of hours weighing in on both of them.

Both smiled at one another with love in their eyes.

“Ready?” asked Regina, not wanting to break down and cry.

Emma nodded, although she wasn’t ready. She would never be ready to leave the woman she loved behind. Even if it would just be temporarily. She pulled down the handle to the door, allowing the brunette to step out first as she soon followed.

The ride to the airport was quiet. Moments of their night together flashing before their memories. Emma could still feel every part of Regina fresh in her mind. She looked over to the brunette, taking one of her hands into her own as their fingers joined together, leaving the nurse to drive one handed.

“Just wait until you get back to Boston,” Emma decided to break the silence, hoping that Regina’s return to Boston would be sooner than she anticipated, “I’ll finally be able to pick you up in my car and we’ll drive right back into Storybrooke. Where everyone will love you.”

Regina couldn’t help a chuckle to escape her, “Everyone?” Her brow raised, quickly looking over at the blonde. “How is that possible?”

“It’s possible.” Emma smiled, “Storybrooke is a small town Everyone is very friendly. Ingrid will love you, I know it. I told her about you in my letters.”

“I can’t even imagine all you had to say about me.” Regina smirked, “She must think you’re crazy for falling in love with someone older than you.”

Emma rolled her eyes, “You aren’t ancient, Regina.”

“I’m still older than you.”

Emma smirked, “You sure weren’t worried about that last night.” She teased.

Regina turned to glance her way quickly, “I’d like to see what you would have to say if I was old with grey hair, using a walker.”

“Then I will just have to carry you.” Emma smiled, leaning in to capture the brunette’s lips in a quick kiss.

The soldier chuckled as Regina gently pushed her back into her seat after their kiss, “Sit back, please. I’m driving. That’s distracting.” She joked, smirking and shaking her head at the blonde’s childlike spirit.
____________________

“Flight 214 now boarding to Boston.”

Regina smiled, her smile sad as she looked at Emma one last time. As did Emma. Both stood there for a short while, just wanting to memorize every single detail of one another. Emma soon moved her way into the brunette’s arms, wrapping her own around her form as tightly as possible. Regina’s eyes closed as she took in the blonde’s scent one more time.

“Kathryn was right. Getting hurt was the best thing that could have happened to me out there.” The blonde looked at Regina, her arms remaining around her, “I would have never met you otherwise.”

Regina chuckled, releasing her from their hug, “Idiot. Go now, you’ll miss your flight.”

Emma’s hand wrapped around her dog tags, hers and August as she had joined his with the burnt edge with her own. She looked down as she removed her swan pendant.

“Emma, no.” Regina looked down at the necklace as it now hung around her neck. Her eyes looking up into green ones.

“Keep it with you. So you’ll know we’ll see each other again.” Emma didn’t lose anymore time as she pulled the brunette into her embrace, her hand cupping behind her head as she pulled her in for a hard given kiss. It was a kiss that made Regina’s toes curl where she stood as she quickly gave in without a second thought. “I love you.” She murmured, their hands slowly parting as she began to walk away. She stopped as she turned to face the brunette again with a question written all over her face, “You know I just had a thought.”

Regina chuckled, “Of course you did.”

“Kids or no kids?” Emma asked, a smile forming on her lips at the thought of someday having her own family with her.

Regina let out a breathy laugh, “Yeah, kids.”

Emma’s smile grew, “How many?” She walked backward very slowly.

“One.” The nurse chuckled.

“What’s his name?” The soldier’s green eyes sparkled with hope, already picturing the whole ordeal in her head, like the dreamer that she was.

“Henry.” Regina whispered, her smile turning sad at the memory of her father and seeing the woman she loved depart more and more.

“What?” Her voice almost a shout, it made Regina’s cheeks turn a shade of pink as people turned to glare their way.

Regina’s smile grew, “Henry! His name will be Henry!”

The name echoed in the blonde’s mind, her smile only growing as she absolutely loved the name. She kissed the palm of her hand, swinging her arm out towards Regina’s direction. “Bye.” She waved, walking away towards the line at the security checkpoint that would lead her towards her gate with a smile and look in her eyes that soon they would be together.

“I love you.” Regina spoke out quietly, watching her until she was completely lost in the crowd, her eyes burning with unshed tears. Of course she knew she would see her again, her time in Germany would be over soon, but until then she would terribly be missing the feel of the woman that completely stole her heart.

Chapter Text

The crowd at the airport felt suffocating as Emma arrived at 10am (Boston time), after a seven hour flight. The time change was drastic and she certainly would be feeling the jet lag later. Already the soldier started feeling different towards being back. It wasn’t a bad different, but it was as if she were new to her home. And, she was without Regina, which the withdrawal of the older woman’s absence was what was killing her even more. Not that she wasn’t happy to be back, but it would just take some time to adjust to being back again.

“Emma!” Shouted Ingrid, happily smiling and waving over as Emma crossed the checkpoint.

The soldier smiled, feeling an instant sense of happiness to see a familiar face she had dearly missed. She dropped her duffel bag on the ground as Ingrid had met her half way within the crowd, embracing her in a hug that was warm, loving, and accepting. Emma’s arms wrapped around her just as tightly as tears filled both their eyes.

Ingrid sighed a very noticeable sigh, wiping away the corner of her eyes. Her smiling never breaking for a second, “Look at you! It’s so great having you back safe and sound!” She gave the blonde’s biceps a gentle squeeze.

Emma’s smile grew, “Luckily, but I’m here.”

“I was so frightened when I received your letter that you were in the hospital.” Ingrid couldn’t help but hugging her tightly again, “I was sick with worry.”

“I know, but I’m alright now.” Emma broke their hug to take one good look at the older blonde, “Thanks to Regina. Had she not taken care of me, I don’t think I would be here right now.”

Ingrid wrapped an arm around the blonde’s form, walking away with her as Emma picked up her duffel and carried it with her one free hand, “Come on, let’s get to the car. You can tell me all about it on the drive home.”
____________________

And she did. For the entire three hour drive back to Storybrooke, Emma went on and on, not so much about the war, because those were details she oathed to keep inside of her. But of Regina. Of how they met, and how eventually- with a little persistence- they fell madly in love and will be together again someday. Ingrid smiled the entire drive, happily glancing over at the younger blonde, taking in every smile, blush and sparkle in her eye as she spoke of her first love.

“Do you think it’s crazy? Us loving each other this much?” Emma asked, her eyes focused on older woman driving.

“What love isn’t?” Ingrid shook her head, chuckling, “Love is meant to be crazy, Emma. It’s meant to be crazy with passion, desire, strength and even hurt.” She paused as her own words made her sight, which made the younger blonde smile. Ingrid was always such a romantic. Sometimes her and Emma were so alike, they joked that they were actually mother and daughter, but they had just forgotten each other after being separated. “If it wasn’t, then it wouldn’t be love at all.”

Emma’s smile grew, finding comfort in the woman’s voice. She always did love hearing her talk. To Emma, Ingrid was always so smart, smarter than anyone she had ever met before. She always learned a lot from her growing up.

“So, you’re not going to give me that motherly lecture that I’m still too young and I should focus on other things other than in a woman who’s seven years older than me and all the way across the globe?” She had to ask.

Ingrid’s brows furrowed as she glanced quickly at the soldier, “Have I ever been that uptight?”

Emma couldn’t help but laugh, “Never.”

“Exactly,” She nodded, “Never. And I’m not about to start now. You are nineteen years old, legally and adult who is well and capable of making her own decisions and life choices.” Her lips tugged up into a smile, “You always have been. Ever since you were a little girl, you went right for what you wanted and achieved it. You aren’t afraid to try, even if you fail. You’ve always been mature for your age.” She held up her index finger, “And that is why Regina couldn’t help falling for you.”

Emma’s green eyes studied the features on the older blonde’s face. Boy, had Emma missed her.

“Thanks, Ingrid. You always know exactly what to say.” Emma smiled, “As happy as I was staying in Germany for a couple of days, I sure did miss you.”

Ingrid’s smile was immediate, “I missed you too, Emma. And Ruby. She’s going to be so happy to see you back home.”

The soldier chuckled, “Ruby. She’s going to get a kick out of finding out I have a girlfriend now.”

‘Girlfriend,’ Emma realized that was the first time she had actually referred to the brunette nurse that way. It was a word that made her heart beat faster and her palms sweat with excitement as she realized that’s exactly what she was. Regina was her girlfriend, and she loved her. Regina loved her with the same love and passion she did. Then, sadness took over her for an instant. Regina… her mind said the brunette’s name like a prayer. Her heart going from happy to aching in sadness in just a short amount of seconds. Just a few hours ago they were together, and now they were miles across the earth from one another. She looked down at her cane that rested in between her legs as her fingers slowly twirled it. Her eyes burning with unshed tears with the same withdraw she had felt at the airport.

“Oh, by the way…” Ingrid’s voice shook the blonde from her thoughts, rapidly blinking as she looked over at her once more as the sound of keys jingled in her hand as she held them before her, “Something else has missed you too and is more than ready for you to take her for a ride once you are home.” She smirked at the sight of the instant smile and happiness that took over Emma.

Emma reached for her beloved car keys, snatching them from the older woman’s hand, “She’s finally running again?” She asked, her voice filled with excitement at the thought of her old yellow bug back home waiting for her.

Ingrid chuckled at the excited look on the blonde’s face. She nodded, “Sean was about to give up on it, but I told him that under no circumstances would you be coming home to an empty parking spot. Plus, I also bargained with him that if he worked his magic under the hood of your car like he knows how to that I would give him and his fiancee free dancing lessons in preparation for their wedding.”

Emma’s eyes moved from looking at her keys to looking back at Ingrid, this time in full surprise mode, “Sean and Ella are getting married?” She asked, always remembering Sean’s words regarding marriage, ‘No way will I ever tie myself to any girl. What’s the point? They all end up in divorce.’

“Believe it or not.” Ingrid laughed, “Rumor has it, Ella is expecting a baby, but that’s just a rumor. Whatever the reason,” She shrugged, “I’m happy for them. They’ve been together for so long, it’s about time they get married.”
____________________

Rays of sunlight were out once they drove through that familiar tree surrounded road. Her eyes taking in the green color of the tree's leaves, the light and dark grey and brown colors of their trunks, the yellow line on the pavement road as they it sped on by. She looked down as she felt how gently Ingrid's hand cupped hers.

There was a smile tugging on the woman's lips as she stared straight ahead, "Home sweet home."

Emma's smile soon mirrored the older woman's smile as her eyes drank in the sight of the sign nearing before them that read: Welcome to Storybrooke.

She was home.
____________________

Once they were home and Ingrid placed her vehicle in park next to Emma’s beetle, the blonde was quick to run for it, limp and all.

“Oh, Emma, be careful.” Ingrid smiled, shutting the door to her car, followed by Emma’s as the blonde was so happy to see her beloved car that she neglected to close her own door. “Come on, let’s get you inside and make some breakfast. You’ll have plenty of time to go for a drive later.” She outstretched her arm as Emma picked up her duffel bag- which had been left on the ground as well with the excitement- and walked up the steps of the front porch and into the house.

Breakfast was special, as it tended to be between them both. Ingrid loved Emma and always wanted to give her all she could. Ever since she adopted her, Ingrid and Emma both gave each other a love of that mother and daughter that each were missing. Ingrid could never have children of her own and had her mind set on adoption, even against Carl’s wishes- when she saw Emma, she just knew it was right.

The house had a different scent from what Emma remembered. Not a bad one, but that type of scent that you pick up when you are away from a familiar place for too long. Still, everything remained the same. Once breakfast was over and done with and her and Ingrid had talked all about Germany and Regina and her almost losing her leg, Emma headed upstairs to take a much needed nap. Jet lag was beginning to catch up with her.

Before she could sleep however, once she was in her bedroom, she looked around contemplating every sight of it. It was just as she had left it. Her favorite leather jacket laid out on the back of her chair by her computer desk. She smiled at the sight of it and couldn’t help but think about Regina. Her heart ached as she missed her. She walked towards her duffel, opened up a pocket as she pulled out the strip of photos they had taken that night at the carnival. She smiled, placing the strip near her lamp, standing up right. She needed to inform her that she was home. She wasn’t about to call her, because even Emma knew the woman had gone back to work after dropping her off. So, she sat by her desk, opened up her laptop and began writing out an email.

My Dearest Regina,

It’s only been about ten hours since we had to part and already my heart questions about when I’ll see you again. Truthfully, I could be but a second away from you and it would be unbearable. It’s crazy how different everything feels here in Storybrooke. The same but different. Does that make any sense? I know one thing. It would all be much better if you were here.

Ingrid already can’t wait to meet you. She says you are definitely good for me if you’re a nurse, because that just means that you are responsible and have a great head on your shoulders. I agree, but I also told her that you are much more than that.

I know you should be working right now so you probably won’t read this email until later tonight. I shall be anxiously waiting for your reply.

You know something? I envy those patients back in Germany. Anyone who gets you as their nurse will be in great hands. I know I don’t have to tell you to take great care of them. You always do. What’s sad about them is that the majority of those patients will never realize that they have just met the greatest and most beautiful woman alive.

I gotta go, this jet lag is kicking my butt and I need to get some much needed rest. I hope I can call you soon. Let me know when it will be a good time. And always remember one thing… I love you.

Only and forever yours,
Emma.

P.S. Just don’t go falling in love with any other wounded soldier!
____________________

Ingrid’s eyes almost bulged out of her head as Ruby stormed into the house, inviting herself in and slamming the door shut, filled with excitement to see her best friend again. “I’m here! Where is she?” She asked, a panting mess as she ran with her apron still wrapped around her waist.

“Shh, not so loud Ruby. She’s been sleeping.” Ingrid whispered.

“Well, wake her up! I haven’t seen her in two months.” Ruby whined, feeling pretty impatient, “I can go up there-”

Ingrid quickly moved towards the bottom of the stairs, preventing the crazy brunette from moving any further, “Ah! You will do no such thing. She’s flown all the way from Germany, that’s not just around the corner.”

“But, the party-”

“What party?” Said Emma, making her way down the stairs.

“Emma!!” Ruby shouted, moving past Ingrid who quickly got out of the way as she practically pulled the blonde into the tightest hug ever, causing her to grunt.

“Easy, Rubes.” She chuckled, hugging her in return as a smile appeared on her thin pink lips, “It’s so good to see you.”

Ruby’s grin only grew as she parted from their hug, her eyes studying every bit of her best friend as if it had been centuries since she last saw her. Because it felt that way, “Look at you, turned into a badass soldier! Did you kill anyone?”

Ingrid jumped in as Emma simply chuckled, “Ruby, don’t ask her that. That’s never an easy thing to talk about.”

“I sure have missed you, Rubes.” said Emma, smiling over at her best friend. “How’s Granny?”

“Oh, you know. That woman never changes like she never ages.” She continued through Emma’s laughter, “I swear, I think my theory of her being a vampire is bound to be spot on.”

“Now, what’s this I hear about a party?” asked the soldier, exchanging looks between the brunette and older blonde.

“We set up a party in your honor, of course.” Said Ruby, “A welcome home party. Ingrid helped. The whole town is attending.”

Emma’s brows raised, “The whole town? I don’t want to be rude, you guys, but… I’m not really up for being around that many people.”

“But, you have to come, Em.” Said Ruby, “You don’t have to say hi to everyone, and I’ll be with you the entire time.”

“We tried to keep it as quiet as possible, Emma,” Ingrid soon explained, “But, you know how small towns are and this is Storybrooke.”

Emma nodded, chuckling, “Yeah.”

“It was Mary Margaret.”

Ingrid glared at Ruby, “Ruby.”

“What? It was, we all know she can’t ever keep a secret.” Ruby looked over at Emma again, “Come on. Just for an hour. That’s it.”

Emma smiled, already giving them the indication that she would be attending to her own welcome home party. After all, she didn’t want to be rude. The best kind of parties in town were always held at Granny’s diner and if it was at the diner, it meant great food by Granny herself. That’s something she absolutely would not want to miss.
____________________

An hour at the party turned into two, which turned into three, which then turned into four. Emma had eaten everything to burgers, which reminded her of Regina, given that that was the brunette’s favorite food. She had grilled cheese sandwiches, which happened to be her favorite and for dessert, a slice of apple pie. Granny especially spoiled her to take two slices home, along with more food that would sure be left over. She saw a lot of familiar faces that night, all smiling at her and smothering her with questions about her time in Germany and if she would recommend them going for vacation. It all got to the point where it all became very overwhelming for her at some point.

She needed to take a breather, so the first chance she got she moved towards the front door but was pulled back by Leroy. He was the school’s only janitor and frequented the only bar this town had.

“Fancy a race, Swan?” He asked, a drunk smirk to him as he looked down at her cane.

Emma chuckled, patting him gently on the back, “You’re on, let’s see who tumbles down first. I’ll meet you out the back, if you don’t pass out first.” As Leroy walked away, her phone chimed as it indicated her of the arrival of a new email. That made her smile as she read Regina’s name as the contact of said email. Her smile only grew once a picture of the brunette sleeping popped up as she was now calling her. She had taken that picture the following morning after their all night love making.

She stepped out just off to the side of the diner as she answered the call that made her heart race, “You have no idea how lonely I am without you.”

“Likewise, dear.” Listening to her voice over the phone made her cheeks hurt, as she couldn’t stop smiling. “Do I hear music? Where are you?”

Emma turned to look at everyone still enjoying themselves inside the diner, the music sounding out of the speakers in full volume. “Yeah. Ruby convinced me to go clubbing with her tonight. We’ve been hitting on girls all night, one of them even looks like you.” She joked, laughing as Regina quickly replied with a ‘For your sake, you better be joking, Ms. Swan.’ She explained through fits of laughter, “It’s sort of a welcome home party in my honor. They set up a banner that literally reads, ‘Welcome Home, Emma’ on it. It’s very small town.”

“I wish nothing more than to be celebrating with you.”

Emma smiled, her heart beating like crazy as the brunette’s voice echoed all the way to the strings of her heart, “I’ve wished that ever since we said our goodbyes. When you come back to Boston we’ll go somewhere alone. We’ll celebrate with our very own welcome home party for you.”

“Sounds like a plan, soldier.” Emma could hear her delightful chuckle.

Emma paused for a moment, trying to picture how Regina was in this very moment. Maybe she was on the couch in the living room or in the privacy of her bedroom. Or enjoying a nice glass of wine in the kitchen. However she was, Emma could see herself there with her.

“There isn’t a day you aren’t with me.”

Emma drew in a deep breath, sighing it out slowly like a fool in love. She was in way over her head for this woman. “I knew you had to be in love with me. It was already written in the stars since the first moment I saw you.”

“You are going to make a hell of a writer, Ms. Swan.”

“So you keep telling me.” Emma smiled, her head turning towards Ruby as she peeked out of the diner.

“Em, come on! We’re all going to play some games.” said Ruby, heading back inside to give her some privacy.

Emma sighed, she hated the thought of hanging up, “I have to hang up, but thank you for surprising me with this call. I did me good getting to hear your voice.”

“I guess that means I’ll have to call again soon.” She paused, knowing well that made Emma smile already, “Sweet dreams, my darling. Please be careful with that leg of yours.”

“Have I ever not been careful?” Emma smiled happily. She sure loved the sound of the nurse referring to her as ‘my darling.’ That was a first. “I’ll do as my nurse orders me to.” She blew a kiss through the phone, unable to help herself that even the sound of it made Regina’s own cheeks hurt from smiling, “Sweet dreams, Gina. I love you.”

As they both hung up their calls, Emma tucked her phone in the back of her jeans pocket as she returned into the diner.
____________________

Despite having a fun time at the diner, she couldn’t help but feel much better after arriving home. She had said her good night to Ingrid as the older woman retrieved herself to her bedroom, leaving Emma to go to her bedroom as well. Again, as soldiers tended to be, she was restless. It was then she remembered she had received an email from Regina, so she opened up her laptop once again, and quickly signed into her email. Her eyes reading the following typed up response.

My Darling Emma,

I understand perfectly how much you miss me because I find myself missing you, possibly more than you miss me. You make perfect sense, Emma. It’s rather fascinating how our brains work, isn’t it? Enough to where, if we spend years, months, or even weeks away from the place we call home, we pick up a different smell.

Ingrid sure sounds like a dream to have as a foster mother. I’m glad she chose you to give her love to. She certainly is a woman of great taste. Now I know where you got your sense of taste. Lucky me.

As I’ve said before, you certainly have too high opinion of me, soldier. But thank you kindly for the lovely compliment. You should know that my service in this hospital is scheduled to last the entire year, but I pray I am let go earlier, so I can be back in Boston and see you again.

In case you read this email after our phone conversation, I hope you liked your surprise call from me. It was wonderful getting to hear your voice. I couldn’t go another minute without listening to your smile over the phone.

I don’t think I’ll ever be as good as you with my words, but I am learning. ;) Rest up, soldier. And go easy on that leg of yours. Don’t go getting into too much trouble in that small town of yours. Remember, I’m not there to care for you if you get hurt.

Always yours,
Regina.

P.S. Say hi to all your girlfriend’s back home for me!

Emma closed the email, deciding that she would reply to her tomorrow. Regina always kept her phone with enough volume to hear it, in case you received an urgent call, so she didn’t want to wake her at this time of night. She lied in her bed, grabbing a hold of the strip of photos that still remained on her nightstand by her lamp as she studied the photos. Traveling back to that moment at the carnival. A year could go by fast. Regina was worth waiting an eternity for, she just had to make sure to keep busy so time could fly by faster. But it made her happy to know that she would see her again very soon and they would never have to part again.

Chapter Text

Emma closed the door to her beloved yellow beetle, her hands on the steering wheel as she turned the key in the ignition. A smile appeared on her lips once the car roared to life. It never failed her.

“It’s good to see you too. How about a drive?” Emma smirked as she stepped on the gas pedal. That was always her playful way of making the car respond to her.

She soon drove off towards her destination. Which wasn’t far, given that this was a small town. She could have easily arrived there just by walking, but she missed driving dearly.

She made her way out of the car, holding onto her cane as it was placed firmly on the ground. Her eyes focused on an older man who stood up from his rocking chair that was placed on the outside of his shop and also home. Emma shut the door to the car as she took three steps forward as the older man met her halfway while he stepped off the front porch.

He removed his hat as he now stood before the young soldier. His smile a sad one, but friendly. “Emma.” His voice filled with emotion to finally seeing his son’s friend standing before him. His Italian accent thick, just as August had once described to her.

“Good morning, sir.” Emma nodded, “I’m here for that job, if you still need the help.”

He nodded, “Help is always needed. Especially when it’s someone my son trusted with his life.” He smiled again, patting her arm gently, “It’s a pleasure to finally meet you.”

“It gives me great pleasure to meet you, sir.” Emma smiled.

“Please, call me Marco. Everyone does.”

“Marco.” The blonde repeated.

“Come, allow me to show you around.” Emma followed the gray haired, bearded man into his home, feeling pretty excited to being put to some good use after what felt like an eternity of not doing anything constructive.
____________________

A soldier collapsed in his room after he had been allowed to walk around. Regina and Kathryn along with another nurse were right there to aid.

Kathryn took her stethoscope, placing the diaphragm to the bare man’s chest, her eyes focused on Regina, “His lungs are collapsing!”

“I’ll get Dr. Whale!” The younger nurse ran away from both women immediately as Regina placed the eartips of her stethoscope to her ears, listening on her own to the man’s breathing.

“The air is escaping into his chest,” she quickly removed her eartips from her ears, holding out her hand, “Hand me that syringe.” She ordered Kathryn.

Kathryn grabbed a hold of a syringe that was near, big enough to put an animal down, her eyes wide, “Regina, we really should wait for Dr. Whale.”

Regina snatched the syringe from her friend’s hand, “There’s no time to wait, we have to do this now.” She removed the cap from the needle, plunging it into the man’s chest as she pulled back on the plunger until it popped out of the barrel, air hissing loudly. Followed by the soldier gasping back to life as his eyes opened wide as if his soul had just re-entered his body.

Both nurses exchanged looks, Kathryn smiling with admiration towards the brunette’s immediate action. Not that Regina minded taking time off from work to had been with Emma on her last days in Germany, but being back now made her see how much she missed the sensation of being able to help those in need.
____________________

Time passed as Regina kept working as hard as ever in the hospital, same with Emma helping Marco. The brunette dealing with stitching patients up to popping back a soldier’s dislocated shoulder, to dealing with uneasy and restless patients. While the blonde learned it all from Marco, to every type of tool there was for wood cutting and carving. It was relaxing work to her surprise and she loved hearing stories about when the man immigrated from Italy back in the day and joined the war, leaving little August alone with his mother. Along with endless stories about August growing up that Emma loved listening to.

Many emails were exchanged to say the least between the two women as days and or weeks passed them along.

My Darling Emma,

Another hard working day at the hospital, I’m afraid. We had to sedate a patient today, as he was being extremely difficult when trying to help him. Poor Kathryn even got bit. She’s fine however, nothing serious.

I’m truly sorry that my emails have been sent out so late at night. I can’t tell you how much I wish we were together and we would be planning on a date, enjoying a nice walk along the park with some red and yellow M&M’s to exchange.

It’ll be my birthday soon and if there was anything I would wish for, it would be to finally be back home so I could look upon your green eyes and get lost in them. See what you have done to me? Before I was fine with being away from Boston but now… it’s agony. I’ve become addicted. I admit it.

But enough about that. How is work going for you? I’m glad you have been feeling useful while back home. I can’t wait to hear all about it.

Love,
Regina
____________________

My Dearest Regina,

I certainly hope Kathryn is doing better. Days get though, but if anyone can handle them in the end, it’s you. You are capable of more things than you realize. Hang in there! We will be together soon and I will kiss away all those headaches, frustrations, stressing days you have had to go through while we’ve been a part.

It’s been agony for me too. I had some M&M’s the other day and found myself separating the red ones from the rest. I even gained a weird look from Ruby.

Another walk with you sounds about right. Anytime you have another hard or long day at work just close your eyes and picture us walking along that bridge in Vienna. I do that every night I’m restless. The only time I ever got any good enough sleep was after we had made love and fell asleep wrapped in each other’s arms. God, I miss that…

But before I turn this email into a triple X rating, let me talk about work for me. It’s been going really well, keeps me busy but I’ve learned a lot in a short amount of time. Marco is an excellent teacher, very patient. He is teaching me more into carving and can you believe it, he has turned me into a 1940’s girl. Anytime we are working in his shop, I find myself enjoying the soothing voices and jazz melodies of Doris Day, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra. I actually heard a song the other day that I believe was made especially for you. I will share the link to it for you to have a listen.

It’ll be your birthday soon, huh? Just kidding! I remembered. I could never forget the date where you graced the world with your presence.

Love,
Emma

Trumpets and piano melodies along with Ella Fitzgerald’s voice began to play out of the brunette’s laptop as the song All The Things You Are played out. As every loving gesture the blonde had towards her, it made her smile grow, forgetting all about stressful days. It wasn’t Emma physically, but the thought of the soldier taking a bit of her time during a busy day to send her a song was more than she could ask for. No one had ever done that for her before.

She loved the song immediately, of course and would hear it every night before going to bed. It would make her nights more relaxing after challenges day at work, as well as hearing from Emma from endless back and forth emails.
____________________

More days passed and only Regina would be working on her birthday. But work was the only thing that made her not go crazy from missing Emma so much. Still, on those lonely nights the nostalgia would hit her once she would arrive home or be in bed. She could only imagine how Emma was feeling as well.

“That’s a unique necklace.” Said a soldier, his arm bare as he sat on an examination table, while Regina stitched his forearm back up.

While her eyes were focused on the cut he had suffered after an argument between him and fellow soldier took place. His eyes were focused on the swan pendant necklace that hung on the brunette nurse’s neck.

Regina shook her head as her hand moved with swift motion as the string went right through his arm, “Why you two insists on acting like two little boys is beyond me.”

“Here’s that bandage you asked for.” Kathryn came into the curtained area, placing a perfectly new bandage on the tray beside her.

“Thank you.”

The soldier’s eyes were focused on the brunette as she kept her focus on his arm. “It was over you, you know. The fight.” He said, while Kathryn discreetly looked over her shoulder, as Regina’s eyes looked up at the soldier’s before her, but remained focused on finishing the stitches on his arm, taking a pair of scissors as she cut the string.

“I can’t possibly see how I would be the cause of a fight between two grown men such as yourselves.” Regina raised his forearm gently, her hands working with ease as they wrapped the bandage around it where the stitches were.

“Well, we had a card game going, the winner was going to have the chance to take you on a date. Of course I won, but he accused me of cheating and everything just happened from there.” He paused, taking notice at the smirk on Kathryn’s lips.

“All done.” Regina placed his arm back down, while she and Kathryn gathered the supplies, disposing of bloody gauze's and cotton balls. “As much as I love my job, please try to stay out of more fights with your roommate.”

“Yes, ma’am.” He smiled, watching as Regina was getting ready to walk away, “So how’s about that date? I did win.”

Regina looked over her shoulder, letting out a tiny chuckle, “I’m not a prize. I’m afraid I can’t accept that date.”

“What, are you with someone?” He asked, his smile gone.

Regina looked over at Kathryn, ignoring the man’s question, “I’ll see you at lunch.”

Kathryn nodded as Regina walked away, while Kathryn placed the rest of the supplies inside a tray to take them to be disinfected. “Up you go, soldier.” She began disinfecting the examining table as the soldier hopped right off of it.

“Is she really with someone?” He asked the blonde nurse.

Kathryn chuckled, “You’re surprised by that? Really?” She patted his shoulder, “I would start betting your card games on something else if I were you.”

His eyes looked over the blonde nurse’s figure as she began to walk out of the small area, “How about you? Fancy a date?”

Kathryn turned, supplies in her hand, “I’m here to work, soldier. Not to date. Excuse me.” She walked away, rolling her eyes at the man’s nerve. She wasn’t against dating anyone, but she liked the idea that it would be love at first sight whenever she met the right man. Not someone who was just desperate to get somewhere with the first pretty girl that crossed their path.
____________________

Kathryn locked arms with the brunette as they walked out of the hospital once their shift was finished, “Only you would work on your birthday.” She smiled, “So, how does it feel to turn twenty-six?”

“I feel the same way I did when I was twenty-five.” Regina joked, sighing as she rubbed her neck from feeling utterly exhausted, “I am just ready to go home and have a nice birthday dinner with you.”

“I’m afraid dinner will have to wait.” Said Kathryn, grinning widely as Regina gave her a questioning look, “Emma emailed me and I have specific instructions on where to take you first. Who knew the soldier had a few tricks up her sleeve even while being halfway across the world?”

Regina smiled at the very thought that even at a distance, Emma continued to surprise her. “And where exactly are we going?”

“That’s the surprise.” Kathryn tightened her grip on the brunette’s arm as she rushed her towards an incoming taxi, “Now, come on. She was very specific about the time frames and I don’t want to let her down.”
____________________

By 7:15 both women entered a flower shop that was nearby both the hospital and park where they had their first date. Regina was given an arrangement of exactly 26 white and red roses as soon as they walked in. The florist had been given specific instructions on what needed to be done. The order of flowers already being paid for.

“Hang on. There has to be a note,” Kathryn looked in between the flowers for the note, careful not to cause any damage to them, “In her email, Emma said there would be a note for you. Ah-huh!” She grinned, holding the note in between her fingers proudly, “Here it is… just like she said it would be,” She unfolded the small piece of paper, reading out loud for Regina to hear.

Twenty six roses for your twenty six years of life. I had the most beautiful ones picked out for you, although none of those flowers could ever bypass your beauty. Your next stop is to go to the park where we had our first date. Kathryn will know what to do from there.

Regina chuckled, “I can’t believe Emma put you up to this.”

“Oh, I volunteered. Now, let’s go! You still have a few more surprises.” Kathryn smiled, handing the note over to Regina, which she tucked into her scrubs pocket as the left the outside of the flower shop and headed towards the park.

Once they arrived at the park and both women neared the same tree they had been under, the first thing that came into view for the brunette nurse was a birthday balloon floating in between two big branches. At the end of the blue string of the balloon was an entire glass jar filled with only peanut red M&M’s. Regina’s smile only grew as she turned to look at her best friend. It was little things such as remembering her favorite color of chocolate that made her heart leap right out of her chest with all the love in the world for the blonde.

“Regina, if you don’t end up marrying this girl, as God as my witness we are done being friends and I will marry her myself.” Regina couldn’t help but laugh to what her best friend said.

“Isn’t it too soon to be talking marriage, Kathryn?” She asked.

“Not when you have a girl who has these types of gestures with you, it’s not,” Kathryn chuckled, “Oh! This is the most important gift of all…” She searched within her scrubs pockets while Regina’s eyes grew wide in surprise.

“There’s more?”

Kathryn pulled out a printed out ticket that she got off the internet, handing it over to the brunette, “This one I had to print out but it is strictly from her.” She explained as Regina studied the piece of cut out paper in the form of a ticket.

Regina raised a brow as she looked at her best friend, “She doesn’t secretly own a chocolate factory and is now leaving it to me, is she?”

Kathryn rolled her eyes, “It’s not a golden ticket, Charlie. Didn’t you hear? There aren’t anymore. Now, read it.”

Regina smirked, her eyes reading the inscription written on it in black fine lettering, while on one side of the ticket were drawn out pictures of a bottle of wine and a plate of spaghetti.

Ticket for Dinner. 8:30pm | Admit one | July 17

“Dinner?” asked Regina, her eyes looking into her friend’s before her only to see Kathryn nod in confirmation.

“She booked us dinner at a very fancy place. ‘Suitable for a queen,’ she said. And she included me so you wouldn’t be alone tonight at all cost.”

Regina’s lips parted in surprise, unable to believe that the soldier spend a lot of money on all these lovely gestures. Plus an expensive dinner? Sure, Regina grew up around money all her life, thanks to her parents always living well, but she was never one to enjoy the riches she had. Except for her car and her horses. The brunette was always more humble, just like her father. Not flaunting how much money they had around anyone else.

“I don’t even want to know how much she spent on booking us this dinner.” Regina shook her head, holding the ticket within her hands.

Kathryn shook her head, waving her hand, “Don’t worry about it. It’s your birthday. She wanted to do something extremely nice for you given that she can’t be with you on your special day.” She smiled, “This one is definitely crazy about you.”

Regina chuckled, her cheeks pink, “I honestly don’t know why.”

Kathryn raised a brow, “Because you’re you, Gina. Now, come on,” She rushed towards the jar of M&M’s, grabbed it and took her friend by the hand, “I believe you have a dinner reservation for 8:30. You don’t want to be late.”
____________________

Once they arrived, Kathryn now guided Regina out of the cab they had taken as they arrived right in front of their apartment complex. During the ride back, the brunette had been blindfolded so she wouldn’t see where they were.

Kathryn pulled open the door, quickly holding onto her as she guided her towards the elevator this time, instead of using the stairs.

“Where are we? It doesn’t sound like a restaurant.” asked Regina, unable to see a single thing.

“No peeking.” Kathryn grabbed a hold of her best friend, guiding her down the hallway until they arrived in front of their apartment door. As she took out her keys and parted open the door, she guided her inside.

“Alright, now I know we aren’t at a restaurant. Where are we?”

The blonde removed the blindfold away from Regina’s eyes, as her eyes widened in amazement. Soft music was playing in the background, the lights were off in the entire apartment. The only illumination providing a delicate source of light were strings of white Christmas lights that hung through the entire top part of the wall. Plus some candles that were set up around the living room area. She noticed the center table in the living room had been moved. As she looked over to their breakfast table, it was now covered with a white and red checkered cloth, while a slim vase rested right on the center with a single red rose. Plates already set in their places, right across from each other with freshly made dinner, already served.

Regina was taken aback at how lovely everything had been set up just for her birthday. She looked over at her best friend in amazement, “When did you do all this?” Her question remained unanswered as then, her cell phone rang. She quickly answered as soon as Emma’s name appeared on the screen, “You are sneaky. I’ll have to watch you closely, soldier.”

“So, you liked your surprises?”

Regina smiled at the familiar sound of the blonde’s voice on the other end of the phone, “I loved my surprises. However, you didn’t have to go through all this trouble just for my birthday.”

“You deserve nothing but the best on your day. Besides, I had big help from Kathryn. You still have one more surprise.”

“Another one?” A laugh escaped her, “Emma, you’ve given me enough already.”

She could hear the smile in the blonde’s voice through the phone, “This one isn’t from me. It’s from Kathryn.”

The brunette looked over at her best friend who was holding a slice of cake with a candle already lit.

“Don’t forget to make a wish.” said Kathryn, holding up the cake for Regina as the brunette blew out the candle.

“What’d you wish for?”

Regina chuckled, “If I tell you that, then it won’t come true.”

“This one just might.”

Regina suddenly turned around to the direction of her bedroom, gasping as before her stood Emma, removing her cell phone from her ear as she looked upon the brunette with a pearly white smile. Regina couldn’t help but freeze in place, her phone clutched in her hand until it dropped. She looked over at a grinning Kathryn before taking off running across the room, crashing into the blonde soldier’s arms causing a grunt to escape her. Emma’s eyes closed as her arms wrapped around the brunette’s form. Her cane dropping to the floor with a clank.

The brunette soon broke their hug, but still remaining in the blonde’s embrace, her hands cradling the sides of her face, her cheeks hurting from smiling, “You’re really here?”

Emma nodded, her smile mirroring the brunette’s before her, “I’m really here.”

“How?” Asked a still surprised Regina. Her eyes glossy from unshed tears.

“I got her on a flight here.” Kathryn smiled proudly, “All expenses paid for. Out of my own pocket.”

Regina couldn’t help but leave Emma’s embrace to hug her best friend next. This had truly become one unforgettable birthday. Worth the celebration, given that she never truly celebrated a single one. Except for when she was a child and in her teen years because her father always insisted on giving her the best birthday ever. But her last celebrated birthday was a year before his passing, which was at age sixteen. Now, to have the woman she dearly loved here with her on her special day, (because this had become a special day) meant the world to her.

“I don’t know how to ever thank you.” Regina shook her head, her eyes focused on Kathryn’s blue ones.

 

Kathryn shook her head, a warm smile to her, “Just go be with Emma. You two have a dinner to attend to.”

“You aren’t staying?” Asked Regina, following the older blonde as she began making her way into her bedroom.

“This is your night. Enjoy it. You’ve spent enough birthdays with me before. We’ll have plenty more, I’m sure.” She paused, looking at both women, “Besides, Emma traveled across the globe to be here with you. I’m not ruining it by being a third wheel. So, I’m heading to bed early, you two do what must be done.” Her head peeked back out from around the corner of her room, “Although, I do ask that you keep your noise level at a minimum. Unfortunately these walls are thin and I do have work tomorrow morning.”

Both Emma and Regina couldn’t help but break into laughter, Emma’s cheeks still filled with a shade of pink at the thought that she would actually hear them.

“Good night. Oh, put this down.” Kathryn took the jar of M&M’s from the brunette’s hands placing it by the kitchen counter, she waved them off, smirking as she closed the door to her bedroom to give the two women some privacy.

“Whoa!” Emma was all smiles, her arms wrapped around the brunette as she threw herself towards her again, this time their lips meeting in quick peppered kisses. She chuckled, “I can’t imagine what would happen if you missed me.” She joked.

“Shut up.” Regina kissed her again, several times after letting her go so the blonde could catch her breath. Her eyes looking at the table before them, “I can’t believe you did all this.”

“Friends in high places.” Emma pulled the chair out for Regina as the brunette took a seat, taking a seat across from her. She uncorked the wine bottle as she served some for the brunette, placing it back on the table.

“Thank you.” Regina took a sip, her eyes never leaving the soldier before her. “I can’t believe you are actually here.”

Emma smiled, “Just for tonight and a little while tomorrow. I have to fly back, I’m afraid.”

Regina paused as she was about to take a bite of their main course. Her brows raised to her hairline, “You flew seven hours from Boston just for my birthday?”

“I guess I couldn’t stay away from you any longer.” Emma shrugged, taking a sip of her water. Her green eyes being the most beautiful Regina had seen in the dining candle light.

Regina’s hand moved its way across the table, taking the blonde’s hand into her own, their eyes never leaving one another. “You are something else, Emma Swan. Just when I think you can’t possibly surprise me anymore, you prove me wrong.”

Emma looked over to the stereo that continued to play soft music after both women had converse all about Emma’s life in Boston and Regina’s life in Germany and more about themselves during their romantic dinner, both constantly sharing lustful and flirtatious glances. Everything by Lifehouse started playing as the violins in the beginning of the song sounded. It made the blonde smile as she looked back at Regina.

“Would you like to dance?” asked Emma, standing up as Regina wiped the corners of her mouth delicately with a napkin and stood to her feet right at her offer. She walked the brunette to the center of the living room as their arms cradled each other in a loving embrace, their feet slowly swaying from side to side with instinct. Their eyes never leaving one another.

No words were needed for the moment they were now sharing. Regina wrapped her arms around the soldier’s form, embracing her in a hug as her head rested on the blonde’s shoulder. The scent of leather radiating off of her red leather jacket. Her eyes closing as all she could do was savor the moment she had the privilege of having with the woman who slowly stole her heart in that hospital. As for Emma, the scent of Regina’s perfume was everything she needed to give her her fix of the older woman. She was happier than ever to be able to be here. Embrace her. Kiss her. She knew by the feel of their embrace that Regina needed her just as much as she did. There was nothing now that could tell Emma any different, or make her believe that Regina did not love her. Because she did. She did.

“I missed you.” Regina whispered, facing the blonde again as their eyes instantly met.

Emma’s lips tugged into an immediate smile, “Did you miss me? I couldn’t tell.” She joked, breaking into laughter as Regina playfully slapped her arm. “I missed you too.” She replied, tightening her hold on the brunette’s form. “I wouldn’t of flown halfway across the world for just anyone. Even if it’s just for a while.”

Regina’s eyes locked on the blonde’s green ones, “Then we should make the hours we have left count.” As Emma raised a questioning brow, she took her by the hand, forgetting all about their dance as she lead her into her bedroom. Stopping midway, as Emma pulled her back.

“Are you sure? We can go somewhere else.” said Emma.

Regina closed the very little distance that was between them, her lips meeting thin ones that when she kissed them with all her passion, she felt her very life return to its rightful place. Emma’s eyes opened up slowly as they finally parted, “I don’t know how I’ll be able to go on once you have to leave again by tomorrow.” Regina whispered, “I need to be in your arms, Emma. All night. Unless you don’t want to.”

“I’ll always want you, Regina. Always. I’ve been going crazy without feeling your body next to mine.” Emma’s arms suddenly tightened around Regina’s form again, her hands suddenly moving their way down past her butt cheeks, stopping right at the back of her thighs. It was a touch that sent shivers up Regina’s spine, a gasp finally escaping her as she felt how quickly Emma lifted her entire body up in the air right by her thighs. The brunette’s legs indistinctly wrapping around Emma’s waist as she slowly moved her into her bedroom, shutting the door in place with a swift kick of her foot.

Maybe it was her desire she felt in that moment for Regina, but even her leg wasn’t a bother to be able to lift the older woman up in her arms as their lips met in yet another hot and passionate filled kiss.

Chapter Text

Regina awoke the following morning to a clean apartment, holding a single rose in her hand that Emma clearly had left for her by the bed before departing early this morning. Her lips parted in awe as everything had been placed back into its rightful place. Everything from the empty plates and glasses of wine and water, to the center coffee table and breakfast table had been placed back. She had to hand it to the soldier, she sure had a good memory.

“Whoa,” Kathryn’s eyes grew wide at the sight of the clean apartment, looking over at her best friend, “So… let me get this straight. If I ask you about all the banging last night- are you literally going to tell me that you and Emma, instead of doing the hanky panky- you two literally were moving the furniture?”

Regina threw a hard glare her way, “I’m sorry to disappoint you,” she moved into the kitchen, preparing some coffee while Kathryn reached for two mugs, “But neither did we cleaned this up and we most certainly didn’t make any noise.”

Kathryn chuckled, setting both mugs down on the counter, “Oh, honey. I wasn’t joking when I said these walls are pretty thin,” she continued as Regina looked over to her wide eyed, “Trust me. You most certainly made noise.” She elbowed her friendly playfully, “Emma certainly knows her stuff, huh? She had you chanting out her name like a prayer.”

“Alright, Kathryn.” She looked over to the living room area once again as the blonde beside her smirked, “I wonder when she had time to do all this.”

Kathryn twirled the single rose with her fingers as she picked it up from the counter top, “And she still left you a rose. The kid most definitely has an old fashioned soul.” She brought it up to her nose, inhaling the fresh scent, “I’ll say this again, Gina. If you don’t marry this girl- I will.”

____________________

Ruby’s classic red Mustang pulled just behind Emma’s yellow beetle. A plastic bag in hand with two to go boxes as she made her way into Marco’s garage, which had become his shop. Emma was sanding down a rocking chair she had just finished, whistling along to Otis Redding’s [Sittin’ On] the Dock of the Bay as it played out of Marco’s old vinyl record player. Emma really enjoyed it. It had a sound like nothing else.

Emma’s head looked up as soon as the music was suddenly cut off. Her smile immediate as her eyes looked at her best friend standing just beside the record player, which was near the garage door, “Hey, Rubes! Come on in.”

“I hate to interrupt your jam session. I brought you some grilled cheese.” Ruby smiled, stepping further inside the garage as the blonde placed the sandpaper aside. “I went to your house first, but Ingrid told me you were here.”

“Yeah. Just trying to earn a little extra money.” Emma took the bag from Ruby, walking to another table that was over on the other side of the garage, placing the bag down as she took out the containers. “Thank you so much. I’m starving.”

Ruby chuckled, “You always are.” Her eyes looked over at all the finished tables and chairs, “You really like doing this stuff, huh?”

Emma looked over at the finished pieces, nodding as she chewed on the first bite she had taken out of her grilled cheese, “It’s pretty relaxing. Plus, it’ll help me for when I buy that abandoned cabin out near the lake. I won’t have to buy any furniture for it, I can just build it myself.”

“Always a dreamer, Em. Are you still thinking about that cabin out in those woods?” Asked Ruby, “You have no idea what’s out there.”

“I’ve seen worst things. Trust me.” Emma took another bite of her grilled cheese, both friends going quiet for a short moment before Ruby spoke again.

“I know I shouldn’t ask…” The brunette paused, “But, how was it out there?”

Emma chewed quietly, taking a sip of her soda that Ruby also had gotten her, “It was a dessert that turned into a graveyard in a matter of minutes.” She sighed, “It wasn’t always like that though. We would have peaceful nights, even though they wouldn’t last. It sure could become peaceful.”

“Did you… ever…?”

The blonde soldier nodded, understanding what her best friend wanted to ask her.

“Do you know how many?” asked Ruby, curious about her experience out in the war.

Emma paused before answering truthfully, “Too many to count, Rubes. Let’s leave it at that.”

Ruby nodded, “Let’s.” She cleared her throat, watching Emma as the blonde picked up her phone, smiling down at the text message she had just received. “Things are getting pretty serious with the girlfriend, huh?”

Emma’s smile only grew wider, placing her phone back down after she had replied. Her cheeks a shade of pink as she looked over at Ruby again.

“So, when is she coming to visit you for a change?” asked the brunette, taking a sip of her soda.

“Soon. We’ll be together for good.” The blonde smiled at the thought of that day.

“But she won’t be living in Storybrooke. Or will she?”

Emma shrugged, “I don’t know. We haven’t exactly discussed our living arrangements yet. But we know we want to be together. And who knows… someday… we may even get married.”

Ruby’s brow raised, “Come again? Married?” She chuckled as the blonde nodded, “Em, you’ve been dating the woman for a few months, she takes your virginity and already you’re thinking about marrying her?” She scoffed at her friend’s smile, “Em, you know I am beyond supportive that you date whoever you want to date, but… don’t you think you may be going a little too fast?”

“I love her.” Emma’s answer was plain and simple, without a single doubt in her use of words. She smiled, “And she loves me. She really loves me.”

Ruby shook her head, “You got it bad, Em. I only hope you’re right.”

“What are you trying to say, Ruby?” Emma’s eyes didn’t move from Ruby’s own eyes, the brunette was sure she wasn’t even blinking.

Ruby sighed, “All I’m saying is that you can’t be too careful. This is the first time you ever fall in love with anyone and here you are planning for the future with someone, who you don’t even know that she will be coming back to Boston at all to be with you.”

Emma knew where this was going, “Ruby…” her tone was a serious one.

The brunette raised her hands to stop her from talking any further, “Emma, don’t look at me that way, alright? I’m your friend here, I only care about your happiness and that you’ll never get hurt. And… need I remind you that I’ve had a few love interests while we were in school, so I know a thing or two about people. Especially people who have money.”

“Well, you don’t know anything about Regina.” Emma paused, her eyes not moving from their place, “Sure, she has money, but I can tell you that she’s not the type of person to flawn it in front of your face. She’s very down to earth, she’s dedicated, smart and amazing at her job. She was brought up well. She’s been hurt too, and she knows a thing or two about dating- which I may not, that’s true- but I do know people too, Ruby and Regina isn’t at all how you think she may be. She’s not one to play with anyone’s feelings, so why don’t you quit while you’re ahead.”

Ruby’s eyes followed the blonde as she stood from her seat, disposing of both their now empty food trays and immediately getting back to work without uttering another word.

The brunette sighed as she walked up behind her best friend, wanting to say something, anything that would make her see that had no reason to be upset. She was just looking out for her. I mean she didn’t know Regina, all she knew about her was what Emma shared with her and Ingrid and by looking at her pictures that the blonde carried with her. Yes, she seemed like a great person and she sounded just as had Emma described her. She truly meant no harm, although she realized that maybe her approach hadn’t been the most careful one. Ruby had had a long distance relationship once, and it ended up with lies and nothing but pain. Okay, so she had bad luck, but that didn’t mean Emma would.

Instead of trying to fix her careless mistake then and there, Ruby walked out in silence, got in her car and drove off to which Emma turned as soon as she heard the car driving off. The blonde sighed. So she was in love for the first time, and she has heard that first loves aren’t always the ones you end up with, but that wasn’t them. She glanced down at her phone, reading a reply she had received from the brunette back in Germany, telling her that she loved her and that she would call her tonight. After she closed her text message, her eyes caught the sight of the last picture they had taken together on the nurse’s birthday. She had set it as her wallpaper and couldn’t help but smile every time she laid eyes on it. It never failed.

That’s when she knew… that no matter what happened in the future, no matter how long Regina took to come back to Boston. Even if she had to drive every damn day a good amount of hours to get to the city just so she can hold her. She would, because they wouldn’t fail. No. She loved her and was determined to make this work. They would be together soon. They had to be.
____________________

Explosions were happening around her. The ground literally shaking, Emma was sure it would split in two at any given moment. She looked down at herself for a moment, wondering why she was back out there in that field, wearing her uniform, a heavy and cold weapon in her hands. Why was she back here? And why was it only her? She couldn’t see any enemies, even though shots and explosions were clearly being heard and seen as they hit the ground around her and lifted the dirt with impact. Her hand suddenly stung causing her to look down at it. There was that cut again, fresh as if it were just made. She looked behind her and saw the same man she had killed that night after he was determined to eliminate her.

She hissed as it stung more, as if looking down at that cut made it hurt even more. That’s when she noticed that she had no cane. There she stood holding onto her weapon, without a cane in sight.

“Emma!” She heard a scream that made her run towards the endless, dark dessert. Looking down again as her leg was carrying her with ease, moving with such as swift motion as before. It was no longer hurt. It was better and faster than ever, same as her other leg. She heard the scream again, in that familiar voice that only she would know who it belonged to. It wasn’t a fellow soldier in distress. That was Regina’s voice. She could hear it loud and clear, screaming for her help.

“Regina?!” Emma moved through the shots being fired her way, not a single one hitting her leg this time like it had happened back when she was looking for August. She ran as fast as she could, coming up to a cloud of white smoke, coughing as her lungs took it in. The soldier panted her way through, hearing a groan that didn’t sound at all like Regina’s this time. It was a male. “Regina?” She called out again, walking further on until she stopped, realizing that the gunshots and explosions had completely stopped.

Everything had gone quiet. Too quiet in fact and out in the middle of a deserted field, Emma knew that was never a good sign.

“Regina?” She called out, in a whisper this time. Smoke coming out of her own lips as the air suddenly became as cold as ice. She could feel her fingertips already freezing to death as they turned pink.

As the smoke cleared, she stopped walking any further as before her was Regina. She was wearing her usual scrubs, despite the cold, Emma couldn’t see her body trembling, nor hear her teeth chattering due to the low temperatures. The woman was bent over and still as a rock, until she stood to her feet, looking down at the body that now laid before her.

“Gina?” Emma’s voice trembled, puffs of white smoke coming out of her breath with every exhaling motion she took.

Her green eyes grew wide from the impression. They looked down to see blood was now dripping from her hand as she held a knife that was even bloodier. This didn’t make any sense. Why was Regina even here? Whatever her reason, she must have been threatened, that’s her only reason for killing someone. It was self defense.

“Emma…” Regina’s voice was soft this time as she spoke, her eyes glossy with pools of unshed tears as they burned at her eyes. “I’m sorry.”

A thud sounded as Emma had dropped her weapon she had been holding. Surrendering herself completely to the brunette before her. She ran towards her, pulling her in an embrace. “It’s alright, Gina.” She breathed out a puff of air due to the cold, “It’s alright now. You’re safe. You have me, I’m right here.” She looked into the older woman’s eyes, cupping her face in her hands, “You’re okay.”

The soldier leaned in, capturing the brunette’s familiar, plump lips with her own pink, thin ones in a kiss that would make her feel exactly that. Only it didn’t. As Emma parted, she noticed that Regina no longer responded to her kiss. Not like before. Her brows furrowed in question at the once again, coldness and still action the woman had been in before.

“Regina?” The question itself lingering in the blonde’s voice.

“Emma…” Regina whispered, bringing her forehead against Emma’s as both their eyes closed, “I’m sorry.”

A sharp, gushing sound was heard, followed by another grunt. Green eyes grew wide in surprise as Emma slowly looked over to where she had felt a sudden pain right on her chest. A sharp metallic object had been plunged right in her heart. Her lips parted this time as she looked back up at the brunette who had now backed away a few feet from her. She had been betrayed. She let her guard down, something you must never do in war and she had been betrayed. She swallowed the lump that had formed in her throat, unable to speak. Her hand reached up to touch the handle on the knife. She wanted to pull it out, but her fingers were too numb and too cold to feel anything, much less gather any strength to do so.

Her jaw tightened as she could feel herself already slipping away. Her eyes burning with fallen tears as she softly grunted and gasped, wanting to hold onto dear life for as long as she could to know why. Why would she do this? Why Regina? Of all people. This wasn’t right. It couldn’t be.

The weirdest thing of all wasn’t exactly that the woman she loved had just stabbed her directly in the heart. The weirdest thing was the look in her eyes as she watched as her very soul left her body as Emma dropped down to her knees next. Her once beautiful, mesmerizing brown eyes were now completely black. Like the night’s sky as she laid on the now snow covered ground, looking up into nothing but darkness. Her green eyes losing the light they once had in them.

“No! No! No!” Ingrid came into the blonde’s room as she screamed in agony, shaking her awake from the nightmare she was clearly having, but careful not to be so rough.

“Emma, honey, wake up! It’s okay! Wake up!”

Emma gasped for air as her body shot up from her bed. Her hands quickly moving towards her chest as she touched the area right where her heart was. Beads of sweat formed on her forehead as a drop made its way down her temple, her breathing turned into gasps for air as Ingrid grabbed her face, forcing her to look her dead in the eye.

“Emma! Look at me!” Ingrid almost shouted, brushing back strands of blonde hair as thin ones stuck against drenched sweaty skin. “Look at me, it’s alright. You’re alright.” Her arms wrapped around the younger blonde’s sweaty form as Emma hugged her as tight as she could manage through panting breaths. “Shhh… you’re alright, it was just a nightmare. That’s all.”

A sigh escaped the soldier, breaking her hug with Ingrid, trying to control her breathing. This wasn’t the first time she had nightmares. She’s had many, compliments of the war, but no nightmare compared to this one. This one felt so real, it scared the shit out of her. It felt so real, she still could feel the throbbing pain that knife caused as it was jammed right into her heart.

Ingrid reached over to turn on the blonde’s desk lamp, and being the mother figure that she always was slowly rubbed her back, “Do you want to talk about it?”

Emma shook her head, not wanting to burden the only mother she ever knew. Not with what went on inside her head, with what went on out there in the middle of the night dessert.

“Are you going to be alright?” Ingrid asked, clearly worried about these nightmares the blonde constantly had.

“Yeah.” Emma nodded, “I’ll be fine. I’m sorry if I-”

Ingrid quickly shook her head, “You never have to apologize for things you can’t control.” She paused as Emma finally made direct eye contact with her own blue eyes. A warm smile greeting her through the very little source of light the desk lamp provided. “Situations. Things that one must do sometimes to survive can be the hardest things that we ever have to do. And they’ll probably haunt you until the end of time, but that doesn’t mean they’ll hurt you forever.” Emma looked down as she felt Ingrid’s warm, comforting hand cup her own.

Emma gave Ingrid a tiny smile. She had to be right. Ingrid knew it all, she was a wise woman if Emma ever met one. She’s seen her gone through enough shit of her own with her deadbeat ex of a husband to know what she’s talking about.

“Okay.” Ingrid rubbed the younger blonde’s bicep, leaning in giving her a kiss on the temple, “Try to get some sleep. Good night.”

Green eyes followed Ingrid as she pulled the door open, “Do you think a love like ours is meant to last a lifetime?”

Ingrid turned back, taking her seat next to soldier on the bed. Her eyes locked to her green ones, “Ruby’s words cut deep?” She sighed as she took notice in the blonde’s silent shrug, “She talked to me. She felt really bad about what she said to you.”

“I know she’s just looking out for me, but…”

“Long distance is tough, Emma. It’s like being in a war, you go out there blindly not knowing what you’re about to face.” She paused, “I was in a long distance relationship, once.” Ingrid nodded once she gained a surprising, raised brows look from Emma, “Oh, yeah. I was younger than you are now, and he was my first love too. And that fear you’re feeling right now, that question that is racing inside your mind without a single clue to an answer- I’ve felt it.”

“Does it ever go away?” Emma asked.

Ingrid shook her head, “No, honey it doesn’t. But regardless of whatever anyone says. What does your heart say?”

It was in that moment that Emma’s cell started to vibrate. As Ingrid reached for it, staring at Regina’s picture, she handed it to Emma. That’s when the younger blonde knew that Ingrid was right. No matter what anyone said, they could prove everyone who doubted their love wrong. Regina promised she’d call her tonight and there was her phone, vibrating off the hook just waiting to be answered.

“I’ll leave you to answer that.” Ingrid smiled, making her way out of the bedroom, closing the door behind her as Emma picked up the most expected call of the night.

“Hi.” Emma’s voice was a whisper as she spoke through the phone.

“I can’t describe how much I’ve needed to hear your voice. I had the toughest, busiest day.”

Emma’s smile was sad as her nightmare (because that’s all that was) still lingered in her mind. She couldn’t tell Regina about it either, she couldn’t burden her with something that horrifying. Then again, the woman was a nurse.

“Emma? Are you there?”

“I’m here. Sorry, I just… I’ve had a rough night. Bad dreams, you know.”

“Do you want to talk about it?” There was a moment of silence, “Emma?”

“I was just… back there.” Emma paused, deciding to quickly change the conversation, “Are you still coming to Boston?” She asked flat out.

“What?” She didn’t need to see her to know Regina had that question written all over her features right now, “Of course I am. That’s the plan, that’s always been the plan, even more now that I’ve met you.” As she paused, Emma’s stomach turned in shame. “Why would things change?”

She had to come clean, “I… I had a dream.” She paused, bending the truth of the dream a little bit, “More like a nightmare,” she chuckled, “You were called me to tell me that you weren’t coming after all. That this, us was just a game for you. That you never truly loved me.” She sighed, “I’m sorry, I know I shouldn’t worry, but I can’t help-”

“You can’t help it. I’ve had dreams of that myself, only you’re the one realizing that all this wasn’t what you truly wanted.”

That took Emma by surprise, “You have?”

“Yes. But that only makes me remember how much you truly love me. And I know you. I know you would never do that.” Another pause, “Would you?”

That question finally made Emma chuckle. And with that chuckle and just hearing the voice of the woman she loved, made her know that everything was going to be alright. “Never. I love you way too much to ever do such a stupid thing like that. You’re my heart.”

She could hear the smile in Regina’s words, “The same way you are mine, soldier. Always. And don’t ever forget that.”

“Can you promise me that?” asked Emma with a full on smile on this time, which made the brunette chuckle.

“I promise.”

It was then that Emma knew. This would work. Nightmare’s in the past. Regina loved her and that’s all she needed to know to feel at peace. Nothing, absolutely nothing could destroy them.

Chapter Text

Days, weeks, months passed after that horrific nightmare. Sometimes it would still linger in the back of the blonde soldier’s mind, but not enough to have her question it anymore. Because as days, weeks and months passed her by she would begin to see more and more, day by day that Regina truly did love her. Not that she ever doubted it, but it gave her a sense of peace knowing it. And just as all those days passed, both women continued a correspondence of emails back and forth as they went on with their lives trying to make the year fly faster.

My Dearest Regina,

School has been great. Sometimes it feels too overwhelming as it tends to get crowded, but once I start feeling like I’m suffocating I always picture us out in that cabin. I haven’t gained enough money to buy that land out in the forest yet, but once I become a really famous writer, I know I will have enough to do whatever needs to be done with it.

It’s a hell of a drive into the city of Boston just to get to school, but it’s fine because I never sleep well anyway. Ruby sometimes offers to drive me there. It’s always been her dream to leave this town and live off in the big city, also I think it’s because she dreams of dating a college guy. I tell her she should stick with another fellow soldier, we are more romantic. Wouldn’t you agree?

I count the time that’s left to see you again. I know you feel bad for not being able to come see me as you had planned, but don’t feel bad. We will be together for good soon enough.

Ruby says hi, so does Ingrid. And Marco. Oh and all my girlfriend’s. I keep telling them I’m going to marry you someday, but they won’t let up. Maybe once you’re back in Boston they’ll listen. I hope work has been easier for you more than school has been for me lately. Say hi to Kathryn for me. Tell her I miss her too and can’t wait to see her again.

Love always,
Emma

Regina sat on her bed, her laptop resting on her lap as it was usual every night now. Her smile never failing as her eyes read through one of the many emails Emma sent her day to day, replying to different one on a different day.

My Darling Swan,

Believe it or not, Kathryn and I had a day off today. We went dancing, which was fun but she isn’t as easy on her feet as you are. Even with a limp leg, you still have her beat. How sad is that?

Robin’s been around again. Although today, he was a no show. Let’s hope he is finally giving up on the idea that there could still be something between us. Frankly, I can’t wait to be back in Boston and away from here. In the course of my time here, I’ve grown to love this country dearly, but with Robin here I feel like I am suffocating. He is to me what your nightmares are to you.

Once I go back, everything will be different.

You’ll probably be a writer by the time I see you again. Maybe with all the emails we’ve exchanged in the course of this time together, you could write a book about them. That would be a bestseller indeed.

Give all of my love to Ingrid. I can’t wait to meet her.

Yours,
Regina
____________________

My Dearest Regina,

This year is soon reaching its end. Where does the time go? Just as this year is almost done for so will be my first year in college. The best part of this year ending isn’t that it’ll be summer again, but that I’ll get to see you.

My leg was killing me the other day. I still have my medication but the pain gets worse when there’s rain, I’m afraid. And lately, it’s been raining a lot here. Who knew a small town could hold so much water?

I mailed over a gift for you a few days ago. You should have received it by now. I carved it out myself from the trunk of a tree that Marco and I chopped down a few weeks ago. I’ve gotten pretty good at carving, wouldn’t you agree? He told me this story once about a magical tree out in the forest. He said that whatever we made out of it could last forever and no matter what happens, it could withstand anything.

With that being said, there was only one thing I could think of making for you.

All my love,
Emma

Regina looked down at the wooden item in her hand. It was a carved out horse, the wood from the tree trunk feeling so smooth in her hands as she held it. The stallion’s features very detailed it made her think that maybe there was such a thing as magic.
____________________

Ingrid and Ruby were sitting in the living room, their eyes wide and lips parted in shock and fear all at once as they took in the images that played on the news before them.

“What’s going on?” Emma came down the steps and into the living room, her eyes gluing to the television set as they soon displayed the same emotions as Ruby and Ingrid’s. Only her eyes began tearing up at the sight of two planes crashing into the twin towers in New York. It was the most horrific event on every television set that day.

“It’s been all over the news. It just happened this morning.” said Ruby, who sat by Ingrid.

“Can you imagine what this will mean for the world?” said Ingrid, shaking her head at the disbelief that anyone would dare to do such a monstrosity.

“It’s going to get ugly, that’s for sure.” Emma finally spoke, her eyes not moving from the television set.

Ingrid stood up, moving towards the younger blonde, “I’m just glad you aren’t out there anymore. Can you imagine? You wouldn’t be coming home until God knows when.”

Emma remained silent even as Ingrid walked away from the living room. She knew what this would mean for the world from here on out. Most of all, she could imagine what this would mean for her and Regina.
____________________

Regina ran down the hallway of the hospital, gathering with Kathryn and other fellow staff members as their eyes were glued onto a television that had been brought in for everyone to see the news.

“Can you believe this?” Kathryn linked her arm around the brunette’s, “This is horrifying.”

“It’s more that, Kathryn. I hate to think what this will mean for us.” a fellow nurse said.

Regina and Emma didn’t talk that entire day. Until Regina was able to arrive to her apartment late at night, instead of sleeping she felt the need to write out an email to the blonde back in Boston.

My Darling Emma,

I’m sure by now you’ve seen the news. It’s everywhere. We have a lot of new patients that just came in, many of them just transferred from other hospitals. It’s like the end of the world in here and there aren’t enough of us to help.

I’ve never felt so helpless in all my life.

I suppose it can’t go without saying that this event will change things for all of us. Airports are going to be going crazy.

To make matters worse, I was ordered to stay for another year. Or until all this settles down, which I can’t imagine when that will be. I can’t begin to tell you how sorry I am. I was really looking forward to going home, so was Kathryn. But that doesn’t mean I never will.

My question is: Will you wait for me?

Love,
Regina
____________________

My Dearest Regina,

Without question. Ingrid once told me that no one can control the things that happen around us, which is true. She says that situations, things that one must sometimes do can be the hardest things we ever have to do. You are where you need to be right now. I’m sure I will still be in Boston by the time things calm down. I’m afraid this situation is only going to get tougher for all the soldiers still out there serving and their families. They’ll need someone like you to look after them.

To answer your question. Yes, I would wait. As long as it doesn’t take you a hundred years to get back. I’m kidding, of course.

Maybe by the time you get back I will be done with school. Time is flying incredibly fast, sometimes I lose track of the date.

I will wait for your call like every night. Please take care and don’t work yourself to death.

Love,
Emma
____________________

After another month passed on in the new year. Emma had accompanied Marco to the town’s cemetery, both looking down on August’s grave as it was the anniversary of when his father had received the devastating news of his death. Neither him nor Emma really knew when exactly did he die. The only one who would know would be Regina since she saw the report, but Emma never thought to ask.

Emma placed flowers that Marco had bought for him, as the older man removed his hat out of respect to his son. His eyes still teared up, just as Emma’s did.

“I had to force them to tell me what happened to him on that night.” Marco spoke, “They told me that he was still alive when he was placed in an ambulance. Of course on his way to the hospital it seems the ambulance formed part in an accident.” His lip shook as he held in tears, “They couldn’t pull him out in time.”

Emma’s tears made their way down, her hand squeezing the dog tags that hung around her neck. She looked down at the one she kept with August’s name on it, taking a part of the individual chain she had it hanging from as she handed it to its rightful owner.

 

“He would have wanted you to have this.”

Marco looked down at the dog tag with the missing burnt corner as it was dropped on its hand. His fingers caressed his son’s name as it was written on the metallic object. A small smile tugged on the corners of his lips. Soon after, he immediately dropped it back into the blonde’s hand, cupping it with his other one as he closed it in a tight fist.

“You keep it.” He smiled, holding onto the blonde’s fist, “It belongs with yours.”

Emma shook her head, “Marco-”

“No. Don’t argue with me.” He paused as Emma remained quiet, “You were out there with him and you did everything you could to try and save him. It’s yours. I want you to keep it.”

Emma gave him a head nod as she was then pulled into a warm and thankful hug by him.

“You’re a good girl, Emma. August would be proud and grateful for what you did. Like I am.” said Marco, causing a few tears to fall from the blonde’s green eyes as her arms wrapped around the man in a much tighter hug.
____________________

Regina smiled warmly at a patient she had just finished seeing, “My name’s Regina, if there’s anything you need, please feel free to let me know or Kathryn.” She rushed out of the room to get to her next set of patients, grunting as she unexpectedly ran into one of the doctors on that floor today. “I’m sorry-”

“I’m sorry.” Robin’s eyes lit up at the sight of Regina, “Regina,” he chuckled, “What are the odds?”

“Robin? What are you doing back here?” Her brows furrowed.

“Well, after what happened I was able to get my job back. This hospital needs more doctors.” replied Robin.

“I think they meant good doctors.”

Robin chuckled, not letting her sarcasm get to him, “I’m not going to take that personal.” His eyes fell upon the swan pendant that hung from her neck, “Nice necklace. That’s unusual even for you. I always thought you were more of a horses kind of woman.”

“Well, it just goes to show you. You never really knew me all that well. If you’ll excuse me, I have other patients to attend to.” She looked at the man’s hand as it caught her by the arm, preventing her from leaving.

“Well, let’s change that,” said Robin, looking into the woman’s eyes as he spoke, “Have dinner with me tonight.”

“I’m busy.” replied Regina.

“Doing what?” He asked.

“Not your business.” Regina yanked her arm away from his grip, “Excuse me.”

Robin chuckled, following the brunette with a single head movement as she walked away, “You know, someday you’ll change your mind and come back to me.” It wasn’t a shout, but it was loud enough that he knew she had heard him.
____________________

It was late once Kathryn and Regina left the hospital, walking out side by side as they waited to see a cab.

“I can’t believe that douche bag got his job back. And to top it off, he had the nerve to ask you to dinner.” Kathryn scoffed, shaking her head in annoyance.

“It doesn’t matter. I wouldn’t accept even if I was single.”

Kathryn sighed, “Well, thank God-”

“So, you are seeing someone.”

Both women turned to the voice that was suddenly right behind them, gasping for life as their eyes fell upon Robin.

“Jesus! What is it with you scaring the shit out of us like that?” asked Kathryn, her hand on her chest. “Are you following us?”

“No.” Answered Robin, his eyes moving towards Regina, “I was coming out of the hospital just like you.”

“Well, you could have let us know you were right behind us.” replied Kathryn, her head turning towards a cab, “I think I see a cab.” She told the brunette, rushing to pull it over.

“So, how come Romeo isn’t picking you up?” he asked Regina as her brows furrowed.

“Who?” She asked.

“Your new boyfriend.” He paused, a small smirk on his lips as the brunette rolled her eyes, “You know, I could offer you two a ride.”

“We’re fine, Robin. Thank you.”

“Regina, let’s go!” Kathryn shouted, already hopping in the back seat of the cab.

“Have a good night.” The brunette nodded towards the man, walking away.

Robin watched as she walked, “He’s not another soldier, is he?” He dared to ask, causing the brunette nurse to turn back around.

“What did you say?”

Robin smirked once again, “Your boyfriend. It’s not another soldier, is it? I just wouldn’t want you to have to lose him too like you lost Daniel.”

Regina’s expression hardened, her eyes dark as she glared his way. Her lip almost curling with anger. But instead of arguing about someone who was long dead and with a man who only made her nauseous, she turned back on the balls of her feet and walked towards the cab as she left. Leaving a grinning Robin as he walked towards his car.

“Only a matter of time, Regina. Only a matter of time.” He murmured to himself, pretty determined to win back the brunette’s affection like he once had it.

Kathryn looked over at an angry brunette as she joined her in the cab, “What did that asshole say to you?”

Regina shook her head as she looked out the window, “Nothing.”

“Something. I know that look Regina, he got to you. Didn’t he?”

“Just leave it alone, Kathryn. Please.” The brunette pleaded.

“Fair enough,” the blonde nurse nodded, “But we are going out for some much needed drinks.”

“No, Kathryn-”

“Yes. We need them. We’ve had a stressful day and with that asshole working back in the hospital, I can only imagine your day became even more stressful than mine. We were supposed to be back home by now. You were supposed to be with Emma and yet we are still here. We need that drink.”
____________________

“Easy, I got you.” Kathryn whispered, holding onto the brunette as both friends had one too many drinks. Their plan being only going for two drinks, but two soon turned into four, which turned into six and so on. It’s a good thing they weren’t driving.

The lights turned on as Regina reached for the switch, searching her scrubs pockets for her phone.

“What are you doing?” asked Kathryn, stumbling her way into the living room area, leaving Regina standing by the door.

“Shh, I have to call Emma.” Regina whispered.

Kathryn ran her way towards the brunette, wanting to reach for her phone as Regina placed it by her ear, “I want to talk to her!” What followed next was a grunt from both friends as Kathryn had knocked them both down as they landed on the bare floor in a fit of laughter. “Please, let me talk to her.” She whispered, laying her head on Regina’s chest.

“Alright, but be quiet.” Regina whispered, looking at her hand which was now empty. “Where’s my phone? Kat-” She groaned, as her best friend was now suddenly passed out right on top of her. “Kathryn?” She shook her but the blonde would absolutely not budge, all she could do was look around as she suddenly heard buzzing coming from behind her. It was her phone, which Emma was now calling her back. “Shit.” She grunted, twisting her body with the best of her abilities as Kathryn had her pinned down.

As she was finally able to reach for her phone, she quickly answered, “Hello?” She whispered.

“Are you alright? I heard a loud noise and when you didn’t answer I got worried.”

“Of course, I’m alright.” She smiled, chuckling at the sound of the blonde’s voice on the other end of the line, “It’s so good to hear your voice.”

“It’s good to hear you too. I’ve missed you.”

“I’ve missed you too, soldier.” Regina sighed, laying flat on the floor with Kathryn still on top of her. “I’ve failed you, haven’t I?”

“What? What are you talking about, Gina? You’ve done no such thing.”

“I have.” She sighed, holding back tears that now burned at her eyes, “I haven’t been able to go home. I should have been with you already. It’s been a year, Emma.”

“I know. But that doesn’t mean you’ll never come home.” It absolutely melted her heart how understanding and calm the soldier sounded through all this. Of course, Emma knew she was intoxicated. She could tell right off by the sound of her voice alone, but that didn’t bother her one bit. “Hey, once you tell me that you’re on that plane to fly back to Boston, I shall be at the airport waiting for you.”

That was all Regina needed to hear to smile and have her day become all better, “You promise?”

“I promise. I’ll be the one with flowers and a welcome long red carpet that will lead you to your carriage for the day.”

At Emma’s words, Regina couldn’t help but laugh, which was all Emma needed to hear for the night, “You are such a child sometimes.”

“I’m twenty now. No longer a teen. I think that qualifies me as a rightful adult in your eyes.”

“You’ll always be that teen to me, Ms. Swan. Acting like a fool in love.” Regina chuckled.

“Well, if you’re going to be any kind of fool, that’s the kind to be.”

“I’m so sorry I missed your birthday.” said Regina, her tone sad once again.

“You can make it up to me when you come back home.” Emma paused, “You are, aren’t you?”

Regina made a pause of her own before answering truthfully, “Of course I am, you idiot.”

“Promise?”

Regina nodded, “I promise.”

“Get some rest. I love you.”

“I love you too.” The nurse dropped her phone as the call hung up, her eyes watering as she did miss Emma terribly. And she hated that she had to miss her birthday, but weather she remembered her promise tomorrow morning or not, she promised herself that by Emma’s 21st birthday, she would be back home in Boston celebrating with the woman she loved. No matter what.

Chapter Text

Ingrid held a postcard in her hand, fine cursive writing written on the blank area. Her hand shaking just a little at the familiar name on the postcard, followed by a new address. It was an address to a hotel in Boston. He was close. Only a couple of hours away. But how?

"I'm home."

Ingrid quickly hid the postcard in between today's newspaper at the sound of Emma's voice. She would be angry if she knew or worse. She would look for him. There was no way she could tell her.

She smiled as Emma peeked into the kitchen from the living room area, walking in with her cane in one hand & the other holding onto the strap of her backpack that hung over her shoulder.

"How was your day?" Ingrid asked, trying her best to act as normal as possible before her.

Emma sighed, dropping her backpack on the counter top, "It was fine. I have a lot of homework though."

"You look exhausted, Emma." Ingrid's shoulders slumped at the tired look on Emma's features. "You should try and get some sleep."

Emma sighed again, clearly exhausted, "I can't. I promised Marco I would help him with a new project he started on." She paused, "Are you okay?"

Ingrid smiled, "I'm fine. Why?"

"You just seem a little tense." Said Emma.

Ingrid shook her head, waving off the younger blonde's words as she stood from her seat by the counter, "I'm fine. Let me fix you something to eat at least, before you leave. I hate it when you leave without eating anything. It isn't good for you." She opened the fridge door as Emma looked at the newspaper on the counter.

"Is that today's newspaper?" Asked the soldier, ready to reach for it when Ingrid hurried, grabbing it off the counter before Emma could see it.

"Oh, no! It's an old one. I just forgot to throw it away." She chuckled, immediately tossing it into the trash can. "Why don't you go wash up while I finish up here?"

"How about we just go to Granny's? It seems to me like you need it." Emma offered, smiling warmly at Ingrid.

Ingrid smiled, quickly linking her arm around the younger blonde's and heading out the door, "That sounds even better. You can tell me all about school."
____________________

Kathryn groaned as she plopped on the couch next to the brunette, holding onto an ice pack on her head, while handing Regina two advil for her splitting headache. Courtesy of a hangover.

"Ugh, remind me to never drink again."

Regina chuckled, her head feeling like a banging drum even with that small action, "You're the one who insisted on drinking last night, dear."

Kathryn's eyes were closed as her head rested on the head of the couch. The ice pack now placed right on her forehead, "Yes, well, next time I suggest shots, do me a favor and hit me over the head with a bottle."

Regina grinned, not being able to contain her laughter, as did Kathryn.

Suddenly a knock was heard at the door. A knock that caused both women's heads to drum along with what sounded like pounding at the front door. Both their heads looked up towards the door, even the ice pack on the blonde's head fell on her lap.

"Who the hell could that be at this time in the morning?" Asked Kathryn already annoyed with whoever might be behind their door.

"I'll go look." Regina stood from the couch with a tiny grunt as everything spun as she went for the front door, reaching for the knob. Her eyes bulged out of her head, instantly becoming sober in a matter of seconds. "Mother?" Her lips parted open in surprise.

“It’s good to see you too, dear.” Cora brushed it off, “Never mind, I realize I should have called or told you I was coming to stay with you for a couple of days.” She welcomed herself in, as all Regina could do was follow her every movement. As well as the young girl following her mother’s every movement like a lost puppy. She seemed to be around Regina’s own age, maybe even a year or two younger. Brown hair, well kempt with her own clothes, not a uniform, thank goodness. By the looks of her she must be serving her mother. She always did like to keep servants around, even if her father was against it.

Kathryn shot up from the couch, instantly regretting it as everything, even her headache came back in an instant. Of course, she did her best to try and not show it in front of Regina’s mother. She never knew Cora all that well, she only went by what Regina chose to share with her. And as far as first impressions go, she seemed like a woman who liked everything under her control.

“Kathy.” Cora grinned, only knowing about her daughter’s best friend by her name being mentioned to the brunette a few times. “It’s good to finally put a face to the name.”

“Mrs. Mills.” Kathryn smirked through her hangover. Her eyes moved to Regina who stood behind her mother and the mystery girl beside her, taking notice as Regina mouthed out a word she couldn’t quite put together right now. “How are you?”

“Oh, can’t complain, dear. The flight was exhausting, but then again what flight isn’t?”

“And, you’re… staying here?” Kathryn looked over at Regina, as did her mother.

“Mother, I would love it if you stayed, but we don’t exactly have enough room.” Said Regina.

“Hm, well I can certainly see that, dear. Why must you insist on living halfway across the world in poverty is beyond me.” Regina rolled her eyes as soon as Cora turned to face the girl beside her, “Oh, this is Ms. French. You’ll be seeing a lot of her while I’m here, so anything you need, feel free to ask her.”

“I’m sure we can manage, mother.” Regina replied quickly, never fond of the idea of having people do things for her she could well do herself.

“That is very thoughtful, Mrs. Mills.” Kathryn jumped in before Regina could have a chance to speak, “Why don’t you take my room? Regina and I can share her bedroom.” She reached for her luggage, “Here, I’ll-”

“Oh, no, no, no.” She waved her off, “I appreciate the help, dear but that’s what Ms. French is for.” Cora smiled, handing her luggage to Belle as she quickly took them from her. “Regina, dear, do your mother a favor and show Ms. French where Kathy’s bedroom is, hm?”

Regina didn’t speak, she simply moved her feet as she headed into the hallway, stopping midway as Cora spoke again to the young girl before she disappeared with her daughter.

“Oh, and Ms. French, do remember to place my things where they will easily be at my reach?” Cora nodded her way, “My daughter can show you a good place, I’m sure.”

Kathryn grinned again as she was left alone with Cora, motioning towards the couch, “Please, have a seat. May I get you anything to drink? Eat? Is the temperature to your liking?”

Cora chuckled, “I’m perfectly fine, dear. You don’t need to tend to me. That’s what-”

“Ms. French is for, yes.” Kathryn chuckled, “Forgive me. Habits of a nurse that are hard to break, I’m afraid. You understand.”

“Of course.” Cora nodded, pausing for a brief moment, “On second thought, I think I will accept that glass of water.”

“Of course.” Kathryn rushed towards the kitchen, quickly peeking into the hallway as she noticed Regina standing by her bedroom door now as she no doubtibly was observing Belle. Not that she didn’t try to help her, far from it and Kathryn knew that. As Kathryn quickly rushed back into the living room with a glass of water, “Um, will you excuse me for just a second? Nature calls, you know.” she chuckled, handing her the glass of water.

“Of course.” Cora nodded as Kathryn rushed off into the small hallway, quickly dragging Regina into the bathroom with her as the brunette could do nothing to protest. “Oh, my God.” She whispered as the door closed behind them.

Regina nodded, “I know.”

“You weren’t kidding about your mother…” Kathryn’s blue eyes were wide from surprise, maybe even shock.

“I know.” Regina continuously nodded.

“She is… and that poor girl, what she works for her? What is this, the 18th century?” Kathryn’s arm extended out, gesturing towards the door.

“Kathryn. Breathe.” Regina’s voice was calm, her hands cupping the blonde’s biceps. Inhaling deeply and slowly exhaling, “Better?”

Kathryn nodded, “I’m sorry, I just… wow. Thank God you are nothing like her honey, because I have to be honest with you, I don’t think I could remain friends with you if you were.”

Regina chuckled, “Good to know. Now, focus- listen to me.” Her eyes locked on her friend’s blue ones, as Kathryn nodded.

“I’m listening.”

“You absolutely can not mention Emma near my mother. Nor that we have a relationship. Do you understand me?” Regina continued, even though Kathryn’s nods of understanding, “At all. My mother is her own kind of special, alright? She won’t even be able to process the idea of me being with someone else after Robin. Much less a woman.”

“I got it. I won’t say a word about her. Having her around for a couple of days is going to be…” She sighed, tilting her head as her brain searched for the correct word. “Actually, there’s no word I can think of that describes it.”

Regina chuckled, “Well, I know one thing. My mother is a cure for all hangovers. Now, let’s go back outside or she’ll wonder what’s taking so long.”

Kathryn nodded, “Right behind you.”

As they both made their way back into the living room, they could clearly hear Cora’s voice it sounded cheerier than ever. Surely enough, once they entered the living area, both women took a seat next to her as she was speaking on the phone. Cora held up one finger to Belle, stopping her in her tracks as the girl had come out of the kitchen to fix her a small snack for the evening.

“Yes, oh, I’m sure she will be delighted, dear. See you soon.” She chuckled a rich sounding chuckle, “Good bye.” She smiled at Belle as she took the plate with a few slices of cut up peaches, “Thank you, dear.” Her eyes moved to her daughter who quickly moved to sit beside her, followed by Kathryn.

“My, whoever that was on the phone had you smiling with delight, Mrs. Mills. A secret admirer, dare I ask?” Kathryn winked, teasingly at the older woman as Regina threw a glare her way.

Cora chuckled, “You flatter me, dear, but no. That ship has long sailed.” She delicately stabbed a peach with her fork as she placed it in her mouth, her eyes looking towards her daughter, “That was Robin Locksley.”

Regina’s eyes grew wide, “Robin?”

“Yes, dear.” She wiped the corners of her mouth delicately with a napkin, placing the plate down on the coffee table as calm as ever.

“Mother…” Regina scoffed, her brows furrowed in question, “Why- or rather since when, may I ask have you been communicating with Robin?”

Cora waved off the questionable look on her daughter’s face, “Oh, Regina, don’t act so surprised, dear. Since when is it a bad thing for a mother to keep in contact with her favorite son-in-law?”

Regina glared, rolling her eyes in annoyance at the term son-in-law, “We just dated, mother. Robin and I were never-”

“Yes, yes, you were never married. I know, dear.” She waved off her words again, “You chose to marry the other one. The soldier. What was his name?”

Regina’s jaw tightened. Amazing. She was with Daniel for three straight years and her mother never learned his name. She calmed down as soon as she felt Kathryn’s hand rest on her shoulder, drawing in a deep breath as she replied, “Daniel.”

“Right.” Cora stabbed away at another slice of peach, chewing away as she placed it in her mouth, wiping at the corners of her mouth again before continuing, “Honestly, dear. ‘Till this day, I still don’t have the faintest clue on what you could possibly have been thinking of marrying that man.”

Regina closed her eyes, sighing, deciding to change the subject before she exploded, which was the last thing she wanted, “You have yet to answer my question.”

“Oh, well,” Cora shrugged, “We’ve been talking since you two broke up. Robin and I never lost contact.” She chewed on another peach slice, swallowing it before she continued, “Anyway, I remembered he also lives here and it would be extremely rude of me not to alert him of my presence now, wouldn’t it?”

It was Kathryn now who rolled her eyes as she looked down at the brunette beside her.

“I told him I was staying with you and he was absolutely delighted!” Cora grinned, “In fact, he was so delighted, he invited us to dinner tonight.

“That’s fantastic, mother. I’m sure you and Ms. French will-”

“Oh, dear,” Cora chuckled, “How flattering of you to think that Ms. French would be joining us. No, Regina. The poor girl always has her nose stuck in a book, she has no interest in going out to dinner. By us I meant Robin,” She motioned to Kathryn, “Your friend Kathy here, you and myself.”

“What?” Was all Regina could ask, her mouth literally dropping open.

Cora nodded, “He’ll be picking us up at 6:30 tonight.”

Regina blinked, as did Kathryn, “What?”

“Shit.” Said Kathryn, leaving Cora speechless as she gave her a dirty look for her sudden choice of language.

Regina rubbed at her temples, still trying to phantom how all this was happening without an ounce under her control, “Mother.” She made a sound that was a scoff mixed in with a disbelieved chuckle, “Need I remind you that Robin and I aren’t exactly on speaking terms after our break up? It’s been going on for years and I’d like to keep it that way.”

“Yes, Robin did mention you being cold with him lately.” Cora waved her words off again, “Honestly, Regina. Why must you hold onto grudges, dear? Why can’t you just let bygones be bygones? ‘Water under the bridge’ as some people like to say. It’s been years and poor Robin feels terrible. Besides,” She paused, taking a sip of water as her eyes met her daughter’s again, “He may be nothing to you anymore, but he is still the son of your father’s dear friend Winston. Now, just for tonight. Be a dear and do this for your mother, hm?”

‘Do this for your mother.’ Regina knew those words well. It was a group of words that over the years had turned into Cora’s personal greeting.

The brunette was already dreading this night that was sure to be long. Her phone date with Emma that they would have every night would have to wait for later and she detested that already. Even if Emma, bless her heart would understand as she typically did when unexpected things came up for her, she couldn’t understand them herself. She didn’t want to. She just wanted to relax on her day off and talk to the woman she dearly missed and loved the most in this world.
____________________

It wasn’t wrong to say that dinner that night was uncomfortable for Regina. There she was forced into a dinner, along with poor Kathryn who stood by her side all night. There was no way she would leave her alone in this torment. Thank God she had her best friend here. Frankly, otherwise Regina would be considering jumping out of a window.

“I am so delighted to see you again, Robin.” Cora smiled at the man who sat beside her, “I can’t thank you enough for tonight’s invitation.”

“Well, I for one am delighted to be graced with the pleasure of your company, Cora.” Robin placed his hand on top of Cora’s. “It’s really great seeing you.”

Both Kathryn and Regina threw a glance at each other with a quick eye roll. Talk about kissing ass.

“And Regina as well.” Robin smiled, looking over at the brunette as Regina only sipped on her wine silently. He looked back to Cora, “You can’t imagine how hard it’s been to get your daughter to accept a dinner invitation.”

Cora chuckled, wiping the corners of her mouth with delicacy, “Well, maybe it has something to do with the fact that she will be moving back to Boston soon. My daughter has never been one for having a long distance relationship.” She took a sip of her wine, “Maybe you should consider moving too. I’m sure if you would, Regina would gladly accept many dinner invitations. Isn’t that right, dear?”

Regina looked at her mother with wide eyes, followed by Robin as the man’s eyes were on her like magnets, expecting an answer.

“You know, I’m just about ready for dessert.” Kathryn smiled, jumping in for her friend who could use a savior right about now. She was sure Regina was also wishing Emma could be here to get her out of here. “Gina, dessert?”

Regina smiled, nodding, “That sounds great.”

“I think I’ll pass on dessert.” Said Robin, followed by Cora.

“Yes, that sounds too much for me right now.” Cora’s eyes looked over at Regina who was glancing at her phone from underneath the table as it rested on her lap. She had been doing that almost all night. “Is everything alright, dear?” Her brow raised as Regina finally looked her way, “Are you expecting someone else?”

“Oh, didn’t she tell you, Cora?” Robin stepped in, his eyes moving towards the brunette as he brought his glass of wine near his lips, “Regina is seeing someone.”

A clatter was heard as Kathryn’s fork hit her plate, as she coughed, placing her hand on her chest. She cleared her throat as she took a sip of her wine, “I’m terribly sorry.”

“Is that so?” Cora glanced Regina’s way, not taking any notice in Kathryn’s coughing fit, “Why ever didn’t you say anything, dear?”

Regina shook her head, “Because, mother…” she looked over to Robin, “Robin’s mistaken. I’m actually not seeing anyone.” She threw a hard glare at the man as he raised a single brow.

“Well, that’s not what I remember.” Robin took a sip of his wine.

Regina grinned his way in a sarcastic manner, “Like you don’t remember a lot of things lately. Like coming into our apartment and pushing Kathryn, almost hurting me.”

Robin cleared his throat, his eyes looking over to Cora.

“Regina.” Was all Cora could say.

“It’s alright.” Robin smiled, gaining his composure, “She’s uh, she’s right. I did make that mistake to which I’ve apologized for it. I am very ashamed to even look you in the eye right now Cora, you and Regina, and Kathryn as well.” He paused as his eyes looked over to the brunette again, “I have to admit I wasn’t in a good place at that time and I was a fool. Just as I was to ever agree to our breaking up.”

Regina looked down at her hand as she felt Robin’s heavy hand cup her own. She looked up to find him smiling. It was a smile that anyone else could believe was genuine but not her. She would never believe in his smiles ever again.

“I am a firm believer in second chances and I believe that I can win your heart over again. No matter the amount of time it takes.”
____________________

“Did you hear him?” asked Kathryn, getting the brunette’s bed ready as she hoped in right beside her best friend, speaking in a low tone of voice, mocking Robin’s, ‘I am a firm believer in second chances and I believe that I can win your heart over again. No matter the amount of time it takes.’ She scoffed as Regina chuckled, “Clearly he had to steal that line from someone else. I swear, I thought I had seen a kiss ass before, but your ex clearly tops them all when it comes to impressing your mother.”

Regina chuckled, typing away away on her phone, “Maybe he should marry her.”

Kathryn chuckled, “They certainly would be a match made in heaven. Ugh, I can’t wait until we are back home. You’ll be free from Robin and finally will get to be with Emma.” Her eyes moved towards the brunette’s phone, “Why don’t you call her?”

Regina shook her head, placing her phone beside her nightstand, “It’s late. Besides we said our good night’s already. I’ll call her on our lunch break tomorrow. Thank God, we go back to work.”

Kathryn turned in bed to lay on her side, looking at her best friend, “You haven’t told her that we will be in Boston by next week, have you?”

Regina grinned. Just a few more days and she would be together with Emma for good this time. No more distance between them. “I want to surprise her. I know she dearly wants to drive all the way to the city to pick us from the airport but I’d rather make the drive to that small town of hers.”

Kathryn smiled this time, “Look at you. Regina Mills a full on romantic, surprising the kid.”

Regina turned to look at Kathryn, “She’s not a child, Kathryn.”

Kathryn chuckled, “I’ll say… your moans were all I could hear on the night of your birthday, followed by hers, ‘oh, Emma. Emma! Right there- oh, don’t stop!’

Kathryn laughed, covering her mouth as it was loud once Regina hit her on the face with her pillow. Despite her red cheeks, Regina couldn’t help but laugh along. Their night ended with both friends settling into her bed. Regina was grateful for having a friend like Kathryn. Honestly, she could never have found a better best friend than her. Who in the world would be alright with having their best friend’s mother over for a few days on a surprise visit? Who in the world would give up their own room just so their friend’s mother wouldn’t see every little gift she had received from the woman she loved? There was no one like Kathryn Midas.

As far as her bad luck once went, Regina Mills sure had become lucky. She became lucky in meeting Kathryn back in nursing school, grateful for the blonde sticking around for so many years and going through thick and thin with her. She was lucky the day a young soldier was brought into the hospital where she worked, grateful that after so much persistence by Emma she finally gave into her own feelings without a fear in the world.

And last but certainly not least, she was lucky to get the most wonderful news of all from her director at the hospital. Her service was done and would get to head back home sooner than she hoped for. All she could think about when drifting off into a deep sleep was the look on Emma’s face once she saw her, standing before her in Storybrooke.

Chapter Text

Belle made her way into the taxi, the driver helping her with Cora’s bags as he loaded them into the trunk. Cora turned to look at her daughter one more time, “Well, it certainly was nice seeing you again, dear. I hope you visit me in New York soon.”

“I’ll be sure to visit soon, mother.” Regina nodded.

Cora studied Regina quietly, “Honestly, dear, I hate the thought of you alone in Boston. You should consider giving Robin another chance. You know, he’s really trying-”

“I won’t be alone, mother. Kathryn will be with me. We already have an apartment lined up in Boston.” She cut her off, not to be rude, but Robin was never her favorite topic of conversation with her. She smiled, “I’ll call you as soon as we land in Boston.”

Cora nodded, “Be sure that you do.” She leaned in, giving her daughter a kiss on the cheek. Which was something new to Regina. It took her completely by surprise.

As far back as Regina could remember, she never remembered her mother ever giving her a kiss goodbye. Much less giving her a hug. It certainly was a change in history for her. So much that she couldn’t help but ask.

“Mother… are you alright?”

Cora smiled, brushing off the worry look on Regina’s features, “I’m perfectly fine, dear. Wipe that worried look off your face. I’m not dying.” She chuckled, “I’ll be expecting your call.”

“Have a safe flight, mother.” Regina watched as Cora made her way into the cab, without so much as another glance her way. Spending those few days with her mother did her good, even if the woman was a little difficult to understand her life choices towards her nursing career and her simple ways of living as Cora would call it. She loved getting to see her mother and she has missed her. After all, she’s the only family she has left.

She looked down at her watch, taking notice in the time of day. Heading back inside her apartment to finish packing their things. Kathryn and her still had an entire day ahead of them filled with luggage's and moving boxes before their flight to Boston tomorrow morning.
____________________

“This is the last one!” Kathryn smiled brightly, carrying a moving box in her arms as she handed it off to a family who had bought all their lamps. Taking their money as she thanked them. In the end they had decided that once in their new place in Boston, they would buy everything new. Have a new fresh start.

It was early the next morning and Regina never felt happier. She would miss Germany dearly, and its many beauties it had to offer, but her heart belonged in Boston. With Emma. And she for one couldn’t wait to look upon her favorite pair of green eyes again. She decided to wear what she wore for her and Emma’s first date, along with the blonde’s blue leather jacket. Her beautiful carved out horse the blonde had made her clutched in her hands as she walked out of the apartment building. Smiling at Kathryn as she already had a taxi waiting for them.

“Ready?” Asked Kathryn with a bright smile of her own.

“More than ever.” Regina nodded, allowing Kathryn to board the cab first.

“Regina!”

Regina turned to the sound of a voice that could only be Robin’s as he ran up to her, slightly out of breath. “Robin, what-?”

“Don’t leave.” His voice filled with plea as he looked into the brunette’s brown eyes, “Please. I still love you-”

“Robin-”

“No, let me finish. Please.” He continued by digging through his pants pocket, kneeling down on one knee before her. Both her and Kathryn were in shock as he held out an engagement ring before her. “Marry me.”

Regina looked over at Kathryn who then rolled her eyes, looking back down at Robin again as she remained speechless.

“I was an idiot, and I know that now. I only ask for a second chance. Give me that and I’ll show you that everything will be different from here on out. Just…” He paused, “Don’t go to Boston.”

She could be honest. She could tell him that her answer would be no because she is in love with someone else. But why risk it? Her mother would find out from him and she knew it. Sure he surprised her, because this was the first time Robin ever had proposed to her. Before when they dated, he was never a firm believer in marriage but now, he actually wanted to marry her. Only difference was, the feeling wasn’t mutual.

“Robin,” She paused, trying to find the right words to let him down easy, hoping that this time he would understand. “I’m sorry. But, I can’t.” She stared at the man’s smile which disappeared in a matter of seconds before her very eyes, “I would only be fooling myself if I married you and didn’t go back to Boston. My life is there. I don’t belong here. It would never work between us.”

“You only say that because you haven’t given it a chance, if you just-”

“No, Robin.” Her voice was firm this time but in a still gentle manner, “I’ve run out of chances. I need to follow my own heart now. But I know someday you will find someone who will truly love you like you deserve. I only hope you don’t make the same mistake with her as you did with me.” Her hand caressed his cheek for old time sake, “Deep down you’re a good man. Just not the one for me.” She paused, removing her hand from the man’s scruffy cheek, “Goodbye.”

And with that being said, she was gone. On her way to the airport, away from Germany and Robin for good this time. Without so much as looking back.

She sighed, letting out a breath she had been holding since Robin had arrived. Her closed eyes opening back up as felt Kathryn’s hand in her own in support.

“Are you alright?” Asked Kathryn.

Regina nodded, smiling dearly at her friend of many years, “I’m more than alright. I’m finally happy.”

Kathryn smiled, “Boston here we come.”
____________________

Their flight seemed long. At least to Regina who couldn’t get one ounce of shut eye through the entire flight. Kathryn managed so it wasn’t such a drag to her. Of course, the hours always seem long when you are just as anxious and nervous to get to your next destination in life as the brunette happened to be. She would finally be seeing Emma. She would finally get to hold her and kiss her until both got tired, not that they ever did. It was through that plane ride where Regina’s mind began to wonder: Could she see herself with Emma forever? Could she see both of them with their already planned out, future son by the name of Henry? Could they make this work, even though Emma would be living in a small town and she in the city?

One thing was for sure. She didn’t know what their future would hold, but no matter what they would have to face, she could always see herself by Emma’s side. Happy, learning and growing in love like she hadn’t done with anyone for years.

‘Ladies and gentlemen, we will be landing in the Boston Airport in about ten minutes. We ask that you keep your seat belts fastened until told otherwise. Thank you and we hope you’ve enjoyed your flight this afternoon.’

The captain’s words turned Regina’s stomach into knots. In about ten minutes, her and Emma would no longer be across the world from each other. But rather, only hours apart. Due to her moving and having to settle into a new apartment, the hospital she had been assigned to gave her a few days off before she would have to present herself to her new job. She couldn’t be more thrilled, really. Not only did that mean her new life would begin, but her new life with Emma. They would finally be able to reconstruct a future to look forward to later on in life.

She chuckled to herself, shaking her head at the crazy thought in her head. How on earth did Emma Swan ever capture her heart was beyond her. Many tried and failed, but Emma was able to accomplish an impossible task for many with such ease it made her wonder.

She closed her eyes for the remainder of the flight, a smile spreading across her lips as she dreamed. Dreamed of Emma’s lips with hers, their bodies as one, their hands coming together like two perfectly made puzzle pieces. Those green eyes that would steal her heart away just with one look.
____________________

Both women arrived to their new apartment. Luckily they were able to find it furnished with a few accommodations. It would make due for now. They still planned on buying the rest new, of course.

Kathryn released her luggage's on the floor with a big thump, “Ugh! Home sweet home!” She smiled at the brunette, “God, I’ve missed driving, it’s going to feel so great driving my baby again.”

Regina chuckled, “It’s a car. I’m sure it’s been perfectly fine without you.”

Kathryn’s eyes grew wide, “How can you say that? It has feelings, you know, just like you and me.” She sighed, taking in the beautiful view of the city from their apartment window, “Just look at that magnificent view. Germany had plenty of beautiful views, but in my opinion, you can’t beat Boston’s city lights.”

“I’m afraid Vegas would disagree with you, dear.” said Regina.

Kathryn rolled her eyes, looking over her shoulder at the brunette, “Vegas is mainly about casinos and live shows. It’s just showing off.”

Regina smirked, walking towards the window as she stood next to her best friend, drinking in the view of the city. Kathryn was right, it was magnificent. It was still day time, but even then Boston was a city to admire. It was then she realized just how much she missed being home. And just knowing that somewhere out there by this time, Emma was too.

“What are you doing standing here, Mills?”

Regina turned to look at her friend with a raised brow, realizing that she had been staring at her in silence for God knows how long. “Pardon?”

Kathryn reached for the brunette’s car keys, placing them in her hand, “It’s almost 1. Emma should be coming out of school shortly, correct?”

“Yeah?” Regina’s brows furrowed.

The blonde’s brows shot up in surprise, “You know what school she’s in. Go get the kid and give her that kiss you’ve been dreaming about since we woke up this morning.”

Regina clutched her car keys in her hand, chuckling, “I was planning on driving to Storybrooke later. Besides, we have to clean up here-”

Kathryn pushed Regina across the living room, reaching for her purse as she handed it to her, “I can handle it. You go be with the girl. I am perfectly capable of cleaning on my own.”

“Kathryn, I just can’t-”

“Of course you can. You absolutely can.” Kathryn shoved her out the open door, smiling, “Give Emma my love. Tell her I expect an invite to that town of hers.”

Regina chuckled, shaking her head as she threw herself at the blonde in a big hug, “How did I get so lucky to have a friend like you?”

“Oh, honey. We’ve been through this. I’m a natural lucky charm.” She winked after breaking their hug, “Now, go. You don’t want to be late.”

Regina rushed off towards her black Mercedes, having missed the feeling of turning on her own car and driving off to her own destination. Lucky her and Kathryn had been provided with lunch on the plane. But even if she hadn’t had anything in her stomach, she did not want to waste anymore time without seeing Emma.
_____________________

“So, you all know your assignments. Due first thing Monday. Have a great weekend everyone.”

Emma closed up her books in front of her, placing them inside her backpack as she swung it over her shoulder. She reached for her cane as she stood from her chair, making her way down the steps, past the professor's desk and out of the classroom door. She walked out the front doors and headed into the parking lot, glancing down at her phone in hopes of getting a text or a call from Regina.

Nothing.

She sighed, placing her phone inside her jeans pocket.

“Excuse me, miss.” Emma looked up at the sound of Regina’s familiar voice, her lips parting as Regina leaned over her yellow bug, with a smile so wide it looked like it hurt her cheeks, “I’m looking for the owner of this vehicle. She goes by the name of Emma Swan. You wouldn’t happen to know where I could find her, would you?”

Emma closed her lips, deciding to play along with the brunette’s game, walking slowly towards her car, “Well, gee, I’m not sure. But I’m sure I could help you find her, if you just give me a description of how she looks.”

Regina pursed her lips in wonder, “Hm.” Her eyes looked over the blonde before her in a flirting manner, “She’s about your height. Blonde hair, owns a car just like this one behind me,” she motioned to her beetle as she looked back her way, “Her eyes are the clearest of green, I could get lost in them forever. Her lips are thin, like yours are. She has one of the most beautiful souls you could ever have the pleasure of meeting.”

Emma’s eyes locked onto Regina’s own, their faces only inches apart as the brunette had walked nearer her more, “She sounds like one lucky girl.”

“Oh, she is” Replied Regina.

Emma finally couldn’t help but smile, so big her cheeks grew sore, “How did she ever manage to have someone as beautiful and amazing as you?”

Regina’s own smile mirrored Emma’s, the tips of their noses touching now, “She waited.”

Emma’s smile grew, just when she thought it couldn’t possibly grow any wider. The thud of her cane dropping on the bare concrete sounding, accompanied with an even louder thud from dropping her backpack as her arm had wrapped around the brunette’s waist, while her other hand cupped the back of her head, pulling her into a hard earned kiss that took their very breath away and made their toes curl.

Their lips molding perfectly together, dancing away in the heat of passion, the scenery itself was something out of a cheesy romance film.

Literally, if some director was filming them right now, the camera would be spinning in circles around them with the concept of their entire world spinning around them. As the camera then panned out into a full body view of them both. I guess you could say that’s what their love had become ever since they met. One big, cheesy romance film. Some students even found themselves staring at the spectacle before them. Some couldn’t care less.

Regina’s hands turned into fists as they held on tightly to the blonde’s red leather jacket. Every bit of her pores taking in the soft feel of Emma’s longed for desired touch as the blonde’s hands traveled around her neck and up to cup her cheeks.

Their lips never parting. Emma never wanted them to part again. And she knew they wouldn’t.

Regina was finally home and right where she belonged.
____________________

After their much needed make out session finally came to an end (for now at least), Emma had convinced Regina to drive back to her apartment. But not after giving her her new address.

If Regina knew the blonde well, she was sure Emma had something up her sleeve.

She didn’t mind listening to her though, she was able to help Kathryn with some things around their new apartment while she waited for that knock at the door that was sure to make her smile again. Not that she hadn’t been smiling since she arrived.

“God, you two are so cheesy together, I’m dying.” said Kathryn, wiping her tears of happiness over her friend’s story.

Regina chuckled, “Are you actually crying right now?”

“Uh, like I just watched The Notebook for the first time.” Kathryn shook her head as Regina couldn’t help but laugh, “I swear, that soldier is like something out of a romance movie. I am starting to feel so lonely.”

Shortly after, there was that long awaited for knock at the door.

Regina stood up from the couch where they sat, “That’s Emma. Are you-?”

“Oh honey, go.” Kathryn waved her off, “Leave me. Please, go before you two finish destroying me.”

Regina chuckled, walking her way towards the door as she pulled it open. Smiling back at the blonde’s pearly white smile. “Hi-”

“-Hi.” Emma chuckled as she spoke at the same time as the brunette, holding out a bouquet of freshly picked flowers, “I got these for you. Freshly picked, not bought, I’m afraid.”

“They are beautiful.” Regina took them from her grasp, bringing them up to her nose as the freshly scent overtook her senses.

“Hey there, soldier!” Kathryn waved from afar, peeking out of a corner of their new apartment. “Taking Cinderella out for the night?”

Emma chuckled, “If that’s alright with the fairy godmother.”

“Of course,” Kathryn smiled, as Regina chuckled, “The fair godmother approves of you.”

“Stroke of midnight?” Asked Emma.

Kathryn tapped her chin in thought, shaking her head, “I’ll make an exception. Go wild. I won’t wait up.”

Regina smiled, taking a hold of Emma’s hand as she pulled the door closed, “Thank you fairy godmother.”

“Dance the night away!” Shouted Kathryn, sighing happily at the feeling of being home. She looked up, as if speaking to God, “You and I make a pretty good team.”
____________________

As they were outside the new apartment building, Regina laughed in surprise at the sight of a rolled out carpet, that began from the apartments doorway towards her yellow Volkswagen.

“I told you I would roll out a red carpet for you once you were home, as well as your bouquet of flowers.” Emma smiled.

“Where on earth did you find a red carpet?” Asked Regina.

Emma shrugged, “Friends in high places.” She teased. Offering her her hand, “Now, if you please, milady. Your chariot awaits.”

Regina took her hand, walking right on the red carpet, waiting for Emma to pull the passenger door open, as she did. Right before she took her bouquet of flowers from her and placed them in the back seat. She buckled up while Emma moved around her car, climbing into the driver’s seat as her engine started up to life.

“Ready?” Emma looked over to a smiling brunette, eager to start on the drive ahead of them.

Regina nodded. And with that Emma drove off.

Their drive was long, but beautiful. Regina couldn’t help but admire the blonde soldier during the entire drive for her natural beauty. The way her blonde hair would flap along with the wind, free spirited just as she as they drove with their windows down. That cheeky twinkle in her green eyes as she would look over her for the hundredth time. The way her dimples formed right on her cheeks from smiling ever so much. Her eyes looked down at their joined hands, their thumbs constantly caressing one another. Everything in their body screaming out happiness.

“Look. We’re here.” Emma nodded before her, as Regina looked right ahead as they drove by a green sign.

Welcome to Storybrooke.

Storybrooke. The town that is nowhere on a map. The town the blonde told her so many stories about it made it seem like something out of a fairytale. Regina’s smile only grew at the thought of finally seeing, not only the town where the love of her life was born into, but meeting every single person that was important for her too.

Chapter Text

Regina’s nerves sat right at the pit of her stomach as they entered the soldier’s small town. Her eyes drank in every colorful detail of it. The day agreeing with them as the sun was beaming out on that day, the trees were greener than ever. The sky so blue it hurt her eyes almost to look towards it. It truly was something out of a fairy tale. There wasn’t much population, it shocked her. She never imagined a town this small. And everyone seemed to know who Emma was, as heads turned to the sight of her new companion that they had never laid eyes on before today.

Regina could already sense herself being the topic of the town.

She focused on the buildings around her as Emma pointed them out, telling her endless stories of each and every one. How the old clock tower seemed to have frozen in time ever since she could remember to the spot behind Granny’s diner, where she fell after playing with Ruby and scraped her knee so badly it left a scar that with age became faint. Some of the buildings were old, but stood up right. The houses were big enough for an entire family to live in.

As Emma drove further in, she pointed to the mansion at the very end of the road, “It’s always been empty.” She explained, her dimples never failing due to the smile across her face, “Not even the mayor wants it. I’m not sure why.”

Regina paid close attention to the mansion on 108 Mifflin St. She couldn’t phantom why anyone wouldn’t want to live in it. Just by the sight alone, it had become her favorite among all the homes she had seen in this town.

“So, where does the mayor live?” She asked curiously.

Emma shrugged, chuckling, “That’s a mystery. I don’t even think he or she is interested in living anywhere in this town.”

Regina chuckled, looking out the window towards the town and its people, “I can’t imagine why. It’s peaceful here. Just like you said it was. If I were this town’s mayor I would surely live there.”

Emma’s smile grew, her hand giving the brunette’s a light squeeze. She loved it when Regina would dream as big or even bigger dreams than hers, “Then I am officially appointing you as the new town mayor.”

The brunette let out a chuckle mixed in with laughter, “Emma, I would ruin this town. I wouldn’t know the first thing about running it.”

“I don’t believe that. It’s already more beautiful with you here.” Her green eyes looked over to the brunette’s. Which Regina knew that look well by now. It was that look that could make her heart burst. A look of love but desire mixed into one. By the life of her, she couldn’t yet understand how Emma could make her feel the same with just one simple stare.

As they pulled into what Regina believed was Ingrid’s home, Regina drank in every detail of it. The house looked to be old, but the outside of it was well kempt and cared for the white paint looked brand new. Everything to the deck to rooftop had a very homey feeling.

“Are you alright?” Emma asked, as Regina’s eyes met hers by the sound of her soft voice, “If this is too much-”

“No.” Regina’s brows furrowed, her smile appearing before the blonde, “It’s never too much.”

Emma smiled, kissing the brunette’s knuckles, “Don’t worry. She’s going to love you. She already does.”

Regina chuckled, her cheeks filled with pink, “What makes you so sure?”

“Because I love you. And that’s all that really matters.”

Regina’s stomach was in nervous knots as Emma got out of the car. Her eyes followed the blonde’s quick movements as she pulled open the passenger door for her to exit the vehicle. Which, after a sharp intake of breath, she did. She stepped out as she reached to take Emma’s hand again. As they walked up the porch, the brunette’s knots had turned into butterflies. For Ingrid was already pulling open the door, smiling brightly at them both.

“This must be Regina.” Ingrid’s smile was brighter than before, her arms circling around the brunette in the most welcoming hug she had ever received. She could definitely see where Emma got her hugs from. “Oh, welcome! I’ve heard many stories about you. You’re practically famous around here. Emma hasn’t stopped talked about you since you two met.”

Emma’s cheeks turned pink as Regina looked over at her, she shook her head.

“It’s so nice to finally meet you.” Said Ingrid.

Regina smiled, “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Ms.-”

“Oh, none of that. I’m not old now.” Ingrid teased, “Please, call me Ingrid. I prefer it.”

“She does.” Emma nodded as Regina looked over at her again with a chuckle.

“Well, Emma don’t just have the poor girl standing there. Come in, please!” Ingrid moved away from the door, allowing both women to enter the house Regina had heard so much about. Feeling overwhelmed with disbelief that she was actually in Emma’s home town. It was still sinking in, but becoming more and more real by the minute.
____________________

Ingrid made Regina feel very welcomed in her home. For that she was grateful, just as the older brunette was grateful to see that Emma had found someone to love and who loved her in return. She easily became entertained by many stories from the brunette about how she got into nursing to her friendship with Kathryn. They enjoyed a nice dinner, giving Emma the feel of a real family. Her own. Not that Ingrid never provided her with that feeling- she did. And she was grateful for that.

Night had soon fallen around them, the lights of the lamps Ingrid had in the living room being their only source of light. Emma came down the stairs to find Ingrid and Regina laughing with each other. It made her smile so, seeing the two women she loved dearly in this world getting along so well. Even if their source of entertainment was Ingrid showing off a photo album with Emma’s baby pictures.

“She was a sweet kid. Always getting into trouble, but she always knew what she wanted.” Ingrid looked over at Emma as she could see her from the corner of her eye, “How time flies. Just look at her now.”

Regina smiled at the sight of the blonde alone standing on the last step of the stairs, “She is certainly a sight to see.”

“That she is.” Ingrid smiled proudly.

Emma rolled her eyes playfully, a shade of pink overtaking her cheekbones, “Alright. Let’s not make this about me.”

“Oh, but I haven’t gotten to the best story yet.” Ingrid looked over at a smiling Regina, “The time I caught her trying a cigarette behind the bed and breakfast with Ruby.”

“Really?” Regina raised a brow, looking over at the embarrassed soldier.

Emma’s eyes grew wide, “Yeah, let’s not. Talk about that.”

“How old was she?” Asked Regina, grinning over at Ingrid.

Ingrid chuckled, “Nine. But,” She closed the album that rested on her lap, “That’s a story for another time, I think I’ve embarrassed her enough for today.” She placed the album back in its rightful place, “Make yourself at home. I’m sure Emma will show you where everything is.” She smiled at the brunette, giving her one last hug goodnight.

“Thank you, Ingrid.” Regina returned every bit of her hug, “It was a pleasure meeting you.”

“Likewise. Emma’s description of you didn’t do you justice.” Ingrid looked over at Emma, “Make sure she’s comfortable.”

“I will.” Emma smiled, hugging Ingrid goodnight, as the older blonde gave her a kiss on the temple, “Good night, Ingrid.”

“Good night.”

“She’s amazing.” Regina smiled over at the blonde, walking up to her as their hands joined again once they were alone, “I can see why you love her so much. She certainly loves you.”

Emma smiled again, her eyes green even through the hint of light in the room, “And she loved you. Just like I said she would. You are every bit as amazing as she is.”

Regina chuckled lightly, leaning in, pecking a quick kiss on the blonde’s thin lips.

“Come on, I’ll show you where everything is upstairs and where you’ll be sleeping for the night.” Emma headed up the stairs, not letting go the brunette’s hand for one second, she pointed to the bathroom, “Bathroom’s through here,” She pointed to the door right across from the bathroom, to her right, “My bedroom.” She pointed to the door beside her bedroom, pushing the door open, “And this is where you’ll sleep.”

It was a small room, a little smaller than hers was in her old and new apartment building, but it all had a homey feeling, just like the entire house and the people inside it. Despite Regina once feeling she had it all, and her father making sure she had it all- she was never one to need more than what she could have.

Emma was her biggest treasure of all. Because even if what she could provide for her wasn’t what her mother would call ‘ideal,’ she never saw it that way.

The soldier might not have riches, but she sure had a way of giving her the world.

“It’s nice.” Regina smiled over at Emma, “I’d like to see your room now.”

Emma blushed but walked her towards her room, pushing the door open as she allowed Regina to step inside first. Her brown eyes taking in every detail of it. It was as small as the one she would be staying in, her bed big enough for two, well made. Her laundry basket on a chair in a corner, near her closet. Her red leather jacket hung over her desk chair, as per usual. Her desk lamp on, as her laptop rested in its rightful place next to it, in the middle of the desk.

Emma stood behind her, observing her every movement as she walked over her small bookcase next. Her nails delicately caressing every spine of every read book she owned. It certainly had the feel of an old bedroom, but well kempt by the blonde. She kept a few posters on the wall, about three. One behind her door of the film Saving Private Ryan, the other by her bookshelf, of a video game no doubt. Uncharted 4.

Regina couldn’t help but chuckle, pointing towards said poster, “That’s something new I’ve learned about you. I didn’t take you for much of a video gamer.”

Emma blushed for what seemed like the hundredth time today, shrugging, her hands tucked inside her jean pockets. “I haven’t played in a while, really.” Her eyes remained focused on the brunette as she nodded with a smirk to her. Moving to the other side of her room, taking in the sight of third poster which was at the head of her bed.

What captured her attention more about that one was that it wasn’t about a film, it wasn’t about a video game, but it was an enlargement made of a poem. A poem about a first kiss.

Emma stood behind the brunette, knowing what her eyes were focused on. She read out loud, ‘There was that moment, where you stole all the air from my atmosphere; when my heart pounded with the might of all the planets. That was when I knew, you were worlds more, than just a first kiss.’

That had become Regina’s favorite poem in a matter of seconds. Her favorite being that Emma had read it to her. She turned to face her, discovering that their bodies were closer to one another than she first thought.

“Timothy Joshua.” Emma whispered the author’s name, her eyes focused on the brown orbs before her. Her hand cupping the brunette’s cheek, traveling to her jawline as her thumb caressed the scar above her lip.

Regina’s chest moved up and down slowly, from a soft intake of breath. Her eyes locked into the soldier’s green ones. Her skin focused on the feel of her soft touch she had missed so much. Her voice a whisper as she spoke, “Someday, you are going to be a hell of a writer, soldier. You’ll have him and many others beat.”

Emma smirked at the vision going on inside of the older brunette’s mind, “You sound so sure.”

“I am. Because I’ll be first in line with a first copy of a book filled with pages of your marvelous words.”

“I’m no poet.” Emma whispered.

“You are more than you give yourself credit for, Emma.” Said Regina, “You may surprise yourself someday.”

Emma smiled, taking the brunette’s hand into her own, “Come with me. I want to show you something.”

“Now?” The brunette nurse’s brow raised in wonder.

Emma nodded, “It’s the perfect time.”

Without another word, Regina followed Emma out her bedroom door, going down the stairs as slowly as possible as they headed out the front door next with the soldier grabbing her keys off the wall hook in the process. There was no way Regina would have had second thoughts of coming back to Boston. She was right where she needed to be. Loving every minute of Emma’s kid like, mysterious side. Making her feel as if she were a teenager herself all over again.
____________________

The blonde’s famous yellow bug Regina had heard so much about drove them into the night, through a pathway that was covered by nothing but forest. The blonde shut her engine off, placing her keys inside her jean pockets as she looked over to the brunette with a smirk, “Come on. We have to walk the rest of the way.”

“Walk? In there?” Regina’s brows shot up in surprise. The forest was so dark, it gave her the chills. She could easily get lost in there.

Emma chuckled at the fear that was plastered in the woman’s features, “Don’t worry, I know my way around well. I’ll keep you safe.” She made her way out of her car, the creak of her car door from the passenger’s side being the only noise they heard. Her pale hand reuniting with the frightened brunette’s as she guided her through the woods that already seemed endless to her.

The walk wasn’t that long, but it wasn’t short either. However, Regina was relieved once they reached a pathway, followed by an opening of trees. In the middle, the famous cabin she had heard Emma talk about so much. The sight of it was dark as night surrounded it, but she could see it well. It was wasting away as Emma had once said, with a hole in the roof and some broken windows but even that had a homey feeling to it.

“This is…?”

Emma nodded, her eyes focused on the cabin before them, “That’s it. It’s not much now, it needs a lot of work done on her but someday…” She sighed like the dreamer she was, a smile tugging at the corners of her lips, “Someday, you’ll come back here and it’ll be restored to its former glory.”

Regina smiled at an already clear picture in her head as Emma looked over to her.

“Come on. This is what I really wanted to show you.” Emma walked away, past the side of the cabin, going through an open road of trees that was behind it.

“You never fail to impress me.” Said Regina, holding onto the blonde’s hand as tightly as possible, “You certainly know your way around these woods.”

Emma smiled, “You’ll get to know them too. With time.”

Regina chuckled, “You have too high opinion of me, soldier.”

Emma held onto Regina’s both hands, walking backwards as they came across a small hill of dirt and leaves, “Careful here. It’s a bit steep.” She moved across a soft river or water that was avoided by a fallen tree trunk as it lay right between it. “Follow my footing.” The soldier placed one foot in front of the other as she crossed the trunk backwards, guiding the brunette along the thick trunk with ease. As if it were a dance.

Even though the trunk wasn’t huge to where they had to take a big leap off of it, Emma’s hands instinctively and protectively made their way towards Regina’s hips, carefully helping her off of it.

Once they reached the end of the small river of water, Emma spread open a few tree branches, allowing the brunette to go first. There it was. The river she talked about so much, just like she said. Or rather, more beautiful than she had once described it. The wooden dock covered by a few leaves as the end of it touched the clear, black water. The full moon reflecting right on said water.

And here she thought she could only see a view such as beautiful as this only in films, but she was wrong.

This was better.

“Careful.” Emma pulled the brunette back by her hand as she was about to step onto the old wooden dock to get a closer look at the magnificent and peaceful view before them. “It’s quite worn out, you might fall in.”

Regina stood in place, her eyes drinking in the full moon, the softness look of the water as it moved along with quiet ease. The blue and black lighting of the night’s sky. Everything was like a dream. Even Emma as she stood beside her.

“Beautiful.” Whispered Regina, not taking notice that Emma’s eyes were now focused right on her, a smile on her lips, that cheeky twinkle in her eyes.

“I couldn’t agree more.” Emma whispered.

Regina turned to face the blonde, her cheeks blushing instantly at the look in Emma’s eyes. Her head moving to the feel of her touch again as her hand came up to cup her cheek.

“How many more of your girlfriend’s did you share this spot with, soldier?”

Emma chuckled, a smirk on her lips, “You’re the first.”

“Great answer.” Regina smirked, closing in the very little space they had between them as Emma too leaned in for their lips to touch in a long, desired kiss. Both their arms snaking around each other’s forms as they pulled their bodies closer to one another.

Thank God Emma’s leg had been in sync with her all day and night. The use of her cane never bothered her, but she wanted tonight to be absolutely perfect without it.

And it was. It really was.
____________________

Once they arrived back to Ingrid’s home, Emma’s yellow bug parked in its usual spot. Both women entered the house quietly without making a single sound. Emma stood outside of the guest bedroom’s door as she watched Regina head on inside.

“Good night.” Regina whispered.

“Regina.” Emma called out to her as the brunette held the bedroom door halfway open. She smiled at the thought of what she was about to ask next, “Kids or no kids?”

Regina smiled with a light chuckle, recognizing the blonde soldier’s words from the airport, “Kids.” She nodded.

“How many?” Asked Emma.

“One.” Answered Regina.

“Boy or girl?”

“A boy.”

“What’s his name?” Emma’s eyes locked onto the brunette’s.

“Henry.” Whispered Regina, pausing for a short moment before speaking again, “Henry Daniel Swan-Mills.”

Emma’s heart leaped inside her chest. The beating sounding off her ears like a drum. She had only asked her that question once, but this was the first time Regina had ever told her what their future son’s name would be. A smile spreading across her face as she was more than happy with the way it sounded. She couldn’t of picked a better name herself, in fact.

Regina couldn’t help but smile as well, “Sleep well, soldier.” And with that, the brunette closed the door to what would be her bedroom for the night. Leaving a grinning and happy Emma leaning outside her door.

Emma released a deep and happy sigh, “Good night, Regina.”

She walked towards her bedroom, closing the door in place, feeling happier than ever before. Feeling absolutely complete as she would finally be able to plan a life with the woman who nursed her back to life and stole her heart all in one.

Chapter Text

Regina reported with Kathryn the following morning. Feeling bad that she wasn’t there to help her finish moving in, even after Kathryn kept telling her not to worry about. She was absolutely delighted to hear all about her first full day with Emma.

“So, your future mother-in-law approves, huh?”

Regina sat on the bed as she held her phone to her ear, smiling as she knew perfectly well Kathryn was all grins right now, “She is very sweet.”

“That’s wonderful news. So, what’s on the ‘Remma’ agenda today?”

Regina’s brows furrowed, chuckling, “Excuse me?”

She didn’t have to see the older blonde to know she was rolling her eyes, her sigh alone said it all, “That’s your ship name. When two people you’ve been rooting for are finally together, you combine their names to create one. What planet are you from?”

Regina shook her head, “I was thinking of going back to Boston today. Help you out with-”

“Oh, my God. If you say what I think you’re going to say I will throw you out of the apartment.”

“You need help, Kathryn. I feel bad enough already missing a day of helping you with the new apartment.” Said Regina.

“I already told you, I can handle it. God forbid you spend the weekend with your soldier.”

Regina rolled her eyes. She loved her dearly, but she could be stubborn, “We have all the time in the world, Kathryn.”

“You haven’t seen the kid in almost two years, Gina. Now quit using me as an excuse and spend time with Emma. You can tell me all about it when you come back.”

Regina turned to the faint knock on the door, “I have to go. I’ll call you later.”

“Give Emma my love.”

Emma slowly opened the door, smiling as Regina hung up the call, “Good morning. Ingrid made some breakfast, if you’re hungry.”

“I am actually, thank you.” Regina smiled, standing up from the bed as she placed a quick peck on the blonde’s lips. “How did you sleep?”

“With you in the next room, as well as could be expected.” Emma replied. She always knew the right words to say to make her smile. “What time would you like me to drop you off to the city?”

“Well… actually,” Regina smirked, “There’s been a slight change in plans. It seems Kathryn doesn’t want me there, so she insists on me spending the weekend with you. If that’s alright with you and Ingrid, of course.”

Emma’s smile grew at the sound of the brunette’s words, “It’s more than alright. I know for a fact, Ingrid will love having you around.”

“There’s just one problem.” She paused, “I will have to go back to pack up some clothes. Since I didn’t actually bring any with me.”

“That’s no problem, we can drive over and get some.”

Regina chuckled, “That’s sweet, but the city isn’t exactly around the corner, Emma.”

Emma shrugged, not seeing any inconvenience in driving all the way into the city, “So?”

“Emma, I’m not making you drive almost four hours just to get clothes and almost four back, that’s ridiculous.” Regina shook her head, “I have money, I can buy something here. I’m perfectly capable.”

Emma rolled her eyes playfully, smirking, “Alright. We can go get some clothes for you after breakfast.”

“Thank you.” Regina smiled, placing another quick peck on the blonde’s lips, “Now, let’s go have some breakfast.”
____________________

After buying two sets of clothes, walking around town hand in hand proudly and happier than ever. Emma decided she would take Regina into Granny’s diner for lunch. Her treat.

Heads turned at their new comer as both women entered the diner.

“Emma, hey!” Ruby smiled, signaling over to the reserved booth she had for them by a window.

“Come on.” Emma walked Regina over to the booth, “Ruby, this is my Regina.”

‘My Regina.’ That was a phrase, like many that made the nurse smile. She had never heard Emma refer to her like hers to anyone before.

“You are more beautiful than the picture Emma always carries around in her phone.” Ruby pulled the older brunette in for a hug, “Welcome to Storybrooke. I’m Ruby, Emma’s best friend for all intents and purposes.” She grinned, despite Emma’s flushed appearance. “It’s a pleasure to finally meet you.”

“The pleasure is all mine.” Regina smiled, “Of course, I’ve heard all about you.”

Emma motioned for Regina to sit inside the booth first, which she did, as she looked over at Ruby, “Could you bring us two orders of Granny’s famous burgers, please? She needs to try one.”

“Of course!” Ruby wrote down their order on her pad, “With fries?”

“With fries.” Emma nodded.

“Right away.” Ruby left as soon as she took their orders for drinks. Both asking for a glass of water.

Regina smiled, watching Ruby leave, “She seems really nice.”

“She is.” Replied Emma, taking the brunette’s hand despite some of the town’s folk staring at them in a disapproving manner.

Regina pulled it back quickly, “Emma,” She whispered, “Some of them are staring.”

Emma looked around the diner, not taking any interest in those staring. She smiled as she looked at Regina again, “That’s just because you are so beautiful. It would make anyone jealous.”

Regina chuckled, looking down at their joined hands as Emma took hold of her hand again.

Ruby came back, setting two glasses of water in front of them, “Here you are. Two waters. Granny will be right out with your orders.”

“Thanks, Rubes.”

“Thank you.”

Ruby grinned, “So, did you serve in Germany too or were you always working there?” She asked the brunette.

“I was volunteering, but then decided to stay for work.”

“That must have been exciting, seeing Germany.” Ruby sighed, “I wish I could travel like that. But, I’m stuck here unfortunately.”

“Ruby! Get back to work!” Granny ordered her, walking her way towards their table.

“Alright!” Ruby rolled her eyes, looking down at Regina, “See what I mean.”

“What, you’ve never seen two women hold hands before? Go back to your business!” Granny shouted at some of the regular customers who kept staring. Smiling as she placed each order of burger with fries on the table, “Here you are. You two enjoy. Don’t mind these close minded people.”

“Thanks, Granny.”

“I’ll pack you up some apple pie for dessert. Your favorite, kiddo.” She winked at the blonde as she walked away, providing them with some privacy.

“You were right.” Emma turned to the sound of Regina’s voice, “Everyone here is very welcoming. I can see why everyone loves you.”

“What, my natural charm?” Emma winked, taking a bite of her burger as a red spot of ketchup rested on the corner of her mouth.

Regina chuckled at the childlike sight, wiping the smudge of ketchup with her napkin, “That’s definitely up there.” She took a bite of her burger, feeling as her eyes almost bulged out of her head. “Oh, my God.”

Emma grinned proudly, “I stand corrected, Ms. Mills.” Granny’s burgers were always the best.
____________________

“Emma!” Marco waved across the street, crossing over to her side as he caught up with them, removing his hat as he smiled at the beautiful brunette that was with her.

“That’s August’s dad.” Emma smiled over at the older man, “Marco, this is Regina.”

“Such a pleasure.” Marco took the brunette’s free hand as he placed a gentle kiss on the back of it.

“It’s nice to finally meet you.” Regina smiled warmly at him, “And, I’m terribly sorry for your loss. I know how devastating news like that can be.”

Marco nodded, “Thank you.”

“What’s up?” Asked Emma, staring at Marco.

“Emma, I’m sorry. I know you have company, but I really need your help in finishing up a few more of your rocking chairs.”

“What, now?” Emma’s shoulders slumped, not wanting to waste a day with Regina.

He hated to even have to ask, “I’m sorry, but you are the only help I have. You are much faster than I am. You know I wouldn’t ask, unless it wasn’t an emergency.”

Emma had an almost pleading look, beginning Regina to get her out of having to work at least for that day, but was surprised when the brunette urged her to do so instead.

“You should go. It’s fine.” Regina smiled.

“Gina…” Emma whined.

Regina cupped the blonde’s cheek, “Emma, help him out. He desperately needs you. It will only be for a while.”

“But-”

“I’ll be here when you get back. I remember well where Ingrid’s house is, I can find it.” She smiled, giving her a quick peck on the lips, “Go. It’ll be fine.”

Emma sighed but nodded. How is that Regina had a way of convincing her to do things was beyond her. “Alright. I’ll see you later, then.”

“That’s a promise, soldier.” Regina smiled, watching Emma walking away with Marco. Going on her way with an idea circling her head for tonight to surprise her with. After all, she had to thank her for this wonderful weekend she and Ingrid had been giving her.
____________________

Ingrid was more than happy to help Regina set up a surprise picnic for Emma. With the older blonde’s help, Regina was able to make a perfectly good lasagna that even Ingrid had the pleasure of enjoying along with the brunette’s company. It was done and packed inside a picnic basket.

The brunette didn’t mind being in the house with Ingrid alone. It gave both women some time to talk.

“So you were married once before?” Asked Ingrid, fascinated by the nurse’s life story. Only what she wanted to tell her, of course.

Regina nodded, “Yes. His name was Daniel.”

“And, he was a soldier?”

Regina chuckled at the blonde’s expression, “I can imagine what you must be thinking.”

Ingrid shook her head, “Far from it. I just can’t believe you’ve gone through so much. To lose your father and husband around the same year, that’s…”

“I took it very hard.” She paused, taking a sip of her lemonade as she placed it back on the table.

“And, you never had any children with him? Emma’s never mentioned you having kids. I hope that’s not too personal of a question.”

There was a moment of silence as sadness over took the brunette. “No.” Her voice was soft, filled with sadness as she decided to be honest, “To be honest with you… I was never able to have any children.”

Ingrid’s lips parted in surprise. That was a long kept secret that only Kathryn knew, until now.

“Emma, doesn’t know.” She paused, frustration written all over her features now, chuckling at how happy the soldier looked every time she mentioned having kids. “She has this picture in her head about us having a son. As if she knows we will someday. I haven’t had the heart to tell her the truth, fearing that it will crush her.”

Ingrid took Regina’s hand into her own, much like a mother, a friend should. Something her own mother never did.

“Emma is a dreamer of her own. And she has a very kind heart. It’s also your business if you decide to tell her, but, I can assure you that when you do. Emma will understand.” She smiled, “Besides, if you two ever decide in having a child, there’s always adoption.”

Regina smiled as a single tear ran down her cheek, hugging Ingrid in the process. Her hug well returned to her.

“You’re a good woman, Regina. After the life you’ve lead, you deserve some happiness.”

Both women broke their hug as Emma’s keys were heard right outside the door, smiling warmly at her as the younger blonde walked in.

“Sorry. It was more than what Marco said it would be.” Emma drew in a breath, sniffing the scent of lasagna, “Hey, it smells great in here. What’s for dinner?”

Both older women shared a small laugh. Ingrid stood up as she placed a hand on the brunette’s shoulder, “Have fun.” She walked up to a clueless Emma, kissing her temple, “Good night.”

“Night.” Emma’s brows furrowed, turning back to face the brunette, “Did I miss something?”

Regina smiled, making her way towards the the blonde, “Come, help me.” She moved towards the breakfast table, gathering up the picnic basket as she handed it over to Emma. “I made us a picnic.”

Emma smirked, “A picnic?”

The brunette nodded, “Mhm. It’s your town, soldier, so you decide the perfect spot to enjoy it. I just cooked what’s inside.”

“You cooked?” Emma’s brow raised, impressed.

“I do know how to cook, Ms. Swan.” Regina glared playfully at her, “Now, lead the way, please.”
____________________

The perfect spot. Emma knew just the one. It was a bit of a drive out of Storybrooke, but it was private. Away from prying eyes and with no one to see them for miles. She parked her bug near a hill that from far away looked down at the beautiful town. It’s lights illuminating bright from afar. The picnic blanket had been spread across the hood of the car, empty plates were now stored inside the basket which rested inside the car. The radio had been left on as it played soft music, the windows were rolled down. Both women laid on the hood, looking out into the town and up at the moon and stars.

“That was the best lasagna I’ve ever eaten.” Emma turned to give a quick glance at the brunette lying beside her, “Just don't tell Granny I said that.”

Regina couldn’t help but chuckle, “I make no promises, soldier.”

“Traitor.” Emma replied teasingly, which made the brunette grin as she looked back up at the night’s sky. While Emma closed her eyes, taking in their peaceful moment.

Regina’s grin was soon gone. She thought about how she had revealed her long kept secret to Ingrid and how Emma had a right to know. Sure, it was too soon to talk about kids, but if there was a future for them (and she did want one with Emma), she needed to be honest.

“Emma.”

“Hm?” Emma’s remained closed, her hands resting behind her head.

“I have something I want to tell you.” She turned to look at the blonde, who still had her eyes closed. “Something you have a right to know.”

That’s when Emma’s eyes shot open, her head turning towards the brunette, her gaze in full attention. “What is it?”

“Emma.” She paused, trying to find the right way to say it. “I…” She sighed, “I just don’t want to hurt you. In any way.”

Emma quickly sat up, as did Regina, “What? What’s wrong?”

She needed to say it. Just rip it off as you would rip off a band-aid. The sooner she knew, the better this would be. Ingrid was right. Emma would understand.

“I’m unable to have children.” There. She said it. And the sad look in the blonde’s eyes made her regret it instantly. “I’m sorry. I should have told you. I just- you seem so happy every time you mention it that I couldn’t bare to disappoint you. You’re mad, aren’t you?” She asked, as Emma remained silent.

To her surprise, Emma shook her head as she took her by the hands, “Why would I be mad? Regina, you have no control in what happens with your body. No one does.” She licked her lips as she continued, “Shit happens, but it doesn’t mean there isn’t a solution.” She kissed the brunette’s knuckles as she smiled, feeling a sense of peace at the blonde’s words. “Sure you would look beautiful pregnant, I mean, what woman wouldn’t? But, how we have him won’t matter to me, as long as we do.”

Regina’s smile only grew, “We’ll have one hell of a story to tell him someday.”

Emma smiled, “I love it that you are considering having a kid of our own someday. He’s going to look all like you, I know it.”

Regina chuckled, “What about you? He will need to have something of yours as well.”

Emma thought for a moment. Her hands never moving away from the brunette’s, “My dimples?”

“And your chin.” Regina held onto the blonde’s chin with her thumb and index finger, pulling her closer as their lips were only inches apart. Practically touching.

“Deal.” Emma grinned happily, her lips capturing Regina’s in a soft kiss. A kiss that soon broke as a song began playing, a song that was one of Emma’s favorites, otherwise, she wouldn’t have broken their kiss as she hopped off the hood of her car to turn it up. “Listen.” She smiled, taking in the 80’s beat and melodic lyrics of Yazoo’s Only You.

Regina remained seated on the hood of the car, chuckling and shaking her head at the soldier’s childlike behavior. It was then she wished that if they ever did have a son together, he would be just like her in his childlike ways.

“This is a sign. It’s meant to be our song, I know it.”

“Our song?” Asked the brunette.

“Yes. Yours, mine and Henry’s. Because you know, we’ll have to share things with the kid, otherwise he’ll feel left out.”

Regina laughed at the mental picture of an upset boy with pouty lips and tiny, chubby crossed arms.

“Well, we wouldn’t want that.” Replied Regina, sliding off the hood of the car as Emma took her hand, making her stand on her own two feet as she placed her arms around her own shoulders, placing her hands on her waist as she began to dance with her to the slow rhythm to the remainder of the song.

Chapter Text

Things went smoothly for both Emma and Regina through the months that passed of that year. Of course, not every moment they had was perfect. They had fights like any couple would in a relationship. They had disagreements. But by the end of it, their love grew like none other. Emma would sometimes find herself spending her nights over at Regina and Kathryn’s apartment. It was surprisingly closer to her college she was attending.

She would surprise the brunette at work too, sometimes picking her up and driving her home before heading home herself.

They weren’t a perfect couple, but they were happier than ever.

Sometimes, Regina felt so happy, it would scare her. Still expecting for something to go terribly wrong, something they wouldn’t be able to come back from. But, then Emma would always ease those worries with her love.

And by God, did Regina love the soldier with all her being.

So much so, that she wanted to do something special once the year had reached its end and a new one started. With the blonde’s birthday around the corner, Regina wanted everything to be perfect. Just like their first Valentine’s day together, just like their first New Years, and Christmas and Thanksgiving. She wanted to give her something, a new experience that no one ever thought of giving her.

“An air balloon ride, Kathryn? That’s the best you can come up with?”

“It’s romantic.”

Regina chuckled, “It’s been used way too many times already.”

“Well, sure, but not by you. Unless you’ve secretly been taking women on air balloon rides without telling me.” Kathryn teased.

Regina sighed, plopping on the couch next to her best friend, frustrated as can be.

Kathryn wrapped an arm around the brunette, comforting her, “Relax, will you? I’m sure whatever you decide, Emma will love.” She chuckled, “You could give that girl a crumpled piece of paper and she will love it, just because it came from you.” She shrugged, “Or a horse like your father gifted to you when you turned seventeen.”

Regina’s eyes shot open, “That’s it!” She smiled, “Kathryn, you’re a genius!”

Kathryn chuckled, “Well, obviously, honey, but how is a crumpled piece of paper going to top all the romantic things she’s done for you over the two years you’ve been together?” Her brows furrowed in question.

“Not that I'm talking about the horse.” Replied the brunette.

Kathryn’s brow raised, “You’re serious? You’re actually buying her a horse?”

Regina smirked, “Better.”
____________________

Days passed. Emma was now 21. Today was her day, even if the blonde didn’t ever like making a big fuss about her birthdays, she certainly was looking forward to this one. Especially when after her small celebration at Granny’s diner, she would be leaving Storybrooke with Regina for a birthday weekend.

A knock was heard outside her bedroom door, causing the blonde to turn as she finished packing her bag for the weekend. She smiled at the sight of Ingrid with a cupcake in her hands, with a single candle on top. As was her tradition every year.

“All packed?” She asked.

“Pretty much.” Emma chuckled, “I’ve tried to get her to tell me where we are going, but she absolutely won’t tell me.”

“Well, I can’t say I blame her. If she told you, it wouldn’t be called a surprise.” Ingrid grinned as the younger blonde rolled her eyes. She had been trying to get Regina to tell her for weeks where she would be taking her, without succeeding, of course. “Come on now, blow out your candle.” She held the cupcake before her, “Don’t forget to make a wish first.”

Emma smiled, blowing out the candle right before she made her wish. Taking it from Ingrid’s hands as she took a bite.

“Well, I’ll let you get dressed for tonight. Do you know what time Regina will be arriving?”

Emma shrugged, “I have no clue. She won’t say a word to me about what she’s doing until she gets here today.”

“Smart woman.” Ingrid smirked, leaving the younger blonde’s bedroom to give her some privacy.
____________________

Everyone cheered as Emma walked into the diner, followed by Ingrid. The blonde smiling shyly, her hands tucked inside her pockets. A while back, Regina had caught her looking at a flannel shirt and a vest that had captured her interest. Which she bought for her on the spot, even through her protests. That’s what she decided to wear for today. And she had to admit, she loved the way she looked in them.

“Happy Birthday, Em!” Ruby threw herself in the blonde’s arms, giving her a tight hug.

“Thanks, Rubes.” She smiled.

“Here,” Ruby handed her friend her gift, grinning happily “Go ahead, open it.”

Emma chuckled at the brunette’s excitement as she tore open the paper, revealing a leather brown notebook with a stamp imprinted on the leather interior the shape of a swan, with her initials being part of the wing as it formed the letter E, as its neck, chest and belly area formed the S. Her mouth parting open as she looked up at Ruby in surprise, “Ruby…”

“It’s real leather.”

Emma let out a small laugh, “Yeah, I can see that.” She shook her head, “Ruby, I…”

The brunette’s brows furrowed, “What’s wrong? Don’t you like it?”

“No, of course, I like it. I love it. It’s a very beautiful gift. I just…” Her fingers ran across the bird stamp, “This must have cost you a fortune.”

Ruby smiled, “Well, I have to confess, it’s not just from me. Granny and Kathryn pitched in too.” She pointed at the most carved out lines on the leather, “And look, your initials form part of the swan. Pretty fancy, huh?”

Emma let out a small laugh, nodding, “Very. Thank you.”

“Just promise me your first book will come out of that notebook and that’s thanks enough for me.”

Emma smirked, her hands already itching to write in its clean, crisp sheets, “That’s a promise.”

Leroy came up beside the soldier, placing his arm over her shoulders. The base of a beer bottle hitting the upper part of her chest as her hand automatically grabbed onto the bottle. “Here you go, Swan. My gift to you. Your first beer. Enjoy that.”

“Leroy.” Ingrid threw a glare at the older man.

“Oh, what? She’s 21, give the girl a break, huh? Let her have a beer.” He leaned in towards the blonde as Ingrid went about her business with other guests, his breath already reeking of beer. Not needing an excuse of a birthday party to have his drinks. “After this, we’ll do shots.”

Emma only chuckling, holding onto the cold glass bottle as she took one sip.

“So?” Asked Ruby, who had watched the whole Leroy spectacle.

The blonde paused as the taste of beer lingered inside her mouth, taking over every bit of her taste buds, “Not bad, actually.”

The bells above the door of the diner rang as a new guest had arrived. Heads turned to a smiling brunette, making her way inside with an apologetic smile and a platter of freshly made lasagna, “Sorry I’m late.”

“Here, let me help you with that.” Ingrid quickly took the platter from the brunette’s hands, setting on one of the tables with the rest of the food.

Regina’s eyes instantly met green ones that stood out across the crowded room. Their smiles a pearly white match. Emma questioned how Regina could manage to look more and more beautiful with each passing day.

Ruby’s hand moved underneath the blonde’s chin, pretending to close it for her, “You may want to close your mouth, Em. I think I just saw a fly welcome itself inside.” As Ruby walked away to give both women some privacy, Regina met up with the soldier soon after. Her eyes taking in the familiar choice of clothing she decided on wearing.

“Looking sharp, soldier.” Said Regina.

“Thanks. I have to impress all my girlfriend’s.” Emma smirked as Regina’s brow raised, a smirk of her own appearing on her lips.

“Right. The girlfriend’s. I wouldn’t worry about them, if I were you. I don’t think they’ll show.”

“Oh, no?” Emma’s brow raised, “What makes you so sure?”

The brunette chuckled, closing in on the blonde, “Because I’m the one who owns your heart.”

Emma smiled, “There is that.” She leaned in to capture the brunette’s lips in a quick kiss. She sighed, instantly filled with happiness with the nurse’s presence alone, “So, can I know about this mystery surprise you have in store for me now?”

Regina smirked her evil smirk, which had become Emma’s favorite by now, “Be patient, soldier.” She wiped a smudge of red lipstick off of the corner of her lip, “You will see soon enough.”
____________________

Soon enough couldn’t be soon enough for Emma. They had stick around the diner for a few hours, of course, no matter how eager she was to get out of there and spend her weekend together with Regina.

Once they had taken off towards their destination, Emma was all smiles. Regina was driving this time. That didn’t go without saying.

The brunette constantly looked over at the excited and happy look on the blonde’s face. Which made her smile so. She was becoming just as eager as Emma by the minute as the hours passed them by on their drive.

"Are we there yet?" Emma asked in the passing of a few hours. To her it had already felt like an eternity.

Regina chuckled, nodding forward with a smile tugging at her lips, "We're here."

Emma looked ahead, her mouth dropping open at the sight of an open space, a ranch with a couple of horses running free and others being exercised by people that kept the place in top shape. But that's not what had the blonde amazed, well part of it. What caught her eye in true amazement was the house.

It was a two story, with fine wooden material, the type Marco could never afford. The house looked like it was made as if it was sitting well on a wall of big garden style rocks. And as far as windows went, if Emma had to guess, she counted about fifteen. Maybe there was more. The house grew bigger before the blonde's eyes as Regina pulled in her Mercedes into the driveway.

"We're staying here for the weekend?" Emma's smile grew, remembering this place well from Regina's stories of her spent childhood here.

Regina nodded, looking over at the soldier, "There's more to see."

Emma's brows shot up in surprise, "More?"

Regina smirked as she exited the car, followed by the soldier as they went ahead inside the house.

The inside was just as big as the outside. It was kept clean by the looks of it. No speck of dust seen on the furniture sets of the entryway. The floors were made of a grey colored stone. The walls white with rock style bases all around the bottom.

Emma's eyes landed on a picture of a grey haired man, his arm around a seventeen year old Regina. A black stallion standing by her other side. Her hair was longer. She could tell because she noticed from the style of it, she had it in a braid. She turned as the brunette stood beside her, looking down at the picture that was now in her hand, “Is that your father?”

Regina nodded, taking the picture from Emma’s grasp, “Yes.” She paused as a sad smile formed on her lips, “That picture was taken days before he went back into service. I won first place in a showjumping competition.” Her voice broke, “He was so proud of me then.”

The brunette turned as she felt Emma’s hand rest upon her shoulder, “He still would be. Because I know I am.”

Regina smiled, blinking several times as she fought back the tears that had formed under her eyes. She took the blonde’s hand into her own, as she guided her back outside, “Come, I want to introduce you to someone.”

Emma dropped her bag, following the brunette’s every step as she allowed her to take her wherever she wanted. They went down the steps and around. The land was big, bigger than Emma had imagined. Her eyes took in every bit of the Mills family land- Regina’s favorite place in the entire world- as they neared a man who was working inside the stables.

“Hola, Manuel!” Regina waved at the man, who instantly waved back.

“Buenos dias, senora!” The man smiled even brighter as they neared him. Emma staring at them both as they exchanged a few more words in Spanish that she didn’t understand one bit, but loved finding out about the nurse. She imagined that by the man going back into the stables, after having said hi to her as well, after the brunette had introduced them, that Regina had told him to retrieve something. She wasn’t sure what.

“He’ll be back in a few minutes.” Regina smiled over at a surprised Emma.

“I never knew you spoke Spanish.” Said Emma, a tiny smirk visible on her lips now.

Regina shrugged in a flirtatious manner, “I’m not fluent, dear, but I can understand enough.”

“Well, I didn’t understand any of it, but I sure would love to hear you speak it a little more.”

Regina chuckled as Emma winked, “Behave yourself, Emma.” She whispered as the man who attended to the horses was making his way near them again.

“You started it. I’m just trying to finish it.” The blonde teased, causing the brunette to jump after she pinched one of her butt cheeks.

“Emma!” Regina’s eyes grew wide as did Emma’s smile, “You are such a child sometimes, Swan.” She smiled then, “Are you sure you’re 21 today?”

“Aqui tiene.” The man smiled, holding onto the reins of the same black stallion that Emma had seen in the photograph.

Regina smiled a pearly white smile at her stallion, her hands running smoothly across its fur, “Hello, my beauty, it’s so good to see you again.” She looked over at the man with a kind smile, “Gracias, Manuel.” She looked over at Emma as the man walked away without another word, at least not one Emma could understand. “This is Rocinante. My father gifted him to me.”

“He’s a beauty.” Emma smiled but kept her distance, her eyes focused on the older woman as she interacted with the animal.

“I’ve ridden many horses in my time, but him and I have always had a special kind of bond.” Said Regina, her hand still preoccupied with petting the stallion. After a few more seconds of whispering a few words at the horse, she finally looked over to the soldier, “Are you ready?”

“For what?”

“To ride him, of course.” Regina chuckled at the blonde’s confused expression.

Emma’s eyebrows shot up in surprise, “Ride him?” Her head shook, “No way. No. I’d rather see you ride him.”

Regina’s brow raised, “Am I hallucinating or is Emma Swan, a soldier, afraid of a horse?”

“A big horse.” Her hands tucked inside her pockets, refusing to move from her spot.

This was a sight of Emma’s the brunette couldn’t help but laugh at, “It’s perfectly alright, Emma. I assure you, nothing bad is going to happen.” She smiled, stretching out her hand towards the frightened soldier. “Here, I’ll show you. Give me your hand.”

Emma hesitated, but took the brunette’s hand anyway, allowing her to guide her towards the animal that looked like it could crush her if it wanted to. She was from a small town, therefore she had never seen an actual horse. Except on television and they never looked this big.

“Relax.” Regina instructed her as she could feel her hand go stiff as she brought it up towards the animal’s neck, “Despite what you might think, I promise you, he is a very sweet animal.” She guided the blonde’s hand across the animal’s soft fur with ease, working its way towards its back. Her smile grew as she could feel her starting to relax her hand movement, “See. If you trust him, then he’ll trust you.”

Emma’s eyes looked over at the horse as a loud unexpected sound escaped the stallion. It was as if he was responding. As if he knew, she was still scared shitless.

“I don’t know, Gina. I don’t think he likes me. I’m not much of a fan of anything bigger than me and could crush me.” Said Emma.

“Well, I’m older than you and could crush you. Yet, you’re still dating me, aren’t you?” Regina chuckled at the questionable look on the soldier’s face, “Come on, I’ll help you. Just put your left foot there.” She pointed to the stirrup irons that hung from the edges of the horse’s seat, nodding as Emma did as she was told, “Good. Now push yourself up- gently and swing the other leg around. Grab onto here for support,” She patted gently on the pommel of the seat.

Emma grunted, following orders to a key, “Whoa.” was all she could say as she felt high up. She smiled nervously, looking down at the brunette, who held onto the reins securely.

“Now, that wasn’t so bad, was it?” Asked Regina.

“I guess not.” Emma’s smile grew as did Regina’s.

“Alright, watch yourself. I’m coming up.” Regina climbed with so much more ease than the blonde. Which Emma didn’t mind the sight of, she loved the way the older woman looked on here. Even if she had positioned herself behind her. Nothing was better to her than to feel the brunette’s arms make their way around her as she held onto the reins of the animal. “Ready?”

“Hi-ho Silver, away.” Said Emma, which made Regina smile as she made the horse start moving slowly at first.

After a while of riding away from the ranch, Regina had made the animal pick up its pace. Allowing him to roam freely throughout the land. She would chuckle anytime she could feel the blonde’s body become stiff again, but Emma would soon find herself relaxing again as soon as she could hear Regina’s voice whisper into her ear that everything would be alright. That she was safe.

The way the brunette controlled the stallion with such ease and patience was the most thrilling experience of all. She never imagined seeing an actual horse, much less riding one with the brunette’s help. It was then she could understand why Regina loved riding so much. Even as the sun was beginning to set, to feel the breeze, the warmth the sun still provided on her face was a magical feeling.
____________________

After their ride, once darkness took over the sky, both women walked back into the house hand in hand, .

“This is definitely the best birthday I’ve ever had.”

“I’m glad to hear that. However, I can’t imagine any one of your birthday’s ever lacking any fun. Especially one in particular.” Regina smirked, as Emma’s cheeks turned red.

“Alright, it was one cigarette. Ruby stole them, she didn’t know any better.”

Regina chuckled, remembering every detail of Ingrid’s story on how she had caught Ruby and Emma smoking when they were younger. She finally had heard that story while they were at Granny’s for the blonde’s birthday party earlier.

“Well, dear. Now that you’re finally of age, how about you share a drink with me?”

Emma’s eyes locked into Regina’s, her eyes were mesmerizing, they always had a way of making her forget how to speak and luring her in. Or maybe it was just the tone in her voice that was being so inviting at the moment. Or maybe it was everything, because all she could manage to get out in that moment as she stopped in the middle of the living room was, “I’ll share anything with you.”

Regina had a smirk to her as she indicated for the soldier to sit by the fire that she had also neglected to notice had been burning before they even walked back into the house. There were blankets laid out on the rug that was placed on the hardwood floor. More than enough blankets, in fact.

“I’ll be right back. Make yourself comfortable.” There was that purring in her voice again as Emma’s eyes followed the brunette’s every movement, as she headed into the gigantic kitchen and retrieved whatever else she had planned for this evening. Emma’s eyes looked over at the blankets that were laid out in front of the warm fireplace. As she looked for her comfort spot and sat down in front of the fire, the crackling of the flames sounding more distinctively.

Regina twisted the cork of the wine bottle she had reserved for this special occasion, serving it into two wine glasses as her eyes drank in the sight of Emma as she sat in front of the fireplace. Watching her was one of her favorite things to do. Emma was always lost in her own thoughts, she could always read them from afar, as if they were circling her like thought bubbles for her to see. Still, she wondered… exactly what would be on the blonde soldier’s mind. Especially right now.

As she moved over towards the fireplace, both glasses in hand with served wine. “Penny for your thoughts?” She asked, handing over a glass of wine, finding her place next to Emma as she took the offered glass from her.

“I was just thinking…” Emma’s eyes met with Regina’s as a tiny smile let itself be known, “It’s been two years.” She paused, “Since I opened my eyes and was reborn simply by looking into yours.” Her smile grew, as did Regina’s, “Two years since I told you that I loved you.”

Regina chuckled, “I still say I went a little high on your dose of morphine that day.”

Their glasses clinked with one another as both women enjoyed their first sip together. A sweet and sour after taste hitting the blonde’s taste buds as she savored what she drank in. Her eyes never leaving Regina’s, even as she placed her glass beside her.

“If you could have one thing today, one wish. What would it be?”

Emma thought long and hard about her answer, her heart already knowing it before her mouth could reproduce the words, “Have? I already have you. I already have your love.” She smiled, “Loving you is the greatest gift of all. As for my wish…” She sighed, her gaze never leaving the brunette beside her, “To marry you. And when I ask, because I will. I’ll only wish you’ll say yes. Because frankly, I wouldn’t know how to live without you anymore.”

Regina’s hand came up to cup the blonde’s cheek, her thumb softly caressing her cheekbone, “Nor would I.” She whispered, leaning in to capture the blonde’s thin lips in a passionate and slow kiss.

A kiss that soon became heated as Emma’s hand moved to cup the back of the brunette’s head, while Regina’s tugged on the blonde’s shirt, pulling the blonde to lay on top of her as she lay back on the bed of blankets she had laid out for them. Emma’s hand not moving from her head until her hand hit the blankets. Finding refuge on Regina’s thigh, her short nails scraping away at the material of her jeans. Her action was too much as Regina let out a small groan. Her olive hands working on the buttons of the blonde’s vest as Emma sat up to quickly remove it from her own body, followed by her shirt. Not even bothering to unbutton it, both women just tugged on it in an upward motion until it was off of her body completely.

Her hand finding its place behind the nurse’s head again, as Regina remained seated, her tongue traveling down every curve and structure of the blonde’s abdominal muscles. Leaving wet trails, along with smudges of lipstick as her lips joined in on the exploration of her well sculpted abs.

The shivers that went up Emma’s spine were intensified, her own reaction was to tightened her fist on the brunette’s jet black hair, causing her to gasp as she made her look up at her. Their eyes met for a short moment, smiles meeting together as they melted into a kiss. The blonde’s lips crashing hard onto the ones that from day one, made her fall deeply in love. Her tongue inviting itself into the brunette’s mouth as she caused her to moan this time.

Emma’s hands worked on the buttons of the brunette’s blouse, along with Regina’s in sync. Their lips never breaking apart.

Once her blouse was completely opened, that’s when Emma’s lips parted from her mouth with a sharp withdrawal of breath that made Regina’s toes curl. A moan escaping her as her hand tightened around a fistful of blonde locks, given that her mouth, tongue and teeth were now preoccupied and deeply concentrated on her breasts and hardened peaks. Traveling patiently from one to the other, giving both her undivided attention.

Regina hissed rather loudly, her forehead creased as the next thing she could feel were how easily Emma’s fingers had undone her jeans, giving her easy access to the place she wanted to feel and be at the most. Her hips bucking slowly in and upward and down motion as the blonde’s index finger didn’t waste anymore time in entering her.

“Uhh…” Emma released a moan of her own onto the older woman’s lips, capturing them in a kiss more intense this time, as she could feel Regina enter her as well. Causing her to spread her legs a little more out of instinct.

Both women’s hips began grinding in sync, their hands never giving up on making one another feel as if they could fly to touch heaven. And they would. Every single time they made love, it always came with that amount of intensity and love, it would make both explode with passion. There wasn’t a place on their bodies, their hands, mouths, tongues and teeth wouldn’t get to explore when they would make love.

Regina’s lips, as well as her teeth locked on the blonde’s neck, biting and soothing at all those untouched spots as her movements intensified. Her free hand cupping one of Emma’s breasts as all the soldier could do is surrender to her then and there. Her closing tightly shut.

The more Emma moaned out the older woman’s name, the more intense her movements. Emma’s as well became more and more intense with each moan she let out, that Regina found herself letting go with ease. No words. Just joined hands as they squeezed one another with the same intensity and passion their release came altogether.

Out of breath, their foreheads came together as their bodies slowed down, their hands never breaking that loving contact. As Regina found herself letting her body rest upon the tired soldier, her head resting on her shoulder, as Emma’s lips moved up to place a delicate kiss right on her forehead.

Their eyes met in a locked glance with one another, all that surrounded them now were the many blankets and the delicate sounds of the crackling fire. Emma’s eye color always intensified and grew brighter each time they would look at each other after making love, Regina prayed then and there for those to be the eyes she would have the pleasure of looking into for the rest of her life.

Chapter Text

“Emma Swan!”

Everyone at the ceremony cheered as Emma walked up that stage, officially graduating. Not the entire town had gone, of course, but Regina, Ingrid, Ruby, Marco and even Kathryn had attended to see her walk up and off that stage, ready to embrace whatever her future brought her.

Ingrid had a few tears running down her cheeks, wiping them away as her clapping never ceased. Ruby wouldn’t stop cheering for her best friend, hers being the only voice that was heard chanting her name. Marco fought back a couple of tears of his own, as over the course of the time, he had looked upon Emma as his own. Also, he couldn’t help but miss his son and think about what might have become of him had he lived.

And Regina. She wanted to run up that stage and congratulate her the most. She fought back a couple of tears of her own, but smiled brightly and proud at her as she walked back down from that stage with her degree in hand.

The nurse turned to look at her best friend as she elbowed her playfully, “Look at her. Our baby is growing up so fast.” She teased, her smile growing as Emma finally caught up with them. “Emma! Congratulations!” She pulled the blonde in a tight hug. “You did it, kid!”

Emma smiled, returning every bit of the blonde’s hug, “Thank you for coming.”

“Are you kidding? I wouldn’t miss this for the world.”

Emma smiled brightly as she stood before Regina, leaning in to capture her lips in a few peppered kisses.

“Congratulations, soldier.” Regina smiled, her arms wrapped around the blonde’s body, handing her a bouquet of flowers, “These are from all of us.”

Emma took the bouquet, her eyes meeting her favorite pair of brown ones before her.

“How do you feel?” Asked Regina, noticing a more sense of maturity in the blonde. Not that she never did before, but achieving a goal she knew she always wanted and now graduating from it, made her seem as if she was ready to take on the world. Because that’s who Emma was.

The soldier released a much needed withdraw of breath, her smile never leaving her as she thought about the nurse’s question. How did she feel? She felt exactly that. Like she could take on the world. Like the most fortunate person on the face of the earth. She wasn’t sure what would be next for her, but what she was certain about was that she wanted to do it all with Regina by her side. Forever.

“Like it’s time for another big change.”

“You’re not moving out of Storybrooke, are you?” Ruby exclaimed, already freaking out ahead of time, causing everyone to laugh around her.

"Ruby." Kathryn shook her head, smiling over at the brunette, "Whatever Emma wants to do with her life is entirely her business." She reached out for the younger blonde, placing her usual kiss on her temple and another on her cheek, "I'm so very proud of you."

"Thank you. This wouldn't have been possible without your support and encouragement."

"Emma." Marco chuckled with delight as he held the blonde in a fatherly hug, "Congratulations."

"Thank you. If only August were here." Said the soldier.

Marco's eyes blinked, his lip quivering as he fought back tears, "He is. I know for a fact that he wouldn't miss out on this grand day."

"Well, let's not cry about sad situations, not today." Ingrid smiled, her hand caressing the blonde's back, "This calls for a celebration back home with a couple of Granny's delicious burgers."

"I second that." Emma raised her hand, already salivating over the thought of food.

Ruby was the only one who had something to say, "Come on, you guys. We're already in the city, let's find a place to eat here! Have an adventure for once!"

"Now Ruby, it's late enough as it is. I promised your grandmother I would have you back after the ceremony was over." Ingrid warned her as the younger brunette simply rolled her eyes in response.

"Unfortunately, we won't be able to go back with you to Storybrooke. We have an early shift tomorrow morning." Said Regina, looking over at the blonde with an apologetic look. "But you go on ahead, we can always celebrate some other time."

Emma smiled at the older brunette as Ingrid spoke, "That's a shame! I know how much you love Granny's burgers, Regina."

"I'll be sure to save you one. Don't worry." Emma placed a kiss on the nurse's lips, her smile never leaving her, "Go save lives."

Regina gave her one last kiss, smiling, “Drive carefully on your way back, please. I love you.”

“I love you too.” Emma smiled, hugging Kathryn one last time.

“Don’t worry, Em. I’ll take care of her for you.” Said Kathryn, causing the younger blonde to chuckle.

“I know you will.”

“Bye!” Kathryn waved off, just as everyone else did until they went on their way.

Emma turned to glance over at the brunette nurse one last time, until she looked over at Ruby who had wrapped her arm over her shoulder.

“Come on. We’ll go get drunk off our wits.” She smirked as Emma laughed along.
____________________

Hours later into the night, that’s exactly what Ruby and Emma went off to do. They weren’t falling off their feet drunk, but they had a couple of shots in them as they sat by the bar. The jukebox serenading them with music at a low volume.

“Cheers.” Said Ruby, her glass softly clanking with Emma’s as both women drank down their shots. She continued as she served another round, “I never say this to you, but now that I’ve had a few drinks inside of me, I have the courage to say it.” She paused, looking over at her best friend, “But, I am so proud of you. With everything that you’ve been through… almost on the verge of dying in a hospital across the globe. Meeting Regina on top of that. Your life could be a hell of a story.”

Emma swallowed the liquor down that she had just drank, feeling that raspy burn in her throat “I’m not about to write about my life, Rubes.”

“Why the hell not?” Asked Ruby, placing her shot glass down, “I guarantee you it would sell. A lot of people love biographies.”

The blonde chuckled, “Including you? Weren’t you the one who swore she would never touch a biography because they were just too depressing?”

Ruby rolled her eyes, “Alright, so a girl has a right to change her mind. Besides, who knew my best friend would become a world famous author, huh?” Her elbow nudged the blonde playfully.

“I don’t know about world famous, Rubes” Emma laughed, “Besides, I’m not even an author yet. I’ll need to write for that.”

“Well, then get to writing.”

Emma rolled her eyes, “It’s not that simple. After writing, there’s a process that would have to happen before it actually becomes anything worth reading. Publishers, literary agents, etc.”

“Yeah, so?” Ruby’s brow raised.

Emma’s brows shot up to meet her hairline, “I would have to travel to New York or Boston for that. And right now how things are… with Ingrid.”

“Whoa, what’s going on with Ingrid?” Ruby gave her all her attention on that subject.

Emma shook her head, “I don’t know. She seems worried sometimes, panicked- but every time I ask her what’s wrong, she always tells me she’s fine.” She sighed, “Anyway, until I find out what it is that’s been bothering her, I wouldn’t want to leave Storybrooke. She’s done so much for me, I couldn’t leave her alone, you know?”

Ruby nodded, “Of course, yeah. Ingrid’s been like a mother to you. Literally.”

Emma nodded in agreement, “She is my mother. I would give my life for her in a heartbeat, just like I would give it for you and Regina and anyone else I cared about a great deal.”

Ruby took the shot away from the blonde, who had been babysitting it rather than drinking the next round she had served her, “Alright. I think you’ve had enough of these. You’re beginning to get all mushy on me here.” She continued as Emma laughed, “Regina may love all that mushy stuff, but not me, alright?”

Emma’s smile grew at the brunette’s name. Her eyes lighting up as her mind wandered off, thinking on all the changes her life had had in just the course of two years. How much their relationship had grown over that same time. How she could no longer live without breathing the same air as her.

The brunette snapped her fingers in front of the blonde, waking her up from her many thoughts, “Am I going to have to carry you out of here?”

“I’m fine, Rubes.”

“Ingrid isn’t the only one acting weird, you know. You have too in the course of these past few days. What’s up?” Ruby’s eyes remained focused on the blonde, knowing her well enough to know for sure she had been hiding something.

Emma chuckled, “I can’t hide anything from you, can I?”

Ruby smirked, “Perks of being your best friend. Now, what is it? You can tell me. It’s big, isn’t it?” Her eyes grew wide as Emma’s smirk grew, “It is! It’s huge! What is it? Tell me!”

Emma dug inside her jacket pocket, her hand closed in a tight fist as she brought it up on the bar. Ruby’s eyes grew wide, her mouth dropped open as once her best friend opened up her hand, she could see a shiny ring staring right back at her.

“Whoa! No way!” Ruby’s eyes moved to look up at Emma, her hand coming up to reach for the ring, only to retrieve it back, not daring to touch it. “Is that… what I think it is?” Her eyes fell back on the ring that still rested on the palm of the blonde’s hand as she nodded her answer. “Holy shit. You are in way over your head for this broad, huh?” She chuckled as did Emma.

“Ruby, you can’t tell a soul.” Emma warned her with a single glare, her hand closing in on the ring as she placed it back inside one of her breasts pockets, “The only reason I’m sharing this with you is because you are my bestest friend, and you would kill me if I didn’t tell you.”

“Who do you think I am, Mary Margeret?” Ruby’s brow raised, “I won’t say a word, Em. If I die tomorrow, I’d take it to my grave. You can be sure of that.”

“Good.” Emma took back her drink as she drank it down. Smiling at the still shocked look on Ruby’s face.

“Emma Swan thinking about marriage.” The brunette scoffed with a chuckle, “I never thought I’d live to see the day.” She drank her own shot down, serving them another round, “Well, hell, this really calls for a celebration! When are you thinking about popping the question?”

Emma shrugged, “I haven’t really thought about that yet, actually. I don’t want it to be just a simple moment, you know. I want it to be special, in some place special. In a moment that Regina will remember forever.”

“Well, knowing you and your creative mind, I’d say that won’t be too hard to figure out.” She smirked, clinking her glass along with Emma’s, “Regina would be crazy to say no.”

Emma chuckled, chugging down her next round altogether with Ruby.
____________________

Emma carried that ring in her breast pocket through the course of days passed. Just waiting, hoping for the right moment to ask that question that would change both hers and Regina’s lives forever. She was scared, of course. Not that the brunette would turn her down, but of her actually saying what her brain had been telling her for days. That maybe it was too soon.

No. It couldn’t be too soon.

It just couldn’t be. So, her and Regina haven’t exactly seen things eye to eye lately. Just like she knew when there was something wrong with Ingrid, she knew when there was something wrong with Regina.

She worked a lot, that was one thing. But, lately it was as if the brunette didn’t have much time to stick around. Anytime she wanted to set up a day for them to spend together, or call her, or would want to go into the city, Regina would always tell her she had work, or that her mother was visiting, therefore she couldn’t spend time with her.

Which wasn’t a complete lie. Cora had visited once and from the brunette’s stories alone, Emma knew how intense Regina’s mother could be. So she stayed away. For Regina’s sake.

Well, today, Emma would make the drive into the city and make time for them. Whatever the cost, she would make the drive into the city and see her.

She drove for what seemed like hours on end, her foot stepping on that gas pedal so hard it made her drive over a few speed limits. She had called Regina earlier to alert her that she would be making the drive, she just didn’t say at what time.

Emma wasn’t sure if that was the right thing to do in this moment or not. But, she was already halfway and wasn’t planning on turning the car back around.

Once she arrived into the city, heading her way towards the brunette’s apartment. It was then she decided that maybe she had turned around. Because she honestly couldn’t believe what she saw next. She pulled her car over, far from the brunette’s usual spot to eat breakfast at sometimes. A corner cafe, very much like the one they had eaten breakfast at in Germany. She was there, only she wasn’t alone.

Emma shut her engine off, her eyes focused on Regina and the man that happened to be there with her. His hand was cupping her own and she did nothing to move her hand away. Not a flinch, nor any sort of movement. It was as if she was frozen.

She waited, her eyes focused on the man who scooted in his seat to sit closer to the brunette. It was Dr. Locksley. But why would Regina be having breakfast with him? At some point in their short conversation, she distinctly remembered Regina, telling her that she wasn’t feeling up for visitors because she had caught the flu and didn’t want to pass it on to her.

The soldier had never been one to be the jealous type. Sure she would get jealous. Who in their right mind wouldn’t from time to time? But, right now, it was really getting to her more than any other time. Especially when she had caught Regina in the biggest lie ever. Because she sure as hell didn’t look sick.

Well, okay. Maybe a little. Her complexion at some point did seem to have gone a little pale. But, whatever it was they were conversing about, she needed to find out. She wanted answers. That still didn’t justify her lying to her. She never had before. Regina didn’t even mention Robin being here in Boston, much less that she was seeing him.
____________________

A fist pounded on the door, causing both the brunette and older blonde to jump as they stood on the other side of it. She knew it had to be Emma.

“Kathryn, tell her to go away, please.” Regina whispered, as Kathryn shook her head.

“I will do no such thing!” She shouted, causing the brunette to place a hand over her mouth.

“Please!” Regina whispered, her eyes burning with unshed tears, “I am beginning you. Talk to her. You have to lie for me.”

“No!” This time the blonde’s voice was a whisper as they heard another hard knock at the door, followed by Emma’s voice.

“Regina, I know you’re in there. Open the door.”

“Regina, this is crazy. You can’t possibly keep hiding from her like this, lying, sneaking around. You have to tell her what’s going on.”

Regina shook her head, “Kathryn, I can’t! Look, I will explain everything to you once you make her leave. Just… please. Just this once, do this for me.”

Kathryn sighed, filling up with rage as even she didn’t know what was going on with Regina lately. She had been acting so different towards herself, towards Emma. She couldn’t understand what had changed, but even seeing Robin around lately was new to her. She didn’t understand this one bit, but she finally gave in. In hopes that Regina in fact, would explain once she answered that door.

“Fine. Go into my room and don’t come out.” Kathryn rushed her off as Regina did just that. She released a heavy sigh, composing herself as she pulled open the door, acting as surprised as possible, “Emma. What are you doing here? Regina didn’t say you were coming over.”

“Is she here?” Asked Emma.

“She’s asleep. That damn flu really got her this time.” Kathryn hated herself for lying to the younger blonde. She didn’t want any part in whatever Regina had going on lately.

“I know she isn’t sick, Kathryn.” Emma spat out.

“What are you talking about?”

“It’s Robin.” Emma replied, “Doctor Locksley- he’s been around, hasn’t he?”

“Emma, I swear-” She couldn’t help but notice the green color in the soldier’s eyes grow dark.

“Look, I don’t know what’s going on with her lately. I mean, she’s always way too busy to even see me and the very little time we see each other, it’s always to fight. And now…” Emma sighed, running a hand through her golden locks. Growing increasingly frustrated, “Now, you tell me she’s sick when just an hour ago I saw her having breakfast with that asshole. Now, I know you know something that you aren’t telling me.”

Kathryn’s lips parted in shock. She knew Robin had been around, but that from Regina seeing him, that she had no clue over.

“I swear to you, I have no idea what’s going on with her. But, I intend to find out. You can be sure of that.”

Emma’s jaw tightened. She didn’t want to think that out of nowhere Regina grew tired of her. No, that couldn’t be what’s happening here. She didn’t have a right to doubt her that way.

“Let me talk to her. I will. I will find out exactly what’s going on and have to talk to you.” Kathryn’s hand rested on the blonde’s shoulder, “You can trust me.”

Emma nodded, releasing another sigh as her hands tucked inside her pockets, “Fine. Just… just tell her that whatever the problem is, whatever is going on- we can resolve it. Like we always have. Can you do that? Please? Just tell her I love her.”

Kathryn nodded, pain displaying in her eyes, “I’ll tell her.” She released a sigh of her own, her forehead resting on the door as she closed it shut after Emma had left, looking pretty defeated.

“Is she gone?”

Kathryn turned to her best friend at the sound of her voice, growing angry, “What the hell is going on here, Regina? You aren’t only lying to the woman you love, but now you are lying to me!”

“Kathryn-”

“No, I am not lying for you anymore! You need to talk to her, Regina, whatever the issue is. She’s-”

“I can’t talk to her! I can’t-”

“She knows you are clearly lying, Regina! She saw you with Robin, which frankly I would like to know what’s going on there as well.” Kathryn’s hands rested on her hips, her eyes never moving from the frustrated brunette, “Are you sleeping with Robin behind her back?”

There was silence.

Pools of tears formed under Regina’s eyes, as Kathryn’s only widened in surprise.

“What in the hell is wrong with you?!” Kathryn shouted, “What could you possibly be thinking, sleeping with that… that lunatic!”

“It’s not what you think, Kathryn.”

“Oh? How so?”

Regina’s features grew increasingly frustrated, “I’m not doing this to hurt her. You have to believe me.”

Kathryn chuckled sarcastically then, “Really? So, she’s right to have her suspicions then. You haven’t only been lying to her but you’ve been lying to me about fucking him.” She shook her head.

Regina hated that look in her best friend’s eyes. She hated herself for being weak, she felt weak. Not for sleeping with Robin and giving into his sick desires, but for not being strong enough to be able to fight this. For not being strong enough to tell Emma the truth of what was really going on. And now, she feared that because of that she had to let go of the one person she loved the most in this world.

Kathryn scoffed, moving quickly towards her bedroom as she pulled out her suitcase from her closet, not caring that Regina followed right behind her.

“What are you doing?” Asked Regina.

“I’m leaving.” Kathryn pulled open her drawers as she began throwing her clothes inside her suitcase, without so much as looking at Regina.

“Leaving? You can’t leave, Kathryn, not now.” Regina stood by the doorway in shock.

“I refuse to help you lie to Emma any longer. You want to mess things up with her, fine, that’s your choice. You’re the idiot. But I refuse to hang around and watch you break that girl’s heart.” She tossed a pair of her shirts into the suitcase in anger, “Do you even realize what the fuck you are doing? Do you even plan on telling her the truth, Regina? How could you let someone like Emma go- how could you do that?”

“I had no choice, Kathryn.” Regina’s tone was cold, tears rolling down her eyes this time.

“Oh, spare me! You have a choice! Just like you could have told me what you were doing, or at least have the decency to tell me why you are doing this to her.” She stood before the brunette with her arms on her hips again, “What the hell happened that you felt you needed to do this to her?”

“Can you stop defending her so much and think of me for once? I am your best friend!” Regina shouted this time. The vein in her forehead ready to pop.

“Best friend?! I am clearly not your best friend anymore, Regina Mills. If I was your best friend, you would have told me what you have been doing to Emma instead of going around behind my back.” The blonde shook her head, slamming her suitcase shut, “Maybe you and Robin deserve each other. But, I’m not sticking around to watch you throw away a good thing. Not anymore.”

Regina closed her eyes as tears fell down her cheeks as Kathryn’s shoulder lightly brushed hers as she moved past the door.

If she didn’t confide in her the truth behind this big change, she would go crazy.

“Robin has someone ready to hurt Emma if I so much as see her again.”

Kathryn stopped just outside the hallway, her back still to Regina as she continued to explain. Her voice breaking this time.

“Not only her, but her family. Ingrid, Ruby, everyone she cares about.” Regina swallowed the lump in her throat as more tears made themselves known, “That’s why when Robin showed up, I suddenly started seeing him. Hating myself for having to lie to the woman I love.” She sobbed her words out, “I’m lying to her to save her, Kathryn. I couldn’t bear it if something happened to her because of me.”

Kathryn was back inside the bedroom, looking into the woman’s eyes as they couldn’t stop themselves from crying.

“If anything were to happen to Emma, or Ingrid or anyone else because of me, I would die too.” She paused, “I will tell you everything, how it started, how it happened, when but you have to please, listen to me. Because now more than ever, I really need you.”

And she did. She sat right beside the broken brunette, defeated just as she was feeling at that moment, ready to listen to her entire story as Regina told her that on the night of Emma’s graduation, Robin had surprised her at the hospital.

She had confronted him, of course, but he told her he was able to find her thanks to her mother for providing him with her new address. He had a friend who helped him locate her well enough that he had received vivid details of everything that happened in her life before showing up in Boston. So much so that he had found out about her relationship with Emma. That’s when he started having the blonde followed, focusing more on her than the brunette. And earlier on, that sight Emma had seen while she was parked with her yellow bug across the road from that breakfast cafe? That was him coming clean to her about everything.
_____________________

HOURS EARLIER…

Robin’s hand cupped the brunette’s as she remained frozen before him. She couldn’t move, nor breathe. She was in complete and utter shock as Robin calmly continued his explanation as to how things would be for her from now on. For them.

“You have to believe me, Regina, when I say that I didn’t want things to end up this way. But, you insisted in denying me a chance with you, therefore you left me no choice. And, what’s worse, you couldn’t even be honest with me about seeing… Emma Swan. That’s her name, isn’t it?” He asked calmly, taking a sip of his coffee.

All Regina could do in that moment was focus on each of his movements as he dipped that coffee cup towards his lips and placed it back down. Too afraid to even look anywhere else.

“Served in the military, honorable discharge over a shattered leg that you heroically repaired. Now she lives back in her hometown. Storybrooke. Right?” His stare remained cold even as Regina’s color drained from her entire body at how much information he had on Emma, “It was her that night in your apartment, wasn’t it? At first, it was all very fuzzy, I thought it was Kathryn all this time but it was her. Emma.” He chuckled at the memory, which he so well remembered, “The way she jumped in front of that glass ornament to save you. That’s when I knew.”

“Why?” Regina’s voice was a broken whisper, her eyes holding back unshed tears, “Why lie if you remembered every detail of that night?”

“Because you lied to me. Because you couldn’t tell me the truth about who you were seeing.” He sipped at his coffee as the brunette’s remained untouched.

She chuckled, “Would it had made a difference?”

Robin shook his head, “No. Because this is where everything becomes real simple for you.”

“Simple? You call this simple?” She scoffed, “You have been lying, lurking around for God knows how long, paying someone to secretly watch over Emma and I all to get me to sleep with you.” Her voice raised an octave, “Well you got what you wanted. You made me feel like I had no way out, and betray the woman I love. What more could you possibly want, Robin?”

Robin sighed, placing the coffee cup back down on its plate. He scooted his chair next to the brunette who wanted to try everything in her power to move away, but his grip was much stronger. His breath tickling her cheek as he sat more near her, his voice a whisper. “I need you to break your soldier’s heart.”

Regina’s eyes met with his cold blue ones, remaining in silence. Her brain wondering when in the hell did everything get so out of control? Why now? Why at all? Why to her? Why to Emma?

Robin’s other hand moved up the woman’s thigh, “She was able to have you for two long years, years that I spent dreaming of the day I’d see you again. Now, it’s my turn to have you.” He paused, his hand coming up towards the brunette’s face, holding onto it with a strong grip as she tried moving away. Forcing her to look into his eyes so she would know he was in no way kidding, “Now, my friend has taps on Emma Swan at all times. He’s a cop, Regina so it would do you no good to go to the police or anyone with this allegation. I will allow you to see her one last time, say your goodbye’s, but you have to break her heart. She has to believe that you no longer love her, that it was all… a game.”

“You’re wasting your time.” Regina’s voice broke, her eyes dark with hatred towards the man, “She won’t ever believe that. She’s too smart to believe any of that.”

“Then, you make her believe it.” Robin’s voice was cold, it sent chills down her spine. She had never seen this side to him before. She knew the man had his temper, but never like this. “I remember at some point in your life you wanted to be an actress instead of a nurse. Do you remember that?” His smile was just as sarcastic as his words, “Now is your time to shine. You will make Emma believe that you no longer love her and you and I can start living our life the way God always intended.”

Regina’s tears fell with ease, just as her heart broke, “What if I can’t?”

Robin sighed, shifting in his seat as he pulled Regina closer to him, “Then you really will be saying goodbye to her for good. Your a nurse, you save lives every single day. It’s time for you to save her again, Regina. Hurt her to save her. Why, just think of all the lives you would destroy if anything bad happened to your beloved soldier. You wouldn’t want that, would you?”

“Why are you doing this, Robin?” Regina had to ask, her voice breaking once again as it had been since they met up at that cafe.

“Because it’s the only way you will see reason and come back to me. Because sleeping with you isn’t simply enough. I want what you have with Emma. I want a life, marriage… kids.”

Her heart stopped at his words. Her words were lost on their way out as her lips parted open.

She blinked, swallowing the lump in her throat that had formed again, “If I…” She drew in a breath, trying to compose herself as some people were staring. She needed to be in control of her emotions right now. If she so much as slipped up, Emma would die. She believed Robin would make sure of that. “If I do this. If I… break her heart to live with you. Will you give me your word she will live? Her and her family.”

Robin nodded, “They will be safe. You have my word.”
____________________

Kathryn held onto Regina so tight, it caused the brunette to break after coming clean of the nightmare she had just gone through. Like a nightmare she was hoping to wake up at any moment, look over and find Emma sleeping beside her. But this wasn’t the case. This was real. Robin was in Boston and was determined to have her to himself at all costs.

Kathryn was fuming, that went without saying. She had seen Regina heart broken in her time, but never like this. What was worse was that she would have to break Emma’s heart sooner rather than later. While Regina wasn’t even quite sure how she would be able to do that without breaking apart herself.

She just knew that if she didn’t do it. Emma would cease to exist.

So, as Kathryn held her throughout that entire day until she passed out from exhaustion. She reminded herself that would need to be cold. As cold as possible, more than she knew how to be.

As much as it angered her because together- her and Emma could withstand anything. Any storm headed their way, any fire ready to burn, any stream ready to take them away. They could beat it all. But not this. This time, there was no beating it.

She saved her once from a shattered leg. Now it was time for her to save her again.

She needed to lie convincingly when she would see her again, for the last time.

She would need to break her heart.

To save her.

Chapter Text

Kathryn raced down the hallway of the hospital, fuming in anger as she spotted Robin, all smiling and conversing with a fellow nurse as if he had not done anything wrong. Heads turned at the fast speed of the angry blonde as she made her way up to the man- if you could even call him that.

“Robin!” She shouted, not caring one bit that all eyes were on her at this point. As soon as he turned to give her all his attention, what Robin saw coming next was the blonde’s right fist.

Everyone gasped, as Kathryn shook her hand as it was throbbing with pain after meeting the man’s nose.

“What the hell?!” He shouted, holding his nose as it bled, spots of blood decorating his lab coat.

“Regina may not want to try anything against you because you have her right where you want her, but I will.” Kathryn pointed a finger at him, throwing a deadly glare his way, “Do you have any idea how bad you will make her look in Emma’s eyes? And all for what? Because she no longer wanted to be with you?!”

Robin held out his hand, stopping the security that raced towards them, “It’s alright.” His eyes met Kathryn’s, “Kathryn, please. Let’s talk in my office.”

“I think I’ve said all I need to say to you.” Kathryn spoke to gritted teeth. Her eyes turning a darker blue as she looked into his, “Don’t forget that I know you, Robin. So you got what you wanted, big deal but you will never earn an ounce of Regina’s love. She will always love Emma, no matter how many times you force yourself on her.”

Robin closed the distance between them, his eyes just as dark as he looked into hers, “And what are you going to do about it?” He muttered under his breath, only for her to hear, “Have me arrested? You are about to get yourself fired, not to mention arrested just for hitting me in a hospital. So go ahead. Try anything else, and Regina will suffer those consequences. Followed by that soldier. So I forced myself on her, but,” he glanced down at his watch, “By now, she should be making Emma believe that she willingly slept with me and that we are madly in love.”

Kathryn’s lip curled up in anger at the man’s smirk.

She turned around, getting ready to leave when suddenly turned right back around, delivering another punch directly to Robin’s face. If she was going to get arrested, she may as well leave with the satisfaction of having delivered another blow.
____________________

Regina decided to get things over with the following morning. She took that day off of work, given that after what she was about to do, she wasn’t going to be able to concentrate on anyone else. She had practically drag herself out of bed that morning, force herself to call Emma up and ask her to meet her somewhere in between Storybrooke and the city. Where there would be nothing but road and no one around to interrupt them. To hear Emma’s voice pained her that morning. She couldn’t even eat. She hated herself too much for allowing herself to be forced into a situation she had absolutely no control over. Not when lives were at stake, as well as the life of the woman she loved.

She couldn’t live with herself knowing that something could happen to her if she didn’t end it.

Sure, she could go to the police anyway, but who’s to say Emma would be safe? Or Ingrid, or Ruby or anyone else the blonde soldier cared about?

Robin planned everything to perfection. Through the course of time, he had forced Regina- threatening her with hurting Emma- if she didn’t sleep with him. He knew that this would make her hate Regina forever once she came clean about sleeping with him. Even if she didn’t do it willingly, with any ounce of desire, she knew… Emma would forever hate her.

She sat in her Mercedes, her eyes red as she had finished crying for the hundredth time today.

Her heart stopped as Emma’s unmistakable yellow bug approached, pulling over to the side of the road as her Mercedes was. She could see the blonde’s figure as she moved around in her car before opening her driver’s side door and began making her way out.

Regina drew in a breath. Her heart breaking as she couldn’t possibly do this. But she had to. Because she was sure that whoever Robin had watching over her, he was out there watching right now. Ready to report anything back to him if things didn’t go the way Robin had planned them.

“Regina? What’s been going on with you? You sounded as if you had been crying over the phone.” Emma approached her as the brunette exited her car, her hands caressing the older woman’s shoulders, “Is everything alright?”

Regina shook her head, not daring to look her in the eyes as she spoke, “No. Nothing is alright anymore, Emma. Nothing.”

Emma’s brows furrowed in confusion, “What’s going on?” her features turned serious this time, “It’s Robin, isn’t it?”

Brown eyes finally looked up into her green ones, “How do you know about Robin?” She wanted to break down and cry as she noticed how the blonde’s eyes changed before her, how her jaw tightened.

“So, it’s true?” Asked Emma, her lips parting in surprise. Given Regina’s silence, she spoke again, “I saw you two the other day. I wanted to surprise you but I was the one who was surprised instead after seeing you with him.” She chuckled, “I felt so jealous, but I know that if you were with him, you must have your reason, right? He probably just showed up here out of the blue and-”

“No, Emma.” She had to lie, she just had to. Fact of the matter was, Robin did show up, forcing her into a situation that she had no way out of. Even if she were honest and told Emma the truth- that she could get hurt if she didn’t do as he asked- she would get hurt. So, her next move was to do exactly that. Lie. Hurt her with everything she had in her. Become cold. “Robin and I…” She paused at the look on the blonde’s face, pushing herself mentally to lie again. Her coldness on point, “We’ve been seeing each other, off and on.”

Emma’s eyes grew dark, as she swallowed the lump in her throat that had formed, “What?”

Regina fought back tears, knowing well that she couldn’t back out now. She wanted so badly to give her some kind of signal, mouth out a word maybe, anything that could throw her a hint that everything she was about to say about her and Robin wasn’t true. Except for sleeping with him. She knew Emma would not understand that. Not now.

“He showed up and we began to talk again. That’s the real reason as to why I’ve been so busy lately and haven’t really made time to see you. It’s because…” She breathed in, forcing her next words out, “Because this was all a game to me, Emma. That’s all.”

Emma’s jaw tightened more as her eyes were now red with hurt. A game? How could that be? No. This couldn’t be right. Regina wouldn’t hurt her this way. Not her. She would expect this from anyone but her.

“It was a stupid game that I frankly grew tired of. I should have told you sooner to spare you all this pain and I’m sorry I didn’t. But, this…” She blinked her eyes, swallowing the lump in her throat, “Whatever you think we had needs to end.”

Emma blinked, tears falling from her eyes. Tears that at every drop killed Regina’s heart. She shook her head, clearly seeing through her, “No.”

“Emma-”

“No!” She shouted, “No, you can’t- you can’t just end this- you can’t do that. This isn’t you, Regina.” Her voice broke. This had to be some kind of nightmare. That’s all this was. “Y- You love me. You love me and I love you, we love each other and…” She sighed, her tears making their way down again, “We fought like hell to be together. You can’t just end this.”

As much as her eyes stung with tears, Regina remained cold. She had to, “I’m sorry.” She paused, focused on the now broken soldier before her, “But I don’t want this anymore. You have to…” She paused again, her words cutting through her like razor blades, “You have to forget about me. Move on, find someone who does love you.”

“No, no, you love me!” Emma shouted, her voice once again breaking, “You! You don’t really mean this. Robin has you… he’s done something, hasn’t he?” She walked up to the brunette, grabbing a hold of her shoulders again, as her hands traveled up to her cheeks, forcing her to look into her eyes.

“Robin didn’t do anything, Emma. It was all me.”

“You’re lying.” Emma’s red eyes looked right into hers, “You’re lying, you can’t even look me in the eye. Regina, please. Tell me. Whatever he said- whatever he did- we can work it out. We can solve this, together like we have everything else that comes between us.”

“Emma.” Regina’s voice grew colder, as much as her heart was screaming at her to tell her the truth. She looked right into the blonde’s eyes as she said her next words to her. “You’re such a child. You were always such a dreamer, when you shouldn’t be. Because you never know when someone is just going to break your heart.”

That’s when Emma saw it. The coldness she had once dreamed out seeing in her eyes, it was all there in that very moment. All she needed was the dagger to plunge into her heart. Her words already doing that all on their own.

“So the easiest thing to do is to lie and let someone come between us?” Emma asked, her tears not giving up on her.

“This isn’t a lie, Ms. Swan.” Ms. Swan, her name, not even her first had ever sounded so serious coming out of the brunette’s mouth. So cold, without an ounce of feeling in them. “I’m only sorry I let it go on for so long. But, it’s over now. I’m going back to Boston, I’ll be going to live with Robin where he can offer me stability. A life like I’ve always wanted. A life I deserve.”

Emma’s tears were on point. She reached for the brunette’s arm as she was ready to turn around and leave, “No, Regina!” She continued even after the brunette yanked her arm away, “This isn’t you talking. It can’t be! You’re obviously not thinking clearly. What about everything we talked about? What about our life together? Our stability? All our plans- Henry! What about our family?”

Regina shook her head, fighting back her tears at the mention of the name of the baby they wanted to have together, “Emma!” She shouted this time, “I don’t want it. Can’t you understand that? I don’t want any of it! Not with you.” She swallowed the lump in her throat again, “I need to think of something better for me now. And that’s with Robin. Now, I have to go. Please don’t follow me, don’t look for me again. Just… please. I don’t want to hurt you more than I already have.”

Only Emma wasn’t giving up. Her next instinct was to reach for the brunette, determined to make her stay. Determined, as she kissed her long and hard, keeping her- forcing her lips to land right on hers as she cupped the back of her head with a single hand.

The way she always would. The way Regina loved it.

It would make her melt without fail. Her body would give in on automatic just like it wanted to give in now. Only, now with eyes prying on them, that wouldn’t be a good idea.

Emma parted away as her kiss went unresponsive. Her lips parted in surprise as that same cold stare from her nightmare was once again there. Looking back at her. Her tears rolling down her cheeks as she never imagined hurting this way. Especially not by the woman she loved.

Regina grew cold again, even if on the inside she had melted with that kiss, “Satisfied? Now do you believe that I no longer love you?”

Emma’s heart parted in two at the sound of those words. She shook her head, not wanting to believe it still, “It’s bullshit. It’s all bullshit, you don’t mean that.”

“Emma, you don’t know me at all. You’re just a child who got her hopes up-”

Emma sighed, feeling utterly frustrated, “Stop treating me as if I were a fucking kid!” Her tears streamed down more, her voice began breaking, “I may not have a ton of money, like that asshole, Regina but I have something that he will never be able to give you. Love.”

Regina chuckled, playing the part well, “Listen to you. You want me to stop treating you like a child? Then stop acting like one. It’s time for you to grow up, Emma and realize when someone doesn’t love you. You have to let them go.”

“You want fucking stability? I’ve been thinking about all the stability in the world.” She dug inside her breast pocket, showing off the engagement ring she had been carrying around, which caused Regina to break a little.

She was surprised of course, but even if Emma held a ring before her now, she couldn’t give in. She couldn’t put her life in danger. Even if she wanted nothing more but to marry her and say yes in that very moment.

“Emma…” Regina’s lip quivered, her eyes never leaving the ring that was held out before her.

“Look. See?” Emma’s voice shook, her eyes becoming more and more irritated with tears, “This is the change I mentioned when I graduated. I…” She chuckled, “I haven’t even shared the news with anyone yet, except for Ruby. But, I want this, Regina. I want you. I want us. Together.” She shook her head, “Whatever happened, whatever- whatever this is, I don’t care. I don’t care because I want us to have the life we always envisioned.”

“Emma, please…” Regina sighed, a few tears running down her eyes now, “Just go. You have to go and forget all about me. Forget that we ever met. Please. Just stay far away from me.”

A light clanking sound was heard as Emma dropped the ring, letting it fall onto the hard pavement beneath her feet. “Forget all about you?” She scoffed, running a hand through her hair in frustration, “What changed, Regina? Could you at least answer that question?” Her lip quivered now out of anger and pain, “What fucking changed? What did I do wrong?”

“It was nothing that you did. I just don’t…” Regina closed her eyes, tears falling, “I can’t be with you anymore. I’m not a good person. I never was. You would be better off without me.”

“Better off without you?” Emma chuckled, shaking her head, “No. No, I can’t believe that. I won’t. We’ve been through too much-”

“Emma!” Regina shouted, not knowing any other way to get through to the blonde, “I don’t love you anymore, so please just leave! I am in love with Robin, I realize now that I’ve always been in love with him. And I’m going to have a life with him. Can you understand that?”

Emma’s jaw tightened, her eyes turning a dark green color, unlike Regina had never seen them before.

That’s when she knew- she had succeeded.

Robin had won.

Emma was finally broken.

“Can I understand that?” The soldier muttered under her breath, walking away a few paces as she ran a hand through her hair. She turned back around immediately to look back at the brunette before her, “No. No, I can’t understand this change. Because you weren’t like this, but if that’s the way you want things to be then so be it.” She sighed, “To think how you must have laughed at me, you and Kathryn.” She shook her head, “To think that Ruby and Graham were right when they tried to warn me about you. But I chose not to listen. Because I loved you. For my misfortune I still do. And I always will.”

Regina could hear the coldness in the blonde’s words now, and that hurt her more than she ever thought possible. It made her hate Robin even more, hate herself even more for giving into his blackmail of hurting Emma if she didn’t do as he asked.

There was no coming back from this.

“You know, when I was in the war. Out in Afghanistan… I thought I had gone through everything that could possibly hurt me. Losing August, lying out there in the sand as thousands of bullets and bombs went off around me,” her tears made their way down again, this time her eyes looking away from the brunette’s, “I never imagined anything hurting more. Now I realize…” her eyes looked into brown ones, in a different way. A hurting way, an angry way, “You should have let me died that day in the hospital. Because right now I’m thinking that death would be better than this.”

“Emma…” Regina called out in a whisper as the blonde gave her back to her. Her lip quivering, her eyes burning with unshed tears. She wanted to tell her everything, the truth, but she couldn’t. All she could say was, “I’m very sorry.”

Emma didn’t speak anymore. She didn’t turn to give the brunette one last glance. She didn’t give her any sign of hope. Why should she? She was angry and had every right to be. Regina had just made her believe that she didn't love her. That she never loved her. She knew, as Emma mounted her car- that yellow metal bug on wheels that she would dearly miss seeing as she looked out her apartment window- that she would possibly never see her again.

Regina’s tears finally let themselves be known as the yellow beetle became more and more smaller with distance.

She looked down upon by her feet, finding the ring that Emma was thinking about proposing with. As she bent down to pick it up, she clenched it tightly in her fist, finally letting out a much needed sob.

Emma was gone and with her so was her life with her.

Now, would begin a different kind of life.

One without Emma. One with no son named Henry. At last that was something she could be happy about not being able to give Robin.
____________________

Emma’s eyes were filled with tears as she drove on home. Regina’s words and cold expression playing in the back of her mind. Feeling very much like a fool for ever being such a dreamer in the first place. For ever falling in love with the idea of love. When clearly that never existed.

But her heart told her differently as it still beat for Regina. Her brain causing her to see all of their memories together like a film that played on repeat in her head.

She slammed on the brakes hard as her tires screeched on the pavement road. Her head hitting the steering wheel as it rested on it. All Emma could do was cry. She cried soft sobs, her hands tightening around the steering wheel until her knuckles turned white.

She made her way out of the car, slamming the door as hard as she could with a grunt. The next thing she did was kick at her driver’s side door again and again until there was nothing left but a grey dent on the side. She kicked so hard it made her leg feel it. Her forehead pressed down on the edge of her car, breathing heavy breaths of anger, frustration, and jealousy all rolled into one.
____________________

Ingrid sat on her couch, looking surprised as she had received a surprise visitor that evening.

Carl had found her. He was sitting before her on the other couch, taking one of her hands into his, which she jerked back immediately.

“Ingrid. You can’t still be mad about what happened. I already said I was sorry. I’m here, aren’t I?” He paused, “It took me some doing, but I finally found you and now we can be a family again.”

A family. That was a word he knew nothing about.

“I heard about Emma. Is it true that she joined the military?” He asked her.

“Yes.” Ingrid whispered, as she paused, “Carl, I don’t know what you think you’ll accomplish by showing up here unannounced, but you have to leave.”

“Do you really want me to leave?” Asked the man, a smirk on his lips.

Ingrid held her head up high. She was done running from him, she was done being scared. “Yes, I do. You don’t belong here. You never did. All you caused us was pain.”

Carl sighed, grabbing onto the woman’s wrist as she stood up from the couch, “Now, I don’t think you want me to leave. I mean…” He scoffed, “You couldn’t even hide from me.”

Ingrid yanked her hand away from his grip, “Just leave. Emma will be back any minute and I would hate it if she-”

“What?” Carl stood up, looking down on Ingrid as he was always taller, “What is she going to do, hm? I’m untouchable, Ingrid.”

Heads turned as Emma entered the house, standing by the doorway as her eyes met the man’s that once upon a time ago, made both their lives a living hell.

“Emma…” Ingrid whispered, taking notice in the blonde’s complexion. She looked over to Carl and back at the younger blonde in fear that he would try anything. Or that Emma would, taking notice in the blonde’s immediate anger.

 

“What the hell are you doing here?” Emma asked, standing still by the door. Her eyes never leaving his.

“It’s a small town, kid. It wasn’t hard to find you.”

Emma cringed at that nickname. She hated when he called her that. “Get out of here. You aren’t wanted here, you aren’t needed here.”

“Oh?” Carl’s brows hit his hairline, looking over at Ingrid as he chuckled, “Look at you. All brave now because you’re a soldier, huh?”

“Carl, don’t-”

“Shut up.” Carl raised a finger in warning towards Ingrid as he walked closer into Emma’s space, “What, you think just because you served I’m supposed to be afraid of you? Respect you?” He chuckled, “I look at you, you want to know what I see? The same frightened little girl who used to hide under her bed anytime shit got complicated.” His eyes looked down at the dog tags that hung around her neck, grabbing them in the process to get a closer look, “This one isn’t yours.” He held up August’s dog tag, “Is it someone who died in combat?” He smirked at the blonde’s pissed off expression, “Oh, I see… was it your fault? It was, wasn’t it? Did he die because of you-? Ah!”

“Emma!” Ingrid shouted as Carl shouted even louder in pain, after Emma grabbed his wrist and broke it single handily. Only she didn’t stop there. Before Carl or Ingrid knew it, Emma had thrown herself on him, as her fist repeatedly punched him in the face. Instantly breaking his nose, busting his lip and damaging an eye.

“Emma stop!” Ingrid grabbed onto Emma, hoping to God she wouldn’t have a reaction.

But she couldn’t stop. Not when all she saw was red. Not when who she saw was Robin and not Carl.

Ingrid reached for the blonde’s forearm, “Emma! You’re going to kill him! Stop!”

Emma’s chest was rising quickly up and down as she fell back, her fist red with the man’s blood as he remained on the floor, passed out from her all her hard given punches. This was the first time, Ingrid had seen a reaction out of her, especially one like this. It scared her to death, if she were being honest with herself. But her next instinct as she noticed Emma’s hand shake and heard her start sobbing, was to wrap her arms around the younger blonde. Her arms holding her so tight just as Emma’s did as she cried even louder this time.

“Emma? Emma, what happened? What happened to you? Tell me.” Ingrid whispered, caressing the soldier’s hair as Emma hid her face on the crook of her neck to muffle her uncontrollable crying. “Shhh… it’s alright.” She wrapped her arms tighter around her as crying couldn’t seem to end. Ingrid knew that type of crying. Emma didn’t need to say anything to her, because she knew. “It’s alright. I’m here. You’re going to be fine. I’m here.”

Chapter Text

Ingrid knocked outside Emma's door for the eighth time the next morning. Which, just like the other times, went unanswered.

"Emma?" Ingrid called out, growing increasingly worried as she couldn't even hear a pin drop inside her bedroom. She knocked again, "I made breakfast. At least come eat something. Please?"

Silence.

"I'll have a plate ready for you, in case you're hungry." She paused, hoping for a reply behind the locked door. "I'll be downstairs."

Emma could hear Ingrid's footsteps as she left her door. Her body seemed almost lifeless as she laid in her bed. The state of her bedroom was no longer orderly, but looked as if a tornado had passed through and turned everything upside down. In her fit of rage, she had destroyed everything in sight, mostly using the cane Regina gifted her as a baseball bat against everything.

It's current state? It was torn in half, near her bed on the floor.

After the night she had, eventually she passed out from exhaustion. But even her tired, teary eyes weren't enough to help her completely sleep. Because every time she closed her eyes, she would see her. Regina.

She would see her beautiful brown eyes, her jet black hair that was as soft as her skin and always smelled like apples mixed with cinnamon. The scent was so strong, it made the soldier shut her eyes rather tight, trying to shake away the clear images and unmistakable voice that played in her head like an automatic audio recording.

"Well, what about you? I mean I would hate to be the only one in love here."

"Oh, I love you already. Nobody will ever love anyone as much as I love you."

~~~

"She told me you have a date coming up. Is that true?"

"That's quite personal, Ms. Swan."

"Is it Dr. Locksley?"

"God, no."

~~~

"Does it bother you that I'm not?"

"I couldn't dislike anything about you. It's impossible when you are as beautiful as you are. All that matters to me now is that you're mine."

~~~

"Have you never seen a naked woman before?"

"I have. But not one that's mine."

"Your turn, soldier."

~~~

"Now I'm in the most beautiful place on God's earth."

~~~

"I love you, Emma."

Her fist tightened around the pillow that was over her head. The redness of her swelled up knuckles still visible. Her hand shook as the memories in her head only became louder.

"Boy or girl?"

"A boy."

"What's his name?"

"Henry Daniel Swan-Mills."

~~~

"Loving you is the greatest gift of all. As for my wish… To marry you. And when I ask, because I will. I'll only wish you'll say yes. Because frankly, I wouldn't know how to live without you anymore."

"Nor would I."

~~~

"Nothing is alright anymore, Emma. Nothing"

~~~

"This… whatever you think we had needs to end."

~~~

“Listen to you. You want me to stop treating you like a child? Then stop acting like one. It’s time for you to grow up, Emma and realize when someone doesn’t love you.”

The echo’s of Regina’s words, all those memories grew louder that Emma couldn’t think of anything else to do but scream. The pillow muffling her screams of anger, pain and heartbreak, but they were still heard as Ingrid was once again outside her door- pounding this time with worry.

“Emma?! Are you alright?” Ingrid pounded, rattling the door knob which remained locked, “Emma, please open the door! Please!” She pleaded, her heart breaking at the sound of the muffled screams that were coming out of her room. Screams that soon turned into loud sobs. “Emma! Just let me come in and talk to you.”

Emma sat up, grabbing a hold of the strip of pictures her and Regina took at the carnival in Germany. Her hands ready to rip them up as they were in position. But she stopped. Both their smiles staring back at her, which made her wish she could turn back time and be back there. Where her and Regina were their happiest, where nothing was coming between them. Where the brunette loved her and only her. Her hand crumbled up the picture, holding it tightly within her grip as she broke into loud sobs once again, screaming in pain all her heart ache, she only wish Regina could somehow hear it and just come back to her.
____________________

Hours passed as Emma was still a no show. Ingrid sat by the bottom of the stairs, standing as Ruby came right into the house after she had called her for help.

“Thank God, you’re here.” Ingrid followed the brunette as she rushed up the stairs, “She hasn’t eaten all day. She won’t even open the door or answer me. She just screams and cries herself to sleep.”

“Give me a few minutes with her. She’ll talk to me.” Ruby nodded as Ingrid left her alone to deal with the blonde. She knocked as she turned to face the door, “Emma, it’s me. Open the door.”

Nothing.

“Emma…” Ruby called out again, knocking once, twice, “You could at least tell me to go away.” She rattled the doorknob, “I’m not leaving until you open this door. You know me. I can sleep right outside your door, if that’s what it takes.” She sighed, leaning her forehead against the door, “Alright. Don’t open the door, if you don’t want to but you’re going to hear me out. This isn’t right for you to do. You’re scaring the crap out of Ingrid, she’s worried and I am too. I get that you got your heart broken, but the world doesn’t end here, Swan. You have so much life ahead of you, you have Ingrid, you have me. Granny, Marco. We all love you.” She paused, placing her hand on the door, “So please… at least have the decency to let us know you’re still alive in there.”

Silence.

Ruby sighed, “Fine. Have it your way. I’ll just sleep outside your door until you decide to open up.” She sat down by the door, patiently waiting for the blonde to respond.

Ingrid would check on Ruby from time to time and even brought her a sandwich as she kept her word in remaining right outside her best friend’s door. Eventually heading to bed, as the brunette passed out by the soldier’s door.

It was around three in the morning when Emma slowly opened her bedroom door. Her eyes looked down at Ruby’s body as she slept leaned up against the wall in the same sitting position she had been before. As Emma made her way out of her room completely, she looked back once she heard Ruby’s sleepy voice.

“At least now I can tell Ingrid that you’re alive.” Ruby stood to her feet, yawning, “Where are you going, soldier?”

Soldier. A nickname she will no longer hear come out of Regina’s lips. “I need to get out of here.” Emma’s voice was so soft, it even depressed Ruby.

“Well, at least you’ll be going out. That’s a start.” Ruby smiled, “So? Where are we going?”

“I meant me.” Emma shook her head, heading down the stairs.

Ruby grabbed her arm, which caused Emma to turn again, “Not a chance, Em. I made a promise to Ingrid that if I got you out of this room, I would stick to you like glue. No way am I letting you go alone at this hour of the night.”

“Ruby, it’s a small town. I think I’ll be perfectly safe.” Replied Emma.

The brunette hurried down the stairs, blocking off the last step that lead towards the front door, “You want to go, fine, but you’ll do it with me. Otherwise, I am not moving from this step.”

Emma closed in the very little space she had between her and the brunette, her eyes displaying the same sadness and pain as her entire body was before Ruby.

“Move.” Said Emma.

Ruby shook her head, keeping her hands on the rails, “No.”

“I’m not going to kill myself, Ruby.” Emma spat.

To which Ruby spat right back, “Either way, I am not letting you out of my sight.”

Emma sighed, knowing perfectly well that her friend would not budge. “If you’re going to come with me, you best move.”

Ruby grinned happily, as she then moved away from the last step, holding the door open for Emma to head out first as she followed close behind, shutting the door behind her.

“So, where are we going?” Asked Ruby, watching Emma’s every movement while trying to keep up with her quick pace.

“I don’t now.” Replied Emma, walking away from Ingrid’s house without any sense of direction.

Ruby nodded, “You aren’t going to be one of those who goes after the girl after she broke your heart, are you?” She stopped in her tracks as Emma did, turning to look at her with a deadly glare. “I’m sorry. I just… I don’t think you should, you know, look for her. It’ll save you from the pain.”

Emma remained silent, looking into her best friend’s eyes as she took in her words. She shook her head as she finally spoke, “Nothing can save me from what I’m feeling right now.”

Ruby followed Emma as the blonde kept up her quick pace, “Alright, I know a thing or two about heartbreak. So maybe you’ll always be carrying that pain with you, but at least I can help you numb it.”

Emma stopped walking once again as she turned to her friend, “How?” She turned to the direction to which Ruby was looking. She looked down as she felt Ruby’s hand grab onto her wrist.

“Come on, I bet you Leroy will let us stay there for as long as you need.”
____________________

“No.” Said Leroy, for the fourth time as he stood outside of the Wooden Whale, Storybrooke’s only bar.

“Come on, Leroy! Don’t be a mood killer.” Ruby whined.

“Do you realize what time it is? I’m already closing.”

Ruby pulled on the man’s coat as she whispered to him, “Come on. Can’t you see Emma really needs a few drinks? She just got her heart broken. Worse than broken, shattered into a million pieces by the woman who swore her undying love. Give her a break. Haven’t you ever been in love and had your heart broken?”

He had, but Leroy was always one tough son-of-a-bitch that he wouldn’t show it.

“No.” Was his answer, serious and dry like him.

Ruby rolled her eyes, “Ugh, Granny is going to kill me. Look, I’ll give you free breakfast for a week.”

Leroy looked over at Emma, taking in her vulnerable state as he looked right back at Ruby, “Make it a month.”

Ruby grinned, kissing the man on the cheek as he stepped aside, allowing them access to his bar.

Once inside, time flew by. It was around five in the morning when Emma sat down her sixth beer bottle. She was pretty drunk to say the least, which made it worse since she had no food in her stomach. She would have thought that drinking would have solved her heart ache, like Ruby said, but to her surprise it only made her think about Regina much more.

She began wondering what she was doing right this minute. Raging with anger as images of her and Robin came to her mind. She would picture her in bed with him, doing things that she didn’t even want to think about, but couldn’t help it. Her harsh words on that day she ended things playing in her head like a broken record.

“Don’t you feel just a little better?” Asked Ruby, lightly patting the blonde on the shoulder.

Emma placed her bottle down after she took her last drink from it, her eyes red and teary again as she looked over at her best friend.

“She really did a number on you, didn’t she?”

“I don’t want to talk about it.” Emma focused her eyes on the empty beer bottle that was nurtured by her hand. Her focus moving towards her swollen knuckles. At least that pain had numbed.

“Em,” Ruby said softly, “I know it’s hard.”

“Do you?” Asked Emma, tears running down her cheeks. Her voice slurring a little now.

“Yes.” Ruby nodded, “Remember Dorothy? I was madly in love with her, I thought we would make it. I was sure of it. And then she left.”

Emma chuckled, without even cracking a single smile, “Dorothy left because her parents forced her to move away after you two were caught making out in her house. She didn’t leave you because she found someone else.”

“Okay, but she still left-”

“Ruby, if you are trying to compare your tragic love story to mine, don’t. It’s not the same, alright? And if this is your idea of cheering me up, let me tell you, you are doing a lousy job.”

Ruby couldn’t help growing furious, “First of all, I am not trying to compare anything. I am simply trying to say-”

“You’re trying to say that I shouldn’t be wasting my time crying about Regina, because not everyone ends up with their first love. And that you understand better than anyone about heartache because you went through the same situation with Dorothy. Right?” Emma stared down her best friend, “Well, I can’t stop myself from crying. I wish I could, I wish…” Tears ran down her eyes, as her voice broke, “I wish I could rip out my fucking heart and stop feeling this way, but I can’t. I can’t because it still fucking beats for her. And call it a curse, but it always will.” She paused, her hand tightening around the bottle she nursed, “I’m not just going to forget in a day what happened, Ruby. Everything she said. The way she looked- I could tell she wasn’t being totally truthful. Even if she said she was.”

Ruby’s eyes were focused on her best friend, remaining quiet as she allowed her to vent. She knew Emma wouldn’t mean some things she would say. She was hurting.

“I know her, Ruby. Or I thought I did.” Emma paused, “I just wish I could know what changed. We were finally together. Sure we fought, but we were happy.” She chuckled, sobbing a little, “Sometimes I think, I should have just listened to you. And Graham.”

Ruby shrugged, “You shouldn’t have, Em. You were in way over your head for her, it’s normal. Hell, I was even surprised when Ingrid called me and told me what had happened,” She chuckled, “She said you even beat up that dead beat. Messed him up pretty good.”

Emma remained silent, her eyes focused on her swollen knuckles.

“Can I tell you a secret?” Asked the blonde.

Ruby nodded.

“When I was hitting him…” She paused, looking at her hand, not daring to look Ruby in the eyes, “I thought I wasn’t going to be able to stop. Because a part of me didn’t want to stop.”

“Because it wasn’t him you were seeing.” Said Ruby, “It was that Robin guy. Wasn’t it?”

Emma looked over to Ruby, nodding slowly as more tears ran down her eyes.

“The good thing is you did stop. And hey, I know this is probably the last thing you want to hear right now… but, in due time that pain you feel right now, it will go away. Maybe never a hundred percent but it’ll become less and less. Trust me.” Ruby locked eyes with Emma’s green ones, cupping her hand with her own, “You just need to go on, find things to distract yourself with. Write about what you’re feeling-”

“No.” Emma shook her head, “I don’t really think I could write right now.”

“Well, then get a dog. Get laid if that will help make matters better,” She continued as Emma chuckled, “But don’t mope around, making Ingrid miserable. She’s really worried about you, Em. We all are.”

“She’s right, Swan.” Said Leroy as he stood behind the bar, “I know a couple of girls who could introduce you to some other lovely brunette’s if that’s what you’re into. Classy girls. Anything to make you forget all about that bitch who-”

“Leroy.” Ruby shook her head at the man as Emma threw a deadly glare his way. Because Emma may be hurting, and it didn’t matter to her how much Regina had changed over night, how much she hurt her. No one was going to disrespect her in her presence.

“Sorry, just trying to help.”

“I think I got it.” Said Ruby, looking back at the blonde who was still glaring at the man as he went about his business. “Never mind him. And look, do me a favor. At least when you get back home later, talk to Ingrid. Open up to her, tell her how you feel like you told me just now.” She paused as the blonde locked eyes with her again, “It’s true, what Dorothy and I had can’t compare to what you had with Regina and, I’m sure if I tried now I probably could get her back. But I don’t because it was years ago and I’ve moved on and I’m sure she has too. It doesn’t pain me as much anymore.” Ruby smiled, “That will be you someday. But for now, I can tell you this. If you allow that pain to eat away at you, Emma it will destroy you into a person you yourself won’t even recognize anymore.”

“Who are you and what did you do to my friend Ruby?” Asked Emma, which made Ruby smile, happy to know that at least the blonde’s sense of humor was still a little intact.

“There you go!” Ruby nudged her, even when Emma still didn’t crack a single smile, “There’s hope for you yet, Swan. Now all you need to do is crack a smile.”
____________________

Before heading home, Emma had convinced Ruby to drive her towards the woods. As they walked the rest of the way.

“Do you even know where we’re going?” Asked Ruby, following the blonde’s every step as she wasn’t at all familiar with the woods like her friend was.

Emma continued walking, without stopping once. Her mind playing the night she had brought Regina through this very same path that night.

“Whoa.” Ruby stopped at the sight of the cabin as they finally reached it, her eyes focused on the old location. “You mentioned this place, but I always thought you were making it up. Who’s is this?”

“Mine.” Emma’s eyes focused on the cabin. “I bought it a few days ago. I was planning on fixing it up and surprising her with it.”

Ruby stared at her friend blankly. “Well, are you still going to fix it up?” Asked Ruby.

Emma remained silent, until she shook her head. “No. I like it better this way. It’s sort of a representation of how I’m feeling on the inside, you know.”

“I don’t understand, Em. Fixing this cabin was always your dream. So, you’re saying you just bought it to leave it to rot?”

Emma looked over at Ruby, “Maybe some things aren’t meant to be fixed, Ruby.” She paused, “Regina was right about one thing. It’s time for me to grow up. Grow up and stop living with my head in the clouds, “She chuckled, tears making their way down, “Because I never know when someone will break my heart.”

Ruby stretched out her arms towards the blonde, embracing her in a hug as Emma moved into her body. She sighed without saying another word. She just allowed the blonde to sob right into her shoulder as her arms wrapped around her form more tighter.

She felt so helpless. Wishing she could do more to help Emma in her time of need. But this was a battle- a matter of the heart- that only she, herself could get out of. When she was ready.

Chapter Text

Ingrid was surprised to find Emma sitting by the breakfast table as she came down the stairs and made her way into the kitchen. She spotted the younger blonde with her head down, obviously exhausted from her long night. It made her feel at ease, at least to see her out of her room.

Emma lifted her head as she felt the older woman’s presence.

By the look on Emma’s face, she was clearly hungover, something Ingrid couldn’t let pass. “Your first hangover.” She commented, standing before the soldier, “The aftermath of drinking isn’t as fun, is it?”

Emma remained silent as Ingrid moved towards the blonde, sitting beside her. “I’m not going to lecture you about staying out late and drinking, Emma.” She said “You are twenty one and free to do as you wish. But, I would like to ask that you are careful. You want to go out fine, I’m all for that. Go out, distract yourself.”

She stood to her feet, gathering up a pack of ice as her eyes studied Emma’s injured hand. Gathering ice into a hand towel she kept around the kitchen. Emma’s eyes studied her every movement, looking down as she gently placed the ice pack on her knuckles. The cold of it slowly overtaking her hand more and more.

“I’m sorry.” Emma’s voice was a soft whisper, her eyes focused on the ice pack that rested upon her hand. Even a little nursing gesture such as a simple ice pack made her think of Regina. She would have rushed to tend to her injury since that night. “I’m sorry if I scared you and that I lost control with him.”

Ingrid chuckled, her blue eyes focused on the broken soldier before her who couldn’t even look her in the eyes. “To give you some credit for last night, don’t ever apologize for hitting that bastard. I actually quite enjoyed that.” She joked. To which Emma’s lips didn’t even crack a smile. “Emma, look at me.”

Emma’s eyes remained focused on her hand. Too ashamed to look up at the older woman.

“That’s an order, soldier.” Ingrid’s voice was firm, but gentle all at once. She continued as Emma looked up at her a pair of glossy green eyes. “I’m sorry too. I should have told you about him writing to me. Finding us. I guess I was just trying to protect you like when you were a little girl.”

“You don’t have to protect me.” Emma shook her head.

“I know. But no matter how old you get, I’ll always want to protect you. Anyone who loves you will want to do just that, just like you care for them.” Her hand cupped the blonde’s cheek, wiping away at a fallen tear with her thumb. “Oh, Emma. I wish I could be like your fairy Godmother and come in with a magical wand and protect that broken heart of yours.”

More tears made their way down green eyes. Emma’s breathing shaking as she was starting to struggle in holding them in again.

“But, unfortunately. That’s life. You meet the love of your life, sometimes you make it and sometimes you get your heart broken.” Her hand wiped away at her fallen tears, “And sometimes, you are the one who has to break someone’s heart.” She paused, “Love is… like a rose. You see the most beautiful one out an entire pile and you just know. That’s the one for you. You chose it, nurture it with all the love you have in you so it’ll do nothing but want to bloom for you. But even when you are most careful, even when you handle it with the most delicacy… life will find a way to remind you that just as it has its beauty to offer. It has its thorns too.”

“Yeah, well this one had a pretty big thorn.” Said Emma, her voice low.

Ingrid removed the ice pack from the soldier’s hand, cupping it very gently with her own.

“Do you believe… that maybe she never loved me?” Emma’s eyes met Ingrid’s, hoping to see the answer she wanted in them.

Ingrid didn’t hesitate, “No. I saw her with you, I spent some time conversing with her about you. Herself. And I don’t believe that for one bit, that woman didn’t love you.”

“But, appearances could be deceiving. Right? Just like a rose.” Emma replied coldly.

Ingrid took a moment to nod, “Just like a rose. No human being is easy, you know that better than anyone.” She paused, “But I believe… that Regina is a woman who has a lot of her past unsolved, Emma. She comes from a complicated life that she never chose to have and she may not see it now, how strong of a woman she really is. But, we all do sooner or later.”

“I just wish I could understand.” Said Emma, “Understand why. How is going back to the man that won’t offer her the happiness she truly wants make anything better?”

The older blonde shrugged, “I can’t answer that. Only she can.”

“I was going to ask her to marry me.” Tears made their way down as Emma scoffed, her hand quickly wiping them away, “So stupid. She must be laughing at me right now, because the reality always was, I never had anything to offer her. Not really.”

“I don’t believe that, Emma.” Replied Ingrid, “You have so much to offer. You do.” She insisted as the blonde shook her head, “And if she couldn’t see that then, I believe she will in time.”

“And if she doesn’t?” Tears made their way down again, her voice shaking.

Ingrid sighed, “Then, maybe that’s life’s way of telling you that you should move on. As painful as it may be. But only you get to decide how long are you willing to wait.” She stretched out her arms towards the soldier who’s body shook with muffled sobs as Emma quickly found her place in her loving embrace. “Just remember that I’m always here. And I will support you in whatever it is you decide for your life.” Her embrace tightened around her, “Because Emma, you are the best gift life could have blessed me with.” She broke their hug, her hands cupping the sides of her face as her eyes focused on Emma’s teary, red ones, “You are my daughter. And I love you with everything I have in me.” She smiled, “You are and always will be a fighter. You will get back up from this.”

Emma nodded, embracing Ingrid again, tighter this time, as Ingrid’s arms circled her just the same. ‘You will get back up from this,’ those words drummed inside her head, wishing she would know if that were at all true. Maybe it was. Her question now was…

When?
____________________

A yellow envelope was tossed onto a table, a few stacks of bills sliding out as a hand fell onto them.

“What’s this?” asked Carl, looking up at the man before him.

“Call it a bonus.” Robin walked over to the mini bar in the hotel room, serving himself a drink. “There’s more where that came from if you keep doing your job.”

Carl picked up a stack of bills, his eyes drinking in the amount before him. He chuckled, shaking his head.

“What’s funny?” Asked Robin, the ice in his glass clinking as he raised it up to his lips to take a sip. The scotch burning his throat on the way down.

“I just can’t believe, of all the people to fuck over,” he chuckled again, “It had to be Emma Swan.”

“Just make sure you watch her. Don’t be stupid again and go confronting her about whatever problem you guys had in the past.” Robin chuckled, bringing the glass of scotch near his lips again, “I don’t want to have to visit you in the hospital, or worse. Become your doctor.”

“What Emma and I have is something personal. It’s not your business.” The man snarled, the still fresh bruises on his face hurting just from the memory of that night.

Robin sat his glass down on the coffee table, standing to his feet as he looked down at the man, “Everything you do is my damn business.” His hand grabbed onto the man’s shirt, forcing him to look him in the eyes, “I don’t care whatever issue you have with this woman Ingrid, she is not the priority. Emma is. I am paying you to watch her, not to go in there and stir up trouble. If you can’t do a simple task such as watching, then I suggest you let someone else handle the job.”

Carl slapped Robin’s hand away, “I can do it.”

“Be sure that you do or your next payment won’t be as generous.” Robin moved towards the bed, picking up his suit jacket as he placed it back on around his body, “Keep reporting back to me. To be frank, I could give two shits about what Emma Swan does with her life.” He looked down at the man again, “But I do care about what Regina does with hers. Every step of the way.”

Carl nodded, “Every step of the way.”

“And remember. You do not make a move, unless I say so.”

Robin walked out of the room, shutting the door behind him without another word. Feeling victorious as ever as things were going to his planning. He was paying this guy a lot of money for things to not be going his way after all. He had tabs on Emma and Regina both.
____________________

This entire situation wasn’t easy. Regina was constantly followed by Robin’s so called friend. Day and night, wherever she went. It surprised her how much everything changed in such little time. Her life seemed to move at paces she couldn’t keep up with ever since leaving Emma. Robin was moving things incredibly fast. Everything was just the way he wanted it and she felt like she had no way out. But if in the end her sacrifice would save Emma, even she hated her for it- it became worth it.

Kathryn placed the last box of the brunette’s stuff into the trunk of her Mercedes. Not happy at all with this situation. “That’s the last one.”

Regina slammed her trunk door shut, “Thank you.” Her reply was numb. At work the brunette was all smiles, keeping her professional level to a key. But, outside of work, her story was completely different.

“Regina,” Kathryn placed a hand on her best friend’s shoulder, “You don’t have to do this, you know.” She shook her head, “You didn’t have to leave Emma, make her believe all those horrible things about you that aren’t true. Robin forced you to sleep with him.” She paused, “If I were you, I would take this car packed up with my stuff, drive to Storybrooke get Emma and get the hell as far away as you possibly can.”

Far away. That’s where Regina wanted to be. Even if it wasn’t with Emma, anywhere would be better than moving into Robin’s apartment when him.

The brunette nurse shook her head, “Robin would know, Kathryn.” She whispered, “He’s not only having Emma followed, but me as well. Plus, she isn’t the only one in danger. Everyone Emma knows in Storybrooke are in jeopardy and I can’t have that in my conscience if something were to happen to them because of me.” She paused, fighting back tears, “I’d rather have Emma hate me, thinking the worst of me than cause her more pain by putting her in danger or anyone else she loves.”

“You are already causing her the biggest pain of all.” Kathryn replied through clenched teeth, growing upset about this whole manipulative situation. “You can’t just let this bastard win, Regina- we have to tell someone.”

“No, Kathryn.” She sighed, her heart aching as she could remember the look on Emma’s face when everything changed, “Please, just… be lucky that after that punch you gave Robin, he didn’t press any charges against you. And you didn’t lose your job, simply because I had to convince him not to have you fired.” She squeezed the blonde’s hand as she took her within her own. Tears running down her eyes this time, “You’re more than just my best friend and you know that. You’ve been through every possible relationship with me and I can’t lose you too. I gave up the woman that I will always love and know I’ve lost with the biggest heartache imaginable. I can’t lose you too.”

Regina was much stronger than this and Kathryn knew it. But, she also knew that there wasn’t anything the brunette wouldn’t dare to do just for Emma’s safety and others.

Kathryn pulled her best friend into a tight hug, allowing her to cry on her shoulder like many other times before. “You won’t lose me. I’ll miss having you around twenty four seven though.”

“I’ll miss you too.” Regina’s voice broke, her eyes closed as she savored their hug. Wishing it was Emma she was hugging, because right now she would give anything for one of the soldier’s hugs.

“And I still think this is beyond ridiculous,” The blonde whispered, “If you ever change your mind and want to run away with Emma. Let me know, you know I’ll gladly help you.”

Regina chuckled, wiping away her tears before she had to head over to Robin’s place. “Emma would be crazy to forgive me after I convincingly made her think that she never meant anything to me. That ship has long sailed.”

“I don’t believe that. You are much stronger than you give yourself credit for, Regina. And Emma is crazy for you.”

“I have to go.” She smiled a sad smile. The saddest Kathryn had ever seen in all the years she’s known her. “I’ll see you tomorrow for work.”

“Regina…” Kathryn called out as the brunette mounted her vehicle, “Regina, don’t do this!”

Regina didn’t respond. She didn’t give her friend one last glance. She simply started her car and drove off into what would now be her life. On the outside, at work, she seemed like the toughest woman alive, like she had her life all figured out. But on the inside, she was continuously dying. And as she drove down that long road, leaving behind everything that ever mattered to her, leaving behind the woman she would always love, tears ran down her face.
____________________

Regina unpacked her things, only her clothes for now and one box of her books. The apartment was big, its kitchen was pretty spacious with white walls and black cabinets, along with a black marbled counter top. It looked right into the living room, which was also surrounded by white walls, white furniture and a black center table. Robin was never one for unique tastes. She loved black, but she wouldn’t ever have it in her kitchen.

The apartment was also cold. But given that she worked at a hospital, that she could get used to.

The bedroom was a little more to her liking. At least the bed wasn’t black. She couldn’t help but stare blankly at it, thinking that from now on she would be sleeping in this bed with a man she detested. Resented for taking away a life she was finally looking forward to living with a woman who with her persistence and patience, stole her heart.

Emma. That was a name she wasn’t allowed to say ever again. Not in front of Robin anyway. It was one of his conditions, as well as sharing a bed with him. As long as she went along with this life now, Emma would be safe.

The brunette couldn’t help but wonder what the soldier could be doing right now.

It was an answer she would never know that ate away at her any chance it got.

She blinked her thoughts away, getting back to unpacking her clothes and hanging them up inside the man’s closet. Because everything here was his. Including her. She didn’t want nor wished to have any rights towards his things. That was a plan she had with Emma. Where they would share absolutely everything, even when they fought.

But this? This wasn’t a plan. This was a prison.

She hung a jacket inside the closet, purposely pushing the man’s clothes far away from hers. As she turned to get the last piece of clothing, she stopped as before her, folded up neatly was Emma’s blue jacket.

Regina’s lips parted open, her hands slowly raising the jacket out of the box, the leather of it still soft as the blonde’s scent hit her nostrils. She couldn’t help but pull the jacket into an embrace as she sniffed in that unforgettable scent of something so sweet and soft. She couldn’t believe the jacket still smelled like her. Then again, she wouldn’t wear it much to not get rid of the scent. And to her luck, a bit of it was still there.

“Regina… That’s a nice name.”

“Turn around for me, please.”

“We haven’t gone on one date yet and already you want me to expose myself to you?”

~~~

“You know, if I loose my leg… you’ll owe me that date.”

~~~

“I should be thanking you. Tonight was everything I thought it would be. Everything I dreamed of it being since the moment we met.”

Tears ran down her cheeks as she placed the jacket closer to her face, sobbing soft, muffled sobs as memories of Emma and her still flashed through her mind.

“This could come with challenges. Battles we can’t possibly win. It’s been so long. I’m afraid love may not be for me. Every time something good happens, life finds a way to rip it away.”

“Then we’ll fight it. Whatever challenges, whatever battles we are destined to face- I want to be there with you every step of the way.”

“Emma… I don’t know how to love very well.”

“I’ll show you.”

It’s funny that she thought of that moment on their first date. Because life, as cruel as it was being with them right now, did find a way to rip it all away.

Regina folded up the jacket as small as she could manage. She wasn’t about to hang this in the closet for Robin to see. She walked up to a drawer and placed it underneath a pile of her clothes. It would be safer there. As she stood up right, she looked in the mirror. Only her eyes didn’t fall on herself, they fell on the circular pendant that hung around her neck.

The brunette’s hands came up behind her neck, as she removed it. The memory of when Emma gifted it to her, playing in her memory as clear as day.

“Keep it with you. So you’ll know we’ll see each other again.”

Tears rolled down her cheeks, her eyes looking down at the swan pendant. She never imagined taking it off, unless Emma asked for it back. But wearing it around Robin was a dangerous thing.

However, she couldn’t help but feel hopeful in the midst of all this mess. Could it be? That maybe, she would ever see Emma again? In how long of time, she wasn’t sure. But she wished it so. Maybe Emma wouldn’t be looking at her with the same love in her eyes anymore, maybe she would still hate her. But at least she would get to see her.

As she placed the necklace inside the same drawer, hidden underneath all her clothes, where it would be safe. She plopped on the bed as she closed the drawer. Hugging a pillow, as she placed it near her face to muffle her sobs. She hadn’t had time to cry about it all, until now.

“You know, when I was in the war. Out in Afghanistan… I thought I had gone through everything that could possibly hurt me. Losing August, lying out there in the sand as thousands of bullets and bombs went off around me. I never imagined anything hurting more. Now I realize… You should have let me died that day in the hospital. Because right now I’m thinking that death would be better than this.”

Regina’s cries grew louder as Emma’s cold look, her surprised and hurt features and pained words played in her mind. They were branded in there like something so permanent that even time wouldn’t be able to erase. She had hurt her. And even though it wasn’t intentional, and she didn’t mean any of the lies she told her- even when she wished Emma could see right through her and figure it all out- she was thankful she hadn’t. Not for her sake, but for Emma’s.

Still, she had never felt more like a coward in all her life.

Because that’s what she was. Even if she told herself that she was holding on strong to keep the woman she loved safe and all her loved ones.

Even when Kathryn repeatedly told her that she was a strong woman. She didn’t see it that way.
____________________

Regina’s exhausted body laid on top of the bed, where she had fallen asleep after a much needed cry.

She was so out of it that didn’t even hear as Robin dropped his keys by the dresser as he entered the bedroom.

He loosened up his tie, unbuttoning the first two buttons of his shirt as he sat beside the bed. His eyes observing a sleeping brunette. His hand came up to gently brush her hair away from her face as she began to move in her sleep. He moved his hand away so she wouldn’t wake up, leaning down as he placed a kiss right on her temple before he stood up right to head into the bathroom.

That’s when he heard a light grunt escape her, followed by a single word. Or name.

“Emma…”

That caused Robin to stop moving altogether. His jaw clenched as he turned to look at the brunette, verifying that she was still fast asleep. He pulled on his tie with all his strength, yanking it off his neck as he moved into the bathroom, slamming the door so hard that the very sound caused Regina to startle awake.

Chapter Text

WEEKS LATER…

Regina arrived to what was her home, as was her daily routine now. Her phone chimed alerting her of a new email message. As she placed her purse down, hanging it on the coat rack by the door, she checked her email.

Robin came into the living room area, noticing the small smile on the woman’s face.

Regina’s eyes looked up at Robin as he stood in question. She rolled her eyes, “It’s Whale. He’s in Boston and wants us to meet for lunch.” She held up her phone, “Do you want some proof?”

Robin walked his way towards the kitchen, quickly changing conversation, “I bought us dinner.”

“I’m not really hungry. I haven’t been feeling well all day. If I pushed myself to go to work today, it was to simply distract myself.” Her tone was cold, as it usually was with Robin now a days.

Robin sighed, staring at her as she moved towards the fridge, helping herself to a bottled water, “Have you thought that maybe you haven’t been feeling well because you haven’t been eating well lately?”

Regina sighed, annoyed with his presence as he stood beside her now. She turned her back to him as she walked to the other side of the kitchen, “I’ve been eating fine, Robin.”

“I doubt that.” Replied Robin, “Every time I bring dinner home or want to take you out to eat, you never are up for it. And when we go, you are as cold as can be. I mean, damn it, Regina. We are together now, when are you going to get used to that?”

Regina turned to face him this time, with a deadly glare that was teary, “We are together because you have someone watching me all the time, not to mention-”

“Don’t. Say her name.” Robin snarled.

“Or what?” Regina walked up to Robin, closing the distance between them, almost challenging, “You’re going to hit me too? Go ahead. That’s the last thing you need to do to be a real coward.”

Robin looked down at the brunette before him, his jaw tightening, “I have enough with having to hear her name in your damn sleep.”

“Well, no one said this was going to be an easy relationship, Robin.” She scoffed, “If that’s what we can call this, because you are the one who makes all the decisions around here and what goes on in my life now.”

“I try with you, to make you see that my feelings for you are just as real. You are the one who makes things difficult, not putting any effort into this situation.” Robin spat, “Even when we sleep together, you-”

“No, Robin.” Regina interrupted, her stare just as cold, “You and I don’t sleep together. We never have. You fuck me against my will every night, so let’s call it like it is. I am here sacrificing myself day in and day out, standing to be by your side to save the woman I love. That should be enough effort for you, don’t you think?”

Robin followed the brunette’s movements as she headed into their bedroom, his hands on his hips, “Regina, get back here.” He grew furious as she continued on her way, “Regina!” He moved so quickly towards their bedroom door, wanting to open it, but was surprised to find it locked. “Regina!” He pounded on the door.

Regina rested her body against the door, allowing it to slide down until it reached the floor, tears making their way down her cheeks until she hid her face in her hands to sob. As it also had become her routine every time her and Robin would get into an argument.

Which also had become their daily routine.

Robin could hear the brunette sobbing on the other side of their door. Which made him grow even angrier. He pounded on the door one last time before retrieving his keys from the top of the counter and slamming the front door closed on his way out.
____________________

MONTH'S LATER…

Emma looked down at the dent on her beloved car. Remembering that day as if it had happened yesterday. She hopped into her car as she drove out of Storybrooke, making her way into the familiar woods. Her memory replaying the night she brought Regina to this very place. Those damn memories that would never leave her head.

She stood before the worn out cabin, looking straight at it.

“Happy birthday, Regina.” She muttered to herself, as today would have been a special day for both of them, had they still been together.
____________________

Regina came home as night took over the sky, her brows furrowed at the mere sight of the apartment being filled with roses. "Robin?" She called out as she hung her purse in its usual spot.

Robin came into the living room area with a bouquet of roses in his hand. A pearly white smile on his lips. "Happy birthday, sweetheart."

The brunette was in awe. She really wasn't expecting this, nor did she want it from him if she was being honest with herself. Robin had his moments where he would try to do things like this to make her see that he loved her. And Regina knew that. But the way Robin loved her, wasn't the type of love she wanted.

"Thank you." Regina took the roses from him, just to not be rude. She headed into the kitchen to place the bouquet of roses in a vase after Robin gave her a quick peck on her lips.

Robin followed the brunette nurse into the kitchen, "I hope you won't turn down my invitation to dinner tonight. It's for your birthday after all."

Regina sighed, "Do we have to? I'm exhausted from work. I haven't been-" Her head turned towards the door as there was a knock. "Are you expecting someone?"

Robin smiled, "It's part of my surprise for you. Wait here." He quickly made his way to the front door.

In that moment. Regina couldn't help but to think about Emma. If she could make one wish today, it would be to be back in Germany with her, walking hand in hand along that flowered covered bridge as the full moon shined upon them. Dancing and kissing while they held each other in their loving embraces. Getting lost in each other's adoring gazes.

"Robin, dear! How are you?"

Regina groaned, her eyes closing at the familiar voice that echoed throughout the apartment.

"Oh, leave those, dear. That's what Belle is for."

"Very good, thank you." Robin walked into the house with Cora by his side, as Belle followed them close behind with the woman's suitcases in hand.

A smile spread across Cora’s lips as she caught first glance at her daughter who stood inside the kitchen, “Regina, dear! It’s always so good to see you.”

Regina drew in a breath, releasing it slowly as she put on her best smile while facing her mother, “Hi, mother.” She hugged her, “It’s good to see you.”

“Well, you could always look more surprised. After all, Robin did pay to fly me here to be with you, dear.” Said Cora.

Regina smiled once again, her eyes moving towards Robin as he stood near them with a smile of his own.

“Are you surprised?” He asked, “I thought, with me working a lot lately, it would be nice for you to have your mother around. Also, how about dinner? I am starving and I know you must be too, Cora.”

“I am absolutely famished! Dinner sounds lovely.” The older woman grinned, her eyes looking over to her daughter, “Doesn’t it, dear?”

Regina nodded, smiling her best smile, while feeling very much like a robot that was programmed to do and say the things that would make others happy but herself.

“It’s settled then! We are going out to dinner.” Robin smiled, feeling rather joyful that Regina finally agreed to something. Even if it was because her mother was here.

“Robin, I would like to ask, if Kathryn could also join us.” She glared at the man, “I know you don’t like her, and believe me, the feeling is mutual, but she is my best friend.”
____________________

Eventually, Robin agreed to invite Kathryn along as they all went out for a birthday dinner that was supposed to be a happy one. A special one. Maybe to Robin and Cora it was, since they were the only ones smiling. But, to Regina. It was far from a good birthday.

Actually, for almost the entire night, Regina was in a daze. Before her was a couple who danced the entire night. She focused on how happy they looked, how they loved each other.

She couldn’t help but think of Emma. Wonder what she was doing. That should be her with Emma, like that happy, loving couple on the dance floor. She missed those dances with her. Her mind working on overdrive as memories of her dances with Emma flashed before her. At least that was something Robin could never take from her. Her memories and love for her soldier.

“Regina, dear.” The brunette blinked at the sound of her mother’s voice as it called out to her, her hand resting on her arm as she woke her from her thoughts. “Robin is asking you a question.”

Regina’s eyes looked over to Robin as he chuckled.

“I asked, if you’d like to dance.”

Regina blinked, not hesitating her answer, “Dance? No.” She cleared her throat, composing herself, until she began to feel a little under the weather, “No, I… I’m sorry. I’m not feeling really well. Please, excuse me.”

“Regina?” Kathryn asked as the brunette got up from the table and rushed to the bathroom. She looked at Cora, not even acknowledging Robin, “I’ll just… go with her.” She stood up as she rushed after her friend. Leaving Robin and Cora all alone.

“Robin, dear.” Cora’s hand rested on the man’s forearm, gathering all his attention, “Now that we’re alone, I have to say. I was so happy to hear that you and Regina have finally mended your differences.” She continued as Robin smiled, “I told you she would come around. It was simply a matter of time. Tell me, what did you do to convince her?”

Robin chuckled, taking a sip from his champagne, “Oh, a gentleman never reveals his secrets.”

Cora chuckled as she remained in the dark of what truly was going on behind closed doors with her daughter and this so called gentleman.

Kathryn rubbed the brunette’s back gently, as she was hunched over the toilet, inside the stall. Her throw up seeming endless. “Alright, I think you’ve maybe had enough to drink for tonight, sweetie.”

Regina groaned as she stood up right, leaning against the bathroom, “Ugh, I haven’t even drank a single drop of alcohol. Must of been the food.” She chuckled, “I’m not exactly in great company.”

Kathryn scoffed, “You and I both, honey. God only knows I’ve been sitting on my hands all night to not punch that asshole in the face.” The blonde’s jaw clenched with anger, “Every time he smiles, I just want to punch his teeth in!”

At least Kathryn’s reaction made the brunette laugh a little as she leaned her head back against the stall. Closing her eyes as she drew in a breath, feeling the sickness come back.

“Maybe you should tell your mother what’s been going on with him. I’m sure if she knew, she-”

“No, Kathryn.” Regina shook her head, her eyes still closed.

“Well, then what if I go and talk to Emma-”

“Don’t you dare!” Regina snapped, “Ever. Robin has been watching her every move, he’s shown me pictures. Pictures that I can’t even keep.” She chuckled, “This is a nightmare. It’s worse than living in a nightmare. I’m not supposed to be here with them, I’m supposed to be here with Emma!”

“I know.” Kathryn rested her hand on her shoulder, hating that her best friend had to go through this and she couldn’t do a single thing to stop it, “I know. But, Regina, I’m sure Robin is all talk-”

“He’s not.” Regina shook her head, leaning it back on the stall once again. She drew in a breath, letting it go slowly, “Besides, knowing Emma, she probably thinks you were in on all of it too. She wouldn’t want to see you. You’d just be wasting your time. It’s better this way.”

“Better for who?” Asked Kathryn, her hand on her hip, “Because you aren’t benefiting anything from this. Except to be miserable.”

“If my misery means for Emma to live… even if its not with me, it’s worth it.” The brunette’s tone was filled with sadness, it even made Kathryn’s heart ache.

Kathryn shook her head, “Maybe this is just a bump on the road. You know? In all the series I’ve seen, my favorite ships are always happy, until something separates them. But, eventually, life brings them together again. So there’s hope!”

Regina chuckled, her eyes opening as she locked them with her best friend’s blue ones, “This isn’t one of your series, Kathryn. This is real life.” She paused, “There is no coming back from this.”

“Yee of little faith.” Were Kathryn’s only words as Regina bent over the toilet bowl once again to throw up. Her hand brushing back a strand of hair, as Kathryn came to a conclusion. “Regina..?”

“What?” Regina groaned as she stood up again, her eyes closing again.

“When was your last period?”

Regina’s eyes remained closed, her brows furrowing as she counted the days in her head, “Mm, I’m not sure. I’ve been keeping myself so busy at work, I lost track.”

Kathryn’s eyes remained focused on her best friend, until Regina’s eyes slowly opened to meet with hers.

“Oh, don’t even, Kathryn.” Regina made her way out of the stall, heading towards the sink as she washed her face to gain her composure.

“With Robin raping you all the time-!”

“Shhh!” The brunette’s eyes widened at Kathryn’s outburst.

“Regina it’s a major possibility.”

“No!” This time Regina shouted, looking around as her voice echoed in the bathroom, which caused an old lady who was making her way in to get startled. She grabbed a hold of Kathryn’s arm as she whispered, “Kathryn, you know I can’t get pregnant.”

“Says who?” Asked the blonde.

Regina scoffed, “Did you forget that Daniel and I tried during our marriage and never once was I able to conceive?”

This time Kathryn glared at her best friend, “Regina. You are one of the finest nurses I know and have had the pleasure of working with.” She paused, “With everything you have come to know about medicine, do you honestly believe that you were the one with the problem?” This time, Kathryn’s words clicked as Regina’s lips parted open. “Think about it. What if the one with the problem all those years was Daniel and not you? If Robin hasn’t been using protection, it’s a major possibility that you could be pregnant.”

Regina’s eyes grew wide. Pregnant? No. She couldn’t be. It wasn’t possible. Daniel was never the one with the problem, she was. She was sure of it. This situation couldn’t possibly get much worse and tie her more to Robin’s side.
____________________

Emma found herself at Marco’s that night. A beer by her side as she worked herself to death on making pieces of furniture for him. Beads of sweat already coating her forehead and temples as she didn’t allow herself to catch a single break that night.

She would stop, if only to take a much needed drink from her beer. Which she had had plenty of already.

Marco came out in his bathrobe as he heard the blonde hammering away at a new rocking chair she had made. As he walked up to her, she was already carving away at the wood, in fine detail. “Emma?” He called out to her, which made her stop, “It’s late. You should go on home.”

Even the blonde’s breathing was tiring as she moved back to carving out on the chair, “I’m not done yet. I have to get this done.”

As a soldier himself, Marco moved slowly towards the blonde who continued to carve out the details on the chair, observing her with calmness. “Emma.” He reached slowly for her shoulder, “I think it’s time for you to stop. You’re exhausted,” his eyes moved towards the empty beer bottle, “And obviously intoxicated. I think you need a break. Call it a night.”

“I have to get this done.” Emma’s balance was no good, just as her speech was beginning to slur a bit.

“Why? What on earth are you doing that’s so important?” Asked Marco.

“It’s her birthday.”

It was then, Marco understood. He nodded, “It’s for Regina?”

Emma nodded.

Marco placed his hand on her shoulder again, holding out his hand, “Hand me the knife. Let’s call it a night, we will finish this tomorrow.”

“No,” Emma shook her head, pulling the carving knife away, “I have to finish it tonight. I have to take it to her. She needs to see it.”

“She will.” He assured her, “She will see it. I will take it to her, alright?”

Emma blinked, “You?”

“Yes.” The older man nodded, leaving his hand outstretched in hopes she would give up the knife, “I will make sure she gets it. You know her better than I do, right? I’m sure she won’t mind if her gift is given to her a day late. So, come on. Let’s get you inside, get some rest.”

Emma nodded, handing him the knife as she headed inside the house with him. Marco sighed with relief as he was able to convince her. No way was he allowing her to drive on home like this, even if this was a small town and everything was blocks away.

“Do you think she’ll love her gift?” She asked Marco.

To which he nodded, wrapping his arm around her form as he helped her up his steps, playing along, “She will love it. She’d be crazy not to.”

Once they entered the house, Marco sat her down on his couch, “Alright, stay here. Don’t move.” He moved towards his kitchen, looking inside a cabinet for two advil’s as he filled up a glass of water. He came back towards the blonde, quickly setting the glass of water down as she was getting up from the couch, “What are you doing? Sit down.”

Emma’s body plopped on the couch as she only tried standing once again, “I have to get home. Ingrid will be worried if I don’t go-”

“I will call her and let her know you are staying the night.” He made her remain on the couch, holding her down, “I’ll call her.” He assured her, handing her the pills and the glass of water, “Here. Take these. Drink it all. Don’t move. I’m going to make that call.”

Emma did as she was told as she slowly placed the two pills in her mouth, followed by the water, placing the glass to her lips as she drank it. Spilling some, as it ran down the corners of her mouth. Due to her body being highly intoxicated.

“Don’t you worry about anything. I will watch her.” Marco nodded as he held the phone near his ear, “Good night.” As he moved towards the blonde, he was surprised to see her already passed out on the couch. The glass empty as it rested on the center table. He made his way into a closet, reaching for a blanket, placing it over the blonde as his hand caressed her hair before he left for his bedroom.

Chapter Text

Regina’s nerves had gotten the better of her. She took the day off, along with Kathryn to do what needed to be done. No more time wasted. She was lucky and thankful that at least her dearest friend could be there for her in this time of need. Their hands joined together as they waited patiently in the waiting area of a Doctor’s office.

“Ms. Mills.” Her name was called out by a medical assistant, as Regina and Kathryn both went right in, followed by the doctor’s office.

Waiting for the doctor always felt like a lifetime, especially when major news were to be delivered.

Regina looked over to Kathryn’s leg as it was continuously shaking up and down in a rapid motion. “Kathryn.” She called to her, “If you don’t stop moving your leg, I will amputated myself.”

“I’m sorry. I’m just nervous.” Kathryn’s leg stopped shaking, her head turning towards the door as Whale made his way inside his office. Thankfully, him and Regina maintained contact, and she didn’t have to worry about the news getting out of his office. If there was anyone she could trust, she knew it could be him.

“So? What’s the verdict?” Asked Kathryn, as Whale sat down behind his desk, his eyes focused on Regina.

A smile spread across his face, “Congratulations. You are two weeks pregnant.”

Both pairs of eyes grew wide, as their mouths dropped open at the unexpected news.

Because this couldn’t be possible. She absolutely could not be pregnant. Not from Robin.

This was meant to be a plan for her and Emma.

Whale’s smile slowly left his lips at their shocked expressions, “I take it you didn’t plan this?”

Kathryn made a sound that was between a chuckle and a chocked gasp, “This was far from planned, doc. I mean… how is this possible?”

Whale chuckled at Kathryn’s lost expression, “Well… I didn’t think I would have to give this speech. But when two people have sex-”

Kathryn shut her eyes. He was not about to give them the sex talk. Regina stepped in right after.

“I think what she means is… how is this beyond possible? I was told years ago, I couldn’t possibly convince. I tried with my first husband for months and we never had any luck.”

“You have proof of this?” Asked Whale, his eyebrows hitting his hairline in surprise.

Regina nodded, “Yes, I…” she dug inside her purse, retrieving an old form for when she had her physical to determine whether or not she could have children. “I brought it with me.” She handed it to Whale as he studied it thoroughly.

Whale’s eyes studied the form carefully, letting it drop on his desk as he sighed.

“What? What’s wrong?” Asked Regina, not knowing what to expect anymore.

Whale’s eyes met up with hers, “I’m sorry to have to say this to you but this form was tampered with.”

“What?” Both women said in unison.

Whale placed the form before them to see, grabbing his pen from the breast pocket of his lab coat as he signaled the doctor’s handwriting, “ Look here on this doctor’s signature. This is a male doctor. I know this because I happened to work with him years back.” He moved to the file cabinet behind him, retrieving an old file as he placed it on his desk beside Regina’s form. “Here is another form I filled out, which he signed. Compare these two signatures and you can clearly see a difference. The O has a line looping over to the A. I can guarantee you,” He chuckled, “He never signed that way. I should know. I filled out many forms in that hospital, which he had to sign for. I mean, what are the odds?”

Regina’s brows furrowed as she examined the documents herself. She knew plenty when it came to doctor’s forms. Her eyes met with Whale’s once again, “You are certain about this?”

Whale nodded, “Positive. I never forget a signature. Especially not this one.”

Kathryn’s hand rested on the brunette’s forearm as she spoke next, “Regina… Didn’t your mother pay for last night’s dinner?”

Just by the look in Kathryn’s eyes, Regina knew. The looping over other letters, that was something Cora unmistakably never failed to do. No matter what she wrote. Regina had seen her sign her name many times before to memorize the woman’s loops.

“May I have a copy of this?” She asked Whale.
____________________

Regina stormed inside Robin’s apartment that day, storming inside her mother’s guest bedroom as Belle quickly left, noticing that it was about to get ugly.

“Regina, dear. I thought you weren’t going to be back until later.”

The brunette threw the papers right at her mother, her lip curling in anger. “Tell me why. Why would you tamper with something like this? Why lie to me about me not being able to convince when clearly,” She pulled out the document from her doctor visit today, “This form here says I am two weeks pregnant.”

Cora stood up from her chair, “Obviously, you’re upset.”

“Upset?” Regina’s brows hit her hairline, “Oh, mother, I am more than upset right now. I am so upset, I may just commit a murder.”

“Alright, Regina. Calm down, this behavior is beneath you.”

“Tell me the truth!” The brunette shouted.

“You watch how you talk to your mother-!”

“Daniel and I tried so many times to have a baby! What did you do?!” Regina’s shouts over powered Cora’s this time. So much, that the woman sat back in her bed, her eyes wide in shock. She never imagined that Regina would dare to get this angry over something she considered to be unimportant.

“I may have… paid a doctor to make you believe that you were the one with the problem. But it was always him. And the reason I covered that up, was because I made it happen.”

“What?” Regina’s nostrils flared with anger, her hands directly on her hips.

Cora inhaled sharply, standing up from the bed as she replied, “That doctor may have helped me in giving him a medication which would make him an invalid. In exchange, I signed the form for him, so if there was ever a problem, I could directly solve it and make it look like someone wanted to make him look bad.” She paused as Regina paced around the room, not wanting to look her mother in the eye at the moment, “I know you are upset, dear, but believe when I tell you that mother-”

“Mother knows best?” Regina jumped in, the vein in her forehead ready to pop.

“You were young and stupid when you married him, Regina. He was going to take you nowhere!” She shouted, “Do you want to know what would have happened had you ended up pregnant with that man’s child? You would have been left to look after it yourself! Now is that the kind of life you really wished to have?” Cora asked.

“It was my life!” Shouted Regina, “Mine! I decided what happened with it. It was my choice to make, not yours.”

“Your father-!”

“My father was happy no matter what I chose. Which is more than I can say for you.” This time Regina’s reply was filled with coldness.

“Oh, don’t be overly dramatic, dear. What does it matter what happened? The past is the past, is it not? What should matter to you now is that you are finally pregnant and carrying the child of a good man.”

Regina chuckled, her fingers coming up to rub at her temples. “A good man?” She wanted to shout it, tell her what type of good man Robin really was. But, what difference would it make? When her mother turned out to be just as low as Robin was. “I want you out of this apartment within the hour. I’m going to leave, because I simply can’t look at you right now. But when I come back, you better not be here because mother, I swear to God and all that is holy that if you are. I will throw you out myself.”

Cora’s eyes grew wide, “Do you realize what you are saying right now? I am your mother.”

“You should have thought of that before you fucked up my life.” Regina made her way towards the door, stopping as she held it open, “I never want to see you again. And don’t you try to contact Robin to convince me to talk to you, because you’ll only be wasting your time.”

Cora plopped onto the bed again, literally in shock at her daughter’s outburst.

As Regina made her way out of the guest bedroom, she withdrew some money from her purse, handing it to Belle as she closed her hand around it, “Take this. Consider it a payment for all you’ve done for her. No matter what she says to you, you take this and you go far away. Go somewhere peaceful, where you’ll feel right at home.”

Belle’s eyes followed the brunette as she made her way towards the front door, “I don’t really know where that would be, ma’am.”

Regina turned to face Belle one last time, a small smile on her lips as she knew about the perfect place. “Storybrooke.”

As the door closed behind her, Regina released a breath she had been holding. Her hands cupping her stomach, taking in the feel of her baby, which was still as tiny as bean. Because this baby would be hers and hers alone. The circumstances of its upbringing might’ve not been ideal at all, or out of love, but it wasn’t this baby’s fault. For the first time in her life. Regina had found a little glimpse of happiness. A little glimpse of hope. She could be and would be a mother. And in that moment, she hoped and prayed it would be a boy. Like Emma always dreamed about.
____________________

“You threw her out?” Kathryn grinned, sitting at lunch before the brunette who had just finished telling her the whole ordeal the following day.

Regina chuckled, “I can’t even believe myself. Maybe I was too harsh on her.”

“Too harsh on her? The hell you were!” Kathryn chuckled, “I only wish I had been there. What did the asshole say?”

Regina shook her head, “He was happy just with the news of my pregnancy. He thinks I’m being unfair,” She rolled her eyes, “To my mother. No surprise there.”

Kathryn’s hand rested on her best friend’s, “You do realize what this means, don’t you? Now that you are officially having a baby… Robin isn’t letting you go.”

The brunette sighed, “I know,” she scoffed, “He wants us to get married now.”

The blonde’s eyes only grew wide.

“Yeah, he says he doesn’t want our child growing up without his parents. But, he already has me with him. Marriage with Robin is out of the question.”

“You know what I think you should do?” Asked Kathryn.

Regina shook her head, “Kathryn. There is not a fiber in me that wishes, wants to take off running to Storybrooke and ask for her forgiveness. But, do you really think she would forgive me knowing I am carrying Robin’s child?”

“Alright, let me stop you there.” Kathryn held out her hand, “First off, you said it yourself before, this is your child. Not his.”

“Yes, its my child. But like it or not, I wouldn’t be having this child if it wasn’t for him.” Regina looked around the cafeteria as her voice got a little loud. She whispered to Kathryn, “As far as bastards go, this is the one thing I see him completely happy over. And even though he doesn’t deserve it, he still has me blackmailed, which I can’t proof. If I so much as make a wrong move, anything that leads me to Emma,” She paused, “He may not only hurt her, but now he can take away Henry too.”

Kathryn’s brows furrowed, “Henry?”

And it was then, for the first time in what felt like a lifetime ago, Regina smiled.

It was then Kathryn understood with her friend’s look alone. Her hand giving hers a gentle squeeze, “Well, it’s true you can’t be getting upset or it’ll affect the baby.” She sighed, “I only pray that little Henry helps you believe how strong you really are in time. You’d have to be to let Emma go.”
____________________

Regina found herself sitting in that familiar tree back in Germany. A bag of M&M’s in hand as she separated the red ones. Her favorite. The tree, the surrounding of the park still all the same. The only difference was that now she wasn’t alone. She had a small child, not more than six or seven years old as he pretended to look around for someone.

“I see you!” shouted Henry, looking at her with the most heart warming smile.

Emma ran right behind him, stepping from behind the tree where she had been hiding, a smile spread across her face as Regina saw her run towards the small boy, chasing after him, “I got you!” Her arms circled the kid’s small form as they rolled around on the grass.

She stood up as the boy continued to play on his own, her eyes meeting Regina’s as the brunette now walked up to her, surprised to even see her here. Both women looking older but still the same.

“You’re here?” Regina’s voice broke as she asked the blonde before her.

Emma nodded, a small smile tugging at her lips as she held onto the brunette’s hands, “I’m sorry I’m late.”

Regina didn’t waste anymore time in throwing herself in the soldier’s arms. Their lips crashing together in a much needed and long awaited kiss. Emma’s hand resting on the back of the brunette’s head as their kiss only deepened. Tongues dancing in each other’s mouths with familiarity. Regina’s hands tugging at the blonde’s clothes, pulling her incredibly close.

Emma’s eyes shot open, blinking in a rapid motion as she sat up in her bed. Her hands running through her blonde hair in frustration. She had been having that same damn dream on reply every single night. At least, it was a major difference from being back at war, dreaming about all the awful things she was ordered to do. But, why this dream? Why now when it’s been years and it has taken her a long time to finally cope with the idea of not having Regina in her life. Although to her heart, that was a different story. Her body had numb itself to missing the brunette. Which, even in her dreams she looked just as beautiful as she always remembered her.

She sighed, reaching for the bottled water by her nightstand, taking a long, needed drink.

Six years. Six long years, almost seven and her body still ached for her first love’s presence. It angered her sometimes that she never truly could get over Regina, constantly wondering what she would look like now. Would she look different? All the same? She had to be thirty-five by now.

 

The soldier shook her head, reaching for the notebook Ruby had gifted her with on her twenty first birthday. She sat by her desk, turning on the lamp to help her see as she wrote. She had been writing for a while now. She would chuckle every time she would think about it, that even Regina would laugh about and definitely have something to say about her poems.

Emma never imagined herself as a poet. She never thought to be good enough for poetry, but there she was. Writing poems about love and some about heartache. She actually started writing love poems since the day she had been gifted with her notebook, but when things ended between her and Regina. She decided to stop. Now it was a mixture of poems.
____________________

As the sun began to rise, Emma took a drive into the city of Boston. She had been driving there a lot more now since Ruby finally achieved her dream of moving into the big city. It was more of an encouragement once she met a woman she could finally be happy with. Which she would call Emma and tell her all about her new girlfriend, ranting away about her happiness. Which Emma was happy over. She deserved someone good in her life.

Ruby had called her up and convinced her to finally meet her girlfriend of two years, ‘You never know, she may have a friend for you,’ she teased over the phone when they talked. To which Emma simply chuckled, shaking her head as the idea of opening to love was not at all on her mind.

So, off she went. But before meeting up with Ruby in her apartment, she had somewhere else to go first.

Dr. Archie Hopper sat in his office, reading through the scratchy handwriting of Emma’s poems. A smile spreading across his face as she had been following through his advice of writing down anything she felt every time she had a dream. He had been helping her with her PTSD for a while now and it seemed to be doing her some good.

The red, curly haired man adjusted his glasses as he nodded in approval, handing the notebook back to the blonde before him. “These are really good. That last one is has a lot of sadness. How do you feel after writing it down?”

Emma sighed, her body lying back on the stretched out couch. Her hands resting on her stomach as she focused up at the detailed ceiling, “Slightly better.”

“Why slightly?” Asked Archie.

“Because I’ve been having the same recurring dream lately. So I do what you suggested, I write about it. About what it makes me feel but…” She paused, shaking her head, “No matter how much I write about it, I can’t get it out of me.”

“And, what do you see in this recurring dream?”

Emma shook her head, her eyes closing, “It doesn’t matter.”

“Emma. You brought it up, you’re writing about it almost every night, it has to matter.” Archie’s eyes remained on the blonde, “This is a safe space. Nothing that you tell me will leave this room.”

Emma sighed as she sat up right on the couch, “Alright.” She paused, looking down at her hands as they remained in front of her, “Regina.”

“She’s the nurse whom you met in Germany?”

Emma nodded. “Am I crazy? I mean, it’s been six years, how can I still be holding onto her?”

Archie adjusted in his seat, “I’m afraid only you can answer that.”

“That’s helpful.” She glared at the man.

“It’s been said that dreams are a representation of what people miss, what they want. Or wished they had.” Said Archie.

“Now, tell me what you really believe, doc.”

“I believe that dreams can also be a representation of an unfinished business one has to take care of.”

Emma chuckled, “So… now you’re going to suggest that I, what? Find Regina? Show up at her front door and what? Tell her that I forgive her?”

“Why not?”

For the first time in years, Emma laughed. Although it wasn’t a happy laugh, it was still a laugh, “I’m sorry, doc. But that’s not happening.”

“It could help you. Put a lock on your past that torments you.”

“Help me?” She scoffed, “How on earth does seeing the woman that hurt, lied and betrayed me help me? It’ll only make me angry. Hurt me all over again.”

“Expressing pain and anger are just as good as expressing happiness and love, Emma. You were nineteen when you first met her, compared to now. Things may be different.” He placed his pen and notepad down on the side table, “Our time is up, but do think about what I said?”

Emma gave the man one last glare before leaving the room without uttering another word.

As she drove throughout the city, Archie’s words sounded in her head. Look for Regina? After all this time? She’d have to be out of her mind. What would she even say? How would she even start? What if Robin was there? Then again, what if he wasn’t? Would she invite her in?

Her knuckles turned white as the grip on her steering wheel tightened. Over the past six years, she had grown angry at Regina. Because the pain she had caused her killed her throughout time. And if Regina truly loved her, she would have looked for her. She would have found a way.

She sighed to herself, causing her tires to screech as she made an unexpected turn. Fuck it. What did she have to lose in looking for Regina? The worst that could happen was for her to tell her she never wanted to see her again.
____________________

As Emma stopped her car at what used to be the brunette’s apartment, she hurried up the stairs. Her leg would be feeling that later. She pounded on the door of the brunette’s old apartment, trying to catch her breath. She pounded again. Her brows furrowed as a lady answered the door.

“Yes?” Asked the lady, wondering why this crazy person was pounding at her door.

“Uh, I’m sorry, ma’am, is Regina here?” Asked Emma.

“Who?”

Emma blinked, “Regina Mills or Kathryn Midas. They live here.”

The older woman shook her head, “I don’t know anyone by that name, dear. You may want to ask the owner of the building. He’s been here for years, maybe he knew them.”

“Thank you.” Emma nodded as the door closed on her.

She soon headed down to speak to the owner of the building, asking him the same question as he quickly provided her with an answer, shuffling through papers of old tenants.

“Here it is! I knew I had their new address written down on their lease. In case any of their old mail came in, you know.” He showed her the address, pointing directly to it, “The place is only about twenty minutes away from here. You can’t miss it.”

“Thank you!” She rushed out of the building, driving to her next destination. Repeating the same steps as before as she rushed inside the building, pounding on the door of apartment 308B.

This time a man answered the door, “Who are you, what do you want?”

“Sorry. I was just wondering if I could speak to Regina.”

He shook his head, “There’s no one here by that name. Sorry.”

Emma placed her hand on the door as it was about to close, “Wait! Please, it’s important that I talk to her.”

“Do you understand English? No one by that name lives here!” His voice raised an octave.

Emma pushed the door once again with force this time, “Kathryn Midas! Do you know of anyone by that name that used to live here?”

The man’s brows furrowed, “That name a knew. She lived here before I moved in.”

“Do you know where she might be?” Asked Emma.

The man chuckled, “Sorry, she moved to New York.”

“New York?”

“Yeah. Last I knew, before she moved out of here she was living by herself for a good amount of years. She was living with someone, a friend, I think the owner said but she moved out shortly after they got this apartment. I’m sorry. That’s all I know.”

Emma swallowed the lump in her throat, “Thank you. I’m sorry to have troubled you.” She turned away from the door as she made her way out of the apartment. New York. If Kathryn moved to New York then that must mean Regina must be there. There was no doubt about it. Kathryn would bent over backwards for Regina, she’d never leave her alone.

A chime was heard coming from the blonde’s phone as Emma retrieved it from her jeans pocket, reading a text message from Ruby, asking where she was and if she was still showing up to her birthday dinner. Emma sighed as she quickly replied to the message, confirming that she would be showing up.

She mounted her car, as she headed out towards the bar where they were going to meet. Leaving the absurd idea of looking for Regina behind.
____________________

“Oh, there she is!” Ruby smiled as she moved away from the bar, rushing to hug her best friend. Her smile gone as she noticed the disappointed look on the blonde’s face, “What’s wrong, Em? You look like you could use a drink.”

Emma sighed, “Yeah. I’d say I do. More than one, actually.” She paused, as Ruby waited patiently for her to continue, “I went to look for her, Rubes. I went to look for Regina.”

“What?” Ruby’s eyes grew wide.

“Yeah.” Emma chuckled, “It was so stupid. My therapist suggested I put a lock on my past that torments me by looking for the person that caused me the most pain and forgive her.” She shook her head, “Crazy thing is, I felt like I was nineteen all over again.”

“So… did you…?”

“No.” Sadness took over the blonde’s tone, “She no longer lives in Boston. She left.”

“Shit. Em, I’m, I’m really sorry.” Ruby hugged her best friend once again, walking with her towards the bar, “Come on. Let’s get a drink, huh?”

Emma nodded, “Yeah. I’m sorry, I don’t mean to ruin your birthday.”

“You’re not. But, hey, I was right. She has a friend for you.” Ruby grinned.

“Ruby-”

“No.” Ruby locked her arm around Emma, her other hand pulling her by her jacket, “Come on, you promised you would be here and meet them both if she brought a friend for you. I’ve met her, she’s a nice girl.” She smiled even through Emma’s groan, her eyes locking onto her girlfriend, “Emma, this is Belle. Belle this is my best friend Emma.”

Belle smiled brightly at Emma, her hand stretched out towards her in greeting, “Hi.”

Emma smiled a sad smile, but it was her best smile she had given in years as she shook Belle’s hand, “It’s a pleasure to finally meet you, Belle.”

Chapter Text

Ruby looked over by the front door of the bar, “Where’s your friend? Emma here has been really excited to meet her.” She grinned over to the blonde as Emma only rolled her eyes. Hating the idea of being set up with a friend.

Dating was far from her mind. Despite the time that had passed.

“She should be here any minute. She just got held back at work.” Belle smiled, looking over at the blonde, “So what do you do, Emma? Ruby here hasn’t shut up about you since we met.”

“Nothing special, really.” Emma shrugged.

“Oh, stop!” Ruby waved her off, looking over at Belle, “She’s a writer.”

“Hardly.” Emma argued.

“And a very good one.”

“Really?” Belle smiled at the blonde, “I don’t believe I’ve read anything of yours yet. What have you written?”

Emma shook her head, her tone sad. She wasn’t trying to be rude, she just wasn’t feeling this night.

“There she is!” Belle ran towards her friend to meet her by the entrance.

Ruby leaned into Emma, “Em, cheer up. It’s been six years-”

“I know how long it’s been, Ruby.” Emma met her gaze, looking back down at the bowl of peanuts in front of her, “I just didn’t think she’d ever move away.”

“Well,” She paused, trying to find the right words, seeing that even after six years, Emma had been struggling with getting over Regina. Not that she was really trying to. “Maybe it’s better that way.” She continued as Emma’s eyes looked up at her, “I’m not trying to rain on your parade here, Em, but would you really want to talk to her if she walked into this bar right now and said, ‘Emma, I’m sorry. I made a six year mistake, but I never stopped loving you. Please, forgive me?’

Emma remained silent for a moment. It was true, over the course of six years, she grew angry about this entire situation. Because there was still something there for the brunette that stole her heart years ago. A small fire that if tended to, would surface up again.

But just as she was about to answer, Ruby spoke with a change of conversation, “Here comes Belle with her friend. Just… be nice? Please. I know it’s hard, but try to have fun tonight. Have a drink. It’s on me.” Ruby smiled as she took Belle’s hand, her eyes meeting with the new friend.

 

“What are you having?” Asked the bartender as he looked down at Emma.

“Just a beer for now. Thank you.” She spoke softly, hearing Ruby’s voice behind her.

“This is my friend Emma.”

“Rambo?” The girl called out, as Emma turned around in her seat at the sound of the new voice that had joined them. She smiled at the sight of the blonde, “It is you.”

“Wait, you two know each other?” Ruby asked.

“It was years ago. I was on vacation in Germany and I had an issue with an ex. Rambo here came in and saved me like a true savior.”

“Em, how come you never told me that?” Ruby nudged her arm, her smirk full on just as Belle’s was.

“It wasn’t a big deal. I’m sure you would have done the same.” Said Emma, taking a much needed drink of her beer.

“It was to me. I never forgot all about my savior.” She smiled, her eyes on Emma, “You should have seen her. It was a pretty heroic move.” The blonde looked different, much older. If she were to guess, she would be twenty-seven by now.

The jukebox played throughout the bar, and as soon as the first song started, Belle was quick to take Ruby by the hand, leading her towards the center of the bar where there was plenty of room to dance in.

“Come on! I love this song.” Said Belle, giving Ruby no choice but to please her girlfriend in a dance. Not that she minded. She loved to dance.

Their new companion took that opportunity to take a seat next to the blonde, her smile never leaving her. “They’re pretty cute together, huh?”

Emma looked over her shoulder at Ruby and Belle dancing, turning quickly back around, placing the bottle near her lips as she answered, “Yeah, Belle seems good for her.”

“So, Rambo has a name, huh? Emma?” She asked, and at the blonde’s nod she extended her hand towards her, “I’m Lily. Lily Page, and please, don’t make any jokes,” She rolled her eyes, “I’ve heard them all.”

Emma looked down at Lily’s hand, shaking it out of courtesy, “Lucky for you, I’m all out of jokes.”

“I’ll settle for a drink.” Lily winked playfully, enjoying the blonde’s company even if she wasn’t the light of the party.

Emma couldn’t help but notice the brunette’s smile and happy state of mood. It reminded her so much of herself years ago. “What’s your poison?” She asked.

Lily shrugged, removing her jacket as she laid it out on the seat next to her, “A beer is fine for now, thank you.”

Emma raised her hand, signaling the bartender as he nodded, quickly providing the brunette with a beer as he placed it in front of her.

“Thank you.” Lily smiled at the man, taking a sip of her beer, savoring the liquor as it stimulated her taste buds and ran right down her throat. “Mmm…” Her eyes closed, “God, I’ve been dying for a drink all night.” She looked over at Emma as she was giving her a weird look, a look which made her smile, “Sorry. Long day at work.”

“Do I want to know what you do?” Asked Emma, taking another drink of her beer.

“I’m a cop. Detective, actually.” Lily chuckled at the surprised look the blonde gave her, “I know. I know what you’re thinking. How could I possibly be a cop if, when you met me, I had my face bruised up, right?”

“That thought did cross my mind.” Emma nodded, finishing the rest of her beer, soon ordering another.

“Well, that was years ago. I was in a really bad place in my life, as you well saw.” She rolled her eyes, not proud of that moment in her life, “But, luckily after that trip I got out of it and decided that it was the best decision I could have made. I found my strength in life and just went for what I wanted.”

Emma nodded, raising her bottle towards Lily, “Good for you. You look different than what I remember.”

“You look different too,” Lily chuckled, “Although, I do remember you being more… happier. Now, you just look…”

Emma’s eyes met with hers as she waited for her answer.

“Vulnerable.” Her voice was soft, “Maybe a little sad.”

“Just a little?” Emma’s brow raised, that being something new anyone had ever told her.

Lily smiled, “Well… a smile certainly wouldn’t kill you.” She took a drink of her beer, her eyes focused on Emma. The woman did look different, still a good different. Older than she remembered her to be. “I have to say, when Belle told me she had a friend to introduce me to, I never imagined it would be you.”

“Disappointed?” Asked Emma.

Lily’s brow raised, “Do I look disappointed to you?”

Emma chuckled, “Give it time.”

“You know, I do remember you being a little more optimistic before.” Lily chuckled, “I mean, come on. You were a soldier, who might I add disarmed a gun single handedly, which was pretty impressive. You can’t be all that bad, Rambo.” Her eyes looked her over, “I’m certainly enjoying the company.”

It was then, Emma let out a small laugh, bringing her beer to her lips as she took a drink.

“Did I miss something? What’s the joke?”

Emma looked over at Lily, “You’re the first one to say that to me in a long time. I haven’t been much for company lately. Half of a town would disagree with you.”

Lily’s brow raised, “Half a town? Hm.” She paused, “Well I’ll gladly prove them wrong any day.”

Emma’s brows furrowed as she looked over Lily. Did she really have this much faith in her to be a fun person all over again? She had to wonder. She remembered when she was optimistic about the future, about people. And as she looked into Lily’s eyes, she couldn’t help but remember herself, the way she was with Regina. She turned her attention back to her beer, drinking the last drop.

The soft guitar sounds and voice Hozier’s Cherry Wine began to play throughout the bar, straight out of the jukebox.

Lily glanced over at Belle and Ruby who’s bodies remained intertwined with one another in a dance so slow, she envied them. She turned to look at the blonde next to her, a cheeky twinkle in her eye as a smirk formed on her lips.

That caught Emma’s attention as she could feel her eyes burning a hole right through her, “What?”

“So you rescue women in distress like a white knight on a horse, after fighting battles that weren’t your own like John Rambo.” She paused, glancing over at her friend as she danced with her girlfriend, “But can she dance?”

Emma turned to look at Lily with a questioning gaze, shaking her head, “Sorry. I haven’t danced for years, I’m afraid, my leg wouldn’t be up for it.”

“War injury?” Asked Lily.

The blonde nodded, “I almost lost it.”

Lily nodded, standing up from the stool as Emma followed her every move, “Well, lucky for you, it’s a slow song.” She took the blonde’s hand, not giving her a chance to protest against dancing as she walked her towards the center of the bar.

The only sound Emma made was that of a soft grunt as her leg was definitely feeling the running she had done on it earlier.

“Relax, I’ll go easy on you. I promise.” Lily smiled, her hand resting on the blonde’s shoulder, while the other remained linked with Emma’s own hand. “It’s just a dance, Emma,” She whispered, her eyes locking into the blonde’s green ones as she could feel her body tense up at her contact, “Not a marriage proposal.”

Emma looked over at Ruby, noticing she was too distracted with Belle to even notice her in this dancing situation. She nodded as her other hand rested on the woman’s hips. Her hand shook at the contact because it had been a long time since she’s had this type of contact with anyone. Let alone dance with anyone.

Her body soon relaxed enough to follow Lily’s slow steps as they swayed to the song.

Lily’s eyes were locked on the soldier’s, taking in their dance, even if Emma’s eyes weren’t always focused on her. “I hope your girlfriend won’t mind us dancing. I remember the last time you told me you were seeing someone.”

“That was then.” Emma’s voice was low, her jaw clenching at the memory.

“Oh? Is she the reason why you’re such a serious person now?” Lily asked, keeping up with their swaying as her hand left the blonde’s, while it traveled over her shoulder as she could feel her wanting to pull away, “Hold up, Rambo. We aren’t done dancing yet.” Her arms tightened around Emma’s neck. “We don’t have to talk about anything you don’t want to. I’m sorry I asked.”

Emma’s eyes looked into Lily’s green ones, her voice still as low as she could feel her body starting to relax again, her free hand resting on the other side of the brunette’s hips.

“I thought of you, you know,” Lily’s voice was as soft as Emma’s now, “No one ever stuck up for me like you did back in Germany. No one that cared anyway.”

“What makes you think I did?” Asked Emma.

Lily’s eyes locked on the blonde’s again, a small smile tugging at her lips, “You wouldn’t of gotten involved if you didn’t.”

“Maybe I was trying to be nice.”

The brunette chuckled, “Call it whatever you want. Point is, I always wondered if I would ever see you again. To thank you properly.”

Emma froze as the next thing she felt were the woman’s lips make contact with her own. They remained there for a while, until Lily backed away, remaining close to the blonde’s body.

“I’m sorry. Was that wrong?” Asked Lily as she was unable to decipher the look in Emma’s eyes. “I can be very direct, I know. I don’t mean to freak you out, I just… I couldn’t kiss you then, given the circumstances and call me crazy, but I regretted not to.” She sighed, “And as direct as I am, now that we are both not seeing anyone. I was thinking that maybe I could finally thank you?”

Was she really offering to sleep with her? She certainly had that lustful look in her eyes. Emma had to admit, Lily was quite attractive, sure. Who wouldn’t want to sleep with her? God knew she could use some bodily contact. What could it hurt, really? Lily was the one offering after all.

“Just so you know…” Emma replied, in all honesty, “I don’t do relationships anymore.”

Lily chuckled, “What a relief. Neither do I. So, I guess this works out well for the both of us.” She paused, “So, why don’t we stick around for a while longer and have more drinks, enjoy each other’s company and we’ll take it from there. If anything does happen between us, we can always blame it on the alcohol.”
____________________

Drinks did happen. Emma found herself enjoying the brunette's company after they exchanged a few more words over shots. She discovered that with a few drinks in her, Lily could become rather flirtatious. Which she quite enjoyed, once alcohol took over her system.

And even if her brain thought about a certain brunette, once Lily offered for her to go back to her place for more fun. Emma was all for it.

After all. It had been six years. Six long years without any type of physical contact of any type. Six long years of unsatisfied scratching that itch of loneliness she would sometimes feel.

I mean, honestly, what was wrong with a one night stand? And who was she turn down such an offer from an incredibly attractive woman like Lily?

Bodies crashed inside the brunette's apartment. Both women groaned into their shared, heated kiss as their bodies hit the wall near the entrance. Lily's hands slipped off the blonde's leather jacket, allowing it to pool on the floor.

Lily parted from their kiss, looking into Emma's green eyes, her breath panting, "You don't think I'm too fast, do you?"

"Fast or slow, I like the direction you're going." Emma's voice was low and filled with lust.

Lily smirked, her lips nearing the blonde's again as they danced in this seductive kiss. She turned their bodies over, slamming Emma against the wall causing her to release a grunt, while Lily's tongue, teeth and lips worshiped her neck. All while her hands worked on her jeans. Happy to find a soaked sex before her as her hand slipped within the entrance of unbuttoned jeans.

Emma couldn't help but release a moan as the woman's fingers entered her, followed by a hard pinch of her teeth biting down on her most sensitive spot.

Lily moaned with pleasure and satisfaction after obtaining the reaction she most wanted.

That was the seal on this one night stand.

The blonde's hands didn't waste anymore time in traveling down the brunette's sides, hips, all the way down to cup her butt cheeks. Lily released a soft groan as the next thing she felt was how Emma's hands squeezed, raising her up as their bodies turned while she was slammed against the same wall. Hard.

Something Lily didn’t mind one bit, as she bit the blonde’s bottom lip, pulling it with the edge of her teeth. Her eyes falling on a small red pearl that rested finely on the blonde’s lip. “Sorry. I guess it’s been a while.” She whispered.

Emma licked at her bottom lip, as the metallic taste of blood only stimulated her senses. Quickly, she moved towards the bedroom, her body falling right on Lily’s. Lips crashing onto hers in a lustful kiss, while the other woman’s hand worked on undoing her jeans.

This wasn’t meant to be loving. It wasn’t meant to be gentle, for either of them.

And it wasn’t. All those years, all that time dealing with pain, heartache and anger came out for both women. Sex was their only way of communicating what they felt, what they carried throughout the years.

And that was okay. As long as no feelings were involved.
____________________

Claps and cheers were heard all through the house in New York, as Henry celebrated his sixth birthday. He had blown out his candles with everyone gathered around him. Robin stood before him, taking pictures. A smile on his face.

“It’s crazy how big he’s gotten over the years.” Said Kathryn, leaning into the brunette. Watching her smile grow over her son. Having Henry finally gave Regina some peace and tranquility in all this mess of a situation. But she knew, from the look in her eyes that Emma still lingered in her memory and heart.

A knock was heard at the door, to which Regina walked over to answer. A smiling redhead greeted her on the other side of the door as she held a gift in her hands.

“May I help you?” Asked Regina.

“I hope I’m not too late. I’m here to see the birthday boy.”

Regina smiled, reaching for the gift, which was pulled away from her.

“If you don’t mind, I’d like to give it to him myself.” The redhead smiled. Her smile only growing at the sight of Robin as he stood behind Regina. “Robin. I hope I’m not too late to wish Henry a happy birthday.”

“Not at all,” Robin smiled, pulling open the door, “Come right in. He’s right over there. We’re just getting ready to cut the cake.”

Regina caught Robin by the arm, not having seen the woman before, “Who is that woman?”

“She’s the wife of one of my colleagues. She’s seen Henry from the pictures in my office. I invited her.” He made his way past the brunette, gathering around the crowd as Henry opened up his new present excitedly.

Regina stood next to Kathryn as both women’s eyes remained on the redhead as they watched him closely with Henry. She was very affectionate with the boy, more than anyone should be. Almost as if he were her own child.

“Do you know who that is?” Regina asked Kathryn, to which the blonde shook her head.

“No idea,” Her eyes focused on her interaction with Robin, “Robin seems to know her well, it seems. Don’t you think?”
____________________

Once the party was over. Robin and Regina were left to clean up the entire mess that’s typically left after a successful gathering.

“You seemed overly friendly with that woman tonight. You treat all your colleagues wives the same way?” The brunette asked, washing the dishes that were used for the cake. While Robin walked around the kitchen, throwing empty cups and napkins into a trash bag. Along with torn up wrapping paper.

He chuckled, tossing a couple of empty cups into the trash bag, “After six years of being together, now you’re going to tell me you are jealous?”

Regina chuckled, dropping the plates as they clattered onto the sink as she faced the man, “I have yet to see the day I get jealous over you, Robin. I just don’t like being lied to. Especially not in front of Henry.”

His brows shot up to meet his hairline, “You’re one to talk. You lied to Emma convincingly enough, making her think we had an affair. All those years ago,” he chuckled, getting back to throwing trash into the bag.

Regina’s lip curled up as she walked up to the man, delivering a hard slap across his face. Which Robin stared her down after with anger written all over his eyes. “Don’t you dare throw that in my face. Ever. You have no right.”

“You have no right in telling me who I can and can not see either. Not when we haven’t been together for years.” Robin spoke through clenched teeth.

“Are you admitting you have something with that woman?” Regina’s brow raised, “I wonder how she would take the news of you being into blackmail and rapist for six years.”

Robin held up a finger towards the woman’s face in warning. She could practically see words on the tip of his tongue that couldn’t make their way out. He simply dropped the bag, his jaw clenching before the brunette, “I haven’t touched you for six years. You should be thrilled about that. Unlike you, Zelena gives me what you never did. I got what I needed from you, which is Henry. We aren’t married, so I don’t see the problem in looking for affection elsewhere.”

“Frankly, Robin. I could care less who you sleep with, or what you do with your life. But I do ask that you respect Henry and not bring her into this house again. Or I swear to you, I will take him with me and you will never see him again.”

Robin closed the distance between them, ready to say something in reply but was interrupted as soon as Henry walked into the kitchen with a stuffed animal of a dog in hand. Causing both Robin and the brunette to look over to his small figure.

“Henry, what are you doing out of bed?” Asked Regina, to which Henry looked at his mother with a pout and worried eyes that he would get in trouble.

“I had an accident.”

The brunette looked down at the spot on his pajama pants as she walked over to the small boy, kneeling before him as she brushed his bangs away from his face. Which were getting longer each time she saw them. “Oh, sweetheart, that’s alright. It’s just an accident. Everyone has accidents.” She smiled, which made Henry smile a little. “Come on. Let’s go up to your room and get you all cleaned up so we can get you into bed. You can sleep with me tonight.”
_____________________

Once Henry was clean and tucked into his mother’s bed, Regina leaned down to kiss him on the cheek, smiling down at him as she always did. “That’s much better, hm?” She smiled again as Henry nodded.

“Is daddy mad?” He asked in a soft voice, his tiny arms holding onto his stuffed dog.

Regina shook her head, not wanting to alarm him with their troubles. Not when he was still a small boy, “No. He’s just stressed, that’s all. That’s the life of a doctor.”

“You a doctor too.”

Regina chuckled, “Yes, I am. But I don’t have the amount of stress your dad does. Everyone is different.” She leaned in to place another kiss on the boy’s forehead this time, “Go to sleep now, Henry. I need to go finish cleaning downstairs and then I’ll be back up in here with you.”

Henry nodded, snuggling into the gigantic bed as he held his stuffed animal closer to his tiny body.

“Mama?” Regina turned to look at her son as she headed towards the door, waiting for him to ask his question next. “You think I can get a doggy?”

The brunette chuckled, “We’ll talk about that tomorrow while we are at the park, alright?” She smiled again as Henry simply nodded, closing his eyes, allowing sleep to take over.
____________________

It was around five in the morning when Emma’s phone chimed. The screen illuminating the room a bit as her eyes opened up slowly. Her head throbbing from the obvious hangover. Along with her leg as it began to feel the strain she had placed on it. She hissed softly from both the spinning sensation as well as the pain in her leg. Her eyes looking over at Lily’s naked body that slept next to her. She groaned as she rubbed at her eyes, reaching for her phone to see an email from a publishing company. Her thumb clicked clicked on the email as she read it to herself.

Dear Ms. Swan,

We are happy to inform you that Mrs. Victoria Belfrey has received and looked over your manuscript as a writer for HarperCollins Publishers. She would love a meeting with you to discuss further details on your first book deal. A plane ticket and hotel room will be covered as part of the company’s expenses. Details of your flight have been attached. We hope to see you here first thing tomorrow morning.

Sincerely,

The HarperCollins Publishers Team, N.Y.

Chapter Text

"New York? That's fantastic, Emma!" Ingrid spoke through the phone. Lucky for Emma she was always up early due to her dancing all the time. "So, I guess you should be getting ready to leave in a couple of hours, huh?"

"Yeah. I know this is very last minute but would you like to come with me?" Emma asked.

"Me?" She could see her surprised look through the phone already.

"Who else?" Emma leaned up against the door, just outside Lily's room, "This is something important for me and I'd really love it if you were there to cheer me on, as you would say." Her eyes looked over towards the door as Lily made her way out, fully dressed. "I have to head on home to pack and all, so think about it. I really hope you'll say yes."

Lily spoke as soon as Emma hung up her call, "New York, huh? Whoever was on the phone is sure very lucky to be able to go with you." She teased. To which Emma smirked with a roll of her eyes.

"It's nothing like that."

Lily chuckled, "It's a joke, Emma." She paused, her eyes looking the blonde over, "So, I guess breakfast is out of the question?"

"Unfortunately. I really should get going but…"

Lily leaned in, placing a kiss to Emma's lips, "Say no more." She smiled, "You gotta do what you gotta do. I had fun too. Who knows, maybe once you get back," her hand played with with a stand of her blonde hair, "We could get together again."

Emma's eyes looked down at the brunette before her, her lips not at all serious but not a full on smirk either. Their distance from each other still to a minimum, "You don't even have my number."

Lily smirked at the soldier's raised brow, as she held her phone up for Emma to see her name and number had already been already added to her contract list.

"Perks of being a detective." Said the brunette.

She was smooth. Emma had to give her that.

"Hurry back, Rambo." She watched as Emma walked out of her apartment. Her smirk only growing as her body deliciously ached.
____________________

Emma looked outside of the window as the flight was making excellent time on her arrival in New York. The nerves set in her stomach as she was close to landing in ten minutes.

“Nervous?” The blonde turned to the sound of Ingrid’s voice beside her.

“I think that might be an understatement.” Emma joked, smiling a little as she was happy Ingrid decided to come with her after all her beginning and pleading.

Ingrid’s brow raised, “Did you just joke? Well, that is certainly much better. You’re slowly starting to be the Emma I remember you to be.”

Emma remained silent for a few minutes. Could she ever be the same? She had to wonder that herself every day.

“I don’t think I could ever be the same.” Emma replied, looking back out the window as her mind raced with many thoughts and questions of its own.

Ingrid stared at the blonde, being able to read her perfectly, “You’re wondering if you’ll see her again. Aren’t you?”

Emma turned to look back at Ingrid. She shrugged, “It’s a big city.”

“Yes it is. But the world can also be a very small place when it comes to someone’s past. Look at Carl. I never imagined him finding us, yet he did.”

Emma looked out the window again, “The past always has a way of catching up with you.” She mumbled, knowing Ingrid’s wise words all too well by heart now.

Ingrid nodded, “That it does.”

There was a bit of turbulence as the plane landed, its speed slowing down until it came to a complete stop.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we hope you’ve enjoyed your flight. Please remain in your seats until all seat belt signs are turned off. Thank you for choosing American Airlines and welcome to New York.”

“You ready?” Ingrid asked, once the seat belt signs were turned off, instructing everyone that it was safe to start making their way out of the plane.
____________________

Once they arrived to the hotel room, their eyes drank in the sight of the suite that was reserved for Emma. Neither of them could believe their eyes. Emma expected a simple room, but this? This was an entire house in a hotel.

“Oh, my…” Ingrid looked into the bathroom, a joker like smile on her face, “Alright, I am in love with this bathroom. I’m glad I decided to come.”

Emma smiled, walking towards the table that was near a giant window that looked over the city. Her eyes drinking in the buildings. New York certainly was beautiful. And somewhere out there, was Regina. She looked down at a platter of chocolate covered strawberries that was placed in the center of the table, along with a bottle of champagne that was already icing in a bucket. She took the note within her fingers that was placed before it.

“To the start of a new partnership. Welcome to New York, Ms. Swan! - V. B.”

“Emma, you won’t believe the size of this Jacuzzi tub in here!” Ingrid poked her out of the bathroom, her eyes moving quickly towards the champagne and chocolate covered strawberries, “Is that..?”

“A little welcome gift from Mrs. Victoria Belfrey.” Emma held up the note, tossing on the table, which Ingrid quickly picked up to read.

“Fancy!” Ingrid smiled, “Looks like you finally made it big. What time is your meeting with this Victoria Belfrey?” Asked Ingrid.

Emma glanced down at her watch that was on her wrist, “Ten O’Clock sharp. I still have two hours before then.”

“Well, then, plenty of time for us to go and do some shopping!” Ingrid smiled as Emma’s brows raised.

“Shopping?”

“Yes! You aren’t thinking of meeting up with the woman to the most important meeting of your life in that leather jacket, are you?” Ingrid shook her head, “We are dressing you up. First impressions are important, Emma.”
____________________

Emma looked herself over in the mirror of the dressing room, tying up the last few buttons her black suit jacket on top of a purple, maroon colored blouse. She looked entirely different than what she was used to, that was for sure.

“Don’t you think this is a bit much?” She asked Ingrid, who stood behind her, looking at the soldier's appearance through the mirror with a megawatt smile. Quite proud of her work.

“Not at all!” Her smile not leaving her, “You look absolutely gorgeous, Emma! It’s like a new you.”

Emma smiled at Ingrid, looking at herself in the mirror again. She was right. She did look different. It wasn’t a wardrobe she was used to, but she could learn to like it. Everything to the black, well pressed pants to the jacket that now covered her body, fitting perfectly against her athletic figure, fit real well.

“You’ll make a hell of an impression. Trust me.” Said Ingrid, earning another smile from the younger blonde. “You grew up too quickly on me.” Her eyes tearing up.

Emma turned to face Ingrid, her hand caressing the woman’s arm, “Thanks for coming with me. It means a lot to me that you’re here.”

“I wouldn’t miss it for the world.” She smiled, “Besides that tub has been calling out my name ever since I laid eyes on it.”

Emma laughed a light laugh, removing her jacket from her body.

“Oh, leave it!” Said Ingrid, pulling the jacket back on the blonde’s body, “I saw these shoes that would go great with this outfit. Wait here, I’ll bring them.” Ingrid walked out of the dressing room, pulling the curtain all the way back in the process.

Emma remained looking herself over in the mirror, being able to see part of the store through it as the curtain remained half open.

“Regina! Come and look at these shoes!”

Emma’s eyes moved directly over her shoulder through the mirror as she spotted no other than Regina Mills. She was there. In the same store as she was in right now, totally clueless to her presence due to being distracted with a set of clothing. Her lips parted open as she quickly moved behind the curtain, hiding herself with the best of her abilities.

That Regina did notice, for out of the corner of her eye she could swear she heard movement coming from one of the dressing rooms near her.

Emma saw her coming closer and closer towards the dressing area through the mirror. Thank God it was slightly turned, or Regina would sure see her there. What should she do? Should she come out and say something? Should she remain hidden?

“Regina!” The brunette turned to Kathryn as she approached her with a pair of shoes in hand, “Didn’t you hear me calling you?”

“Sorry, I…” Regina looked over to the dressing room, not moving any further. She could have sworn she saw someone standing there a minute ago. Someone with blonde hair.

“What?” Asked Kathryn, looking over to the dressing room area.

Regina shook her head, “Never mind,” Her eyes moved towards the shoes Kathryn held in her hand, “Are you getting those?”

Kathryn smiled, “A woman can never have too many shoes.”

Regina chuckled as she walked away with Kathryn to pay for the shoes, but not before looking over to the dressing room that still appeared empty.

Emma released a breath she had been holding, her eyes focused on the brunette through the mirror as she disappeared. She felt her heart beat a hundred miles per hour inside her chest, so fast, she was sure it would pop out.

Six years. Six years and Regina Mills still looked incredibly beautiful. Just like the first time she laid eyes on her.

And now, for the first time in six years, Emma was right back to square one.

“Alright, here we-” Ingrid’s eyes grew wide at the sight of the blonde’s pale complexion, “Emma, wha-?” She placed the shoes down quickly on a single chair, her hands quickly embracing the blonde’s biceps. “What’s wrong with you? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

Emma exhaled a sharp breath as she chuckled, “Yeah, I’d say that’s about right.”

“Sit down.” Ingrid quickly removed the shoes from the chair as Emma sat right on it, placing her head in her hands while her elbows rested on her legs.

Once she took a minute to gather herself, she finally looked up at Ingrid with teary eyes. A look she had let go of for a long while, “I saw her, Ingrid,” She paused, “Regina.”

Ingrid’s lips parted, “You saw her?”

Emma nodded, “Yeah.” She breathed out her answer, almost forceful. Her eyes meeting Ingrid’s again, “She didn’t see me. I, I panicked, I wasn’t sure what to do so I hid.” She placed her head in her hands again, shaking her head, “I know, I shouldn’t of hid, I should have just faced her…” She looked at Ingrid, “But what would I have said? I-”

Ingrid placed a hand on the blonde’s back, caressing it gently, “Emma. Breathe.” She continued as the soldier did just that. “You did what first came to mind, there’s nothing wrong with that. Absolutely nothing. Maybe it just wasn’t time for you two to talk yet, but it doesn’t mean you never will.”

“No. No, I… I rather leave things the way they are.” She paused, looking into Ingrid’s eyes, “I wouldn’t even know what to say anyway. Everything just came rushing back, it felt like a sledgehammer pounded right through my chest, you know.” She shook her head, “My anger more than anything wanted to take over me. So, maybe hiding was for the best.”
____________________

After that emotional roller coaster at the store, Ingrid stayed back in the hotel room to enjoy that big tub, right before Emma showered and got herself all dressed up for her big book meeting. The blonde decided to take a much needed walk. The restaurant where her and Victoria would meet wasn’t that far from the hotel, so she decided to walk there. She looked over at a park where people were lying on the grass, kids were playing. She stood there for a moment, contemplating the scenery.

It made her feel at peace again.

But, her mind quickly worked on overdrive as she couldn’t help to remember hers and Regina’s first date as she spotted a big tree among the rest. As if on automatic, her thoughts took her right back to that park in Germany. Exchanging chocolate candies for fared asked questions.

Her cell chimed as Emma reached for it, only to read a new text message.

Give that meeting hell and back. Good luck, Rambo. ;-)

A small smile tugged at her lips at the message from Lily. She was sure one of the best cops if she remembered her meeting.

The blonde looked down her feet as a red ball hit her shoes while it rolled towards her. She bent down to pick it up, looking around to see who its rightful owner was.

Henry came running, looking up at the blonde who now held his bell one handed and looked down right at him.

Emma smiled at the sight of the boy, holding the ball before him, “Is this yours?”

Henry nodded, his tiny arms reaching for the red circular object as Emma’s smile grew.

“Thank you.” He smiled up at the blonde stranger.

Emma looked around for any sign of anyone looking for the small boy. “You’re not here all alone, are you?” She asked, looking back down at him.

Henry shook his head, smiling as he held up his ball, “Wanna play?”

Emma couldn't help but smile, “How old are you?” She grew curious at the boy’s cuteness. His big brown eyes, and long banged hair. He looked rather familiar to her, but she couldn’t quite place the resemblance.

“Six.” Replied Henry, clutching his stuffed dog under his arm.

Green eyes moved towards the stuffed animal, feeling a certain pull towards the child. Even she couldn’t understand it herself. “Is that your favorite? What’s his name?”

Henry nodded, “Woofy,” he smiled. “I want a real one.”

“A real one?” Emma looked over at the stuffed animal, “He looks pretty real to me.” She grabbed the stuffed animal from the boy’s hands, spotting her necklace pendant hanging from its neck. It was no longer on the necklace but tied to a string that was around the dog’s neck. She looked up at Henry, as she recognized the unmistakable pendant immediately.

“Henry!”

Emma’s lips parted at the name of the small boy, “Your name’s Henry?”

Henry nodded, smiling, liking who he considered his new friend instantly.

Henry. Her necklace pendant. It all clicked. He was Regina’s son. Regina had a son. With Robin.

Emma instantly began feeling a little sick to her stomach. Not because of the boy, but this entire day seemed to be determined to fall down on her.

“You don’t look so good.” Said Henry, waking Emma up from her trance as the small boy took her by the hand while he smiled at her, “Come! Meet my mama! She’s a doctor.”

Emma blinked, smiling down at the boy as she carefully withdrew her hand from his tiny grip, “I have to get going. I have work, but maybe some other time I can meet her.”

“Okay.” Henry smiled, waving as Emma rushed off, “Bye!”

“Henry?” Regina looked down at her son, placing her hand on his shoulder as she bent down to be at his level, “What have I told you about running off like that? You can’t be wandering around by yourself where I can’t see you.”

“I wasn’t by myself, mama!” Henry smiled, “I made a new friend. She was pretty, like you.”

Regina smiled. Her son’s sweet words always made her forget about any bad day she could be having, “You know you aren’t supposed to talk to anyone you don’t know. Come on. Let’s head on home, hm? I need to get to work soon.”

“Okay.” Henry walked along with his mother, hand in hand, but not before turning around to see if with any luck he could spot his new friend.
____________________

Emma walked her way towards the restaurant where she was to meet Victoria Belfrey. Her mind racing with thousands of questions of how Henry came to be. It may have been six years, but she remembered everything about Regina. She remembered her saying she couldn’t have children, and now she has a son… with the man that angered her to her very core. She shook her head. No. Maybe they didn’t have him, because there was always the fact that adoption could have been a possibility.

But, what if they did conceive? If they did, it wasn’t the child’s fault. He was a small boy and was innocent in all this. He didn’t ask to be born into all this mess.

Henry. She couldn’t help but have a small smile tugged at her lips at the remembrance of the boy’s name. She named her son Henry.

And her necklace… it wasn’t exactly around her anymore, but she kept it. Even after six years, she kept it and passed it onto him.

What wasn’t clear to her was why? Why keep it when Regina was the one to break it off?

She couldn’t help but feel angry all at once. Not at the boy for exciting, but at Regina for hurting her and breaking something magical they once had. And now after six years, life seems determined to make her run into her by any means. And as if that wasn’t enough, she had to keep her necklace.

It was all very confusing. Sending her on a spiral of emotions once again.

But, as Emma neared the restaurant and opened up the front glass door, she drew in a breath just as Archie had shown her to do and emptied her mind of any questions that might still be lingering in there. She was in New York for a life changing opportunity in her life. She needed to have a clear head. She couldn’t ruin this. She wouldn’t.

A woman smiled at her with the warmest smile, “Welcome to L’Artusi. Table for one?”

“No, I’m meeting someone here.”

“Name?” Asked the hostess.

“Belfrey.” Replied Emma.

The woman smiled, “Yes, Mrs. Belfrey is expecting you. Right this way, please.” She walked past a few tables as Emma followed close behind. Her eyes taking in the fancy place. White table cloths, not a speck of dust in sight. It was unlike anything classy she’s ever been to. This place screamed money. “Here you are.” She motioned towards the table, walking away almost instantly. As Emma noticed food was already on the table.

“You are punctual. A few minutes early.” Said Victoria, a small smirk on her lips, “I knew I was right about you.” She stood up, extending her hand towards the blonde, “It’s a pleasure to finally meet you, Emma. May I call you Emma?”

Emma smiled, shaking the older woman’s hand firmly, “Please do. Thank you for accepting my manuscript. I’m truly honored to be here.”

“As you should be. You were one of the lucky ones.” Her brow raised, pleased with the blonde’s wardrobe. She motioned towards the empty seat, “Please, have a seat.”

“Thank you.”

“I took the liberty of ordering for you. I hope you don’t mind. As well as a glass of water.” Said Victoria, taking her seat just as Emma did. “Now, then,” She pulled out Emma’s manuscript, placing it on the table before them. Her hand resting on top. “This is beautiful work.”

“Thank you.” Emma smiled.

“Do you want to know why I chose you, Emma? Out everyone who have tried like hell for me to represent them.”

Emma placed down her glass of water after taking a much needed drink, “Let me guess. My strength?”

Victoria chuckled, smirking, “Well, there is that, darling, but no. The word is vulnerability.”

“Pardon?”

“That’s where the true passion lies after all. I look at you and I see a woman who has been through so much. The war, the aftermath of all that,” She continued even through Emma’s questionable look, “Do you know how many people are eager to start writing a book about their lives? Their experiences out in that battlefield? But you…” She shook her head, “You are much more passionate. These poems contain not only words of someone who was or is in love, but also words of someone who’s been through pain. You aren’t looking to dictate your life on paper, but your feelings however is a different matter.”

Emma’s brow raised, truly impressed, “You had me investigated?”

Victoria enjoyed her sip of water, smiling as she placed her glass down on the table, “Don’t look so surprised, darling. I’m sure you must have researched me before accepting to fly out to New York.” She wiped her mouth after swallowing a bite of her food, “Tell me I’m wrong.” She smiled as Emma remained silent, “Now, tell me. If I were to ask you, how would you feel about writing a book about your life, what would be your answer?”

“That I don’t want to dictate my life on paper.” Emma answered truthfully.

Victoria grinned, “You see? I’m never wrong. Of course if you so wished to write a biography someday, we can work on that too. But first, I want newer and better opportunities for you. You will grow with us, Emma and do you want to know how I know that?” She paused, “Because I will make it happen.” She withdrew a contract from her briefcase, putting it on the table before the blonde, handing her a pen, “Now, before you sign, I know you live in a small town far from here. You can go back home after this meeting if you so choose, there are still some last-minute things that need to be done before things can start happening for you, darling. But,” She held up a finger, “I will need you to be constantly traveling back here for interviews and such once things escalate.”

Emma looked at the woman with a sense of admiration, surprised even at the sound of her words.

A look Victoria took notice of, “What is it?”

“You’re pretty sure of this book deal, aren’t you?” Asked Emma, everything still feeling pretty overwhelming.

Victoria chuckled, “I didn’t get this far in life just by accident, darling. Stick with me and you will soon learn that yourself.” Her eyes looked down towards the contract as Emma’s hand rested upon it. The tip of the pen scratching against the dotted line, imprinting her signature in permanent black ink. The older woman smiled, holding up her glass of water before her, “To bigger and better things.”

Emma raised her glass, clinking it with Victoria’s as a smile spread across her lips.

Chapter Text

Things started happening for Emma rather quickly after her meeting with Victoria Belfrey. It wasn’t long at all before her first book came out and was immediately a success. It went without saying that it shocked Emma how popular her book had become. Victoria promised her bigger and better things. And from now on, wherever Emma went that’s what she received.

But, she was still the same Emma everyone knew.

Well, most of her. She smiled a little more now, went out more with Ruby, Belle and Lily. Of course, no matter how much distraction she would gain. At the end of the day, her mind was always on Regina.

Months flew. Eventually Ruby and Belle convinced the soldier to move into the city. She hated leaving Ingrid, of course, but the older blonde pushed her that this was a change she needed in her life. That would do her some good. And, of course, made Emma promise that she would still visit Storybrooke from time to time.

She promised.

Emma also made Ingrid promise her that she would visit during the weekend.

The hug the older blonde gave the younger blonde was bigger than Emma had ever felt. She loved Ingrid’s hugs. They always made her feel like everything was going to turn out the way it had to for her.

“You be careful and call me when you arrive.” Ingrid held up a finger in warning, which made Emma smile.

“I promise.” Said Emma.

“Let’s go, Em!” Ruby smiled at Ingrid, “Don’t worry. We’ll watch over her.”

Ingrid chuckled, a hand on her hip, “That’s what worries me.” Her hand cupped the blonde’s cheek in a loving manner, her blue eyes looking into her green ones, “You got too big on me.”

Emma gave her one last hug, feeling Ingrid’s embrace as if she didn’t want to let go. But she did. Ingrid waved off with a smile on her face, her blue eyes filled with pools of unfallen tears as they all drove away. Ruby honking her horn as her hand waved up in the air. Emma’s yellow bug being the last thing Ingrid saw before going back inside to a now empty house.
____________________

Emma’s apartment in the city was simple. It wasn’t luxurious, but it was in a nice part of the city. The living area was next to the kitchen, separated by a bar top area. There was a fire escape just outside the living room window. Which she was grateful for. The apartment came equipped with two bedrooms and a single bathroom. Which was all Emma really needed.

“This is such a great place, Em!” Ruby smiled, looking around the blonde’s new apartment. “We definitely have to go out celebrating tonight.”

“No. I think I’ll pass on tonight.” Said Emma, standing by the living room window.

Ruby rolled her eyes, “Oh, come on, Em!” She walked her way up towards her best friend, “We have to celebrate you becoming a big time author! Plus,” She smirked, “I already spoke to Lily and she is so in on joining us tonight.”

“Wipe that smirk off your face.” Emma warned, “Lily and I are-”

“Just friends,” she rolled her eyes, “Yes. I know. But, it wouldn’t kill you to give love another chance.”

“You know, I can’t.” Emma’s reply was direct. She turned her attention outside her window. Her eyes taking in the sight of a mother and a child as they walked hand in hand by the sidewalk.

Ruby moved closer to her best friend, just behind her as she spotted what had captured the blonde’s attention. Her hand came up to rest on her shoulder, “At least you don’t have to worry about Regina being here and running into her again.”

Emma’s eyes didn’t move from the sight of the mother and child down on the street, “She named him Henry,” a small chuckle escaped her, “His six. She kept my pendant. I saw it on the kid’s plush toy. She must have given it to him.”

“Alright, Em. Listen to me.” Ruby moved in front of the blonde, her eyes locking with hers, “I know that losing Regina was the hardest thing you ever had to face. But, it’s been six years. She has a kid with that man, she’s clearly long but forgotten you.”

Emma’s face turned to a stone like feature, “She kept my necklace, Ruby. That has to mean something.”

It was there that Ruby saw that all too familiar look in the blonde’s eyes. The look of hope and hint of love for Regina Mills.

“Answer me this question. If Regina would walk into your life again, knock outside this door of your apartment and tell you that she still loved you. Would you take her back?”

Emma remained silent. Yes, she was still angry, hurt even. Yes there was Lily, but they weren’t exactly an item. And seeing Regina again that day in New York cause her more than just a panic attack. Her heart beated inside her chest faster than it had before. She wanted to go to her on that day and tell her that she still loved her. Like an idiot, she still dreamed of her sometimes. Her heart still screamed out for her. She craved to kiss her but at the same time yell at her forever ending things. Whatever the reason. It was a contradiction of its own.

“Let’s get those drinks tonight, huh? Forget about Regina for once and just have fun.” Said Ruby, given that the blonde couldn’t provide her with an answer.

Then again, she didn’t need one. Ruby already knew… Emma would so take Regina back.
____________________

Meanwhile back in New York, Regina found herself packing before her flight to Boston. She had a presentation to give at a hotel, and it was important for her to be there. Over the years, she had been founding money for this medical center in Boston that would not only treat people of all ages, but specifically soldier’s.

In a way, she felt that helping out all those wounded soldiers and veterans in need of medical care, was like helping Emma all over again. Tending to her wounds back in that hospital in Germany.

This was something Robin was not at all supportive over.

“This is a waste of time, Regina. I honestly don’t see what you benefit from it.”

“Of course you wouldn’t see the benefit of it,” She replied, her back turned to him as she was far too busy packing, “And I already know what you’re going to say, so save it. Besides, you should be happy I’m leaving for a week. You’ll have the entire week to yourself and… Zelena, was it?”

“Don’t bring her into this.” Robin warned, “This week will be all about Henry and myself.”

Regina chuckled, “I’m sure. One big happy family.”

“Don’t think I don’t know the real reason you’re doing this.” Robin stood beside the brunette, his eyes focused on her features as she kept up her packing, “I wouldn’t get my hopes up too high in seeing her. You’d do well to remember-”

“Oh, what, Robin?” Regina’s tone was filled with annoyance as she turned to look at him, having had enough of the man’s shit, “What are you going to do? You’re going to take Henry away from me? Say what a bad mother I am? You’re going to send your spy on a flight to Boston to have me followed? Have Emma followed?” She challenged him, chuckling, her fear of him disappearing with the years, “I’m tired of this situation. Six years you manipulated me, blackmailed me, used me and made me give up the one person that has ever truly mattered to me. All for you to have some love affair and come and go as you please with her.” She paused, her hands on her hips as she looked the man down. “I think I’ve earned my little bit of freedom while I’m in Boston, don’t you think?”

“I’m warning you, Regina-” Robin’s tone was low and filled with rage.

“I’m going to Boston to work, Robin. On something that is extremely important to me.” Regina’s tone was indefinite, “I am trusting you to watch over Henry until I get back.” She closed her luggage, going on her way, brushing Robin’s shoulder as she did. She stopped right at the doorway as Robin spoke, wanting to have the last word.

“Helping all those wounded soldier’s won’t bring her back to you, you know.” A small smirk became visible on his lips.

Regina looked over her shoulder at the man, giving him one last glance as she made her way out of the bedroom. Not wanting to argue any further. Robin remained standing there, alone in the room, clenching his jaw tightly. The very thought of her being in the same location as Emma Swan made his stomach turn upside down. Because he knew Emma was now living in Boston. He knew and had been keeping it from the brunette, not at all worried that she would run into her. Especially when they lived all the way in New York. But of course, Regina had decided to open up a medical center there. He just had to trust that Regina knew better, would she run into her.
____________________

Regina, along with Kathryn. Both dropping their bags in the hotel room they had rented for the entire week. The brunette grunted as she collapsed onto the bed, feeling utterly exhausted from the trip. While Kathryn was ready for the night to continue as she made her way out of the restroom.

“Come on, Gina. We are going to be late.” Said Kathryn.

Regina groaned, sitting up on the bed, “Can’t we just stay here for tonight and sleep? I have an early presentation tomorrow.”

“All the more reason for us to get drinks and go dancing.”

Regina chuckled, “You’re not going to give up, are you?”

“Not a chance. Besides, you promised-”

“I know.” The brunette sighed, forcing herself up from the bed, “If we are going out, let me at least shower first.”

Kathryn grinned happily, “You won’t be disappointed! You’ll see!”

“Mhm. Just let me call Henry before we leave.” Regina shut the bathroom door behind her, while Kathryn hurried towards the bed where Regina’s cell phone had been left unattended, searching quickly for what she needed to find.
____________________

The bar they had attended was noisy as music blasted throughout the atmosphere. A little loud for Emma’s taste, but she had been dragged to it already. She had decided on a pair of black jeans, a new silk, maroon colored, buttoned up shirt that Lily had gifted her with, with her red leather jacket to finish.

Lily decided that an all black outfit was the way to go. While Ruby and Belle both decided on skirts.

“Let’s sit by the bar. Belle is expecting more people.” Said Ruby, turning to face the blonde as Emma stopped her in her tracks from walking any further.

“More people? Ruby, this is crowded enough as it is.”

“Relax. They probably won’t even show up. Lighten up, Em.” Ruby wrapped an arm around her girlfriend as they headed towards the bar area.

Lily took Emma’s hand within her own, her other arm wrapping around the blonde’s bicep, “Don’t worry. I know Belle’s friends. They are actually very nice people. You’ll like ‘em too.” She smiled, “Come on, let’s get a drink.”

Emma moved along the crowd with Lily, all of the ordering their round of drinks for the night.

Regina looked around the place, the loud music not being to her liking much, but here she was.

Her eyes looked over at Kathryn, taking notice in her odd behavior, “Are you going to tell me what’s going on? You’ve been acting suspicious all night.”

Kathryn smirked, spotting exactly who she had hoped, “Come on. Let’s go to the bar.”

Regina froze as they neared the bar, at the very sight of a woman sitting by, with a drink in her hand and unmistakable blonde hair. Pulling Kathryn back to her, “Kathryn. What the hell-?”

“Relax. No one was following when we came in here. I made sure of that.” Kathryn assured her.

“Robin isn’t stupid-”

“Oh, fuck Robin.” Kathryn almost shouted, “Besides, Belle is here and I know she will be happy to see you. She seems to know Emma too, so you won’t be alone. I’ll be there too.”

Regina’s eyes moved to Emma’s golden hair, that unmistakable leather jacket. Pools of tears forming around her eyes at her sight alone. It had been years since she laid eyes on Emma. She still looked just as beautiful as the first time she laid eyes on her. Even if she was battered and bruised in that hospital in Germany. She certainly looked older than nineteen or twenty-one.

Despite her heart pounding inside her chest, fear took over the brunette as she looked over to her best friend, “I can’t. She hates me, she’ll probably leave. I’ll just ruin her night. Let’s just go.”

Kathryn grabbed onto the brunette’s arm before she had any chance of escape, “No. Regina, you two need to talk, alright? You’re doing this. This might be your only chance to tell her-”

“Tell her what, Kathryn? You know I can’t do that. If I so much as open my mouth towards what happened, Robin would-”

Kathryn rolled her eyes, “Robin, Robin, Robin. He’s probably fucking that redhead right now, for all you know. Too busy to keep tabs on you right now. Now, come on. We’re doing this.”

“Kathryn!” Regina hissed, being forced by the blonde to walk up towards the bar area, where Emma and Belle were sitting. She had never felt herself froze over before. She wanted to run away and hide in the hardest place to find, as far from here as possible. She couldn’t believe Kathryn had tricked her- set her up again. Especially when she knew that she couldn’t be anywhere near Emma.

Before she could run away though, Belle had already spotted them within the crowd, smiling brightly their way as she met up with them halfway, “Good, you came! It’s good to see you again, Ms. Mills.” She told Regina, who remained white as a sheet of paper.

“It’s good to see you, Belle.” The brunette simply nodded.

“Oh! There’s Lily!” She smiled, waving them over as Lily and Ruby soon joined them within the crowd.

It didn’t go without saying that both Ruby and Regina’s eyes grew wide at the sight of each other’s presence. Both remaining quiet as they lost the sound of their voice.

“Oh, let me get Emma!” Lily shouted, running towards the blonde as she dragged her over by the arm, smiling as her eyes fell on both Kathryn and Regina. “Emma, these are our friends,” She motioned towards them, “This is Kathryn Midas and Regina Mills.”

Emma’s lips parted at the sight of the brunette and blonde before her. Just as Regina’s did, while her eyes remained locked on the soldiers. Those green eyes she had missed terribly for six years.

What were the damn odds really, that they turned out to be Belle and Lily’s friends?

The world was a small, small place.

“Now that we’re all here. Let’s get more drinks!” Belle smiled, dragging Ruby towards the bar as Lily, Emma, Regina and Kathryn followed. Both Emma and Regina exchanging quiet glances. Both definitely in need of those drinks tonight.

It was a bad and dangerous idea to stick around. Regina was certain of that.

“So, how do you know each other, exactly?” Ruby asked Belle.

“I used to care for her mother.” Belle looked over at Regina who was as tense as could be, “How is Mrs. Mills?”

The brunette sipped on her scotch. She needed something stronger if she wanted to get through this night. “She’s great, I’d imagine. We don’t really keep in contact these days.” She shrugged carelessly.

Emma remained looking forward, sipping quietly at her beer. Her body being just as tense as Regina’s.

“Is everything alright?” Lily asked, her hand caressing the blonde’s back as she took notice in the tension that soon surrounded her, “You were fine minutes ago, now you look… angry.”

Emma smiled rather flirtatiously as she looked over at Lily, “I’m fine. You’re here with me.”

Lily’s brow raised at the blonde’s flirtation. Emma wasn’t one to really flirt back with her, but not that she was complaining. As the song Shape of You began to play throughout the bar, the brunette soon took Emma by the hand. “Come on. Let’s go dance.”

“That’s a good idea! Let’s go, Ruby.” Said Belle, taking Ruby with her towards the dance floor.

Regina’s eyes followed the blonde soldier’s movements as both women headed towards the dance floor. Dancing rather close to each other. A sight that soon became too much for the brunette. Kathryn’s eyes remained on her best friend’s jealous features as she downed the rest of her drink. Quickly ordering another.

“Regina, calm down. I’m sure it’s nothing.” Said Kathryn, her eyes studying how the brunette downed that drink as well. “Don’t drink so fast.”

“Isn’t that what we are here for?” Regina hissed, turning her back towards the sight of Emma dancing with Lily. She scoffed, “I should have just stayed at the hotel.”

Kathryn turned to look back at the blonde with Lily, “They don’t look like a couple to me,” She shrugged, “They sure might fuck maybe, but not date.” She held up her hands defensively at the sight of the brunette’s glare, “I swear to God, I didn’t know Lily would be here. Much less that she was with Emma. Besides, what did you expect, Regina? Emma wasn’t going to hold out forever. It doesn’t mean you two still can’t-”

Regina downed her third glass of liquor, feeling it burn her throat on the way down. Slamming the glass down on the bar, “Nothing, Kathryn.” She shook her head, her eyes about to burst with tears.

That should be her dancing with Emma. Not Lily.

As the song ended, Ruby met up with Emma as they walked their way back towards the bar, “Em, I swear I didn’t know Regina was friends with them. How could I have known?” Her eyes turned towards the bar where Belle and Lily had already joined the two other women. “What are you going to do? Do you want to leave? I can make up an excuse for you.”

Emma looked over at the brunette, who’s back remained facing her as she downed another drink. “No.” She murmured, looking back at Ruby, “Seeing me with Lily seemed to affect her, so let it. I’m staying.”

Ruby smiled, patting the blonde on the arm, “Drinks are on me.”

The night was long, and agonizing for Regina. After a few drinks, she remained more and more by Kathryn’s side. Her glances exchanging with Emma’s every once in a while as they all would talk within a group. The sight of the blonde, her soldier with Lily killing her more and more. But she wasn’t about to burst out of here, letting her know that she could win this.

No way.

Ruby and Belle danced one song after another. Kathryn eventually had met a cute guy and was off dancing with him as well. Leaving Lily, Emma and Regina at their table they had all moved to. And as soon as Lily received a phone call, she had to step out too. Leaving both women all alone for the first time tonight. For the first time in years.

As Regina’s glance remained on her empty glass, Emma’s was focused on the brunette sitting before her. She could literally feel her burning holes right through her with that stare. Almost swearing, she wasn’t even blinking.

What was she trying to prove by staring at her all night? Was it to make her say something? A test, maybe?

Regina cleared her throat as she adjusted herself in her seat, her eyes quickly glancing at Emma who was still staring her down. Her stare carrying all that anger she could only imagine she felt towards her.

The tension was so thick, it needed more than a knife to cut through it.

“I’m so sorry.” Lily spoke, giving Regina a chance to relax as she forced out her best smile at the other brunette, “They need me back at work and I’m going to have to go.”

“Now? It’s already late.” Regina picked up on the blonde’s tone, which sounded disappointed that Lily had to leave. While she felt quite relieved to see her go.

“I’m sorry. But we are on a breakthrough on a case right now and they need me.” Lily leaned down, providing the blonde with a quick kiss to her lips, smiling sweetly at her, “I’ll come by tomorrow though, first chance I get.” She stood up right, looking over at Regina, smiling, “Keep her company for me. She may seem serious, but she’s actually quite fun.”

“It was good seeing you.” Regina smiled, feeling the tension come right back as she was about to be left alone with Emma on any given minute.

“See you later, Rambo.” Lily gave Emma’s shoulder a gentle squeeze as she walked away, disappearing into the crowd.

Emma downed her last sip of beer, as Regina spoke. It was now or never.

“So, you and Lily?” She swallowed the lump in her throat as green eyes stared her down again, “That’s… she’s a great person. I haven’t known her for long, but I do know Belle and she has a good judge of character when it comes to people.” She paused, getting fed up with the blonde’s silent stare, “A lot better than I am.”

Nothing.

Regina drew in a breath, letting it out slowly as she grew aggravated with Emma, “Look, we’re here. I didn’t expect to find you here, at all. But we are both sitting at the same table, forced to be here. Because life has a twisted sense of humor, I know I messed things up. I know I hurt you and I can’t ever take back what I did. So, let’s just… stay out of each other’s way and get through tonight.”

Emma didn’t blink, she didn’t move, and she certainly didn’t speak.

This was a game that Regina was quickly growing fed up with. She never imagined their encounter, if there was one, to be like this. Much less in this place. Honestly, if all Emma did was yell at her, she would be okay with that. Because at least she would be talking to her and not killing her with this ongoing silence. She certainly didn’t remember the blonde ever being this quiet. Even when angry.

As Regina got up from the booth, heading towards the bathroom of the establishment, Emma remained seated. Her eyes focused on the brunette as they drank her in. She was angry, and she wanted to yell at her. Boy, did she want to give her a piece of her mind. But not here. Not now. She was a little too intoxicated for that. Maybe more than a little, as she soon found her eyes moving towards a sight she had missed from the brunette.

As for Regina, she hated this silence from her. She made her way into the bathroom, washing her face as tears began to make their way down. She couldn’t handle this situation any better than being without her. She thought she could, but it was already becoming too much.

She needed to leave.

As the cool water ran down her face, she felt like she could breathe again, taking in deep, slow breaths as she splashed more cold water on herself, drying her face up with a napkin rather quickly. She gasped as she ran into Emma on her way out the door. Their bodies so close to each other, she never imagined being this close to her again. Regina’s familiar perfume hitting the blonde’s nostrils like a drug that she hadn’t had a taste of in years. Causing that wave of desire come back to her in one swift motion.

“Look. Emma, I- I’m so-”

Emma could have just gone inside and let her be on her way. She should have. After all, she was still very angry. But, she needed to talk. It was now or never.

“You’re what? You’re sorry?” The brunette remained quiet at the tone of the blonde’s cold tone, her eyes burning again with tears as Emma chuckled, “Are you going to say that it was a six year mistake? That you still love me? That you never stopped loving me?”

She needed to lie. Robin could still be keeping tabs on her and she couldn’t tell her the truth. Not that she would believe it right now anyway. She was too drunk for that.

“I am sorry for hurting you the way I did.” Regina murmured, unable to look away from the blonde’s cold stare, “I should have been honest with you from the very beginning and save you all this heartache.”

Emma chuckled, “Save me?” She shook her head, her body remaining close to the brunette’s, “I never wanted you to save me from anything, Regina. All I wanted- all I ever asked for was for you to love me like I loved you.”

‘Like I loved you,’ her words stabbing her directly in her heart as she heard them come out of Emma’s thin lips. Those lips she missed kissing for six years. She cleared her throat, her eyes allowing a few tears to drop down her cheeks. “Emma, I… I did.” Her last words were a whisper. She stopped as she was making her way down the hallway of the bar, determined to leave. But, what stopped her was the sound of Emma’s voice.

“Did you?”

Regina kept her back to the blonde as she replied, “You know I did.” Her eyes closed, tears making their way down, as she could feel Emma standing right behind her again.

“Do you still love me?” She asked in a whisper. A whisper that gave the brunette chills all over her body. Ending in her most eager of places.

Regina turned to face the soldier before her, unable to help herself any longer. Tears running down her eyes as she looked into Emma’s droopy green ones. She wanted to shout it, that yes she still loved her. She never, ever stopped loving her. But it wouldn’t be a good idea. Not while she was in this drunken state. Not when tomorrow would be a blur.

She needed to walk away. She needed to leave and go on with her life.

So, why weren’t her feet moving?

Why did Emma Swan have to be here of all places?

Why now?

“What happened, Regina?” Asked Emma, seeking at least one hint of truth in the brunette’s words.

Regina’s voice broke as she replied, “Things just became too complicated, Emma. Life found a way to rip my happiness from me. I told you. I don’t know how to love very well.”

Emma chuckled at the memory of her using those words before. Her eyes focusing right on hers, locking onto them with anger. “So, now you’re going to tell me that you never loved Robin? So, you just fucked him and ended up giving him the son I always wanted to have with you?” She chuckled again at the surprised look from the brunette, “Yeah. I know about him. He’s a good kid. Pity he has a coward for a mother who can’t ever stand up for what she loves.”

A slap across the face was the next thing Emma felt. A slap that helped sober her up rather quickly, filling her up with rage.

Before Regina could even get another word out, she was surprised to feel Emma’s lips on her own. Crashing, kissing her like she hadn’t kissed her in six long years. Because she hadn’t. She had never kissed her the way she was kissing her now. There was anger, but there was also an isolated desire. Her hand resting on the back of her head, just like the old times.

The brunette pushed her away, feeling anger overcome her. Even Emma was right to call her a coward, it still angered her.

Before she knew it, Regina was the one who rushed towards the blonde, pulling her by her jacket as Emma’s lips crashed against hers in a hungry manner once again. This wasn’t how she expected this night to go at all. None of them did. And as dangerous as it was to give in, Regina couldn’t help it. Kissing Emma was still as addictive as it had been in the past. And feeling the blonde’s strong arms wrap around her form made all her fears of six years erase within a heartbeat.

A grunt escaped them both, hot breaths mixing as Emma’s hands quickly cupped the brunette’s breasts with a firm grip. Their kiss breaking apart as both women remained staring at each other, breathlessly.

“Do you want to go somewhere?” Emma asked, her chest moving rapidly up and down, just as Regina’s was.

Regina sighed, feeling that familiar pull every time Emma would kiss her and touch her the way she always did. She should say no. She should just walk away and save herself the heartache. Because it was clear what this was. Even if they still loved each other. She was sure Emma would regret it tomorrow morning.

“Emma, I-”

“Don’t do this now, Regina. We may not see each other again after tonight.” Emma’s eyes never left hers. Her lust only intensifying, “Yes or no?”

If only Emma knew how right she was. They may not see each other ever again after tonight. She couldn’t see her again if she was going to go ahead with it. It would be too dangerous for her. She needed to keep her safe.

But she couldn’t keep away any longer.

“What about Lily?” She had to ask, which made the blonde chuckle.

“If we were together, I certainly wouldn’t be kissing you, asking you to come home with me.”

“You live here?”

Emma nodded, “I just moved in.”

Their lips crashed onto each other again, in a more deep and passionate kiss. Regina’s hands and fingers getting lost in Emma’s golden hair, she had so missed the feel of.

“Emma, what the hell?”

Their kiss broke, as both women turned to look over at Ruby and Belle who were gawking at them wide-eyed.

“You must be super drunk, because I swear you are making out with your ex right now.” She chuckled, looking very drunk herself.

That was like a wake up call to Regina, as she quickly made her way out of the blonde’s hold, “I- I have to go. I’m sorry, Emma.”

Emma’s hand was quick to grab onto the brunette’s arm, “Regina.”

“Emma, please. Let me go.” She pleaded, looking into the blonde’s eyes as they had a hint of lust in them, which soon became anger. She rushed out, passing Ruby and Belle as Emma stood in place, feeling angry at herself for allowing the alcohol she had consumed to take over.

Feeling not only angry, but embarrassed with herself for acting in love once again and making it rather clear that she wasn’t over her.

“That was Regina, wasn’t it?” Asked Ruby, holding onto Belle as she nearly lost her balance.

Emma glared at her best friend, not at all appreciating her bad timing, “You know, Ruby. You really have a way of fucking things up sometimes.” She walked away without another glance, or saying another word. Leaving both friends to enjoy the rest of their night.

Ruby looked over at Belle, who was a bit more sober, “You still love me, right?”

Belle smiled, holding onto Ruby, “Of course, I do.”

“Good.” Ruby bent down, belching out all of the alcohol she had clearly consumed as it splashed on the floor and some on Belle’s shoes.

“Maybe we should call it a night, hm?” Belle grabbed onto a groaning Ruby, walking her out of the hallway and out of the club, “Come on.”

Chapter Text

The next morning, after her drunken debacle, Emma needed to get away. Far away. She needed to leave the city, if only for a little while. She needed to clear her head. Although, no matter how much distraction she looked for, she always thought about Regina.

How could she had been so stupid? One moment alone with the woman and instead of staying mad at her, she turns into a puddle of goo at her feet.

How could she have lost control like that?

Drunk or not, she should have remained angry. She was angry. Angry at her for leaving, angry at her for being a coward. Because that's what she was. That's how she saw her. And yet, like a fool- after kissing her the way she did- she loved her. Not that she ever stopped.

That kiss burned on her lips like fire.

It had taken her six years to get over some of that pain Regina caused her. And now, because of one drunken kiss they both shared, because of one look. She was right back to feeling all of the love for her just pouring out of her skin. Burning like a sting that would only intensify if you touched it.

It scared her. That’s why she chose to leave the city the next morning and go to the one place she knew would bring her a sense of peace.
____________________

Emma stood in front of her cabin. That cabin that she always swore would be hers, looking straight at it as its state remained the same as the day she bought it. She had arrived at Marco’s place before heading out here, asking to borrow his truck while she left her beloved bug parked at his place. She needed his truck to be able to do what she now had in mind.

She wasn’t sure why, but something inside of her shouted right at her that it was time for her to fix the cabin up. Just like she always wanted. So she did.

She removed every single fallen board as well as every single broken window. Piece by piece, day by day- she worked herself to the bone on repairing every single broken part of that cabin. Her phone went unanswered, piling up many missed calls from Ruby, some from Ingrid, even Lily.

Because right now, her priority was finishing up the cabin.

Marco offered to help her many days and nights before only to be turned down by the blonde. Emma wasn’t being rude. This was just a project she needed- felt like it had to be done on her own.

She couldn’t understand it herself as to why.

Maybe a part of her wished- hoped that by accomplishing this task with all her love, sweat and blood- Regina would find a way to come back to her.

It was stupid, she knew that. Because that’s the kind of thing her nineteen, even twenty-one self would have believed years ago. Something, her twenty-seven year old would not. Not anymore.

So, why did her heart keep wishing for it?

Then, it dawned on her. That’s what she was running from. That’s what scared her. To be right back on that path.

It was amazing how fast Emma finished that cabin. The scent of freshly placed wood filling her surroundings as the night sky fell. The only source of light being the night lamps she had placed around the area. She smiled at her finished product. In just a half month of none stop labor- she had finished it. Her body was sure feeling it, but she had had plenty of drinks to numb her aching muscles. Beads of sweat decorated the soldier’s forehead as her hair was pulled back into a messy ponytail. Strands of blonde, golden hair resting on the sides of her face.

Sure she would stop to eat and rest, and due to her time spent out there, eventually she contacted her friends and loved ones to let them know that she was still breathing.

The cabin wasn’t big, but it wasn’t small either. It was enough for one, even two people to live in. Well, maybe she had expanded it a little, but still not that much. There were windows on each side, along with a triangular shaped window right on top where the roof began. It was divided by smooth carved out logs that gave it a nice stand out. She had built in a porch that was nicely covered by a ceiling to give that part of the house some shade from the sun. About four sets of logs supported the bottom part of the roof, giving it a nice texture. She cut down a few of the trees around the land, leaving only a couple to give it more space. Emma built in some steps made entirely of log as well, carved out finely into a smooth flat surface. There were about three steps, that continued by another set of four steps. Stones were buried and placed beside them, causing them to pop out more. As an entire border of rocks and stones were placed underneath the cabin as the base.

She was thinking about painting it at first, but then decided to leave it as is.

The only thing she continued doing was raking the leaves around the land. Emma wanted there to be a visible pathway.

The only sounds that were heard that night were the crickets as they sang, followed by the leaves being raked, followed by the blonde’s exhausted breathing. That was until she heard another set of footsteps coming her way, which caused her to stop as she stared out into the darkness, just waiting for whatever or whoever was out there to show themselves. Her eyes squinting as a rather tall, male figure began to approach.

She may have a few drinks in her, but her body was always on alert.

“At ease, soldier. I’m unarmed.”

Green eyes grew wide at the sound of a familiar voice that spoke out, followed by a scruffy face that came into the light, only half of it anyway, as the other half was still in a shadow. But, Emma could recognize that face anywhere. Or maybe she was too drunk. She had to be, because there was no way August Booth could be standing before her now.

Had she gone crazy?

She had to be hallucinating due to too much drinking.

The next thing that was heard as August, (or August’s ghost?) approached her was the clanking of the rake being dropped on the bare hard dirt.

Emma couldn’t think of anything to say at that moment, just to move towards the man standing before her. And she did, slowly and calmly, maybe with a bit of fear, she moved towards him until she had him inches apart.

“Damn. It’s good to see you alive and well, Swan.” August breathed out with a small smile. “I heard about you becoming a big time author. Although, I never imagined you living in this…” His eyes moved towards the cabin then back to Emma’s surprised green ones.

“August?” Emma was finally able to say, her eyes unable to blink as they looked into the man’s eyes. It was him. He was standing right in front of her- alive. She could never mistake him with anyone. Booth was one of those unmistakable people to Emma.

He nodded, too afraid to reach out and hug his long time friend. “I know what you must be thinking. My father was pretty surprised too. He’s the one who told me where you’d be.”

“How?” Emma’s voice was a whisper, “How are you here? I… I was told you were dead. That you didn’t make it. I- I mourned you for six fucking years! You’re father-!”

“I know.” August jumped in, his head hanging in shame as his eyes met with Emma’s once again, “You have every right to be angry at me, Emma.”

“Angry?” Emma’s eyes darkened, “You think I’m just angry?”

“You have every right. My father is. But,” He sighed, “Emma, I wasn’t myself for those six years. I was… I was someone else. I was fucked up. You better than anyone should know how that goes.” He paused, “You go out there, fighting a battle that isn’t yours to fight because others are too afraid to do it themselves and you get lost. I lost myself, for a long time.” As he stepped closer, causing Emma to take a few steps backward, his entire face came into light, revealing that one of his eyes was a shade lighter than the other. It was as if it had a cotton liked blanket over it. Emma knew then, that due to the explosion, his vision in that eye was no good. The same side of his face was a bit scared. He had received major part of the damage that night. She remembered it well.

Emma looked down at the man’s hand as it moved before her, noticing it was a prosthetic one, made especially for him. It was a robotic one, but he kept it covered with a black leather glove.

“It’s funny how you can still feel parts of your body that are no longer there,” he chuckled, “I’m wiggling my toes right now.” He tried to joke to ease the blonde’s tension. “I have that horrible accident on my way to a hospital and the next thing I know- I wake up a cyborg. A new arm, a new leg. And one good eye.” He paused, “I went crazy. I attacked everyone in that room, had a very bad reaction to…” he looked down at his robotic leg, “All this.” His eyes meeting Emma’s, who were shedding tears now, “I wanted to call you, so many times, but… you wouldn’t have recognized me and the last thing I ever wanted to do was hurt you or my father. I didn’t want you to see me that way.”

Crickets continued to sing as Emma finally moved, lunging forward, throwing her entire body towards August in the most needed hug she ever did need. He always gave her the best bear hugs ever.

August sighed as his arms wrapped around Emma’s even tighter, “It’s great to see you, kid. I missed you, Em. You have no idea how much I missed you.”

Emma sighed out a chuckle, “I missed you too, you asshole.”

August chuckled, “I deserve that.” He parted from their hug, his eyes studying the blonde’s changed but similar complexion. “You got more drinks? I’d say we have a lot to catch up on.”

Emma laughed a light laugh, her arm wrapping around the man’s form as his did the same around hers, patting her gently on the back as she invited him to sit on the porch for the night.
____________________

Both leaned up against a log, as they remained seated on the steps of the cabin, already having drank a few more beers. In a matter of hours, Emma had managed to fill August in on everything that had happened since they last saw each other. To her ending up in Germany, to meeting Regina and every single detail of their relationship, to now. It felt peaceful, uplifting to let everything out in detail to someone. Even Archie wouldn’t get the full details of her life when attending those sessions. Because with August it was different. With August, she not only lived an untimely bond, but they both shared the most horrific events they could ever come to face.

It was then, Emma realized how much she had missed him. Not that she didn’t know before, but she really needed him throughout those years that passed. Emma strongly believed that had August been around, things would have been much lighter on her.

If there was someone who could truly understand all of her, to the very last detail- it was August Booth.

“Oh…” August closed his eyes as he swallowed another chug of beer, the taste lingering in his mouth as he savored every last bit of it. He had missed simple things like this.

“Where were you all those years, August?” Emma finally asked.

There was a moment of silence, that only the crickets filled before he said anything to the blonde.

“Netherlands.” His reply was calm, given that the alcohol they had both consumed had already gotten to them enough to relax them.

“Netherlands? How?”

He sighed, pointing to his face and eye, “I got this from the bomb that went off that night. But, this…” He tapped on his prosthetic leg, “Came from that explosion in the ambulance. It wasn’t completely destroyed. Obviously, if I’m here talking to you,” He chuckled, “But, it did manage to fuck up my leg bad enough that… they had no choice but to amputate.” He smirked as he said his joke, “From soldier to terminator, huh, Swan?”

Emma chuckled a light chuckle, looking the man over. He sure looked beat, both physically and emotionally. He was right. She could understand that better than anyone. His beard had grown just a little too since the last time she saw him.

He took another drink, “They were going to transfer me to the red cross facility in Germany, where you were. But, I was more dead than alive and I did hear them say that the hospital was full enough as it was. So, I got sent to the Netherlands where I woke up with a group of young doctors all staring at me as if I was fucking Robocop.” He chuckled, his eyes tearing up for the first time since Emma had seen him. His head shook at the memory of that place, “I felt so out of it, you know? My brain was still back there in that field with you. I just… I snapped when they tried to come near me. I broke a guy’s jaw, and another one’s leg.”

Emma reached out for the man’s shoulder, providing it with a gentle squeeze, “I’m sorry.” Was all she could say.

August smiled, patting the blonde’s shoulder, “Don’t beat yourself up about it, kid. I appreciate you keeping my father company over the years.”

Emma looked down at the dog tags that hung around her neck, showing them off to August as she held the burnt one between her fingers, “I tried giving him this. After all, it was yours, but he said it needed to stay with another good person.”

“And he was right. I’m glad you kept it.” August nodded, leaning back against the log post, “So, Regina… looks like you finally found that true love in between all that war, huh?”

Emma sighed, her back resting against the post, “I don’t really know what Regina is anymore.”

“Sounds like true love to me.” His brow raised.

Emma chuckled, moving her bottle close to her lips, “If that were so, she wouldn’t have broken up with me, August.”

“It doesn’t sound to me like it was intentional.” He shrugged.

Emma placed her bottle down on the porch, becoming angry, “Are you kidding me? She broke it off! She said I needed to grow up, that it was a mistake!”

“We all have to sacrifice something, Emma.” August’s voice was calm, “Maybe she had to sacrifice you. I don’t know her, I couldn’t see what you two were like together, that’s true. But, from what you’ve just told me on how she loved you. That kiss you two shared last night…” He paused, “Now, you know this Robin guy, you saw him that night in her apartment when he showed up drunk. How tense she would get around him, like when you two went on a date and spotted him at that bar. Right?”

Emma’s brows furrowed, waiting for him to continue.

“Only she knows what she lived with that man, Em. But she never bothered to share it with you, did she? Because as well as she knew that you have your secrets, your stories from that war that we don’t want to share with anyone. She has hers too.”

“It’s not like I didn’t know that, August.” Emma grew annoyed.

“Then, think about it, Em. Maybe she had to lie to you to save you. Just because you fought out in that battlefield, does not mean you aren’t meant to be saved too, soldier. We all need saving.” He paused, his eyes focused on Emma’s, “Some sacrifices are just bigger than others. If you could always read her very well, then she had to be as convincing as ever to trick you.”

Like a flash of light, Regina’s words came to her mind, ‘I should have been honest with you from the very beginning and save you all this heartache.’

The kiss they shared last night played in the back of her mind like a scene on a repeat. Some parts were a bit fuzzy due to her intoxication but were clearing up now that she thought about them and August’s words knocked on her brain like a sledgehammer. She could always read Regina very well, but that day Regina was as cold as ice. She was holding herself back from saying what really was going on with her. Just like she was when they had first met. Emma had to be persistent to get her to finally go on a date with her. And even after she did, and they started dating, there were parts of her she still didn’t know about and never bothered to ask because everyone was entitled to their privacy.

But what really got to her was how Regina had replied to her kiss that night. Sure, she had pushed her away, but then kissed her right back. And what a kiss it was. Regina wanted to get lost in her again, in her embrace.

Someone who intentionally wanted to hurt you doesn’t bother apologizing, even after six years.

Damn her and her anger. But, she was angry. She couldn’t help it.

But now with talking to August about it, everything just made much more sense and it was as if something had hit her over the head with the force of a wrecking ball.

But how could that change things now? Regina was still with Robin, willingly or not, she was there and probably back in New York. And now, there was Henry. Her son. If she were to come back into the brunette’s life, how could a little boy understand that? More importantly, could things work out again? Be how they used to be before any of it went to shit?

“I thought I heard the old man say, Leave her Johnny, leave her…” August’s singing disrupted the soldier’s thoughts as she couldn’t help but smile at the man’s singing to one of their songs they would sing while they were out in the desert, with nothing but the night stars to keep them company. “Tomorrow you will get your pay, and it’s time for us to leave her.”

Emma soon joined in, as they both continued singing throughout the night.

“Leave her Johnny, leave her. Oh, leave her Johnny, leave her. For the voyage is long and the winds don’t blow and it’s time for us to leave her.”
_____________________

Regina walked into one of her favorite restaurants in New York. She was seated quickly to her reserved booth, happy to be away from Robin. Not that he spent so much time in their home lately, not since he had Zelena. Which, if the brunette was being honest, she was glad for. Mostly it was just her and Henry at home. She feared that once she arrived back from Boston, she would hear an earful from him on her kissing Emma or her being in the same bar as the blonde. But, that didn’t happen.

“Ma’am?” A waiter set down an ice bucket with a bottle of Dom Perignon already cold and icing. He lifted the bottle up as the brunette raised her glass up.

“Don’t trouble yourself, dear. I’ll take care of that for her.” A woman, a little older than Regina removed her coat, handing it over to the waiter as he quickly took it, placing the bottle back inside the ice bucket. Which the older blonde quickly took, filling up Regina’s cup first, followed by her own.

Their eyes connected with one another. The brunette’s studying the older woman’s movements as she joined her inside the booth.

“Regina. I couldn’t believe it when you contacted me.”

“I couldn’t believe it either.” Replied Regina.

“Here I thought my letter would go unanswered.”

“How are you, Mal?” Asked the brunette, taking a much needed sip of her champagne.

Mal savored the champagne as she too took a sip, “Mm, I appreciate you ordering my favorite. You remembered,” She smirked.

Regina chuckled, “Hard to forget. A lifetime ago, this was what you would order for us on our dates.”

Mal chuckled, “I was never the romantic type, was I?” The woman’s eyes observed the brunette with ease, just like she always would ever since they met. “I heard about your late husband. I’m very sorry.”

“Thank you.”

“He seemed like a good man.” Said Mal.

“He was.” Replied Regina.

“I can’t imagine him being to dear Cora’s liking.”

“No one was ever to her liking.” Regina chuckled, “Not even her dear friend.”

Mal chuckled, “I could see why your mother would be surprised by our time together.”

Regina’s brow raised, “Sounds like something my mother would say. Is that what she called our relationship once upon a time ago?”

The older woman sighed, “I can see why you would still be angry with me. I did break your heart after all, and left you in exchange for money.”

“Money I can see has served its purpose. You seem to be doing quite well.” The brunette’s reply should have been dry, but it wasn’t. Far from it. Mal had hurt her, by leaving her after Cora offered her money to do so. But, after her encounter with Emma, Regina had remembered herself well being in her situation. Only differently, of course. And now, with contacting her she hoped to put it behind her. Put her anger behind her, just like she hoped Emma would with her someday.

“I suppose I deserve that.” Mal nodded, taking a sip from her glass, “I never did apologize. But, if it’s any consolation. There isn’t a day that has gone by where I haven’t thought of you and our time together.”

Regina’s eyes filled with tears that she instantly held back.

“I know that look, dear. You’re here to mend our differences because you too have made the same mistake. You’ve hurt someone.” She paused, her eyes studying the brunette, “Haven’t you?” She chuckled at her surprised look.

After a while, Regina filled Mal in on everything. From her time after Daniel’s death, to meeting Robin, to meeting Emma, allowing herself to truly love again, to having Henry. The older blonde carefully listening with all the time in the world.

“You’ve lived quite a story, haven’t you? And this Emma…” Mal spoke, after hearing Regina out, “She still loves you?”

Regina exhaled a sharp breath, the feel of the blonde’s lips still lingering on hers. “I’d like to think that she does, yes.”

There was a hint of a smile on Mal’s lips as she listened to the brunette’s reply. One thing Regina loved about her was that she was wise beyond her years. Always was.

“Well, then there’s your answer, dear.”

Regina chuckled, “I know what you’re about to say, Mal. We knew each other for a long time, we could practically read each other’s minds, remember?”

“How could I forget?” Mal enjoyed another sip of the champagne, “And I can tell you from our relationship that we would have never worked out in the end.”

“What makes you say that?” Regina’s brow raised, surprised that Mal had even referred to what they had as a relationship. The woman had never used that word before to describe what they used to have. “That leaving me all those years ago was the best thing you could have done?”

“No, dear. Leaving you was certainly a mistake. You are a hell of a woman, Regina,” She chuckled, “Always were. Too much of a woman for me, I’m afraid. I realized that since the very first time we met.” She paused, “For Emma however… you might just be the perfect one. Besides, you seem to have a thing for soldiers. And blonde’s.”

Regina’s lips curved into a small smile, her cheeks turned a shade of pink at how well Mel could read her. “Emma certainly knew how to work her way into my heart.”

“Until Robin destroyed that.” She looked into the brunette’s eyes, seeing all the anger lingering for him, “Maybe you should be the one to surprise her this time. Pay her a visit.”

“It’s not that simple, Mal.”

“Why ever not, dear?” Asked Mal, chuckling, “Robin sounds like he is too preoccupied with his new love interest to give a damn about what you do with your time anymore. Not to mention your son lately from what you’ve told me.”

“He could still figure out what I would be up to.”

“Hm.” Mal enjoyed the last sip from her cup, filling both cups up again, “What if I were to tell you that I could make that problem go away for you? Would you look for her?”

Look for Emma? Freely, without a spy on her heels to report back to Robin?

Regina chuckled, “This is crazy. I wouldn’t even know where to look.”

Mal raised a brow, “You know she lives in Boston. You know of her hometown. I’m sure she wouldn’t be too hard to find, dear.” She chuckled, “You must certainly love this girl to become this worried.”

“I hurt her, Mal. I deserve anything she would want to say to me, but if she tells me she never wants to see me again. That would kill me.” A sadness lingered in the brunette's voice.

Mal sighed, “Well, I’m afraid that’s a risk you’re just going to have to take. But ask yourself this question. Do you really want to go on with your life wondering about the what if, living in fear over a man who is more of a coward than you think?” She chuckled, “He’d have to be, to resort to blackmail in order to have you. Or are you ready to prove to yourself how much of a woman you truly are and face what fears you the most?”

What fears her the most… she couldn’t even begin to explain what she was feeling at that moment as Mal provided her with words of encouragement. Encouragement that even frightened her to feel, because right now all she wanted. All she always wanted was to do exactly that. Look for Emma and talk things out, hoping she would listen to the real truth.

“Why help me? After all this time.” Regina couldn’t help but ask.

“Because I wouldn’t want you to become what I’ve become, Regina.”
____________________

As Mal had promised, she had found out who Robin’s spy was and was able to convince him herself about putting a stop to all of it. Of course, while still feeding Robin false information. She paid him well, even more than Robin ever did.

And at the first call the brunette received from Mal, instructing her that it was safe for her to move about freely again. She did. For the first time in what felt like forever, she lied to Robin about another conference back in Boston, leaving Henry in his care, knowing he would care for his son. Because he would. If there was anything Robin truly loved in this world, it was Henry.

The brunette quickly packed a few clothes, driving herself to Kathryn’s. Pounding on her apartment door.

“Regina?” Kathryn’s surprised look said it all.

“I need a favor. Could you drive me to the airport?” Asked Regina, her heart pounding inside her chest like drums.

“The airport? Sure, but why? What’s going on?”

Regina sighed, a smile spreading across her face. A smile she hadn’t felt form on her lips in a long time, “I’m going to Boston. I’m going to find Emma.”
____________________

Luckily, once Regina arrived in Boston, she knew exactly who to call. Someone who would know exactly where Emma would be.

She smiled as she saw Ingrid’s car waiting for her as she made her way out of the airport. “Thank you for coming, Ingrid.”

Ingrid smiled, taking the brunette’s luggage from her as she loaded it in the car, shutting the door, “Just fix things with her, Regina. That’s thanks enough.”

Chapter Text

Regina’s heart pounded. Her nerves had set in as well as fear. Fear over many things. Emma rejecting her for one as well as Robin finding out one way or another. She wasn’t even sure what she would say. Where she would begin. What if Emma did turn her away? She was in her right, of course.

Out of habit she looked behind her, making sure no one was following.

In just a matter of hours, she would be back in Storybrooke, with Emma, begging for her to forgive her. To love her again.
____________________

Emma was bringing in pieces of furniture that Marco had extras of, made by her, along with August into the cabin. Before she knew it, it was furnished to her liking. Simple. There was a couch near the fireplace with a coffee table right in the center. To the left, the kitchen, big enough to move around in, leading to a small hallway where the first door to the left leaded into a single bathroom. Next to it was her bedroom with a big enough bed for two. And right across from that room was another bedroom, which remained empty for now.

August had been a big help for her ever since his return, which still rattled the blonde soldier from time to time. She would take one good look at her friend and couldn’t even begin to imagine all he had to go through out there alone. Lost.

Both would share war stories, which is a source of conversation Emma had missed having. It was easier for her to talk about what went on out there with someone who experienced it with her.

August twisted the bottle cap off of a beer, handing it over to the blonde who stood beside him. A shared smile on both their faces as they looked up at the cabin. Both friends clinked their bottles together in salute as they took a drink.

“So, now that this is finished. What’s your plan?” Asked August, looking over at Emma.

Emma smiled, patting the man on the shoulder, “There’s still one more thing that needs fixing.”

“What?” August followed the blonde right behind the cabin and onto another pathway, which was visible now. Taking in the sight before him of the lake and almost finished dock. The wood just needed to be polished to give it a smooth feel. “Let’s get to work.”
_____________________

After hours, Ingrid stopped near the spot where Emma’s car was parked, just off the side of the road. Regina grew nervous at the sight of that unmistakable yellow bug.

“Do you know your way?” Asked Ingrid, waking the brunette up from her many thoughts.

Regina smiled as she turned to look at her, nodding, “Thank you for everything.”

Ingrid smiled, “Good luck.”

The brunette made her way out of the vehicle, heading into that same direction Emma once walked her through. It surprised her how well she remembered her way. Although, there was a moment where she could have sworn she had become lost. But eventually she found her way again. And the closer she knew she came to where the cabin was, the more scared she grew.

Emma was walking her way just around the cabin, an empty beer bottle in hand. She had been alone for some time, given that August needed a break after a while. She stopped dead on her tracks at the sight of a familiar brunette standing off in the distance as she looked up at the finished cabin.

Was she dreaming? Drunk maybe? She did have a few already.

Her lips parted in surprise as the brunette’s did, spotting Emma walking her way forward from beside the cabin now.

Regina’s heart dropped to her feet at the sight of the soldier before her. Not that she didn’t get a good look at her that night at the bar, but out in day time, Emma looked all the same, but different all at once. She certainly wasn’t nineteen anymore.

Both women stood in utter, complete silence. Staring at each other in amazement, or shock.

Emma’s heart pounded inside her chest at the sight of Regina. Not that she could ever forget how beautiful she could look, even out of her scrubs and into simple clothes, but the very sight of such beauty made that confirmation all the better each and every time.

“It’s beautiful.” The brunette cleared her throat, “The cabin. It’s beautiful." She paused, her hands fidgeting with the fabric of her dress.

The same dress she wore on their second date.

"What are you doing here?" The question came out of the blonde's mouth tasting like vinegar. They were still filled with anger, but also utter surprise that after all these years, Regina chose to show up. And here, of all places.

"I came with hope that we could talk." Regina replied.

Emma's brows creased, "Talk?"

"About us."

Emma chuckled, "There is no us, Regina. You made sure of that, remember?" She walked past the brunette, taking the last drink of beer her bottle provided.

Regina sighed, turning to face the blonde who stopped by the entrance of the cabin as she spoke, "I deserve that. And anything else you may think of me. And you're right. What you said to me that night at the bar, you were right. I was a coward- I've been a coward. But I'm here now, and it may be six years too late but, Emma I came all this way and I am not leaving until you hear me out. The truth this time."

Emma sighed, her hand resting on the door as she looked over her shoulder at the brunette.

Regina quickly grew aggravated at the soldier's silence, "You have every right to tell me to leave, if you so choose. But, for the love that you once had for me, I will stand here and beg you to listen to what I have to stay."

The door shutting was the next thing that was heard, followed by the blonde's footsteps as she made her way inside the cabin without another word.

"You told me that night that I couldn't fight for what I loved," Regina shouted, determined to have the blonde talk to her, "Well this is me fighting now. Please, Emma. At least give me a chance to explain why I did what I did. After that, if you still want me to leave, I give you my word, you won't have to see me ever again."

Emma was standing by the other side of the closed door, listening to the brunette's words, pleading her to hear her out.

Why should she? She should just turn her away. Tell her to leave or keep giving her the cold shoulder until she gave up and went back to New York. But, on the other hand she did come all this way just to talk to her. It took her six long years, but there she was now, back into her life and her heart like a flame that she was never able to put out completely.

The blonde mentally cursed herself as she pulled open the door, giving Regina permission to enter.

It was a sight and sound that made Regina’s own heart skip a beat. A small smile almost wanted to tug on her lips as she made her way inside, but she didn’t want to shout out victory just yet.

Regina’s eyes drank in the sight of the cabin as she entered and closed the door behind her. It was better than she dreamed it being for all those years. A fire was burning, crinkling softly by the fireplace. Her eyes moved towards Emma who’s back was to her as she moved into the kitchen to retrieve two cold beers from the fridge. Her eyes moved back to a single rocking chair that was by the same fireplace.

The hiss of the bottle caps being twisted open were heard, as Emma’s head turned to the sight of the brunette as she now stood by the rocking chair. That rocking chair that was meant to be hers. What were the odds.

Regina turned to the sound of Emma’s footsteps as she approached her. Her green eyes focused on the rocking chair as well.

“It’s beautiful.” Said Regina, her voice almost a whisper, “Did you make this?”

Emma nodded, her eyes still glued to the chair.

“When did you make this?”

Green eyes met with brown ones, her voice as well a whisper, “On your twenty-seventh birthday.”

Regina’s lips parted in surprise, her eyes falling back to the chair, then to the cold bottle that was being offered to her by the blonde, which she immediately took with no hesitation. “Thank you,” She whispered, the tips of her fingers brushing with Emma’s as she touched the bottle.

It was a contact that sent shivers up both women’s spines, one to which Emma quickly broke apart from as she motioned for the brunette to take a seat anywhere she liked. “Have yourself a seat. You want to talk, you might as well make yourself comfortable.”

Regina had to force her feet to move. She was scared being here right now as she moved towards the couch, and she wasn’t hiding that. She would no longer hide anything anymore. She took in Emma’s figure as she joined her on the same couch, leaning back as she took a drink from her bottle. Her green eyes studying Regina rather carefully as she waited for her to speak.

The brunette was a bundle of nerves as she cleared her throat. But being here, sitting beside the woman she loved and deeply wounded wasn’t the only reason for her nerves, but the sight of the blonde soldier in gray sleeveless shirt. Her sculpted arms, who’s muscles seemed to have stood out more with all the work she clearly had been killing herself with, out here.

She couldn’t help but wonder about the rest of her, then and there. She took a sip of her beer which had been resting in her hand, clearing her throat, ridding herself of all that distraction, “I realize you’re surprised to see me here after all these years. After running out on you that night at the bar.”

“Well… I told you, you’d learn your way out here soon enough.”

Regina chuckled a light chuckle at the blonde’s attempt of lightening the tension that was building up around them again. Only this time, it was thicker than that night at the bar, so she was thankful that even after all this time, Emma hadn’t lost her sense of good humor.

“Emma,” She paused, placing the bottle down on the coaster that had been placed before her on the coffee table, “I am so sorry for everything I ever told you that day. I know this is probably the last thing you want to hear from me, and you are in your right to not believe a word that comes out of my mouth after the pain I put you through, but…” She sighed, her eyes stinging with tears, “You were right. That day on that road, that wasn’t me. The things I said to you, how I acted, it was all Robin.”

She took another drink, a much larger drink this time before continuing. While Emma sat there, listening attentively. Regina would give anything to know what was going through her mind at that moment.

It felt so good to finally come clean of it all, she needed to continue.

“Robin somehow figured it out. Our relationship. He learned everything about you, who you were, who your family is, all your friends,” She sighed, her brows creasing with frustration, “So, he blackmailed me, threatening your life to get me to…” She stopped, hating the look in the blonde’s eyes. It was a blank, cold stare that she couldn’t even decipher. “Well, you know the rest, there’s really no need to bring up what he had me do.” She took another, much needed drink, “We were fighting a lot at the time, if you remember so when I had to break things off with you, it all became harder for me to have to make you believe everything I did that day.”

“Why wait six years, Regina?” Emma finally had to ask, “Why are you telling me all this now? Why couldn’t you have told me on that day?”

Normally, Emma would have questioned if the brunette was telling the truth or not. But not today. The look in her eyes was the same one she had when she ended things.

Regina’s voice finally broke, “Because Robin threatened to have you killed if I so much as told anyone. I couldn’t even go to the police because someone that works for the police was paid by him to keep watch on you and on me. At all times.”

Emma’s lips parted with surprise this time, “Who?”

Regina shook her head, “I don’t know who. I’ve never seen him.”

“Is that the truth?” Asked the blonde through gritted teeth.

“It’s the truth,” Regina nodded, “I swear.”

The blonde’s jaw clenched tightly, taking another drink, “So, Robin… he..?” She paused, looking into the brunette’s brown eyes, finding the answers she seeked in them without having to ask the much needed question. “How long?”

Regina’s tears fell from her cheeks as she spoke, “It started just a short time during our fights. It went on for a long time after that, until I became pregnant.”

Emma’s green eyes grew wide, her lips parting again, “You… you had..?”

Regina nodded, wiping away another fallen tear, “It was a surprise for me too,” She chuckled, “That’s an entirely different story for a later time. But, out of all this hell I had to live through, Henry was the only good thing that came out of it. Along with seeing you live. Even if it wasn’t with me.”

Emma chuckled, tears of her own making their way past her cheeks now. Tears that Regina couldn’t help but wipe away with her thumb as softly as possible. Which only made the soldier lean into her touch. All the anger she ever had for her gone at the feel of her soft touch alone.

“So, he made you give yourself to him day in and day out? Putting you- us through the worst hell imaginable for six fucking years.” She asked, her green eyes going dark.

Regina could see Emma becoming upset, even more as she slammed her bottle down on the table hard and shot up from the couch towards the door. “Where are you going?” She rushed after her, grabbing a hold of her arm before she could do anything rash. “Emma?”

“I’m going to go find that asshole and make him pay for what he did to you!” She shouted, the vein in her forehead ready to pop.

Regina held onto the blonde’s arms all the more, “Emma, no! You do that now, you’ll only get yourself killed or worse- think of my son!”

“I don’t give a shit, Regina! He has to pay for what he did to you!” Emma shouted, her eyes only growing darker as they locked with Regina’s.

“You don’t think I would love nothing more than to see him pay for what he’s done?” The brunette shouted back, the vein in her forehead visible as well, “I more than anyone wants that, but we have to keep a level head! Especially when my son is involved now.”

Emma shook her head, her fists tightening in anger as more tears rolled down her cheeks. Her lip quivered as she turned to face the brunette, even angrier this time, “Why the fuck didn’t you tell me about all this on that day? Why?” She shouted.

“It wasn’t that simple, Emma-” Regina’s tears made their way down as she backed away against the breakfast table.

“No, don’t give me that bullshit!” Emma shouted, leaning in more towards the brunette this time, “You should have told me. We could have worked it out together, just like we always did! Instead I went on hating you for something that you had no control over! Do you understand- do you have any idea what that was like for me?!”

“Yes, I understand because I went through the same damn thing!” Regina’s lip quivered, her eyes never failing to look into dark green ones, “I hated myself for years over what I had to do to you. I hurt you like I never imagined I would have to and seeing you that day, holding an engagement ring- with tears in your eyes. It made it all more difficult.” She sighed, “I had to make you think I was this horrible person so that you would let me go. Can you understand how hard that was for me?”

Emma closed in the very little distance they had between them, her hands cupping the brunette’s face as her thumbs brushed away her fallen tears. Their eyes connecting as one, “I can understand it more than you think, Regina,” She pressed her forehead against Regina’s, her eyes closing as tears made their way down, “Because as hard as it was for you to walk away from us, it was even harder for me not to look for you.” She paused, breathing in the woman’s familiar scent, “I did what you said. I grew up, but as much of a grown up I became I could never force my heart to stop loving you. Not once in six years.”

Regina couldn’t hold back any longer. She cried. She cried like she never had the chance to cry ever since this nightmare began for them. Her hands resting on the blonde’s bare biceps, quite enjoying the feel of them against her skin again, “I’m so sorry, Emma. I’m sorry for being such a coward, because you’re right. I should have told you since day one what was really going on. I should have fought harder. Had I done that, we probably wouldn’t be in this mess.” Her hands gripped onto the blonde’s shirt as she hugged her, pulling her closer to her body, not being able to stop her tears. “I shouldn’t even be here right now. If Robin finds out, he could kill you because of me.”

Emma wasn’t having it anymore. She broke away from their hug, her eyes locking with Regina’s as her hands cupped her face, “You are exactly where you should be, Regina. Whatever happens from here on out, we’ll face it the way we should have six years ago. Together. You and me.” She shook her head, seeing in the brunette’s eyes that she wanted to run away, “I already let you go once, I’ll be damned if I let you walk away for another six years or more without a fight.”

Before Regina could say anything else, or have a chance to run anymore, Emma’s lips locked into her own in a hard given but passionate kiss. Her hand cupping the back of her head, just like before, as her other arm snaked around her form, pulling her body closer to hers. Determined not to let her go ever again.

It was in that moment, where Regina finally hit fuck it.

Whatever part of her wanted to run away seconds ago, went paralyzed to the feel of the blonde’s lips make contact with her own.

Emma was right. Whatever happened from here on out, they would face it together. She wouldn’t be alone anymore. Emma would be with her. She finally knew the real truth to what happened, she finally had forgiven her after six years of pure torture without each other. And with one kiss alone, Emma said all there was to say. She still loved her, and Regina’s feelings were just as mutual as the first day she laid eyes on her in that hospital bed.

Their lips melted into one another’s with years of desire, just like they had that night at the bar when they saw each other for the first time in a long time.

Only difference from that night was that their arms, hands and fingers didn’t waste anymore time in exploring each other. Everything was as it should be now. This entire, waited for moment was as if time hadn’t passed them at all. Both women were right back to being that twenty six year old nurse, who had fallen for that nineteen year old soldier, who at first glance belonged to her and only her.

A grunt escaped Regina, for the next thing she felt were how Emma’s hands moved their way down her sides, past her hips until they cupped her butt cheeks, squeezing them as she was lifted up onto the table.

The brunette’s hands were quick to undo the blonde’s belt, her lips not wanting to break contact with any inch of her skin, took over her neck. All while her hands yanked on the belt, allowing it to drop on the floor right after it was completely removed from the soldier’s hips.

Emma released a heavy sigh as the next thing felt were how Regina’s hands worked their way her stomach, past her breasts until they reached her shoulders.

She picked the brunette back up into her arms, their eyes connecting with another before sharing another kiss. She walked towards the couch where they were sitting minutes before, lying her gently on the cushion as her body rested upon hers.

Emma grunted as the brunette surprisingly turned them over, causing the blonde to land on her back hard on the floor. She smiled as Regina straddled her and looked down on her. Even in that position she looked absolutely breathtaking.

“You don’t always get to have all the control, soldier.” The brunette whispered, her hands pulling on the blonde’s shirt as she removed it from her body. Her eyes feasting on the beautiful sight before her. Her fingers were quick to feel their way up again, against the all too familiar but different ab muscles, past the black colored bra, and sculpted arms.

Did she ever miss the feel of this woman’s body.

There wasn’t a day where she wouldn’t dream about having it again.

Emma’s hands had a mind of their own, for they went hunting for what was underneath the brunette’s long skirt. They moved their way up, causing her wrists to drive the dress upward, leaving olive toned thighs exposed to her viewing pleasure. Her eyes fell on said thighs as her long and eager fingers pulled down on the brunette’s panties next. A sight that was ready to make her have her release just with the bare glance of how Regina’s hips moved upward, as she helped her remove her from her panties.

After everything Regina had to go through with Robin, Emma wasn’t one to want to push things further than she would want to. But, just by looking into the brunette’s lustful eyes as not only the warmth of the crackling fire surrounded them- but of their bodies as well- she knew she wanted this to happen just as bad as she did.

The next thing that happened, was that Emma pushed the coffee table out of the way. It wasn’t a heavy piece of furniture, so it wasn’t a difficult task. Besides, with how eager both were for one another, there was no way they would make it to the bedroom.

The blonde’s jeans, along with her panties were the next thing to go, followed by the brunette’s entire dress.

Their lips met in a lustful kiss, as their bodies melted perfectly together. Regina’s body resting on Emma’s again as she straddled her. Both women released a much needed moan as their most eager parts of their bodies came in contact. Regina’s hands grabbed onto the cushion behind Emma, her eyes keeping their contact with her green ones as their hips moved in sync with one another.

It wasn’t a position Emma was a stranger too. But being with Regina now, after six years of missing the feel of her- it all felt different. But, in a better way. Making love to her was as if time had just stopped and continued just for them, but with a complete 180 feel to it.

Emma then rose up, carefully lying the brunette onto the rug that covered the hard floor, moving her way in between the woman’s legs as her lips feasted on every inch of her neck, down to her breasts, past her stomach and bare thighs. Leaving no stone unturned. Her tongue, teeth, lips and hands explored the older woman’s body like a road map she knew inside out.

“Mmm…!” Regina’s hand grabbed a fistful of blonde hair, as loose strands tickled her skin, while Emma’s tongue went right to work. As well as her hands, as they were quick to make their way up to cup the woman’s breasts. It was a feeling that made Regina’s eyes roll to the back of her head. Her hips moving in sync with the blonde’s tongue as it tasted every part of her. Sliding its way inside her walls and back out in a rapid motion as she tasted the aftermath of its repeated actions.

The intensity of her tongue’s movements became impossible to stand. Her body needed immediate release. Which was earned after a few more strokes from the blonde’s bare tongue.

The intensity of her orgasm had even become too much for her body to handle as it shook with delight. A smile spread across her lips as it quickly came down from its long desired high. Her hands cupping the blonde’s as they rested upon her breasts, while her lips kissed their way up to hers. The feel of the blonde’s tongue entering with a much granted permission. Her own taste lingering inside their mouths.

Only as she thought the soldier was done- she wasn’t. The proof being in how Emma made Regina chant out her name like a prayer as she felt two of her long fingers enter her.

“Where on earth did you learn to do that?” Regina whispered, breathing out her name on the blonde’s thin lips. Her nails raking across the blonde’s arm as it only kept up its rhythm, moving in and out with such ease and familiarity.

Emma smirked right on the brunette’s lips, “I had a great teacher, years ago. She was a nurse then.”

Regina chuckled, her hands pulling on the blonde’s hair yet again as her rhythm only increased. “Mmm! The student has surely mastered the teacher- oh!”

Moans and grunts over took them both, as Regina didn’t fall far back behind as her own fingers soon entered inside Emma’s own opening. Causing her to only move her own hand more, both soon becoming so lost in each other. Their lips meeting in a passionate and hungry kiss.

Their love making was just like their first time, only better. It was not only filled with love but intensity as well. That intensity that neither of them were able to have with anyone else for six long, lost years. They were one once again. Their bodies molding perfectly against one another as their movements never ceased. They only increased more and more until both were wrapped up in this chain of ecstasy.

Emma’s tongue was quick to explore the older brunette’s skin on her back, as well as her lips, kissing away every wet trail left behind. Her hair now loose from its ponytail as she moved up towards the woman’s shoulders, her arm snaking around her fine form.

There was no fear within this shared moment. No pain, no heartache. There was only them and their undying love as a witness.

A smile like no other became visible on the brunette’s lips, her teeth pearly white in the faint light of the unattended fire that was before them.

She was the happiest she had been in years.

They both were.

“I missed you,” Emma whispered, placing another delicate kiss on the brunette’s shoulder, her hand finding its home within hers. “I missed this. The feel of your skin against mine,” Her fingers caressed against hers, “Hearing you repeat my name in the most pleasurable moans imaginable.”

Regina released a light laugh, turning her body over to face the blonde directly this time, her hand caressing a stand of blonde curl, “Is that all you’ve missed?”

Green eyes locked on her brown ones. Emma’s voice a whisper, “When you left, I had an even bigger problem sleeping. Every time I closed my eyes, I would… see you with him.” She paused, “Ingrid’s ex-husband found her, showed up at the house, on the day you ended things. All I saw was red. I nearly broke my hand on his face.”

Regina was quick to grab the blonde’s hand, placing a kiss right on her knuckles. Their eyes never leaving each other’s, “I’m so sorry, Emma.”

The soldier shook her head, her hand coming up to meet the woman’s cheek, “You’re here now,” she whispered.

“When I had to live with Robin, he would get angry,” She chuckled, “Because he could control everything I ever did from that day on, except my dreams. In them, I would see you constantly. Sometimes you’d be so in love with me like before, others you would be so angry.”

Emma’s eyes filled with anger at the mention of Robin’s name, “I’m so sorry, Regina,” Her eyes burned with unshed tears, “I’m sorry you had to find yourself in this situation.” She paused, her jaw tightening, “If I ever I see him, I swear, I will kill him myself-”

Regina placed her hand on the blonde’s lips, preventing her from speaking any further, “Don’t torture yourself any longer with that.”

“Regina, he-”

“I’m well aware of what Robin did, dear.” She caressed her cheek, feeling her relax to the feel of her touch, “He may have had my body, but he could never have my heart. And that’s what tortured him.” She chuckled, “Right until he found a new victim. But, better for me. Ever since I became pregnant with Henry, he never once touched me.”

“Henry.” Emma whispered, a small smile exposing on her lips, “I wonder how you will explain this to him.” She paused, her smile soon disappearing, “Is he… Robin, is he..?”

Regina nodded, understanding the blonde’s question, “He’s a good father to him. Henry is the one thing Robin truly cares about.” She grew worried, “He may want to take him away after this.”

“That’s not going to happen. I won’t allow it.” Emma assured her.

Regina looked into the blonde’s eyes, “Emma,” She paused, “Things could get complicated after this. You don’t know Robin like I do. Once he finds out about us…” She paused, “If you want me to leave, I still will. The last thing I want to do is put you or anyone in danger. I love you too much to let that happen-”

Emma smiled, a smile Regina missed seeing. Her lips captured the brunette’s preventing her from speaking any further.

“Life is never easy, Gina. Sometimes we are forced to face battles we weren’t meant to face. But it doesn’t mean we can’t beat it.” She smiled, wiping away one of Regina’s fallen tears, “He made me lose you once. It’s not happening again. I promise you that. He will never hurt you again.”

“I love you, Emma.” Regina whispered, feeling a sense of security she hadn’t felt in years, “I always loved you. That never changed, you have to believe me.”

Emma’s lips met the brunette’s once again, her body moving to rest on top of hers as they became one. “I believe you, but, I wouldn’t mind hearing you repeat it for the rest of our lives.”

Regina’s brow raised, her hands finding refuge on the blonde’s back, “Eager, are we, soldier?”

“As eager as you. We still have a lot to catch up on,” Emma grinned, as wide or wider than Regina, both exchanging a set of kisses, until they turned passionate again for the rest of the day and entire night.

“That we do, Ms. Swan,” Regina chuckled, “That we do.”

Chapter Text

Carl grunted as he was slammed against the hard wall of his hotel room by a very angry Robin. Unfortunately for him, he wasn’t that hard to track down by the angered man. Not when it came down to knowing what Regina was really up to, since she had been gone for almost an entire week without a single phone call, except to check in on their son from time to time.

There was blood running down the corner of the man’s eye, as Robin had thrown a few punches in to get him to confess.

“Alright!” Shouted Carl, grunting in pain as Robin only pinned him up against the wall even harder this time, “She’s been in Storybrooke all this time. She went to find Emma.”

Robin’s jaw clenched at the name of the blonde and information given to him, his fist only tightened around the man’s collar, “Why the hell didn’t you kill her? Why didn’t you come to me and tell me in the first place what Regina was really up to?”

Carl grunted as Robin slammed him against the wall again in anger, “I- I was paid! A million dollars. A- a friend of Regina’s paid me very well to keep it from you.”

“Who?” Robin asked through gritted teeth.

Carl shook his head, “I don’t know her name.”

“You’re lying.”

“It’s the truth!” The man shouted, “She didn’t tell me her name, she said it was best I didn’t know.”

Robin grunted, releasing him from his shirt collar as he paced angrily around the room, looking back at the man as he continued on with his explanation.

“She just told me to take the money and disappear from their lives for good. Without so much as a word to you. She seemed like someone very powerful and from the looks of it knew Regina really well.”

“Then, I’ll need to go there. You are coming with me.” Said Robin, tossing the man’s jacket directly to him.

“Where are we going?” Asked Carl, slowly moving away from the wall.

Robin turned to stare down at him with an anger in his eyes that told him he shouldn't be crossed right now, “Storybrooke. You know you’re way there, so you’re taking me.”

“Are you crazy? We can’t show up there, then you’ll really give yourself away-” He grunted as Robin pushed him up against the wall again. Harder this time. Only what really took him by surprise was the sound of a click that could only belong to his gun. A gun that Robin now held against his head as he pulled the hammer back.

“You are taking me there.” Robin demanded, done playing games, “Given that you have proven yourself an incompetence to do a simple task, I’ll have to do it myself.”

Carl looked into the man’s eyes and saw what could only be described as death itself. Leaving him no other choice but to cooperate.

“Alright.”

“I have things I’ll need to settle here before we leave. Be ready tomorrow, we will leave on the first flight out.” Robin released Carl, heading out the door without a single word, keeping his weapon.
____________________

Regina had spent an amazing few days in Storybrooke. It was as if they were right back to where they had left things, Emma and her.

Of course, Robin lingered in the back of her mind every time she would speak to Henry and would have to lie about where she was. She worried about what he might do, or how he would react if he found out about her being reunited with Emma once again. She worried for the soldier’s safety and others.

But, would she change anything about these magical days with Emma? Certainly not.

Her eyes opened up to the beams of light streaming in through the single window of the cabin’s bedroom. She smiled at the sight of a single flower, resting against what would be Emma’s pillow. She missed these gestures from the blonde. And ever since reuniting with her and finally fixing things, Emma was back to being her romantic self all over again. That kid soldier, who always looked at her with all the love in her eyes. Only, now that kid soldier was all grown up.

She could hear a pounding off in the distance. Which made her get out of bed, wearing nothing but a couple of short shorts to sleep in and one of Emma’s t-shirts, which fit her perfectly.

Emma was chopping away at some logs, splitting them in half with her ax, setting them aside to have them ready for a nice fire. She stopped when she caught sight of someone walking up to the cabin.

It was Lily.

Although Emma kept in contact with everyone, and occasionally made her way into town with Regina, both women chose to isolate themselves within the space of the cabin. Wanting to make up for lost time, just the two of them. And continue to talk things out.

Emma swung the ax hard onto the log, walking her way up to Lily as they met halfway just in front of the cabin.

It didn’t take a genius to puzzle together the look of happiness in the blonde’s green eyes. Not only that, but her body alone rediated in a way Lily had never seen.

She wouldn’t be a great cop otherwise.

“It’s Regina, isn’t it?” Lily asked plainly. Smiling at the blonde’s nod, “You don’t have to feel bad for me, Emma. It’s not like I didn’t see it before.” She chuckled, “Hey. It was fun while it lasted, right? You and me.”

Of course, she knew the brunette would be fine. They were both very clear since the very beginning about what type of relationship was happening between them. But, that didn't mean Emma didn't still feel bad about it.

"I was going to talk to you-" She tried explaining, only to be interrupted by Lily as she chuckled.

"I'm a big girl, Emma. We both knew what this was and it was a hell of a good time. I didn't come here seeking for an explanation like some type of jealous girlfriend." She chuckled again, this time taking a hold of the blonde's hand.

Emma chuckled a light chuckle, looking behind her as she heard the front door open. Her eyes falling on the brunette who stood calmly by the door.

“Don’t mind me. I just came to pay Emma here, a little visit.” Lily smiled over at Regina who stood still by the door. Her eyes looking back to the blonde before her as she moved towards her, slowly closing the space between them. She leaned in, placing a soft kiss to the blonde’s cheek, wiping away some of lip gloss from the blonde’s cheek with her thumb. “Take care of yourself, Rambo. If you ever need me, you have my number.”

Emma smiled, watching as the other brunette waved at Regina one last time and went on her way through the trees. She turned behind her as Regina slowly made her way towards her. “Regina-”

Regina’s hand came up, her index finger placing itself against the blonde’s thin lips. A gentle smile spreading across her lips as she simply wrapped her arms around the soldier’s form, pulling her closer as their lips connected in a much gentle kiss.

Emma’s lips melted at the contact from the brunette’s lips. Instantly responding to every soft movement.

That kiss was all she needed to know that Regina didn’t need any type of explanation. That whatever happened in the past, remained in the past. That all that mattered was that they were together now and this time it would be forever.

“How about some breakfast?” Asked Regina, as soon as she pulled away from their kiss. A smile on her lips that began hurting her cheeks.

Emma couldn’t help but smile as she gazed upon the brunette’s own bright smile. It was too contagious for words. “What would you like?”

“I was thinking we could go into Granny’s. I’ve missed those apple pancakes of hers.”
____________________

They enjoyed breakfast that morning, sitting at the same booth they were when Emma had first brought her into Storybrooke. Granny took to Regina again rather quickly, as did Leroy, even though he sometimes seemed a little on the defensive side with the brunette. He knew better than to bring anything up around Emma.

Through the course of their breakfast, both women also talked about how they would handle things from here on out, and what would have to happen once Regina returned back to New York. Because she needed to return to face the music, as people would say. She needed to return for Henry.

“I don’t know, Regina,” Spoke Emma, feeling rather differently about letting the brunette travel alone, “I don’t feel right letting you go back to New York alone to face him.”

“It’ll be fine.” Regina promised her, feeling with all the courage in the world to face Robin. “I have to confront him, Emma. Besides, I can’t leave Henry there. He needs me.”

Emma nodded, “I understand about Henry, Regina but Robin-”

“Won’t most likely be home,” She smiled, providing the blonde’s hand with a gentle squeeze, “He’s far too busy with his new entertainment, I assure you. It’ll give me enough time to prepare. Besides, if he sees you, things could get ugly and that is the last thing that I want.”

“What makes you so sure things won’t get ugly even if he sees you alone?” Asked Emma, fear displaying in her eyes over Regina’s safety.

“He won’t try anything with Henry there. That I’m certain of. He won’t want his son to see him for the monster he truly is.”

Emma sighed, hating the idea of her going alone. But at the end of the day, Regina knew him better than her. She had to trust that the brunette knew what she was doing. So she simply nodded.

After a while, Ingrid joined both women inside the diner. All three of them catching up, which Regina was grateful for the older blonde’s help. She was the only one who didn’t judge her, same with August, who officially got to meet the brunette as he arrived at the diner with his father just a few minutes after. Afterwards, they spent some time at Ingrid’s home, then went off to Marco’s soon after. Which Regina rather enjoyed seeing Emma work on carpentry. She had become a professional at this point.

Afterwards, both decided to drive back to the cabin. Only, Regina had another plan in mind, one which Emma could see rattling inside her brain as night had surrounded them.

“What?” Emma smiled, focusing her eyes back towards the road ahead of them.

“Let’s keep driving.” Said Regina, smiling at the soldier.

Emma chuckled, “Where to, your Highness?”

Regina raised a brow, a smirk on her lips, “I’ll proudly take that title.” She nodded her head towards the road, “Let’s go just outside of Storybrooke. You know the place, soldier.”

“Yes, ma’am.” The soldier saluted, knowing exactly where Regina wanted to go. Bright smiles on both their lips.

Hours passed and the night sky fell upon both women. Both totally clueless that Robin was closer than either of them thought. Clueless that Henry was left in the care of his grandmother, while Robin planned out what he was going to do once he arrived. As Emma’s Volkswagen was parked just outside of Storybrooke, up on that cliff where the blonde once brought her, both recreated that night as now they were lying on top of the hood of the car. The radio playing soft music, just as it was that night.

Regina took in the sight of the town once again. It amazed her how everything around them had changed in six years. Everything but this town.

Storybrooke remained just the same.

And whether it was fate or just pure luck, the exact same song began playing on the radio when they were here six years ago. Only this time, it was a much slower version than the one they heard before.

Emma’s eyes slowly opened, her hand resting on Regina’s, which caused the brunette to open her eyes. “Come on.”

“Where are we going?” Regina asked with a chuckle, sitting up as Emma jumped off the hood of the car. A smile formed on her lips as she knew what Emma wanted. And as she made her way off the vehicle, her arms rested upon the blonde’s shoulders. While Emma’s rested around her waist. Both women exchanging smiles and loving glances as they wrapped each other within their slow dance.
____________________

A mixture of laughs were heard just outside the cabin. August had joined them sometime during the day, through the night. The way all three were now, was exactly how Emma always pictured when things were unbroken. She pictured many nights exactly like this, sitting outside the front of the cabin, with the love of her life on one side and her best friend who had also saved her life on more than one occasion on the other. Sharing a couple of drinks, laughs and topics of chatter. But nothing about how hard the war had been for them, the things they had to do. Even if six years had passed- Emma would, ever want Regina or Ingrid or anyone that wasn’t August to hear about what their lives were like out there. Not completely.

Sharing this moment now, it felt like she always imagined, but now with a tiny difference. As Regina and August would exchange words of conversation, Emma’s green eyes were focused on Regina’s features the entire time. Taking in every single detail of her familiarities. She was older, but still looked as if she were that twenty six year old she had fallen in love with.

And somewhere in there, she couldn’t help to see Henry. Her son.

Her mind raced with the memory of when she met the small boy during her visit to New York. He definitely had her eyes, her hair structure, definitely her smile. And if her memory served her well, she could remember a hint of a dimples wanting to show on the boy’s small cheeks.

Then, she couldn’t help but wonder, what would have happened between them if Robin had never slithered his way into the brunette’s life. She was sure that even after all their fighting, they would have remained together. She was sure that by now, they would have been married even. Hopefully planning to have Henry, maybe already having him. The possibilities were endless, really.

“Emma?” August’s voice was suddenly heard, followed by the warm touch of Regina’s hand as it rested against her own like a blanket. Which was what finally snapped her out of her many thoughts. “There she is.” He chuckled, a grin across his face as they stared into Emma’s blinking eyes.

“What?” She asked, still blinking.

“You were gone for a moment there.” Said August.

“Where did you go?” Regina asked, a tiny smile visible on her lips.

Emma shook her head, smiling at both of them, her hand squeezing Regina’s gently. Her eyes meeting directly with the brunette’s. “I’m here.”

August cleared his throat, grunting as he pushed himself up from the porch chair, “Well, I think I should call it a night. I’ve imposed on your reunion long enough.”

Regina chuckled, standing up from her chair as she retrieved the empty beer bottle from the man’s hand, “You could never impose, August. It has been a real pleasure to finally meet you. Officially.”

August grinned, his head tilting towards the blonde who now stood behind the brunette, “Did you hear that, Em? A real pleasure.”

Small laughter filled the air, as Emma rolled her eyes jokingly, “Alright, go find yourself another beauty. This one’s taken.”

“Hey, I’m open to suggestions,” August smiled, “If you know anyone who wouldn’t mind dating a half human, half cyborg, but handsome bachelor, sign me up.”

“I actually do.” Regina laughed as August’s brows shot up in surprise, while he motioned towards her.

“Did I say I liked you? I may just love you.” August exchanged a quick hug with the brunette, then the blonde, waving their way as he walked away from the cabin. “Night, all.”

“Good night, Booth.” Emma smiled.

“Good night, be careful.” Said Regina.

“Always am!” His last shout was heard for the night as he disappeared through the trees and darkness of the forest.

Regina chuckled, “He’s a really sweet guy.”

“Oh, yeah. He’s a regular care bear.” Regina laughed at the blonde’s reply as they made their way inside, the door closing behind them.

This time, as Emma disposed of the empty beer bottles in her kitchen, Regina’s eyes were on her the entire time, her body leaning against the post that started at the beginning of the small area. She was most definitely more mature now. Not that she never was, but it still surprised her just how alike yet different Emma looked after all this time. Her hair was just as blonde as she remembered, and despite it being tied in a ponytail, it looked and felt just as soft and beautiful as she remembered it. It was standing there- since she saw her again for the first time in years- that her heart fell in love all over again. Not that it ever stopped.

Emma turned her head over her shoulder, at the feel of a pair of familiar arms wrapping around her waist, her hands instinctively falling on Regina’s. Both their bodies fitting together perfectly as Emma rotated in her embrace, while her own circled around the older woman’s waist. Their faces inches apart, their eyes connecting as they tended to do every time they found each other.

In the distance, Emma was certainly a sight to see. Being able to enjoy her up close and personal, Emma was mesmerizing. The green in her eyes would become brighter every time she was near. Her cheeks would light up with happiness, as would her tiny smile that would slowly form on her lips. Emma loved these moments just as much as Regina always did.

And here, within the small lighting of the cabin, Regina couldn’t help to drink in the close sight of her blonde soldier. Feeling utterly jealous at how her long strands of blonde hair brushed the sides of her face, caressing it with every small movement she made.

“What’s been on your mind, soldier?” Regina asked, her fingers gently tucking the strands of hair behind her ear.

“Just contemplating how beautiful you are.” Emma’s voice was soft.

Regina’s smile was immediate, “Have I ever mentioned how beautiful I think you are?”

Emma’s brow raised, “I don’t think so, no.”

Both leaned in, sharing a slow, patient kiss. Regina was at a loss as soon as she felt the way Emma’s hands cradled the sides of her face. She always had this gentle way of touching her that would make her toes curl.

“You are…” the brunette’s lips captured the blonde’s in another quick kiss, “So…” and again, “Beautiful.”

Emma couldn’t help but smile, their eyes locking within one another. Her smile alone was a sight Regina had terribly missed and taken in during this entire week she had been here.

“Do you really have to go?” Emma’s voice was almost a whisper.

Regina nodded, “But it doesn’t mean I won’t be back. I will this time.” She pressed her forehead against Emma’s own, “Nothing will keep me from you, ever again. Not even Robin. Not anymore.”

“Well, just to be sure…” Emma broke away from the brunette’s embrace, walking up to her bookcase, leaving Regina staring at her with a raised brow.

“What, you don’t believe me?”

Emma smirked as she flipped through the pages of one of her many books, “It’s not a matter of not believing you,” She walked up to the brunette, holding a picture within her grasp, “I simply want you to have a reminder of the cuteness you will be leaving behind.”

Regina took the picture Emma had offered her, chuckling at the sight of the snapshot of her as a little girl, dressed up in a soldier’s costume for Halloween. It was her favorite childhood picture of the blonde she had seen in Ingrid’s photo album long ago.

“Ingrid mentioned it being your favorite.” She smiled.

Brown eyes met with her green ones, “Indeed.” Her arms circled the blonde’s form again, the picture firmly grasped in her hand, “But to be completely honest, I think Henry has you beat in the level of cuteness.” She joked, breaking into laughter as she walked away from the blonde in a backwards motion, while Emma followed her into the bedroom.
____________________

They had made love all night until both their bodies were utterly exhausted. Only neither of them wanted to go to sleep. They were wide awake and resting in each other’s arms, as this time, Regina held onto Emma, while the blonde’s head rested on her shoulder. Both women had caught up on everything they had done during the years they were apart, down to the very last detail.

Emma took in the brunette’s silence for the night, feeling as her thumb, sometimes her nails gently scraping away at the skin on her arm. “Penny for your thoughts?” She whispered, feeling the vibrations of the older woman’s chuckle.

“I was thinking of a patient of mine, who was young and a dreamer, as well as a romantic.” Regina smiled, “He reminded me so much of you.”

Emma’s brow raised, which made Regina laugh a little.

“It wasn’t like that, soldier. Although, he did serve for a few years. His name was Killian.” She paused, “Killian Jones. He was a bit older than you, but you two were so alike. He was in the hospital for several gunshot wounds. I had volunteered at this hospital for the military. That’s where we met.” She smiled a sad smile, “He would go on and on about someday having a family and wanting a daughter.”

“What happened to him?” Asked Emma, looking up at the brunette as she spoke.

Her eyes tearing up, “He had developed an infection, just like you. I treated him, but turns out he was allergic to the antibiotic I had prescribed him.” She paused, “He passed away.” She chuckled, shaking her head, “It’s silly, but being told that he had passed affected me as if it were you. I would work there for hours, trying to be close to you somehow, yet I neglected to-”

Emma propped up on her elbow, her eyes meeting sad brown ones, “It wasn’t your fault. I don’t have to be there to know that you did everything you could to save him. I’m sure he knew that too.”

Regina moved more towards the blonde’s gentle caress, as her hand was placed on the side of her cheek. Gently placing a loving kiss on the palm of her hand, feeling her now faint scar caress her lips. Her eyes fell upon it silently.

“You should get some rest. I have to go into town tomorrow morning. I promised August I’d help him with his bike, but I’ll be back here in time to drive you to the airport myself.”

Regina could see the worry in the soldier’s eyes. Her hand now being the one to cup her cheek, “Everything will be fine, Emma.”

Emma sighed, “So, you keep telling me.”

The brunette smiled, hopeful, sure that everything would be alright. It had to be. They both had suffered so much already for it not to be.

Chapter Text

A smile spread across Regina’s lips at the sight of a freshly made breakfast, just waiting to be devoured. The fresh scent of sunny side up eggs, with crisp bacon and toast. And a hot pot of coffee, placed on the lowest steam so it would remain hot for when she woke. Regina carefully poured the burning liquid into a mug, helping herself to a seat at the table as she began to enjoy her breakfast.

The clanking of her fork sounding against the plate, as her eyes fell upon a book that was placed on the clothed table for her. It was a hardcover copy of Emma’s book of poetry. Her hands flipped through the pages, while she noticed a sticky note peeking out from the top. A pearly white smile exposed on the brunette’s lips as she read Emma’s cursive writing.

Thought a little light reading might make your breakfast more pleasant. This one is my most favorite, because it so happens to be about my most favorite person in the world.

I’ll be the warrior to fight for our love;
We’ll fly together, fly higher than a dove.
I’ll be your wall and shield you from danger;
I’ll take all the pains, for to me they are no stranger.

You’ll be the queen in the kingdom of my heart;
And then, I’ll be the king, so we’ll never be apart.
You’ll be my majesty- I will serve you forever;
And for all of times, I will leave you never.

Her smile grew. So wide, it made her cheeks hurt. Once again, never imagining she would ever smile this much.
____________________

“Well, look who it is!” Ruby almost shouted, “It’s about time you guys finished having sex. I almost forgot what you looked like.”

Emma chuckled, sitting at the bar area of the diner. “Sorry, I know I’ve been a little busy.”

Ruby brushed her off, “Forget it. You deserve it, soldier.” The brunette paused, her eyes looking over at her best friend, “As long as she’s for real this time and won’t hurt you again.”

“Ruby.” Emma glared her way.

Ruby raised her hands in defense, “I know, I know. It wasn’t her fault. Just looking out for you, Em.”

“I appreciate that. I couldn’t ask for a better friend.” Emma smiled.

“Where does that leave me, Swan?” August smiled, walking his way inside the diner, “Hey, I was out there with you in that battlefield and saved your ass.”

Emma chuckled, “I saved yours too, Booth. Hey, you too are a great friend.”

“I better be.” August warned playfully, nudging the blonde’s shoulder, “Come on, let’s go. I wouldn’t want to keep you from saying your goodbye’s to Regina.”

“See ya, Rubes.” Emma waved at the younger brunette, making her way out of the diner with August, both mounting her yellow bug.

“There she is.” Robin hissed, opening the passenger side door to Carl’s car, grunting as he was pulled back by the man. “Let go of me!” He yanked his arm away from his grip.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Carl asked him, stretching before Robin as he closed the passenger side door.

“I’m doing what you couldn’t.”

“Yeah? And risk going to jail?” Carl continued, even as Robin looked towards Emma with so much hate in his eyes, “Look around you, this is a small town. You kill her now, and you may as well give yourself up. It’s broad daylight.”

“I don’t give a shit what time of the day it is. I want this done now.”

Carl pulled Robin back into the car, “If you want this done right, then we wait. You want to get even, then I will take you to where both her and Regina will surely be. But you have to wait.”

Robin turned to the sight of the blonde’s car driving off into the distance.
____________________

Regina dried her hands after washing the dishes she had used. Making her way into the bedroom, to finish packing her things. Her mind racing with endless questions as to how on earth she would face Robin after this.

Off in the distance, just outside the cabin, Robin was keeping a watchful eye.

“Alright, now we wait. Emma doesn’t seem to be here yet.” Carl whispered, hiding behind a distant tree.

“Even better. You wait here,” Said Robin, “I’m going to have a word with Regina.”

Carl pulled the man back against a tree, “Are you crazy? What are you going to do, kill her? Think this through-”

“I have thought it through!” Robin hissed, “And if she thinks, she can make a fool out of me- she’s dead wrong.”

Carl pulled him back again, regretting ever bringing him here. Not after he saw a murderous look in the man’s eyes, “You aren’t thinking straight, alright? Killing her, then Emma isn’t going to solve anything.”

Robin chuckled, “Says the man who beat her up as a kid and her mother.”

Carl’s jaw clenched, “I’ll admit I’m no saint, but I’m not a murderer. Emma’s paid what she owes.”

“Not to me.” Robin gripped the man by his shirt, “Now, you can either stay out of my way and let me handle this my way, or you can die along with them. It’s your choice. Either way, you’re in this.”

The coward of a man stepped back, watching as Robin made his way towards the cabin.

Robin’s boots thudded loudly against the wooden steps. His heart racing inside his chest, the vein on his neck exposing itself as his anger bubbled more and more deep within the pit of his stomach. His fist came up, knuckles white, pounding loudly on the door.

Placing the weapon behind his back, tucked into the waistline of his pants, he pounded again. Harder this time.

“Who’s-?” Regina’s eyes grew wide, her lips parting open in surprise at the sight of an angry Robin standing before her, “Robin?”

“Surprised to see me?” He asked, pushing the door open as it slammed hard against the wall, causing the brunette to take a much needed step backward, all while he helped himself inside the cabin. His eyes taking in every detail of the place. All while Regina remained silent. “So, this is your big doctor conference, huh? Is this why you left our son alone for a week,” His eyes finally met hers, “To fuck her brains out?”

“You’re getting angry at me for infidelity?” Regina chuckled, “When you’ve been sleeping around with your colleagues wife for God knows how long?”

Robin’s eyes grew wide with anger, “That’s different, Regina.”

“Oh, really?” Her brows raised, determined not to show him an ounce of fear, even though inside she was dying of fright of what he might do. “How so? Because you’re a man and I’m just a woman? Or is it because you simply never got over the fact that Emma is the one?”

“Don’t.” Robin held up a finger in warning, taking steps closer towards her.

“Because you’ve known that too. Emma has always been the one I love, it’ll always be her. That’s why I came back here, to make up for all the time- all the years that you caused us to lose. I was actually packing right now to fly back to New York and talk to you.” Regina paused, “I’m taking Henry and coming to live with Emma.”

Robin’s eyes grew dark, “Henry?” He shook his head, “No, my son is staying with me.”

“I’m his mother, he belongs with me!” She shouted. Her eyes grew wide as Robin suddenly moved towards her, his hands wrapped around her throat.

“No, you are not taking Henry away from me just so you can play house with him and your little soldier!” His hands squeezed at the brunette’s slender throat. Regina could see murder in them as his blue eyes locked into her own, “You are not taking Henry away from me, and you are not going to be with her.”

Regina struggled, her hands wrapping around his wrists, literally gasping for air. Her eyes locked into his. What surprised her more, wasn’t that Robin was trying to kill her in that moment, but that tears were making their way down his eyes as he watched her struggle for a breath of air.

“Robin…” She gasped, her hold tightening around his wrists, “Please.”

“I’d rather see you dead, than with her.” He replied, groaning in pain as the next thing he felt was the brunette knee him right in the groin.

Regina made a run for it, making her way into the bedroom, only to be pulled back by Robin’s strength and thrown onto the bed. Not even able to reach the window in time to try and escape. She could feel all his weight on her, overpowering her more by the minute. His hand running up dress in a roughly manner.

“Robin, please, don’t!” She pleaded, trying to fight back to the best of her abilities. She managed to pull one of her hands free from the man’s grasp, pulling on his hair, yanking his head back as much as possible.

Robin grunted, holding her arm back down hard against the bed, his free hand working to undo his belt. “Why not? We’re already here. Just picture that it’s her who’s fucking you. Like every time you were with me before.”

“Robin, stop it!” Regina shouted, struggling under him, using her legs now to try and get free of his grip. “Think about what you’re doing!”

Emma came in running, her hands gripping onto his shirt, pulling his body off of Regina with all her strength and anger that even Robin was taken by surprise. And what he saw coming next, was her first striking him right on the nose. His body slamming to the floor as he fell back, feeling as hot liquid began to drip out of it.

“Emma, don’t!” Regina shouted, her eyes growing wide as she saw the blonde pick Robin up off the floor only to punch him again and again, and again.

The soldier saw red, but so did Robin just at the sight of her coming to the brunette’s rescue. He remembered well that night in the brunette’s apartment who was also there with her and Kathryn back in Germany. It was Emma. Of course he knew that.

Robin threw in a punch of his own, not at all caring that he was fighting a woman. Because why should he care? He didn’t care enough to respect Regina, let alone would he care not to hurt Emma. He rolled his body on her, overpowering her for a moment, his hands wrapped around her throat as his eyes looked down at her in anger.

“You think you can protect her? You can’t. She belongs to me and only me.” He hissed, “This isn’t over until one of us is dead.” His head turned over his shoulder as he felt someone standing right behind him. With too little time to react as Regina hit him over the head with the lamp that was nearest to her.

“Emma?” She called out to the blonde, moving near her as Robin’s body landed on the floor. “Are you alright?”

Emma nodded, “I’m fine.” Her hand cupped the brunette’s cheek, “Are you?”

Regina nodded, staring at her with fear in her eyes. “We have to get out of here. Come on.” She helped the blonde up, Emma feeling her head throbbing from Robin’s strong punch.

“Regina,” Emma stopped their walking out of the bedroom, “You go.”

“What?” Regina’s brows furrowed. Her eyes looking down at the palm of her hand as Emma dropped her car keys within them.

“Go, drive into town-”

“Emma-”

“Get help. Run.”

“No, I’m not leaving you-!”

“There’s no time to argue, just go-!”

Regina screamed as Robin suddenly charged at Emma, both falling to the ground in between the small hallway, while Regina came running out of the room, landing her body on the man’s back. Robin grunted in pain as he could feel the brunette’s nails digging into his face.

Emma grunted, feeling another hard fisted punch directly to her face, harder than the previous one.

“Get off!” Robin threw Regina back, her body slamming hard against the wall. His eyes moving beside him, where the weapon that was once strapped behind him rested on the floor. That had fallen due to the impact of the fight.

As he reached for the gun, Emma acted quicker, the click of her knife that she kept within her pocket was heard, followed by her hand that held onto Robin’s arm, a single shot firing out of the barrel as it was inches away from impacting the brunette, while her other hand which held the knife, came up, sticking the blade into the side of his stomach.

She could have killed him, easily, of course. But, as kind hearted as Emma was, she still took in consideration that the man was Henry’s father and she didn’t want to be held responsible for his death. She was done killing when she left the war. But, it didn’t mean she couldn’t beat him up more.

As she quickly stabbed him, she pushed him away using all the strength in her legs, straddling him, delivering one punch after another until she heard his nose break. Which left his head spinning and throbbing.

“Emma, move away, we got him!” Said Lily, coming into the cabin with her weapon drawn out.

“This is Detective West, I need an ambulance here now!” Zelena hung up her phone, weapon drawn out. Her eyes falling on Regina’s, locking in place.

“You?” Regina’s tone was full of surprise at the woman being a cop.

Emma moved over towards Regina, her arms wrapping around her protectively, “Are you alright?” She asked her.

Regina nodded, her eyes falling on Robin who was coming to, “I am now.”

Both women looked up as Robin groaned while Zelena pulled him up to his feet. Her handcuffs snapping around his wrists as she quickly urged him out of the door.

“Are you two alright?” Lily asked them as they stood to their feet.

Emma nodded, “How did you know to come here?”

Lily chuckled, “Does the name Carl ring a bell? I’ve been following him for quite some time, he used to be one of us until he became corrupted and started on the run. I knew he was tied to you and Ingrid the moment I met you. At the bar, not in Germany.” Lily’s eyes looked over at Regina, then back at Emma, “Anyway, he was the one who was keeping an eye on Regina and you, but it seems Robin got a little carried away that he gave himself up.” She motioned towards the door, “Let’s get you two checked out.”

Emma and Regina made their way out of the cabin, Lily following behind them.

Robin’s jaw clenched as he saw them, his hands suddenly grabbing a hold of Zelena’s weapon, while he pushed her away with his body. The weapon aiming right at Emma.

“Emma!” Regina quickly reacted, turning the blonde away while she used her own body to shield her from the bullet, which struck her in the back.

Two shots were heard coming from Lily’s weapon, firing two direct shots to the man’s chest. His body falling to the floor.

“Regina?!” Emma shouted, holding the brunette in her arms, kneeling down on the floor as she cradled her body, her hand cupping her face. “Regina, open your eyes, please, open your eyes!”

Regina’s eyes slowly opened, a weak smile on her lips, “Thought I’d save you for a change.” A weak chuckle escaped her, feeling as her life was leaving her body. Her hand came up weakly towards the blonde’s cheek, “I’m so sorry, Emma…”

Lily leaned down, moving the brunette’s sweater aside, looking for a clean exit, which there wasn’t any. “The bullet is still inside, we have to get her to a hospital. Just try not to talk, Regina.” She dialed on her phone again, shouting, “Where the fuck is that ambulance?! Someone has been shot!”

“Emma…” Regina whispered, her eyes determined to close.

“Don’t talk, okay? You’re going to be alright, the ambulance will be here soon.” Said Emma, tears making their way down to her cheeks.

“Emma… I lo- I love you.” She smiled weakly, “T-take care of Henry for me. Tell him that I love him.”

Emma sobbed silently, “I love you too, baby. You’re going to be alright. You’re going to tell him yourself, you’ll see him again.” Her eyes growing with worry as Regina’s eyes closed entirely, “Regina? Hey, Regina? Please… don’t leave me.” She held the brunette’s body close, hiding her face into the woman’s chest, not being able to hold back her crying this time.
____________________

A Year Later…

The clanking of a keyboard sounded in the office to Emma’s new home. Her green eyes focused on the words she was typing down.

“Emma!” Henry’s head peeked into the blonde’s office, immediately capturing her attention, “Are you done yet? We are going to be late for the park.”

The blonde smiled at him, not being able to help that every time he would look at him, she’d see Regina. “I’m done, sorry, kid.” She closed her laptop, walking up to the small boy, “You ready?”

“I’ve been ready!” Henry playfully rolled his eyes, which made Emma smile more.

She bent down to his level, “Alright then, hop on!” The soldier grunted as she stood once Henry jumped on her back, his tiny legs wrapping around her form like a monkey, “You’re getting heavy.” She walked on out of their home, locking the door in place, walking down the streets of Germany. A place she had dearly missed and remembered so well.

“Can we see aunt Kathryn and uncle August today?” Henry asked, his little arms tightening around the blonde’s neck.

“Maybe, remember we have to stop by Ingrid’s house later for dinner. She’s excited to see you.” Replied Emma.

“I like Ingrid.” Henry happily replied.

Emma smiled, walking along, “Me too, kid.” Her head turned towards the park as she made her way in, her mind draining in all of the memories of when her and Regina had their date here.

That all seemed so long ago now, and even as a year had now passed, her love for the brunette only seemed to grow. Her life was her family now, who they all agreed to move to Germany to be near her. Of course, she would still visit Storybrooke from time to time and spend some quiet times in her cabin, which was looked into by Marco from time to time. But, her heart was here. Her memories and love for Regina were here.

And, lucky for her, Henry didn’t mind moving with her. It surprised her as well how quickly the boy took to her and has grown to love her. Of course, he would miss his dad, and as any young boy, he would never clearly come to understand why he had to die. But, he was happy, and well taken care of by the blonde, August, Kathryn, Ingrid and…

“There she is! Mom!” Henry shouted, climbing down the blonde’s back as he rushed to a smiling Regina who sat underneath the same tree her and Emma had claimed as theirs.

Although they don’t legally claim it, it was their tree that would give both women a sense of happiness.

Emma smiled happily, watching as mother and son hugged, taking a seat on the ground for their small lunch picnic before Regina had to go back to work. She was thankful that even as the bullet remained inside of her when Robin had shot her that day, she was thankful that the bullet was only inches from her heart. By some form of miracle she was able to survive. She was grateful that she wasn’t raising Henry alone, and that he hadn’t had to stay without a mom.

After everything, their best decision was to move back to the one place where they were both the most happiest.

“Henry, honey, don’t eat so fast.” Regina told her son, smiling as he grinned happily at her with his own hamburger in his tiny hands. Her eyes looking at the soldier who soon sat beside her.

“A little light reading?” Emma nodded her head towards the book that was resting beside the brunette.

Regina reached for the new book that Emma had written. Cursive letters spelling out the title In Love & War. It took Emma a long time to finally decide and agree to write about her life’s tale, her experiences in war and with friends, and her finding love in the midst of it along with heartache. The hardest parts for her to write about were the ones where Robin came in, but in the long run she decided to change his name in her book, out of respect for Henry of course. It wasn’t a book neither woman would allow the boy to read, until he was older enough to decide for himself.

The brunette, of course, being her biggest fan, knew that biography even with her eyes closed. She never tired herself out reading it, as well as other of Emma’s books.

She smiled, picking up the book, holding it before the blonde. Green eyes falling on the cover that had Emma’s dog tags, as well as an American flag flapping in the wind, with the picture of them together, from the time Emma was in the hospital and they held that small gathering for every soldier stationed there, along with the nurses. It had become Emma’s favorite picture of her and Regina that had been taken that day, and one she didn’t mind sharing to be a part of the cover to her book.

“I thought I could get the author to sign it.” Regina smiled, which would make Emma smile every single time.

Emma took the book in her hands, her eyes focused on their picture that was part of the cover.

Henry exchanged looks between his mom and Emma while he sipped quietly at his juice.

The blonde smiled as her eyes heard the clicking of a pen that Regina had removed from her shirt’s pocket. As a doctor, she always had one carrying around, of course.

“Please? But, skip to the end.”

Emma accepted the pen from the brunette, smiling, flipping through the pages, until she stopped at the very end, that read the brunette’s favorite line.

In war, we found each other… In each other, we found love.

Only, the title wasn’t what made her stop in a surprised gaze. It was that at the bottom of the title, a ring had been tapped onto the page.

Green eyes looked back up at a smiling Regina.

“I remember you once telling me that you would someday ask me to marry you. But, this time… I wanted to be the one to surprise you with such question. All I need is your answer.”

Emma’s eyes looked over to a grinning Henry, “Did you know about this, kid?”

“Uh huh.” Henry nodded.

“What do you say, soldier?” Regina asked, followed by an excited Henry.

“Please, say yes, Emma!” He smiled, “Then, I’ll have two mom’s.”

Emma chuckled, smiling happily as she was taken completely by surprise. Her eyes tearing up as she looked down at the page, writing down a single word. She turned the book over for the brunette to see, the bottom of the page reading: Yes.

“Yay!” Henry shouted, happily standing to his two small feet, racing before Emma as he wrapped his arms around her in a tight hug. A hug that Emma quickly gave back. She loved Henry to death, and to marry Regina and finally start a family with her and Henry would be her biggest dream come true.

Regina chuckled happily, leaning in towards the blonde soldier, bringing her lips closer to hers as they connected in a quick but loving kiss. Which Emma leaned in for more soon after. Even after a year of that tragic event in the cabin, and six years apart from one another because of black mail and lies. And the endless wars they fought with one another and day to day lives. Both women were very much in love. Both knew it, ever since that first morning in the hospital in Germany.

Their love was one that would last even beyond death.