"Regina and I were lesbians!" Emma blurted out.
"What?" Henry asked.
"What?" Regina repeated, though hers was more a flat what than a question.
"What?" Mary-Margaret said. That was definitely a question.
The rest of the diner didn't say anything, but it was clear their thoughts were running along the same lines.
Emma had not meant to say that. She had just meant to introduce Regina to Henry so Regina could get some time with him before they found a memory potion for him. But seeing Regina's heart breaking, and Henry so oblivious, she just had to say something.
Something decidedly more heterosexual, she should've specified.
"I mean…" Emma worked on figuring out what she meant. "Before you were born, Henry, Regina and I were in a very intimate, loving relationship and I used in-utero fertilization and turkey basters and stuff to get pregnant and we were going to raise you together, but then we broke up before you were born and I made up a story about Neal but now it's time for you to meet your real other mom. Hi!"
Henry looked at Regina with new eyes. Somewhat guilty eyes, given the way he'd been eying her cleavage a moment ago. "You're my… mom?"
Regina glanced at Emma in surprise before focusing on her son. "Yes. Yes, I am."
"You can't be my mom! You didn't raise me! You didn't spend any time with me! You're not a mother just because you show up in my life after eleven years!"
"Thank you," Regina said emphatically.
Emma gritted her teeth. Some people. But still, she'd had a pretty good year with Henry, all because of Regina, and she owed her. "Henry, the break-up was my fault. I cheated on Regina."
"With who?" Henry demanded, then noticing Mary-Margaret was still staring at them. "Oh my god, is that why Regina's been giving her the stinkeye?"
"Yes!" Regina said quickly, then 'forced' a smile at Mary-Margaret. "But that was a long time ago and we've all moved on."
Mary-Margaret looked on in horror. "I… I… porn!"
"Yes, they made a sex tape," Regina added. "I was shocked. But I'm over it."
David took Mary-Margaret by the arm. "Maybe we should give them some time alone."
Emma too hurried to clean up the situation. She grabbed Regina and sat her down in the booth with herself and Henry. "Regina and I will always… have feelings for each other." Regina nodded slightly at the oh-so-truthful statement. "But more importantly, we both love you very much and Regina would like to get a chance to know you. We've been writing each other a lot over the past few months, talking about you, and, well… as long as we're in Storybrooke… look, I know this is a lot to take in—"
"No, no, it all sort of makes sense," Henry said at length. "I was wondering why you two kept giving each other weird looks."
"Weird looks?" Emma asked, giving Regina a concerned stare. Regina met her eyes—their gazes locking, a smile toying with the corners of Emma's lips as she delved into Regina's soft eyes…
"You're doing it again," Henry broke in.
The town meeting was in an uproar. Some were frantically looking for their loved ones in the crowd. Others were shouting accusations, usually in regards to the absent Regina. Many more were simply demanding to know how the changes of the lost year had happened to them—whether it be ornate tattoos, elaborate hairdos, or in the case of one woman, a thick, bushy beard.
"People, people, please," David called. "Calm yourselves. We're going to get to the bottom of this, but first, there is a matter of the utmost importance and urgency to deal with."
Out of loyalty to their King, the townspeople fell silent. Now each watched attentively to see what Snow White's husband required of them.
"My daughter Emma has told her son Henry that Regina Mills is her ex-girlfriend so that Regina has an explainable maternal connection to Henry. Thus, we all have to act like Regina and Emma were lesbian lovers."
"They aren't?" Granny asked.
"Your highness," Robin Hood called. "I have it on good authority that anyone who tries to leave town is not only attacked by flying monkeys, but turned into one themselves-!"
David raised a cordial hand. "Yes, Robin, that's very nice, but right now we need to focus on selling Henry on Emma and Regina being gay. Now, who here has any ideas on ways to make it seem as if they were dating around eleven years ago?"
"Hello Regina!" Ruby called briskly as Regina walked through the door to the diner. "I'll have your usual coming right up!"
Regina took a confused seat at her usual place on the counter. "My usual?"
Quick as a jiffy, Ruby set a plate of fresh fruit in front of Regina. "Your mangos, your highness."
"Yes. Everyone knows—certain people—like mangos."
"Ah." Regina gave one a poke. "After thirty years in this world, I forgot that the Enchanted Forest had its own… clichés when it comes to those 'certain people'. But you are aware that Henry doesn't know any of those? To him, I'll just seem like someone who happens to like mangos."
"Well, it'll help you get into character."
"Believe me, dear, it'll take more than some ripe fruit for me to pretend that I could ever find Emma Swan the least bit appealing." With that, Regina took a petite bite and considered the taste. "Where've you been, anyway?"
"You. It seems like I haven't seen you for weeks, now suddenly, here you are."
"Oh, you know." Ruby brushed a hair back behind her ear. "Been busy. Doing stuff. Things. Stuff."
"You said stuff."
"I was thinking of other stuff. So, two stuffs in all."
Regina raised an eyebrow. "I'd half-imagined you'd been shacked up with a guy all this time."
Ruby actually blushed. "W-why would you say that?"
"Well, I haven't been seeing much of Pongo either."
Ruby stood bolt upright, visibly chilling. "I know you don't think much of my chastity, Mills, but to imply I'm such a slut I would actually sleep with a wild animal? That's just offensive. Who in their right mind would ever—"
Emma breezed through the door. "Hey gang." She eyed Regina. "Lover."
Regina's brow furrowed as Ruby moved off. "We're actually doing this 'method acting' thing?"
"Do you want a relationship with Henry or not? Ooh, mangos." Emma sat next to Regina and began to eat ravenously.
Regina's lower lip jutted out. "You're not the woman I fell in love with."
"Don't try to change me. I gave you the best years of my life."
"So you just press X to fire the missiles?" Regina asked.
"No, X is lasers, unless you're holding down R1," Henry clarified.
Coming into Mary-Margaret's apartment, Emma actually lingered in the doorway to observe the domestic scene before her without interrupting. Regina and Henry were two peas in a pod on the couch, each frantically handling their controllers to guide the polygonal action on the TV set.
As if Regina had a sixth sense, the queen looked back over her shoulder at Emma, gave her an actual smile (albeit a quick one), and gestured her in with a flip of her head.
"So!" Emma greeted, setting her satchel on the island. "You've volunteered to let Henry kick your ass at Death Warriors 3, huh?"
"Regina's actually pretty good at DW3," Henry insisted. "It just took her a while to get the hang of it."
"Pressing a few buttons to control some silicon fantasy," Regina practically snorted. "That's nothing compared to casting a spell to put a stopper on love or make a candle of death—or so I'd imagine," she added for Henry's benefit.
Emma went to the fridge. It'd been a whole year since she'd looked into it—maybe Mary-Margaret had some Nutella in there. "Well, come talk to me when you get a high score."
"Oh, I'm not familiar with electronic entertainment. Is that this thing?" Pausing the game, Regina displayed the high score screen.
At the top was 'EQ1'.
Emma pushed her tongue against the inside of her chin. "Well. I guess everyone gets lucky now and then."
"Yes, just so long as they lower their standards enough." Regina gave Henry a smile. "Say, do we have any bananas on hand?"
Emma closed the fridge door. "Better question: that game have a Versus Mode?"
Emma had brought in Billy Bedlam with a Saturday Night Special and a half-full lighter. She'd slayed a dragon. She'd dueled a pirate. She'd even beaten up some Lost Boys—though, being preadolescent boys, that wasn't too impressive. Certainly not as cool as defeating a pirate. Albeit a one-handed pirate.
The point was, Emma was a badass. So why couldn't she beat Regina Mills, who was one of those people that didn't even own a TV, at a fucking video game?
"Press X, Y, then R1 and L1 at the same time!" Henry ordered. "You can rip her heart out!"
"Oh?" There was a gleam in Regina's eyes. "Can I?"
In due course—Emma working on the mystery of who had cursed them, Regina trying to replicate the memory spell—they ended up together in Emma's Bug, observing Regina's house for anyone who might want to stop the memory spell. There wasn't much to talk about. The town's newfound insistence on them being ex-lovers made things too awkward.
The other day, the Blockbuster guy (because Storybrooke still had a Blockbuster; of course it did) tried to pretend Emma had Xena: Warrior Princess on backorder. Emma had had to spend thirty minutes explaining that she really was a Xena fan, but only because it was a quality show about two strong female characters who happened to be really close friends. Why did everything have to be gay innuendo with some people?
"I think we're doing a good job raising a son together," Regina said suddenly. "I'm glad you had my baby."
"You're enjoying this, aren't you?"
"Me? You're the one who supposedly landed all this." Regina ran a hand down her physique.
"Yeah, but that's for, like, dudes. Look at me. Look at my guns. I'm the Angelina Jolie of lesbians."
"I'm quite sure Angelina Jolie is the Angelina Jolie of lesbians."
"Whatever." For want of something better to occupy her time, Emma unscrewed her thermos and took a sip of hot coffee.
Regina made an appearance of musing thoughtfully. "So, I hear from Henry that you've been smelling my clothes and crying."
Regina yawned. "His words."
"Oh." Emma smiled to herself. "And I suppose you've really been staring at the phone, hoping against hope a certain someone calls?"
"All day, every day." Regina grinned. "You don't suppose the little one wants us to—get back on the horse, so to speak?"
"Get back? We were never really dating, Regina, remember? We can't get back on because we never got off!"
Regina gasped in mock-surprise. "You knew I was faking all those orgasms?"
Emma ran over her phrasing in her mind. "You know what I mean. And don't act like you wouldn't be Mayor of O-town if I were your girlfriend."
"I know we don't often see eye to eye, but there's no need to bring boy bands into this. Oh, wait, you were trying to use a clever euphemism." Regina smiled fondly. "So adorable…"
Emma shook her head. "First time I've ever seen someone drunk with power off a high score on a video game."
"Death Warriors 3," Regina corrected pedantically. "It's a triple-A title." Then she yawned. "Can our mystery guest just break in already? Say what you will about me, but when I was evil, at least I was punctual. If I said I was going to curse you in a few months, it happened."
Emma offered her the thermos. "Here. Drink."
"What is it?"
"An obscure beverage known as 'coffee'."
Regina gave a withering glare. "What kind of coffee?"
"The kind that comes in cans and keeps you awake."
"Do you put any thought into your diet before you shovel things into your maw?"
"Yeah. I think 'if I don't eat this, someone else is going to eat this'. Then I eat it."
Regina pushed the thermos away. "Do you know what kind of toxins are in that? Bad enough you drive this alleged car, but now you're treating your body like a toxic waste dump."
"Poetic. You know, you get really grumpy when you don't have your beauty sleep."
"If you looked this good, wouldn't you?" Regina stared fixedly at the clock on the dashboard, all but whining I'm tirrrrrreeeeeeddddddd with her petulant expression.
Emma sighed. "Just—go in the backseat and take a nap. I'll wake you if anything happens."
"Emma, I'm hardly going to leave you undertaking a dangerous mission on your—"
"You're not going to fool me into thinking you're noble and self-sacrificing by making me insist a half-dozen times."
"Oh, very well." Getting up from her seat, Regina stifled another yawn before trying to clamber into the back of the Bug.
'Try' being the operative word.
"Ummmm…" Regina said.
Emma looked over. There was an Evil Queen wedged in the space between headrests, ass up front and torso in the back.
"You realize, of course," Emma began, "that this is a Volkswagen. As in, small. As in, not a lot of room."
"I was tired," Regina said defensively.
"Not much space for two people to maneuver," Emma continued.
"I'm sure you're quite expert on what can be done within the confines of this vehicle," Regina countered snidely. She wiggled around, trying to get through—a process Emma tried not to observe too closely. She was trying hard, very hard, not to notice, but Regina had a lot of ass and not much skirt. Or panties, for that matter.
"How is it—" Regina began to demand, "that you've spent a year as a responsible, successful mother, yet you still drive a child around in this yellow deathtrap? Why not buy a minivan, so you can drive Henry and some of the friends he's hopefully made?"
"Uh, because I'm not a damn soccer mom?"
Regina went still with a huff. "I'm stuck."
"And I'm starting to see the downside of being able to magic up muffins whenever you want."
Regina craned her neck to face Emma as best she could. "As if you wouldn't kill for hips like these."
"Not at the moment, no. Are you—are you trying to make sweet love to my car, like in that Cameron Diaz movie?"
Regina huffed again. "In light of what I'm sure will be hours of entertainment I've provided that underdeveloped mind of yours with this situation, would it be too much to ask that you help me?"
"Sure, let me drive down to the store for some Crisco. I'm sure no one will notice I've got Regina Mills stuffed inside like a Garfield doll."
"Crisco?" Regina repeated. "I'm not that stuck."
"You can't move. How much more stuck could you be?"
Regina reached over and flicked Emma in the ear ("Ow!"). "I could be unable to do that."
"Do you want me to leave you here until someone steals this car and takes it on some wild crime spree while you're stuck in the—hold on, I just had a great idea for a movie."
Regina started to growl. "Give me a fucking push, Miss Swan, or so help me I'll—I'll tell your parents about your Tumblr."
Emma gasped. "You wouldn't dare!"
"All those Michelle Rodriguez gifs—I'm sure you have a good explanation."
Emma cursed under her breath. Why did Regina always pick the worst times to be tech-savvy? "Alright, fine. Keep your panties on." Your very thongish panties, she thought. "Where do I, uh—"
"The obvious solution, Miss Swan."
"That would be your—"
"Yes, Emma, you can say the word. My… bottom."
Emma burst out laughing.
"Michelle! Rodriguez! Gifs!" Regina repeated stridently.
"Okay, okay, I'm just going to—" Emma sort of practice-cupped Regina's rear with her hands, hovering them an inch off the skin. "I'll just—"
"Any time now, dearie."
"There!" Emma said, using one hand to give Regina a very quick push and then withdrawing her hand equally quickly.
Otherwise known as a slap.
"Did you just—" Regina paused, as if she had to invent the words in the English language to describe what had just happened. "Spank me?"
"No…?" Emma tried.
Regina's teeth were being worn down to stubs. "Put your hands. On my ass. And push!"
"Okay, fine." Emma paused. "Just let me look for some gloves…"
Zelena looked around Regina's office. Nothing left to trash, it seemed. She'd done what she'd came here to do. Now all that remained was to let the 'heroes' almost catch her, and leave them with a mocking glimpse of the enemy that would come to haunt their nightmares.
Where were they, anyway? She'd walked in front of the window four times. Were they even paying attention?
Going to the window one last time, Zelena peeked through the blinds. And saw the Volkswagen below, rocking back and forth as if a herd of very small wildebeests were stampeding inside.
Well, she had to admit, her half-sister did have game.
"Harder!" Regina cried. "Harder!"
"Any harder and I'm going be fisting you, majesty!"
"Then fist me! Fist me!"
"You don't know what that means, do you?"
Suddenly, two things happened. First, Regina came loose, and was propelled into the backseat by the force of Emma's efforts. Second, by virtue of Emma's strength no longer meeting any resistance, she herself flew through the gap Regina had just cleared.
So she ended up with her face in Regina's ass while the Mayor was kneeling on the backseat, bent over in the headspace facing the back window.
And the nuns who'd just rounded the corner for their morning walk.
"This is not what it looks like!" Regina insisted through the window glass, even as Emma pulled back, taking Regina's panties with her.
"This is my thong!" she shouted, yanking it off Regina's feet.
The nuns crossed themselves. Except for Astrid, who gave Regina a thumbs up.
Regina always had liked that girl. Maybe she should've made her a policewoman instead.
"You stole my thong!" Emma insisted.
"You left it here! And you took off with how many of my shirts?"
"They smelled good!"
Zelena heaved a sigh. Five more minutes, then she was leaving, no matter how lacking an exit it was. Perhaps she'd leave a note behind. Something catchy—unique to her—something that proclaimed her birthright as Cora's true successor.
Five minutes later, Zelena had finished her work. Written on the wall in bold red letters were the words 'Enemies of the Heir, Beware.' There. Now there was no way Regina wouldn't know exactly who the architect of her destruction really was.
"Okay," Emma said, a little more than five minutes later, "I've seen this movie and read the book. First, let's go around and make sure no one's writing in diaries, since they could be dark harbingers of pure evil and malice. To be on the safe side, we'll also check if anyone has a MySpace."