A/N: Well, the end is nigh. So nigh, it has in fact arrived. You guys reading this story honestly means so much, and I may very well write you a little love letter at the bottom of this chapter.
It only felt fitting to take this opportunity to allow the story to finally earn its rating in the way we all want it to. Many apologies for my mediocre smut-writing skills, but I really tried! Without any further ado... enjoy chapter 20!
And in the gathering dew
I was lucid as a floodlight
I was thinking of you
But now I'm back here before you
You can see me shaking
Cause in that moment I knew
I just knew, I just knew, I just knew
-Stornoway, (A Belated) Invite to Eternity
"I'm going to go and see Dr Hopper now, if that's ok with you. He's long overdue a visit." It was early the next morning after a nightmare-free night, and Emma had only just woken up. After yesterday, however, she felt relieved, if a little blindsided, by Regina's first words to her.
"Sure, want me to come with?"
"It's quite alright dear, you can take Henry and go and pack up some of your belongings. Those jeans are getting rather… tired." Regina gave them a cursory glance, kissing Emma on the cheek briefly and leaving before Emma could jump to her trousers' defence.
"I'm really pleased you decided to come by and see me, Regina. The last time Emma and I spoke she was concerned about you." Archie and Regina were once again sat in his cluttered office, and the woman blushed slightly at the mention of Emma's name.
"Yes well, it's safe to say I gave her reason to be concerned."
"I hope you don't mind that she told me what transpired between the two of you last week. You understand that it was said in confidence, and I would never…"
"Relax, Dr Hopper. I trust you." It was a throwaway comment, but said with the earnest backdrop that Archie had often found lacking in their conversations before the accident.
"I'm glad. Now, what is it you want to talk about?"
"Emma and I had a conversation, and we… well I, decided that I'm going to actively work to make myself a good person."
"To be rid of evil?"
"I'm pleased that you can admit that, Regina. But I'm curious; what is it that makes you think that's necessary?"
"When I was without memories, I unintentionally performed small acts of magic. It was undoubtedly dark, and I believe that when I remembered it triggered a manifestation of evil inside me."
"Did you not consider that perhaps it was just faulty magic?" Archie questioned, looking up from his notepad to catch Regina's reaction.
"Of course not, my magic doesn't do faulty."
"You were recovering from a major head trauma, Regina. You had absolutely no control over your magic, or indeed, the knowledge that it even existed. To ignore the possibility that it was merely faulty magic would be a mistake."
"I'm not sure I can afford to believe that."
"Ok, I have an idea." Archie stood up, and moved out of the way of the chair he had been sat in. "Do some magic for me."
"What do you take me for; a commonplace magician? I'm afraid I left my top hat at home." Regina gave him a haughty look of derision. Archie couldn't pretend that he didn't enjoy Regina's wit at times, and gave her a smile.
"Humour me, Regina. Lift this chair."
Sighing, Regina stood, and focused her attention on to the chair. She spent a second or two taking in it's appearance; the tatty fabric, the tiny splinters of wood jutting out of the arm rests, the scuffs at the bottom of the legs. Before she knew it, she could feel the magic begin to rise in her fingertips.
"Look down, Regina." Regina almost sensed a pride in Archie's voice, and was about to question it when she obeyed and saw the white light glowing around her palms.
"White magic. You'd put so much effort into changing who you were, and I don't believe there is a person on this earth who could suddenly revert back so simply without an input. There's good inside everyone, Regina, especially you. You just need to believe."
"You're beginning to sound like Snow White." Regina snarked, in spite of the raw emotion, the -relief- bubbling inside her.
"I don't know if it will be of use to you, but I know that a fair few people share the belief that love and hate can't coexist within a person. You've shown that you love your son, and.." Archie hesitated, "potentially there's somebody else you have love for now as well. Evil and love can't both fully belong inside you at the same time, they're opposing - they cancel each other out."
"You believe that?"
"It doesn't matter what I believe." Archie stressed. "It matters what you do."
Regina looked at Archie with her brow furrowed for a moment, as if in disbelief that what he had said rang true with her. "Thank you Dr Hopper."
"Any time. And I mean that, Regina."
In recent months, Regina had most certainly gained the propensity towards actions that made Emma Swan fall for her even more. Watching the woman smile gleefully as she showed Emma the white glowing cover her hands, the blonde was sure that she could never love somebody as much as she loved Regina in that moment. That in spite of all her faults, her doubts and her insecurities, something such as this could fill Regina with so much joy was something that resonated with every chord of Emma's loving body.
"I'm waiting for the 'I told you so'" Regina noted as she finished with a flourish, raising an eyebrow at Emma accusingly.
"You don't deserve one, you needed to realise for yourself." Emma walked up to Regina and laid her hands on the woman's back.
"Against all the odds, sometimes you know the right thing to say." Regina sighed, and smiled loosely at the arrogant grin that overtook Emma.
"You know it. I love you." Emma kissed the woman passionately on the lips, putting one hand on the back of her neck. "How 'my parents' is it for me to say that I'm really looking forward to spending every day with you?"
"I'll have to drum the Charming gene out of you, I fear." Regina smirked half-heartedly into a smattering of short kisses, "I love you too, Miss Swan. Where's Henry?"
"Gone to see friends."
With that, Regina held onto Emma tighter, and Emma registered the familiar smoke billowing around her, clearing as she found herself stood in Regina's bedroom.
"So, that isn't just an evil thing?"
"That's an 'I needed you in my bedroom' thing." Regina muttered, once again attaching herself to Emma's lips. The two continued to kiss standing for a few minutes, Emma pulling at Regina's lower lip and biting it, eliciting a quiet moan from the woman. Taking that as her cue, Emma began to unbutton Regina's shirt, pulling it swiftly from her shoulders.
She looked into Regina's eyes for a moment, and was struck by the warmth she saw emanating from them.
"What are you waiting for?" Regina whispered in a low tone, guiding one of Emma's hands onto her breast and taking a second to look at her with earnest, -willing- her to understand how she felt inside. Regina raised a hand to Emma's lips, and as two of Emma's fingers began to tease at her nipple through the fabric of her bra, she pulled Emma's face to her neck, imploring the woman to leave a trail of kisses along her clavicle.
Emma felt as though every touch, every gaze, every argument the two women had ever had was in anticipation of this moment. She wasn't ashamed to admit she'd thought about it before, in the midst of an argument: wiping the smug smile off the woman's face and taking her right there on the cold floor of her office. But this was different. She was in love. Every movement she made had a purpose, slow and meaningful. She sat on the edge of the bed, pulling Regina in between her legs and then moved her hands to the woman's hips.
Regina undid the zip at the back of her skirt, and adjusted herself slightly as Emma smoothly pulled it down and allowed it to drop to the ground, shaking fingers lightly grazing the naked skin of her thighs. Emma then began to lay kisses onto Regina's stomach, with hands either side of her head holding the woman's hips in place. She allowed one finger to tease at the top edge of Regina's underwear, and with that the brunette pushed Emma back so she was lying half on the bed underneath her.
Emma used her arms to pull herself further onto the bed, so she was lying horizontally across it. Regina straddled her hips, and pulled her tank top off for her with one deft movement. She took a few moments to marvel in the sight of Emma lying beneath her, muscles in her arms and stomach tensing in anticipation.
Regina leant down onto Emma, their bodies lying flush against each other. Pausing before their lips met, she allowed again to look deep into Emma's eyes, the woman's desire flashing through them. Bringing one hand down, she heavily ran one hand over Emma's center through her jeans, and Emma's eyes closed momentarily.
"Too many clothes." was all Regina said as she broke from Emma's lips for the shortest of seconds, and lifted off Emma's hips so the woman could expertly pull her jeans off.
The women's underwear still created a barrier between them, but Regina was reluctant to remove them, taking a few moments to enjoy the friction created as she rubbed the material against Emma's underneath. Still refusing to take their eyes away from each other's, the two women fumbled with clumsy fingers to take off their underwear, and once the final barrier was gone Regina sat up so she was once again sat on Emma's hips.
Emma looked up at Regina, naked and smiling above her. This woman loved her. This wasn't about sex, it wasn't about intimacy. Emma wanted to be close to Regina, to protect her. She ran a hand lazily up and down Regina's thighs, the movement resulting in goosebumps on pristine olive skin.
She sat up and placed a hand on the back of Regina's head, lifting her steadily until Regina's head lay among the pillows at the top of the bed and Emma was hovering over her. "I love you." Emma stated simply once again, and repeated it after each kiss she placed on Regina's stomach on her way to her hips. Once she got there, she parted Regina's legs, and after running her hand slowly up and down Regina's sex a couple of times, she began to play with the engorged clit in front of her with her tongue, still being sure to look Regina in the eye.
As Regina's neck rolled her head back, finally separating her gaze, Emma focused, allowing two fingers to enter Regina and curl inside her. Regina gasped, and Emma began to repeat this motion with increased frequency until Regina's legs tensed and un-tensed around her as the woman called out her name.
Emma began to move up Regina's body towards her mouth, but before she could reach it, Regina sat up, making Emma wobble slightly until she now sat on top of her naked form. Without another word, Regina attached her lips to Emma's left nipple, teeth biting lightly, she moved her hand in between them until two of her fingers entered Emma. Evidently, Emma was already close, and began to grind on Regina's lap. Regina felt a heat rising in her once again, and leant back. As she did so, their clits brushed against each other, and this was enough to send both women over the edge.
Regina lay sated for a few minutes, more from the intensity of being under Emma's gaze than the act itself. People didn't often look at her like that, if at all, and when they did she knew it meant something.
"Do you want food?" Emma said, leaning over Regina for another short kiss.
"It's 2 to 1. Don't you want me to even the score?"
"Eh, we've got the rest of our lives." Emma shrugged, another grin over-taking her face. "And I'm really hungry."
Regina followed Emma and stood up, pulling her into another kiss before getting reluctantly dressed. "I love you. Again." she said, still marvelling at how easily the words could now tumble from her mouth.
"And I love you." Emma looked at her as she opened the door, and was greeted by a sheepish looking Henry.
"How long have you been standing there?" Regina asked, her face burning, staring daggers into the side of Emma's head, who was in turn looking anywhere but at her son.
"Just a second. For the.. Love… bit." Henry cringed, and thanked all the gods he could think of that he hadn't got home a second sooner.
"So yeah, funny thing. We actually need to talk to you about something…"
A/N: Wow. wowee. This is the first time ever I've started to plan and write a fic before publishing, and I really wasn't sure what the reception would be. And then you guys came along, and you read and followed and favourited and reviewed. This story now has over 30,000 views, and I honestly can't believe it. If I could, depending on personal preference, give you all hundreds of kisses/hugs/firm handshakes/high fives/awkward nods, I would. Thank you thank you thank you.