.

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Nights out were often a subject of mixed feelings for Emma.

Most of them being concern, really.

Storybrooke was a relatively safe community, with relatively friendly folk and she liked spending those nights with family.

Family turned out to be Henry, Mary Margaret, David, Ruby, and a quarter of the rest of Storybrooke's population. Eating pumpkin pies sprinkled with cinnamon at Granny's dinner.

However, now it included making room for Regina in a booth. Emma smiled for her parents and then bit her lip at the less-than-pleasant stares.

They never were for her, but… for Regina.

And it just ate Emma up inside. It was like no one was really trying to get to know Regina. Their mayor voluntarily showed, exchanging a couple frigid words and tersed lip quirks, and really it was only Henry speaking up that managed to soften Regina's expression.

It wasn't that Regina didn't have plenty to say.

(Oh boy, and it wasn't gonna be near as 'pleasant' as the staring.)

But the people in town didn't know how to… communicate with Regina. It took a while, she supposed. Hell, it took downed shots of whiskey, some honesty, and the exact, bruising dental record of Regina's perfect teeth imprinted on Emma's shoulder and left breast, but hey…

Trying. There had to be an attempting at trying.

Storybrooke wasn't getting the message every time Regina sat down, hair primped and manicured hands crossed over her knees. They were more than happy to ignore her—with Regina learning to be than happy to be ignored, minus Henry.

It left Emma with the violent and unexplained desire to start gnawing on the booth table's edge out of frustration.

"Everything alright, Emma?" Mary Margaret asked, eyebrows lowered and watching as her daughter jabbed her chewed straw with a finger.

"Mm'fine," she mumbled, keeping her eyes on her dewed soda can.

Henry hunched down, tugging on Mary Margaret's knitted sleeve. "She must be tired from Operation Firefly," he stage-whispered, innocently.

Mary Margaret rounded her mouth in an open 'O' of understanding, barely able to conceal her amusement and nodding to him. Emma couldn't help but grin along. He was such a sweet kid, and loved making up new games. (More like Operation Regina and the Warm Bed-covers.)

To her right, she distinctly heard Regina snort very unlady-like. Emma secretly liked her unlady-like noises, sex or no sex involved.

Regina felt a little more… human when she went mentally vulnerable with someone. Attainable.

"Is this seat taken?"

Archie came into view, carrying a plate of salad. He beamed at Emma who shot upwards, harshly bumping Regina in the hip and earning herself a poisonous look.

"No, no it isn't," she stammered, using the little space Regina gave her to off to Archie. "Go right ahead."

"Why not just invite the rest of the riffraff into our laps," Regina said, mumbling sarcastically towards the diner hall. David rolled his eyes, lowering his spoonful of whipped cream.

Archie coughed nervously, cheeks reddening.

"Ow—!" Emma yelped when his bony elbow jolted hers. "Jeez, watch it with that thing, will ya?" she said, laughing.

"Oh goodness gracious! I'm sorry, Emma—"

Archie began choking, his fingers uncurling from his silverware. Regina's hand went out, faster than a viper, her knuckles whitening.

"Don't you dare lay a finger on her," she barked, wringing his throat as Archie's face purpled. "Don't ever."

David went for Regina's other arm, getting a smack right in the face as Emma managed to tug Regina's hand away. Archie fell out of the booth, onto his back. He wheezed for air and quickly was surrounded by the dwarfs and Ruby, getting heaved back onto his feet.

"Okay, Miss Mayor… c'mon," Emma called out, tightening her grasp on Regina's hand and leading her forcefully through the front door.

"Where do you think you're taking me?!" she accused.

"I said come on." Emma's face hardened. "We need to talk."

.

.

Snow drifted lightly onto parked cars and into their hair. Emma wrinkled her nose as a wet clump landed on her eyelashes.

Regina's bare hand in hers went limp, completely harmless.

She huffed, rubbing at her side. "I can't see why civilized conversation can't go on somewhere inside where it's warm—"

Emma smirked at Regina's tone. The temperature outside was awful, and they were without jackets. She let go of Regina, observing her adjusting her pencil skirt.

"Then I'd hate to see what your definition of 'cutting loose' is."

"I think you're already well-acquitted." A warm gust of Regina's breath hit her mouth, as the other woman stepped closer. "In a manner of speaking," she purred, thumb pushing under Emma's belt.

Oh boy.

"Not here," Emma said, keeping neutral. Even if all her anxiety felt less heavier with a gleeful Regina.

Even if she could smell the icing sugar and gingerbread and expensive perfume on her. It made Emma's mouth water to think about burying her nose between Regina's thighs in another hour and sucking, tonguing and working her clit until Regina went boneless.

And Emma was kicking herself—she really was—when Regina's dark, beautifully aglow eyes lit with that familiar anger.

"Excuse me, are you now suddenly ashamed of this?"

"No, but you have your hands down my pants—" Emma scratched hard at the nape of her neck, distancing herself with a full step back. "When Henry could just— walk out here and see us— he would be confused." She pointed out, "We haven't exactly told him."

"He doesn't need to know anything," Regina said, firmly. But even she appeared doubtful. "At least, not yet."

"I don't like keeping secrets from him."

"It's been a month now and you haven't been objecting." Snow white flaked Regina's soft, black hair. Emma had a side-thought of figurative, confusing irony in the visual. "You think it doesn't hurt me, too?" Regina murmured, eyes narrowed but her anger dwindling away.

Emma shook her head.

"I know it does," she said, reclaiming her step and inclining her forehead towards her. "I don't want to see you hurt either." Regina's forehead stubbornly kept out of her path, and avoided touch-contact. "But it was an elbow," Emma added. "Not a dagger."

Regina gave her a scowl.

"He was clumsy," she insisted. Emma gave her a deadpan look.

"You nearly took off Archie's head—and I don't like being treated like property."

Regina's lipstick-red mouth flattened in thought.

"Perhaps I was… overzealous," she said.

"Is this about the break-in at your office?"

Emma remembered it—not even two days ago, someone had tried to rob files from the Mayor's building in the wee hours. Naturally, Emma had been a part of the first response team. The culprit had been unstable, ranting about a buried moon and creatures of darkness, trembling like an addict and raking bloody, coarse fingernails into his forearm.

It… nearly ended badly.

"You know it wasn't—"

Regina snapped, voice beginning to rise, "The man had a gun to your head, ready to pull the trigger and end your life, and you are still treating it so casually?"

Not wanting a fight, Emma put her hands up in surrender.

"Don't do this. The man and Archie aren't the same person," she explained.

"THEN DON'T EVER PUT ME IN THAT POSITION."

The chill of the air frosted their breathes.

Blue eyes widened in awe as Regina's features went constrained, rigid against her emotions. "Oh," Emma said, slowly. "Oh, Regina… "

"Don't look at me like that," Regina snapped once more, lacking bite in it and wiping her eyes with a silk sleeve. She reluctantly took Emma's hug, peering straight ahead as the other woman hummed apologetically into the joint of her neck.

"God, I didn't mean to scare you," Emma's lips moved against lotion-scented, pale skin. "Wasn't thinking."

"Trust me, I've gathered that much."

The other woman broke the act with a chuckle as Emma stifled a heartfelt noise into Regina's cheek. She shivered, feeling one of Regina's arms hook her waist, and as winter-cold, slim fingers brushed under her pullover. "Fucking hell, I'm freezing my tits off," Emma announced, groaning.

She then winced as Regina's hand warningly pinched her.

"Language, Miss Swan. Or there will be punishment."

"Mm, that sounds lovely."

"It is a bit cold out; you two sure you don't want to come in?" Archie piped up from behind them. Half of the diner seemed to be quietly fighting the chance to peer out.

Embarrassed, the two women stared outright as he waved cheerfully, and then shrunk under the glares of the others. "I thought… it would only be polite… ?" Archie mumbled.

"My little girl…" David trailed off, looking mildly queasy.

"And my stepmother," Mary Margaret said, resigned.

Henry smiled brightly, pushing around his grandparents and running out to hug his moms, face pressing into Regina's side.

"I'm glad you guys aren't fighting," he said. "This is much better."

Emma ruffled his hair.

"I think so too, kid," she agreed, fondly. Glancing back at the faces of Storybrooke and seeing varying degrees of fondness echoing back. This was a relatively friendly community, after all.

If they were willing to try, she could get used to this place.

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OUAT Kink Meme: "Regina ends up outing Swan Queen to the town." Any thoughts or comments on this would be super! Thanks for reading, guys!