Summary: Emma's bug starts bumping into Regina's Mercedes everywhere. Finally, Regina and Emma determine what's up, and what they'll acknowledge will resolve the tension.
Author Notes: "Herbie the Love Bug" is a Disney classic. This is my very silly attempt to use Emma's bug as the 'vehicle' to bring SwanQueen together. Partially inspired by BTS season 4 images showing Emma's bug and Regina's Mercedes parked several of the same scenes.
The Yellow Love Bug
It started after Emma and Regina chased Cruella de Ville (in her aptly named deVille coupe). It still kinda freaked out Emma how close Pongo had come to being turned into a fur coat. And it still infuriated her how close Cruella had come to knocking Regina across the town line, the former queen no longer immune to the memory damaging effects since the second curse, restoring Storybrooke, had been cast by Snow White.
Emma had been in her yellow bug pacing the coupe with Regina determinedly trying to turn aside the villain in her Mercedes. Emma admired Regina's skillful control of her vehicle as the road twisted. A flash of light distracted her from Cruella's bumper. The bug jumped in Emma's hands and she jerked it back under control, now seeing a cut off road she could use. Checking Regina's chase was still safe, Emma spun the wheel sharply and implemented her plan.
Emma spread her bug just in front of the town line just as Cruella, with Regina's Mercedes pulling alongside, appeared from over a rise in the road. Cruella cut right, smashing into the side of the Mercedes, sending Regina toward the right shoulder. If her car skidded any distance, she'd end up over the line. Tires squealed as rubber tried to grip the roadway. Emma was just dropping back into the driver seat to move when the bug, obviously still in gear jolted in front of the Mercedes, their bumpers colliding. Regina slammed forward into her steering wheel. But she was on the safe side of the line.
Cruella was out of her car; Emma brandished her gun and filled her left hand with magic. "Regina! You all right!?" she called out, while staring daggers at the black-n-white haired witch.
Emma's eyes darted only a moment toward Regina to check on her actual well-being.
In that moment Cruella released a spell of her own. Emma's magic slapped back at it, but like a banked pool shot, it ricocheted off the coupe, Regina's car, and then hit Emma's bug. Sparks traveled at length over all three cars, but the Beetle seemed to groan and settle deeper on its axles. The car's horn rent the air. Emma unleashed another blast of magic at Cruella. "Stop that!"
Cruella was suddenly cosseted in a straitjacket by Emma's magic. Then Emma slapped the magic-restraining cuff onto her wrist before following that with standard-issue police cuffs.
Regina dusted herself off and whistled. Pongo appeared out of the back of Cruella's car, whole and healthy. The brunette rubbed his ears, kissed his head and told him, "Go on, boy, go home and find Dr. Hopper."
They all watched as the Dalmatian loped out of sight. Emma still tried to wrap her head around how sweet and easy the usually prickly woman had behaved with the psychologist's dog.
"Sheriff, I think you should take the prisoner to the station."
"Uh, yeah. Right." Emma hauled Cruella to her feet.
Cruella growled as she tried her magic, only to see it spark and fizzle out.
"Better watch it, lady," Emma warned. "This stuff bites back."
"You think you're amusing, Sheriff. Wait until we get Rumple back to Storybrooke."
"You can't, not without Belle's permission. She banished him using the Dagger," Emma said. "Ruby tells me she's still kinda pissed she had to. So I think he'll be stuck for a bit longer. Redheads in my experience have pretty long-memoried tempers."
Cruella's defiant expression deflated. Emma turned to shove her into the passenger seat of the bug.
Only the bug wasn't where she'd left it.
Had Regina moved her car? The two, with matching crumpled bumpers were parked alongside each other, with the bug no longer straddling the town line.
Emma turned in place a moment as she replayed the magic fight. Had she simply become disoriented and forgotten the car positions? It was possible, she supposed. Shrugging, she settled the matter as unimportant and shoved Cruella hard downward onto the seat. Her tone was only obligatory as the woman jerked from hitting her head. "Watch your head."
She cast her gaze to Regina, who stood staring at the damage on their close bumpers. "Your car driveable?"
"Hmm? Oh. Yes."
"See you at the station then."
Regina's hands tucked into her coat pockets. "Ummm hmmm. Yes."
"Right." Emma pulled her car backward before performing a K-turn and taking Cruella back into the heart of Storybrooke.
"So? Lunch, Mom?" Henry peered around the open door to the mayor's office, smiling when his mom looked up from her paperwork.
Regina smiled back, put aside her keyboard and stood. "I'd love to."
They stepped out to the curb. It was only a walk across the street, but out of habit, Regina looked toward her car. Emma's bug was parked directly in front of it, the two cars nose-to-nose.
"Guess Ma had the same idea," Henry said. "We'll probably see her inside." Regina rubbed her hands before tucking them in her pockets.
When they entered Granny's a glance around revealed no Emma Swan. Regina exhaled a little, unwilling to admit she was more often nervous around Henry's other mother. They had reached a rapport ever since Emma chased her down, promised her a happy ending, and then committed to Operation Mongoose to help find the Author.
Mortifyingly Regina found her palms dampened and her mouth dried around the Savior.
Behind them the diner door opened with a jingle that made Regina jump. Turning, she stepped aside from Emma Swan making a beeline for the service counter.
"Rubes! You got my order?"
"Yeah." Ruby came out from the kitchen brandishing two bags. "Here."
"Thanks!" Fishing out bills from her jacket pocket, Emma slapped them down on the counter.
"Kid! Hey, gotta run." She drew up and smiled at Regina. "Nice to see you taking a break from resuming your duties, Madam Mayor." Regina's stomach twisted; she put her damp palm on Henry's shoulder.
Henry followed Emma to the door, causing Regina to follow. When she looked out, she saw the sheriff's cruiser sloppily parked at the curb.
"You drove the department vehicle?"
"Yeah, David must have the bug. I haven't seen it since I drove in this morning. Maybe he took it to Tillman's shop for the bumper."
"It's right there." Regina pointed to where the bug was parked in front of her car. "Did you need me to have the shop pick it up?"
"Nah, I can pop the ding in a pinch."
"How's your car driving?"
"No alignment problems since the incident at the town line?"
"No, thank you."
"I'm glad." Emma's smile widened more.
Regina dropped her gaze, finding Henry's shoulder under her palm. "Henry and I should return to having our lunch."
"I have to get this back to the station for Ms. deVille, or I'd hang out with you guys."
"Why don't you come for dinner some time this week," Henry suggested. "We can brainstorm about Operation Mongoose," he added when Regina's eyes rounded on him.
"I can do that. You let me know when's good, 'k?" Emma said, turning to Regina with a questioning smile.
Regina swallowed, briefly dipped her head in a nod, then said, "I will."
Emma did a U-turn on the road with the cruiser and circled past her and Regina's cars still nestled close on the opposite curb. Sunlight glinted off the yellow car's dinged bumper, making Regina blink.
"Dad," Emma called out as soon as she entered the loft. "I told you I didn't need Michael to look at the bug. Cruella's car didn't hit it. And the brakes are fine." She'd had to drive home at the end of her shift in the department cruiser, not able to find her father or her car at the station. When she couldn't raise her father on the cell, she suspected he and her mother had rendezvoused back at the loft and gone 'silent running'.
She covered her eyes as she approached the closed curtains sectioning off her parents bed from the rest of the space. "Hey, Mom? Dad?"
When no one answered, and she didn't hear baby Neal's gurgle that he usually did upon hearing her voice, Emma lowered her hand from her eyes and pulled back the curtain.
She was just registering the bed's emptiness when the cellphone on her hip buzzed, making her jump "David?" she asked into the device even as she juggled it to maintain her grip.
"I am not your father, Miss Swan." Ooh. Emma winced. Regina was mad about something if she was "Miss Swan"-ing her again.
"Hey, Regina." Emma tried a bit of brightness to head off the worst of the woman's ire. "What can I do for you?"
"Where are you? What is your worn excuse for a vehicle doing in my driveway?!"
"My car is at your place? But I - What's it doing there?" Emma scanned around the loft as if looking for clues in the empty silent space as she pressed the phone more firmly to her ear. Then she shook her head.
"That's what I'd like to know," Regina said acerbically.
"Maybe - Hey, is Henry there?" Emma had an idea.
"Yes. I - Henry, Emma's on the phone." Emma smiled at the reappearance of her first name. Much better footing, she thought. In the background she heard running feet.
A moment later, she heard her son's voice. "Ma? What's up?"
"That's what I'd like to know," she began. "Do you know why the Beetle would be in your mom's driveway?"
"It is?" There was running again. "It is! What are you doing here?"
"I'm not there. I'm in the loft. Did David let you drive again, figuring the truck was too big?"
"No. I swear."
"OK. Put your mom back on the phone."
There was more noise as the phone was handed off yet again.
"It wasn't Henry."
"Of course it wasn't."
"It wasn't me either."
"You think it's a prank?"
"David probably dropped my car off at Tillman's garage. He's still not a fan of yours. Maybe he thinks I'd think you'd stolen it."
"Why on earth would I steal that rattling deathtrap?"
Emma rolled her eyes. "I know you wouldn't, but maybe -"
"Well, you have to come get your car."
"Right now? There's no one here to drive me. I can't drive two cars back."
"I'll come get you."
Emma heard frustration and anxiety in Regina's voice. "No, I'll get David to take me by in the morning."
"You can't leave your car here overnight!"
"You just can't… be here overnight, Miss Swan. I'll be there in a few moments." Emma was staring at the phone when she heard Regina add, "Dressed and ready to go immediately."
Emma blinked at the sound of the call disconnecting, grabbed her car keys, and headed out to stand at the curb.
"Mom, where're you going?" Henry stood at the top of the stairs when Regina turned to answer him, her hand on the front door knob.
"I'm going to pick up Emma."
"She needs to pick up her car."
Henry looked at Regina with a look that made her drop her hand from the door. "Is this about Operation Mongoose?"
"Ever since Ma agreed to help, you've been anxious. Did she learn something? Why wouldn't she tell me?"
"Henry," Regina exhaled softly. "This is not about Operation Mongoose. It's not about the Author-" She paused, frowned. "Now, I'll be back in a few minutes."
"You'd tell me if you found something?"
Regina hurried to her car, moving around Emma's yellow Beetle in the process. Her gaze caught sight of the passenger seat as she opened her car's driver door. She recalled sitting in Emma's car on the stakeout to watch for Zelena's arrival at her office with Emma. Now the cars were barely far enough apart to allow her to get in properly. And the hoods were in close contact.
Her heart raced and her face felt hot, remembering how close Emma had been as she smiled at her, only partially illuminated by the faint dashboard lighting.
Quickly she settled into her car and reversed with a squeal of rubber out of the driveway.
Emma leaned onto the open driver window. Regina looked up and leaned back slightly before swallowing. "Get in."
"What's with you? Did something happen?"
"Nothing is going to happen," Regina replied firmly. "Get in." She jerked her head meaningfully to the passenger seat.
"Hey, hey, it's okay." Emma patted Regina's arm on the rolled down window.
Warmth suffused her arm and Regina jerked away. "No, no."
Emma hurried around to the other side. The proximity of the blonde woman made Regina's heart thrum in her throat, almost dizzyingly.
"All right, let's go."
"Seat belt," she replied automatically.
Emma said nothing, only doing as Regina asked, though she gave a confused look that brought more heat to Regina's cheeks.
Just as Regina put the car into gear, Emma's hand landed on her forearm. Regina jumped and the Mercedes stalled. She closed her eyes, returned to neutral, and started the engine once again.
About four blocks from Mifflin Street they passed the Beetle moving in the opposite direction. At least Emma thought it had been moving, but when they approached and passed it, both she and Regina could see it had no driver.
"What's it doing here?" Emma asked as Regina pulled the Mercedes to a stop and parked on the opposite shoulder of the road.
Emma found the Beetle's door locked. Using her key, she sank onto the driver seat, looking around the interior. "Nothing appears to be stolen," she ruminated.
Regina leaned with a smirk on the door frame. "Other than the fact that the car itself is stolen to begin with?"
"Har har." Emma chuckled. "How long have you been waiting to use that one?"
Regina backed up only to startle and bark, "Let me go!"
"I didn't…" Emma saw the problem. Regina's skirt had been caught on the interior door handle. She reached forward to unsnag the fabric only to catch Regina's hands moving to likely do the same. "I just…"
Regina's eyes were wide, the brown light and vulnerable, when Emma came to her feet. They were both between the door and the car. Emma quirked a smile. Regina's eyes darted between the features of Emma's face. Their hands went to Regina's hip and Regina sipped in a breath.
"Sorry." Emma pushed back into her car.
"For what?" Regina asked, her voice barely audible. The sound was silken on Emma's ears and made her shiver.
"I don't know, but I can't stand it when you look like this." Emma brushed her fingers on Regina's cheek, tracing downturned lips.
She registered that Regina wasn't pulling away. In fact, the brown eyes had begun to swim with moisture. Suddenly Regina was falling against Emma with a startled, "Oh!"
Emma's hand slipped from Regina's face as it pressed against her neck and her other arm was trapped between their bodies. "What?" she asked against the side of Regina's head.
"Your car door closed on my back," Regina gasped.
Emma reached her arms around Regina to push open the door. It wouldn't budge. "If you could move a little," she suggested, straining to get leverage.
"If I could move, I would," Regina replied, her breath hot against Emma's throat.
That woke Emma's body to the rest of the places she and Regina were pressed tightly together. Regina's thigh pressed into Emma's hip; Emma's thigh was pressed between Regina's own, against a spot that was quickly growing warmer. The woman's chest pressed against her own and she felt every beat of the woman's resilient heart through both their ribs.
"The hinge must be stuck," Emma said quietly, trying to avoid pressing her cheek against Regina's. "I'll sit down in the car. You'll probably be able to get out then."
Moving down to sit on the seat served to press Emma's face into places she was sure Regina never wanted it. Regina's hand followed Emma's progress downward, finally resting on her shoulder as she sat on the car seat.
Emma looked up Regina's body to meet her eyes and tell her she could probably get out now. She found the other woman looking down at her, eyes still wide and breathing hard.
"Emma," she said, sounding worried, hopeful, pained, and yet happy at the same time.
"Regina, come here." Emma tugged on Regina's hip. Then her lap was full of Reginal; her hands were full of Regina; her mouth was full of Regina.
The car door banged Emma's knees, but as Regina pressed into her body, Emma found she didn't care.
Regina's lips were satin, the overspill of tears on her cheeks were salty, the curves of her body were warm and supple.
Despite the sensual sensations, Emma gradually began to consider these actions might have consequences. Slowly, reluctantly, she removed her hands from Regina's hair, feeling Regina's fingers timidly sliding on the nape of her own neck.
"Hey, um, are you… are you?"
Regina's throat moved in a swallow and her tongue slipped over her own lips, tasting Emma there. Emma dragged her eyes up from staring at the tiny pink tip poking from delectable looking dark lips. "Yes," Regina exhaled. "Yes, I…I'm fine."
The bug's door was no longer pinning her in place. In fact it now stood wide open.
Emma reached past Regina. When she touched the door she felt a tingle. "Magic," she said wonderingly.
Regina's hand slid over Emma's against the door. She nodded at the same time Emma felt another tingle.
"When Cruella hit my car with her magic," Emma guessed.
"A lot of magic went flying that night, Emma. Hers, mine. Yours."
"You think I did this?" Emma took her hands entirely away from Regina. "I'm sorry."
"Putting you in a situation where you were trapped, had no choice."
"My car did. Same thing."
"I always had a choice, Emma."
Emma frowned. "I attacked you with my car, Regina."
"I didn't have to kiss you. That was my choice."
Emma had been looking down, trying to avoid the fact that Regina still sat in her lap. But her gaze snapped up to Regina's at her words. "It was?"
"It is," Regina said. She cupped Emma's cheeks between her palms with a tender care Emma had only ever see the woman use with Henry.
"Oh," Emma said, just as Regina pressed her lips to hers in a sweet, lingering delicate kiss.
Regina was smiling when they parted, that smile that made Emma's heart flutter, from the Author's house, when she had decided to become part of Operation Mongoose.
"Follow me back to the mansion?" Regina asked. "I think it's time we updated Henry."
"Regina, I - Update Henry? About what?"
"You have an idea who the Author is?" Now Emma was curious.
"Yes." Regina paused in her walk to her car. She turned an even more amazing smile on Emma. "I am."
"You? How? What?" Emma had been drawn by the smile to come to her feet.
Regina quickly came to face Emma again, her smile unabated. "Because I was right. I told Snow this was going to be my happy ending."