Several hours into her night shift she got a phone call from her son. "Mom, you need to come home, like now."
"What's wrong Henry, I'm at work."
"Grandma is here screaming at mom and…"
"I'll be right there," she said quickly and disconnected the line. She grabbed her keys and then looked at them and shook her head. Charming Idiot genes, she said to herself then poofed herself into the foyer of the mansion.
The scene she poofed into startled her, Snow White and Little Red Riding Hood had her Queen cornered in the kitchen and Snow was right in Regina's face yelling in a fit of rage, "You're her grandmother!"
"I'm the same age as you!" Regina yelled back.
"And I'm a grandmother!" Snow shrieked.
"To MY son!" Regina retorted.
"If you ever touch my baby again so help me Regina Mills you will regret it!"
"Oh I'll do more than touch her princess, and she will love every minute of it!" Regina roared back.
"ENOUGH!" Emma yelled, startling all three women. "Get the hell away from her!"
"Stay out of this Emma this is between Snow and the Evil Queen!" Ruby shot back with glee.
"Shut your mouth, Ruby!" Emma snapped as she pushed passed the leggy brunette to get between her mother and her lover. "What the hell are you doing here Mary Margaret?" Emma demanded, sliding her arm back and pushing Regina behind her, effectively shielding the woman from the two brunette intruders.
"Just having a chat with Mommy Dearest," Snow replied viciously, her eyes narrowed looking at the woman with pure disdain.
"Seriously?!" Emma shouted, "You're attacking my girlfriend?"
"No Emma… I," Snow tried, suddenly realizing how this all looked but was cut off by her daughter.
"Mom, seriously?" The accusatory tone in the blonde's voice said it all and Snow angrily shouted back without thinking, "YOU seriously!"
"No. Just stop! My son is upstairs scared to death! So stop it right now!" Emma demanded and then took a deep breath and let it out with a frustrated sigh. "Look, Snow, you need to calm the hell down and go think about what it is you want our relationship to be. I'm in love with her. She makes me happy. More than happy, content."
Ruby came to her friend's defense, "Emma! She's the Evil Queen! She has cast some sort of love spell on you!"
"Magic can't make someone love! Stupid mongrel!" Regina threw back at the tall brunette and wrapped her arm around Emma's midsection. Emma covered her lover's hand with her own and snapped at the waitress, "Stay out of this Red!"
Snow's watery eyes looked up in disbelief, and she pleaded her case to her firstborn, "Emma! You were devastated when you came back after months with this monster! She tortured you! She beat you! She broke you!"
"It's like Strombone Syndrome or something," Ruby added helpfully.
"Stockholm," the schoolteacher corrected then resumed her point, "The Evil Queen devastated you, baby, and however it was you escaped I won't allow her to get her talons into you again!"
"Talons?!" The Queen exclaimed, but Emma cut her off before she could get traction.
"I was devastated because I LEFT her back in the Enchanted Forest! I was devastated because I didn't want to leave!" Her voice trembled as she remembered the pain she felt that night she stood over her Queen for what she thought was the last time.
Feeling the blonde's emotional turmoil, the Mayor started rubbing soothing circles on her back with her free hand, silently supporting her.
Snow took a step back in shock, "You... Didn't want to come home to us? What… What do you mean?"
"I mean I was happy! I am happy! I want a relationship with you Snow, but…"
"Now that you are home and you have no choice?! You were perfectly content just staying in the past and me not ever knowing whatever happened to you?" Snow asked with tears in her eyes.
"I'm not saying it wasn't selfish of me! It was! I didn't make the decision lightly! I left my kid here too you know! It wasn't just YOU."
"I'm your mother! You just left me? For her?"
"Let's not forget, you left me first!" Emma snarled.
Snow folded her arms and defended, "Emma! You know we sent you away to save the kingdom!"
"You did it to save yourselves! Let's be real about it okay?" Emma snapped and then rolled her eyes, "I get it! I'm the savior! My entire life is one big sacrifice after another!" Emma saw she wasn't getting anywhere and decided to appeal to the parent within the woman, "Mom, I have a chance at being the happiest I've ever been, I have a chance at love, and I'm going to take it because she is my everything. She completes me in ways I've never felt in my entire life! You can understand that right?"
"With the Evil Queen though, Emma?"
The blonde felt the woman behind her stiffen in response to that abhorrent name being used. "I stayed there with her when she needed me the most! I saw her Snow. Really saw her, the woman behind the crown. I changed her! During the time that I was there, she…" Emma thickly swallowed before she continued, "She never had anyone, Snow! Least of all YOU or your father! She was just his trophy wife, a possession! A distraction for his spoiled daughter! And Jesus you knew what Cora was like! Regina was completely alone! I know exactly how that feels, I know exactly how that loneliness can make you do things you never thought yourself capable! She had me, Snow! For a short while she had me, and it changed her. I changed her like Henry changed her because all she needed was love. All she needed was compassion! All she needed was someone, anyone! To be there for her, to believe in her, to love her! And I did!"
Emma heard the telltale signs of her Queen gently weeping into her back, and she turned herself so that she tucked Regina into her arms, protectively wrapping them around the woman's thin body. "I do! So you need to think long and hard about how you want our relationship to go forward, because I want a relationship with you, but not at the cost of my Queen!"
"Emma no," Regina warned lowly into the blonde's neck.
"No I mean it Regina, I'm over this!" Emma said, her voice still loud and full of anger, "Now, take your bitch and get out of my house!"
Snow flinched at the rage she saw in the eyes of her daughter that had never held anything but love towards her before that day, and thick tears fell over her pale cheeks. "I-I don't understand," Snow said just above a whisper.
"You don't have to understand it. You don't even have to like it. But what you do have to do Snow White, is respect it because it has nothing to do with you."
"She is doing this… on purpose Emma! Can't you see that? She is turning you against me, and she is taking you away from me, again!"
"Moms?" Henry's scared voice called down through the foyer. Emma patted Regina on the rear, and the brunette rushed passed their guests and up the stairs to comfort their son.
In a hushed tone, Emma spat, "Don't you get it, mom? She never took me away from you. You decided to put your infant in a tree in the care of a six-year-old wooden puppet. You left me then, and you are pushing me away now. Take some responsibility Princess!"
Ruby stepped forward and said, "Alright that's enough."
Emma's eyes blazed, "Oh and the guard dog has spoken! What exactly do you get out of this Red, hmm?" Emma let her anger consume her. The green of her eyes hazed over in a cloudy white as magic pulsed through her system. "What were you going to do gang up and beat up my fiancée?"
Emma chose the term to hurt her mother, and the look in Snow's green eyes told her that was precisely what it did. "I notice it isn't my father that's here. What, was he too level-headed for your high school mean girl fight?"
"You're twisting it around!" Snow insisted. "I came over here to help you!"
"Help me? I am at work! At the sheriff's station! Across town! You came into my house, threatened my girlfriend with your puppy thug here and scared the crap out of my kid! No Snow White, you may be able to lie to yourself, but my bullshit detector is ringing! It seems as though you've made a decision about keeping me in your life, so you can just leave!"
Snow blinked and stood like a deer in headlights her brain trying desperately to comprehend what was happening.
"Now!" Emma shouted, her angry voice echoing off of the walls of the kitchen.
"GO! Before I do something I'll regret!" The implied threat made Snow flinch, and she slowly backed up into Ruby. Both women turned and started walking towards the front door of the mansion. Once both brunettes left the kitchen, Emma leaned forward and grabbed the island counter for support as she felt her entire world shift yet again.
When the curse broke, and she found out that Mary Margaret and David were her mom and dad, her real mom and dad, she thought that was it. She would never feel this hollow rejected feeling ever again. But here it was, blanketing her, welcoming her like a dark companion. The familiar chilly darkness from her youth came back and turned her inside out.
Regina eased their son and put him to bed hearing the shouting from downstairs had died down. Once the boy was settled, she returned to the kitchen to find her strong, fearless savior weeping into her own arms. The lost look on the girl's face, Regina was all too familiar with.
Henry and Cora may not have abandoned her, but she had known rejection from them. She came over to her little blonde miracle and wrapped her arms around her in complete and total acceptance. Emma buried herself into the loving embrace of her Queen for the second time that day drawing from her strength.
"She is supposed to be my mother!" Emma cried into Regina's silk top. "She isn't supposed to be like all of those fosters who threw me back when I didn't fit into their idea of what a child should be!" Regina stroked Emma's blonde mane and looked Snow White in the eye when she said, "I know baby."
"Why does everyone have conditions on their love for me?" Regina kissed the blonde on her head and let her vent. "Am I such a horrible daughter that no one, not even the person who gave birth to me, can just accept me and love me for who I am?"
"I'm sorry Emma," the pixie-haired brunette said quietly as she lingered in the archway of the kitchen. Emma stiffened up in shock but didn't leave the loving embrace of her Queen.
"I was so fixated on the blood feud between Regina and me... I wasn't listening to you." Snow stepped closer, and she was visibly contrite. "Can you forgive me? I don't want to lose you, sweetheart. Not again."
Emma turned her head to face her mother but didn't lift it from the safety of her Queen's shoulder. "Nothing you say will change how I feel about her mom." Emma's voice was congested from her emotional breakdown.
"You were right. I don't have to understand what it is you two do. I can see you care for her deeply, Emma, and I respect you enough to try and accept it." She fidgeted with her fingers, and Regina resisted the urge to correct the brunette the anxiety-driven habit she has had since she was a young girl. Snow placed her hands to her sides as if she could read the Queen's mind, and stilled herself. "I'm going to go home, will you call me tomorrow?"
Emma nodded her head, still clutching her Queen, she didn't make a move to let the brunette go, or offer to walk her mother out, so the pixie-haired woman simply took the tentative promise that they would talk the next day and left the two women alone once more.
"Are you alright my pet?"
Emma nodded, still clutching her Queen as if the woman were a life raft and she was adrift at sea. "Are you going to go back to work?" Emma shook her head no.
"You remember I'm your boss right?" Emma nodded once more.
Regina sighed, feeling the tension in her lover slowly recede, "Alright then. Come on dear, let's clean you up, shall we?"
Regina led her pet upstairs to her private bathroom. The evening's escapades had done much to drain the Savior, and if she was being honest, herself as well. It was an emotional day all the way around, but none so much for her pet.
Her Sheriff. Her Savior. Now, her Emma.
The woman who loved her. Truly loved her. Loved her when no one would. When no one could.
What Emma said in the darkness of her office the previous evening had been correct, she cared for her. As the Evil Queen. She loved her during a time in her life where no love existed. Emma found her, saved her, brought her back to life.
She quietly drew the Savior a bath and attended to every detail of stripping and tending to her. The euphoric rush of love and acceptance that accompanied her lost memories had started to fade in the wake of Snow's confrontation, and her uncertainty and unworthiness crept back into the Mayor's heart.
"You beat her down! You broke her!" A protective rage burned in the mossy eyes of her former step-daughter, a rage she was all too familiar. She was protecting her child.
"She loves me! And I lo..." An open-handed slap crossed Regina's face, and the Evil Queen's magic instinctively flares in her black eyes. Behind the school teacher, Ruby Lucas growls a low, menacing rumble and her green eyes fade to yellow in warning. Regina lifts her head with a challenge to the pup, but both women hold their ground in the stalemate.
"Don't you even say it! You broke down her will she had no mind to consent! I've seen the shattered remnants of your little special projects Regina, whatever it is she thinks she feels, trust me, she couldn't!"
Regina shook her head knowing few had survived her reign of terror, and the handful that had were never the same. "Emma was… is different!"
Snow folded her arms and looked down on the Queen in moral disgust, "I thought you were changing Regina! I believed you! Again! I must be the dumbest person alive! You are exactly who you've always been haven't you?!"
Old wounds tore open, and Regina spat, "I won't allow you to take another love from me, do you hear me, Snow White?"
The pixie-haired woman exclaimed, "It's sick! You're her grandmother!"
She rinsed out the washcloth she was using to clean Emma's nude body and coaxed the woman up to dry. The blonde seemed perfectly content being exposed to Regina, but for the Queen, now that the rush died off a bit, it was taking a bit of getting used to being allowed to see her son's mother in such a state, let alone touch her. Their playtime that afternoon was fueled with power and lust and all of the confidence those things brought to her, and as she inspected the circular bruise above Emma's breast, she recalled how hard she'd dug her heel into the woman. She felt a pang of regret and reconsidered what Snow said to her.
She had changed. Her evil self would never have given a second thought to the lasting damage she's caused, short of how it would affect her. She, right now, cared that Emma, her Emma was in pain. She lifted her hand over the small bruise and felt the angry heat off of it and knew at very least it was uncomfortable.
Her healer made her way to the dark purple stripes that crisscrossed her pet's back, and green eyes looked up, and a blonde head shook frantically. "What is it pet?"
"I earned those, please don't let her heal them."
She gently leaned in and replaced her palm with her lips and laid a warm kiss above the damaged area then wrapped the blonde up in a towel and towed her into her bedroom.
"I gotta forward the station's line to my cell," the blonde said absently as Regina finished drying her off.
"Don't worry about any of that, Miss Swan. Now lay back."
Regina watched as Emma complied without hesitation and her feelings grew more conflicted. She slowly stripped out of her own clothes and joined the Savior on her bed. Laying down next to the blonde she tentatively picked up the woman's hand, remembering flashes of those hands touching her, holding her, soothing her.
How they balled up, trapped in iron manacles, as she tensed up in unimaginable agony.
She pushed away the sickening feelings those images brought up and kissed the back of pale knuckles and continued her tentative exploration up her arm. Her warm hands soothed the blonde as she explored every inch of pristine skin. After all of the tension was gone from both of their bodies, Regina spoke, "I'm not her Emma. Not anymore."
Green eyes looked up into dark turmoil and Emma replied, "I know."
She ran her fingertips over the Savior's temple studiously pushing wild blonde strands away from her pet's face. "I've changed from the woman you've professed to love. Significantly."
"Believe it or not, I do prefer the less murderous version of you My Queen," Emma said with a nervous chuckle. "Have you changed your mind about me? About us I mean?" The question was hollow and hung between them until Regina shook her head and placed a reassuring kiss on Emma's forehead.
"Remember what I said to you? My feelings for you could never be altered by time."
"I do. How about our history? Have they been altered by that?"
Regina bit her bottom lip and shook her head no. "What has changed is you're not my prisoner."
"I was never your prisoner," Emma stated firmly. "I was exactly where I wanted to be." Seeing the turmoil on her lover's face, she added, "Look, I know our dynamic is going to be different here Regina, I don't want you to revert back to who you think I want you to be. I love the woman you are just as much as the woman you were because, for me, they truly are indistinguishable." Emma leaned into her and nuzzled her until she started petting her hairline once more.
"I'm not sure if that is a compliment or not."
A warm hand slid down and settled on Emma's bare abdomen, and the Savior's desire stirred.
"When you came to this world, did you look into these desires of Dominance? Like on the internet?"
"No, when I first arrived there was no internet, but when there was I'd adopted Henry and truly had my hands full. I even tortured your mother less often. I was trying to be Henry's mother, the best version of myself. I was focused on achieving my happy ending. It wasn't until you came into town and I lost him that my darker side came out of hiding. I may have looked up certain things as a way to… release tensions... since then," the Queen admitted.
"Well, this has been something I've been interested in long before I ever crossed Storybrooke's town line. I don't have Stockholm Syndrome. I am a submissive with slave tendencies with a high pain tolerance and a bondage kink. I am also, yours."
Regina blinked as the Savior calmly quantified her desire. In her awe, the words she'd felt for decades fell from her lips, "I… I'm in love with you Emma Swan." She leaned in and took the blonde's lips as if it were the first time, gentle and explorative she kissed the Savior.
Emma felt the change in the way the Queen was claiming her; this wasn't about possession, this was about acceptance. She felt the purity of the woman's heart as it enveloped her and she was swept away in Her Majesty.