AN: Hey guys! I am so, so sorry for not updating until now. Life has been pretty hectic with school and whatnot, but rest assured that I would never leave you hanging like that forever ;) I hope you all like this chapter – I feel like it might be as far as this story can go, but let me know what you think. I'm keen to try some other Swan Queen scenarios, as well :)
Closing the door behind her, Regina drew in a shuddering breath. She couldn't believe she had let herself be baited like that, allowed Mary Margaret to make her let her guard down. Nevertheless, she had, and now she had to deal with the consequences. Did she even love Emma? She supposed she must: she had heard the words come out of her own mouth, even if she didn't quite know when or how this love had emerged.
"Regina," Emma began, but the brunette cut her off before she could say anything else.
"I don't want you to read more into this than you should." Regina's voice was cold, slowly trying to repair the walls that she had torn down herself only moments before. "You know how I feel now, but that shouldn't change anything between us. We're both getting what we want out of this relationship and when we aren't anymore, I don't expect you to stick around. Everyone has to look after their own interests, after all."
"Regina," Emma tried again, reaching out to grasp Regina's arm, dissuading her from interrupting a second time. "This 'relationship' has barely started. I don't expect you to have a clear idea of your feelings right now – I certainly don't – but," she took in a breath, spurred on by the terrified look she saw in Regina's eyes and the desire she felt to quell that fear, "it means a lot that you think you could love me…that you see that as a possibility, for the future."
"That's not what I said," Regina murmured softly, almost too quiet for Emma to decipher what she had said.
"I know, but – "
"I told you I love you – now, at this moment – and that's how I feel. Take it or leave it, I don't care."
"Regina, I – " This was too much for Emma. She wanted Henry, and after today, she thought she might even want Regina, but the certainty of the woman standing before her – it wasn't something she could comprehend. Was this person even Regina? She had no idea, but it seemed like the Mayor had been replaced with some brilliant impersonator, fooling everyone around her, except Emma. Regina would never have surrendered herself to love so quickly, Emma was sure of it. "What is your angle here?" she finally continued, watching a black cloud settle over Regina's face as she absorbed the blonde's words.
"I have no angle, Miss Swan. For once, I've been duped at my own game." This is ridiculous, the brunette thought. I don't even know where this love has come from, so how can I care so much about it? Regina couldn't help feeling like she had lost something invaluable in this exchange, in pushing Emma away by revealing too much of herself. "I can see now that this isn't going to work anymore, so if you'll just let me wait until my clothes are dry, I'll be out of your hair. You'll have to speak to Mary Margaret, but I'm sure we can keep this between the three of us and you can pretend it never even happened."
Emma sighed. Who would have thought that Regina Mills had such low self-esteem? "That isn't going to be possible Regina."
"What do you mean? I know Miss Blanchard can be careless, but I don't think she's the type to go blabbing all over town about – "
"I mean, I'm not going to be able to forget everything that's happened today," Emma broke in, causing a heavy silence to fall between them. "I don't want to forget."
The whole world seemed to stop as Regina took in the blonde's words. It had been so long since she had had something worth holding onto and the fact that Emma didn't want to lose it either made her heart seize up, as if someone's hand was clenched around it, squeezing until she couldn't take it anymore. "You don't?" she whispered, her eyes beginning to shine with tears as Emma stepped closer to her.
"No. I – I actually like you." Emma grinned as Regina let out a sharp laugh at her remark. "I think I always did. I just didn't want to believe it because that would mean too much was at stake. You, Henry – I couldn't handle having that much to lose. Maybe now, though…" Her voice trailed off as she stared into the eyes of the woman in front of her. Everything was colours and heat and liquid, changing so fast and melding together, so that neither of them knew who they were or where they were going. All they could see was the moment that surrounded them, keeping them safe and somehow making everything they felt crystal clear.
As their lips met, Regina felt her breath catch in her chest and the hand around her heart release its grip. She brought her own hands up to tangle in Emma's hair and pulled her closer still, wanting desperately for their bodies to be fused together, maybe for eternity; she wouldn't mind. Emma's tongue dragged along her lower lip, seeking entrance to her mouth, which Regina gladly gave. They made their way over to the bed and collapsed onto it, lost to everything except each other. They simply let their hands and mouths explore, content to let the world fall away as long as they had each other to hold onto.
Emma untied the robe that was covering Regina and gently pushed it off her shoulders. Moving to straddle the brunette's legs, Emma looked down at the woman beneath her, now completely exposed and radiating a mixture of unease and exhilaration. "You're beautiful," the blonde said, her expression one of pure adoration as she held Regina's gaze. The mayor inhaled a shaky breath, struggling to comprehend how she could deserve this, after all she had done. Emma chased all of those thoughts from her mind, though, when she began to kiss down Regina's neck and chest, covering her body with symbols of affection. The brunette clasped her arms tightly around the woman above her and realised that maybe – just maybe – she finally had a chance at a happy ending.