A/N:I know it is all over, and you are probably getting whiplash from the different styles and tenses in the last few chapters, but I hope this chapter works despite everything. There were a few months in between the writing of the last few things posted , but you are all caught up now.
On another note: I was outraged at Disney slaughtering the "Hunchback of Notre Dame" and quite a few other tales and history.
Choose your fairytales wisely, and have a good weekend :-)
The deal with the dinners had been to teach Emma how to eat healthy.
However, the town sheriff had taken it upon herself to teach the mayor all of the delicious little sins of her world's design in return.
Today,she had a box of cream filled chocolate covered donuts tucked under one arm, while a couple of DVDs were clasped under the other.
In lieu of a free hand the princess had managed to ring the mayorial mansion's bell with her nose.
A feat Regina had watched bemusedly from her kitchen window without hurrying to her aid.
But Emma, as usual, had managed and was standing on the mayor's door step grinning proudly like a child when the door opened and revealed an aproned Regina Mills to her eyes.
"Henry is still at soccer practice. The coach is going to drop him off at home." the mayor led the way into the kitchen.
Having Henry interact more with the town's other citizens had been a struggle for Regina, and she had argued valiantly with Emma over it, even though she had been able to tell that the blonde had been right about not isolating their son socially any further.
Archie had backed Henry's birth mother up on the subject, and while the bug might have gotten his degree from a curse, he was the town's psychiatrist, and the curse proved to be a rather well constructed one.
They had agreed on after school activities, and decided on soccer as an activity that would help Henry get out of his head a little more and induce structured and unforced social interaction while being conducive to his physical health.
Emma had blinked a few times at Regina's reasoning but only nodded her consent without argument.
Soccer was not something she had ever been into or knew anything about,personally, she would have preferred basketball, but she knew when to pick her battles and Henry was lagging behind a bit in the growth department compared to the other boys his age,anyways, and Emma Swan now spent her evenings googling soccer rules and youtubing the greatest soccer moves and games of all time to share them with Henry and in part, also with Regina, who managed to build up an easy enthusiasm and almost encyclopedic knowledge for the game, just because Henry was playing it.
It was a thing Regina did, getting into things, exploring them and getting to know them.
She had taught herself the ways and sciences of this world over the last three decades, but had,at least to Emma, regrettably missed out on a founded TV and movie education.
A fact the Sheriff did her best to remedy.
Today, they were going to be watching "Finding Nemo" with Henry and the second part of "The Star Wars" Trilogy without him.
It was hard to find a Disney movie Regina hadn't lived or read the book to and didn't absolutely detest.
To be honest, after the former evil queen had explained "the sinister ways" Disney managed to turn originally tragic stories into happy, happy, joy, joy movies that involved a whole lot of cheery singing, it had become kind of hard for Emma to enjoy them herself.
She had finally dragged the mayor to the video store and they had checked through the children's section to see which movies would be banned from their movie nights in the future.
They had ended up with "The Beauty and the Beast" that night.
A movie which Henry couldn't decide if he liked.
He found it too cheesily romantic on the one hand, but thought the Beast was all kinds of cool on the other.
Regina had been uncharacteristically quiet throughout the film and remained thoughtful throughout the remainder of the evening when Emma and Henry were heatedly discussing the very moroness of Gaston, and how the Beast was so much cooler than the guy he turned into eventually and how much Belle, the bookworm actually rocked.
Even though it was not one of Henry's favorites,the DVD ended up on Regina's very selected DVD shelf, which was dominated by Emma's choices and small gifts (You need to own this one, not just see it. It was on sale anyway...)
One Sunday, after they were walking Henry home from one of his Sunday soccer games, they ran into Mr. Gold.
He was accompanied by a beautiful young woman who wore a plaid skirt and tank top, high rise socks and a friendly smile.
They simply stopped in the middle of the street, and the old sorcerer simply nodded at the former queen and her family in greeting before he passed them by without a word.
Emma shook her head as she stumbled on, confused.
She knew that no one could get into town, and she was very sure that she had never seen the young woman before.
And also, Gold..didn't they still have something of his?
What was up with the civility all of a sudden?
"Who was that?" she hissed at the mayor when Henry had skipped a few steps ahead.
The dark woman shrugged her shoulders deeper into her coat, and buried her hands deep into her pockets before she answered with a single word, "Belle."
Emma blinked a few times as they continued on against the wind of an early fall.
But tonight, Emma sighed in relief, there would be no more fairy tale/real life occurences.
It still did, to a certain degree freak her out when stuff like that happened.
At some point, she was sure, she would be woken up in a mental institution, being told that all of this was just a dream.
Too much shit had happened in her life, and here she was having gone full on psychotic and dreaming up her happy ending in a fairy tale world.
It was totally possible.
And yes, maybe she should take it easy with the Buffy reruns on top of everything.
The blonde stilled in thought as she put her nose against the door bell.
Her happy ending?
She drew back when she realized she had rung just a tad bit too long, but the mayor opened the door wide with a smirk in place that she couldn't hide.
Emma found herself grinning back in reflex.
She shook her head against the intruding thoughts of happiness and focused on the here and now.
When Regina mentioned that Henry's coach would drop him off, she couldn't help but be reminded,that Henry's coach was actually a mouse from Cinderella's pantry.
That was one of the weird things she simply couldn't wrap her head around.
She had to catch herself each and every time she saw him to not accidentally offer him cheese.
Regina only looked at her with wide eyes when she asked her if Henry's soccer coach still liked cheese and answered with an "I never should have told you" instead of a real answer.
But she told her anyway.
Each and every time.
Who was who, who did what.
Emma enjoyed grocery shopping immensely now that she knew the store was run by former elves.
She imagined Arwen and Legolas, but Regina laughed those thoughts off quickly when they finally got around to watching "The Lord of the Rings" (another movie Regina didn't have a problem with).
Whenver she went over there, she made sure to pick up a can or a glass of olives.
Gretchen, the store's manager,was rather forecoming on ordering in new kinds for her, and Emma was surprised at the variations there were in the preparation and seasoning of the little things.
There would always be a tin of olives in her jacket pocket and after Emma had set down her things and put down the movies, she would find a moment alone in the kitchen, when she could slip in the newest addition to Regina's kitchen cupboards.
She had taken to coming over so often, that Regina could not keep up in adding them to the various salads she prepared or sneak some with a piece of bread for a lunch snack, so the tins had gradually begun to fill out the empty spaces in her immaculately kept kitchen.
They had even acquired their own shelf, but that,too, had begun to grow crowded.
It seemed, that the olives, like Emma had begun to gradually sneak into her life.
Filling up all of the little empty spaces she never noticed before.
They were different kinds and, to her great surprise, the evil queen did not grow tired of them.
Emma sat down her box of donuts onto the kitchen counter and Regina sighed in defeat.
"I think I shall skip the saltimbocca tonight and just go with the salad," the mayor eyed the sweets with early regret.
"You know," Emma leaned back against the kitchen counter with a smirk, "no one is making you eat them."
She opened the box in slow motion and ran her finger over the chocolate frosting before bringing it slowly to her mouth and closing her eyes with a drawn out,"Hmmm."
Regina felt her mouth go dry.
She was still unbeaten at retaliation and banter, and she wished for it to remain that way.
Emma's eyes flew open at the click of heels that brought the queen two steps closer, right into her personal space.
Regina traced her own index finger through the chocolate frosting and drew it along the outline of her lips before licking it off with a very slow and visible passage of her tongue.
"Hmm." she mirrored the sheriff's earlier exclamation,but her voice was a few octaves lower and it made Emma swallow hard.
Their attraction to each other was something they never addressed beyond occasional flirting when they were alone together.
The bickering from earlier had turned into banter.
It fueled their egos, but both Regina and Emma did not know how to reconcile their more carnivoral desires with the affection and respect they had begun to grow for one another.
It was this respect that made them hold back.
They weren't animals after all.
But still..things could tend to become awkward at times.
At the video store one day, Regina had cluelessly wandered into the 21+ section a fact which had Emma cursing all the way home that the mayor didn't have cable for 29 years and she was stuck explaining to the former queen the purposes of porn. But she chose to rather explain it than actually watch a movie with her..for purely educational purposes, of course.
They did end up watching "Basic Instinct" by accident, one day, however, both on far ends of the couch, because Emma had forgotten just how much of the physical stuff had been rather explicit in that movie, or had seen only a very much watered down version of it and it was on her list of classics.
Regina had made them some hot chocolate afterwards and enquired politely if this was what would be termed "Soft Porn" and if anybody else had use for an ice pick than a serial killer.
They had begun to settle into a routine of dinner and having dessert on the not so spotless anymore, couch while watching a movie with Henry and later, after he had gone to bed, watching a movie from Emma's "classic collection".
The blonde took great care to mix all time faves like "Rocky" up with a few calmer, girlish movies and her choices rarely disappointed the mayor.
At some point, especially if she had had a long and exhausting day, Regina had taken to actually lean into Emma's side when she put her arm around her.
The Sheriff would tend to suddenly grasp her hand behind Henry's back during blatantly soppy scenes like Mary Poppins and the Chimney Sweeper dancing over the rooftops of London.
After a while that sudden hand grabbing and quickly letting go had progressed to lingering and finally full blown hand holding during entireties of whole movies.
Sometimes Emma would even brush her thumb over the back of her hand, and it would make Regina,who had held whole armies under the thrall of her bosom shiver like a schoolgirl.
They would not hold hands when Henry had gone to bed, but they would sit closer with the boy being gone between them and with only one bowl of popcorn on the table it was simply more practical.
Emma would drape her arm over the back of the couch until her hand would wander down onto Regina's shoulder.
Sometimes, like during "The English Patient", the blonde would run her hands through the soft dark hair while the queen would listen to her heartbeat and Regina wouldn't remember anything from the movie but the beautiful music and the wistful Hungarian call of the desert.
At other times, like during "City of Angels",they would simply fall asleep on the couch together and Nurse Druitt would be the only other car at the traffic light when Emma's yellow beetle wound its way through a still sleeping Storybrooke in the wee hours of the morning.
Mary Margaret had taken to baking cookies and cupcakes and all sorts of things for Emma to bring for Regina and Henry, and when Regina got a self made Christmas Card from the schoolteacher, through Henry during the Holiday Season, she grew quiet again for a few days.
Emma chalked it up to old emnity, but was surprised to find the card still intact and well kept in Regina's drawer in January when she was looking for tape.
She was even more surprised when Regina canceled on her a few nights in a row to be with Kathryn who had decided to part ways with her husband.
It was a thought that Emma didn't dare think.
One day she stopped by Granny's diner to pick up her coffee and a sandwich for lunch and was surprised to find two cups being thrust into her hands.
"For the Mayor." the aged owner growled at her, and then turned from the counter with an "It's on the house."
It proved to become a repetitive occurance.
Emma had no choice in these instances than to drop by the mayor's office and drop the gratuitous coffee off at city hall with a shrug.
They sometimes would use the free coffee runs to have lunch and a walk together at the park.
At other times Regina would simply look up from her paper load with a curt nod of thanks,or even be at a meeting and unavailable.
When Emma finally asked Granny what she should tell Regina, who,it seemed was in,mysteriously, for free coffee for life, the old woman simply answered,"The hardest battles one fights is with and against oneself. That must be appreciated. Especially in some people."
Ruby finally cleared the mystery up.
Both she and Granny could see Regina go to Archie's office across the street twice a week.
Granny, who had been struck with bipolar disorder at a younger age and undergone some heavy therapy sessions herself was appreciative of the effort the mayor went through to better herself for the sake of her family.
Free coffee was her way of showing her appreciation of the battle the mayor put herself through.
Emma blinked a few times at the revelation.
Regina really did seem changed. She was open, happier, and at times more vulnerable.
They hardly fought anymore and smiled a lot, both facts which had begun to worry the blonde a great deal.
Cricket or not, Archie really did seem to do one hell of a job.
Emma managed to pick up Henry from school on Tuesdays and Fridays,and played videogames with him when she felt that Regina needed her space or held her close when she didn't.
They never talked about whatever it was that Regina talked to Archie about, but through her timing Regina knew that Emma knew,and she was simply grateful.
A sentiment she was beginning to learn to appreciate.
However, there were setbacks.
One night while the former queen was listening to Zimmermann's soundtrack of the last of the Star Wars Trilogy over Emma's heartbeat, a thought suddenly dawned on her.
"Where is the potion of True Love?"she asked out of the blue and it took the sheriff a moment to refocus her attention away from the movie.
"What?" the blonde blinked at her.
"The potion. You didn't use all of it and pocketed the rest." Regina was growing angrier by the second.
She leaned up bracing her arms on the armrest of the couch that Emma's head was comfortably lying on.
"I..I..why are you asking?" Emma squirmed into a sitting position, and all of this during the epic battle with the Ewoks.
She sighed as she turned off the sound of the TV.
But Regina was standing by now, furious.
"How...how could you?I trusted you...and only to break the curse and be the big saviour?"the queen spat.
"I..what..even?"Emma was utterly confused but she was not going down without a fight, and she got up from the couch,squeezing into the small space beside the couch table as well.
"What did you do with the potion?" Regina's voice was a mere hiss now.
She took three steps forward almost touching Emma's nose.
"I gave it back to Mr. Gold ."the blonde said miserably.
"What?" Regina was taken aback by the answer.
"I figured he could use a little help with his true love not knowing who he is and..."Regina only stared at her.
"You're lying." she said tonelessly.
"No,I am.." but the mayor cut her off again.
"Why not reunite your parents?" the queen turned around and walked to the other side of the living room firmly facing the wall with her arms crossed in indecision.
"Because they don't know, but Gold remembers...and anyways, they are kind of weirdly dating already."Emma tried to explain helplessly.
She didn't even know what she was in trouble for.
She literally hadn't done anything.
The raven haired woman kept facing resolutely away from her.
"So, you are denying that you gave me any of that potion." she said, her voice distant and cold.
"What? Of course, yes!I mean no!I mean, Regina, are you crazy? Wait, sorry, I didn't mean it like that. What I meant is.."but again, Emma didn't get to finish her thought because she was suddenly thrown up against Regina's rather ugly wallpaper by the shorter woman.
And just as suddenly Regina was in her spacespace.
She brushed her nose against Emma's cheek and kept her lips hovering a breath's width away from the blonde's.
"Tell me,that you don't want to kiss me right now." her lips traveled to the shivering woman's ear.
"Tell me that that wasn't your intention." she whispered.
"That wasn't my intention." Emma's voice broke,"but God, do I want to kiss you right now."
She turned and backed Regina up against the wall she had just been held prisoner against.
"Why is that so wrong?" she nosed the other woman's ear, feeling her heart beating almost out of her chest.
Her lips traveled down along Regina's neck, hovering just above the olive skin.
"We kissed before." Emma hummed against Regina's clavicle and resisted the urge to let her tongue taste that skin and travel back up to that delicious earlobe with that single pearl earring.
She settled for allowing her nose to run that course and exhaled when she felt Regina grow soft and weak beneath her touch.
She steadied her with one arm around her waist.
"Why is that so wrong,hm?" her eyes were full of tenderness as she touched her nose to the other woman's and circled it playfully before softly biting into it and taking a bit of the tension out of the moment.
Regina swallowed before answering.
When Emma was so close and looking directly at her like that,it was hard to hide the tears.
"It would break the curse." she whispered softly, and then hid her head against the blonde's neck,and she was suddenly really a teenager again,because that was the last time she had felt anything even remotely like that.