"Henry," Regina says gently, laying a hand on her son's shoulder. "We've talked about you bringing home injured birds and animals, haven't we?"
"Yeeeees," Henry says, looking very, very guilty. As well he should, when he's holding one of Regina's brand new towels, covered in blood and mud. "But it's not an animal, Mom."
Regina opens the bathroom door, and instantly wishes she hadn't.
"Ow!" That's the ungrateful word of the day from Emma Swan, it would seem.
Despite her better judgment, Regina walks into the impromptu ER set up in her downstairs bathroom and takes over from Henry's ham-fisted attempts. There's no denying that all this was easier with magic, but Regina knows enough to clean scrapes and check bruises the boring way, too.
Not that the Sheriff is appreciative of the efforts. Instead she's complained about every request and offer of help so far, whether Regina checking that Emma can move her head, or the slightly more awkward request for Emma to drop her pants and let Regina clean up the gash on Emma's thigh.
"I should have gone to the hospital," Emma groans through gritted teeth. "But the kid was closer."
Emma's quieter by the time Regina offers a shoulder (grudgingly) and helps her limp across to the den. At least if she makes a mess in here the leather couch will be easy to clean.
"Thank you," Emma mutters when Regina deposits her (roughly, she remembers the night of the fire after all) on the couch.
"You can rest here for a while. I'll find someone to collect you," Regina sighs, not particularly in the mood to deal with her stupid citizens today, least of all Miss Blanchard.
So she lets Emma Swan stay in her house. It's not the worst thing an enemy has put Regina through, after all, and lately Emma has seemed less… adversarial than usual. In fact, Regina almost felt something like concern at listening to the tale of how Emma had been attacked in the woods, even if Regina did manage to shake it off after a minute or two.
What does it cost her, really, to take in some blankets and an extra pillow for the injured Sheriff? Henry seems mollified by Regina's attentiveness, and if Regina had known that caring for Emma would win him over, she would have hit Emma with her car weeks ago. Regina supposes most people would be kidding when they think things like that. Oh well.
It costs more than she bargained, because Emma Swan is a restless sleeper and even injured and restricted to the couch, she has managed to shed half her clothing and look perfectly happy about the fact (in her sleep, anyway). Regina reaches out to close Emma's shirt and pull her borrowed pants back into place, but the touch is enough to wake Emma with a jolt.
For a second it looks like she's going to punch Regina, but somewhere in the confusion Emma Swan decides to go another way. She takes Regina's hand from where it's gripping Emma's shirt, and runs her thumb over Regina's fingers.
"You looked after me," Emma says, and Regina should have known the dangers of offering a feast to a starving person. She swallows, hard, but doesn't try to escape Emma's simple caress.
"It seemed like the kind of thing a good person would do," Regina says, defying Emma to call her otherwise.
Instead, Emma leans across the foot of space between them and presses her lips fleetingly against Regina's own. Emma draws back just enough to make it a question, one which Regina answers by tugging Emma towards her and kissing her in a way that is neither friendly nor fleeting. They're both breathless when it ends.
"Well," Regina says. "You didn't have to throw yourself down a muddy hill for an excuse to do that."
"Damn. Now she tells me," Emma says, smiling at Regina the way she did on the night they met—terrified but somehow unguarded. She wants to be liked, wants not to be turned away, and for the first time Regina feels like both those things are an option.
"This could be your concussion talking," Regina warns, steeling herself.
"I didn't hit my head that hard," Emma replies, reaching for Regina again.