It was three words. Three of the simplest words a person can say, but those three simple words put together in that order… they have the ability to knock a person to their knees… they can literally take a person out.

And Emma Swan saying them to her in the simplest of situations… it literally took her out… had she not been sitting, her knees would have buckled. She had never heard the words come so simply… not in her direction at least. There was always a deep intensity that urged and urged her to reply in kind… there was always a catch when she'd heard the words before.

With Emma there was no catch.

They were sitting in her living room after a particularly long, dull day of meetings and interviews… and absolutely none of Emma until the blonde got off her shift two hours after hers. She and Henry ate dinner, and once Emma came over they reheated what was left and talked until Henry had to go to bed… then she and Emma went to the living room and sat on the sofa.

Emma had her arm over her shoulders and was stroking her neck and combing fingers through her hair. Regina knew she had been dragging on and on like her meetings, but she couldn't shake the bored feeling she felt from them… and she had to express it.

Emma chuckled softly at the particular story of the man that walked in for his interview and how the guy kept turning everything she said dirty! He was really the only entertainment of the day, of course, but it was the worst situation imaginable. "Darling, it's not funny! I told him that he'll need to file a lot for this job, so order is a must, and he said, 'Well it's a good thing I can take orders 'cause I'd love to file your folders..' It isn't even a good line let alone funny!" She sat up and shivered at the thought of him before she settled back into Emma's hold. "He was a pig!" Emma, still slightly chuckling, pressed a gentle kiss to the crown of Regina's head. Regina looked up at her girlfriend, "What?"

"I love you."

It was simple.

It was true.

It was beautiful.

And Regina froze solid.

Emma only pressed another kiss to Regina's forehead before she pulled her closer to her and started playing with her hair. Regina registered that she could feel the slow and steady beat of Emma's heart… she wasn't nervous or frightened that she had said the words… Emma didn't say those words to anyone but Henry… they were 'big deal' words, and here she was saying them to Regina without a care in the world.

Except Regina knew differently. She knew Emma. She knew that the woman had been thinking about this for a long time. She knew that she had taken every alternative route in her head before it came to this. She knew that it wasn't simple for her to say, but it was simple. She realized that Emma must have come to the same conclusion: Love isn't simple to come across or get to talk about, but it is simple.

And Emma loved her.

How could that be? She was not a loveable person by any means. She was literally a wicked witch. She was literally and evil queen. She was a straight up bitch. She always got her way and when someone tried to stop her way from happening, she'd bulldoze them down with words or tricks. She was plotting, conniving, rude, impatient, demanding, shallow, angry, mean, and quite frankly completely fucked-up.

And Emma loved her.

She loved her in spite of everything. It's like she saw the version of Regina that was forever buried… the one that deserved love. It's like she saw the teenage version of herself through all her evil deeds. She somehow saw through the shield Regina wore to keep everyone and everything out… she saw the pain. And she loved her anyways.

It was so simple…

She looked up at Emma as she hummed contentedly against her hair. Her eyes were closed and she was about to start dozing. She turned and sat up on her knees. She took Emma's face in her hands, making the blonde look at her. She rested their foreheads together so that all that there was, was them.

"I'm not a good person." She spoke softly.

"I know." Emma followed suit.

"I'm a very, very bad, wicked, evil person."

"I know."

"I don't deserve anything."

"I know."

"But you love me?"

"Yes."

"…Why?"

"I have to have a reason to love you?"

"Yes."

"That's very sad."

Regina bit her lip and nodded, "I know… Why?"

"Because you're the evil queen and I'm the savior." Emma sighed, lolling her head back a moment before staring intently into her eyes once more, "It's written in the stars."

"You believe him?"

"I believe your eyes. I believe that you're evil for your own protection…"

"And you think that you can banish the evil from the queen and all will be merry and gay?"

"Sure… it's fairytale land, isn't it? And it won't just be gay. It'll be ecstatic."

"You deserve better than me."

"I know that you think that, but I also know that you want me anyways… just like I want you anyways."

"You know that the next time we kiss, everything will change…?"

"I'm not forcing you into anything… and besides… don't you have to love me too for the curse to break?"

"I do."

"What?"

"I do love you too." She leaned in and kissed Emma's lips, allowing for everything to come as it would, when it would.

It wasn't simple to say, it wasn't simple to have and it sure wasn't simple getting to this point, but it was simple. It was love.