Emma knew that she could never have Regina. That she could never be with her. Even though she had accepted this, it didn't stop her rage and jealousy boiling to the surface whenever she saw the Mayor with him.
Every time she spotted the two of them strolling down the street holding hands, or eating their lunch at the diner with Henry. Henry didn't care. He loved this new guy, this big handsome man in a suit that courted his mother. Not to mention the fact that Regina always looked so happy. Far happier than Emma had ever seen anyone. Too happy.
After nearly three months of watching their relationship unfold, after hearing about the guy having moved into the mansion, it struck her. Reginawasn't happy.
One Saturday afternoon, Emma found Regina picking up her lunch at granny's. "No lunch date today?" She asked.
Regina shook her head. "Richard has work to do."
Ruby left the counter to go into the back, and Emma looked around, seeing that they were the only two in the diner. Before Regina could leave, Emma grabbed her arm and turned her around. "You look sad." She said, taking a pause to stare into the brown eyes she admired so much. "You look sad, when you think he can't see you."
Regina stared back for a moment and then yanked her arm away, smoothing out the sleeve of her blazer. "I don't know what you're talking about, Miss Swan."
She left, fidgeting with the cuff of her jacket.
Emma pays close attention – even closer than usual – to Regina after their brief meeting in the diner. After a few weeks, she sees her collecting lunch again.
Under the make up that's been applied to the woman's right cheek, Emma can just spot blue and purple patches. Her jaw clenches.
'No.' She thinks. 'Not to her. No.'
She blocks Regina's exit.
"Miss Swan, if you wouldn't mind, I have an office to get to." She takes a step to her left and Emma mirrors it. A step to her right, Emma mirrors again, all the while never taking her eyes from the slight bruise that adorns the soft flesh of Regina's cheek.
She nods towards it. "What's that?"
"The bruise on your cheek. Where did it come from?" Emma stared into the dark brown eyes again.
Regina brought her lower lip in between her teeth and hesitated before answering, quitter than she had expected. "Nowhere. It's none of your business, Miss Swan."
Emma raised her voice. "Did he do that to you?"
She hesitated again. "No! And what do you care, anyway? Like I said, it's none of your business."
"I don't care that we don't get along, Regina, I don't care that we fight constantly. I will not stand by when someone has been hit by a person who is supposed to love them. I've been a victim too many times," Emma watched Regina's eyes soften. "And I've seen it too many times to let it slide. Now I want you to answer me truthfully. Did he do that to you."
"No." Regina whispered, forcefully pushing past the blonde to get to her car as quick as she could. She had not forgotten about Emma's so-called 'superpower'.
"Ruby…" Emma growled, seeing the young woman serve a table close to her. "Get me something I can beat up." When Ruby didn't move, she glared at the younger woman. "Now."
After making a substantial amount of noise with a few empty metal barrels in the back of Granny's diner, Emma headed straight to City Hall, her knuckles having been bandaged up by Ruby.
Storming straight past the secretary and into the black and white office, Regina was nowhere to be found. Emma stood, just listening, for a moment.
Hearing sobs coming from a closed door to the side of the office, Emma raced towards them. Flinging the door open, she found Regina, curled up in a ball on the floor of the small bathroom.
She hurried to the woman, sitting her up and wrapping her arms around her torso as tight as she could. Regina flinched, muttering 'No, that hurts' through her sobs.
Emma released her hold and gently pulled Regina's jacket off of her shoulders. She flung it aside and started to undo the buttons on the silk shirt and slowly peeling it from the woman's body.
"Oh, dear God, Regina." Emma gaped at the number of bruises – new and old – covering the tan body.
The only reaction she received from the other woman were two hands clutching at her red jacket, as if they never wanted to let go.
"I tried to- to pretend it wasn't ha-happening…" She sobbed against the blonde's chest. "Like it wasn't happening again."
Emma growled. "Again?" Regina's sobs picked up again. Emma comforted her by rubbing her back. "It's okay, sweetie, it's okay. I'm here for you."
After a while, the sobs died down and Regina sat up, rubbing her eyes. "I hope we can forget this ever happened." The mask was back.
"Like hell we can! I'm heading over to his office and fucking arresting this dick shit."
Regina sighed, pulling her shirt back on. "Language, please, Miss Swan."
Emma stood, helping Regina up off the floor. "I'm arresting him, okay?"
"The fuck, Regina? Why not?"
"Because he'll only get worse once he's out." She blurted.
Emma reached out and pulled the older woman against her again. She expected to be pushed away, but Regina just clung to her again.
"I'm going to put him away, and I'm going to protect you, okay? No one isever going to hurt you again, do you understand me?" She felt a weak nod against her shoulder. "Regina… Did he ever… Did he ever not ask for permission?" After receiving a confused look, she reworded her question. "Did he ever forcibly… take you?"
Tears filled the dark eyes, and Emma gently wiped away the ones that dared venture past the woman's eyelashes. She didn't need any more of an answer.
"I'm taking you back to your house, to Henry, and then I'm arresting that bastard. Okay?"
Regina nodded and retrieved her purse from her desk, looping her arm through Emma's to keep her steady.
The Sheriff drove the Mayor home, settling her on the sofa with a hot chocolate and informing Henry to sit with her.
Richard was brought in and locked up in a cell, Emma leaving him there under the watchful eye of Ruby, who had the day off.
"He's sitting in a jail cell. He refuses to admit he's guilty." Emma said, sitting next to Regina.
"Who's guilty? Of what?" Henry asked from the other side of her.
"Not right now, Henry." Regina muttered, leaning to her side to rest her head on the blonde's shoulder.
Regina turned her head slightly to see her son. "Yes?"
"I love you, okay?" He wrapped his arms around her.
"I love you too, Henry." The brunette lifted her arm and rested it around his shoulders.
"He's not gonna hurt you again, okay?"
"Henry, how did you-"
"He's not! I'll make sure of it."
Both mothers' eyes filled with tears, and Emma kissed Regina's head. "Me too."