Disclaimer in Chapter One
AN: So we have finally come to the end of this story. I'm so thankful for all of you readers who have stuck through with this story. Your kind words mean so much to me. You guys rock!
Because of Queen of Hearts, the events of the last chapter solidify my headcanon: only Regina can take out Emma's heart. Am I right?
"Snow! Snow, will you slow down?" Charming walked quickly after his wife who was somehow a good hundred yards ahead of him with vindication in her eyes.
Something happened between his wife and daughter last night that had her furious. Despite her night-long ranting and yelling, the only thing he could truly process was that Regina was somehow to blame for it. Before he knew it, she had ceased washing the breakfast dishes and stormed out of the apartment with his sword in tow. Exchanging worried and shocked glances with Henry, Charming bolted out of his chair and after his wife, Henry following suit.
He knew very well what Snow's wrath felt like. He had the scar on his jaw to prove as much, so it didn't ease her anger when he caught up with her exiting the building and wrestled the sword out of her grasp. In fact, in only spurred the smaller woman on and within moments she was already down the street towards the suburbia her alter ego had once before been afraid of visiting.
"What is she going to do?" Henry asked, running to keep up with his grandfather.
David picked up his pace to a jog. Even from a distance he could still see the tension building within his wife. Ominously, he spoke. "I don't know."
By the time grandfather and grandson made it to the end of the mayoral pathway, Mary Margaret was already picking at the door. Frustrated with her delayed results, she turned a determined glare to David. "Kick it down."
"What?" Henry asked with wide eyes.
"Our daughter is in there right now with the Evil Queen, Charming! She's put a spell on Emma, so kick down the door." The tiny woman spoke with such authority that no one could deny her request. David processed his wife's words and wondered the possibility of their truth. He wasn't about to take any chances so with a firm kick, the door to the mayoral mansion swung open on its hinges.
A mess of blonde curls and brown locks merged together in the midst of the goose down pillows while the white cotton comforter hung around the bare waists of the two lovers tangled together in bed. Their breathing was even and constant, as if one would wait to exhale while the other breathed in creating a rhythmic and calming atmosphere that only lulled the two women in a more content sleep.
A pale face was nuzzled into the tan and lean neck of the darker woman, her front pressed hotly against a toned back that arched perfectly to accommodate their closeness while her arms wrapped protectively around her lover.
Regina's hand had unconsciously interlocked with Emma's during the night as the blonde pulled her closer in their embrace. It now nestled over Emma's hand, secure on her waist line.
Despite Regina's strict morning routine to awake at precisely 6 am, she found herself happy to sleep through her internal clock, succumbing to the warmth and security that was Emma Swan. Only when the blonde began to stir did she begin to wake herself. Feeling a draft of air seep through where Emma had unconsciously moved her body away to stretch, Regina tightened her hold on the younger woman's hand to wrap around her, using their conjoined hands as a makeshift pillow under her cheek.
She heard a low chuckle and felt a kiss to the back of her bare shoulder, another one at the nape of her neck and one more just below her ear where she finally felt the soft weight of Emma's cheek leaning against the back of her head.
"Hi," she whispered into Regina's ear.
Fighting a smile, Regina tilted her head to accommodate the blonde above her. "Good morning."
Emma's hand found Regina's chin and tilted it towards her to capture the now-bruised lips in a deep kiss. Regina released a throaty chuckle, looking directly into the sea of green captivating her. "Now it's even better."
The brunette trailed a hand down the younger woman's face, studying every aspect about it that she didn't think to do the night before. Her fingers traced over the wrinkles at the corner of her eyes, stroked over a miniscule freckle by the side of her nose that no one would notice if they weren't looking and finally allowed her palm to rest against the smooth expanse of cheek that she had marred with a bruise not so long ago.
She didn't say anything as she memorized every little detail of Emma. She just reveled in the realization and fascination that this woman was with her, whatever that may mean.
"I always loved when you did that," Emma spoke leaning firmly against Regina's palm.
"Looked at me." The phrase was so simple it sounded crazy even to Emma's ears as she laughed. "I mean, you probably wanted to punch me or strangle me, but you stared at me like I was the only thing you could look at."
It was Regina's turn to laugh. "It's the way you look at me, dear."
With a smirk, Emma leaned down meeting an eager Regina in passionate kiss. Tongues collided and just like that, the intimate moment turned yearning and desperate. Breaking the kiss, Regina wrapped her hand around a fistful of blonde hair to tug Emma back and flip her over on the bed. She lowered her face within millimeters of the younger woman, eyes fluttering shut as she felt the familiar desire pool in the pit of her stomach when the blonde's hand traveled down towards her heat. Biting her lip to suppress a moan, she managed to breathe out a pleading, "Stay home."
"That's a given," Emma growled before connecting their lips again.
Their minds were too hazy and laden with lust to hear the front door bang open, but there was no mistaking the loud screech coming from just outside their bedroom door at the top of the stairs of Mary Margaret yelling out her daughter's name.
They ripped apart, panting and eyes wide.
Although Emma looked stunned and slightly terrified – she swore that yell shook her to the bone – Regina glared at the door looking annoyed. "Did she honestly barge into my home?"
Pushing back on the older woman, Emma glared at her reaction. "That's what's on your mind right now?"
"Emma!" Another yell emitted from the hall, followed by the banging of one of the guest rooms.
"And she's going through my bedrooms?" Regina sat up appalled.
Emma couldn't help but smirk at her lover as she scurried out of bed throwing on her clothes. She tossed Regina's slacks and blouse to her. "You might want to put those on before –"
"Oh my god."
Emma stilled hearing Mary Margaret's voice as she finished tugging on her tank top over her bra. Luckily enough she had managed to slip on her jeans, but that didn't explain the very naked Regina sitting up in the disheveled bed.
Regina had enough sense to yank the sheets up to her chest and slide to the far edge of the bed to start redressing before Emma turned slowly, mentally bracing herself for her mother's wrath.
"Morning," Emma mumbled meekly.
Snow glared at her daughter. Her look was enough to make the blonde gulp. "Get dressed and meet us downstairs."
With a slam of the door, Snow left the two women in a room of awkwardness.
Maurice stepped out of his truck, moving towards the back to unload the new shipment of roses, azaleas, and lilies.
He inhaled the calming scent of the flowers and smiled. Things were good lately. Taking Belle over that boundary line was the best decision he ever made. She no longer remembered a time where she was held captive by the Dark One. All she could remember was being kept in a cellar room by the Evil Queen, and through a fib or two, it was her father who set her free.
Now that the blasted Rumplestiltskin was out of the picture, he was free to spend his time with his daughter, who had taken up the position at the front of the shop. Her beauty and kind-hearted presence made business boom.
Whistling as he grabbed an assortment of wildflowers, he turned just in time for a cane to come down across his temple.
"You did what with my daughter?" David roared as soon as Emma and Regina stepped into the study and shut the door.
Regina, ever the Evil Queen she was known to be, simply stood with her hands on her hips, a smirk and knowing look on her face.
"Really?" Emma asked exasperated to her lover. "Don't make this worse."
Regina directed her glare to the blonde before relenting and folded her arms.
Mary Margaret stepped directly up to Regina but was stopped when Emma moved in between and kept her at a sufficient distance. "We could have locked you away or given you to the mob, but no! We didn't! We gave you a chance, and this is how you repay us? You and – That's my daughter!"
"Oh, you think you've shown me mercy, Snow? What about when I asked you to do one thing – do not tell my mother about Daniel – and you couldn't even do that right?" Now Regina had stepped closer, effectively creating an Emma-sandwich as the two brunettes squeezed to get at each other.
"I was eight!"
Pulling his wife back and keeping a firm grip on her arm to keep her there, David's voice boomed over the women's. "Just release the spell you have on Emma, and we'll be on our way."
"David, I'm not –"
"Is it really that difficult to believe that your daughter wants to be with me?" Regina said with a hint of laughter to her voice. "It's not my fault she doesn't want to be near you two."
"It's entirely your fault!" Mary Margaret snapped, ripping away from her husband's grasp and pointing an accusatory finger. "You sent us all here. You separated our family!"
"You had my fiancé killed!" Against her control, Regina whipped back her hand and summoned a large fireball. The force to propel it at the pixie-haired woman was met with resistance when Emma caught her wrist, wide green eyes meeting furious dark ones.
With the ball still flaming in the older woman's hand, the two shared a silent conversation. Regina begging for one shot at the woman while Emma firmly shook her head. As quick as it came, the ball disappeared in a wisp of smoke. The blonde gave Regina's arm a proud squeeze, keeping their proximity close.
"Run out of apples this time?" Mary Margaret taunted.
"If you touch one hair on my wife's head-" David began his threat, his hand firmly grasped on the handle of his sword.
"You'll what, Charming? Kill me?"
Emma groaned and put her fingers in her mouth and whistled loudly. The room silenced from the unexpected and shrill noise. Emma cocked a head to the door, and huffing, Regina understood and walked to it, opening it briefly to dismiss the eavesdropping boy at the door. She pushed it shut, the click echoing throughout the room.
"Look," Emma spoke slowly. "I am not under some spell." She took Regina's hand in hers and spoke with every bit of honesty. "I want to be here."
The young women stood there quietly as Emma's parents gaped at them shell shocked.
The silence was cut short when all hell broke loose.
Henry was sitting at the kitchen island, sipping on a glass of juice and going over his fairy tale book. The endless shouting match occurring in his mother's study with all four adults had been going on for the last twenty minutes. He tried to make out what they were saying, even attempted to listen in on the door only for them to quiet momentarily when Regina opened the door and told him to go wait in the kitchen.
From what he could pick up, his grandparents were accusing Regina of doing witchcraft on their daughter, but he knew that notion was ridiculous. He'd been visiting his mothers for weeks now, and he noticed that his brunette mother rarely did any sort of magic in front of him. He picked up Emma complaining about living her own life or something along those lines while Regina just yelled at Snow for reasons unknown.
He sighed into his glass. This was what it felt like to have the entire family back in his life. He looked up at the sound of the study door slamming and the familiar staccato click of his mother's heels walking into the kitchen. Her face was flushed and her eyes were defiant, but there was also a hint of something in them he couldn't quite name. Not because he was unfamiliar with that brand of emotion, he saw it every time Snow and James looked at each other, but because it was the first time he'd seen it in his mother's eyes.
She forced a smile and stood across from him. He raised his eyebrows at her, silently asking what they were fighting about. Instead, she just pushed her hair behind her ears and clasped her hands on the marble-top. "Hungry?"
Without waiting for an answer, she moved robotically to the fridge and began pulling out ingredients.
"It's about you and Emma, isn't it?"
She glanced up under her lashes, catching the look of her curious son. Cracking a few eggs in a bowl, she responded. "What makes you say that, dear?"
He shrugged. "Mary Margaret's pretty mad."
She leaned over the island with an amused smirk. "She may be innocent in your book, but Snow was quite the drama queen."
"What's going on with you and Emma?"
Regina paused and looked up, biting her lip and mentally arguing with herself. She tilted her head in contemplation before answering. "We've developed a friendship."
He narrowed his eyes questioning his mother. "It looks more than that. I mean, grandma and gramps wouldn't be so mad if you were just friends."
She chuckled to herself as she chopped peppers. "You'd be surprised."
"I wouldn't mind." Regina ceased her cutting at her son's response. Her eyes widened at his clarification. "If you and Emma were more than that. I think it's good for you."
She looked down, unable to formulate a response as she mixed the peppers with the egg. Her feelings for Emma weren't new, even she couldn't deny that, but there was something about the outside world knowing that she was happy that terrified her.
The last time her secret relationship was exposed, it resulted in Daniel's heart being ripped out. It was absurd to think the same would happen to Emma, but the thought frightened her nonetheless.
The presence of someone handing her the spatula jarred her from her swarming thoughts as she looked up to see Henry with the kitchen utensil. She smiled softly, thanked him for the spatula and poured the omelet into the pan.
She gasped when she felt his arms wrap around her middle in one of the most affectionate hugs she had ever received from him. Her eyes watered, quickly moving the pan away from the flame to properly wrap her arms around her son, pressing a kiss to the top of his head.
The door to the study whipped open and banged shut as Emma's heavy gait stormed towards the kitchen with her parents on her heels. "I'm not some kid you can just control!"
The Charmings entered the kitchen, each with their own unique expression of anger. "That's enough, Emma," David spoke. "You have no idea what she's capable of."
The brunette mother and son released their hold, but Regina was pleased that Henry still kept an arm around her waist as they watched chaos unfold.
"Actually, I do." Emma replied smartly, her hands on her hips.
"Dear god." Mary Margaret shut her eyes in disgust and muttered. She took a deep breath and stepped gingerly toward her daughter, forcing her emotions to cool down. "Emma, you found us, and now we barely get to see each other, and I want to be able to see my daughter."
Regina could practically hear the makings of a comeback that would wound the petite brunette's ego on parenting, but she extracted herself from Henry and took Emma's arm before the blonde could regret saying anything.
Worry lines appeared on Emma's usually calm face. It was clear the stress of fighting with her parents over a romantic relationship no less was taking its toll on the girl. Regina couldn't remember a time during her house arrest when Emma wasn't with her. As much as it secretly pleased her that Emma willingly chose to spend time with Regina, she came to the realization that the blonde rarely saw her best friend turned mother anymore. If she really wanted to change, she'd have to start with this.
Her brown eyes shifted rapidly as if hurrying to memorize all of Emma that she could. Her heart ached, but she would rather let something good go than have it ripped unceremoniously the hard way. She learned that far too late with Henry.
Speaking quietly in a manner that was neither Mayor Mills nor the Evil Queen but simply Regina, she exhaled and spoke. "Go home with your parents."
Emma's eyes widened to the size of saucers, and even the Charmings exchanged a glance disbelieving what they heard.
"What?" Emma asked, taking Regina's hands in hers.
"Go home, Miss Swan." Despite her icy tone, the sadness in her eyes was evident.
"No," the blonde refused stubbornly.
"Emma," Regina said slowly, her voice hitching just a tiny bit. "I won't be the cause of you and your parents' strife."
"You heard her, Em. Let's go home," Mary Margaret said though she still kept a wary eye on the older brunette.
The blonde threw her a glare to silence her before turning back to the woman whose hands she was clasping tightly. "Why do you care so much about their feelings?"
Regina glanced around the room, thoroughly aware of the spectators. David with his narrowed eyes, hand close to his sword, Mary Margaret with her head tilted and eyes wide at the scene before and then there was Henry with a knowing and hopeful grin on his face. She forced her attention back to Emma and easily zeroed in on her and her alone.
Subconsciously she took a step closer, squeezing back at the pale hands encapsulating hers and spoke softly. "It's not their feelings."
"What is it? Do you want me to leave?" The vulnerability in Emma's voice didn't go unnoticed.
Steeling her shoulders, she shook her head lightly. "I found someone," Regina began hesitantly. "I found someone who's working her ass off to be in the same room as me, who's refusing the one thing she's been looking for. . . for me."
Emma's eyes widened. The women would have noticed Charming's slack jaw and Snow's gasp if they weren't securely locked in each other's gaze.
"And I don't want you or Henry to get hurt because of me," Regina continued, her shaking hands matched her wavering voice.
"What are you saying?" Mary Margaret demanded, making her presence known to the two women.
They didn't look at her, however. Instead, Regina focused on Emma, a grin forming on the blonde's face, as she gulped audibly, fear and something else entirely in her eyes. "I . . ."
"I know," Emma whispered and closed the gap between them, taking Regina's face in her hands to press their lips together in a deep and sensual kiss.
Regina's eyes closed and automatically kissed the blonde back, but there was a force bubbling up inside her that began at the tip of her toes causing a tingling sensation before it exploded through every fiber of her body.
The force was so strong it pulled the two women apart where all that was left in between them was a sweet-smelling cloud of purple and blue mist.
"What the hell was that?" Emma touched her tingling lips with her fingers, surprised to see blue sparks emanating from them wildly.
"True Love's kiss," Henry answered obviously with a dopey grin, still sipping on his juice.
Regina's once brown eyes turned a vibrant purple, magic returning to her in full force. She clutched the counter to stable herself from the overwhelming impact as she blinked profusely until her irises returned to its hazel colour.
"Emma," David approached his daughter and bent slightly. Sure enough, the blonde's eyes shone a metallic blue, matching the faint mist in the air and the sparks flying off her fingers.
"This can't be," Mary Margaret shook her head in disbelief.
Clearing her head and straightening up, Emma turned back toward Regina, the magic the two women currently fully possessed reacted wildly in time with their erratic beating hearts. Regina stretched out her hand which Emma took hold of immediately, their magic buzzing to a low hum.
Before her parents could say anything, the blonde's phone rang. It was a call from the station.
There was a commotion outside Game of Thorns. Petals and bulbs and stems littered the ground around Maurice's truck as spectators kept a safe distance away from the raging man that was Mr. Gold as he tore the flowers to shreds, yelling at the battered man on the ground.
"You did that to your own daughter!" Gold yelled, bringing his cane down on Maurice's leg with a resonating smack.
All the florist could do was yelp and protect his face from any more blows to the temple. A trickle of blood eased its way down from the side of his head making its way down his cheek while his hands and arms were bruised from the strikes it took defending himself.
"She was your daughter!" Thwack. "You took her from me!"
"Stop!" Belle's shrill feminine voice cried desperately as she ran from the shop and leapt to drop in front of her father. The hilt of the cane was coming down before Gold could stop it.
Belle braced herself for the impending force that never came. The cane was met with resistance when Emma managed to catch it just in time.
"Savior," Gold's lip twitched, silently thankful she had caught it.
"Sheriff," Emma corrected and ripped the cane from the old man.
David and Mary Margaret scurried to pick up the old florist and his daughter up off the floor, and even Regina stood by, close to Emma in case Gold was up to something.
The pawnbroker leaned in close to Emma with a sneer. "Do you have any idea what he did? He wiped his daughter's memory, now tell me, is that not the same level of abusive parenting that you yourself went through in your foster homes?"
"You don't get to decide who gets punished, Mr. Gold." The Sheriff leaned in closer matching the older man's stance. She grabbed his arm and slapped handcuffs over him, the metal shining bright blue without her knowledge as her magic seeped into the restraints keeping him there. Gold, however, widened his eyes at the revelation. This wasn't good for him.
Regina stood off to the side and waited with Henry as they watched Belle and Maurice get tended for their injuries. She watched the girl in particular, seeing Belle stare as Gold was escorted into the squad car. The younger woman's stance was rigid and frightened, but the way she watched Rumplestiltskin get taken away showed the tiniest bit of recognition.
Pressing a hand to Henry's shoulder letting him know she'd be back, Regina made her way to the girl.
"So how did you do it?" The door of the jail cell, humming a metallic blue colour, locked as Mr. Gold took a seat on the cot.
"I got a call and came down?" Emma answered confused.
He laughed. "No, dearie. Magic."
The Sheriff automatically looked down to her hands, the power beneath them never completely going away.
"Yes, I know." He stood and walked toward the bars. He leaned closer, resting his head between the gap. "You are quite powerful. Did Regina teach you?"
"What's it to you?" Emma questioned with a glare.
"You may be more useful than you know. Plus, I believe you still owe me a favor."
"No, she doesn't." The clicking of heels made Emma turn, and with a grin she saw Regina enter the station. The look on Emma's face upon the former Mayor's entrance silenced the deal maker on the spot.
The brunette marched straight up to the cell with such force and confidence and swagger to her hips, it made Emma's mind unable to form coherent thoughts. "No deals. No favors. You and I are making an exchange."
"Is that so?" Gold's lip twitched in amusement. "What do you possibly have that I would want?"
She leaned her head in closer towards the man and whispered. "I restored Belle's mind."
For the first time during his reign as the Dark One, Rumplestiltskin was surprised by the turn of events. "Impossible."
Regina grinned and stepped closer to Emma. The power behind the two women exuded off their very presence. "Perhaps before."
Gold eyed the two women, a mixture of fascination and contempt. Finally he turned toward the Sheriff. "Fine. Consider us even."
"Lovely." Regina grinned and took Emma's hand, pulling them towards the exit. "She's at the hospital. Whether she still wants to see you after what you did to her father is entirely up to her."
With a wave of her hand, the magic Emma unintentionally placed on the bars began to waver as Gold sat seething waiting to be released.
"Why does your magic trump my magic?" Emma asked on their walk home from the station, her hands stuffed in her pockets as she absent-mindedly kicked rocks.
The women walked close to each other, both hesitant on public displays of affection that wasn't centered around their son, but the way they walked in sync and spoke intimately to one another proved there was a clear indication of their togetherness.
"Practice, dear." Regina laughed lightly at Emma's pout. "I'll help you when you visit."
"Visit?" The blonde lifted her head in curiosity.
"Your mother was very adamant," Regina reminded her.
Emma stopped their walking and stepped closer to the older woman. "I don't care what she thinks."
"What do you care about then?"
"You." The word came out of Emma as if it were the most obvious thing in the world, and if she thought about it, it was.
She grinned at the pleased blush the brunette tried to hide. She placed her palm on Regina's warm cheek. "That was good, you know? What you did for Belle?"
"She loves the man for some reason," Regina muttered and averted her eyes.
"And you didn't want her to lose her love," Emma finished Regina's unspoken statement. "How'd you know it would work?"
"I didnt," she admitted.
"You just tried something good for the sake of being good," Emma teased.
"Yes, thank you, Miss Swan." Her tone was curt and dismissive, but the brunette's eyes flashed as they made contact with Emma's. She leaned into the warmth of the Sheriff's palm, hands moving to rest on the blonde's shoulders. She closed the gap between them, their bodies molded to one another so pliantly.
Emma grinned at Regina's motion and tilted her head to steal a kiss from the former Mayor and damn any who saw and wasn't okay with it.
"Then let's go pick up our son and bring him home." With that, the blonde began walking again, her cocky smirk already in place as she caught the wave of emotions cascading over the brunette's face.
There was wonder, amazement, love, a little annoyance, but more importantly, hope. Regina grinned to herself as she caught up with Emma, giving her a glare that told her she'd be in trouble for leaving her standing there, but the blonde laughed just the same.
She didn't know whether the animosity between herself and the Charmings would ever truly go away, she didn't know if Henry was ready to come back home, and she didn't know what Rumplestiltskin needed from the now two most powerful beings in Storybrooke, but what she did know was walking right beside her, guiding her to their home, where they would continue this journey together one day at a time.
I'd love to know what you guys thought! This winter hiatus will be my downfall. Thank goodness for fanfiction.