A/N I'm putting the rating up to Teen. There will be a little bit of "smooching", and a little bit of nudity. But nothing explicit.
Emma stands in the bathroom, towel-drying her hair. The towel is perfectly white, perfectly soft, perfectly laundered and pressed. She had hesitated, almost afraid to use it for something as mundane as wet hair. But her discomfort had won out.
She's stripped down to her white tank top which is only slightly damp, but her jeans are soaked, clinging uncomfortably to her legs and chafing when she walks. She eyes the shower longingly, wondering if it would be impolite to simply shuck her clothes and climb in. She's still so unsure about Regina. Unsure of her welcome. Unsure if Regina will let her stay, or will simply send her back out into the dark, rainy night.
Her eyes flick up as the woman in her thoughts appears in the bathroom door. Emma notes enviously that Regina has taken a moment to get changed. Yet somehow she still looks small and lost, arms crossed protectively over her chest, black yoga pants pooling around her bare feet.
The dark eyes that meet hers are unreadable.
Emma takes a tentative step forward, then another. She's not clear on her intentions but suddenly she is there, right in front of the dark-haired woman. Her heart catches in her throat and she tosses the wet towel vaguely in the direction of the bathroom sink.
Her fingers brush down the other woman's cheek, settling lightly on her jaw. Her other hand comes up to run gently along the softness of Regina's side, to wrap around her lower back.
She tugs gently, encounters a slight resistance, and then the dark-haired woman is melting into her. Their bodies fall together, Emma's heart pounding wildly in her chest. Regina's eyes are squeezed shut and she fumbles blindly, searching for Emma's lips. Emma tilts her head, meeting her half-way, her heart swelling at the small whimper that escapes the other woman's throat as their tongues touch.
Regina's hands are everywhere, running up and down her torso, tugging on her hair, skimming her bare shoulders. Then she feels Regina wince and pull away as her hands encounter the wet denim clinging to Emma's legs. The solution is simple and obvious.
Minutes later they are in the shower, the warm water causing Emma to groan in pleasure as she pulls Regina's wet, slippery body against her own. They stand there for what could be minutes, or maybe hours, as their bodies warm and their pulses slow until their hearts are beating as one.
And then Regina's hands are moving, sliding down the small of Emma's back, over her buttocks, and then up again. Shoulder blades, soft neck, long blond hair that appears darker than usual under the water.
Emma tastes the water in the hollow of Regina's neck, sucks an ear lobe. She pushes a thigh between the darker woman's legs, slippery and soft, warm and wet.
A gasp, and then her name, uttered softly through wondrous lips. "Emma."
And again, a whisper in her ear. "Emma." It's a plea, a benediction. It's hope.
Emma fumbles for the taps and shuts off the cooling water. They stumble out of the shower, bodies still entwined. Forgoing the towels, Regina pulls away only long enough to capture Emma's lips in a sweet kiss. Then she grasps Emma's fingers and leads her down the hallway to the bedroom, leaving a series of wet footprint in their wake.
The door shuts firmly behind them.
Later, Regina rolls onto her side to face the blonde-haired woman sharing her bed. She can hear the rain still falling on the roof above their heads but the sound is muffled, soft. She's warm, pleasantly tired, wonderfully content. For the first time in a very long time she feels safe - a strange and amazing sensation.
Warm grey eyes meet hers in the dim light filtering in from the street.
She doesn't want to ask, but she feels compelled to nonetheless. "What happens now?" she whispers, frustrated at the slight tremor of uncertainty in her voice.
"We move forward," comes the cryptic response.
"Neal?" The blonde sighs, eyes roaming the corners of the room before returning to meet Regina's squarely. "Neal is in the past. Henry has met his father, which is good I think…"
Regina nods, not daring to speak quite yet.
"But that's all he is. Someone from my past. Not someone from my future."
The words are decisive, dismissive. It's clear she's made up her mind. And Regina is pleased to note that this is her Emma. The headstrong, independent, confident woman that she's been butting heads with for the past year. The woman who will go toe to toe with her on anything. The woman who will always stand up for what she believes in.
And apparently, the woman who will save her heart.
There's still a lot that they need to talk about, but all that can wait for morning.
Regina smiles, her eyes sliding shut. A moment later they spring open again.
"Miss Swan, did you put a dent in my car?"