Of course Regina doesn't lay out anything. She evades every attempt at questioning and she generally makes Emma feel a little foolish for even trying to find out whatever it is she's hiding. For her part, Emma starts making passive-aggressive statements about all of Regina's evil plots. She wonders if she's just getting too involved in the whole law and order gig.

There is also something happening at the Mayor's office. It is something that is stressful enough to make Regina go all quiet and distant and the Mayor a complete shadow of herself. Whatever it is that's bothering them both, Emma is assured that it's something they share in common—some common struggle Emma herself is obviously too stupid to understand.

"I'm not an idiot, I can be trusted." Emma grumbles and stabs her fork into a piece of lettuce. They are at Regina's place for dinner. Regina has made an elaborate meal with locally sourced lamb chops, a salad with feta and hot peppers, and risotto with wild mushrooms and peas, and she is now eating it daintily while watching Emma like a hawk.

"What is going on in that mind of yours?" Regina asks. Her blouse is silky and red and her belt is thin and black and Emma has a moment of wondering if she accidentally started dating her old grade school principal.

"You and your plans to take over the world." Emma says. Yeah. She's definitely getting way too deep in her job.

They glare at one another for a moment before Emma gives up first. Sometimes she thinks they have a really weird relationship.

"No one thinks you're an idiot." Avoiding that last statement, Regina shrugs and stuffs a hot pepper and some feta cheese into her mouth. Her cheeks redden and her eyes glaze over with pleasure. Nothing gets Regina in that state quite like spicy food.

Except maybe sex. That's an easy one.

Emma smirks at her lover and returns to her dinner.

She spends the next day is spent investigating an arms ring—an actual fucking weapons trade—in Storybrooke. Of all places…

There is a growing sense of unease in the pit of her stomach as Emma moves through the community gathering evidence. None of her interviews go well. Four people run before she can talk to them, and one guy tries to kick her in the shins before he runs. She and her deputy resort to breaking down a door with a battering ram when three men in a boarded up house won't let her inside to question them.

On day six of her second week as Sheriff, Emma determines that the town is now under marshal law. The local magistrate had already stopped doing his job in favor of turning the town's courtroom into a gaming room.

"You can't declare yourself leader overnight." Regina says blandly when she hears the news. The District Attorney is a friend of Regina's, but he disappeared days ago.

"Don't worry, I still answer to the elected officials of Storybrooke." Which means Regina. Not Mayor Snow, not really—just Regina.

After that, Regina visits the Sheriff's office daily for lunch. It makes Emma feel cared for but it also makes her feel like a sucker for letting herself be monitored…

"How's Henry?" Emma asks one afternoon. She finds herself chewing slowly to prolong their time together. Regina is wearing a grey silk blouse that Emma herself once borrowed after a night of debauchery.

"He's good. We should all have dinner again sometime." Regina answers absently, flipping through pages of Old Empire spy-ware photographs. "He likes you. By the way, did you know that Gold paid nearly thirty million dollars to have minute cameras installed in the brickwork of every coffee house in Boston, Chicago and New York? What do you suppose he's planning?"

"I thought we weren't calling those cities by their old names." Emma scowls. The business of Old versus New versus People's (a sudden third party known by name only because graffiti artists had been tagging city buildings for weeks) Parties…well it all hurts her fucking head. She knows that Regina is behind something big, some big conspiracy and that somehow it involves guns and biochemical weapons and spyware. And naming.

"Don't think so hard. I like how apolitical you are." Regina actually seemed pleased by the sentiment. "May I come over this evening?"

"Since when do you ask?" Emma grumbles.

"Ohhhh…poor baby…" Regina laughs and leans forward, rubbing the frown from Emma's brow with one thumb. "I'll make it worth your while. I'll even stay the night this time."

"Oh. Ok." That works too well. Emma slumps over her desk and gazes mournfully at Regina's cleavage.

The next afternoon isn't exactly productive. Emma can only interview the neighbors of the suspected arms dealers without any of the interventions she should be able to plan. If she could only use either the satellite technology of Gold's era, she could find those guns.

"Fuck that." Ruby actually shouts at her over the phone. "Leave that Big Brother shit out of our town. I'm not having a threesome with you and Regina if you're going to turn into a fucking fascist…"

Emma hangs up after a few choice words of her own and spends the rest of the day completely out of sorts.

Ruby calls back and apologizes just as Emma's shift ends. "Em…I honestly think that these rumors are just that. Rumors."

"Why though?" Emma sighs. Ruby's apologies often begin with lectures.

"I'm sorry I called you a fascist. Anyway." There is muttering on the line as Ruby talks to someone else in her office. "Anyway. The point is. There aren't any guns. I mean they're probably aren't any guns. Not in Storybrooke. I think Gold wants you to ask him for help. Honestly, that's what I think. If you do, if you ask him for his help, we'll never get away from him. That's what I was trying to say before…"

When Regina comes over later, Emma suspects that her own business has already spilled to the Mayor's 'advisor'. They sit together on the couch and Emma glares suspiciously at her lover.

"What about those family compounds you planted at the edge of town?" Emma asks.

Regina shrugs. "What about them? It's all just an exercise in sustainability. Did you know that the water wars have led to nearly a million dead in Canada? Canada in the midst of a civil war! Who saw that coming? Probably Canadians…I mean they probably saw it coming…" She shakes her head then stands and takes off her jacket.

Emma does and says nothing. She sits with her arms crossed. Regina starts to unbutton her blouse slowly. Then she straddles Emma's knees. "Work was very, very stressful today. Lots of reports of the Sheriff insisting on illegal searches and harassing phone calls all about town…What on earth were you up to exactly?"

"Ummm…my job. Why are you getting naked?"

"Because I've had a stressful day and you're being grumpy." Regina's words remind Emma of a time before they cared about one another—before sex became more than just a part of the job.

But Emma's words are muffled by insistent lips and she takes her cue, lifting Regina up and onto the couch. Whatever is going on is stressing Regina out—it is so familiar that Emma falls into her role easily. Which is reassuring and annoying all at once.

"You know what Regina? This time…this time you'll do as I say…" Emma speaks calmly. Then lays Regina across her lap and caresses her bare ass. She fucks Regina slowly, leisurely, watching her fingers disappear between round cheeks, while Regina complains loudly about the ineptitude of those around her.

"Don't they realize what I do for them? What I sacrifice?" Her hips wriggle back and forth, meeting Emma's fingers in and then out. "And you! Goddammit, Emma, you're supposed to be loyal to me!"

"I am, baby, you know that. I just need answers." Emma doesn't usually call Regina 'baby' at times like these, but times have changed. "I'm on your side…I just need to know that you're on mine…" Her fingers are slick against smooth hot skin. She uses her thumb to stroke Regina's clit. Emma can feel that little spot that gets hard and extra sensitive and she concentrates a steady motion there. Soon Regina is shaking and

"Better?" But before Regina can answer, Emma smacks her on the ass. It isn't hard, but Regina yelps and flips over in her arms.

"You are far too dedicated to your work. It's only been a few days. Do some paperwork, relax a little, stop poking around town." Regina punctuates each word with a kiss.

"So…you're saying…" Emma leans back. "That I'm too dedicated, perhaps even too good…"

"Let's not go that far." Regina chuckles against her ear. Her hands rub Emma's shoulders and her legs spread again.

"Yet you still support me. Even though you have secrets you don't want me to find out. Even though I know that you have secrets. Even though I know that you know…" The finger that mashes against her lips doesn't slow Emma for a second. "You support me no matter what. No matter what is at stake for you?"

"Yes. Now give me another orgasm then make me dinner." The enigmatic smile isn't enough to erase some deep worry in Regina's eyes.

For the first time, Emma wonders just what it is that Regina is doing to herself much less to the rest of the world. She kisses her very gently, worried now about the woman she can't help but love.