CHAPTER 1

The brunette sips her coffee. The hot liquid leaves a trail of nearly scorched flesh as it travels passed her vibrantly red lips, over her tongue and down into her empty stomach. Brown eyes are wide and distant, staring out the frost covered window, but not seeing the kids playing on the snow-covered sidewalk. She is lost in her thoughts. She brings the white coffee cup up to her lips again and takes another small sip. It is as much heat as the sensitive flesh around her mouth will tolerate, and she sets the cup down on its tiny plate. It is a soundless moment. She feels far away. Thinking. Thinking of nothing. Of everything. Of her.

"Mom!" The boy exclaims in frustration. "Are you listening to me?" he asks, feeling completely irritated with the woman in front of him.

"Yes," the brunette manages to say. Her voice is little more than a whisper. Her ears are suddenly overwhelmed by the bevy of sound that has been forced upon her. Townsfolk droning on in their meaningless conversations. Cups clanging and silverware scraping porcelain. It feels like the production of Stomp that blew through the previous summer has returned for an encore performance. She shakes her head trying to clear it, to will herself back to the here and now.

"What time is it?" She says, suddenly aware of the increased hustle and bustle in the diner around her. She glances at her watch. "Oh my! Grab your things, Henry, we are going to be late." She pulls out enough cash from her purse to cover the bill and leave a generous tip. She hadn't noticed that the boy was already wearing his coat, gloves and scarf, or that his backpack is firmly strapped to his back, or that he had been standing next to her, trying to get her attention, for over a minute.

The boy rolls his eyes. That's what I said, he thinks to himself, utterly frustrated. His mother has not only failed to listen to him about the time, but she has also yet to answer his question about the field trip to the museum. He digs for the permission slip in his coat pocket, and pushes it at her.

"So can I go then?" he asks, cheekily. Had the woman been paying attention, she would have reprimanded him immediately, and would most definitely not have rewarded him by letting him attend the trip. But she isn't paying attention.

A few moments pass before the woman even registers the paper in her hand. She hasn't been able to fully drag herself out of her thoughts and back to earth. She is trying, but even as she glances down and signs the blue slip that her son has given her, she can't make herself totally focus on it or the environment around her. These spells of inattentiveness - of not really feeling present - are increasing in duration and frequency. She absently makes a note about it somewhere in the back of her mind.

"Thanks," he says, begrudgingly taking the paper and cramming it in his pocket, feeling like he finally understands what the phrase "pulling teeth" means. Regina leads them both to the front of the diner where she slides her brown and tan houndstooth knee-length coat from the coat rack and pulls it on.

"Bye, Madam Mayor! Bye, Henry!" The pair turns in unison to acknowledge the woman behind the voice.

"Bye, Ruby!" Henry calls with an easy smile, waving enthusiastically. This is the moment that finally brings Regina back to reality, and her inner politician kicks in. She turns to the other woman with her famous megawatt smile.

"Good day, Miss Lucas. Please tell your grandmother that breakfast was delicious," she says with a tiny nod. Ruby glances to the table, taking note of the fact that the mayor's eggs and toast lay on her plate, mostly untouched. Only the wheat toast had been altered in any way because Henry had accidentally mistaken it for his own. Regina hadn't even been aware enough to scold him when he'd spat it back out onto his plate, a disgusted look upon his face.

"Will do!" Ruby shouts from her spot behind the counter, giving them a genuinely warm smile.

Regina turns her attention back towards the entrance, layering her thick brown scarf around her neck, just as the little golden bell over the door to Granny's Diner chimes. Without warning, an incredible force slams against her.

"What on earth!" Regina yells as she is sent sprawling onto the faded and outdated linoleum, landing in a very undignified position. She feels hands fly over her chest, then fly off just as quickly, but the sensation of their presence lingers on her skin. The brunette struggles to understand what has happened. One moment she was standing and the next it felt like she was flattened by a charging bull on the streets of Pamplona. Once her eyes focus, she sees a mess of blonde hair tucked under a dark grey knit ski cap laying half over her. Of course, Regina thinks to herself, almost laughing at the irony but not quite, of course this must be happening to me.

"I'm so sorry, Mayor," the blonde says, scrambling off of the brunette and attempting to stand. But her boots, wet from the snow, slip out from under her. Her knee lands on Regina's inner thigh, almost impaling her crotch. Regina responds with a howl of pain.

"Get off of me!" Regina yells through gritted teeth and throws the blonde off her with a hard shove. Regina then takes the hand of an older gentleman who has come to her aid and slowly rises to her feet. Everyone else in the diner seems paralyzed, content to enjoy the show. Regina's adrenaline is raging and she feels her heart pumping in her ears.

"I'm sorry." The blonde tries to explain. "There must of have been a patch of black ice or something. Maybe from the kids playing. I was just . . . sort of catapulted in here." Emma's face is bright red as she tries to regain her bearings and get on her feet.

"Babe, are you alright?" Ruby rushes to Emma's side and helps her up. Her big brown eyes are wide with worry. "Are you hurt?" She asks, giving Emma a once over, seeking signs of serious damage. There had been a very audible crack! when the pair had made landfall.

"I'm fine," Emma says with a sideways smile and smoothes down her pants and coat. The blonde grips Ruby's hand on her forearm before stepping forward to where Regina is still composing herself. The mayor's expression is deadly as she snaps her head up from adjusting the belt above her horribly wrinkled trousers.

"Please, Miss Swan," Regina says in her usual frigid tone, holding up a hand to keep the blonde at bay. "I would need full body armor to survive another collision."

"Mom, she didn't do it on purpose." Henry interrupts, giving Emma a lopsided smile. The blonde ruffles his hair to convey her gratitude. He smiles and forgets all about being late for school.

"Mayor, I really am sorry. I don't know how it happened." The blonde is losing her patience with the mayor's penchant for exaggeration and the dramatic. She tries to reach out and touch Regina's arm to show that she is being sincere, but the mayor jumps back as if contact with Emma would burn her. Emma rolls her eyes in response. God, she always has to be such a fucking bitch. Emma decides the mayor will not get another apology out of her. It's not like I planned this whole thing to embarrass her. I fell too, you know! Emma is screaming in her mind and outwardly scowling, but she doesn't say anything more out loud. She doesn't want an argument with the mayor. After all, it's too early to ruin her entire day.

"That is quite alright, Miss Swan." Regina is visibly uncomfortable as she ties her coat around her body, but only Emma notices that the woman's hands are shaking. "I suppose when one has as much grace as an elephant on ice skates, these things happen." Regina gives the blonde a composed Mayor Mills smile, dripping with insincerity, and regains her air of superiority before regarding the blonde's not-so-secret girlfriend. "Miss Lucas, I suggest you salt your sidewalk more thoroughly. I wouldn't want you getting sued should someone else suffer the same misfortune that has befallen the sheriff." Regina's tone is entirely condescending. Emma rolls her eyes again and tightens her jaw, perpetually annoyed with the mayor and her constant snide remarks. The blonde lets the comment stand as Regina grips their son's shoulder and directs him rather roughly out the door.

"Are you sure you're alright?" Ruby asks again as soon as Regina and Henry have left the diner.

"Yeah," Emma says shakily, pulling off her winter hat and coat. The embarrassment of the moment along with her hatred for Regina has caused her skin to flush. The blonde is now sweating profusely under her layers of clothing. Ruby takes her girlfriend's outerwear and hangs them on the coat tree where the mayor removed her things before returning to Emma's side. Slowly she leads the blonde to the counter.

"That was pretty funny," Ruby admits after a few minutes. "You should have seen her face!" The brunette starts to chuckle before placing a hand over her own mouth trying to stifle it. "I've never seen her so . . . thrown off kilter . . . literally!" Ruby grins broadly, her shoulder betraying the laughter she wants to release.

Emma can't help but giggle too, despite her lingering exasperation. She is trying to shake off the event, but there is something bothering her about the exchange. Something lurking beneath the surface. Something that makes her stop laughing. A pit growing in her stomach.

"What's wrong?" Ruby asks, regaining her composure enough to notice Emma's forlorn expression. Emma shakes her head, suddenly wishing she could to dig a hole right there and hide in it forever. "What is it?" Ruby repeats, wondering if her girlfriend has indeed been injured.

"I think. . ." Emma starts, but snaps her mouth shut before she can finish. This is too mortifying, she thinks. She feels her eyebrows crunch together, creating wrinkles in the center of her forehead.

"Emma, c'mon! What?!" Ruby starts to feel frightened. All traces of mirth have been erased from her girl's usually sweet face.

"I think. . ." Emma hesitates again. "I think I grabbed the mayor's boobs!" She admits in a whisper, her face flushing bright red. "No," the blonde shakes her head, "I know I grabbed the mayor's boobs. Both of them." Emma turns redder still and Ruby remains quiet for a moment before bursting out into an uncontrollable fit of laughter. In fact, it takes all the brunette's willpower to remember to breathe and not keel over and die laughing. Tears streak Ruby's face as she doubles over, grabbing her stomach.

"Yes. It's very funny, Ruby. Thanks for understanding," Emma says totally miserable.

"Oh come on, you have to admit that's like the funniest thing that could happen. You two hate each other so much, it's almost irrational. You both visibly seethe when you are forced to speak, and yet– you felt her up!" Ruby tumbles into another hysterical episode. Emma is not amused. She looks around the diner noting that some folks have started looking in their direction.

"What am I going to do?" The blonde speaks again as Ruby settles down.

"About what?" Ruby asks, still fighting a smile as she begins collecting plates from the counter. Emma narrows her eyes and looks at her expectantly, not wanting to say it again. "Oh. Well, really, babe, what can you do?" Ruby says, trying to be more serious as she realizes Emma is really upset. "She probably didn't even notice," Ruby adds, now actually trying to comfort the blonde.

"There was no not noticing it," Emma says, now growing irritated that Ruby is still trying to stifle more laughter. "Just forget it," Emma grumbles, and gets up to leave.

"No, Em wait, I'm sorry." Ruby says softly, reaching for the blonde. Emma stops walking until Ruby laces her arm through hers, and they walk to the coat rack together.

"It's ok. I have to go to work anyway." Emma forces a smile with one edge of her lips as she slips on her coat. She would give Ruby a peck on the lips to show her she isn't angry, but too many people are staring.

"Listen, if you're really that upset why don't you just go apologize for the grabby hands? Don't you have that meeting with her this afternoon anyway?" Ruby offers sweetly. Emma feels the blood drain from her face. She had forgotten about that damn monthly status meeting. The sheriff can only manage a shrug. Maybe she will talk to her. Or maybe she'll come up with an excuse to bail and avoid Regina till she dies. At the moment, it feels like a toss up.


"Sheriff Swan, I was trying to reach you." The young woman stands up behind her desk as Emma closes the glass door to the mayoral office. The sheriff smiles at her, Regina's stunning twenty-four-year-old blonde assistant. Emma had made a snarky comment to the mayor about her once. She'd wondered aloud, and rather rudely if she was honest with herself, why Regina had hired a gorgeous, recent college grad with zero experience. She'd then compared it to something a douche bag middle-aged dude would do. Regina, of course, had provided a detailed account of the girl's assets and had shared her philosophy about "molding her" to be exactly what she needed. No bad habits to break, she'd said. Well, as the girl's top two shirt buttons currently strained against her considerable assets, Emma thought it must be nice to break in someone like her.

"I called," the girl spoke again, jarring Emma's mind out of the gutter. "Because Mayor Mills is not available this afternoon and regrettably she must reschedule your meeting." The girl smiles again, obviously lying through her teeth, but trying to maintain an air of innocence.

"Is that so," Emma says wryly. The sheriff silently chastised herself since she would have known that Regina canceled, had she not been dodging her calls all day.

"We can reschedule now, if you like?" the girl says, taking her seat behind the desk and opening the mayor's calendar.

"That's ok, Melanie. We don't need to do that." Emma says sweetly, just before making a dash for the door to Regina's private office. Melanie had no chance to catch up, what with her high heels and all, before Emma barges through the door.

"Sheriff Swan! What is the meaning of this?" Regina shoots straight up from her chair at the intrusion.

"I'm sorry. Madam Mayor, she got passed me!" Melanie appears behind the sheriff looking thoroughly apologetic.

"That's ok. Melanie, it isn't your fault this brute forced her way into my office. Please close the door, and I will handle it from here." Regina's voice is surprisingly gentle and patient. It was almost sweet. Emma scrunches her eyebrows in slight confusion and looks back at the girl, who is now blushing and hiding a little smile. The sheriff expected the mayor would have had the girl's head, and yet finds the mayor's tone extremely compassionate. Emma looks back to Regina just in time to watch her watching Melanie's ass as she walks away. The mayor has no idea she's been caught, and within moments her notorious scowl is firmly back in place.

"Assets, huh?" Emma asks, putting it all together.

"What?" Regina asks in a confused and exasperated tone.

"Nothing." Emma laughs and clears her throat, filing away the incident for later, currently prepared to do what she came here for. She'd like to go back to hating the mayor without the guilt of having accidentally groped her as soon as possible. "So um, I'm sorry about earlier." Emma's eyes jump awkwardly around the room. She really hates doing this. Especially with this awful woman. Hates giving the mayor anymore reason to think herself more superior than the rest of them.

"Yes. I believe you said that already." Regina's tone is as dry as it usually is when addressing Emma. From the outside she seems her usual unshakable self. On the inside, however, she has been left feeling more than a little rattled.

"I mean, uh, I'm sorry for all of it. . . It's not like I could see where I was landing, and I didn't mean to. . . you know. . . land on you." Emma's hands were starting to sweat, and she rubs them on her jeans without thinking. She was second guessing Ruby's brilliant idea. She should have just let this be and it would have disappeared on its own. The mayor didn't seem too bothered by it anyway. Too late now, Emma thinks to herself.

"What are you yammering about, Sheriff?" Regina leans over her desk, both hands flat on the tabletop. She isn't planning on taking a seat. This conversation would be over soon. Regina didn't want to see Emma today. Maybe not for at least another month. Not until she could stop playing the incident over and over in her mind. The mayor could still feel the pressure of Emma's hands on her, and now she sensed the blonde was going to make it worse by talking about it. Regina shifts her weight uncomfortably as her eyes dart almost imperceptivity down to Emma's chest for an instant before returning to her face. Almost.

Emma has always observed the tiniest details. The minute changes in behavior and body language most people couldn't detect, she caught them every time. The quick motion of Regina's eyes tells her everything she needs to know. But Emma wants to prove her theory. The blonde tries to think of something fast, and what comes to her isn't very original but it will do the trick.

"It's kind of hot in here, Madam Mayor," Emma says, peeling off her winter coat and scarf. She is glad that her hat and gloves are already conveniently stashed in her pocket.

"So take your leave, Miss Swan. It's nice and cool outside." Regina motions to the large picture window behind her desk and even turns to it for added effect. The trees and bushes lining the parking lot are covered in a thick blanket of snow, and Regina pauses for a moment to take it in, feeling slightly entranced by how everything shimmers. When she turns back to face the troublesome sheriff, however, her breath hitches just slightly.

"Maybe it's better if I just remove these pesky layers," Emma says with a strange expression Regina can't read. Emma isn't really the type to flirt. Not like this anyway. But for this little charade, she is channeling her best Jessica Rabbit. Judging from the assistant, Emma suspects Regina has a thing for the sexy femme fatale.

"Sheriff Swan, I do not know how else to say that I do not have time for this. I know that some concepts can be rather difficult to grasp, so I will put it as simply as I can. Do try to follow along: Get. Out." Regina keeps her tone frosty and harsh, but is suddenly feeling her heart beating in her throat. Emma has discarded her coat in two seconds flat and is wearing a very tight long-sleeved t-shirt. The sheer material clings to her body in the most flattering way. Regina can't stop her eyes from glancing down at Emma, who has taken the liberty of sitting down on the chair in front of her desk despite Regina's efforts to get her to leave. The plunging V-Neck exposes the blonde's cleavage and the thin material reveals her black bra.

Emma stifles a victorious smile as she waits and watches Regina who can't stop glancing at her little display, her brown eyes widening just slightly. Emma plays it cool and crosses her legs. She watches the emotions play on the darker woman's face. She can tell that Regina is struggling to keep her regular mayoral persona intact: detached, and arrogant, with a hint of irritation. The blonde feels pleased with herself and her little game, and decides to push it just a little more.

"Maybe I should turn down this fireplace?" Emma stands, her eyes rising to meet Regina's which are now exuding so much heat Emma feels like her clothes are being burned from her skin. The mayor stands motionless. She is afraid to speak, less her voice betray her thoughts. Instead, the brunette is trying to remain calm, even as her pulse races wildly at the sight of the blonde's athletic form and her flirtatious demeanor. Is she flirting with me? The mayor starts to ask herself, but her thoughts are choked off by the sight of Emma's body in jeans so tight Regina is sure she can't breathe in them. Emma turns, giving her back to the mayor and walks slowly until she stops at the hearth, where the firewood is burning hot. The blonde grabs an iron poker, and leans forward far more than is necessary, or possibly even safe, to spread out the fiery logs. Regina can't drag her eyes away from Emma bent over in front of her, the blonde's tight perfect ass in the air and on display. The mayor is actually beginning to sweat. She has no idea what has gotten into Emma. Maybe she hit her head really hard, Regina says to herself. Her eyes are both unwilling and unable to tear themselves away and her mind imagines what she would love to do to the blonde in that position. Regina finally shakes herself. What I am thinking! No more of this nonsense.

"Alright, Sheriff Swan. That's enough. I am too busy for your foolishness. Just because you want to waste time playing around all day, doesn't mean I have that luxury. Some of us actually have jobs that require our attention." Regina picks up Emma's discarded cold weather apparel and shoves it into her arms. Before the blonde can protest, she feels herself being shoved unceremoniously out the door.

The door closes with a hard slam behind the sheriff. Melanie stands to see Emma out, knowing that her boss is going to be very upset for the rest of the day. Emma can't help but smile at the girl as she pulls her coat back on and waves goodbye. She wonders momentarily whether the mayor is actually hitting that, and smiles again. No. She knows Regina's type. She has probably never had the nerve to date a woman, or even kiss one. Emma guesses that Regina is a stereotypical closeted politician. That's probably why she is always wound up so damn tight, all that pent up sexual frustration. Emma laughs to herself again. It's probably enough to drive a woman insane. Emma considers what the mayor would do if she had the opportunity to actually release some of those buried feelings.

Emma chuckles again as she crosses the parking lot to her car, knowing that Regina is watching her from the window. She can almost feel those gorgeous brown eyes boring into her back, and probably lower. As she walks, the blonde ticks off the list of things she has just learned about Regina: 1. The mayor is totally into women. 2. She probably hates herself for number one... and 3. Regina Mills totally wants to bang her.

As she drives to the station, Emma can't help but imagine all the ways she is going to use this newfound information to drive Regina insane. This is going to be her payback for all the times the mayor has made her life miserable in the months since she first came to Storybrooke.

This, Emma thinks to herself with a wicked grin, is going to be fun. . .


A/N: Thank you for reading! This is going to be very different than "Tempest," and it might get a little dark as it progresses. There will, however, be a plethora of sexytimes. ;)

Thank you RileyGirl1 for being my phenomenal beta on this. :)

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