Disclaimer in Chapter One
AN: I know this was a unusually long wait, but I hope this chapter makes up for it. Thank you to x0utsid3r who kindly offered a suggestion for a scene, and of course Korderoo who was the first to plant the idea to extend this oneshot. To everyone who has reviewed, favourited and subscribed to the story, you are honestly thee best people in the entire world. The response to this has been phenomenal, and it is all thanks to you :)
Snow, Charming, Emma and the Blue Fairy sat at a long table at the head of Town Hall's conference room. Nearly all of the town was stuffed into the room as the royal family stared down the Evil Queen standing before them now awaiting her fate.
"Regina," Charming's voice boomed, the chatter of the crowd dying down instantaneously. "The crimes you have committed in the Enchanted Forest and in Storybrooke cannot be excused."
There were murmurs of agreement among the crowd.
"Granted, aiding us in capturing Rumplestiltskin, stripping him of his magic and putting yourself at risk is something we also can't ignore."
"Banishment." Snow spoke gently as if she were doing the brunette a favour. "You are to never return to Storybrooke again."
Regina's lips parted. She expected as much but the reality of the situation was creeping up into her brain making her blood turn cold.
"All those in favour?" Snow raised her hand, almost immediately followed by Charming and Blue. The three figures at the table stared at Emma who eyed the brunette slowly before raising her hand herself.
Emma looked up at Regina sheepishly. "Banishing you."
The brunette rolled a noncommittal shoulder. "Nothing to be done."
"It happened, Emma," Regina said softly yet firmly. "I'm the Evil Queen. You're the Saviour. Plus I still hated you."
"I'm starting to re-evaluate my definition of evil," the blonde smirked as she leaned back on her hands, hissing and pulling back when she applied pressure to her severely raw palms.
"Does it hurt?" The brunette whispered, eyeing Emma with her forehead in bandages, her cheeks and nose scraped, and that was just her face alone. Regina knew if Emma took off her jacket she'd find cuts and bruises all over the blonde's abdomen.
The blonde merely shook her head. "Not really."
"Don't lie to me."
"I've felt worse," Emma admitted. "These'll heal."
Brown eyes watered at the memory of Emma recklessly throwing herself against the border before shaking her head to clear her mind. "If your mother finds you here-"
"What can she do that's worse than this?"
They remained silent, the clouds above them swirling menacingly. Regina looked up, narrowing her eyes at the dark clouds before feeling a rain drop on her nose. She wiped at it before looking back down to Emma who was watching her every move.
A sudden downpour fell upon them almost instantly soaking them in the rather lukewarm water. Regina shrieked and scurried to stand, using her blanket as protection as she made her way to a thick group of trees that provided shade.
The blonde just smirked and laid back down on the road, letting the water wash away her scrapes. She laughed feeling the thick droplets of water attack her face, soaking through her tank top.
"You're going to get sick," Regina called out over the rain.
"Get sick with me."
The brunette glared at Emma's request, but when she saw the Sheriff had no intention of moving, she huffed and dropped the blanket, stomping over to the side of the line and dropping herself down.
Emma turned her head to the side, her blonde hair soaked in ringlets and sticking to the bandages on her forehead to laugh at the brunette who had a hard time sitting still, obviously fighting the urge to take shelter. She held her hand up slowly, a few fingertips touching the boundary line as if to tuck errant strands of wet brown hair away from Regina's eyes.
The brunette caught the motion, her eyes shining with a watery smile as the storm persisted.
"One Caramel Apple Spice Cider." The barista handed Regina her drink watching carefully as the woman sighed seeing his number on coffee cup sleeve again.
She took it, licking the top of the whipped cream before inspecting the time to see it was still quite early to leave and decided to settle in the corner and read.
The after-work rush was dying down just as the brunette looked to be finishing her drink. Now was his chance. Under the ruse of sweeping the area, he lingered by her and caught her gaze with a dimpled smile.
"I noticed you come around here a lot," he said then extended his hand. "Jason."
The brunette eyed his proffered hand for an unnecessarily long time, letting the young man flounder before finally shaking it briefly.
She lifted her cup to her lips, pointing at her name which he had clearly written on the side. "That would be correct."
He laughed taking the seat across from her. She had to bite her cheek not to reprimand him for being so forward.
"I know doing that is the least romantic way of asking a woman out," he gestured to his number of the sleeve, "but I was wondering if you'd like to do something Friday night."
His hand came over her arm, heavy and warm, something she could feel. She inhaled sharply looking at it. She couldn't remember the last time she had any physical contact with anyone. Her brow furrowed at the thought. The last time had been three years ago as she hugged Henry goodbye. Had it really been that long?
Every touch shared with Emma always held that thin barrier of magic between them. Whether the warmth was from the blonde or from the border reacting to their presence, Regina almost couldn't tell, but this, his hand on her forearm, this she could feel.
But it wasn't the same. Not even close.
He ducked his head in closer, his dimples showing as he smiled encouragingly. "What do you say?"
In any other circumstance, Regina would have most likely bedded him by now, but as it was, things were different now. She was different.
She retracted her arm forcibly and gathered her book. "No."
She stood and made quick work of disposing her cup before donning her coat.
He turned in his seat confused as she brushed past her table ready to leave. "Do you have a boyfriend or something?"
There was a hint of a smile on the brunette's face as she pushed the door open. "I have a girlfriend."
Emma hated everyone. Everyone in the town. Everyone except Henry. And Regina? Well, she wasn't in the town, was she?
It was Storybrooke's Liberation Day, the town's official holiday where they commemorated being free from all the wicked this world had befallen them.
Emma snorted. It was just a cruel reminder that today marked the day they enacted the spell keeping her trapped in this god forsaken town. It was another reminder that this day three years ago, she watched the tail lights of Regina's Mercedes drive away from the town. Today sucked and so did everyone else for thinking that was a good idea.
Leaning against her patrol car watching all the sickly happy citizens with their sparklers congratulating her parents on a job well done, of another year of peace and prosperity, Emma groaned aggravated and pushed off the car in search of Leroy to confiscate the six-pack she was sure he would have on him.
Finding him wasn't difficult. He tended to keep the dwarves close to the nun's booth where they sold their candles so he could sneak glances at Astrid. More than once did the blonde just want to grab the custodian and the sister and shove them together. They were able to do so after all.
With a simple threat that Astrid wouldn't approve of his disorderly conduct should he not hand over his stash, Emma stalked off, a case of five beers in one hand and already downing her first on her way back to the cruiser.
The Sheriff sat on the hood of her cruiser with three empty bottles sitting on the bumper by her feet, a fourth bottle held in between her fingers as she nursed the cold brew between her lips.
The fireworks behind her were annoying. The laughter from Town Square that seemed to resonate all the way out to the town line was aggravating. This orange line painted on the ground that seemed to hold the most power in her life was stupid.
She wiped her mouth on her sleeve as she slid off the car and walked to the edge of the line. Holding up her palm, she called forth her magic. Work, damn it.
She felt it. The familiar pure energy coursing through her bones. There it is. Directing the energy outward towards her palm, a flash of white light expelled from her, hitting the barrier then spreading out in opposite directions of the line, resisted by the border.
"Dammit!" She cried out to the sky tugging on her hair in frustration as she stalked a few steps away. She turned angrily as if she had a tangible opponent. "Why won't you work?!"
She threw her bottle at the line, turning suddenly to shield her face when the bottle exploded upon contact, beer and glass raining down at the edge of the line. Emma cautioned her head up, eyes watering as she took in the fact that the other side of the line was free of debris.
She shook her head in disbelief as she marched back to the line, whispering to herself. "Are you fucking serious?"
The bottles on the bumper were picked up along the way as one by one, the blonde threw them at the line, ducking her head when the glass shattered around her feet. She almost didn't process the Benz that drove up as she threw her last bottle.
Regina rushed out of her car, not bothering to close the door as Emma yelled out to the sky, kicking her bumper until it was askew.
"Emma," the brunette tried to calm her. She noted the broken glass on her side of the town and could smell the beer that perforated the air but said nothing. Following Emma's pacing, Regina tried again. "Emma, look at me."
Finally, she did.
"You're okay," Regina comforted.
The blonde snorted and kicked at the tiny shards on the ground, growling when some would bounce off the imaginary field and back to her. "I'm not okay, Regina. Far from it."
"Come," the brunette offered her hand as if Emma could take it. "Let's go for a walk."
"I don't wanna," the blonde mumbled childishly.
"Suit yourself." Regina began walking towards the forest, the fireworks creating a soft colourful dim to the thickets of trees lighting up her way. She was relieved to hear the rustling behind her and the heavy foot falls and mumbled curse words as Emma followed behind her, catching up to her pace in a few strides.
They didn't talk until they had reached a clearing, one that displayed the small town in the distance on Emma's side, the town that was alive with chatter, fireworks filling the sky. Emma had discovered it months ago and was eager to show Regina. It was the closest the brunette had ever gotten to seeing the town again.
"Happy Liberation Day," Regina said dryly, taking a spot upon a rock near the border.
"Don't," Emma held up a hand. "Worst holiday ever."
"You don't get the day off, Sheriff?" The brunette quipped.
Emma glared at her light-heartedness before directing her gaze to the town. "I don't get how they can be so happy."
"I do," Regina whispered staring up at the red and purple fireworks.
The blonde sat down hard beside Regina, both looking down upon the town.
"It's why they were so happy in the Enchanted Forest," the brunette explained. "If you had everything you needed in your life, everyone, you would be happy too."
She avoided Emma's gaze as the blonde turned her head to study the older woman's words. They sunk into Emma, went in through her ears and traveled through all the proper canals, leaving its imprint on the walls it passed, not to register in her brain, but in her heart.
She exhaled, calming her frustrations from the woman's words before whispering regretfully. "I don't know how to break it."
Regina turned her head as the blonde continued. "I've been looking up spells and Blue says it's impossible, but that's a load of crap coming from her, and I've gotten stronger I can feel it, but-"
"You don't have to break it."
Emma's eyes widened, her mind automatically going to the worst case scenario. Regina wasn't coming back.
The brunette gave a watery smile to assuage the blonde's feelings. "We'll make do."
"What?" She couldn't deny that feeling of relief that flooded through her.
Regina just shrugged turning back towards the fireworks, the hint of a playful smile on her lips.
"So we're just gonna get two houses on either side of the line?" Emma asked with a smirk.
"It'll stop any awkward attempts you'll make in asking me to move in with you," the brunette replied not missing a beat.
"I could get creative."
"Like Chez Forêt?"
"You enjoyed that," Emma said pointedly.
"Here I was attributing it to my company."
Regina's face was stoic when she said that, making Emma glance up to look at her just to make sure she heard right. She smiled to herself letting the laughter of the town fill her ears when the fireworks died down. Both their hands were as close to the imaginary division as possible, their pinkies twitching to link with its lost partner on the other side.
She didn't have much, Emma always knew that growing up. She was never the richest kid, the smartest or the prettiest, but here was Regina, a person she would have avoided all of her life simply because she grew up on the other side of the tracks telling her that her mere presence was enough. Yeah, Emma decided accepting her fate, she had everyone she needed in her life.
"Do you know what today is?"
"The 23rd," Regina replied having not looked up from her sketch book. She found herself absent-mindedly doodling while sitting in the cafe and found herself sketching a small cabin in the woods.
"Probably, but that's not what I meant."
"What did you mean then?"
"I think it's been over a year," Emma explained lying down on her back.
"That first night."
Regina finally looked up, flipping through her mind's filing cabinet of dates to find herself surprised that the blonde was right. "It's been nearly two years."
Emma laughed to herself. "I suck at anniversary dates." She turned to wiggle her eyebrows at the brunette. "I'll make it up to you."
"Oh?" Regina smirked lowering her voice an octave enough to make the younger woman gulp and be thankful there was a barrier separating them. "What did you have in mind?"
The blonde shook off her moment of lust only to sit up and rest her arms on her knees. "Well, first, I'd take you out to the best restaurant money could buy, all on me, dancing in the moonlight, long walk on the beach, all that fun stuff."
The brunette snorted but allowed Emma to continue. "Then we'd go home, probably in some tent in the woods-"
"A lodge," Regina clarified.
"A lodge in the woods, petals lying everywhere, candles, the whole nine yards."
"Mmhmm," the brunette grinned amused at her imagination.
"And we could just fall asleep on the couch." Emma's gaze was far off, distant, imagining all she had described before whispering a final word. "Together."
Regina looked down at her drawing, shutting her eyes from the moisture that clouded it when the cabin in the woods began to blur.
"Happy anniversary," Emma whispered, rearing up on her knees and pressing her palm to the line.
The brunette chuckled sadly. "You already missed our first one."
"I'll sleep on the couch."
Regina inched closer to the line, pressing her palm against Emma's. It was as if the barrier wasn't even there. Her breath hitched. "You're getting stronger."
Emma nodded, her eyes roving frantically at the internal conflict currently waging war inside her skull.
"Come closer?" Emma whispered, her eyes finally settling on Regina's for understanding.
Without question the brunette inched forward, her head right up against the barrier, magic crackling haphazardly near her face at a low frequency, warning her to back away.
"Careful," Emma spoke hastily when Regina moved a little too fast for her liking. "Do not move, okay?"
Brown eyes flashed with confirmation as Regina remained perfectly still. Emma raised her palm near Regina's face, shutting her eyes and summoning her magic to the surface. She felt it seep out, a thin layer of white floating in space against the borderline. Her heart thudded in anticipation. She had to try one more time. Just one more time, and she'd accept that she would never get to wrap her arms around Regina's neck or pull her against her in their sleep.
Just one more time.
Emma leaned her head in forward feeling Regina's short breaths puff out erratically against her cheek.
"Come a little closer," Emma instructed cautiously, telling her to stop when Regina moved just the barest centimeter forward.
Their noses were all but touching and by now Regina's eyes had closed, bracing herself for the impact.
"I'm sorry if this hurts," Emma whispered, and she could have sworn she felt Regina's lips against her tongue as she spoke.
"Emma," Regina breathed out. "Shut up."
The blonde closed the gap, her heart beating wildly in her ears as she shut her eyes waiting for the magic to yank them apart.
It didn't come.
Instead, she felt warm, moist lips against hers, pressed firmly, fitting so perfectly.
The reality was so shocking both women snapped their eyes open just to see for themselves that this was actually happening, that they were actually kissing.
Satisfied with their discovery and not willing to cut the moment short with one wrong overeager move, their eyes drifted shut again, reveling in feeling the other's lips for the first time.
The moment was short lived when the border's magic seemed to fire up, causing the two to break up prematurely.
Regina pressed her fingers to her lips, amazed at what had just occurred. She had kissed Emma.
The blonde was equally dumbstruck, staring at the palm that provided momentary protection against the barrier and grinning wildly to herself. Finally.
Just like magnets, Regina looked up just in time to catch Emma's hopeful gaze. With purposeful strides, they walked back to the town line, inching closer together, wanting more.
Before their lips could connect again, a burst of magic shot outward, separating the two women and knocking them on their backs.
Emma's mouth was wide open, looking around her confused. "No, I- I thought it worked."
Regina was the first to stand, wiping off her palms and the gravel that clung to her jeans. Her heart sank as soon as her back made contact with the road. For a moment there, she thought their kiss had been enough. She thought it would be able to resurface her inner magic and break that damn barrier. She hugged herself for feeling so naïve.
"It's fine, Emma," her voice was hoarse, a mixture of lost hope and reassurance. "It did work."
"Regina," Emma finally stood and ran to the line, feeling the barrier still in place.
"It's getting late." She couldn't deny the croak in the brunette's voice before she turned and offered a watery smile. "I'll see you tomorrow."
Emma was still in shock by the time Regina had driven off. This was crap, that was supposed to work. She had kissed her, she knew she had, she felt those lips against hers. The lips that offered so much promise, the ones who said she didn't care about the barrier, would keep returning to her every day.
She was so close, so close to Regina, and then it was gone, just like that.
She took a deep breath, pacing the line with her hands on her head. She got a taste of the woman she'd come to respect, care for and love. Admitting her feelings wasn't even the hard part. It was the separation, the need to be there for her and keep her safe. But they couldn't have that. Some unknown force deemed them incapable of being with each other.
No, it didn't keep them separated, Emma told herself. She'd live in the forest if she had to, hell, she was basically doing so anyway.
As Emma got into her patrol car and drove away, a small little firefly attempted to fly past over the line. Its first attempt was met with resistance, a warning buzz of magic, but it managed to find a slowly growing hole over five feet off the ground where lips had met in True Love's kiss.
Regina and Emma lay side by side, their feet pointing opposite directions but their heads right next to each other. They had discussed what had occurred the previous night and agreed that they were grateful for small miracles. Neither offered to try again. If it worked for a moment only for them to be whipped back again, the knowledge that they had been be so close and the reality that they had wasted so much time fighting when they were actually living in the same town hurt far too much.
"You know what's funny?"
"You punched me."
The brunette lifted her head to stare incredulously at the blonde. "That's funny?"
Emma laughed. "I got so under your skin you actually had to hit me."
"And you're proud of that?"
The blonde turned her head to meet brown amused eyes. "I was the first person to make you feel something."
"Anger." She tilted her head pointedly.
"What you call anger I call misplaced lust."
Regina laughed out loud.
"I was, wasn't I?" The blonde pressed.
"The first person to make you feel," Emma clarified then rushed to add. "Aside from Henry."
Regina smiled softly, her eyes shining with mirth. "Yes."
Emma grinned smugly. "Knew it."
The brunette shook her head at the Sheriff's cockiness. "So your feelings were strictly anger?"
Emma smirked, willing a thin protective barrier of light magic to come out from her fingertips against the middle ground. "You made me stay."
Regina met it, cleverly hiding her blush behind a well-timed cough.
"Perhaps this was our blessing in disguise," the brunette spoke softly.
"An invisible electrical fence?" Emma asked incredulously.
Regina shook her head. "Being too curious on what's on the other side."
The blonde looked confused, not quite understanding the brunette's meaning.
Regina smirked. "Really, Emma. 'The grass is always greener on the other side'?"
"Oh," Emma's eyes brightened, finally taking in the expression.
"Well done, dear," the brunette teased.
"We might have still talked," Emma said hopefully. She held up her hands defensively when Regina gave her a questioning look. "Maybe after we put each other in the hospital."
Regina chuckled softly making Emma pause to appreciate the sound before whispering. "Thank god for this line then."
Emma and Henry sat on the hood of the cruiser, laying back under the stars. The blonde was more than a little down ever since Regina had phone earlier, the brunette's tone aggravated in its own right, to let Emma know Regina's car was in the shop. The fact that the Benz had handled the four-hour drive for the past two years was impressive enough as it is, but there was disappointment in both women's voice.
Instead of sulking at home, Emma had opted to sulk at the border, Henry tagging along when she made too much noise.
"So when can I learn how to drive?"
The blonde laughed. "Your mom would kill me."
"She wouldn't have to know."
"She knows everything," Emma reminded him. "I'll teach you when your voice doesn't crack."
Henry glared reminding the blonde of a certain brown-eyed beauty she was missing at the moment.
Emma grinned leaning back on her elbows before turning solemn. "How do you do it?"
She nudged him at his answer. "Don't you miss your mom?"
"Yeah," he said obviously.
"It doesn't bother you that you can't hug her or something?"
"Not like it bothers you."
Emma's eyes flashed to her son's who held his hands up in defense.
"I'm not blind, Emma." He smirked at his mother's blush. "Plus, I heard grandma ranting to gramps. And you came home all beaten up, and I know you didn't get into it with Leroy, and Paige told me what you did to her dad."
"It wasn't that obvious," she pushed at his shoulder.
"Nice necklace." He teased, throwing a stone he was toying with across the border, watching it bounce on the other side of the line.
Emma's hand immediately shot up to her neck where Regina's necklace lay just above the valley of her breasts. "You don't mind?"
He slid off the hood moving back to the passenger seat. "If I did would I cover for you whenever grandma calls checking in?"
"She does that?" Emma asked appalled, sliding off herself and buckling into the driver's seat.
"She might ground you," the boy teased as his mother reversed and began driving back into town.
It wasn't until much later, well after Emma and Henry had gone to bed and just before dawn did Emma sit up in her bed in a cold sweat.
Henry had thrown a rock across the line.
She yanked the covers off of herself and moved swiftly to pull on the closest pair of jeans she could find. She barely had the sense to leave a note on the fridge for Henry to find when he woke before she grabbed her jacket and ran down the steps of her apartment building, hopping down two at a time.
The usual twenty minute drive to get to the edge of town was cut in half when the Sheriff broke all the speeding laws and saw stop signs as mere suggestions.
Her heart beat erratically when she approached the border. She saw right, right? She knew Henry threw that rock, and she knew it didn't come flying back at them. Stopping the cruiser at a twenty feet distance, Emma stepped out, eyeing the orange paint, waiting for some brick wall to appear to stop her.
She quickly found a small pebble along the side of the road, rotating it in between her fingers getting a feel for it, before glancing down, putting her entire faith in this small piece of limestone. Bringing it to her lips for a good luck kiss, she whipped it with all might, holding her breath as she watched the rock soar through the air, approach the border and fall neatly on the other side of the line.
It went through.
Instead of calming down, her heart beat more rapidly. She swallowed thickly before getting back in her car and buckling up. She shifted the car into drive but kept her foot on the brake, mentally preparing herself for what she was about to do.
If this doesn't work, this is gonna hurt a hell of a lot more than a few scrapes, she thought to herself.
She felt the weight of Regina's necklace on her collarbone, heating up against her flushed skin like a signal, a sign to go.
Her foot slammed on the gas.
Regina woke feeling slightly irritated that her car was still in the repair shop. She was hoping to pick it up the night before, but the mechanic was backed up, claiming she needed a new engine and muffler and to order the parts would take at least two weeks. If he was going to be unreasonable with his time frame, then she'd just buy a new car.
Her morning routine went about normally. She had breakfast - egg white omelet with spinach and feta - and coffee while reading the paper before getting ready for her day - shower, primp and dress. She donned her smock before setting up her easel by the window, sitting down on a stool and leaning over to the window sill to press play on her radio. As soon as the soothing sounds of Enya came through the dock, she lost herself in her painting.
With every stroke of the brush, the wooded area the canvas displayed came to life, the stump in the middle with a crack down its center and a fallen over vase resting on the right side of the oak stump.
She drowned out the sounds of the murmuring crowd below her three-story window, the sound of cars honking during their rush to work, the sirens of a police car blaring just down the street frightening the birds that sought shelter on her window sill. She just focused on her picture, adding each delicate ring to the stump, making the flower in its vase pop out with just a hint of lilac.
Time would have escaped her if that knock hadn't come to her door mid-morning. Furrowing her brow at her unlikely guest, she set down her palette and removed her smock, lowering the volume of her music before hurrying to the door where another impatient knock sounded.
She opened it, unable to process the person on the other side.
Regina stood with her mouth gaping, her breathing shallow as she took in the disheveled blonde standing in her hallway looking just as wide eyed as she.
They didn't know how long they stood there staring at each other, far too long for either of their liking, but it was Emma who moved first, slowly raising her palm up to place it high in the space between the apartment and the hallway. Regina watched her movements, swallowing hard before she raised her own hand, cautious at first wondering if her mind was playing tricks on her. Her paint splattered hand hovered against the younger woman's, only an inch separating them before Regina forced herself forward, her hand connecting with Emma's.
Her eyes immediately sought green as they shifted from the orbs that begged for her attention to their pressing hands here in her Boston apartment.
Emma grinned watery before curling her fingers forward, linking their palms together in a warm embrace.
"Emma," Regina whispered.
Before anything else could be said, she felt arms wrap around her neck as the blonde stepped forward, pressing her body against Regina's in a desperate hug. Her arms automatically wove around Emma's waist, feeling the blonde's fingers stroke through her hair, Emma's face buried into her neck.
"I'm here," Emma whispered, clutching Regina tighter, feeling her reciprocate as her senses overflowed with everything that was Regina. Her apple shampoo, the softness of her hair, how lithe and firm her body was pressed against hers. "I'm here."
Emma couldn't believe it. She couldn't believe that she would ever be in the same room as Regina, let alone hugging her, linking their fingers together, lying in her bed. But here she was, in Boston, her right hand clasped firmly with Regina's left as her left hand trailed feather light touches down the brunette's arms.
"I don't know," Emma admitted quietly as if talking any louder would break the spell they found themselves in and send her careening back into Storybrooke. "It just wasn't there last night."
The flesh underneath her fingertips goosebumped under her touch, reaching out for the blonde to move closer, to erase the gap between them that they had habitually put there.
Regina sighed under Emma's touch, shutting her eyes to feel her nails gently scrape down her arm, to feel her hand clutch her own tighter, afraid to let go. "What if you can't go back?"
"I don't really want to think about Storybrooke right now, Regina," Emma admitted softly, her fingers trailing a path up Regina's arms until her palm rested at the base of her neck.
The brunette couldn't refrain herself either, her free hand clutching at Emma's waist, bunching up the blonde's shirt in her fist before moving a palm underneath the cotton and following the dip of Emma's spine. "You're really here."
The blonde nodded with a joyful glint in her eye before bringing Regina's knuckles to her lips, placing a kiss on each bone before opening up her palm, kissing her life line and following it down to the veins along her arm. With each kiss, Emma inched closer feeling Regina's palm on her back graze higher in a methodical stroking way, pressing firmly wanting Emma close just as the blonde wanted to be close.
Their bodies were still separated by centimeters of bed sheet by the time Emma ended her trail of kisses on Regina's jaw, finishing her last just on the corner of her lips. She felt Regina's short pants against her lips, actually feeling this woman's breath and not carried by the wind. In a move so minute Emma wouldn't have caught it unless pressed firmly against the brunette, Regina tilted her head to Emma's as invitation.
Their lips met.
Regina's lips were plump and soft against Emma's, lips so sweet Emma could swear they were some sort of delicacy that she had the privilege indulging in. They moved together, and when the gap between them finally closed, Emma deepened the kiss, her tongue swiping the brunette's bottom lip in a silent plea to be let in. Regina didn't disappoint and soon she felt Regina's tongue battling against her own. She couldn't believe how long she'd gone without kissing these lips.
They parted breathily, Emma keeping her mouth pressed against the brunette's before chuckling. "Wasn't that great."
Regina smirked, shutting Emma up effectively in another kiss, pushing the blonde up and over so she straddled her against the bed. She felt Emma gasp in shock underneath her sudden attack, grinning against the blonde's lips as she deepened the kiss. "You were saying?"
Emma smiled up at the brunette above her, her fingers brushing back a stray of brown hair and allowing her palm to rest against Regina's olive toned cheek. She bit her lip watching Regina's eyes flutter shut at the contact as she pressed firmly against Emma's palm.
The brunette blushed, feeling green eyes on her. "I can feel you."
Emma sat up keeping the older woman in her lap making sure to keep their bodies flushed against each other before cupping Regina's cheeks in her hands, bringing the face so ridiculously pretty it hurt sometimes closer to her own. "Where do you want to feel me?"
Regina was no stranger to bedmates. Her reign as Queen had men falling over themselves at the chance to even catch her eye, but being with Emma wasn't some itch that needed scratching. Being with Emma was like breathing, a need so powerful she soaked in as much of the blonde as she could.
Clothes were discarded, peeled away slowly, deliberately, savouring the reveal of each new inch of skin. Lips found that skin, claiming it as their own until nothing separated them. Flesh against flesh, nails digging into hips, lips, teeth and tongue doing their best to mark every inch of the other woman.
They took their time finding no need to rush, no need to fumble or attribute their feelings to a moment of lust. They knew very well what they were feeling. They knew had Emma not shown up at Regina's apartment, the brunette would have returned to the border every day if she had to. But she didn't have to anymore for Emma was there, above her, beneath her, within her, loving her with every bright glimmer in her eye, with every soft caress of her lips against Regina's flushed and wanting skin, with every exchange of breath.
Regina returned in kind, her fingers weaving their way through blonde curls always tugging up the younger woman's head to reclaim her lips in a kiss, their legs tangled within the sheets, her hand stroking above Emma's abdomen so teasingly she laughed at the blonde's breathy and pleading moan.
They brought each other to new heights, the passion within them raging as their bodies moved with such fluidity it was as if they had been loving each other for years. The thought made Emma breathless realizing that she would have gladly spent her days in a forest, sitting on a decaying road waiting for Regina, but the mere thought that she was with her now made her press closer, willing Regina to let go, promising that this wouldn't be the last time.
The sound of her moan in her ear triggered Emma's release, and the two women clung to each other, refusing to separate for even a minute. Emma could feel the rise and fall of the older woman's chest against her own before peppering kisses along her collarbone as if their contact never seemed to be enough. She grinned when she felt Regina's fingers twine through her hair, already knowing to move up and direct her kisses to Regina's swollen lips.
Emma was a wanderer, that much was sure, but kissing Regina, being wrapped up in her arms, made the blonde realize that no matter where she went right here would always be home.
Regina lay on her side, a thin cotton sheet wrapped around her body, a feeling of pure bliss flooding her entire senses as she felt the weight of the blonde behind her resting soundly. She grinned happily and stretched out an arm to trace the figures of herself and the blonde in the sketch on her nightstand. So this is what that feels like.
Regina had become acutely aware of every movement Emma made, and she grinned feeling a slight shift against her back knowing the blonde was awake. Her answer was confirmed when she felt a kiss on the back of her shoulder before hands came around to her front near her neck. She squinted when she realized Emma was placing a necklace around her then felt lips against the back of her neck as soon as the clasp was safely in place.
"Merry Christmas." She kissed the brunette's shoulder again, her hands moving under the covers to wrap around her waist protectively. "Happy birthday." A kiss on her pulse point. "Happy Valentine's Day." A kiss just below her ear.
Regina turned in her arms, her eyes shining with mirth as she pressed her lips against the blonde's. "You always forget our anniversary."
Emma laughed bringing Regina closer. "I'll make it up to you."
"And how will you do that?"
"We'll get Henry, come back here, have dinner together like a family," Emma answered obviously.
Regina couldn't stop the pleased blush from forming on her cheeks when Emma had mentioned their family. She would finally have a family, her happy ending. She nodded biting her lip to reign in her emotion. "That more than makes up for it."
Emma slowed the cruiser down as soon as she approached Storybrooke. Her hand had held Regina's throughout the entire ride, and neither woman was complaining, understanding the other's need for some physical contact. Regina squeezed Emma's hand before letting go briefly to exit the patrol car and meeting her at the front already reaching out to take her offered hand. They walked up to the line, Regina staring at it worriedly, frightened that despite having Emma, Henry was still on the other side.
Emma offered a reassuring but hesitant smile before looking forward towards the stretch of road leading into Storybrooke. She shut her eyes and stepped over the line.
Regina gasped looking around them as she realized that she was in Storybrooke again.
"It's gone," Emma breathed out happily, turning excitedly to the brunette. "It's gone."
Emma didn't let Regina speak before she grabbed the woman's face and kissed her senseless, too excited at their revelation to think straight. She tugged Regina's hand in hers before jogging them back to the patrol car, driving slowly over the border.
Regina turned in her seat, seeing the orange line fade into the distance as they passed the Welcome to Storybrooke sign. "We could stay here," Regina offered placing her hand over Emma's where it rested on Regina's thigh.
The blonde snorted. "I don't want to stay here."
"I'm not that fond of Boston," Regina admitted, worried about an already impending disagreement.
Emma squeezed her thigh in reassurance, taking her eyes briefly off the road to glance at the brunette. "A lodge in the woods?"
Regina's eyes brightened at the thought. Enacting the curse was supposed to be her chance for a better life, and being banished should have been the best thing that happened to her. They weren't. This woman smiling at her as they drove to pick up their son, that was her new beginning.
"Are you in it?" Regina asked already knowing the answer.
Emma grinned. "As long as you are."