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...For Safety...

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Regina keeps an eye on Henry as he clambers after Emma up the hill, grabbing at vines to help him keep up. He seems like he’s grown an inch in the weeks since she’s seen him; the hems of his jeans brush his ankles now. When they get home, she’ll have to take him shopping.

Assuming she’s allowed, and that he’ll welcome it. She thinks he might. He was so happy to see her and Emma and his grandparents when they finally found him that she at least has some hope now, where before there had been none.

It feels good. She feels good. Better than she has in months, if not years. Her smile is inadvertent, watching her son and her… co-parent, or whatever they should call each other. Emma is not a friend, exactly. But she feels more and more like family as the days pass. It’s an unusual sensation, to have that closeness with a former mortal enemy.

Their group should reach the water sometime tomorrow, so tonight they will camp together, as they have for the past two weeks. As much as Regina looks forward to some solitude when they arrive home, on occasion she thinks that this togetherness has not been the worst thing she’s ever experienced. Except when she has to look at Mary-Margaret, or David, or Hook, or Neal.

Basically, the only person of their little ragtag team she doesn’t detest is Emma. Henry, of course, goes without saying, but Emma has gotten under her skin.

She hears Neal chattering on and on with Hook behind them, and feels like kicking Baelfire directly in the face. Both of their faces, really, although on a scale of 1 to 10 Hook is really only a 7. Neal is a 20, as is Mary-Margaret. David is perhaps only a 5. His willingness to sacrifice himself for Henry has gone a long way to improving his standing with Regina, even though she wants to vomit every time he looks Mary-Margaret’s way with those soft, pussy-whipped eyes.

Regina would have magicked them back to the ship to save time, but she has doubts that she could take them all, especially that distance. Instead, they hike, and for a moment, Regina gets a whiff of herself. She needs a shower, badly, but she’ll have to settle for a dip in the river if she can have a moment alone.

“Okay, time to take a little break,” Emma says, sounding winded after their climb. “Let’s make camp.”

“Agreed,” David adds, eyeing the space they have to settle down in for the night. It’s flat enough, and Regina lifts an eyebrow as she identifies a corner she’d like to take for herself, and Henry if he’ll join her.

She’s startled by Emma, who is suddenly beside her, their arms almost touching. “I don’t want to be separated from Henry, and I figure you don’t either. Want to be over there for tonight?”

Regina blinks, and nods without a word.

“‘Kay.”

Emma moves quickly to the spot and spreads out the bedrolls she’s been carrying on her back. Regina conjures a set of blankets and soft sheets, not sure why Emma insists on hauling some of their supplies when Regina can just snap her fingers and produce them. Pillows are next, and she ignores the shuffling feet of both Neal and Hook as they approach the two of them.

“Emma, I’m gonna get some firewood,” Neal says, his forehead wrinkling in that stupid, infuriating way he has. “Want to come with me?”

“Nah, you guys go ahead. I’ve got a couple of things I need to do solo.”

“Ah, okay,” Neal says. Regina wonders if he’s going to kick the dirt and ask Emma to the eighth grade dance next. Idiot. “See you in a few.” Hook doesn’t add anything to the conversation, but he watches Regina with suspicion in his eyes. He knows something’s up, even if no one else does. It’s one of the perils of knowing someone for so many years. Regina frowns at him, but his answering grin is sly and knowing. She thinks he’s jealous of the attention Emma has paid her of late, but he does his best to hide it.

Henry eagerly joins David and Mary-Margaret in gathering stones to make a firepit, which Regina will later light in whatever fashion Henry asks. He is less afraid of magic now than before, perhaps because he sees the good it can do. It saved his life, that much is certain. And Emma’s as well.

“I’m going down to the river to clean up,” Emma says, not looking at her. “You can come if you want. We should probably um, stick together. Pan might be dead but you never know what else might be floating around the island, right?”

Regina is so shocked she can barely answer. “Of course,” she says. “For safety.”

“We’ll be back in a few,” Emma tells her parents, who make identical faces of concern and confusion at Emma’s declaration. “What, do you want me disappearing into the jungle by myself? You guys do the pit, Neal and Hook are getting the firewood. I assume Regina’s making the fire and the dinner, am I right?”

Regina nods. She might not be able to teleport them all 15 miles away, but she can definitely magic up some steaks and milkshakes. And a couple of bottles of wine, if she’s lucky.

“Be careful,” David says, his hand going to the sword at his side. “Take this.”

Emma rolls her eyes, but holds her hand out and accepts the weapon. “Be right back.”

It’s only a few minutes downhill; as they get nearer to the river, Regina can smell the water somehow. It’s not a raging rapid by any stretch of the imagination, but the water is fresh as it runs through the valley toward the sea. They’ve bathed together on this journey prior to now, but it was before they found Henry. Then it was different. During those few quiet moments, Regina thought of nothing but finding her son. If Emma had been naked at the time, she’d barely noticed.

Now, she eyes Emma carefully as they reach the water. Regina shucks her boots first, followed by her jacket, but Emma hasn’t moved. “Is everything all right?”

“I want to try something. I want to use magic to get clean. I know you’ve been doing that most of the time we’ve been here, and I want to be able to do it too.”

Regina stares at her. “Why would you do that when you have a perfectly nice river right in front of you?” Regina would always take real water over magic; bathing does a far better job at refreshing her skin, and it’s more relaxing as well. She only falls back on magic as a last resort.

“Because if I screw it up, I can just jump in the water and clean off. And if you’re here, you can undo it if I do something really bad, right?”

Regina raises her eyebrows. Maybe. Probably. “Of course.” She does her best to appear confident. “Go right ahead.”

“So, I just have to think myself clean, right?”

“That’s it in its simplest terms, I suppose,” Regina says, vaguely insulted. “You have to focus on exactly what you want, no distractions.”

Emma takes a deep breath, staring at Regina before closing her eyes. She makes two fists as her forehead crinkles, and Regina is tempted to make some sort of a bad joke about her thinking too hard when there’s a poof of smoke. Standing before her is Emma, naked as the day she was born, and although she briefly notices that Emma’s hair is darker than it should be, she pays very little attention to that. Instead, she blinks slowly, not wanting to miss a moment of the perfect gift she’s just been granted. She feels her mouth dropping open, but she forgives herself, because Emma is… a vision.

Emma glances down and rolls her eyes. “Come on, it’s not funny.”

Regina grins, nearly rubbing her palms together. “Not what I was thinking,” she says before biting her lip at Emma’s mild answering smile.

“Any idea what happened to my clothes?” Emma asks.

Regina steps closer, wondering if this is an invitation. “Don’t know. What were you thinking when you made your attempt?” She’s staring, but Emma has made no move to cover up.

“Um, I was thinking about being clean,” she says, peeking down at herself a second time and shrugging. “Pretty much.”

“Mm, is that all?” Regina asks, moving nearer, until she is within arm’s length. “You really should tell me, otherwise I have no way of helping you correct your mistake.” Or finding your clothes, not that I’m really concerned about that.

Instead of answering, Emma shuts her eyes a second time, makes her two pathetically cute fists, and scrunches up her face. There’s a poof of magic again, except now Regina is missing her clothes too. She can’t say she’s disappointed in this result.

With a deep sigh of satisfaction, Regina tilts her head as she watches Emma’s eyes take in her body, lingering in a few key locations. “I see.”

“Me too,” Emma says, smirking. “Although I wasn’t thinking about getting you clean, exactly,” she adds.

Regina reaches out and pulls Emma into her arms. “Good.”

---

When they’re nearly back at the camp, Regina can’t stop touching her mouth. It’s tingling and swollen, and her hair is damp. Emma’s hair hangs in wet waves, back to its normal color. With Regina’s guidance (after a couple of very fast, energetic orgasms next to and in the river), Emma was able to magic their clothes back and adjust her hair as well. She’s not sure if they’re much cleaner than they were when they first set off, but no matter.

Emma stops short and Regina bumps into her. “Hey,” she says.

“Hey,” replies Regina.

Emma leans in for a kiss, which turns into three. Regina’s heart pounds. “Will you teach me more stuff later?” she asks.

Regina has her hand on Emma’s ass. “What kind of… stuff?”

Emma’s mouth curves into a grin. “Magic. I don’t need you to teach me the other stuff.”

“Says you,” Regina shoots back.

“I didn’t hear you complaining.”

Regina takes a breath. “No, you didn’t.” Another kiss, this one longer, sweeter. Her feelings for Emma will take some getting used to; she is awkward with wanting. “I’ll teach you.”

There is rustling somewhere behind them; they jerk apart and Regina calls upon her most irritated expression. When she glances up, Neal is hurtling down the trail, enormous leaves smacking him in the face.

“Are you two okay? You were gone a while,” Neal says, breathing fast.

“Fine,” Emma says, totally nonchalant. “I mean, eventually. Regina pushed me in the river. Took me a while to get the water out of my clothes.”

Neal takes the bait without hesitation. “Jesus, Regina, does it ever end with you?”

“It was an accident. She slipped,” Regina replies, shaking her head. “It’s not my fault she’s always tripping over things.”

Turning back toward camp, Neal puts a hand on Emma’s shoulder. Regina seethes until Emma shakes him off, slowing to allow Regina to catch up.

“Nice save,” Emma whispers under her breath.

“I know,” Regina says, licking her lips. She gets a smack to the ass for her trouble.