It was Friday night, 4:59 PM, and Regina was so tired of being the mayor. When Snow handed her back the town hall keys and practically fled down the front steps, she’d considered it a victory. The fearless princess had been scared off by the American tax code of all things. Now, almost a year later, she too was feeling the pressure of filling out all the paperwork Storybrooke needed to stay safely under the radar. How, exactly, was she supposed to explain expenses like “fairy dust containers” and “weapons for the armory”?
Really this was all Emma’s fault. Emma was the one she couldn’t say no to. Emma was the one who would look at her and beg her to let Snow and Charming have this one thing, even though it was never just one thing. Usually it was one thing every few days. At the worst it was one thing every few hours. Regina gave in every time. Perhaps it was because Emma was no longer one thing either. She wasn’t just Miss Swan, she wasn’t just Henry’s mother, and she wasn’t just Snow’s daughter. She was… well.
The office was subdued and dim. Regina turned off all the lights except for her desk lamp when it started to get dark. Artificial light still had a tendency to give her headaches. Her pen flew across the forms piled in front of her. She was the only one in the whole town who knew how to do the towns taxes, so she always did them by herself. Her fingers were beginning to ache. Perhaps this year was the last year she’d do the papers by hand. Thankfully the clock on the wall ticked over to five o’clock and the egg-timer she’d taken to leaving on her desk rang obnoxiously.
She turned the timer off and stacked the papers neatly before practically flying out the door with her coat and purse. Her car was the last one in the lot. It always felt awfully like her old life when that happened, like she was all alone in the same monotonous loop once again. Regina just wanted to get home so she could wrap herself up in the differentness her life had become. Only then would she shake the stress of the day.
Of course she could’ve used magic to travel. Ever since Emma started practicing her, the purple in her magic had grown lighter and lighter until it was violet, and the blue fairy had deemed her fit to use magic without supervision. Not that she’d needed the blue gnat’s input on how fit she was, and not that the blue fairy knew but she could still summon the dark if she wanted. The Evil Queen would always be a part of her. It just didn’t seem like a necessary part anymore. She drove because the ten minutes within the safety of her Mercedes gave her time to transition from one role to the other. Mayor to mother, leader to lover.
When she arrived home the lights were uncharacteristically off. Usually she had a hard time convincing Henry and Emma that they weren’t the only house in town that needed electricity. They left lights on at all hours, all over, as was their nature. Ever since Emma showed up Henry had become a bit messier, a bit rougher around the edges. Regina tried to be annoyed about it, but she simply couldn’t deny that seeing bits of Emma in their son made her heart melt a little more each day. The fact that all the lights were off in the house spoke volumes.
Regina moved up the walk quickly. Fear was slowly creeping its way up her torso from her belly. Were they gone? As far as she knew they hadn’t had any plans. Even if Henry was at a friends house, Emma would have texted her if she wasn’t going to be home for dinner. The only explanation then was that something awful had happened or that they’d finally done it. They’d finally left her.
Regina stepped into the house carefully, soaking up every detail. Henry’s backpack was gone, but Emma’s keys were in the dish by the door, including the key for the old bug that Emma kept parked behind the shed because it needed such frequent repairs. Regina sighed in relief as she realized the bug was parked there now, and began to look around for the still elusive blonde. Henry gone on a Friday night usually had Emma falling all over her the second she walked in the door.
Regina was just turning to check the study when one of the upstairs floorboards creaked. She smirked to herself and headed for the stairs. So Emma was waiting for her in their bedroom. Perhaps she’d gotten over the awful habit of taking her against the front door the second she got inside, or more often than not on top of the little table next to the hall closet. Regina stepped carefully onto the carpeted second floor and kicked her heels off.
She stepped towards the door and inhaled the scent of vanilla. Something was going on. Vanilla meant candles, and candles were rare indeed. She could see the flickering light around the edge of the door now. Regina nudged her way into the bedroom cautiously. The lights were off, but the room was filled with so many candles it didn’t even matter. Rose petals were scattered across the floor and over the bed, purple ones like she liked, as well as the elongated petals of white lilies.
It took her breath away, though Emma still wasn’t anywhere to be found. She walked further into the room and turned until finally the woman came into view. She was leaning against the bathroom door in nothing but a white button up and shorts. The button up was left open, just like Regina liked it. Emma was sipping slowly from a mug of coffee and had a smug smile on her lips.
“Like it?” She asked. Regina tilted her head to the side and swayed over to the blonde. She let her fingers dance over Emma’s smooth cheek and curl around the back of her neck. Emma’s free hand arrived at the small of her back in short order and tugged her closer. Regina smirked at that. It was a position they ended up in quite a lot, even when they were just being sweet on each other for a second or two.
“You know I like it,” Regina said softly. Emma grinned and leaned forward to kiss her. Regina let Emma’s lips glide over her own for a moment, just relaxing and lazily following along. The usual ferocity of their bedroom activities was absent. Emma liked it quick and messy, even if they were smiling and laughing the entire time. Regina liked to describe it as energetic instead of intense. Emma used the word intense anyway.
“Oh wait,” Emma mumbled against the corner of her mouth. Regina huffed indignantly and rolled her eyes, even though nothing would come of her slight annoyance. She’d always end up giving Emma all the time she needed. It was slightly disappointing when, however, when Emma untangled herself from Regina and hopped over to the dresser. Regina moved to sit on the bed, considering they were going to end up there anyway, and waited patiently.
Emma dug through her drawer of knick-knacks, comics, books, one or two things she always wanted to have on hand, and pulled out a small white box with a red bow. Regina’s eyebrows shot up in surprise. Emma had hidden it in the one place she wouldn’t look, not that she looked through Emma’s drawers intentionally anyway. She did do the laundry though, and would have eventually rearranged things to make way for newly clean articles of clothing. Emma walked back over with the box. There was a shy smile on her face that made Regina’s heart beat faster and Regina couldn’t help but smile fondly back at her.
Emma handed her the box without so much as a word. It was heavy, about the size of an orange. Regina held it carefully, not quite sure what this all meant, but only just aware of the urge to pull away and become cold. She pulled at the ends of the red ribbon and the bow fell apart like water. Very carefully she lifted the lid, and even more carefully she parted the tissue paper she found within.
“Oh,” she said. Emma’s eyes flickered between Regina’s face and the small gift in the box. She was positive Regina would like it, even if it took a few seconds to sink in. Regina lifted the ornate inkwell from the box and studied it closely. It was the standard glass bottle wrapped in swirling silver that as a whole formed the shape of an apple. The stem was part of the lid and the whole thing look masterfully crafted. Regina ran her fingers over it in awe.
“It’s beautiful Emma,” she breathed. Emma grinned wider.
“I knew you’d love it,” she boasted. Regina nodded and set it carefully on the comforter at her side.
“I just wish I knew why,” she said. Emma looked at her in puzzlement. A flash of uncertainty flashed through Regina. Why was Emma looking at her like that?
“Regina,” Emma said gently, “It’s Valentines day.”
They sat next to each in absolute silence. Emma was still looking at her in that concerned sort of way that in turn made Regina concerned. Regina tightened her left fingers around her right wrist. Of course, it was February fourteenth. Monday would be the 17th, or so the tax forms she’d been filling out claimed it would be. She’d completely forgotten about it. They hadn’t celebrated it in the enchanted forest and it wasn’t like Valentines day was a holiday in which everyone decorated their house for a month so there was some indication of it. Not to mention she’d never had a valentine before, except for Graham, and he’d never been worth the headache of a fancy dinner date during tax season.
“I’d forgotten,” she said, her voice reverting back to that of the mayor. Emma reached over and squeezed her hand.
“It’s okay, not a big deal. You know now right? We can still enjoy it,” she said softly. Regina pulled away from Emma and stood quickly. This was just one reminder in a long list of reminders the she was not made for a relationship and all the things that came with it. She felt her walls coming back up, the air constricting in her lungs, but she didn’t try to stop it. She deserved it.
“I’ve never celebrated Valentines Day before,” she said dully, “Never had a reason to.” Emma tried to hide her frown, but she wasn’t perfect. When one of them relapsed the other tended to follow. At least they’d started saying the right things when they couldn’t stop themselves getting angry. Their mouths were what got them into trouble in the first place, after all.
“Well, I’ve never celebrated it either, so we’re even,” Emma said angrily. Regina turned to Emma in surprise. Emma’s announcement only served to make things worse. It was their first valentines day together, but it was also Emma’s first EVER and Regina hadn’t even…
“I didn’t get you anything,” she stated bluntly, more because she was just realizing it herself than because she really cared as little as it sounded. Emma looked at the floor.
“Doesn’t matter,” she shrugged, but she couldn’t hide the hard edge in her voice any more than she could hide the anger in her eyes. Regina frowned. Of course Emma would take that to mean she didn't want to spend Valentines day with her. That was three times now she'd rejected Emma's vision of the holiday with her. Regina, realizing she was very close to causing something very bad, walked swiftly back to the bed and sat down. She thought for a moment before beginning to unbutton her blouse. It was a long shot, and it was stupid, but she felt terrible and she couldn’t think of anything else. She couldn’t leave and go get Emma something. That would be tacky. She needed to use what she had on hand.
“What are you doing?” Emma asked in exasperation. Regina didn’t respond, but she did plunge her hand straight into her chest. When she brought it out, her still beating heart was resting in her palm. It was scarred in places, permanently black in places, but it was still her heart.
“Here,” she said gruffly, shoving the heart towards Emma. Emma recoiled immediately.
“What the fuck, Regina?” Only she said it the same way she would say it to Henry when he did something weird like shove fried banana in her face (not that she was allowed to swear in front of Henry anyway). Regina continued to hold it out to her.
“It’s all I have to give you, and technically you already have it, so,” the formal way she said it made it even cheesier. Emma started laughing, but paused at the disgruntled look on Regina’s face.
“Doesn’t that make all your emotions go..?” she waved her hands around in a loose “poof” gesture. Regina rolled her eyes at her.
“Not as long as I’m holding it. Your heart takes on the feeling of whatever it’s in. My mother didn’t have any emotions because her heart was inside an enchanted box. Even then, there’s only a connection because I’m holding my own heart. If I was to hold someone else’s I’d have to will my own presence into it,” she gestured to the heart in her hand, “this is just existing.” Emma stared at the heart in stunned silence. She was getting used to its presence now, hovering a little closer. She had to admit that it was fascinating.
“What happens if I touch it?” she asked, “I’m made of true love and you’re…” Regina smiled faintly.
“Don’t worry dear, you’ve already broken my curse,” she said. Emma nodded thoughtfully as they stared at the heart between them.
“You can still hold it if you’d like,” Regina said after a moment. Emma reached out a tentative hand and put one finger on the heart. Regina felt it, like a comforting weight settling softly against her. That was strange. She’d never known that to happen before.
“It’s dry, and really warm,” Emma commented, “not like in biology class.” Regina snorted at that and rolled her eyes. She was relaxing again, finally.
“It’s magic, dear,” she reminded her dryly. Emma cupped the heart softly in her hands and lifted it up. Regina fought the urge to drift off to sleep right then and there. The feeling of her heart in Emma’s hands was just that comforting. Somehow she could still feel everything. Perhaps it was because they were linked by their magic.
“So if I want to make you feel something I just…” Emma trailed off.
“Well, it depends. If you want me to feel what you’re feeling, just direct the emotion at the heart like you would with a targeted spell. If you want me to feel something else, just whisper it against the side,” Regina explained. She didn’t honestly believe Emma would do anything awful with her heart. For one, Emma loved her and for two, she still had that look on her face like she was somewhere between amazed and scared shitless.
Something flickered in Emma’s eyes and all of a sudden Regina felt an explosion of warmth in her chest that spread across her entire body and settled very specifically in her lower belly. She gasped and fell back on the bed. It was beyond anything she’d ever felt before; warm and crushing but so gentle that she almost couldn’t stand it. Part of her wanted to claw at her skin and another part wanted to run a marathon. All she could do was clutch at the blankets beneath her fingers and groan in frustration. She’d never been so turned on in her life. What the hell had Emma done?
“Regina?!?” Emma whispered in terror. The feeling cut off suddenly and Regina took a deep steadying breath. When she finally got her bearings she reached out for Emma’s knee and rubbed it soothingly. Very slowly she sat up again.
“What was that?” she asked gently, so as not to scare Emma away. Emma looked down at the heart.
“It… It was love,” she said finally, “It was how I feel about you.” Emma’s confession sent another stirring of warmth to Regina’s core and she groaned again. She wasted no time in leaning forward to kiss Emma over and over again. Emma seemed to catch on quickly after that. She let Regina guide her onto her lap and held the heart out behind Regina’s head so she could drape her arms across her girlfriend’s shoulders. Regina tangled her hands in Emma’s hair immediately. When Emma was sure Regina was stable, she started ever so slightly stroking the heart beneath her fingertips. Regina fell apart in a slur of gasps and groans, shuddering against Emma in the most delicious way. Emma grinned into the kiss.
“Strip,” she said roughly, careful that her command didn’t extend to the magical organ in her hand. She was already seriously aroused and if this was going to work like she wanted to, the clothing needed to be gone. Regina pulled her shirt over her head and Emma stood to allow her out of her slacks and panties. When she was completely naked, Regina gripped Emma’s hips and pulled her back towards the bed.
“Mine too,” Emma smirked. Regina smirked right back and pulled the boy shorts down over Emma’s bare legs. Once upon a time she might have been embarrassed by how wet she was already, but not now. Regina flushed at the sight, her own arousal growing with every second. Emma left the button up on so she didn’t have to let go of the heart, and climbed back onto the bed.
“Lay down please,” she said cheekily. Regina laughed but obeyed. When she was situated with her head on the pillows and her legs spread for Emma’s viewing pleasure, Emma finally scooted closer. She pushed Regina’s knees to her chest and settled over the backs of her thighs, hanging just over the other woman’s entrance. It was almost impossible not to grind down on Regina’s clit. It was right there. Regina was breathing heavily, waiting for Emma to do something. Emma looked up at her with dark eyes.
“Touch me,” she said. Regina’s hand immediately snaked down between their thighs and probed gently at Emma’s center. Emma hissed in pleasure, grinding down on the hand and subsequently brushing Regina’s knuckles against her own clit. Regina sucked in a breath and pushed two fingers into Emma almost as if she couldn’t help herself. Emma began to ride the fingers slowly, circling her hips in a pattern that she knew Regina would like. The pressure in her pelvis was building and building. Carefully she raised Regina’s heart to her lips and started stroking it again. It pulsated obscenely between them as the connection renewed.
Regina’s backed arched off the bed impressively as Emma poured all her love and arousal into her. She almost couldn’t stand the burning of Emma’s building orgasm on top of her own, but at the same time it was so wonderful she could hardly believe she was still breathing. A strange calmness settled over her chest and with a start she realized Emma was whispering words against her heart at the same time as she shared what she was feeling. Regina struggled to breath as the intensity burned through her veins and short-circuited her brain. She was so so close. Her hand pumped vigorously between their bodies. Emma faltered against her heart as Regina hit a particularly good spot and that was it. She was falling away.
The orgasm swept through her body more deeply than ever before, almost as if it was exploding through her very soul. She heard Emma groan from above her so loudly she thought the neighbors might hear. A rush of wetness coated her fingers and she smiled. Then Emma’s orgasm crashed into her too and that was the end of that. She let out a strangled cry and for a moment she double. Her lungs burned as she fought to suck air in through her nose past the pure ecstasy pouring into her from every direction. Above her Emma was still whispering words into her heart. She saw Emma mouth the word “safety” and then “content”.
As the aftershocks ebbed away, Emma leaned down to kiss her. The hands holding her heart came up to her chest and she felt as the organ slip back into its rightful place. She intertwined her fingers with Emma’s now empty ones and nuzzled her girlfriend’s cheek.
“Did you know…” Emma panted.
“I didn’t,” Regina answered. She’d never done anything like that with a heart before. She’d always used them to kill or harm. Never for pleasure, though in hindsight it made sense.
“Happy Valentines Day,” she said absentmindedly. Emma laughed and laughed and laughed.