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“Hey, sleepy head, time to wake up!” 

Emma awoke to a hand on her ankle, her mother’s voice cutting through her dreams and dragging her into consciousness. She felt Regina stir beside her -- against her -- and her eyes flew open. 

The present came flooding back to her all at once. They were on a road trip for Henry’s graduation, that was right -- and they were all sharing a hotel room. This hotel in particular had meant a single room with three queens, and they’d been asked to share. And that had been fine, except -- 

Clearly it was not.

Regina’s face was barely a few inches from her own, and her eyelids were fluttering as she too woke. Her arm was around Emma’s shoulders, fingers woven through Emma’s hair, and their legs -- 

Their legs were tangled beneath the sheets, Regina’s thighs woven around her own. 

“Never thought I’d see you two cuddling,” Mary Margaret mused, and Regina’s eyes flew open. They went wide as she assessed the situation, and then --

Regina jerked her hand away, tearing through tangles as she tried to pull it back. 

“Ow!” Emma’s own hand flew up, catching Regina by the wrist as she shot her a glare. “That hurt!” 

“Maybe if you’d brush your hair once in awhile my hand wouldn’t be caught,” Regina shot back, voice still gravelly with sleep. 

“I just woke up! Yours is probably tangled, too!” Emma huffed. “Why was your hand in my hair in the first place?” 

Regina pursed her lips at that, apparently dumbfounded. “I…don’t know.” 

They laid like that for a moment, until Emma became aware of the fact that she was still grasping Regina’s wrist above her own head. “Right. Let’s just…” she carefully pulled the other woman’s fingers from her mess of hair. 

“Oh-Kay,” David piped up, and Emma’s eyes snapped up to find him standing at the foot of their bed. In fact, all three of them were at the foot of their bed: David, Mary Margaret, and Henry, all fully dressed and regarding them with varying degrees of embarrassment. David clapped his hands together. “We’re going to go down and get some breakfast. We’ll leave you two to…get ready, I guess.” With that he ushered Henry towards the door, Mary Margaret trailing behind them. She glanced back over her shoulder at the two women just before she got to the door. 

“I’ll knock first when we get back.” 

“That’s — you don’t —“ Emma sputtered out, not even wanting to think about how red her face must be. “You don’t have to do that!” She finally called, just as the door was clicking shut behind their family. 

And then she was alone with Regina. 

Their legs were still very much tangled beneath the sheets. Regina seemed to become aware of this at the same time she did -- they made eye contact, but neither of them moved. Regina finally took her hand back, tucking it instead between them. Her fingers brushed Emma’s chest as they breathed. She splayed them briefly, pressing fingertips against Emma’s collarbone. 

“Knock first, huh?’ Regina echoed. 

“I think…she thinks she’s going to walk in on something if she doesn’t.” Emma tried her best to shrug, though it was a bit difficult in her current position. 

“Something like what?” 

Emma’s heart skipped a beat. Surely Regina knew what she was implying --  “Something like…I don’t know. Us. Kissing, or something.” 

Regina raised a brow. “Kissing?” 

“Might have something to do with your fingers in my hair,” Emma managed. Regina pursed her lips again, and she added, “I don’t mind. Even though you pulled my hair.” 

Regina gave a quiet hum in response. “Don’t mind what? The idea of us kissing or me pulling your hair?” 

With that her eyes dropped to Emma’s lips, and... fuck.

 Emma wanted to kiss her. 

It had happened once before. It wasn’t a total pipe dream, it -- she tilted her head forward, only slightly, and Regina mimicked the motion.

The first time had been months ago. Almost a year. It had happened over a glass of wine, in Regina’s kitchen, and fuck, it had made her dizzy. But Regina had pulled back abruptly, saying, this can’t happen, and Emma had left with an ache in her chest that she’d since buried. But now -- 

“Both,” She breathed. “I think I’d like...both. Again.” 

Regina’s lips parted, and she only stared at her for a moment. “You really want to do this, Swan?” Her breathing was coming fast, and there was a vulnerability to her words that Emma wasn’t used to. 

“Yes.” She answered, the word immediately tumbling off her lips. “You…” She thought back to the last time they’d kissed —  their first kiss, never to be spoken of again. “You said that this couldn’t happen. I...” The words died on her breath. 

Regina pulled back at her response. Just a hair, but it was enough that Emma noticed. Her shoulders stiffened, jaw setting. “I did.” She swallowed, tensing. “Maybe I was wrong. Maybe…maybe I want this.” 

Emma’s jaw fell agape at the admission. Still, there was a thread of uncertainty in the brunette’s words, and she couldn’t bring herself to voice her thoughts, her feelings, her desire —  Regina held eye contact with Emma for a heartbeat, and then she sighed, detangling their legs and sweeping out of the bed in one smooth motion. Cool air flooded Emma’s skin as the other woman threw back the covers. Her eyes dropped to Emma’s body, drifting down over her curves. She didn’t bother to hide the appraisal. Emma had worn a tank and shorts to bed, but in that moment, she may as well have been naked. 

“I’m going to shower.” Regina announced, and then tossed the covers back over the blonde. With that she turned, stalking off towards the bathroom. 

“I need to brush my teeth,” Emma called after her, propping herself up on her elbows. She wasn’t entirely sure what had just transpired between them, wasn’t sure if it had been good or bad -- all she knew was that the tension had ratcheted up to an eleven. 

Regina left the door open behind her as she entered the bathroom, one hand waving dismissively just before she disappeared through the door frame. “I’m not stopping you.” 

Emma swallowed. Her mouth had gone dry, her heart thudding a little harder in her chest. Surely Regina hadn’t meant…? 

When she finally made her way into the bathroom, Regina was bent over the sink, rinsing her mouth after having brushed her teeth. Emma pulled out her own toothbrush from her toiletries bag and moved to do the same as Regina turned towards the shower, starting up the water. She held a hand beneath the spray to gauge the temperature. Emma bent over the sink, swishing her mouth out with the water she’d collected in her hand. When she stood back up, she froze. 

Regina had her back to her, facing the shower. She pulled her hand from the water, running it through her hair, before she gripped the hemline of her shirt and pulled it over her head. She tossed it to the corner, leaving herself bare-chested in Emma’s presence. 

Emma swallowed, mouth run dry, unable to tear her eyes away from the smooth expanse of the other woman’s back. She turned, ever so slightly, exposing the side of her breast to Emma’s vantage point -- 

“Quit staring unless you’re going to do something about it.” 

Emma ducked her eyes immediately. “Sorry.”

Regina shot her a look over her shoulder. “You’re not going to shower?” 

“...I -- uh. You can take the first one.”  

She didn’t respond, only turning back towards the spray with a roll of her eyes. She pulled the curtain back and then tucked her fingers into the waistband of her shorts, and Emma ducked her eyes. She heard a soft thud as they hit the floor. 

 

Regina emerged from the bathroom, steam pouring out behind her. Her dark hair was plastered to her skin, little droplets rolling down her shoulders and collecting at the edge of the towel she had wrapped around her. She made her way towards her suitcase without a word or a glance in Emma’s direction. It was only once she’d pulled out an outfit and arranged it in front of her on their bed that she spoke.

“Did you miss the fact that that was an invitation?” She finally asked, and Emma started. 

“What?” 

She unfolded her shirt. “I told you to do something about it. That was an invitation. Was I too subtle?” 

Emma only stared, mouth agape. “I...I guess so.” She swallowed. “You got out of bed so quick, I thought…” 

“That I didn’t share your desire?” She raised a brow, turning to face Emma. “You thought wrong.” She strode forward, coming to stand directly in front of the other woman. Heat radiated from her flushed skin. “I’ll admit you threw me off.” Her voice had dropped, both in volume and in tone, and that low rasp set Emma’s heart thudding. “But then I saw the way you looked at me, when I started to undress.” She cocked her head to the side. “Am I wrong?” 

“You’re not wrong,” Emma managed. 

“Then I want to hear you say it.” Her eyes dropped to the blonde’s lips. “Tell me you want me.” 

Fuck. “I do,” she breathed. “Can’t you tell?” 

“I want you to tell me, Emma. Do you want me?” 

Fuck, fuck, fuck — “Yes. Yes, I want you. God, Regina, I want you.” 

“Good,” She rasped, catching Emma’s wrist in her hand and bringing it up to tuck the blonde’s fingers beneath the fold of her towel. Emma shuddered as her fingers made contact with damp, warm skin. “What are you waiting for, then? 

Regina pulled her fingers outward then, undoing the knot of the towel and letting it fall to the floor with a thud. 

Fuck.

“Come on, Emma.” She guided Emma’s hand to her skin. “Touch me.” 

And Emma -- 

Emma was fucking dizzy

She finally let her eyes drop from the other woman’s, first to her lips, and then to her own hand, splayed over Regina’s breastbone by her own guidance. She drew in a shaky breath, finally letting her gaze dip farther down. 

Her eyes trailed over Regina’s breasts first. Her hand was closest to them, she let her fingers trail slightly downward -- Regina arched into her touch, just slightly, and Emma swallowed. Her nipples were hard against the cold, dark brown, beautiful -- she skimmed her fingertip over one and Regina gasped. She leaned forward, just barely capturing her lips in a kiss for only a moment, savoring the way the dancing of her fingers caused the other woman’s mouth to part against her own. 

But she wanted to explore. 

She let her hands drift lower, dipping into the brunette’s waist and then gripping at her hips, drawing her closer -- 

A knock sounded at the door, and Emma jumped back. “Oh, fuck --” She hissed. “Hang on --” She stumbled over the words, her voice cracking, and Regina gave her a sly smile. 

"I'm changing," Regina called the words with her eyes still locked with Emma’s, voice much steadier than Emma’s had been, and loud enough to be heard through the thin walls of the hotel. 

Emma shook her head, the smile on Regina’s lips contagious. “We better..” She stepped back, releasing the other woman’s hips, but Regina caught both of her wrists in her hands once more. She tugged her back towards herself with a sharp motion, one hand flying up to tangle in Emma’s hair. She gathered it between her fingers, wrapping her fist around it and bringing Emma’s head back down towards herself.

“Not yet,” She hissed. 

With that she surged forward, kissing Emma once more with an unexpected ferocity. Hard, wanting -- full of pent up desire and anger and lust, and fuck

The moan that Emma let out was nothing short of embarrassing. 

She wrapped one hand around Regina’s waist, the other sliding around her hip to her ass. She brought Regina’s naked body flush against herself.  

Regina nipped at her lower lip and then she pulled back, resting their foreheads together as she caught her breath. She met Emma's gaze through her lashes, eyes dark and heady with want and fuck, Emma wanted nothing more than to push Regina back onto the bed and --

"Can we come in now?" Mary Margaret's voice broke the spell, and Regina let out a breathy, bitter laugh. 

"Hold on," She replied. She finally released Emma's curls, stepping back and breaking out of the blonde's hold. She swept her clothing from the bed in one smooth motion and disappeared into the bathroom before Emma could even process what had just happened. 

Emma was left standing beside the bed, bewildered and breathless, with a persistent throbbing between her legs.

She glanced over at herself in the full length mirror that was affixed to the wall. Her hair was a mess, and she hastily ran a hand through it, attempting to flatten the area that Regina had tousled. It had to look decent -- at least, something like the bedhead she'd had when the others had left. There was nothing to be done for her swollen lips, or for the wet spots at her shoulders where Regina's hair had soaked the fabric. On top of it all, her face was hot, her cheeks flushed a bright red.

Fuck.

Sighing, she made her way over to her suitcase, putting her back to the door and hoping it would be enough to hide the evidence until Regina was done changing and she could hide. 

"Come in," She yelled, and the door clicked open immediately. 

"Are you decent?" 

Emma glanced back to see that her mother had only cracked the door, poking her head in with her gaze ducked. Emma rolled her eyes. "Yes, mom, I'm decent." 

"You can't blame me for worrying." 

Emma didn't dignify the comment with a reply. 

"David and Henry are still eating -- you're not dressed." 

Emma swallowed, finally turning to face her mother. She was standing there with wide eyes as she took in her daughter's appearance, and Emma drew her little pile of clothing closer to her chest, trying to hide the wet spots at her shoulders. “Regina took the first shower,” She offered. It was a half-hearted explanation, but Mary Margaret seemed to accept it. Or, at the very least, she didn’t want to consider the alternative. 

“I see.” Her gaze lingered on Emma for another moment, and then she wiped her palms on her jeans and turned away. “Well. We should get going soon, so you better get ready quickly if you want to eat.” 

The bathroom door opened just then and Regina appeared, fully dressed with her hair neatly brushed. 

"I'll do my makeup out here." She cleared her throat and turned her attention towards Emma. "You can take the bathroom, Emma." 

Yeah, Emma's cheeks were definitely on fire. "Thanks," she replied, blowing past her mother and Regina and taking her up on the offer. She kicked the door shut behind her immediately -- maybe a little too hard -- and with that barrier between herself and the others she slumped against the counter. 

"Holy shit," She breathed the words as quietly as possible, barely a whisper so that they couldn’t carry over into the other room.  Her entire body was vibrating, heart thudding against her ribcage, hands shaking -- and a thin sheen of sweat had appeared over her skin. "Fuck," She added, dumping her clothes onto the counter and snatching a towel from the rack. She tossed it on top of them. She turned the water on and waited for it to heat up -- and then thought better of it, cranking the handle back towards cold. 

It was going to be a long fucking day.

 

The rest of the morning passed rather uneventfully, besides the initial awkwardness when Henry and David came back up to the room. Henry shot them both a knowing glance. Emma met it head on, sticking her tongue out at him -- not the most mature method, but hey. It got the job done. He rolled his eyes and moved on to his other mother -- Regina, on the other hand, did her best to ignore it. 

The local museum was their stop of the day -- Henry's choice, naturally, given that this was his celebratory road trip. Sometimes, Emma wondered how he'd ended up as such a nerd. 

And then she'd remember that Regina owned a full chemistry set. 

Like mother like son. 

David had called an uber -- their car was piled full of their luggage, seeing as they had to check out of the hotel by noon. They were going to be hitting the road after the museum and checking into a different hotel for the night. An uber was a nice change of pace from Mary Margaret’s mom van, and it was hard to find parking, anyway. They ended up piling into an SUV. David took the passenger seat, Mary Margaret one of the middle seats, Henry the other -- leaving Emma and Regina to the back. 

If Henry shot her a pointed glance, she ignored it. 

She settled in next to Regina without a word. The other woman didn’t say anything to her, and she resolved herself to keep her eyes on the passing scenery as they got moving.  And she was even succeeding in distracting herself -- that was, until Regina crossed her legs halfway through the ride. The motion brought her ankle just close enough to brush against Emma's calf, and fuck, how embarrassing was it that even a simple touch made Emma's pulse jump? 

She wasn't even sure if it was deliberate -- that was, until Regina caught her staring a few minutes in. She glanced up from her phone at just the right -- wrong? -- moment, and the corner of her lips curled up in a smirk. 

Evil. 

Regina trailed her fingers over Emma's thigh. Emma drew in a shaky breath and she pulled out her phone, pulling up her messages and sending the other woman a text: 

Somebody could see. 

Regina broke into a grin beside her. A moment later,

No one is paying any attention. 

And that was true -- they were in the back, and the car had a full three rows, obscuring their lower halves from view. In front of them the others were lost in a conversation with the driver, asking him about all of the best restaurants in the area. Emma made a quick silent prayer to no god in particular that her mother wouldn't ask her to recount any of them later on. Her phone buzzed in her hand again. 

I could do a lot more to you than touch your thigh and nobody would notice. 

Her eyes flew back to Regina. The smirk had grown into a teasing grin, and fuck -- 

"I'm not going to," She whispered, just low enough to keep it between them. "Don't worry."

Emma shook her head, turning her eyes back towards the road. She hadn't really thought that Regina would, especially not with their family in the car with them, but that wasn't the point. The point was that they were in the car with their family, and her skin was fucking hot to the touch because of the thoughts Regina was putting into her head. Her phone vibrated once more, and she shot Regina a skeptical glance before she opened the message. 

Not yet, anyway.

Jesus fucking christ. 

 

They pulled up outside the museum without further incident. Regina brushed past Emma immediately once they disembarked the uber, barely acknowledging her as she wrapped an arm around their son and walked him directly up to the ticket counter. Emma shook her head, wandering after them. 

The museum was...neat. It's not that it wasn't cool -- art just wasn't exactly her thing. She trailed along behind the others, occasionally stopping to admire a particularly brightly colored piece. There was one in particular of a woman cutting off a man's head -- that one, she thought was kind of cool. She said as much, and Henry rolled his eyes. 

"Of course that's the one you like, ma." 

"What's that supposed to mean, kid? I'll have you know I'm a very cultured woman." 

Regina rolled her eyes. "Please." 

Emma shot her a lopsided smile, stuffing her hands into her pockets as they continued on. 

About an hour in, they stopped at an exhibit from some famous artist or another. It was the main reason Henry had picked this town as a road trip stop in the first place, and so they opted to spend some time milling about. They split off in their own directions, and Emma worked through the gallery faster than anyone. She took to exploring the museum itself, instead -- namely, a hallway off to the side of the exhibit that was all but abandoned. 

Once she was confident that neither her parents nor their son were within eyeshot, she sidled up behind Regina, one hand on her shoulder and the other on her left arm. She leaned in close, whispering in her ear, "Come with me." 

Regina spun around, eyes wide -- and then she just looked annoyed. "You scared the hell out of me, Emma." 

Emma brought her finger to her lips, reaching out for Regina's wrist instead. "Shh. Sorry. Come with me." 

She tugged the other woman towards her, inching backwards into the hall that she'd discovered. 

"Where are we going?" Regina asked. 

"I said shh!" Emma hissed, backing into the door. She felt behind her for the handle, and with one last glance to make sure they hadn't been spotted, she opened it and pulled them both inside. 

The door clicked behind them and she backed Regina to the wall, cupping her hands around the other woman’s jaw and kissing her. Regina responded immediately, one hand hooking around Emma's waist, lips parting against her own. She let out a whimper -- a distinctly un-Regina like whimper, and oh, Emma was going to make it her goal to draw that sound out as many times as humanly possible, because fuck . Emma dropped her hands to Regina’s waist, and the other woman pulled away just briefly. 

"Miss Swan," Regina scolded between kisses, “Please tell me you didn’t just drag me into a janitor’s closet.” 

"You haven't called me that in a long time." The old nickname brought butterflies to her stomach -- it reminded her of when they’d first met; reminded her of threats and a thick tension that neither of them dared to broach. "I think I like it." 

"Emma," Regina growled, and Emma pouted. "I am not making out with you in a closet like some kind of depraved teenager."

“Aren’t you, though?” Emma teased, because Regina was definitely doing just that. The brunette wrapped her hands around Emma's hips, sliding down to palm her ass, and Emma laughed against her lips. 

"Shut up.”

"Make me." 

Without warning Regina gripped the collar of her jacket, spinning them around and pinning Emma to the wall with a thud. It knocked the breath out of her, and her eyes dropped to the other woman's lips. 

Yeah, she might like this. 

"Damn," She whispered, cut off by the other woman kissing her once more, harder this time -- she slipped her tongue past Emma’s lips, snaking one hand behind her neck and fisting the other in her shirt. 

"You forget who I am, Emma. I can give as good as I get." She hissed the words against Emma's lips. "Tell me to make you again and you might get more than you've bargained for." 

"I don't think I'd mind." 

Regina released her shirt, instead dropping her hand to the waistband of her jeans. She tucked a finger beneath the seam and Emma inhaled sharply, heart racing as the brunette smiled against her lips. "Don't get ahead of yourself, Miss Swan." Her fingers dipped below the hemline of her shirt instead. "We're not having sex in a janitor's closet." 

Emma’s breathing was ragged now. “That’s what you said about making out.” She panted, sucking at Regina’s lower lip to drive her point home.

Regina gave a low laugh as she did so. She pulled back, tilting her head to skim a kiss over Emma’s jawline. “Emma,” she rasped, “When I finally fuck you — and I will  — I’m going to do it properly.” She nipped at the skin just below Emma’s earlobe and then ran her tongue over to soothe it. “Not in a dusty,” she punctuated the word with her fingernails scraping over Emma’s midriff, “dark fucking closet.” 

With that Regina pushed away from Emma, turning and leaving the closet without another word. 

And once again, Emma was left breathless and wanting. 

Totally fucking worth it. 

 

Emma slipped back into the exhibit without much trouble. As far as she could tell, nobody had missed them -- not that they’d been gone that long, anyway. Not nearly as long as Emma would have liked. 

The museum was their only spot in this town, and they were set to hop to their final destination that same day. They stopped for lunch -- one of the places their uber driver had suggested -- after Henry'd had his fill of the exhibit. After that, they hit the road again. It was only two hours to the city, and Emma offered to drive this time. It wasn't that she didn't want to be alone in the back with Regina again -- it was just that, maybe she wanted that a little too much. A distraction would be good for her. 

After all, she had to spend another week in close quarters with the woman and their entire family. 

 

They spilled into their next hotel room a little over two hours later. 

This was their final destination. They were spending an entire week in the city, and so they'd sprung for a full three room suite. Two rooms each with a bed big enough for two, and a common room with a pull out couch, desk, and a television. 

"I call dibs on the couch," Henry called as soon as they’d all made it inside.  

Emma raised a brow. "Really? You don't want, like, an actual bed?" 

He shook his head, gesturing to the tv. He slung his backpack off his shoulder and pulled out the gaming console that he'd insisted on packing. "This way I can play games all night and mom can't say a thing about it." 

Regina rolled her eyes. "Only because you're on vacation." 

“Hey, you’re a legal adult now, kid. She can’t keep you from them anyway,” Emma said, and Regina shot her a look withering enough that she held her hands up in surrender. “Okay, okay, maybe you can. Jesus.” 

"That works out perfectly, actually." David ignored their banter, giving a decisive nod as he set his and Mary Margaret's luggage down beside the couch. "We can take the first bedroom, and you two can have the other." He paused for a moment, eyes lingering on the pair for a hair too long. "That is...do you guys think you can handle sharing a bed again?" 

"Of course we can," Emma blurted out, at the same time as Regina snapped, "What the hell is that supposed to mean?" 

David held his hands up in a motion of surrender, mimicking Emma’s movement from a moment earlier. "Nothing. Nevermind. That's settled, then." With that he picked the bags back up, turning and making his way to one of the rooms seemingly at random. Mary Margaret clasped her hands in front of her, adding, "Well...I'm going to go with him." 

Henry tossed his bag down onto the couch. "You two really know how to make things awkward, huh?" He shook his head, but his tone was good natured. “Well...I gotta pee, so.” He hurried off into the bathroom, leaving the two of them alone in the common area. 

Regina pursed her lips. “...I’m going to change.” She headed off into the bedroom, glancing back after a few steps. “Well, come on then, before your parents come back and things get weird again.” 

Emma followed her, making sure the door latched behind them. Upon further thought, she reached out and locked it.

Just a precaution, she thought. 

There was one bed in the room: a queen, judging by first glance. Emma dropped her duffel off her shoulder with a thud, and Regina turned to look at her. 

“So much for discretion,” She murmured. “If they didn’t know something was going on before, that certainly gave it away.” 

Emma's heart quickened at the acknowledgement. She fought back the urge to ask what exactly was going on between them, because -- well. Instead, she replied, “Hey, you’re the one who insisted on kissing me even though my mom was at the door.” 

Regina smirked. “And you’re the one who pulled me into a janitor’s closet in a public building like a horny teenager.” 

“You liked it. Don’t lie.” 

Regina only hummed by way of response, instead lifting her suitcase onto the bed and fishing through her clothing. After a moment she pulled out a couple of items -- dresses, Emma realized. She held them to herself one after the other. “Red or blue?” She asked. 

“Uh. Red,” Emma replied, nodding. “I like you in red.” 

 Regina smiled, setting the red dress aside and neatly folding the blue. “Is that so?”

“I do.” 

“You answered pretty quickly, Miss Swan.” She emphasized her name, and Emma swallowed, the memory of their encounter in the museum just a few hours before fresh in her mind. “Have you thought about me in red before?” 

Emma felt her cheeks heating up. She had definitely entertained that line of thinking before. Many times. Specifically lingerie, lacy, when she was alone at night and wanting -- But. “Wouldn’t you like to know.” Regina didn’t need to know about that. She already had enough power over Emma without Emma adding to her arsenal. 

Regina turned back to her bag, a sly grin on her lips. “You’ll have to tell me sometime. In detail.” She pulled out a few more items -- “Turn around.” 

Emma raised a brow. “Are you serious?” 

Regina mocked her expression. “Yes, I’m serious,” She replied, voice stern. “I’m going to change.” 

Emma fought the urge to roll her eyes. “Yeah, I got that. I meant, because...you know. It’s not like I didn’t see you naked this morning.” 

She shot her a glare at that. A playful one, albeit, but a glare nonetheless. When she spoke, her voice had dropped. “Turn. Around.” 

Emma held her hands up in a motion of surrender and did as she was told. “Alright, alright. Damn.” 

 There was a bit of shuffling as Regina undressed. After a moment Emma felt something hit her thigh -- and she looked down to see a pile of something red, lacy at her feet --

"No way." She heard a chuckle behind her, and she bent down to pick up the scrap of fabric. She held them out in front of her -- "You're evil." 

"And well known for it, dear. Was that the kind of red you were thinking of?" 

Emma unraveled the fabric. Panties. Lacy, bikini cut, bright red panties. Fuck. “Yeah, I think this is pretty close.” Her voice had gone up in pitch, and she could hear Regina laughing behind her. She cleared her throat, adding, "So when do I get to see them on you?" 

"Later, if you're lucky." 

"I'm going to hold you to that," Emma said, and Regina laughed again. 

"I’m counting on it, dear." There was some more shuffling, and then eventually, "Alright. You can turn around now." 

And so she turned, and --

Jesus.

“Oh.” The word came out involuntarily. Her jaw had fallen open. She could feel it, could see it in the smug expression on Regina’s face that she’d noticed, and that was embarrassing, but -- 

Jesus

The red dress was still draped across the bedspread, forgotten. Regina was dressed instead in slacks and a blazer. Her shirt was dark red, silky -- probably actual silk, knowing her -- and as Emma watched she finished buttoning it just enough to conceal her bra, but low enough to leave a revealing vee. 

"What do you think?" She asked, and the cockiness was gone. The words were breathy, the tiniest bit of insecurity making its way into her voice. 

"What do I think?" Emma echoed, not even bothering to pretend like she wasn't staring outright. "Fuck, Regina. You look...wow." 

Regina broke into a grin. "You're as eloquent as ever." 

Emma shrugged, stuffing her hands into her pockets. "What can I say? You've left me speechless." 

Regina rolled her eyes. "Smooth. You like it, then?" 

"I more than like it, Regina." Emma blew out a breath, letting her eyes drift over the other woman's figure without restraint once more. "Jesus. You’re beautiful." 

The other woman’s gaze softened with the compliment. “Thank you, Emma.” 

Emma offered her a gentle smile in response. “You’re welcome.” She shook her head, breaking herself out of the trance. “Anyway. I gotta...get dressed.” She gestured towards her own luggage, bending down and pulling out a nice pair of pants and a blouse. “You don’t have to turn, if you don’t want to.” 

Regina raised a brow at that, but she didn’t move. 

Emma stripped off her top first, fully conscious of the fact that Regina was watching her movements intently. She stood there for a moment in her bra, the thrill of the other woman’s gaze on her intoxicating. When she dropped her fingers to the button of her jeans Regina’s lips parted, and Emma took her time rolling the fabric down over her hips. She turned as she pulled them off her legs, giving the brunette a full view of her ass as she did so. 

“Emma, are you guys ready yet?” 

She jumped at the sound of her mother’s voice outside the door, spinning around and finding Regina with her arms crossed over her chest and a flush on her cheeks. 

“Every fucking time,” Emma muttered, and Regina bit back a snicker. “Almost,” She called, trying to keep the annoyance from her voice. “I’ll be out in a minute.” 

“We have a reservation!” Mary Margaret reminded her, and Emma huffed. 

“I know, thank you! I’ll be out in a minute!” 

She turned back to Regina, but the moment was gone, and she was left in her underwear, a little embarrassed at her exposed state. Silently, she tugged on her clothing, and when she was done, she headed towards the door. Regina stopped her as she passed her, catching her upper arm and drawing her close. She pressed their lips together in a kiss that was far more chaste than any they’d exchanged yet. It was almost sweet, and Emma melted into her a little bit. Regina’s hands relaxed, fingertips drifting up her arms and across her collarbone, eventually coming to cup Emma’s jaw. She traced her thumb over Emma’s cheekbone as she kissed her, and oh, no. This was not going to end well, not for Emma. 

When they finally pulled away they were both breathing hard, and Regina pressed one more quick, gentle kiss to her lips before she grabbed a pair of shoes and made for the door. 

Emma pushed her hair back from her face with one hand, the other on her hip as she tried to think of a discreet way to get the lipstick off her face before she went to face the rest of their family. She was decidedly not entertaining the other thoughts -- those of a romantic variety -- that were racing through her mind at lightning speed. 

Yeah, she was totally fucked. 

 

Dinner was...fancy. 

It was more Regina’s speed than Emma’s, but hey. They were here for Henry. Besides, Emma cleaned up nice, and she so rarely got a chance to flaunt that fact. 

They’d been seated in a large circle booth, and the way they’d all filed in, Emma had ended up seated next to Regina on the inside of the curve. And in a way, it was nice, being close to her. 

On the other hand, it also about sent her into a panic every time the other woman moved and their limbs brushed. And that was often, considering neither of them were bothering to put much space between themselves. 

Still, they managed to make it through the meal without much incident. That was -- until they were leaving. Regina slipped off to use the restroom, and Emma followed shortly after. David shot her a look as she did so, and she whined, “What? I have to pee.” 

When she entered the room Regina was at the sink, touching up her makeup. She stopped in the entryway, leaning against the wall as she took in the sight before her. Even under the bright fluorescent lighting, Regina still managed to look so fucking beautiful that it made Emma’s chest feel tight. 

“Are you just going to stand there and stare, Miss Swan?” 

Emma broke into a grin, shrugging. “I might. You look perfect.” 

Regina glanced at her through the mirror, a little smirk drawing the corner of her lips up. "Is that so?"

Emma nodded. "A little too perfect, actually. I could mess up your lipstick, if you want." 

“You’re shameless, you know that?” 

“Says the woman who threw her panties at me two hours ago.” 

“Are you complaining?” Regina asked, popping the lid back on her lipstick and tossing it into her purse as the door opened. Mary Margaret appeared from behind Emma, glancing between the two women with wide eyes. 

“...Am I interrupting something?” She asked, and Emma winced. 

“Just your daughter being ungrateful,” Regina replied, zipping her bag and heading for the door. 

Mary Margaret glanced back at Emma, confusion knitting her brows. “About what?” 

Regina stopped in front of Mary Margaret. Her eyes darted to Emma for a moment, a wicked glint flashing in them as she spoke. “Don’t ask questions you don’t want the answers to, Snow.” With that she brushed past the both of them and left the room. The door closed behind her with a thud, and Emma jumped a little at the noise. 

Mary Margaret just shook her head, making her way towards one of the stalls. “You two are so weird.” 

 

Emma peeled the lid back from the ice cream container. Henry reached over immediately, digging a spoon into it and popping it directly into his mouth, earning a "Henry!" from Regina. 

He shrugged, grinning around his spoon. "What? This is my vacation." 

She fixed him with a stern look. "That doesn't mean you get to just forget your manners." 

"Ooh, she's pulling out the mom voice. You've done it now, kid." Emma teased, earning herself a smack on the arm from the other woman. "Ow!

Regina rolled her eyes. "Oh, stop. That didn't hurt." 

"It hurt me on the inside," Emma shot back.

"You're ridiculous." 

"You love it." 

David rolled his eyes, placing a stack of paper bowls next to Emma. "Are you guys going to bicker all night?" 

"Who says we're bickering?" Regina asked, one brow raised, as she reached out and plucked a bowl from the top of the stack. 

"I say you're bickering," Henry chimed in, setting his spoon down on a napkin and reaching for a bowl of his own. "You're like an old married couple. It's gross." 

"Gross?" Emma snatched the bowl from Henry's hand. "Keep talking like that and you'll get no ice cream, mister." 

"Hey, this is my vacation!" He pouted. "Alright, fine. You two have a totally normal, bicker-free relationship. Is that better?" 

"No," Emma deadpanned. But still, she made a show of scooping out a huge chunk of ice cream and depositing it directly into the kid's bowl. She pushed it towards him, gesturing to the assorted toppings they'd collected at the local supermarket. They'd made an interesting bunch in there, she was sure -- all five of them dressed up, with their weird little family dynamic, piling sweets and various toiletries into the same small cart. At one point, Henry had called them moms, earning them a few glances from various passersby, and those doubled when he added grandma, grandpa to the distinctly young Mary Margaret and David. Emma had just been laughing at a particularly scandalized elderly couple when Regina had appeared from around an aisle, and sheepishly deposited a can of spray whipped cream into the basket. Emma had only offered her a smile, adding, "If anyone asks, I put that there."

"I think he's spot on," Mary Margaret said, taking the carton and scooping herself a small bowl. "You guys couldn't even go to the bathroom at the restaurant without picking a fight." 

"Oh, darling," Regina hummed, voice low and suggestive, and Emma briefly contemplated jabbing her in the ribs with her elbow. "That wasn't a fight." 

"What was it, then?" Her mother asked, and it was innocent, and dear god, could a grown woman actually be that oblivious? Emma ultimately decided not to question it, thanking her lucky stars. 

But of course Regina narrowed her eyes, that same wicked gleam from earlier making an appearance. "What did I say about questions you don't want the answer to?" 

"Okay, ew," Henry said, pointing to his mother with his spoon. "Can you go be gross somewhere else, please?" 

Regina shook her head, a fond smile on her lips. "Sorry, Henry. I haven't gotten my ice cream yet." 

Emma rolled her eyes. "Let me get that for you, your majesty." She took the bowl from Regina's hands, and scooped what was a little more than she probably viewed as acceptable. Silently, she reached for the whipped cream, spraying a hefty amount over top. "Oops, sorry. That came out faster than I thought it would," She said, handing the bowl off to the other woman with a tiny smile on her lips. 

"Of course," Regina replied, flashing her a smile in response. Thank you, she mouthed, moving on to pop a cherry from the jar and place it on top. "If anybody cares to join me, I'm going to go be gross on the couch." She shot a pointed look at Henry, who only laughed in response. 

"Ma, you have to go too. You're an accomplice." 

"How was she being gross?" Mary Margaret asked, that same confused look making an appearance. "I don't get it." 

Emma looked up from her own bowl. "And I'm so glad, mom." She turned to shoot a glare at her son. "You're lucky I love you, you know that?" 

Henry replied with a shit-eating grin. "Every day." 

 

As it turned out, eating ice cream on the couch with Regina while a movie played in the background was pretty fucking nice. 

Maybe a little too nice. It was just so...domestic. 

They were on the left side of the couch together, Emma against the armrest and Regina between herself and Henry. As the others were picking a movie from the list, Regina had disappeared into the bedroom and returned with the comforter from their bed. She’d flashed Emma a sheepish grin before sitting down directly beside her and draping the blanket over the both of them. And Emma...Emma had been unable to hide her smile, or the flush on her cheeks as Regina leaned over and tucked the fabric beneath the blonde’s legs. 

“What? There was a draft,” She’d murmured conspiratorially. 

They were careful not to be too close -- they weren't cuddling, exactly, but under the covers Regina had her hand on Emma's thigh, where she was currently tracing lazy circles with her thumb. 

And that was just... nice. Really, really nice. It made Emma's heart race in an entirely different way than all of the kissing had, and that was far more frightening. She tried -- and failed, horribly --  not to think about what that might mean. 

But even still, Emma was savoring the simple intimacy of the act, and she didn't stop the other woman. She continued the entire length of the movie, just drawing simple little patterns over Emma’s skin. They were absent minded -- Regina had her eyes glued to the screen. Every once in a while she’d comment on something happening in the movie -- who’s that? Why did he do that? That doesn’t make sense -- and though Henry complained for her to be quiet and watch each time, Emma couldn’t help but find it adorable. She got a little wrinkle at the bridge of her nose each time she was confused, and the hand on Emma’s thigh would still as she attempted to puzzle out the plot. And Henry or David would explain it to her, and she’d give a little hum and relax again, and the patterns would start up once more. 

But eventually the movie ended, and David stood and stretched, breaking the spell with the motion. Regina shifted, sitting up fully, pulling her arms out from under the blanket as she did so.

 David yawned, picking up the remote and opening the source menu. The credits disappeared, replaced with a blank blue screen. "Alright, Henry. You want me to help you get that xbox set up?" 

"Yes, please," Henry said, echoing his grandfather’s yawn. 

"Don't stay up all night," Regina warned. "We've got a long day tomorrow." 

"Yeah, yeah, I won't, I promise. David made me yawn. I’m not even tired,” He protested, reaching for his backpack and pulling the controller from inside. 

Mary Margaret stood, reaching out and squeezing Henry’s shoulder before shaking her head and saying, “Well, I am. I’m going to head to bed.” She walked over to her husband, kissing him on the cheek before adding, “Coming in after this?” 

David leaned into the kiss. “Yep.” 

“Okay.” Mary Margaret turned towards the others. “Goodnight, everyone. Remember, we have to leave by 9 if we want to beat the crowds at the aquarium.” 

“Got it,” Emma said, pulling out her phone and setting an alarm for 8. Hopefully they wouldn’t sleep through it again. “I should probably get to sleep, too.” 

"Me too," Regina added, standing. Emma tried not to feel too disappointed about the loss of proximity as she did so. After all, they were going to be sleeping in the same bed again tonight, and if the previous night had been any indication, they were likely to wake up tangled with one another. And then there was the fact that they'd kissed, that Regina had dropped her towel, that she'd murmured in Emma's ear that she would fuck her -- 

Emma swallowed. "Alright. Goodnight, I love you all." 

With that she hopped up and headed off to their bedroom, a chorus of love you toos sounding behind her. She was somewhat conscious of the fact that Regina was following her. When she heard the door click shut behind her, she turned to see the other woman with the blanket wrapped around her shoulders, dragging on the floor behind her. She stared for a moment, amusement curling the corners of her lips, and Regina scowled.

"What?" She asked. "I'm cold." 

"Nothing," Emma shook her head. "You're cute, that's all." 

"Miss Swan, I am many things, but I am not cute." 

"You're totally cute," Emma replied, grabbing her toiletries. She headed off to the bathroom to brush her teeth and wash her face, Regina’s voice echoing behind her. 

“I’ve conquered realms, Emma. I’ve tortured hundreds --” She shut the door behind her, earning an indignant hey! From behind the wood. 

Emma passed David on her way to the bathroom, who asked in a hushed whisper, “What the hell was that about?”

She gave a shrug. “I called her cute.” 

David stared at her for a solid couple of moments, and Emma could practically see the wheels turning behind his eyes. Eventually he shook his head. “Emma, you know your mother and I support you no matter what, right?” 

And Emma stared right back. 

...Well. There was that. 

“Any choices you may make. Including...romantic partners,” He finished lamely. “We’ll love you just the same.” 

Emma blinked. “...Okay.” Beside him Henry was grinning, trying and failing to hide it as he spread blankets over the pull out bed. Emma shook her head, swallowing. She couldn’t believe she was about to say this, but -- “Anything you want to...I don’t know, talk about? What brought this on?” 

David shrugged, wincing just slightly as he spoke. “Oh, I don’t know. I just feel like you might be... with somebody, and I just want you to know that’d be okay. If you were, I mean.” 

“...Right,” Emma replied, grimacing. “We’re not dating, Dad.” 

He nodded. “...Cool. Just thought I’d say it in case you were.” 

“You should ask her, you know,” Henry chimed in, finally looking up from his work. “She’d say yes.”

“I…” Emma stumbled over the words, eventually just standing there with her mouth open and her toothbrush in hand. Eventually she shifted her weight on her feet, shaking her head as she repeated, “Who said it was Regina?” 

“You did, just now,” Henry said with a pointed look to rival his mother’s. “And that’s proof enough. Just ask her out.” 

Emma shook her head, bewildered. “You know what? I’m...going to brush my teeth.” She turned on her heel, ignoring Henry and David’s quiet whispering behind her.

She took her time in the bathroom after that, splashing cool water over her cheeks to calm the flush and hopefully clear her head. It didn’t do much for the latter, and she finally resolved herself to return to the bedroom. By the time she entered the common area David had disappeared, and Henry was lounging on the pull out bed in the dark, fully entrenched in his games. Emma padded by him without any hesitation, keen to avoid another discussion regarding her love life with her son of all people. 

She clicked the door closed behind her, turning the handle so that it wouldn’t make too much noise as she did so. 

Regina had changed, too. Just...not into pajamas.

She was sitting on the bed above the covers, relaxed against the stack of pillows. 

And she was wearing lingerie. 

Bright, red, lacy lingerie. Emma's breathing quickened, conversation in the common room completely forgotten. The lace was nearly see through, just barely exposing the outline of her nipples, and if Emma let her eyes drift lower...

She'd already seen the other woman naked, she reminded herself. 

But fuck, was it different to see her like this. Sprawled out on the bed, in nothing but sheer mesh -- 

Well. That wasn't completely true. She was also wearing a pair of reading glasses, and damn, that was nearly as sexy as the rest of her outfit. 

She had her knees drawn up, book propped against her legs. As Emma watched she turned the page, seemingly indifferent to the blonde's observation. She stood there for several moments, watching Regina turn the page with deft fingers, before she finally broke the silence. 

“You wear glasses?” She asked, and then mentally kicked herself. 

Regina glanced up at her over the rim of said glasses. “That’s what you’re choosing to focus on, Miss Swan?” 

Emma shrugged, setting her toiletries aside absentmindedly, without a care for where they fell. “You’re reading.” 

“You were taking too long. I got impatient.” 

“...Sorry,” Emma murmured, eyes drifting over the brunette’s form once more, and the other woman sighed. The motion pushed her breasts forward in a way that Emma was definitely not focusing on, definitely not making her dizzy -- 

"Are you just going to stand there and stare?" Regina set the book aside -- "Or are you going to do something about it?"

The challenge in the phrase sent a thrill through her.  

Regina rolled her eyes. “At least tell me what you think.” 

“What do I think?” Emma shook her head, finally gathering the ability to speak. “What I think is...holy shit, Regina." 

That earned her a smile. "You said you wanted to see me in red." She watched her for another moment, eyes trailing down over the blonde’s form, and suddenly Emma felt underdressed in her old tank and shorts. “Do you like it?” 

"I more than like it, Regina. Are you kidding? You look incredible." 

"I'll ask you again, then. Are you going to do something about it?" 

Emma swallowed, stepping forward so that she was standing at the edge of the bed. "Is that an invitation?" 

Regina cocked her head to the side, reaching up to take her glasses off as she sat up. "It is." She set the glasses aside on the nightstand, shifting to sit at the edge of the bed, directly in front of Emma. She peered up at her. "What do you say?" 

Emma reached out, drawing a hand through the other woman's hair and tucking it behind her ear. She wanted to see her, wanted those dark eyes roaming over her body -- "Do you want me?" 

The words came out as a whisper with her breath, barely audible. 

"Yes." Regina replied, without hesitation. 

Emma locked eyes with the other woman. "Tell me, then. I want to hear you say it." She echoed the other woman's words from earlier that morning, trying to disguise the way her hands were shaking as she drifted her fingertips over the curve of the brunette's neck. 

Regina only smiled. And it was sultry, seductive, but it was also...sweet. Reassuring. Affectionate, and -- 

There it was again, that warmth in her chest. 

It was fucking terrifying. 

Regina reached out, wrapping her hands around Emma's hips and drawing her closer. When she stepped forward the other woman pushed the hem of her tank up with the tips of her fingers, exposing her lower abdomen. She leaned forward and pressed her lips to taut skin, trailing upwards as she drew the fabric higher. 

"Emma," She murmured eventually, looking up once more to meet the blonde's eyes. "There is nothing that I want more right now than you." 

Emma let out a shaky breath, because fuck if that wasn’t the hottest thing she’d heard in a long time. It was all the invitation she needed. 

She bent down, breaking Regina’s grip on her hips as she hooked her hands beneath the brunette’s thighs and shifted her back onto the bedspread. She landed among the stack of pillows that had been pushed towards the headboard, and Emma’s heart raced at the sight. Emma crawled on top of her, slipping one hand over Regina’s outer thigh and up toward her hip as she did so.

Regina slid her hands back around Emma’s waist, up to her shoulder blades, pulling the blonde down to kiss her once more. Emma obliged without hesitation, bracing her weight against the headboard with her free hand.  

And Regina...

Regina was all over her. 

She let her hands roam freely, every touch burning against Emma’s cool skin. 

Hand in her hair, hand at her waist, one leg hooked around Emma's -- fingers tucked into the waistband of her shorts, fuck --

Emma had never been so turned on in her life. 

Sure, she’d been with women before, been with women who she found stunningly beautiful -- but none like this. Nobody like Regina

She’d never had somebody touch her like this, drink her in with their entire self like this -- and fuck, it was intoxicating.

Regina pushed her fingertips beneath her top and she let out a shuddering breath against the brunette's lips. She smiled in response, Emma could feel it, and scraped her fingernails over Emma's abdomen as she brought them upward. She hissed when she felt those fingernails skim over the curve of her breast, and then over her nipple -- and again, drawing Emma’s lower lip into her mouth and nipping at the tender flesh as she took it between her fingers. Emma whimpered at the feeling, and Regina released it, soothing it with the tip of her tongue. She pulled back just enough to speak -- just enough to lock her dark gaze with Emma’s. 

“You can touch me, you know,” She said, free hand falling to Emma’s and drawing it upwards to the dip of her waist. “I wore red just for you. Tell me about it, Emma.” She sat up a hair, just enough to trail her lips over the curve of Emma’s jaw and murmur her words at the blonde’s ear. “Were you thinking about me while you fucked yourself?” 

Emma shuddered, hand flying up to catch Regina’s jaw, turn her just enough to capture her lips in a heady, open mouthed kiss. Regina sighed against her lips, fingers splaying to palm at her breast, all pretense of teasing falling away with Emma’s tongue skimming her teeth. 

“Yes,” Emma panted, earning a satisfied hum from Regina that bordered on a moan, and god damn, she could already feel wetness pooling at the seam of her shorts. “In red, a lot. And in black,” She added, finally letting her hand drop again to the other woman’s breasts. She trailed her fingers along the edge of the lace, over her nipple, down the swell of her chest and back around to the clasp. She undid it with one hand. “But mostly, in nothing at all.” 

Regina grinned against her lips. “I wear that just for you, and you’re so quick to take it off.” 

“I want to see you,” Emma hissed, and Regina pushed her back with the hand at her chest, sitting up as she went. She ghosted her lips over Emma’s as she did so, peering at her through hooded eyes each time she pulled back. 

"Then look at me." 

She pressed her palm at Emma’s breastbone, shifting the blonde back further, and Emma obeyed, falling back on her heels. She was panting, still reeling from their kiss, but she watched as Regina pulled her legs up into a crossed position, maintaining eye contact as she drew her hair back behind her shoulders. She dropped the straps one by one, letting the lace fall to the bed. 

"Fuck, you're beautiful," Emma breathed, eyes dropping to take in the other woman's form.

Regina reached forward, catching both of Emma's wrists in her hands and drawing them towards herself, not quite close enough for contact, but enough to let Emma's fingertips whisper over her waist. 

"You can touch me, Emma," She repeated, leaning in to kiss her once more. "I want you to touch me. Everywhere." She spoke the words against Emma's lips, threading a hand back around Emma's neck and slipping her tongue between her lips. She rose up on her knees for a moment, shifting forward to straddle the blonde's lap instead. Emma shuddered at the feeling -- at the heat radiating from between the brunette's thighs, pressed close to her own as she wound her hands through Emma's hair. 

And, fuck, she didn’t have to be told twice.

She let her hands wander wherever she wanted -- drifting to palm the other woman's breasts, tweak at her nipples, and then farther down -- 

Regina pushed her back without warning and Emma pulled her hand back, afraid she'd pushed too far. 

"Sorry --” She began, but Regina cut her off with a finger at her lips.

“Don’t be,” The brunette growled. “I told you you could touch me. I meant it.” She ran her finger along the curve of Emma’s mouth, pushing it between her lips for just a moment. Emma swiped her tongue over it obediently, and Regina responded with a predatory smile. “But it’s my turn first.” She leaned down, breasts skimming over Emma’s own as she all but purred into her ear. “I told you I would fuck you properly.” 

Fuck

She pulled back and her eyes dropped to the blonde’s torso, where she'd pushed her tank up past her abdomen. She let her gaze linger on the thin fabric, and then drift back up to meet Emma’s gaze once more. 

"You're wearing entirely too much clothing, Miss Swan." She hooked her fingers beneath the fabric and drew it upwards. Emma obliged, raising her arms so that the other woman could pull it off of her and toss it to the side. Regina let out a sigh as the fabric disappeared, head tilting as she drank in the sight before her. "Perfect." She trailed her fingers over Emma’s chest, down her breastbone and down towards her navel. She let them hook into the blonde’s shorts, this time dipping her hand fully beneath the fabric. Emma gasped as her fingers drifted just low enough to skim over her clit. It was a feather light touch, just a tease, but it was enough to send a thrill through Emma’s abdomen. She shifted her hips forward, seeking friction, and Regina’s lips parted at the motion. The corner of her lips pulled up in a smirk, and she drew her hand back out. Emma whimpered, and she brought her eyes back to Emma’s.

“I said properly,” she reminded her. “Lie back.” 

Emma did as she was told, swallowing as Regina shifted off of her. She tugged Emma’s shorts and panties off in one go, leaving her bare on the bedspread. She tossed the fabric off into the corner, forgotten. Her gaze raked over Emma’s body, and she shuddered under that appraisal. 

“Yours too,” She rasped, and Regina nodded her agreement. 

“Alright.” She shifted, slipping her own panties off and dropping them off the side of the bed. Emma drew in a heavy breath as Regina moved to climb on top of her once more. She parted her legs, letting the brunette straddle her thigh.

“Fuck,” She murmured as Regina settled down on top of her. 

She was wet

As wet as Emma was, maybe more -- she pushed her thigh up slightly, lips parting as slickness coated her skin. Regina gasped at the contact, bearing down against her with one hand braced against Emma’s hip.

“Grind on me,” Emma breathed. 

“I said it was my turn first,” Regina protested, but it was breathy, and even as she spoke she slid her hips over Emma’s thigh. Emma reached up to grip at her hips, drawing her forward. 

“Grind on me while you fuck me, then,” She amended, and Regina nodded, picking up her rhythm as her hand dropped back between Emma’s thighs. She traced a couple of lazy, distracted circles around the blonde’s clit, and then slipped them further down through her folds. 

“Fuck, Emma, you’re wet.” She pressed two fingers inside of her, meeting no resistance. “Do you really want me this bad?” 

“More,” Emma panted, sighing as Regina drew her fingers out and pressed them back in, slowly, reverently -- “I want nothing more than you,” She confessed, and it was an echo of Regina’s earlier words, but fuck, it was also true

And that was terrifying, but it was also exhilarating to admit.

Regina’s eyes dropped to meet her own, and then she surged forward, capturing Emma’s lips in a kiss that was filled with more passion, more emotion than anything they’d shared so far. Emma’s hand flew up to tangle in her hair, holding her close as she raised her thigh to meet her core once more as Regina continued to work her fingers in and out. Her own thigh bumped against her hand as she ground against Emma’s leg, adding force behind her ministrations. She pressed her thumb to Emma’s clit, and Emma gasped against her lips, and Regina took the opportunity to slip her tongue inside. 

They remained like that for several minutes, Regina rocking her hips against Emma’s thigh, swallowing Emma’s gasps and moans in her kiss as she drew circles over her clit and curled her fingers forward. Emma rocked against her, throwing her head back against the bed as the pressure built between her thighs, and when the dam finally broke Regina caught her lips in her own once more, muffling her cry in a kiss and drawing the orgasm out with gentle strokes of her thumb. 

“Good girl,” Regina murmured at her ear, slowly withdrawing her fingers. She’d stilled her motions in the aftermath, and Emma took a moment to recover, lying there with one hand still on Regina’s hip, the other tangled in the bedspread. She slowly released the other woman, somewhat conscious of the fact that her fingers had left imprints in her skin. 

She sat up with one arm behind her, just enough that Regina fell back against her thigh once more. She reached out for the other woman, grasping at her waist and encouraging her to fall back into the rhythm she’d established before. Regina raised a brow, and Emma met the questioning gaze with one of defiance. 

“I want you to ride me,” She instructed, and Regina tilted her head, a breathy laugh bubbling up from her chest. Even still, she ground down on Emma ever so slightly. 

“I thought I already did.” 

“Not enough,” Emma growled. “I want you to come on me. Please,” She added, and Regina’s chest heaved as she drew in a ragged breath. “I want to feel you come against me. Ride me.”

Regina's tongue darted out to wet her lips, and she let her hand fall to cover Emma's. It was her right hand, the one she'd had between Emma's thighs only moments before, and Emma swallowed as she felt her own slickness coating Regina's fingers. Without breaking eye contact, Regina began to move once more, lacing their fingers together against her waist as she rocked against Emma's thigh. 

Emma let her eyes drift over the other woman's body, savoring the sight. Her dark hair had fallen back around her shoulders -- so much longer than when they’d first met. Her eyes fluttered closed as she found her rhythm, and she tipped her head back. Emma found herself watching the way her throat worked as she swallowed, the way her chest would shudder with every pant and gasp. 

After a few minutes her movements became more erratic, her grip on Emma’s fingers tightening and her mouth falling open. She let out a whimper and Emma curled up to catch her lips with her own, dampening the noise with her kiss. Regina’s other hand flew up to clutch at Emma’s shoulder, then fist in her hair as breathy moans escaped her lips. She broke the kiss as she came, instead pressing their foreheads together, eyes screwed shut, hand tightening painfully in Emma’s hair as she gasped. 

She rode out the aftershocks against Emma’s skin, eventually stilling and slumping forward against Emma’s shoulders. She released the other woman’s hair, opening her eyes to meet green as she ran tentative fingers over Emma’s scalp. 

“Sorry,” She whispered, breath still coming hard. 

“Don’t be,” Emma breathed, low but insistent. “You’re fucking perfect, you know that?” She added, tracing her thumb over Regina’s waist where the brunette still had their hands gathered. The words hung between them, a confession, weighted with more than just desire. Regina seemed to realize it too, and she pulled back just slightly with a sigh. She pulled her fingers from Emma’s hair, bringing them instead to trail over her neck and then along her jawline. She traced her thumb over the curve of Emma’s lip, and the way she was looking at Emma -- the softness in her eyes, the tiny frown on her lips -- it was intimate in a way that was fucking terrifying

And, oh, Emma wanted it. 

“Come here,” Regina murmured, shifting back off of Emma’s lap and pulling her by their still-joined hands as she settled against the pile of pillows on her side. Emma followed her without question -- there was something telling in there that she wasn’t willing to broach at the moment -- and laid down next to her. Regina brought their hands up into the light, unthreading their fingers and pressing them together. Emma followed her lead. And when Regina pulled their hands apart, Emma felt it like a loss, until the brunette brought it to her jaw instead, cupping her cheek as she pressed her lips lightly to Emma’s. Emma rolled them over so that Regina was on her back, Emma hovering over her. She moved to pepper kisses down the other woman’s throat, down her breasts, her abdomen -- 

And when Regina came for a second time that night, it was with Emma’s name reverent on her lips, and Emma’s fingers laced tightly with her own. 

 

Emma woke the next morning to the alarm she’d set the night before. It jolted her out of her dream, and she shot up, reaching out to snatch her phone from the nightstand and turn it off. She fell back against the pillow with a groan. 

“Turn it off,” Regina grumbled beside her, and Emma hummed. 

“I did.” She was already drifting back into sleep.  

“Good.” 

The bed dipped as Regina shifted, and then Emma felt her curl against her, draping an arm over her and pulling her closer. She could feel Regina’s breath tickle at the back of her neck, her breathing deepening as she fell back asleep. The sleepy fog began to clear from Emma’s mind, memories flooding back to her as she blinked awake. 

Oh. 

Yellow light filled the room, filtering in from the large window that was to Emma’s back. She could hear the others shuffling about in the common area, and if she listened closely enough, she could hear muffled conversation, too. 

And then there was -- 

Her eyes dropped to Regina’s arm, wrapped so casually around herself. Swallowing, she tentatively threaded her hand through Regina’s, relief flooding her chest as the brunette gave a contented hum behind her. 

She shifted onto her other side, bringing her face to face with the other woman. 

Her eyes were still closed, breathing still coming soft, but there was a tiny smile at the corners of her lips. As Emma watched her eyes fluttered open, lids heavy with sleep, and the smile grew. 

“Good morning,” She murmured, and her voice was raspy, and fuck, what Emma wouldn’t give to hear it every morning. 

“Morning,” She replied, barely a whisper, and Regina’s eyes dropped to her lips. Before she could lose the nerve, she brought her hand to cup the other woman’s cheek and pressed a chaste kiss to her lips. To her relief, Regina leaned into it. “Mmm,” She hummed after Emma pulled away, snuggling back down beneath the blankets. “Do we have to get up?” 

“Afraid so,” Emma whispered, a smile ghosting her lips. She trailed her fingertips down over the other woman’s bare shoulder. They’d fallen asleep naked the night before, tangled in one another’s arms, Regina’s head on Emma’s chest. The evidence of their encounter was all around them: their clothing had been thrown haphazardly around the room; Regina’s smudged makeup -- she’d brushed her teeth after ice cream, but she hadn’t washed her face, Emma remembered. Her hair was a mess, and she had mascara smudged beneath her lashes. Emma was sure she hadn’t fared much better. 

“Fine,” Regina grumbled, but she only curled closer to the other woman, and Emma chuckled. 

“You’re really not a morning person, are you?” She asked, and Regina opened her eyes again to fix her with a playful glare. “I always figured you for the type to be up with the sun.” 

“I value my sleep,” She replied, and Emma broke into a grin. 

They laid like that for another minute, Emma tracing nonsensical patterns over the brunette’s freckled shoulder. The words what are we doing? pressed at her lips, dancing on the tip of her tongue, but she couldn’t bring herself to speak them out loud. The possibility that she wouldn’t like the answer was just...too much. And so instead she just lay there, content to drink in the other woman’s sleepy gaze, warm under thick blankets. 

In that moment, it felt like it could be enough. 

But then the snooze alarm sounded from Emma’s phone, and she sighed, flipping over onto her back and grabbing her phone from the nightstand again. She silenced the alarm and Regina sat up, stretching. 

“Alright, alright. I’m up.” She swung her legs out of the bed, leaving the covers behind. Emma didn’t move, letting her eyes linger. “Take a picture, Swan,” She teased, and Emma laughed. 

“Don’t tempt me.” 

Regina shot her another half-stern, half amused glance. 

“I’m kidding, don’t worry.” She shook her head, following the other woman out of bed.  

 

Emma entered the common area first, sheepish with the knowledge that they’d had sex with their family on the other side of the walls only a few hours before. But nobody said anything, just greeted her with their usual good mornings, and she met them with her own, thankful that they’d apparently been quiet enough to remain inconspicuous. That was, as much as they could -- given the intervention her father had presented her with the night before, he and Henry were already fully aware of the change in their relationship. 

That was -- could she call it a relationship?

She wanted to, hoped -- but then again, all it had really been so far was a hell of a lot of kissing. And then, of course, sex. 

But then again, there were those looks that Regina would get. The way she’d fix her with the sweetest gaze before a soft kiss, and it felt like a promise of something. And that was probably wishful thinking, but...still. 

“Em, are you going to eat something?” Mary Margaret’s voice broke her out of her thoughts, and she looked up to see her mother gesturing to a plate of pancakes. “We’re not stopping until after the aquarium.” She peered around her daughter. “Is Regina still asleep?” 

Emma shook her head, shuffling forward to take a plate from the counter and load it up with food. “No, she’s awake. She’s getting dressed.” 

“Good. We need to leave soon,” David chimed in.

“Did you two sleep well?” Mary Margaret set a glass of orange juice down in front of Emma. 

A flush crept over Emma’s cheeks. She had, in fact. Better than she had in a long time, not that she was going to admit that in present company. “Yeah, we did, thanks.” 

“I’ll bet you did,” David muttered under his breath. 

“Gross,” Henry chimed in, shoveling a forkful of pancakes into his mouth. Syrup dribbled over his chin, and Emma balled up a napkin and tossed it at him in response.  

“What was that, Henry?” Mary Margaret asked, and Henry shook his head. 

“Nothing, grandma.” 

Regina appeared shortly after that, fully dressed in comparison to Emma’s pajamas. Mary Margaret hurried her back to her bedroom, insisting that Emma be ready to go in fifteen, and so she threw on a pair of jeans and a comfortable button up. Regina appeared in the bedroom as Emma was pulling on her shoes, and she closed the door behind herself, strutting over to plant a kiss directly on Emma’s lips, hands sliding around her waist as she did so. 

And then all of the questions were back, questions of what are we doing and can we keep doing this when we get home and for the love of god, I think I’m in love with you --

Oh, fuck. 

That last one was new. 

Then again, was it? 

 

They made it to the aquarium just after the doors opened, but it was already fairly crowded. It was apparently a popular stop in this town, and for good reason: it was one of those fully immersive setups, with tunnels directly through the tanks, allowing the fish to swim around and above the guests. Emma liked fish -- this wasn’t the first time she’d been to a large aquarium but it was still pretty cool. Henry had been once before on a school trip, he informed her, but he still wandered around with wide eyes. 

Regina, though? 

Regina was watching the shoals of saltwater fish swim by with stars in her eyes. She tracked them across the domed glass, turning fully around to follow their motions. She looked...dazzled, fully entranced by the bright flashes of scales and shimmering lights of the surface above them. 

And Emma. 

Emma was fucking head over heels. That was it. There was no shying away from it. 

But Regina had caught her staring, so that was a problem for another time. 

Emma hadn't seen an expression that soft on her face in -- well, ever. Not unless it was directed at Henry. And now she'd turned that gaze on Emma. 

"I've never been," she breathed. "To an aquarium, I mean. We didn't have anything like this back home, I..." She shook her head, bewildered, and turned her attention back to the glass. "I didn't realize they could be so beautiful." 

"Neither did I," Emma replied, but she was looking at Regina. The other woman turned back to her, eyes wide, as if maybe she'd realized what Emma had meant -- what she was really thinking -- but then a huge shape drifted into view in front of them, and she jumped. 

"Oh! A shark!" She broke into a grin. "I've never seen a shark before." 

"Just mermaids?" Emma teased, and Regina laughed. 

"Yeah. Just mermaids." She shook her head. "Come on. I want to see the octopus." She slipped her hand into Emma's and tugged her down the hall. 

And...wow. 

After everything they'd done -- after they'd had sex, Emma reminded herself -- such a simple touch -- out in front of everyone, not tucked away in the bedroom --  shouldn't have set her skin on fire. Shouldn't have her heart racing, shouldn't have her legs weak. But here she was, with Regina’s fingers interlaced with her own and her heart in her throat. 

They came to a stop in front of the next pane of glass. A huge octopus floated up directly in front of them, appearing to make eye contact with Regina, and it smacked a tentacle against the glass. A laugh bubbled up from the other woman’s chest, lighter than Emma had ever heard. 

"Wow," Regina grinned. She was practically giggling, and Emma had to fight the urge to laugh right along with her. "He's huge." She lifted her other hand, pressing it lightly against the glass to meet the animal's. 

"They're intelligent," Emma said. "He's saying hi, you know." 

"Really?" Her eyes darted over to meet Emma’s, just for a moment, and in that second Emma felt like she was drowning. 

“Yes, really.” 

Regina kept her eyes on her for another moment, smile softening into something bordering on emotional, but then she turned back to the glass. The creature pried its tentacle away, moving on to the next section. 

“There he goes,” She whispered, dropping her arm back to her side. Emma opened her mouth to speak, but then Regina caught sight of their son.  “Henry! Henry, did you see the octopus?” 

Regina’s hand slipped out of Emma’s as she hurried off in his direction. He met her enthusiasm with equal force, and Emma couldn’t help her fond smile as she watched the pair. Regina took Henry’s hand, dragging him off towards the octopus, much as she had with Emma’s. The creature had moved to the other side of the dome, and Emma stayed where she was, content to watch her two favorite people as they enthused over sea creatures of all things. Regina pressed her hand to the glass in front of it, motioning for Henry to do the same, and when the octopus put his tentacle against Henry’s hand, Regina actually gave an excited little jump, clapping her hands together in front of herself, practically giddy. Emma grinned as Henry shook his head and laughed with her excitement.

“Emma.” Her mother’s voice broke her out of the trance, and she turned her gaze reluctantly from Regina. Emma stiffened, preparing herself for the accusation --

But when she turned, Mary Margaret was just watching her with kindness in her eyes. Kindness, and knowing. 

“Are you in love with Regina?” She asked the question gently, without a hint of anger. Just...warmth. 

It took Emma aback more than any accusation could have, and she just stood there, mouth open without words to fill the silence. Apparently, that spoke volumes. 

“It’s okay, Emma.”

Emma shook her head, finally finding her voice. “How did you know?” 

Mary Margaret’s soft, reassuring smile broke into an amused grin. “You mean besides the fact that you’ve been sneaking off to make out at every opportunity?” 

“Oh. You noticed that, huh?” Emma replied, at least having the decency to look sheepish. 

Her mother shook her head. “Emma, everyone noticed. You weren’t exactly secretive about it.” 

“...Oh.” She stared at her for a moment, adding lamely, “I thought I was doing alright.” 

Mary Margaret laughed, stepping forward to put an arm around Emma’s shoulder. Emma leaned into the touch, resting her head on her shoulder for a moment. “So,” She continued. “You love her?” 

A moment passed before Emma worked up the courage to answer. “...Yes.” She sighed, folding her arms over her chest. She trained her eyes on the glass in front of her, opting to stare at fish rather than meet her mother’s eyes. “Yeah, I love her. And I want to say something, believe me. I’ve thought about it so many times now. I’m just...terrified that she won’t feel the same way.” 

“You could ask her, you know.” 

Emma jumped, breaking out of her mother’s embrace as she spun around at the sound of the voice. 

Regina’s voice. 

She was standing there, Henry beside her, with her arms crossed over her chest. And she looked almost shy, so strange to see on such a commanding woman -- 

“Regina,” She breathed. “I thought...you were over there.” 

“I was. Now I’m here.” Some of the timidness dropped at that, replaced with the ghost of a smile. “You could ask me, Emma. If I feel the same way.” She repeated the words, and Emma drew in a shaky breath. 

“Okay,” She began. “Do you?” 

Regina shook her head, that smile growing into something fond, amused. “Properly, Emma.” 

“You’re going to make me say it, aren’t you?” 

“I am.” 

Emma swallowed, fear creeping its way into her chest. “This can happen?” She asked, memories of their first kiss playing through her mind once more. “You’re sure this time?” 

“Yeah, I”m sure. This can happen,” Regina echoed. “I want this to happen.” 

Emma heaved a sigh, building up her nerve. “Alright, then. Regina Mills, I’m in love with you.” She paused, letting the words echo through the exhibit, bouncing off the glass. After a moment, she added, “Do you feel the same way?” 

Regina beamed at that, and Emma felt her heart stop. “Yes, Emma, I feel the same way. I have for a long time.” She shook her head. “Now that that’s settled...take me on a date?” 

A laugh bubbled up in Emma’s throat. “Yeah, okay. A date.” 

“Alright, then.” Regina grinned, stepping forward to take Emma’s hand in her own. She glanced up then, meeting Mary Margaret’s eyes. “Oh, you are not crying right now, Snow.” 

Emma followed her gaze to where her mother was standing behind them tears brimming in her eyes. David had appeared at some point -- Emma wasn’t sure when -- and he offered her a supportive smile, wrapping his hand around Mary Margaret’s shoulder. But she darted forward instead, wrapping both Emma and Regina into a hug. 

“I can’t help it! You guys are just too sweet!” 

Mom,” Emma whined, and Regina let out an indignant grunt, but then Henry joined, and then David too, and Emma let them. Inside their little family huddle, her hand was wrapped in Regina’s, and that was...well, really fucking nice . “Alright, alright,” She muttered after a while. “You guys are getting a little too mushy. Get off.” 

They laughed, releasing the couple one by one. When Henry stepped away, he beamed at them. 

“I’m happy for you, moms. It’s about time.” 

Emma rolled her eyes, but she squeezed his shoulder fondly. Regina reached out to muss his hair, adding, “Love you, Henry.”

There was an awkward moment in which they all just stood around, Regina’s hand still firmly in Emma’s. Emma had just opened her mouth to speak when a large shape drifted into the corner of her vision, and -- 

“Oh! Snow, David -- did you see the octopus?!”