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They’d made this trip for a desk. Just a desk, because Henry’s was old and didn’t have nearly enough drawers to support his new hobby of writing with fancy wells of ink and quills. He’d paced back and forth in front of them, explaining exactly why he needed more space to keep the thick paper and the thin and the different colors, the wax for sealing letters, and that wasn’t even touching the supplies he’d need if he actually wanted to bind the books so really, a desk would be such a good present for his birthday – 

Emma had been on the verge of laughter by the time Regina had clasped her hands over his shoulders and said, “Henry, sweetheart. We’ll get you a desk.” 

And when Regina had insisted that they go to pick it out together and that it had to be a surprise for Henry – well. Emma hadn’t exactly protested. 

Now she thinks maybe she should have. 

Their mission had been successful – Emma has the desk in her arms. Or, well, the box of desk pieces, anyway. She’d insisted on coming over to put it together so that it could be ready to go when they surprised Henry with it, too, but she thinks Regina might be tired of her by that point. 

After all, by the looks of it, they were going to be together all night. 

Regina takes a step towards the automatic doors, and Emma frowns. 

“Regina, you can’t seriously want to go out there.”

And in true Regina fashion, she ignores Emma completely. 

The doors slide open as she approaches, shuddering under the force of the wind, and a blast of bitter air hits them immediately. Emma feels the sting of something wet and cold as snow coats her entire front half, and she thinks she really should have ducked out of the way, because it’s not like she doesn’t know how stubborn Regina can be. Regina jumps backwards, and the doors close, cutting them off from the storm once more. 

“Nice,” Emma says, and Regina’s expression sours ever so slightly. 

The snow on her skin is already starting to melt, and she scrubs a hand over her face to disperse the worst of the water. The box has protected a significant portion of her legs, at least, and she gives it a silent thank you as she leans it up against the nearest wall so that she can turn back to help Regina.

Regina’s sporting her own dusting of snow, the flakes shimmering in her hair like glitter, and Emma can’t help but snicker at the sight. She fights back the urge to call her something that would get her slapped, like Elsa – which is weird, she thinks, given that Elsa is a real person, apparently, and they’ve actually met – and instead only offers her a smile as she reaches out to brush some of the snow out of Regina’s hair. Regina ducks away from Emma’s touch, though, and Emma falters.

“What are you doing?” There’s no venom behind Regina’s words, not exactly. It’s more like…apprehension, and fuck, that might actually be worse. What does Regina think, that she’s going to hurt her?

Emma retracts her hand, ignoring the flash of hurt she feels in her chest. She doesn’t give voice to her thoughts, saying instead,  “I’m just trying to help.” 

Regina frowns. “I’m fine.” She reaches up to run her hands through her hair a couple of times, effectively removing most of the snow. The heat from her hands melts what’s left of it, leaving her with damp locks. Her eyes flicker back to Emma’s, and she adds, “It’s in yours, too.” Her voice is softer now, a little friendlier – closer to what Emma’s come to expect from Regina six years down the line. 

She doesn’t want to think about how relieved that makes her feel. 

Emma smooths a hand through her own hair, lamenting the fact that she’d actually bothered to curl her hair this morning. So much for that. 

“We could have taken David’s truck,” Regina grumbles, crossing her arms over her chest. It’s fucking cute, the way that her nose wrinkles as she pouts, and fuck. Emma doesn’t need to be thinking things like that, but it’s hard when she’s standing there with wet hair and snow still clinging to the ridiculous suit set that she’d insisted on wearing furniture shopping in the damn dead of winter. “David’s truck could have driven back in this,” She continues, her voice taking on that signature exasperated edge that’s reserved just for Emma. “But no, you just had to insist on driving your bug.” 

Emma rolls her eyes. “We only came for a desk, Regina. A desk can fit in my bug. Besides, how was I supposed to know it’d be this bad?” 

“You could have checked the radar?” She points out, words scathing. 

“Did you check the radar, your majesty?” Emma huffs. Regina’s expression sours, and Emma takes that as a no. “That’s what I thought.” 

Even still, she turns towards the windows, eyeing the blur of white and gray that the outside world has become. David had warned her there would be a storm – not that she’s going to admit that to Regina – but she hadn’t expected that it’d be this awful . Even from inside, even with the layer of snow that’s begun to build on the glass, Emma can see that the snow is already piling up. She thinks it may mostly be drift that she’s seeing, but even then, there are definitely at least three inches on the ground already.

And yeah, maybe she should have checked the radar. 

“Whatever,” Emma says eventually. “I don’t think David’s truck could handle this either, anyway. It’s bad out there.”  

“What the hell are we supposed to do, then?” 

“We stay,” Emma replies too quickly, matter of fact in a way that earns her a glare. “The manager said they’re leaving this place open for people who can’t go home. We can spend the night here and go back in the morning.” Regina just continues to eye her, as sour as ever, and she rolls her eyes, adding, “For the love of fuck, Regina. You’ll live. It can’t be as bad as the Enchanted Forest, anyway. At least the IKEA has indoor plumbing.” 

Regina huffs at that, but she doesn’t protest any further. Instead, she only shoots back, “I also had magic in the Enchanted Forest. And a castle,” She adds. “I was a queen.” 

A queen who had to piss in a bucket, Emma thinks, and promptly decides not to give voice to that particular thought. She’s in enough trouble already.

“And here you’ve got me, and thirty-seven beds to choose from,” She says instead. She offers Regina a brilliant smile, earning an even saltier frown, and continues, “So I’d say the score is about even. Maybe sixty-forty – in my favor, of course.” 

Regina only rolls her eyes, turning back towards the registers and heading towards the nearest couch section. “Pick up the box, would you?” 

 

Emma thanks her lucky stars that of all places to be stranded, they at least got stuck in an IKEA. 

She’s not going to admit it, of course, but it is at least partially her fault that they’re in this position. She can’t be blamed for the weather, of course, because that’s beyond her control – she wonders briefly if that’s something that’s possible with magic, and if Regina might teach her at some point – but she had been the one to insist that they make the drive all the way out here. And she had known that there was going to be snow. 

Again, not this bad

Regina had insisted on one of the smaller furniture stores, something closer to home. But Emma had pushed for IKEA, because the smaller ones were likely to be more expensive. She wanted to split the cost between them, so that they could say it was from both of them. Besides, IKEA has so many more options, she’d said, that they’re more likely to find something – 

And eventually, Regina had begrudgingly agreed. 

So, really, Emma’s done them a favor. At least they’re stuck somewhere with a food court and all the beds anyone could ever ask for. 

Regina, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to agree. 

They’re in the food court now, and Emma fights back amusement as Regina eyes her plate of meatballs with a look that Emma can only describe as utter disdain. She watches as Regina pokes at one with her fork, only to roll it towards the side of the plate. 

“So which one of us is the lady and which is the tramp?” 

Regina glances up, confusion evident on her face, and she frowns. “What?” 

Emma gestures towards her plate with her own fork. “You know. Because you’re rolling the meatball. Like that one scene, with the spaghetti.” 

Regina’s brow furrows. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.” 

Emma blinks. “You’re kidding me. The Lady and the Tramp,” She says, and Regina just gives an indifferent shrug. “That’s a classic, Regina. We’re watching that as soon as we get back.” 

“It sounds distasteful.” 

Emma shakes her head. “Not tramp like that. It’s an old movie. It’s about this stray dog that falls in love with an upper class family’s cocker spaniel. He tries to impress her with his street knowledge and there’s this scene where they’re eating spaghetti together and…what?” 

Regina’s chin is in her hand now, elbow propped on the table, and she’s watching her with this smile on her lips that’s halfway between fond and wry. She shakes her head, replying, “Nothing.” The smile grows, though, and she continues, “But I’m sure it’s clear which of us is the lady in this situation.” 

And, okay, Emma wants to be offended by that, but she’s set herself up for that one. “Yeah, whatever. I could be the lady if I tried.” 

Regina raises a brow. “Miss Swan, you are most certainly the tramp in this situation. Remind me, which one of us has lived on the streets? I am quite literally royalty.” 

“Technically so am I,” Emma shoots back. “I just never got to be a princess because somebody cursed my entire family.” 

“Resulting in you becoming the stray dog,” Regina fires back, and Emma grins. 

Three years ago, she thinks, this would’ve been a conversation filled with venom. 

Now, though?

“Fine,” She agrees, and Regina sips at her water, satisfied. “Guess that means I have to kiss you now.” 

Regina chokes on her water. 

“What?!” She sputters, and Emma laughs. 

“It’s an iconic scene, Regina. We have to stay true to character.” Regina’s face has gone a bright red now, and Emma can’t tell if it’s from the coughing or her words. Maybe both, but then again, that’s probably just her wishful thinking. “Relax, I’m just giving you a hard time.” 

“I know that,” Regina says, much too quickly. 

Emma gives her a moment to recover, leaning back in her chair. She’s still grinning, though, when she speaks again. She can’t help it. “You should really try the meatballs. They’re actually pretty good. Besides, it’s kind of your only option until the roads are plowed.” 

Regina looks down at her meatballs and scowls. 

And, yeah, maybe there’s no point in denying it. Emma’s got a fucking crush . She hasn’t had a fucking crush since she’d been a teenager. 

She hides it behind a roll of her eyes, and leans forward to stab one of Regina’s meatballs with her fork and pop it into her mouth. 

“Hey!” Regina protests. “That’s rude.” 

“You’re not eating them,” Emma points out around a mouthful of meatball. 

Regina wrinkles her nose, but there’s a playfulness to her words that makes Emma’s heart race. “You’re talking with your mouth full, and you really thought you’d be the lady?”

Emma swallows, and then laughs. “I said I could if I wanted to. Who says I want to be fancy? Looks boring.” She reaches for another, and Regina bats her wrist away. Regina picks up one of the meatballs by the little toothpick. She shoots Emma a skeptical glance, but eventually she takes a bite. She chews slowly, and Emma asks, “See? They’re pretty good, right?” 

Regina shrugs. “They’re fine.” 

Emma grins. 

Eventually, Regina does finish her plate. They hang out in the cafeteria for a little while, Henry’s new desk leaned against their table, before the staff that had stayed behind appear and announce that they’re going to be playing some christmas movies on one of the television sets. She glances at Regina, a question, and she only shrugs, mildly interested. 

They make it a half an hour before a woman turns to them and says, “You two are adorable! How long have you been together?” 

Regina glares at her, says, “We’re not,” And puts distance between herself and Emma. They hadn’t really even been that close – just close enough for their knees to brush, and so what if Emma had been focusing on that more than the movie? 

Emma glares at the woman too, but not for the same reasons. 

After that Regina is stiff. Another fifteen minutes passes and she leans over, murmurs quietly so that she doesn’t interrupt the movie, “Hey. I’m ready to turn in if you are. Wanna find a bed and camp out?” 

Regina’s eyes snap to her. She studies Emma for a moment, swallows, and says, “You want to share?” 

Oh. 

Right. 

Emma panics a bit at that, and shrugs. “If you do, I mean…” She trails off, her hushed whisper dropping to nothing as she glances around at the group of people stuck here with them. 

Regina looks…pained, almost. 

Emma doesn’t know what to do with that. 

Eventually, though, Regina nods, and stands. She looks at Emma expectantly, and waits for her to do the same before Emma picks up the desk and they slip off farther into the showroom halls. They’ve dimmed the lights, shutting off all but a few so that there’s just enough light to see by and no more. It makes the place feel eerie, though she knows it’s just so they can get some sleep. 

Emma waits until the sounds of the movie have faded off into the distance before she speaks. 

…And then waits some more, because she doesn’t know what the hell she’s going to say

Regina doesn’t say anything either, though, and they pass bedroom setup after bedroom setup before Emma finally can’t take it anymore. 

“So, uh. What kind of bed do you want?” 

Regina lets out a nervous little laugh at that, breathy, and Emma frowns. “I don’t know.” 

“Look, Regina,” Emma begins, and she finally meets Regina’s eyes. “We don’t have to share if you’d rather have your own. I just figured, you know. Strange place and all. I never did like to be alone somewhere unfamiliar, so I thought maybe you wouldn’t either.” She shrugs. “If it’s too awkward, I’m not going to hold it against you.” 

Regina frowns, and Emma’s heart drops. But when she speaks, she says instead, “It’s fine, Emma. Really.” She stops then and nods to Emma’s left. Emma looks over her shoulder just as Regina adds, “How about that one?” 

It’s a secluded little setup compared to some of the others, just around a corner that will afford them a little bit more privacy than most of the others. A fake wall of cabinets and a dresser complete the ensemble, shielding them further from view of the main hall. 

…Not that Emma’s going to try anything. It’s just nice to know nobody will be looking at them. 

Right. 

“Sounds good,” She says, her voice perhaps a tiny bit too high pitched. If Regina catches it, though, she doesn’t say anything. Instead she just makes her way towards it, flipping back the covers and feeling the sheets between her fingers. She wrinkles her nose, apparently not finding them to her liking – this is Ikea, after all, Emma thinks. She’s not going to find silk – but drops her bag anyway. Emma follows her, leaning Henry’s desk against the dresser display.

It’s awkward, getting ready for bed in a fucking showroom, with Regina of all people. 

Nevermind how many times Emma’s fantasized about doing just this – changing into pajamas, brushing her teeth just to slip into bed next to her son’s other mother. 

Except, her fantasies involve warm kisses and Regina wrapped in her arms, pulled tight to her chest. 

She sighs, wondering when her desires towards Regina had turned from purely carnal to that.

Regina slips out of her heels and drops to just below Emma’s height. Emma realizes just how rarely she’s seen her in anything but. Something stings in her chest at the thought that Regina is so rarely relaxed around her, even though it really shouldn’t elicit a damn thing.

Regina looks sheepish for a moment, and Emma thinks impossibly (or not, considering Regina is a real witch from a fairy tale – and fuck, Emma thinks, so is she –) that Regina has somehow caught on to her thoughts. But then she glances down at her skirt and says, “I don’t think I can sleep in this. Are you…?” She purses her lips, fingers finding the zipper at her hip and lingering there. “Would this be okay?” 

Emma, who doesn’t even know how Regina walks in those pencil skirts (and who is currently relieved that Regina hasn’t developed the ability to read minds,) can’t help but agree. 

“It’s cool,” She says, and then shrugs, heart fluttering as she adds, “I don’t think I can sleep in my jeans, anyway.” 

Emma, who is not currently thinking about the fact that Regina’s going to be next to her all night, with her legs bare. 

And, okay, maybe it’s more than a crush, she thinks. 

Fuck. 

“Okay,” Regina says with a nod, and then she’s pulling down the zipper, the fabric is parting to reveal black lace and tan skin, and  – 

Emma looks away, cheeks burning. She hears Regina’s skirt fall to the floor, and busies herself with unzipping her boots and wriggling out of her own outerwear. She tosses her coat and jeans over her boots and then tugs off her sweater too, leaving her in only a tank top, panties, and socks. She’s never been shy, but she also hopes that none of their comrades-in-blizzard come this far into the showroom. 

When she turns back she finds Regina already beneath the covers, her clothing folded and neatly stacked on top of the nightstand beside the bed. Emma can’t help the little smile that brings to her lips. 

Instead of commenting on how utterly Regina that is, she makes her way around to the other side of the bed and slips beneath the covers. Regina’s laying on her back, eyes trained on the ceiling. Emma climbs in much the same, making sure to keep to her own side, no matter how much her limbs are screaming to just. Reach for her. 

She wants nothing more than to seek Regina out, to wrap her arms around her waist, to draw her back against herself and just fucking hold her there. She wants nothing more than to feel the skin of Regina’s bare thighs whisper against her own. Wants to feel Regina’s heart beat beneath her fingertips. 

But she can’t, and so instead she folds one arm over her chest and tucks the other beneath her pillow. 

Regina doesn’t say anything. She just keeps to her side of the bed, stiff as ever, and they lay like that for several minutes. Emma can tell she’s not asleep by her breathing – she waits and waits for it to even out, to deepen, for Regina to relax – but she never does, and Emma doesn’t either. She can’t. 

Groaning quietly, she flips over onto her stomach, tucking one of her knees up towards herself. She’s still on her side of the bed – it has to be a king, Emma thinks – but her knee brushes Regina’s thigh, and Regina inhales sharply at the contact. Emma feels her stiffen beside her, feels the way the bed jolts a little, and…fuck. 

It takes a moment before she works up the courage to speak, but eventually she does. Her words are quiet, and if her voice breaks halfway through…well. 

“Are you really that afraid of me touching you?” 

She barely manages to get them out. There’s silence then, the only sound that of their breathing. It’s unsettling, Emma thinks. 

“...What?” Regina replies eventually. It’s all she says, the question spoken in a whisper, the quiet volume barely disguising the waver to her voice.  

Emma swallows before she speaks. “Earlier, when I tried to brush the snow out of your hair. You ducked back like you thought…” She trails off. “I don’t know. And now. You jumped again.” 

“Emma…” Regina turns slightly, so that Emma can just see her face in the dim light. She can’t quite make out her expression though, not in her current position, only that her lips are drawn down in a soft frown. “It’s not that. Not at all.” 

So what is it, then?

Emma lays there, tries to build up the courage to ask the question aloud…and fails. After a moment she hears Regina roll back into her former position, hears her tuck her arms beneath the blankets. Several minutes pass in which they both pretend to sleep. Emma’s just feeling the edges of her consciousness go fuzzy when Regina speaks again.

“Emma?” It’s just her name, spoken low, and she tries to ignore the thrill that sends through her chest. 

“Yeah?” 

Regina sits up halfway, turns towards Emma so that she can face her. Emma blinks, waits for her to speak, and when she doesn’t she pulls her arm from beneath the pillow and turns back onto her side. 

“Is everything okay?” 

It’s a stupid question, Emma thinks. Regina frowns, and Emma does too. 

But then Regina sighs and says, “...I’m cold. Do you think you could…” Her words drift off into nothing, and Emma watches as she gestures indistinctly to the space between them. “I’m not afraid of you touching me,” She says, as if it’s an explanation for her request. 

  “Okay,” Emma says. She holds her breath, waits for Regina to continue, and then adds, “I’m glad.” 

“I’m cold,” Regina repeats, and – oh. 

“Right,” Emma says. She shifts onto her back, and then holds her arm out, hopes to god that she’s interpreted this correctly – 

And only lets herself breathe when Regina slides over and settles against her. 

And fuck, this is exactly what she’s been thinking about every night, alone in her cold bed, and now it’s happening

Regina lays facing her,with her head against Emma’s chest and one arm tucked up by her stomach. The position brings their legs directly together, and Regina lets one slide over Emma’s tentatively. Emma curls her arm around Regina, wrapping it around her back and pulling her against herself, and Regina seems encouraged by that. Emma can feel her relax, letting their skin make full contact, and. 

Emma has to fight to steady her breathing. 

She hadn’t paid much attention to Regina’s little stack of clothing except to note that it was comically neat, but fuck, Regina hasn’t gone to bed in much more than Emma has, apparently. Emma feels scratchy lace against her thigh, Regina’s silky shirt against her arm, and swallows back the desire rising in her throat before she can give voice to it and ruin everything. 

“Emma?” 

Emma feels Regina’s voice before she hears it, almost, the vibrations in the other woman’s throat against her skin. Her mind races, piecing together every possible thing that Regina might have to say right now, here in her arms – “Yes?” 

“What happens with the lady and the tramp? With the meatball?” 

Well. That’s not exactly what she’d been expecting to hear. 

What had she been expecting? 

“Oh, uh.” Emma tries to think of how to word it in a way that doesn’t sound like she’d been flirting, because Regina is curled up in her arms, and fuck, she doesn’t want to scare her off. She doesn’t want to do anything to make her uncomfortable, doesn’t want to risk her pulling back, because this is more than she’s ever thought she’d have. “Tramp gets adopted by Lady’s family. They live happily ever after.” 

“Emma.” Regina says, and it’s stern, and that should not make Emma’s heart flutter. Not when Regina has her ear pressed directly to Emma’s chest, not when she can probably hear it hammering away – “You know what I’m asking. What did you mean, when you asked if that meant you could kiss me?” 

“Regina, I’m – I was just joking,” She says, and then wants to take it back, because it’s not quite that either – “I mean, I’d love to kiss you.” Wait, that’s no good either – “I mean. Uh. I wasn’t trying to pressure you, or anything. I was just teasing.” 

Regina props herself up on her elbow so that she can look at Emma.  

And that’s it, Emma thinks, and winces. 

Regina raises a brow, though, and says, “You’re cute when you ramble, you know that?” 

Oh. 

Emma did not know that. 

“Oh,” She says, an echo of her thoughts, and Regina smiles knowingly. She thinks back to her worries about mind reading and dismisses them once more. Instead she says, “Thanks.” And then she catches her lower lip between her teeth and adds, “You’re cute always.” 

Half of her expects Regina to object to that. She’s never been the best at taking compliments, not when they’re genuine, and especially not when they recognize her as anything other than purely intimidating. But she doesn’t – she just looks at Emma. And Emma thinks maybe, just maybe, Regina is going to kiss her, because her eyes are shining now like they do sometimes when she’s said something particularly Emma-ish , as Regina calls it –  

“Well?” Regina prompts, and Emma tries not to let the disappointment show on her face. She must fail, because Regina’s smile grows. 

Still, she barrels on. 

“They, uh, have their little spaghetti dinner date in the alley. And they both get the same piece, and they kiss,” She says. It’s a sad summary of what Emma knows is an iconic scene, and Regina raises a brow. “It’s more romantic than I’m making it sound.” 

“Right,” Regina says, her voice skeptical. But her tone is low, and she’s still so, so close to Emma. It’s dizzying. Emma inhales, trying to concentrate on something beside the fact that if she sat up right now, leaned forward just a hair, she’d catch Regina’s lips with her own.

Except, she’s not going to do that, because. 

Well. 

Why is she not going to do that, again? 

Emma clears her throat, continues speaking so that she doesn’t do something she’s going to regret. 

“Anyways, he pushes the last meatball over to her. It just reminded me of that, the way you were pushing yours.” It sounds lame, when she says it like that, and so she adds, “It kind of works, though. I’m the stray, like you said, and I found my family because we met, so…” Her words die in her throat as Regina brings her free hand up to cup her cheek. 

“Emma,” She says. 

“Yeah?” Emma asks, heart thudding beneath her ribs the moment she feels Regina’s skin make contact. 

Regina offers her an amused smile, and then says, “Stop talking.” 

With that she leans forward, tilting Emma’s jaw and closing the gap between them. She brushes her lips to Emma’s own, feather-light, and Emma draws in a shaking breath. And, fuck, if she’d thought her heart had been racing before, it had been nothing compared to now, because this is happening and she’s wanted this for so long, hasn’t been able to admit it, hasn’t been able to acknowledge that each time Regina so much as glanced her way she’s been fighting this urge – 

And so, it’s Emma who finally gives in. 

She presses her lips to Regina’s, and Regina lets out a little moan that has Emma fighting to remember that they’re not alone, for fuck’s sake, she can’t just – 

She’s getting ahead of herself, anyway. 

It’s Regina who breaks the kiss, of course. Emma…Emma wants to soak up every ounce, every second of this that she can get. She doesn’t think she’d have the strength. But they’re both breathing heavy, and Regina’s hand has slid back to knot into Emma’s hair, and it’s probably for the best that she’s pulled back, because Emma doesn’t know how much self control she has in her at this point. 

Regina’s still close, and when Emma meets her gaze, she sees apprehension in those dark eyes. 

And Emma can’t bear the thought that Regina may regret what she’s just done, and so she says, “I thought you said you liked when I rambled.” 

It has the intended effect – Regina bursts out into a laugh, a breathy noise that’s thick with relief, and after a moment she recovers enough to roll her eyes. “I said you were cute. Don’t push it.” 

Emma only smiles. Regina’s hand is still in her hair – they’re still close, she hasn’t moved, hasn’t pulled back any farther – and Emma takes that as a good sign and leans forward to kiss her once more. It’s quick, just a little confirmation that Emma wants this – and maybe a question of whether Regina does too, if she’s honest. 

She gets her answer in the form of Regina parting her lips against her own, her grip on Emma’s hair tightening as she slides her thigh farther over Emma’s own. Regina lets out a shaky breath against Emma’s lips, and Emma lets her free hand slip around Regina’s thigh and pull her closer. 

The kiss lasts several moments, before Regina finally pulls back and Emma remembers once again that they’re – sort of – in a public place. Regina seems to be feeling it too, because she clears her throat, pursing her lips before she finally lets Emma’s hair go and puts a little more space between them. 

With that Emma relaxes back against the pillows, and Regina slides back down, tucking her arm beneath her and laying her head against Emma’s chest once more. 

Except this time, she presses a light kiss to Emma’s neck before she murmurs, “Goodnight, Emma.” 

“Goodnight, Regina,” Emma echoes, trailing her fingers over the other woman’s spine. 

 

They manage to make it back to Storybrooke the next day with minimal trouble. 

The storm had hit heavy but it had also hit quickly – it had stopped overnight, and the plows had cleared the roads first thing in the morning. And so, after being served a breakfast of cinnamon rolls and coffee, Emma had dragged Henry’s desk into the backseat of the bug and they’d hit the road. 

The ride back is quiet, and Emma turns on the radio to fill the silence, thoughts racing. Regina’s unreadable – she casts glances over at Emma every few minutes, gaze darting back to the road the moment she’s caught. Emma doesn’t comment on it, terrified of what Regina will say if she does. 

Terrified that Regina will want to take back what they’d done. 

They’d fallen asleep in each other’s arms, and they’d awoken just as tangled in one another’s limbs. Regina hadn’t said much even then – just offered Emma a small smile and slipped out from beneath the covers to dress. She hadn’t tried to keep herself covered, and Emma hadn’t pretended she wasn’t looking – and neither had Regina, when she’d sheepishly followed suit to her haphazardly discarded pile of clothing. 

There had been no more kissing, though – only the brush of Regina’s hand against hers as they’d walked, too close, through the building and out into the bitter cold.

By the time Emma pulls into Regina’s driveway, she’s fighting back the urge to just ask her outright. 

But she doesn’t, instead offering, “I could bring this upstairs, if you want?”

And Regina just nods, a small smile on her lips. “Thank you, Emma.” She opens the door wordlessly, letting Emma follow her inside as she’d done a million times before. Emma brings the desk upstairs – it’s Saturday, but Henry’s spent the night with her parents, anyway. It’s not exactly a surprise, but – 

“I could build it,” Emma offers, as if they hadn’t already agreed on this before. “So that it’s ready for tomorrow.” 

Regina just nods. 

“Okay,” Emma confirms, and sets to work as Regina disappears. When she returns, she’s got a mug in each hand, and offers one to Emma before sitting down to keep her company as she works. It doesn’t take Emma long – she can’t decide whether or not she’s grateful for that – and when she’s done, she folds her hands in front of herself, and regards Regina for several moments before asking, “I’ll be here tomorrow, then?” 

Regina furrows her brow. “Of course,” She confirms. 

Okay, then. 

When Emma heads out, Regina follows her, lingering close by as Emma makes for the door. She lays a hand on Emma’s arm as she reaches for the doorknob and Emma stops, something like hope fluttering in her chest, and turns back to Regina with questioning eyes. 

Regina’s tongue darts out to wet her lips, and she steps forward – but then she falters, her hand dropping from Emma’s arm. “See you tomorrow,” Is all she says, and Emma nods, trying not to let her disappointment show. 

Emma arrives the next day with a huge tupperware of cookies, baked special for the occasion by Mary Margaret, and a little bouquet of roses for Regina. 

Mary Margaret had questioned that one, asking with brows raised, “Those are for Henry?” 

And Emma had just shrugged, replying, “Nope,” and not offering any further explanation. Her mother hadn’t pressed, only shaking her head and returning to what she’d been doing. 

Regina takes the bouquet with a flush at her cheeks, a smile at her lips, and Henry just gives Emma a knowing smile and takes the cookies from her. He doesn’t say anything, but he does reach under the kitchen sink to produce a vase. 

He loves his desk, of course. 

He fills it immediately, transferring over pen after pen and rambling about different paper colors and textures. Emma’s heart swells, even though she doesn’t understand his hobby even a little – Regina’s eyes are shining, and it’s more evident than ever that he’s her son. He’s their son, and, well. 

Emma thinks this little family is all she needs. 

They eat dinner and do cake, and finish out the night with a movie – Henry falls asleep halfway through, and Emma nudges him up to bed. When she leaves the room she finds Regina in the hallway, her blanket from the couch wrapped around her shoulders. 

Emma stuffs her hands into her back pockets.

“So, uh.” She begins, rocking back onto her heels. “See you tomorrow, then?”

Regina regards her evenly – if a bit amused – and really, Emma thinks that she’s the one who should get to be doing that right now, because Regina’s the one standing here in legging and a t shirt with a fluffy blue blanket wrapped around her shoulders, and – 

“Stay?” Regina asks, and Emma’s thoughts stop abruptly.

“Okay,” She replies, a little too fast. The smile on Regina’s lips falters when Emma’s eyes dart towards the guest bedroom. 

Regina steps forward, dragging the blanket with her until she’s directly in front of Emma. “With me,” She clarifies, and Emma’s heart stutters.

“Okay,” Emma repeats, quieter this time. 

“In my bed,” Regina says.

“Right.” Emma swallows, intimately aware of the way Regina’s eyes have dropped to her lips. “Yes.” She nods. “Okay.”

Regina’s smile only grows at that. “You’re cute when –”

“When I ramble,” Emma cuts her off, and Regina pretends to look annoyed. “Yeah, yeah.”

Regina just shakes her head, leaning forward to catch Emma’s lips in a kiss. Emma pulls her hands from her pockets so that she can wrap her arms around Regina’s waist instead, blanket and all.

When they break the kiss, Emma adds, “I think you like it.” 

Regina laughs at that, quiet so that she doesn’t wake Henry, but genuine. She steps back, breaking out of Emma’s hold, but she drops one side of the blanket so that she can take Emma’s hand in her own instead and lead her off to bed.