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17 April 2014 @ 03:15 pm
Awakening (Once Upon a Time; Regina/Emma)  
TITLE: Awakening
CHAPTER 5: Subtleties
FANDOM: Once Upon a Time
PAIRING: Swan Queen (Regina/Emma)
SPOILERS: "Witch Hunt" (3x13)
RATING: PG
SUMMARY: Though it was made now of mostly plastic and some metal, the ghost of the wooden castle still remained. Emma remembered just getting to know her son sitting in that castle. Just as she remembered Regina’s attempts to sabotage that burgeoning relationship, as well as her destruction of that castle.


*****

“So you mean to tell me that our son believes you and I were lovers?”

Emma glared at the look of amusement on Regina’s face, her lips pursed around a smirk. “You seem way too happy about this.”

“Well, I should think you’d find it flattering!” She quirked a brow, bringing her coffee cup to her lips. “It would certainly be a step up for you. For me, I think it would be more a… lateral move, than anything else.”

Her glare turned sharper. “Regardless,” she emphasized, wanting Regina off her back, “I had to tell him something that would explain how well we know each other.”

“Which is when you concocted the ‘roommates’ scenario.” Tossing her hair, Regina glanced through the slats of the blinds at the diner, gazing out the window. Her elbows were braced on the table, each hand holding her mug – one on the handle and the other cupping the side. She shook her head and feigned a shiver. “I almost shudder to think what you’d be like as a roommate.”

Emma was all set to glare again, but the sudden warm smile Regina sent her way melted the frustration. She couldn’t help but chuckle a little. “A real ‘Odd Couple,’ I’d bet. I’m not exactly tidy.”

“Mm, I can imagine.”

“I mean, the only reason I was tidy for the last year is because you planted some stuff in my head on how to be an actual mom.”

Regina took another sip of coffee and set the mug down, talking to it rather than Emma as she said quietly, “Thank you.”

Emma raised her eyebrows and sat back against the booth. The gratitude was surprise enough – the sincerity and softness in Regina’s tone was much more surprising. “For what?”

Brown eyes lifted to meet hers. “For this past year. I know firsthand it’s not easy to be a single parent. And it seems you did a remarkable job with Henry.”

“Well…” Emma tilted her head, swallowing. They really hadn’t discussed this since she’d been back. “I just did my best. If I did something remarkable, it was just because you gave me everything I needed.”

Regina smiled, almost shyly, and glanced down at her lap. “I don’t know, I—“

“Regina.” Emma laid her hand over Regina’s, resting atop the table. It gained the brunette’s gaze and she gave her a friendly smile, trying to get her point across. “I mean it. I couldn’t have done it without you.”

Regina just watched her a moment, and Emma knew she was letting the sentiment sink in. After a moment, Regina gave her a smile – much like she did in her office just a few days ago – and she turned her hand over, gripping Emma’s.

Emma gave her hand a squeeze, smile bright on her lips.

The bell over the door tinkled then, and in came Henry, smiling at them. Emma dropped the brunette’s hand and slid over in the booth, greeting her son. “Hey kid.”

“Mom, hey.” He slid in next to her and smiled at Regina. “Madam Mayor.”

Regina smiled, but Emma didn’t miss the pain in her eyes. “You know, Henry, you don’t have to use formality with me. You can call me Regina.”

“I can?” He smiled. “Okay. Thanks, Regina.”

She smiled back at him, and when he leaned away to grab for a menu, she exchanged a quick glance with Emma. The smile was still there, but the brief glimmer of pain in her eyes was evident.

Emma thought back to her conversation with Mary Margaret the day before, about the possibility of Regina getting hurt again, and her stomach tumbled as second thoughts crept in.

Maybe she shouldn’t have come up with the ‘we were roommates’ thing. Especially if being near Henry a lot would end up being more painful for Regina. She had to remember that Regina was already grappling with missing a year of her life. And she’d already nudged her toward spending time with Henry. She didn’t want to push her over the edge.

“So.” Henry, now with his menu, sat back against the booth and flipped immediately to the list of hamburgers. Cocking his head, he glanced up at Regina with a smile. “My mom says you guys were roommates.”

Emma shifted in her seat, drawing in a slow breath as quietly as she could as she flicked her eyes up to Regina, hoping this wouldn’t get too awkward or unbelievable.

Regina faltered only momentarily before she smiled. “Yes, we were. Seems like a lifetime ago, doesn’t it Emma?”

“Mm-hmm.” She nodded, thinking to herself, Oh God Henry, just don’t mention the dating thing please…

“So how long did you guys live together?”

They looked up at one another, Emma keeping her mouth closed so the ‘cell mates’ incident with Mary Margaret didn’t repeat itself. She quirked her brows subtly to tell Regina to take the lead.

Regina’s nod back was just as subtle. She turned to Henry and said, “Just a couple years.” A sad smile took over her face as she added, “Not quite long enough for you to remember me. Though I certainly remember you.”

Emma frowned to herself, a pang hitting her. And she had an inexplicable urge to squeeze the brunette’s hand again, but didn’t want to raise any eyebrows.

“Really?” Henry smiled, leaning forward in interest. “Cool. Maybe you could tell me some stories sometime.”

“I’d love to.”

“Regina actually offered to show you around a bit more, if you’re up for it.”

“There’s still another park or two that you haven’t seen – they’re very scenic,” Regina chimed in.

“Sure, but…” He glanced to Emma. “Do you really need to do ‘case’ stuff now?”

She didn’t miss how he made air quotes around the word ‘case.’ So she smiled. “Why?”

“I kinda thought maybe the three of us could do something together.”

Regina and Emma exchanged another glance, further subtleties exchanged silently. Then, Emma nodded. “That actually sounds like fun. Regina?”

She nodded back. “Count me in.”

“Great!” Henry looked pleased. To Regina, he said, “My mom told me that for awhile, you were kinda like a second mom to me.”

Another brief glimmer of hurt crossed Regina’s features, but she clearly had perfected her mask of pretenses over the years – before Henry could notice, the hurt was wiped away with a smile.

“She did, huh?”

“Yeah. So,” he shrugged, “I kinda thought it might be nice to spend the day with both of my ‘moms.’”

Emma glimpsed at the brunette, making sure she was okay, before she turned to her son and ruffled his hair. “Then you’ve got yourself a date.”


*****

As Regina paid their bill with Henry and Ruby up at the counter, Emma made a quick call to David to let him know there had been a change in plans. Any ideas they had about tracking down the witch’s whereabouts with Hook would have to wait until later.

She was just hanging up when Regina and Henry joined her at the booth again, both of them standing while she grabbed for her scarf and slid out. “Ready?” she asked.

Henry excitedly agreed and headed out the door before them. They hung back momentarily and Emma snagged her counterpart’s arm. “Hey.”

Regina spun to face her.

Emma tilted her head. “I know this isn’t gonna be easy. So… if we need to cut things short… if you’re feeling uncomfortable…”

Regina flashed her another warm smile, clearly not used to having someone consider her feelings. “You’ll know.”

“Good.”

**

Rather than piling into the Bug, the three of them walked to the park. Henry predictably had a round of questions lined up for Regina. And with each one, Emma grew more and more wary of Regina’s emotional state.

But that mask of pretense never slipped. She answered each one with grace and – for certain questions – a touch of humor. Any sadness that lingered remained beneath the surface, and when Henry wasn’t looking, Emma would occasionally touch Regina’s arm or back supportively.

Surprisingly, she received a touched smile each time.

When they reached the playground, she and Regina stopped. The past seemed to catch up with them both at the same time.

Though it was made now of mostly plastic and some metal, the ghost of the wooden castle still remained. Emma remembered just getting to know her son sitting in that castle. Just as she remembered Regina’s attempts to sabotage that burgeoning relationship, as well as her destruction of that castle.

The two of them looked at one another, a silent, subtle conversation exchanged within the span of a few seconds. And from it seemed to come the same feeling, each expressed by a smile: Look how far we’ve come.

“Uhh, guys?”

Their attention diverted when Henry stepped in front of them, squinting at them in confusion.

“Everything okay?”

Regina was first to speak. “Yes. Of course, Henry. Why do you ask?”

“You two look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

“We… sorta have.” Emma looked to her son, then gestured to the playground. “You, uh… you used to play here.”

He raised his brows. “Really?”

Regina nodded, keeping up their façade. “For a very short while, yes. We used to bring you here. The playground looked much different then.”

“So I must not have been much bigger than him, huh?” He pointed toward the slide, at the curly-haired toddler sliding down with a smile.

Though Emma hadn’t seen him before, she certainly recognized the man that caught him at the bottom. Robin Hood. Or Rob, or… well, she supposed it didn’t matter.

What mattered was Regina’s smile, as she crossed the street to talk to them. What mattered was the way Regina so gracefully accepted Robin’s chaste kiss on her cheek.

And what mattered most, though Emma didn’t realize it at the time, was the subtle way her stomach turned at the sight.



TBC


 
 
 
g_ww: Lucyg_ww on April 17th, 2014 08:52 pm (UTC)
A very sweet chapter.

I like the growing warmth between them - especially Emma's understanding of what Regina's feeling, and that she's trying to help her through it. I love Henry the matchmaker! I also like that Regina really does seem to have feelings for Rob... which means sooner or later Emma will have to step up, and Regina will have to make a choice...

You've given them voices very much in-character, as far as I can see, and I'm enjoying the story. Keep up the good work.

нσω ∂σ уσυ нσℓ∂ α мσση вєαм ιη уσυʀ нαη∂?: house ♔ hc; like poetryfiddlings on October 24th, 2014 06:05 pm (UTC)
I know you've had a lot going on lately, what with the whole getting married and all. :D But if you are ever so inclined, I'd love to see an update on your fics! I've now read every word of your Regina/Emma fics, and they're magnificent. You have a way of capturing the characters so perfectly, and you always have a turn of phrase or two that catches me off guard by how lovely it is.

But if not, well. I enjoyed what there was of them. And congratulations, for the record! ♥