Shivering with the cold, Regina stared out over the expanse of water she would never be able to explore. How ironic that the ignorance of the curse she had thought punishment to her minions had been a blessing in disguise. Once again, it was her lot to suffer, this time by her own hand.
The now-familiar voice no longer made her jump, she no longer shied from the hands and body boldly embracing her, staving off the cold. Tearing her eyes away from the depressing sight that should have been beautiful, REgina turned and snuggled into Emma's lean frame.
Her haven and her real redemption.
Emma never enjoyed making her mother wince like that, but the line had been drawn in the sand and Emma would not cross it. Period. The effort not to cajole or even threatened was a physical effort on Snow's part, she was nearly vibrating with it, the delicate fabrics in her hands shaking.
"You're not wearing me down on this. The frou-trou trappings of royalty are not my deal and you are not draping me in that. No pastel, fluffy Disney colors. Ever. Period. I don't even own underwear in those shades."
Smiling slyly, Emma hip-checked Snow lightly. "Now, that kickin' white leather getup of yours? I'd do that. Or maybe raid Pops' closet." Reluctantly, a smile played about Snow's mouth. "Or I could always let Regina dress me in one of her badass dominatrix ensembles..."
Both laughing and wincing. Snow elbowed her grown daughter and once more gave in with a sigh.
"Fine, then let's see about rewriting fairy tale glamor, shall we?"
"Place is a mess," Emma commented idly as she kicked at a broken timber, fallen from the dim, cobwebbed ceiling. "You sure this is worth the effort?"
Grunting, her parents hauled up a massive armoire, thrown onto its face all those years ago as the curse tore away the roof nearby.
"It's a castle, not a split-level," David snarked and scowled at the condition of his clothes. How he missed modern plumbing. And showers. A good hot one would have been a blessing. "It's meant to stand through nearly anything. Including being partially exposed to the elements for thirty years."
"So, can you live with that?"
There was a distinctly feline tease in Regina's smoky voice where she watched Emma eye herself critically in the silvered glass. Her smirk was echoed in the mirrored surface as the haunting green eyes met Regina's. Snow, Henry, Emma; all of them bore that distinctive shade, a true inheritance.
"I think I'm going to hire you full time to dress me. This this rocks."
It was no one person's style, but lines and colors and fabrics that represented everyone who meant something to Emma. Delicate white lace layers over snowy leather encasing her slim torso, a heavy, masculine brocade that clung impossibly close to her strong arms and back like a ultra-feminine jacket and the heavy-looking velvet skirt reaching all the way to the floor in Regina's rich, royal purple. The colors might be her family, but the simple, easy to move in cut of the design was all Emma. It had taken some effort for Regina to find a way to make it look elegant, but this result was worth it.
"Y'know, we promised we wouldn't do that."
Regina winced at Emma's calm, tight tone as she stepped from the deep shadows cast from the massive stone walls. Quite a change from the screaming row they'd had what felt like moments and lifetimes ago.
"I'm not good with promises," Regina husked, rasping her nails against the stones that kept her from a long, deadly drop. Even with her face turned away, she could feel Emma's hurt and temper flare before both were tamped down. Once more, she would compromise, step back from old, bad habits. Taking a deep breath, Regina steeled herself, forced herself to be vulnerable again. "I'm sorry, Emma. I don't know what came over me."
"I'm sorry too," Emma ground out, hating the vulnerability as much as her companion. Padding over on quiet, bare feet, she stood close enough to let the heat of their bodies mingle. "Though I suppose a nice, normal screaming match is pretty healthy, considering how that could have gone."
The huffing laugh was drawn involuntarily from Regina and she leaned into Emma's side until a strong arm wrapped around her shoulders and the fight began to be the past instead of the present
Despite the chill of winter hovering close, the whole family was out enjoying the clear, crisp day. Henry was caught up in an archery lesson, his growing frame trembling with the effort of pulling and holding the taut string, looking down the arrow to sight his distant target. He'd shed that last of his little-boy built and was both slimming down and bulking up with the rigorous workouts with his grandparents and his blonde mother, tempered with lessons and learning to truly ride horses with the mother who raised him.
The clatter of hooves almost distracted him, but Henry held his concentration and still managed to put the arrow just to the left of the bullseye.
"Excellent!" David crowed and slapped him on the back hard enough to make him stumble. Where they had just cantered up on the back of their horses, who danced and steamed in the chilly air, his mothers joined Snow's applauding and the young man bowed to them.
How he enjoyed their happy laughter.
In the depths of winter, Emma could have done without so much damn water. It found its way into cracks and crevices in the old castle, keeping an annoyed Regina busy tracking down the insidious little leaks and magicking them away. It surrounded them with the lead blue of the lake that provided fish and entertainment and the occasional danger. It pounded down from the sky in torrential rain or soundless snow and that one hailstorm that had wrecked several roofs in the village the survivors of Storybrooke had built.
But there was certainly a good side to water. Kept a body hydrated, a fact Emma took advantage of as she drank deeply while she walked back to her rooms after working off some of her winter blahs, and cleaned up that same body well, another fact she intended to cash in on as soon as she could.
"It must be love," Emma sassed, getting a kick out of watching Regina hang laundry on a line, of all the incongruous things, swaying to a song only she could hear. But there was no reaction to the tease, or to Emma's presence at all and she approached curiously. Ah, that was it. White wires trailed from beneath the dark hair and draped into a shirt pocket. "You sneak!"
Squeaking in shock, Regina dropped a handful of damp cloth and spun to face Emma, eyes wide. Grinning wolfishly, Emma pressed her advantage, making Regina step back, but grabbing her in a hug before she stumbled and fell. Freeing a hand, she tugged a wire and the tiny earbud fell away.
"You found out how to recharge this thing and didn't share?"
Flustered by the proximity in so public a place, Regina smiled shyly. "Just this morning. I've missed this music. Even your horrid, screechy nineties music."
Regina debated with herself for half a day, trapped again between her old life and the one she found herself in now. Part of that was not using magic unless there really was no better way to get the job done. Like patching the leaky roofs. Someone could killed trying to do that, so she sent out smoky wisps of power to find the little cracks and cement them tight. Or to conjure up the occasional article of clothing or exotic fabric, simply because they no longer had the means of creating them any other way. Or finding a way to recharge Emma's iPod so that once more, the songs of the world they left behind could be theirs.
But magic was also why she forced herself to learn tasks once deemed menial to her; laundry, harvesting crops, tending the ill, mucking out stalls after her beloved horses. They were things she was never allowed to do, first by her domineering mother and later because she was just too well trained, caught up in the royal part of her life.
There was little left of anything royal here, all of them pulling together to survive in this harsh place. Never the easiest place to live, the Enchanted Forest was now so much more dangerous having grown wild for three decades.
And that was why she and Emma snuck off to learn magic together, one to learn it again and one for the first time.
Who knew when the skills would come in handy.
"Heave! One, two, again!"
Straining, the citizens gathered for the event, strained against the webbing of ropes and the massive framework of timbers settled with a muffled, faintly alarming thud into its mooring. For a moment, no one moved, holding their collective breath as the structure swayed faintly before growing still.
The collective cry of triumph was not feigned.
Enemy and ally had stood shoulder to shoulder and the first building in this land grown to be a stranger to them was officially on its way to being more than a pile of boards and beams cut over a very long, hard winter.
"Never in a million years thought I would be part of a honest to Abe barn raising," Emma commented, tugging off her work gloves and grinning at her compatriots. With unconscious ease, she went to Regina to check the elegant hands that once did nothing more strenuous than pen words to paper. There were a few blisters, but the callouses had mostly done their job. Satisfied, the pale woman gave those dirty fingers, once so dangerous and now so helpful, a loving squeeze.
Category - Life Story
5 of your chosen medium focusing on a character's development (i.e. stages of their lives/aging/changes)
Curse of Innocent Ignorance
Regina could never know the plans in place centered around her birth. A tiny, curious child with grasping hands and a loving heart. She was always starved for attention, not understanding that her mother bore no heart, that her doting father lived in fear. That knowledge would come later, a gradual darkening and dampening of her spirits. The servants tended her, kept her safe and warm and fed and well-educated, but they hardened their hearts, lest they lose them to Cora's cold wrath. The child, warm and loving, was no more than a commodity, merely the means to an end.
The Curse of Broken Spirit
The lessons never came easy. For, while Regina may have been a sweet, good-natured child, she was every inch as stubborn and single-minded as her mother. Still, her emotions were always her failing, the chink in her armor that Cora exploited time and again. But Regina never completely gave in, disobedience and sometimes even rage keeping her from the destiny her mother had decreed for her. Then, came dear, sweet Daniel, her beloved stable boy who was everything she ever wanted. In him, she saw the future she wanted, not Cora's gilded cage. In him, there would be no fear, no unwanted destiny.
And then came a girl on a runaway horse.
The Curse of the Lost and Insane
When a person is truly in the grips of madness, how can they know it? Madness by its very nature breeds ignorance and amorality. Madness is the insanity of selfish wants, of not caring enough for others to give a damn about whether they lived or died.
Regina was deep in the grips of madness for a very long time.
Deprived of the quarry she was convinced would stop the pain that drove her like vengeful demons, she grew ever more desperate and insane. No one could reason with her, no one could stop her and she ruined herself and all those around her again and again.
Curse of the Found
The hate had felt so real.
A coiled, hissing viper of rage and loathing, reflected back in green eyes so like her mother's... and Henry. Like wild animals they circled and growled, gradually softening in the mundane magic of familiarity. Slowly, so slowly, they began to see the reflection of one another past the emotional armor that weighed them both down so heavily, they may as well drown. The hurt and fear at their core bled through more and more, making the armor slam back into place over and over again, but slower each time.
Regina couldn't say when she actually started needing the Savior.
Curse of the Pain and Relief of Healing
Facing all that she was would be the hardest thing Regina would ever do, trying to come to any sort of sane terms with who she was and what she had done. Not the least was being instrumental in Emma growing up alone.
It turned out the words she had never been allowed to speak were her own key, the magic she needed to at last free herself and heal the wounds into scars. So, she talked, a great outpouring of all she had ever been, the lancing of the infection of her very soul. Her vulnerability gave Emma the freedom to slay some of her own demons, to release her own words. When the weeks of emotional floods at last began to slow, there was a great stillness of only her... and Emma.
There was no going back, no changing what they had been, only a road forward that, despite their weariness, they could travel together.
5 of your choice. I decided on a line from my kinkbingo card and, although a tough order, I'm quite pleased with the results!
It taken a long to bring this scarred soul to this place of trust, but it had been worth it all.
"You know," Emma remarked idly as she eyed her lover's rigid stance. "It wasn't a difficult task."
The exaggerated stance was purely for Emma's benefit. Regina clearly felt ridiculous, locking her muscles to stop from squirming... or trembling. Feet apart, fingers linked tightly at the back of her neck, the pose bowed her just a bit, throwing out the rich curves of breast and ass for her lover's benefit. But there would be little or no active pleasure for her like this, only frustration and sensual punishment that would make her burn.
A hard crack of something unyielding left a stinging burn on her left asscheek, making Regina grit her teeth and breathe deeply. She knew pain, had known it her entire life, been driven to the depths of madness by it. But only Emma had made pain a pleasure. Only she understood the relief of these adult games, the calm brought on by the burn. Again, the crack and burn struck, this time on the opposite side. A half-dozen blows softened Regina, despite her nature to fight anything good, and a sob caught in her throat as the pleasure began to pool around the stinging heat.
But relief wasn't to hers quite yet, Emma's quiet order accompanying her teasing touch on Regina's straining body.
While Regina was no stranger to sex, there had always been a very important aspect of the physical act that she had always been missing.
She had never once loved.
Even kisses had been manipulation, a selfish act, ever since her hope had died with Daniel. Then Emma had started patiently pursuing her, wanting ever more than merely the raw pleasures of lust. Oh, they had that too, but the intense blonde quietly persisted in pushing just that little bit further, pushing down the walls brick by brick. And during the process, her own pains lessened, the green eyes warming and softening.
And, in time, Regina handed over the virginity of her heart, weeping with the new ecstasies of more than just body, but of heart and soul. A redemption of love.
"Weird being back in your office, Madame Mayor?"
It was, but Regina was loathe to admit it. Her grasping and clutching at any shred of power and superiority was deeply ingrained. So she merely watched the sheriff stride arrogantly across her spacious office, a streak of brightness against the hard angles and brutal décor. The office had been decorated to show Regina's power, merely a reminder now of how much things had changed.
"I sat here, competently running this dreadful little town for your entire life while your world went on without us, just fine," Regina seethed and Emma sighed and refrained from rolling her eyes. Mostly. The endlessly intricate puzzle that was her lover was a challenge the blonde loved, but it was tough sometimes. Well, the door was locked and lunch could wait a bit...
Eyes glittering, Emma lunged, making Regina squeak in shock and recoil. In an instant, the older woman was leaned back almost dangerously far in her fancy office chair, a strong grip on the back of her head pinning her tight. The evil grin curling Emma's serious mouth froze Regina in place, one hand gripping the trailing edge of the familiar leather jacket, the other clinging to the armrest.
"Y'know, sassing the sheriff could land you in hot water, citizen," Emma growled, thrilled at the way the brown eyes went nearly black with need, deep breaths hitching, her body squirming. "Maybe you'd like that?" Trailing her free hand over Regina's luscious curves, Emma pushed the game. "Lock you up in one of those chilly cells again? Leave you in there, stewing in your own temper and need?"
The part of Regina that craved control, that black, evil part of her that raged over these games, was horrified by the where they were. This was her bastion of power, inviolate, the core of her role during the curse. And, as she always had, Emma had bashed her way in, forcing chaos and change into Regina's life, once as cool and ordered as her décor.
But the fire between them burned away all those illusions, reduced her need for control to the wet heat that turned her muscles to jelly and her mind to little more than raw need.
The whimper of surrender was as strangled and reluctant as it was honest and Emma's grin turned feline. "Now, no need to fear, Madame Mayor. I'm always here to protect and serve."
Clothing had always been a tool for Regina. A symbol of status and intent as surely as a knight would wear armor and carry a sword. Even in this dreadful land, she had maintained the habit of her wardrobe being part of the role she played. The severe skirts and brutal heels and expensive shirts all played into her position of power.
But Emma had stripped that power away, and reversed the roles.
The afternoon had been enlightening, turning the utilitarian delight of beautiful clothes and accessories into something erotic simply because Regina had given up control. She hungrily watched the shadowed hazel-green eyes where Emma lounged indolently on the big bed. There was hunger there, but there was also arrogant control, making Regina wait, making her stand there passively, reduced to being little more than a curvaceous canvas for the glorious things she once wore with power.
They had covered a wide spectrum of looks with this game, some of which would have never occurred to Regina to ever put upon her person. A few had actually horrified her in their cut and color and she hoped to never remember that particular humiliation.
"I like the purple," Emma mused, feigning indifference to the show, but enjoying this game immensely. Standing, she moved to place her hands on Regina's hips, making the other woman catch her breath. The gown was skin-tight velvet, flowing over her curves like paint, the back slit dangerously low, the opening glittering with tiny gems like stars. With her thumbs pressed together in the small of Regina's back, Emma concentrated, pouring her emotions and need into the sorcerous power they both wielded. While her own magic was still a bit like flailing around a china shop with a hammer, her control ever improved, and this time she was richly rewarded as the deeply purple fabric began to stain blood red. The back yawned open further, the clear crystals shifting, some flickering to echo the new color of the dress. The sleeves flared longer, loose around Regina's forearms, almost hiding her hands and the already high neckline crept higher, encircling the darker woman's vulnerable throat.
Regina swallowed hard as the already severe ensemble shifted on her like a living thing, tightening around her waist and hips, making her gasp at the grip. Fear and lust made her heart race, sweat beading on her skin, the panic held at bay by the warmth of the hands on her hips, those thumbs anchoring her spine.
With a deftness of magic Regina would have never expected, Emma brought her just to the razor edge of panic at the grip of what had only been mundane fabric, before once more, they were playing at erotic dress up. Shifting take a hand, Emma came to stand before her panting lover to critically eye her handiwork.
There was no mistaking the feral hunger in the dark eyes, the wolfish smirk at the corner's of Regina's lush mouth. It had been a long time since Emma hadn't been able to read her mercurial lover, find the combination lock to the treasure trove of her body and heart. But this was an unexpected return of the dark, vengeful madwoman she had once been. In the way she stared, all the months of love and redemption seemed stripped away. This would be a delicate night.
In truth, Emma didn't really feel up to the mental gymnastics tonight. She'd broken up a drunken brawl and taken a half dozen hits that feel even worse in the morning. So much for being a knight in shining armor.
Then she noticed that hungry gaze on her collarbones, riveted there... like a hungry vampire. Okay, this was a new one, but Emma hadn't earned Regina's trust by balking easily. There was blood there, in the fabric of her torn tank top, where she'd gotten grazed by something in the tussle. The red was livid against her pale skin and the dusky bruises blooming like ugly, dark flowers. The EMTs had scrubbed out the cut and placed a little square of gauze there, ignoring Emma's complaining, but now she reached up to pick at the tape.
What was it that had Regina so riveted this time? Was it seeing Emma's body so battered and rendered vulnerable and so very human? Or was it the raw slice in her skin? The reminder that she too could be wounded and laid low by damage. Uncaring the why, Emma focused on the unexpected rawness of the moment, peeling away the gauze with a hiss, both from the tape and in pain from her own lips. Crooking her finger in invitation, Emma smiled and tilted her head to allow the light to caress her damaged flesh.