Title: Cider Shots
Feedback address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Date in Calendar: 20 December 2013
Fandom: Once Upon a Time
Rating: soft R
Date Written: 12-2-13
Word Count: 2665
Summary: Regina's very best apple cider....
Warnings: Cider and kisses.
Website: ShatterStorm Productions – Doggie Duo
Link to: http://bdkk.shatterstorm.net/
Archive: ShatterStorm Productions & AO3 only…all others ask for permission & we'll see…
Feedback: Constructive criticism is always welcome.
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Disclaimer: "Once Upon a Time," the characters, and situations depicted are the property of Adam Horowitz, Edward Kitsis, Kitsis/Horowitz, and ABC Studios. This piece of fan fiction was created for entertainment not monetary purposes. Previously unrecognized characters and places, and this story, are copyrighted to the author. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author. This site is in no way affiliated with "Once Upon a Time," ABC, or any representatives of the actors.
Author's Notes: So, in late November, The Picture-- be patient, it's in the document-- showed up in the SwanQueen fandom and I was stunned by the beauty and expressiveness of it. I knew instantly that I would write for it. So I did! I gave the story to my partner, Ariestess for her birthday a couple weeks ago, and now we are sharing it with you.
Dedication: A particularly warm thank you to erandil, for creating such beautiful work. The link to the inspiration for this work is: http://erandil.deviantart.com/art/Smooth-415755330. Please be sure to go compliment her, won't you? Go now, or read if you don't wish to be 'spoiled' too early for the picture. Thank you!
The restlessness was a craving, an energy beneath her skin. It had no name, was a word without meaning, a thought without form, a sound that was soundless. Regina knew the feeling, the pressure, the drive, the need to do something.
Never before had her focus been so scattered, so incomprehensible. She was reminded of the time she drew away the killing curse from the mouth of the wishing well, where, for once, she could be Henry's hero, that she could save Emma. Instead of the other way around.
Growling like a caged animal, Regina clenched and unclenched her fists, feeling her emotions and her magic alive beneath her skin. She despised unknowns, how they could disrupt her plans, her carefully constructed schemes, her...
Slumping in defeat, she stared into the cheerful flames that lit her dim, brooding study. No longer was Regina that woman. Not with Henry safe and sound once more.
She didn't know who she was anymore.
In a flurry of agitated action, Regina was up and plying among her stash of liquor. Not a habitual crutch, but she was suddenly, desperately craving the taste of apples. No, not that one. That was for anyone really. A good pressing, but nothing extraordinary. She knew what she needed.
The bottle had grown dusty, nearly forgotten, but the almost syrupy contents of the heavy crystal decanter caught the firelight like honey, like amber, like a glorious sunset of color behind clouds themselves had been captured.
Not willing to leave the sanctuary of her study, Regina did not leave the dim room to enter the mundane magic of the kitchen next door, but instead found a damp napkin from the glass of water she'd been sipping at. Lovingly, she wiped the filth away from the beautiful, sensuous lines of the decanter, the crystal strangely warm in her hands, before pulling at the topper. Oh, it had been too long! The connection of glass to glass resisted, the delights within having sealed themselves away like a secret.
But Regina would not be put off, muscles bunching as she pulled until the stopper gave in with a pop and a wave of intoxicating scent. Lovely. Removing a tumbler from the small liquor cabinet, Regina watched the heavy essence of the apples that grew on her beloved tree run from one home to another. Time had stolen even more water from the distillation and it did not even splash into the glass. Even the last few drops of the precious brew could not disrupt the thickness and Regina both mourned the last of this amazing pressing, and relished the anticipation of imbibing it.
And it was every bit as delicious as she remembered, thick and rich and skirting the line of cloying without ever crossing it. The heat spread like slow fire, heat within that would melt away her frustration and restlessness, if only for a short time. Already more relaxed, Regina sprawled out inelegantly onto the couch to bask in her treat and the warmth of the fire.
The knock was an unwelcome intrusion into her solitude. Blinking fuzzily, Regina looked around her study to regain her bearings. Had she dozed off? The glass was so loosely held in her fingers it amazed Regina that the last of her best apple liquor was not forever lost to the woolen rug. Tightening up her grip, she wandered out, squinting in the harsh electric light of the foyer, and carefully maneuvered the small, wide steps to the landing before the elaborate front door.
She knew who it was, could feel the infernal buzz of connection and magic beneath her skin that blazed with a power all its own. Without a thought for her own safety, Regina unlocked the door, startled to find the glass still in her hand, and opened the heavy wood.
"Emma," she greeted quietly and shivered in the blast of cold, rain-laden air.
"Regina," was the response, every bit as soft and solemn.
When the smaller woman stepped aside, Emma took the hint and entered the house, removing her wet cap. The scent pouring off of Regina in waves made her nostrils flare curiously. Apples were certainly nothing new, but this twist was new, thick and intoxicating. Brown eyes were curious and unusually guileless, startling Emma. Regina was never so open, unless Henry was in danger. At least she was reasonably certain that was not the case as he slept soundly back at the crowded apartment with her doting parents.
"I felt like I had to be here."
Both of them were startled at the whispered words, clearly fallen from Emma's mouth. Desperate to cover the thick awkwardness suddenly flared up between them, she spoke again, voice strained.
"That smells good."
Forcing her gaze away from the expressive green eyes, so like her mother's, Regina looked into the glass, to the last sips of her best brew. Perhaps Emma would never understand the sacrifice of handing over the glass, but Regina found herself doing it anyway.
"It tastes even better. Join me for a drink?"
"Think maybe I could actually stay this time?"
Again, vocalization without thinking about the words first and Emma barely restrained from smacking herself in the forehead.
"It's a mess out there," she temporized lamely and raised the glass in an impromptu toast. "The best apple cider I've ever tasted, right?"
Any offense Regina might have harbored evaporated at the look of startled wonder on her one time nemesis' face.
"Whoa," Emma marveled and licked her chops like a satisfied cat. "That really is the best apple cider I've ever tasted." Something about the unconscious flash of seeking tongue riveted Regina and she barely noted her restless energies stilling, focusing with intent. The blonde head tilted back, trusting and wanton, the crystal glass at soft lips to capture every last drop.
Suddenly, strangely flustered, Regina retraced her steps, barely noting the sounds of Emma locking the door and shedding her coat before following.
"That was the last of the really good stuff," she explained and held up another of her intricate decanters. "But I can offer you the next best thing."
Emma's smile was slow and warm, the unexpected intimacy of it making Regina's belly flutter girlishly. "Hit me, barkeep."
Nearly as good indeed, Regina thought to herself some time later. Pleasantly buzzed, Regina found herself enjoying the undemanding presence of the woman who had become her enemy within moments of their meeting. Who could have guessed?
The pleasant interlude was ruined abruptly as Regina squeaked in shock from a blast of cool liquid on her belly and abdomen. Only lightning reflexes on Emma's part kept more of the liquor from Regina's clothing and floors.
"Steady, steady. You good?"
Irritation, potent and familiar, swirled with all that was left unspoken to become its own powerful cocktail. Hot and bothered, Regina stood carefully, too weary of fighting to resist the siren call of all the feelings and fantasy that swirled in her mind and veins. Emma's arm hand steadying her was a shock, the firm touch hot on her hip. Oh, the simple pleasure, the joy, of just being... touched. "I think we're done here for the night, yes?"
With clumsy hands, they helped each other upright and then to remain so, before Regina shook her head as her glass in Emma's hand clicked onto the table top. "No, bring those along. I'll not waste the pouring."
Emma's surprise and confusion were not feigned and for a moment the chasm between them strained at the fragile rope bridge of connection. Then Regina's words registered in her mind and she shook her head, taking a slightly wobbly step into Emma's personal space. "Done here, in this room. The fire's burned down and I need to change. Give a woman a hand?"
Silent as a predator both enticed and threatened, Emma gripped the pair of tumblers in her fingers and slipped her whipcord lean body beneath Regina's right arm. The visceral shock of the heat of her left the dark woman stunned. She was a furnace! So much of the blonde woman was powerful, the striking musculature, the heat of her skin, the intense hazel-green eyes. It was very sobering to a woman who had craved power and control for so very long. Enticing yet fearful of Emma as she always had been, Regina trusted her safety in the savior's gentle touch, the the destiny neither could escape.
Perhaps for once, destiny would be kind.
The half-full glasses clinked against the railing and one another as the women negotiated the great sweep of staircase, but Regina could not dredge up even a halfhearted glare.
"End of the balcony's yours, yes?"
There was a breathless quality to the single word, layers of meaning far more intricate than mere directions to a location. Something in the throaty tone that made the primitive parts of Emma's brain pause, the inky predator in her dark forest to still in interest, the scent of something irresistible in the wind. Something more than just the smell of apples.
The room was dark and chilly and the click of the light switch revealed the spacious, neutral-colored space. Slipping away, Regina toddled on unsteady feet towards her closet, fumbling with the buttons on her shirt.
"Sit," she instructed airily and gestured at a comfortable looking chaise lounge near the fireplace and vast windows facing the back yard. Toeing away her brutal shoes, Regina flashed a smile to Emma. "You remember how to light a fire?"
It hadn't sounded so... suggestive before. Then again, with Regina's voice low and smoky, her fingers working clumsily at the buttons on her blood-red shirt...
The fire whooshed to life more efficiently than any lighter fluid, making Emma startle as she set the glasses on a side table heavy with drawers and the golden liquor sloshed over the sides. "Sorry, I'll..."
Swallowing thickly against the flood of saliva and the heavy taste of fermented apples, Emma did as she was told. Obedience was not in her nature, she too was a fighter, but this time there was no fight to her, only laser-focused green eyes and the heat on and under her skin. Flustered with the tiny shirt buttons, Regina tried for the snug skirt, only to find in an even more impossible task.
She seemed almost startled at Emma's voice, the throaty bossiness in the tone. Normally, Regina might rage and fight, or a least sneer in insult, but this woman had earned her trust, despite them both. Deft hands touched her back, low on her spine, that tender, enticing place that made her breath catch unexpectedly. The zipper hissed in counterpoint to her sound, the button releasing its tight hold on her waist and Regina leaned away to shimmy awkwardly from the clinging material. Alcohol and trust dulled her paranoia and rage and habitual wariness, softening her more and more.
"Ugh, I can feel it on my skin," she complained mildly, stroking her own flat belly in feminine outrage, as the last shirt buttons came undone and the thin silk drifted like an untended sail.
The atmosphere was thick, rich with danger and promise as they walked a razor's edge. When Regina looked over, she was struck suddenly by the promise of her pale counterpart. Opposite and yet the same in so many ways, the threads of connection had always been there, from the very moment they met on the walk outside. In that hunter's silence, Emma moved sinuously, leaning back against the arm of the chaise and bringing up her legs to rest on the fabric. Suddenly, her strong body seemed more open, relaxed, more accessible. Almost an invitation. But it was not the relaxed pose, the rock-hard little nipples straining against the black tank top, nor the hand at her mouth as though to restrain words, but the look in Emma's eyes that silently broke down barriers neither were even aware of.
When had anyone ever looked at Regina just that way? Confused and trusting and bossy and oh so needy. Yet, there was no demand there, no malice or manipulation, just an aching honesty that was its own irresistible force, warming Regina's soul just as the cheery fire warmed the room around them.
Emma watched the raucous emotions in the fathomless dark eyes and remained unmoving as Regina displayed a grace at odds to her undressing in raising a knee to straddle her thighs. Those sensitive sorceress' hands were not idle, trailing over her own rounded hips and tugging at the dark straps of garters Emma had noticed during the unselfconscious strip tease. But in this moment she did not look away from those eyes, holding them for mutual reassurance.
The moment held, stretched, one last chance to just... walk away.
Clarity was calling, a coldness to intrude on the fire begun between them, a wind to snuff it out, but neither had ever been able to ignore the other for very long and the rising discomfort evaporated as Regina swayed forward, desperate for a touch and Emma raised curious hands, desperate to touch.
Whatever misgivings might still rage in either of their minds vanished with calloused palms on the trustingly naked mid-drift, chasing the scent of apples. Regina moaned softly when those strong hands slid around her waist, tickled again at that exquisite place at the base of her spine, tugged her towards green eyes. The heat of Emma's breath over her flesh shook her.
The wet caress of a questing tongue nearly undid her.
Relishing the ripple of surprise to the strong core muscles, Emma hummed happily to herself and threw caution to the wind. Perhaps this had always been inevitable between them, a logical progression to the their fireworks and all the bonds between them neither could escape.
"You do taste like apples," she murmured against the silky skin just above Regina's navel, enjoying the tenuous touch of her counterpart’s hands in her pale locks. With only a flicker of hesitation, the grip tightened and Regina's weight collapsed upon her legs. The kiss was ravenous and bruising, fingers tangling sunny hair and flexing into lush curves. Slowly, the feeding frenzy gentled, growing exploratory and complimentary as the room warmed around them. Less now a desire to consume, to conquer, lust simmered to a sweeter urgency of drugging kisses and inhibitions tossed aside.
They expected beauty and flaws in the other, the legacy of those that came before them and the hard lives both had led. Even the scars were relished, the soft fold in Regina's lip she would never speak of, the ugly puckers on Emma's upper back with secrets of their own. Somehow they stumbled to the bed, shivering against the cool sheets, warming them with naked flesh and the heat between them. It was wanton and uncaring of the destinies they both despised, only the sexual fires, the caress of hand and tongue, heady kisses and sweaty skin.
In time, sanity reasserted itself. Regina found herself slick and sated, caressing over the silky blonde locks where they splayed over Emma's strong back. The weight of her was welcoming, grounding even, moreso than the carnal fires now banked. Emma lay still with eyes closed and mouth relaxed at Regina's throat and relished the closeness of someone she had actually learned to trust. When Regina’s hands suddenly stilled, the blast of discomfort that chilled them both was every bit as real as the weather outside as it battered against the house.
For a moment, they teetered there, once more on the precipice of failure and pain.
Then, of one mind once more, each made a small gesture, a offering of peace and acceptance; Emma's sweet kiss on the column of throat where her mouth was pressed, Regina's sensitive hands once more stroking soothingly.
"Stay," one soul whispered to the other.
"Not going anywhere," the other whispered back.
It was time to write their own chapter to the tale.