Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: Once Upon A Time
Character/Pairing: Ensemble/Multiple characters and pairings but with a strong dose of Red/Snow and a healthy dose of Robin/Regina as well
Challenge/Prompt: dove_drabbles #47: Kiss and tell.
Word Count: 1,664
Date Written: 21 August 2016
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to their rightful owners, not the author, and are used without permission.
"There's just something about a man who won't take 'no' for an answer," Regina says with a wide, mischievous smile. She pauses with her mug of hot chocolate almost pressed against her lips and looks pointedly at Mary Margaret, who's laughing. "What?" she demands, suddenly as cold as her chocolate is steaming.
"I'm sorry," her former enemy apologizes. "I just never thought I'd be picturing you wanting to be dominated!"
Regina shrugs a slender shoulder. "There's a time and place for everything." She smirks. "Not that you would understand, Miss Goody Two Shoes. How many men have you ever kissed? One?"
"There was Whale," Emma interjects.
"Please. He hardly counts. She was still under the influence of the curse."
"At least I know what I want and am not afraid to go after it."
A hush falls over the table with the women each looking unsteadily at each other. "Mom," Emma begins, but Regina cuts her off, waving her cup in her air.
She gives Mary Margaret a little tip of her head and mug. "Touche."
It's the Princess' turn to smirk.
"I do wish you would have followed my advice sooner, Regina," the blonde next to the Mayor comments softly. They can almost hear the soft flutter of the Fairy's missing wings as she adds, "Perhaps you would have found your happiness sooner."
"Perhaps," Regina acknowledges to everyone's surprise. She glances over to where Robin's laughing with the men on the other side of Granny's diner. "I think happiness has a way of taking us by surprise, though, in the places, or people, where we least expect to find it."
Emma follows Regina's gaze to the Pirate standing near Regina's beau, Robin Hood, and taking a swallow of whisky from his flask. "Tell me about it," she murmurs even as Belle nods beside her.
"And what about those of us who are still seeking happiness?" Ruby asks, her own dark eyes focused on a woman in their midst.
"You'll find it," Aurora says gently.
"Probably where you least it," adds Emma.
"We all know you've been with a lot of men, Ruby," Regina says bluntly. "You expect us to believe you still haven't found your happiness?"
"Happiness isn't always a man."
"I did find it once, but I let it slip through my fingers. It's no easier for the Big, Bad Wolf to get her happy ending than it is for the Evil Queen."
"Except for, despite being a wolf, you made friends long before I ever made acquiescence with certain heroes from the forest."
"Maybe that was because I wasn't trying to kill everybody, although some people thought I was."
"But you did kiss a lot of men," Belle remarks, trying to edge away from the subject that holds the potential to ruin their night.
"Yeah," Aurora agrees, leaning forward. "Who was your favorite?"
Ruby presses her lips together. She doesn't want to lie to her friends. Still, her gaze trails back to Mary Margaret who she's surprised to find gazing back at her quite intently. "There was one," she says softly, "who I used to romp through the forest with. She -- I mean, he was a lot of fun."
"No one's going to judge you if it was a woman," Emma speaks quietly, laying a hand on top of Ruby's. "Not at this table." She looks to the others for confirmation.
"Absolutely not," Belle agrees.
Tinker Bell nods. "We've all done worse," Regina remarks.
"As long as it was done out of love, there was nothing wrong with it," Belle shoots at Regina.
Regina smiles; the expression sends chills up Belle's and Aurora's spines. Aurora turns away from Regina and back to Ruby. "What was it like?" she asks. "Kissing a woman?"
"I . . . " Ruby's gaze falls from the others. She looks at her empty hands instead. "I didn't say it was . . . "
"It's okay," Belle encourages her in a soft whisper.
"Whoever it was, he or she was the best kisser you've had," Mary Margaret observes softly. "Tell us about the kiss."
"Yes." The group again hears the imaginary sounds of fluttering wings that aren't actually there as Tinker Bell talks. "Tell us about the kiss."
"It was soft . . . and tender. We . . . We were finding each other, finding ourselves, in a dangerous time . . . And though she -- he was soft, it was hot, too, and passionate . . . " Her eyes rise and lock with Mary Margaret's. "Ours was the only passion I've ever found that could match, even tame, the wildness of the wolf. And it didn't matter to this person if I was human or wolf. I was embraced wholly for all that I am. I've . . . never found that passion . . . or acceptance anywhere else."
Regina surprises every one, including herself, by speaking next. "I know what you mean," she begins softly, quietly as though she's almost afraid some one will overhear her. "Robin was the first man to accept me for all that I've done, past and present, without actually judging me for what I did before. He simply accepted me."
"True Love does that."
Regina looks across the table to Belle, who's actually meeting her gaze for a change. "You would know about that,"she acknowledges, "lover of the Dark One, wouldn't you?"
Belle's face colors, but her chin rises. "Yes. I do love him. And I accept him for everything that he is. It hasn't been an easy journey, but I don't regret a step of it." Her mind flashes back to the night she drove him out of Storybrooke, and, her face darkening a little more, she hurries to rectify her statement, "I don't regret a single moment of being with him, of loving him."
Regina nods, her gaze once more going back to Robin across the room. He catches her eye this time, smiles broadly, and lifts his mug in silent acknowledgment to her. "I know exactly what you mean," the former Evil Queen replies in a hushed, emotional whisper.
Tinker Bell nudges Aurora. Both women have been listening to everything that's been being said, but they haven't missed, nor moved their own eyes, from the way Mary Margaret's and Ruby's eyes have been locked together since the wolf first started talking about her best kiss. "We've talked about best kisses," the Fairy begins.
"So what about worst kisses?" Aurora asks.
Regina smirks. "Mary Margaret still doesn't have much to choose from."
"That's all right, Mom. I'll go first." Emma shakes her head. "There's absolutely no doubt who my worst kisser was." She shivers at the memory, although a part of her wonders if her thoughts would be the same if she didn't know now what she knows about that man in her past.
"Who?" Regina's smirk grows. "Did Pinocchio kiss like wood?"
"No. August was actually a very good kisser. His kiss could have set wood on fire. But did I ever tell you guys that I almost got engaged while I was in New York between the two curses?"
Emma waits for their reactions as she answers slowly, "To . . . a . . . flying monkey."
"I did!" She was so embarrassed and angry at the time, but now, it makes for a good story.
The whole table of women slowly learning each other and becoming friends erupts into laughter, but amidst the hoots, cackles, chuckles, and giggles, one hand reaches for another. Ruby looks up, wishing the hand belongs to Mary Margaret but already knowing better, into a pair of deep, concerned eyes made deeper and somehow bluer by their concern. Belle gazes into her friend's eyes. "It's going to be okay," she mouths, rubbing her hand. "She'll come back to you -- "
Ruby returns her look and finally nods, but she looks away as Belle finishes, " -- if it's meant to be." She looks to the end of the table and to the very best kisser she's ever known. Her secret love isn't even looking at her now. She's focused on her daughter, but upon feeling Ruby's gaze, Mary Margaret looks back down at her -- and quickly away once more -- and Ruby knows. She'll always have her heart. She'll always be the best kisser and dearest friend she'll ever know, but she'll never again feel the sizzling heat of her Princess' lips against hers, let alone romp with her ever again in the wilds of a forest lit by the full moon's light.
Ruby drowns her sorrows quickly in her chocolate, but her look she's shared has not been missed by the others. Regina puzzles over it. Aurora thinks of Mulan back in the Enchanted Forest while Tinker Bell wishes that people would more swiftly ad easily latch onto the happiness life tries to give them. Emma, too, has seen the gaze and determines to question her mother about it later.
Only Belle lowers her head in silent understanding. She thought she had it hard fighting Rumplestiltskin's evilness in order to be with him, but her best friend loves a woman who will never love her because her heart belongs to a man. She grips Ruby's hand harder, interlacing their fingers together and silently giving her her support. Both she and Ruby miss Mary Margaret's longing glance back at them and the burn of her eyes as she sees their fingers wrapped together. They miss the way she looks away quickly, and every one misses the single tear in the Princess' eye as she remembers what she can never have again.
She catches her husband's eye and nods to him. He waves. She smiles back, but her lips tremble in secret. She has a loving husband and children. She has the family she always wanted. But her happiness still lays so long ago in the depths of a forest, lost to her forever but never quite forgotten or relived.