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Dawn was just beginning to break, ushering in a new day, as Regina lowered herself with her usual inherent grace to sit at the edge of the bluff that overlooked the Atlantic. The sky was cloudy, the air unusually cool for late August, and a small smile quirked Regina's lips as the wind kicked up, blowing her hair from her face. The storm that had battered the town overnight had moved on, leaving an angry, roiling ocean in its wake. The waves were wild, frothy, slamming with reckless abandon against the sea wall and then rolling back at the waves that were still making their way to shore, building them up higher so that their resulting crash was even more magnificent.
Regina liked watching the sea when it was like this. Raw. Powerful. Untamed. But what she enjoyed more than watching Mother Nature flex her muscles, was the way the waves would grow incrementally smaller as the morning wore on, until they were nothing more than the tame rolling breakers that usually tickled the shoreline.
She enjoyed the power, but she reveled in the tranquility.
All she had ever wanted was peace, and she had fought too many battles to attain it. She had lost far too many battles to rightfully expect to ever achieve it.
And yet she had.
She smiled as she felt a familiar presence wander up behind her. "Hello, dear," she murmured as Emma sat at her side. She leaned into her, feeling happier than she had ever expected she would as a strong arm wound itself around her shoulders.
Emma grinned, her eyes following Regina's gaze out over the sea. "Whatcha doing?"
"Knitting," Regina replied drolly, rolling her eyes.
"Har har," Emma drawled. She sighed and added, "I've always loved watching the ocean after a storm."
Not at all surprised that Emma knew exactly how she was feeling, Regina simply nodded and leaned her head on the blonde's shoulder. She had always longed for this, the acceptance and companionship of someone who viewed her as a true equal, and her pulse skipped at the feeling of Emma's slightly chapped lips brushing lightly over her forehead. She did not know what she could have possibly ever done to be so lucky to deserve this second chance at happiness, and she was afraid to ask, lest the Fates decide that it had all been a mistake.
After a time, Emma spoke again, her voice just loud enough to carry over the sound of the waves beneath them. "You've always reminded me of the ocean."
"I'm afraid to ask, but I'll play along," Regina murmured. "Why is it that I remind you of the ocean, Miss Swan?"
Emma smiled. She used to get so pissed when Regina would call her that, but now it just made her heart swell with affection. "You're stunningly beautiful," Emma started, pressing her lips to the crown of Regina's head. She drew in a deep breath, reveling in the familiar scent of the brunette's shampoo, spicy and floral and something she had never been able to quite recognize but had always loved. "You're strong. Resilient. Fathomless. Powerful," she said, knowing that it was something Regina did not particularly like about herself, even though it was something she admired about her. Sure enough, Regina stiffened ever so slightly in her arms, and Emma continued, "You're patient, calm, and utterly indomitable, though I do enjoy trying."
Regina chuckled. "Indeed you do, dear." She turned to look up at Emma, her eyes dancing over the blonde's face as she ran a gentle hand over her jaw. "You really find me to be all those things?"
"I do. You, Regina Mills," Emma murmured, smiling as she leaned in and nuzzled Regina's cheek with her nose, lightly brushing their lips together but holding herself back from making it a proper kiss, "are an absolute force of nature that I am helpless to resist."
A lazy smile quirked Regina's lips as she replied, "I like when you resist."
Emma laughed, not at all offended that Regina responded with humor rather than affection. She had grown more than used to the tools the brunette used to keep herself at a safe emotional distance, and it was something she could easily understand and appreciate. Until Henry, and then Regina, she had been the same way. "You like it better when I submit, though," she teased.
"Sometimes," Regina demurred. She did still love to be the one in control, but she had come to love giving up that control even more. Emma was strong, stronger than she had ever been or ever would be, and she found herself preferring to submit to the blonde rather than trying to dominate her. She loved the feeling of freedom that would sweep through her whenever she gave herself completely to Emma, making her feel like she was riding at breakneck speed across an otherwise empty meadow, arms outstretched and eyes closed as she trusted Emma with all that she was, trusting that she would never let her fall.
Emma nodded, understanding the many sentiments that went into that single word. Conversations with Regina had always been about so much more than what was said. From the very beginning, the words they hurled at each other had been nothing more than distractions from the very real emotions that boiled beneath the surface, aching to be acknowledged. "Me too," she whispered.
The waves still pounded the shoreline with the remnants of the storm's fury, but neither woman noticed as Emma's chin dipped just enough to capture Regina's lips with her own. The kiss was slow and sweet, lips sliding, clasping, sucking, and yet it also simmered with the promise of more. A promise that was fulfilled when Regina opened her mouth to Emma's questing tongue, sparking a passion that was never truly ever dormant between them.
A warm golden light surrounded them as they kissed, the power of true love making the air around them reverberate in a symphony more beautiful than any penned by man, and Emma smiled at the feeling of their powers combining.
"I will never get tired of this," Regina murmured, her eyes closed as she savored the sensation of Emma's magic licking its way over her skin and chasing the darkness from her soul.
"Good," Emma husked. "Because I have no intention of ever letting you go."
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