Maleficent leaned against a tree and watched Regina.
Behind her, the party continued. It was a celebration of…well, of everything. A celebration of surviving, of beating the odds, of finding friends, and holding on to family. It was spontaneous and loud and bright and very, very happy.
She had seen Regina slip away from the crowd, out from under the marquee that had been hurriedly pitched in the middle of the park. She’d waited, watching for her to return; but when the minutes ticked by with no sign of Regina, Maleficent had excused herself from a confusing conversation with an inebriated Snow White, and followed Regina out into the night.
She found her in a little clearing among the trees, not so far away from the marquee that the music and laughter could not still be heard. The noise of the party was muted here though, making the sounds gentler, less grating on the ear.
Maleficent leaned against a tree and watched.
Regina was dancing.
She was barefoot in the grass under the moonlight, her eyes closed as she swayed in time with the soft sound of music; her hair brushed against her face as she twirled a slow circle, the hem of her skirt gently rose and fell. Her arm curled around her stomach, holding herself; she smiled wistfully, the corners of her mouth downturned. And, without thought, Maleficent was moving.
She kicked off her own high heels as she strode forward, silent, intent, a hunter stalking prey. Maleficent was almost on Regina before she noticed her; her eyes flickered open, widening in surprise when she saw Maleficent standing there, her inky-black dress covered in hundreds of silver beads, glittering enough to rival the stars.
Regina stiffened, steeling herself for the sardonic teasing that was the usual way of things between them.
But Maleficent simply held out her hand and said levelly, “May I have this dance?”
Regina tilted her chin up and examined Maleficent’s face, seeking out any sign of even well-intentioned mockery. She found none. She placed her hand in Mal’s open palm.
Maleficent’s fingers closed firmly over Regina’s and she pulled her into a twirl, her other hand coming up to Regina’s waist, guiding her through the movement. Regina was laughing when she came to a halt, facing Maleficent.
They started off in a very formal and proper position, standing slightly apart. Maleficent’s right hand curved lightly around Regina’s waist, her fingers against the small of her back; she clasped Regina’s right hand against her chest, covering her heart. They started to move, following the rhythm of the haunting melody that wafted from the marquee. Regina’s inexperience made her hesitant, but Maleficent’s hand was steady at her back, leading her through the movements as she smiled down at her. Even barefoot, the dragon still had the advantage of height, and she was smooth and sure as she danced them around the clearing.
The grass was cool beneath their feet, the moonlight bright around them, and with every twirl and sweeping turn that ended with her back in the circle of Maleficent’s arms, Regina grew more confident. She slid her free hand along Maleficent’s shoulder until she could curl it around the back of her neck, and she shimmied closer so that their bodies brushed against each other as they danced, at thigh, and hip, and breast.
Maleficent’s eyes darkened, and Regina rested her head against the dragon’s chest with a sigh of contentment.
Regina felt Maleficent’s arm move up along her back, felt her tighten her grip, then she was being turned, but still held close against Maleficent’s body. She had to shift her feet and bend her knee to keep her balance, and suddenly she was looking up at Maleficent as her grinning partner lowered her into a dip. Regina clutched at Maleficent’s shoulder, laughter bubbling up. This felt like flying, but she was not afraid that Mal would drop her - the dragon’s hold was strong, her body firmly rooted to the ground.
Mal raised her back to an upright position. They stood unmoving for long moments, neither one speaking, simply looking searchingly at each other. Then Regina sighed, went up on tiptoe, and kissed Maleficent. She felt Mal’s mouth stretch into a broad smile that broke their kiss, but then she sobered and returned Regina’s kiss with passion.
In the marquee, the music changed, becoming fast and spirited with a pounding beat. The revellers whooped and shouted, and the wooden dance floor thrummed under their leaping feet.
But outside, under the moonlight, barefoot in the grass, Maleficent and Regina swayed softly together, moving to a sound that played for them alone.