Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters contained in the following fanfiction. All rights belong to the producers of Once Upon A Time And this is merely my interpretation of potential events. I do not mean any disrespect or injustice to the characters.

The Black Hearted

If love was weakness then why did Regina feel so helpless without it? After monthsof watching the Charming's play happy families she'd had enough. It wasn't enough that Emma had come into her life and stolen Henry from her but she continued to tear a hole through everything Regina had built. She had taken Graham, reunited Snow and Charming, broken the curse and given the townsfolk the confidence to stand up to her. Her life as it had been for the past 28 years was over.

Regina spent most of her days hauled up in her mansion since the curse broke. She couldn't handle the way the townsfolk stared at her and the way that rooms fell silent upon her arrival. Draped across her sofa she pondered how her perfectly controlled world was so swiftly taken from her. SHE was The Evil Queen... What gave this NOBODY from GOD KNOWS WHERE the right to waltz in and take control? Even Rumplestiltskin was backing Emma these days! How did he get away scott-free in this whole debacle?

She shook her head and brushed her slender fingers through her soft black hair, letting out a frustrated breath. She needed to get out... Do something... But where in Storybrooke could she be around people without being judged by them? There was only one place Regina could think of.

As she approached the dimly lit bar she could hear the sound of laughter, the rattling of glasses and bar stools and the air smelled thickly of cheap tobacco and sweat. Regina composed herself and took a deep hopeful breath before pushing open the door of The Rabbit Hole. As she entered she felt a lump form in her throat and the fresh feeling of fear course through her... The room suddenly went from roaring laughter and talking to a dull whisper. Not again! Regina thought as she surveyed the room. It wasn't long before regina realized that it was not the usual reception of gossip and hatred she was witnessing but a room full of gawking men. They stared at her with lust-filled adoration. Regina used this moment to her advantage and ran her hands down her tight black dress smoothing out the fabric before walking slowly towards the bar. The sway of her hips along with her long toned legs drew the men's eyes to follow her every move like eager puppy dogs.

Sitting down at the bar regina was greeted by a tall, solidly built and rather scruffy looking bartender "what'll it be, love?". Regina pursed her lips and raised one eyebrow seductively. "I feel like trying something new tonight, what would you suggest?" She said playfully with a slight grin. "Let me see what I can mix up for you" the handsome bartender began mixing various liquor and shaking it up in a glass. Regina found her eyes wandering to the bartenders bulging biceps peeking out from under the cuff of his white tshirt as he shook her drink. He reached up to grab a hanging martini glass. Regina's eyes now travelled to his waist, as he went for the glass his shirt raised up to reveal perfectly sculpted pelvic muscles. Regina found herself nibbling on her bottom lip and thoroughly enjoying her view. Their eyes met and suddenly Regina became aware of her not so subtle gawking. She looked away quickly and began fiddling with her gold bracelet.

A martini glass appeared infront of her. He softly brushed his hand across hers and when she looked up to meet his gaze he simply said "enjoy" and then turned on his heel to serve his next group of customers. Their brief touch made Regina's heart flutter. She took her glass with both hands and gently inhaled the sweet scent of his creation. She bought the glass to her lips and took a sip. At first taste she felt the familiar burn of vodka and vermouth... but the after taste... she raised her eyes and found the bartender staring at her from across the bar. Apples. The taste of sweet juicy apples filled her mouth and she couldn't help but smile. The bartender nodded a knowing smile and continued his work.

She played with her drink for some time and stole a few seductive glances with the rugged bartender. Once the final drop of liquid hit her tongue she slipped off her stool and headed for the bathroom. She wanted to freshen her lipstick and perfume before she conversed with him again.

Stepping infront if the mirror, Regina pulled her lipstick from her purse. Scarlet red was always her favourite colour when seducing a man. She enjoyed the way it left her mark on her conquests. She opened her mouth and ran the rouge along her lips slowly. Hmmm perfect, she said to herself as she replaced the lipstick to her purse and with a quick mist of perfume she was ready to head back to the bar.

As she sat back down at the bar her heart sank. The bartender was no where to be seen and instead Ruby was behind the bar. She hollered at Regina from the other side of the bar "what can I get ya?". Regina scoffed at her level of customer service and replied "A dirty martini and some manners would be just lovely". Ruby scowled and called out once more "my apologies your majesty, I'll be right there". Moments later Ruby waltzed over to Regina and handed her her drink. "I haven't seen you round here before Regina" Ruby stated with a hint if suspicion in her tone. Regina took a sip of her drink before replying. "I needed to get out of the house. Felt like being somewhere a little more welcoming than Granny's." Ruby was surprised by Regina's honesty. The bar was beginning to thin out so she offered to keep Regina company between customers. "Why would you want to spend any time talking to me?" Regina shifted uncomfortably in her chair and avoided Ruby's eye contact. "Look Regina, I'm not condoning your actions but I can relate to the feeling of isolation and the general looks of unease you get from the town... Since they found out my little secret I get sideways looks daily. God forbid I bump into anyone walking home at night... They practically scream and bolt in the other direction." With that Ruby smiled and went to serve another customer. In the past few weeks Regina had become so self centered with her own situation she forgot that there were other villans living in Storybrooke dealing with their own demons. Regina was truly grateful for Ruby's confession and for a brief moment felt hope that maybe she could find a friend in her.

Regina took her phone from her purse and squinted in an attempt to focus on the time. It was 2am. "Shit" Regina said as she jumped up from her stool at the bar. Her knees buckled beneath her and she only just managed to grab onto the bar before she completely fell to the ground. She must be more drunk than she realized... She only had 3...4...6 drinks! Now had they been glasses of red wine she would be hardly in such a state. But since that bartender started her on high octane fuel she made the decision to continue.

Looking around the bar she realized that there were two men passed out in a booth mid way through their game of black jack and Ruby. Ruby was curled up on a chair behind the bar reading a magazine. As Regina stumbled toward the exit Ruby called out "hey do you need a hand getting home? We are closing up now anyway." In an attempt to compose herself Regina politely declined her offer, smoothed out her dress and left through the door.

The cold night air burned against Regina's cheeks as she stumbled down the path to her car. After another stumble Regina thought otherwise against driving home. She headed along the path stumbling every few steps. How did she let herself get into such a state? Why didn't she plan for the cold weather? Why was she still alone? How can she get control back in Storybrooke? How can she prove her love to Henry? How did she get into the forest?... Wait, how did she get into the forest? Regina realized as her mind wandered so did she. She had no idea where she was. In an attempt to magic herself back home she merely sent a bolt of lightening from her fingertips which followed by a sharp crack as a branch fell from the tree beside her. The branch hit Regina hard on the head and she crumpled to the ground. Blood began to flow from a cut on her forehead as she lay unconscious on the forest floor. A figure emerged from the shadows and hovered over Regina's body. The stranger brushed the leaves from her dress, covered her in a coat, picked her up and carried her further into the night.