A/N: This is a bit of an odd little experiment for me. It comes from a prompt on Tumblr and is basically an attempt to look at the consensual sensuality/sexuality of the OQ relationship while also examining her past in regards to sex and power and control. It's not overly pretty in that regard and so this story comes with some warnings.

Timeline: The Robin/Regina parts take place during the beginning of 3x21 - while they're at her house post return of Regina's heart. The rest of the scenes should be evident as to when and where they take place, but all of them occur pre the first curse.

Warnings: This features sexual interludes with Leo (marital rape), the Huntsman (dub-con), Rumplestiltskin, Jefferson, an OC and of course, Robin. None of them are overly graphic, but they can be intense so if any of these situations or characters are triggering, please be forewarned as this may not be the story for you.

Not that Robin would at all understand the reference – and she just barely does (she'd found it rather pedestrian, actually, but for some reason or another, it'd been one of the strange things that she'd learned down her first weeks in this world that has always stuck in her head and it's rather bizarrely what she's thinking of as his hand slides beneath the hem of her shirt once again), but he's been rounding second base for the last few days, and yet somehow hasn't managed to come close to third yet.

He's not quite being a gentleman considering the way he's kissing her and moving his palm up her abdomen – but he's being enough of one that she knows that this is as far as he thinks tonight will go.

She has other plans for them, though.

Because he's touching her now, and it's been a lifetime since she wanted someone to touch her as much as they want to touch her (and vice versa, she has to admit to herself when it's dark and quiet and she can no longer lie to herself about the many sins that darken her heart and soul) and she knows that he's going to stop because he's not a gentleman, but he's enough of one.

He's just enough of one that he won't push for anything more than this even though she can practically feel the way that he's vibrating against her as they press their bodies together so as to deepen the kiss – the kisses – that they've been engaging in for the last however long it's been that they've been at this.

Long enough, she muses as his mouth moves away from her lips and then hungrily seals itself against her neck, his tongue flickering out so that he can taste the light sheen of sweat on her skin and smell her lavender bath-soap.

The once roaring fire that Robin had started while she'd been preparing a snack for them (the cheese has barely been touched) – and wine, of course (because she had owed him the drink, she'd reminded him) – is starting to burn out, and there is a chill to the room. That's not unusual, really; it's still only Spring in Storybrooke, and it tends to be rather cold at night during this time of year.

She feels none of this, though, because Robin's wandering hand is now atop her cloth-covered left breast and just as he gently squeezes it, his thumb flickering past her nipple, he starts sucking on her pulse, and suddenly she feels warm and she knows with the kind of clarity that she's only had a few other times in her life, that she has no intention of allowing him to be any kind of gentleman tonight.

Her hand goes down and she threads her fingers through his hair and pulls his face up towards her, meeting his eyes for just the briefest of moments before she kisses him soundly – hard and passionately – and then does it again.

He gasps her name and she grins at him. The hand that's not in his hair drops down to his bicep– squeezing tightly and feeling the way the muscle tenses – and then using his arm for leverage, she gently lifts herself into his lap.

He still smells like forest – like sweat, fire, trees and the beauty of nature unrestrained – and she finds that she almost craves the purity of his scent.

She finds that she craves him.

She wants him.

And when he kisses her the way he does, she knows that he wants her just as much.

She's fifteen years old when she gets – or in this case, gives - her first kiss; he's just a simple stable boy and he has no business kissing her or even touching her, but she'd been yelling at him about his ineptitude (he'd done nothing wrong, but Mother won't leave her alone these days and this boy who is also around all the time had just been a convenient way to let all of her anger out) when he suddenly leans forward and places a few of his fingers against her open mouth.

And then his eyes blow wide open with fear like he's just suddenly realized what he's done and who her mother is and what terrible danger he's likely in if she decides to get angry at him for daring to touch her or silence her. "I'm sorry," he rushes to say as he pulls his hand away from her and drops it to his side before it can betray him again. "It's just… my name is Daniel. Not Boy. Daniel."

"Daniel," she repeats, seeming almost confused. He's still standing fairly close to her, and she thinks that she can smell sweat and straw and the horses on him.

"Yes, Daniel."

"You touched me." Her hand lifts to her lips, and she's still trying to figure out what she's supposed to feel here because she knows that he had no right.

But his blue eyes are so very kind and calm, and though she desperately looks for it, she doesn't see in them what Mother is constantly warning her about whenever she happens to look towards someone who catches her interest; she doesn't see the need to control and to own and to destroy that Mother always tells her exists in all Men. Instead, she sees a kind of curious innocence there.

"I did," he confesses with an apologetic smile that's just shy of sheepish. "And I'm sorry. I had no right touch you like that, I know this, but…you were yelling at me and… well, if you're going to be angry at me for not saddling up a horse that you didn't even take out for a ride, at least do so using my actual name."

He's babbling and it'd be cute if she weren't so startled by his words. Her mouth opens and then snaps shut a moment later. When it opens again, she lets out a breathy threat that sounds more like a plea, "Never do it again. Or…or else."

"Understood," Daniel replies quietly, and then he abruptly takes a quick step backwards, an unsettling kind of fear sparking in his bright blue eyes as he no doubt worries if he's crossed a line that will cost him dearly; everyone around here knows of the wrath of Regina's mother and if he had been thinking clearly, he certainly never would have even thought to touch Regina in any way, but well, he seldom does around her, and he supposes that that's his little secret.

"Shall I saddle your horse for you?" he asks once he's put enough distance between them. If she didn't know better, she'd think he sounded almost hurt.

"Yes," she replies, a slight tremor to her voice as she carefully watches him.

"Very well." He starts to turn from her but she catches him arm.

"Why? Why did you touch me? There, I mean. Was it just to silence me?"

Because she thinks she knows the answer from the almost shy way that he keeps looking at her – she gets the feeling that he has as much experience with girls as she does with boy - but she has to be sure that Mother is wrong about him. She has to know that Mother isn't always right and there are some who are different.

Then again, it's Mother who has always told her that she must remain quiet until the time for power and control arrives. It's Mother who has always been insistent that a silent and presumably well-behaved woman who watches and observes is one that can ultimately destroy and own everything around her.

"No," Daniel replies quickly, almost urgently. Then, in a soft uncertain voice, and with a blush overtaking his cheeks, he adds," I wouldn't want to ever do that. It's just that…you have beautiful lips, and I have wanted to kiss you since the first time I saw you, but I know better than to think that…" he trails off looking mortified at his words, then says, "It doesn't matter. I'm sorry for my presumption in touching you. Truly."

"Daniel," she says suddenly.

He looks up at her. "My lady?"

She doesn't give him a chance to adjust to what she's suddenly thinking – she barely gives herself an opportunity to decide that this is what she wants to do (Mother has always told her that her impulsiveness will get her in danger, always scolded her that following her heart and her instincts will be her downfall). She simply does it because in this moment in time, it's exactly what she wants to do.

So in one motion, she leans towards him and she presses her lips against his.

She's never kissed a boy before and she really has no idea what she's doing.

Mother would be furiously angry if she knew of this.

But for this moment at least, Regina simply doesn't care about what Mother wants or doesn't want for her; she only cares about what she wants and so she holds her lips against Daniels's – the kiss sweet and chaste but full of something that feels passionate and real – for just a second longer and she enjoys it.

And she enjoys the fact that he's clearly enjoying it as well.

It makes her feel good to make someone good, and so very wonderfully happy.

When they finally break away from each other, his eyes are wide and surprised.

"What was that for?" he asks.

"You didn't want me to be silent," she replies.

Daniel smiles widely at that and she thinks that even if he couldn't possibly truly understand why it means so much to her that he doesn't just want her to be a docile and well-behaved princess-to-be, he understands enough to know by the look on her face that he's made her happy and that makes him happy. She thinks that it's a fascinating bit of turnaround from what she'd been just feeling.

"Not even when you're furious with me," he admits with a chuckle and a shake of his head like he thinks he's gone a bit mad. "I like it when you're passionate."

"Do you?"

Daniel smiles at her again and she feels a kind of sticky warmth surge through the middle of her chest that she can't even begin to describe. "Yes."

"That was my first kiss," Regina admits. "Was it…was I…?"

"Oh," he says brightly, his smile growing. "It was lovely. You're…lovely."

She blushes, and thinks that this must be what flirting is. It's amazing both how good it feels and how easily it comes to her considering that she's never really done it before. "Perhaps," she allows. "But since I've now kissed you, it seems that it's your turn to repay the favor. But just this once. And then never again."

"Just this once," Daniel agrees as he steps forward. He cups her face with his warm but slightly rough from working in the stables his whole life palms and then he leans in and presses her mouth to hers once more. It doesn't last all that much longer than the first kiss, and it still goes no further than the lips, but then it doesn't need to do either of those things because this alone is enough to send heat and perhaps even a kind of desire rushing through her young body.

She's not at all used to these feelings, but she knows that she likes them.

Likes them a whole lot.

"That was lovely, too," he says. "But just this once, right?" He's teasing her, and he really has no right to do so considering their different standings – he's just a stable boy and she's a girl who Mother insists has a great and powerful destiny ahead of her - in life, but she finds she has no desire to move away from him.

"Maybe once more," she concedes as she looks deep into his eyes. She's about to say more than that – perhaps even challenge him in some way or another - when she hears the sound of Mother approaching – her skirts whooshing and her magic making the air around her crackle in a way that causes the hairs on her neck to stand up. She separates from Daniel, her face hardening immediately.

"Mind the horses better," she says sharply. Then gently adds on, "Daniel."

"Of course," he agrees, dipping his head in a show of submission because he, too, had heard Cora's approach. This is how the older woman finds them when she enters a few moments later, and she smiles tightly at this because it appears to her that her daughter is finally learning how to take control of the servants.

Some lessons take longer than others, but maybe understanding the roles of those who are beneath her is one that Regina is finally learning. Perhaps she's finally grasping that using and controlling others is all just part of the game.

"Regina," she greets. "Hurry along, dear; we have guests." Her smile turns sickly sweet, and it's the kind of smile that Regina knows means this will be a trying night full of quietly humoring vile men who wish to make her their wife.

Thankfully, for all the horrible things that Mother has done to her, the one thing she is so far unwilling to do is marry her off to the first semi-rich bachelor that's come around. Apparently, Mother has bigger dreams for her than simply that.

What those dreams are, Regina doesn't want to know.

For now, the only thing that she wants to do is think about her first kiss.

So as she leaves the stables, Mother just a few inches ahead of her, she looks back over her shoulder at the boy who'd kissed her – the boy named Daniel - and when she sees him smiling at her, she finds herself smiling back at him.

And she knows – just knows – that she won't be able to stay away from him.

She thinks that maybe this is the beginning of something amazing.

The way he's looking back at her, he's clearly thinking the same thing.

Robin's strong hands come around to the opposite sides of her neck and then left up to the undersides of her jaw so that he can pull her towards him.

She laughs when he loses his balance and they fall backwards so that they're essentially sprawled out together on the couch, both of them looking about as undignified as they can possibly get. Her hair is mussed and his is standing on end, and he has lipstick on the corner of his mouth. Moving to straddle him. She grins down at him, then reached out and wipes the lipstick away with her thumb before kissing him again just so that she can put it back onto him again.

When she pulls back, she just looks at him for a moment.

"What?" Robin asks, wondering what else she could have to tell him. She'd already let told him of the secret about the pixie dust and their near miss from years ago. Could there be more? Does he care if there is? He doesn't think so.

All he cares about in this moment is having this woman as close as possible.

And right now, she's very close.

Too close if he plans to stay a gentleman and not push for something before she's ready to give it; he won't, though, because what he wants from her is to see the way her eyes explode with passion and light when she's happy.

He thinks that he would give just about anything to see that happen.

Even if that means waiting for her to be ready for something more.

"I'm just thinking," she says. "About the choices we make. And don't make."

"You mean like walking into the bar?"


"That bothers you?"

"Not anymore," she replies and then leans in and kisses him again. He feels her hand slide beneath his shirt again, her fingers dancing across his abdomen and then slipping just below his beltline so that she can run a tip across his hipbone.

"Regina," he whispers.

"I think we should probably take this upstairs," she answers, sliding out of his lap and away from the contact that he wants so desperately. Just enough so that she can see his eyes and the emotions that fly through them at her words.

"Are you quite sure?" he asks, and he's frowning just a bit because even to his own ears it's an absurd question; they're adults instead of children, and both of them are sexually practiced enough that moving to the next stage of their relationship – one that just seconds ago he'd been admitting to himself that he'd been ready for - really shouldn't be that big of a deal, but it feels like it is.

It feels like this means something, like it matters.

She leans in and nips his lip, holding it for a moment between her teeth before whispering in a voice deepened with pure lust, "I'm quite sure that I want you."

Her new husband is solid and heavy atop her body, but that's not even the worst of this. The worst is the way she can smell his alcohol-soaked breath; it's sweet and cloying and it makes her want to gag as he kisses her over and over again, forcing his tongue into her mouth and down her throat. His hands are rough and demanding, and though he's not actively trying to hurt her, he doesn't even really bother to try to hide his lack of care for her, and when he finally takes her – when he consummates their marriage by pushing into her - he does so because he believes that she owes him this; he'd given her title, wealth and security.

He'd given her everything.

At least that's what he believes; he's the King, and so he's allowed to think that way, and no one will ever dare to come along and whisper in his ear that perhaps the young girl who had never really said "yes" to him without coercion of fear or reprisal for humiliation doesn't really watch him touching her like this.

Or at all.

No one will dare say those things because the King is a "good" man but he's also a lonely one who wants company and a male heir, and well, she's his wife.

This is her duty.

She reminds herself that this is just a means to an end; she's just doing this long enough to give herself time to learn from Rumplestiltskin. Perhaps she can learn enough to figure out how to bring Daniel back to life. He's her Happy Ending.

Finding her happiness with Daniel again will make this pain and hurt worthwhile.

So Regina – the new Queen of this hell - closes her eyes and presses her face into the pillow to stop herself from crying out in pain (or to demand that he get off of her), and she tries not to feel him as he moves within her rough and hard and like she's barely even there except to be there. She tries not to feel his mouth against her or his hands as they press into her to keep her anchored.

She stays silent and she does her duty.

And wants him dead for it.

She wants herself dead for it as well.

"Unless you're not ready?" she teases, her fingers dipping further below his belt and over the soft fuzz she feels there.

He chuckles and then reaches out, catches her straying hand and brings it up so that he can kiss it. "I am ready for anything that my Queen commands of me."

"So, I'm your Queen now?"

"What can I say? I enjoy a woman who can put me in my place. That is as long as she's willing to allow me to do the same to her from time to time."

Her eyebrow lifts and she smiles mischievously, almost wickedly, and she thinks about the way her heart is once again pounding away inside of her chest now, a flow of emotions pulsing through her. "Yes, well, we shall see about that. Now, we can stay down here if you would prefer to. But the rug can be…chafing."

He really doesn't need her to spell out her intent for this evening because both of their bodies are humming and responding in ways that would be humiliating if either one of them cared at all about such things. Thankfully, they don't.

So he chuckles and then leans in and kisses her on the mouth. "If you think that we can make it upstairs, then I am all for the comfort of a soft mattress. I get the feeling that it's very likely that a bed might come in terribly useful tonight."

She grins at him and he wonders how it was that he'd spent a whole year in the Enchanted Forest with her all the while staring at her from behind a wall of her own building; how it is that he never seen this enthralling, intoxicating and infuriating woman existing between all the decadent layers of silk and leather?

Oh, but Robin had seen her, and perhaps that's his little secret; the truth is that he had seen Regina even back then – buried deep beneath her pain and her anguish over losing her son and her hope for happiness - and he had wondered even then what it would look like to see her smile and what it would sound like to hear her laugh. But she'd been clear about her boundaries and her arm had been out in front of to keep everyone away, and he'd respected that because her heart had been so very broken, and he'd understood that entirely too well.

Because once upon a time, his had been broken just as badly.

But everything is different now.

There are no walls and no boundaries; all there is now is this and them.

"Mattress it is," Regina answers, and then she's waving her hand and there's purple smoke everywhere around them. When it fades, they're in her bedroom, the cool night air slipping in through the open windows. And then, like a sensual predator who knows exactly what she wants (him), she moves towards him.

"We haven't much time," she reminds him again as he finishes peeling the tasteful and innocent gown that Leopold favors from her shoulders. He gives it a look of distinct distaste – he always does that – and then tosses it away and focuses his eyes back on the naked flesh that's now exposed to his hungry eyes.

"Time enough," he assures her as he yanks her towards him, his hands grasping at her buttocks. He pulls her against his hardness, and she has to stop herself from reacting because it's still a bit strange to her to be so openly sexual. She's learning with him, though, because Jefferson has no limits and no off-limits.

What he wants, he takes. He lives his life like it's spinning constantly out of control, but there's always a way out and he'll take it if he needs to. His hat gives him that freedom; she doesn't have such, but when she's with him, she feels like she could.

She knows that it's a lie, but when his hands are between her legs and his mouth is on her neck, it's hard to think of anything besides the delirious high she feels.

Jefferson laughs suddenly and then with that boyish smile that speaks of an innocence that he doesn't really have within him, he pushes her down towards the bed, and she feels white-hot panic surge through her body because one of these days, this affair of theirs is surely going to get both of them killed; this is insanity and it's a horrible unimaginable risk because he's just a fuck and not worth this, and yet she lets her climb atop her and shove her into the mattress that her husband sometimes takes her in like she's just his well-paid prostitute.

It's this thought that drives her to pull Jefferson closer, to open her legs to him.

Because at least she's choosing this.

"You need someone who will treat you well," Jefferson mutters almost angrily as he kisses his way down her belly and sees the bruises on her olive skin (the King is rough even when he's not trying to hurt her), and he always did talk too much when all she's ever really wanted from him was an escape. He's taken her on so many voyages through so many worlds and she's let him touch her in so many different ways, but it's always been about escaping her life for her. It's always been about finding a way to get away from the hell that is her everyday.

Jefferson has given her that, but she's under no illusions that this is anything more than what it is - though she thinks that he might have deluded himself otherwise. To her, though, he's an unexpectedly wonderful and exciting lover (how much of that is the thrill of the affair, she's not quite sure, but it's certainly a part of the adventure, yes), but he's mostly just a silly man who has left himself vulnerable to a broken woman who no longer cares if she's using someone.

She's reminded him of his role in this game of theirs once or twice, and he's always shrugged like he doesn't care, like he feels the same way, but then she sees him watching her after he's brought her to orgasm, and she just knows.

She knows that he's in too deep, and she knows that needs to end this before they both lose their heads for this madness. She needs to stop this before she starts to believe that maybe she could lie to herself and convince herself that even if she doesn't love him, he might just feel enough for both of them Maybe just enough for there to be hope for something better than the life she's got.

But no, she can't afford hope, anymore; she knows where it will lead to.

Hope leads to death and heartbreak.

Hope leads to taverns with doors that she can't walk through.

She can't allow herself that. She can only allow this.

So, she does.

She feels Jefferson's hands on her breasts and then on her hips, and when he enters her, his pace quick and hard and his lips insistent against her own like they mean more to each other than they do, she thinks she hears the sound of trumpets somewhere down below; they're signaling the return of the King and his wretched daughter from a day out. They'd been doing their monthly meet and greet with the peasants, likely ensuring them all of the King and Princess's enduring goodness and oh, Jefferson is moving faster inside of her and when she hears the last trumpet blow signaling the closing of the gate, she comes.

She cries out, but his hand claps over her mouth to keep her from getting them both killed.

Regina stalks towards him, her body moving in a way that he doesn't dare pull his eyes away from. During their year together (apart) in the Enchanted Forest, he'd see the raw sensuality of the Evil Queen on display, but never like this.

For once, this isn't all about dangerously high protective walls meant to keep everyone away or false sexual bravado meant to intimate or even power meant to force someone into submission. No, this moment is all about want and desire, and he's pretty damned sure that all of those things are directed right at him.

"You need to be on your back, Thief," Regina teases just before she extends a hand out, places it flat against his still-covered chest, and then with surprising strength, shoves him down onto her astonishingly soft and well-sized bed.

"Indeed," he concedes as she straddles him. "I do have one question, though?"

"Right now?"

"It's better to get such silliness all out of my head now," Robin tells her. "I really would prefer to be thinking about more immediate things, I assure you."

"Very well, I suppose that you may ask your question," Regina drawls just before she lowers herself down and presses her light body flat against his, making sure to add in a slight rocking roll of her hips if for no other reason than to challenge his ability to speak coherently. The bloody infuriating woman almost wins, too.

"I thought all magic comes with a cost," he says between grit teeth as she rolls her hips again and then holds herself against the distinct hardness that she can feel forming there. He imagines that he should be slightly embarrassed that he's showing his arousal so evidently, but then, who could actually blame him?

And well, she doesn't seem upset about it so why should he?

"Oh, it most certainly does," she agrees, her right hand slipping in between their bodies for just the briefest of moment so that she can ghost her palm across his hardness, her fingers teasingly dancing away as she brings her hand back up and rests it almost casually – perhaps even innocently, like she hadn't just been intentionally antagonizing him - against the back of his neck, her fingers dancing there. "But transporting us up here? That just means that my tomato plant just might not survive the night. I think I can live with that trade."

"If you can, I can," he says and then pulls her down to him, their lips crushing together even as his hands reach behind her to lightly cup her buttocks for a moment as he presses her tight against him. He moves them to her hips, then, to hold her in place. He feels her tongue slip into his mouth and he answers in kind, encouraging her to keep pushing for control all while letting her know that while he might surrender it eventually to her, it won't be without a fight.

He's more than happy to let Regina be the one to call the shots, but he's already realized that this thing of theirs works best when they're challenging each other and when he's not letting her get away with her assumptions of control; the way she's looking at him tells her that she knows it, too, and she wants him to fight.

He thinks that she's looking at him like she doesn't want a subject or a submissive right now, but rather she wants him to be her partner in this with her.

He's guessing that very few people ever have been her partner in anything besides her destruction. He means to change that.

Starting with tonight.

It'd probably be something of a scandal if the peasants were to know about their Queen sleeping with one of her knights right after the burial of their beloved King (may he rest in hell, she thinks angrily), but right about now she doesn't give a damn what they think because she's the sole monarch of this kingdom now, and she has the right to take what she wants, and she wants him.

This is freedom, she tells herself, ignoring the voices that tell her that she's lying to herself. It's freedom and power. And victory. And after everything that has been taken away from her, stripped away from her, this is also her right.

He's young and beautiful and so very strong and perhaps he's even a little bit innocent. He doesn't even have blood on his hands or on his blade yet, and that means something to her that she can't quite put into words or feelings.

He tastes of sweat and the outdoors, and he offers himself as freely as he's capable of doing to her because he's one of her knights and she's his Queen and what she wants, she's supposed to get so he will give it to her willingly.

That submission is more than enough for her to quiet the voices in her head.

For tonight, anyway.

She's no longer in the bedroom where the King had required her to fulfill her duty and where Jefferson had pleasured her until he'd lost his way and fallen for her, and then decided in a fit of madness to tell her the truth about his betrayal of her. That he's still alive after he'd admitted to his role in driving her into darkness is amazing, but she supposes that she considers it a debt paid for all of the times that he'd kept her from throwing herself off the balcony simply by touching her. In any case, her quarters have altered and it's here where she pushes the knight roughly up against the wall and orders him to please her.

It's here where she moves from the taken to the taker.

He never fights her, just does as she orders him.

He's strong and his body is powerful and when he fucks her, it's glorious on a physical level. She ignores the ache in her heart because it just doesn't matter.

When she comes, she bites his shoulder to muffle herself and he grunts and bears the pain of it.

He even bows on the way out of the room.

And when he's gone and so very far away from her, she calls for her servants, and then, because she needs to be clean, she has them draw her a hot bath.

She stays in it until the water goes as cold as her heart has.

He waits for Regina to get that look like she thinks she's conquered him - that lazy almost smug half-sneer - and then he whirls her around and pushes her into the mattress and before she can even let out any kind of sound that's more than a gasp of surprise, his strong hands are on the hem of her sleeveless black shirt and in one fluid motion, he's pushing it up and over her head.

He doesn't let her have a chance to retaliate; he leans down and presses his mouth against one of cups of her black bra and oh the low in her throat almost growl like sound that she makes as he sucks on her nipple, a spot of wetness against the separating fabric. That sound is enough to make him lose his mind.

So he does it again, and then he chuckles because suddenly her hands are grabbing at him – one in his hair and one at his butt - and he thinks that she's gasping – he wonders what it would take to make her scream - something wonderfully profane and that just about drives him over the edge of all sanity.

Suddenly she's pushing him off of her body, and he can't figure out why she'd abruptly stopped things (he's about to ask her if he'd done something she hadn't wanted or if she'd changed her mind about this happening, but there's something in her dark eyes that quiets him) until she's standing up above him and then she's reaching down for him again and in motions that are entirely too quick to properly track, she's removing his shirt and tossing it away from him.

He reaches for her, meaning to remove her bra because when he pulls her back onto the bed with him, he wants to feel her skin on his – warm and so soft.

But she's shaking her head and smiling again because she remembers that he didn't spend twenty-eight years in this world, and so he's never removed this kind of bra from a woman. The last thing he needs - as amusing as it might be to her and her often twisted sense of humor - is the frustration of failing at this.

"It's lovely," he comments wryly as she seductively dances her fingers over the complex clasp of it. "But I believe it would be quite a bit lovelier elsewhere."

"You would be right," she says as she removes the bra from her body and then drops it down to where the rest of her clothes are, and oh, there's that wicked grin again. "Now, I believe I promised to show you what things would be like once my heart was back in." She taps her hand over her chest to remind them both again of its return to her. "And I really do hate to break my promises."

"It was actually more of a threat," he comments as he steps towards her, both hands reaching out to gently cup her breasts. He feels the weight and the warmth of them. "But well, I've never been one to scare away easily."

"Good," she replies, but it's throaty and her dark eyes are wide with lust.

He wonders about her patience, and debates on whether or not he could get away with teasing her for a little while longer (he certainly wants to play with her all night long). He wonders, then, about his own patience, and thinks that he's the one that probably couldn't survive trying to beat her at her own game.

So he changes the game.

Because suddenly he doesn't want this to be a game.

She's almost violently disgusted with herself, but that's her every day, and so really why should this be so different. Still, she'd sworn after the first time that this had occurred years ago – after Jefferson had told her the truth and she'd dared to confront her teacher and things had gotten angry and mean and then sexual and violent between them – that it would never happen again because there is perhaps no one alive that she despises more than she does him.

But she's even lower today than she'd been back then - the poisoned apple had failed miserably and war is imminent - and she's even thought about perhaps just fading away. Perhaps just disappearing and letting the world pass by.

True, most of the peasants are expecting a heinous fight between she and Snow, and deep down she knows she'll supply that, but that doesn't stop her from wondering if it would be so bad to run away and start over elsewhere.

Is that even possible? Probably not, but it's a nice thought to have. Once so very long ago, there'd been a second chance for her. What if he's still out there?

What if there's still a way for her to be happy that doesn't include blood and hatred and so much pain? What if there is a tomorrow that doesn't hurt?

So right on schedule, just as she'd been thinking these thoughts, he had turned up to whisper in her ear and remind her that the world would never allow that to happen – that he would never allow that to occur. She's never figured out what he wants from her, but she's fairly certain that despite what's happening now in her bedchambers – up against the wall of it – what he wants from her is not sex, and though this awfulness has happened before, this isn't even about pleasure.

Certainly not hers, anyway.

No, this is about his long game, and how he will always find a way to control and own her and destroy her no matter what she does to try to stop him from it.

Not that she's even bothering to try to stop him anymore.

Really, what's the point?

When he kisses her, it's more of a declaration of war than anything else, and hurts and she knows that he does it because it breaks her heart to feels the mockery of such intimacy, She knows that he does it simply because he knows just how much it will wound her. He kisses her to crush her.

He shoves her onto the bed face-first, and then bites her neck. He marks her just because he can, and these wounds will fade, but none of the others ever will.

She almost tells him - but just does manage to stop herself because Bells is simply too valuable to be lost in a fit of emotional panic - as he shoves deep into her body and whispers words full of corrosive hatred and doubt into her ear that his True Love is somewhere down below them in a special holding cell of hers.

Belle is probably sound asleep at this late hour, Regina thinks as she listens to the sound of their thighs slapping together, blissfully unaware that the half-man that she keeps screaming that she'll never give up on is busy fucking his once-student simply so that he can ensure the rotting away of her soul. She wonders what Belle would think of that? Would she still love Rumple if she truly knew?

She wonders if anyone could ever truly love monsters like she and Rumple?

It hardly matters right now, though, because all there is this, and bastard knows exactly where to touch her to make her body respond; she fights against the orgasm – she desperately doesn't want him to be able to bring her to one because that feels like surrender – but ends up settling for biting her lip hard enough to draw blood in order to keep herself from crying out when the unwanted pleasure ripples through her.

Maybe that's enough, she tries to tell herself as she tastes her own blood.

It's not, and they both know it.

She will never be enough for him or for anyone, and her attempts to deprive him of letting her know that he'd taken one more thing from her isn't that, either.

When Rumple rises from the bed, she doesn't look at him, and she's aware that he's smirking at her because he knows that he's won yet another battle with her. She's angry and humiliated by what's just happened and her hatred is a little bit darker, and though she doesn't know it yet – won't even understand what's truly going on between them for many years to come – she's a little bit closer today than she was yesterday to doing what he needs her to do. Because that's the game, and she never ever really was more than a simple chess piece to him.

Robin's kisses soften and gentle, and then his hands are dropping to her waist and he's lowering them back towards the bed, her arms wrapped around his neck as he lays her down. When her back hits the soft mattress, he steps back and with his eyes still locked on hers, he allows himself a quick moment to rid himself of his pants and then he's standing in front of her as naked as the day that he was born, and she thinks to herself that he's staggeringly beautiful.

Perhaps she even says it because he's grinning at her.

Her hands fall to her skirt, and she's reaching for the zipper but then Robin is dropping down by the foot of the bed. "Allow me," he suggests, his voice quiet.

She nods and swallows and then she just watches as he brings the zipper of her skirt down so slowly that it's almost agonizing to not reach out and move him along. When it's finally down, they both watch as her skirt floats to the ground leaving her just in her panties, which is still more than what he's got on. His eyes flicker upwards to her. "I rather like you like this," he teases as he draws a finger across the curve of the silk, dipping it beneath the fabric for just a moment.

Long enough for her to grit her teeth in frustration.

"Off," she commands. "And remember, any teasing will be repaid in kind."

"Oh, but I certainly hope so," Robin chuckles, and then he again slides his fingers beneath the edges of her panties (he pauses for a brief moment and allows himself a gentle sweep past her heat, smirking ever so slightly when she inhales sharply and then even more so when she glares at him for his reaction to hers) and then slowly brings them down over long beautiful legs. When he finally discards them, he allows himself a long moment to just look at her.

Finally, he says, his voice full of awe, "That letter may not have been written for you, but it was always meant for you. As he says this, he gently moves to cover her body with his, his arm propping him. "You truly are stunning in every way."

She doesn't let him speak again because she thinks that if he does, well then he's going to say something that will crack past the last protective wall she has in place around her newly returned heart, and if he does that, then this night will become about crying out all of the hurt and pain and lost opportunities in her past instead of feeling her possible future, and right now she desperately wants to feel everything. So instead, she kisses him hard and tries to say everything.

She tries to tell him what she needs from him.

It's not just about sex.

Not with him, anyway.

She tries to tell him that right now, what she needs from him is the man who had held her darkened heart, who had seen her wicked ways, and still wants her.

The Huntsman is rough with her on this cold night, but it's what she wants from him – how she had ordered him to do this. As is their way as of late, she has him take her from behind because even though their agreement that had saved Ruby's pack had bound him to her with his word, she knows that he doesn't want to be here, and she doesn't want to pretend that this is anything other than what it is. This is her paying back the past and if she thinks too hard on it, and if she looks in the mirror of the Huntsman's eyes and sees Leopold staring back at her, she'll truly see what she's doing and who she's become and she can't.

She simply can't.

So she doesn't let the Huntsman look into her eyes as he's pounding into her shuddering body and therefore there's no mistaking for either of them of what this is; it's power and control and she reminds herself that she has both of those things (at least over him) so she focuses on them as opposed to the way that his big hands hold her for balance and not because he actually wants to hold her.

This isn't about romance or love or anything besides simple release, she reminds herself as she angrily grits out her orgasm, her teeth clenched tightly enough to break. After a moment – and his own orgasm - she feels the Huntsman slump forward against her back; she knows he won't stay there long (he never does) and even before their bodies cool down, he'll climb from her bed and be gone unless she tells him to stay.

But she doesn't, anymore.

Not since the failed execution had destroyed what little hope she'd had left.

She almost laughs because the truth is that the only hope that the execution had stolen away from her had been that of the end finally coming to her via death.

Snow couldn't even allow her that simple mercy.

"Leave," she tells him, her voice cold. She feels him tense, and she thinks that this might be one of those times when he tries to talk to her, and perhaps even tries to soothe her spirit in a way that he'd once been capable of doing.

That time has come and gone, though, and they both know it.

No one can repair her broken heart now.

Because she's beyond caring.

Now there's only the black void of exile in front of her.

"Leave," she says again.

He rises from the bed, and she hears the sound of him pulling his pants on.

"I mean the castle. I want you to leave the castle. Go back to the woods."

"I don't understand," he says quietly.

"I no longer have use for you," she replies. "You're a broken toy to me, and I have no need to play with you any longer. So I'll release you back to your precious wolves. Your heart remains mine to keep you from helping her, but your actions may otherwise be your own once again. At least for now."


"Go or I'll have your head removed from your shoulders." She doesn't even bother to turn around to deliver the threat, but she knows he hears her well.

He's been with her too long to doubt the madness he hears in her voice.

"Very well," the Huntsman answers. She hears the rest of his clothing crinkle as he straightens and adjusts it, but then there's a curious moment of silence and she wonders if he'd managed to leave without her hearing his footsteps. The bed dips, then, however and she feels his heat as he leans over and very gently kisses her exposed shoulder. It's chaste and it's not forgiveness because there's no forgiveness for the things that Leopold and Rumple and so many others have done to her or to the things she's done to others who had never deserved it.

This certainly isn't that, but it's some kind of understanding, and that's worse.

He's gone moments later, and he will never know how lucky he was (only, unfortunately, twenty-nine years later, he will discover the opposite and she will never really forgive herself for that, either) because there are tears shining in her eyes and fire in her hands, and she thinks the only thing that's keeping her from crushing his heart is that she lacks the strength to stand up and finish him.

She doesn't have the strength and without that, what is there?


Nothing at all.

When he finally slides into her after enough foreplay – he's found that her breasts are quite sensitive to even the slightest stimulation and she has a wonderful spot just behind her right knee that seems to makes her hiss and whistle - to finally make her threaten him again with retaliation, he's watching her eyes and her face so very carefully, and she finds herself thankful for his caution and care because it's been long enough that she has to adjust to him.

When she finally has, she reaches for him to pull him into a kiss; it's her way of telling him that it's all right to continue. He still doesn't move for a moment, though, so she starts grinding up against him because he's rounding third at this point and maybe she's got the baseball metaphor all wrong, but if she wasn't having his whole gentleman routine before when they were making out by the fire, she really doesn't want any part of it right now when he's deep inside of her, and she is almost delirious from her need to feel his friction and heat.

"Is there something you wanted?" he teases as he brings his mouth to her ear and runs his tongue over outer shell of it, nipping with his teeth before returning his lips to hers. He can tell he's on very thin ice here, but he can't quite resist.

"I am still the Evil Queen," she reminds him, her voice low enough to be a growl, her hands digging into his buttocks and surely leaving crescent shaped marks there. "It would not be in your best interest to leave me wanting."

"Oh, I had no intention of doing that," he assures her, and then he's pressing deep into her again and suddenly all she can feel as he finds his rhythm is every nerve in her body popping and sizzling and her head is lolling back, and her hands are clutching out and she thinks maybe he's laughing but not at her.

He's laughing because he can't believe his stupid luck and yet here he is.

One of her hands grabs roughly at his butt again and know he's certain that he's going to have fingernail marks or bruises on it come morning, but he can't find his way towards caring because she's answering all of his hard thrusts, and he's dipping his head in to take one of his nipples into his mouth, and she's making this insanely erotically sound that's just short of obscene. Her other hand fists his hair, and it hurts just a bit, but then she's whimpering as she starts to peak.

He wants more than that, he realizes.

He wants to see her on fire.

So he bites her ear and whispers, "Don't hold back."

Her eyes open and even though she's shuddering, he thinks he sees fear there.

He wonders about the scars of her past and how they've locked her way inside of herself.

Not tonight, he vows.

Tonight, she's going to be free.

"Let go, Regina," he says and his eyes screw shut because she's so tight around him as her body explodes with pleasure and then oh Gods, she's screaming.

She's screaming and her back is arching and she's grabbing him, and that's all it takes for him to follow her to his own body-shattering orgasm because there's something so deeply incredible and magnificent about pleasing this woman.

"Homerun," she sighs after a long moment, her breath ragged.

"What?" he asks as he rolls off of her and then in almost the same exact motion, pulls her close to his chest again; he has no intention of this being done for the night, but they both clearly need to catch and come down from their highs.

Just for a moment, though; he plans to take her back there as soon as he can.

"Nevermind," she chuckles. Then, with a lazy smile that he thinks speaks well of her contentment, she drawls out, "Look at that, Thief, you have a clue what to do in the bed of a Queen. Who would have ever thought that to be possible?"

"And who would have ever thought the Queen for an ass woman," he retorts, indicting towards his buttocks. "Not that I'm at all complaining about that, mind you, but I am fairly certain that you left your mark on me. Multiple times."

She shrugs. "Oh, my dear, I haven't even begun to mark you."

"Is that so?"

She smirks and that's answer enough.

"I will keep that in mind."

"See that you do," she notes before reaching out and pulling his arm over her sweat-slicked body. It's the one with tattoo on it, and she finds herself staring at the dark mark on his forearm, almost curiously, but definitely thoughtfully.

"You're thinking again," he notes, his eyes narrowed in concern.

"I am," she admits. Then, turning towards him.

"I'm listening," he says, then runs a hand through her badly mussed up hair, pressing a strand of it away from her eyes.

"It wouldn't have worked," she says after a moment, her voice so very soft.

"What wouldn't have?"

"We wouldn't have. If I had followed Tinker Belle's advice and walked into that bar all those years ago. I was a married to the King, and going to you that night – trying to be with you then – it would just have led to both of our deaths."

"I would have been bad for you, too," he tells her with a slight frown. "I was in a fairly dark place myself back during those days and eh, as I said, timing, yes?"

"So it would seem," she agrees, her eyelids drooping slightly.

She feels his other arm wrap around her, and then he's holding her completely against him, and she thinks of the past and the desperate darkness of it.

She thinks of having – and occasionally wanting - people to touch her and hold her not because of the warmth of their hands or the gentleness of their kisses, but rather for power, control, the need to fulfill duty or the desire to escape.

She reminds herself that that can all be behind her now.

"By the way," Robin says as he kisses the top of her hair, and then leans forward over her shoulder and presses his cheek up against hers, his beard scratching her cheek just a little bit (she finds that she enjoys it because it reminds her of his presence). "I rather like the way that you sound after you've been screaming." He wiggles his eyebrows when he says this because he knows damn well exactly what he's implying; that she had been screaming because of him.

She had been.

But that doesn't mean she plans to let him get away with his cockiness.

"Better screaming than crying as you'll be doing soon," she retorts, her hand reaching back to squeeze his butt again. When he laughs, she does as well, and then moves her hand back up to rest against his thigh as he pulls her closer.

She lets everything but this moment – this perfect, safe and happy moment where she's finally wanted for who she is and not for who others want her to be or need her to be for themselves – just slide away from her like warm water.

Because finally, after so very long, Regina feels like she has ground beneath her feet again.

She has her son who loves her and believes in her.

And she has this. For however long it lasts, she has this.

She's not naive, and she knows that nothing in life - not even soulmates - is guaranteed to work out in the long run. Relationships are by their very nature difficult, and she's aware that she's a deeply complicated woman with a dark side that will always try to reassert itself in the worst of times, but for this moment at least, she finds herself choosing to believe in second chances again.

She presses her head against Robin's chest, and listens.

Just listens.

And then she smiles to herself and finally, she allows her herself to be lulled to sleep by the thundering of his heart.