Notes: And old fic I wrote back in 2013, intended to be a part of my "The Hidden Pages of Our Story" fic. Set after 2x16 and inspired by Maroon 5's "Harder To Breathe" ("How dare you say that my behavior is unacceptable/So condescending unnecessarily critical/I have the tendency of getting very physical/So watch your step 'cause if I do you'll need a miracle").

All the explanation he had offered his family before going out, was that he wanted to "get some fresh air". Clear his head. Not supposed to take long. He put one foot in front of the other, with no destination in mind, or at least not one he had consciously chosen.

His thoughts were with Snow. Don't do it, he had implored her. But she didn't have faith in him, it seemed. She didn't think their combined efforts would be enough to stop Regina and Cora. More than once, he had endangered his own life to spare Snow from living with a guilty conscience, and questioning her virtue. And still - she gave into the urge to retaliate, consequences be damned.

He shook his head. Wait, what was he thinking… It wasn't really Snow's fault, she had acted on impulse, true, but anyone in her position would have been provoked.

It was her. Regina, as always, was the connecting link between his family's misfortunes. Her revenge, her curse, her schemes. Saving her life. Stopping her mother. Protecting Snow from her.

He took a deep breath, his nostrils growing wide like those of a bull preparing to attack. The smell of rain was in the air. A lightning flashed in the sky - a warning that the storm was coming.

His feet steered him towards the Mills residence and quite soon he found himself on Mifflin Street. Raindrops started falling from the sky, at first infrequently, then abruptly turning into a torrent and drumming against his leather jacket with a violent sound. By the time he reached the garden path, water was cascading profusely down his head and neck.

When David finally looked up, he laid eyes on the number 108. He pounded on the door of the white mansion, and waited.

A few moments later, Regina opened it. She seemed different from the last time he'd seen her: unapologetically provocative, in her knee-length dress which complemented her body well, 6-inch stilettos, and a neckline that was much more reminiscent of her Evil Queen eccentricities than of her conservative Mayoral business wear. The outfit looked luxurious, expensive, probably new, too. How the hell did she even find the time to shop?

There was a flicker of interest in her eyes when she saw him standing outside. He spoke first.

"Last warning: stay away from my family from now on."

"Get. Out. Of my sight… I'm in no mood."

"Just give me an excuse, Regina – even Henry won't save you next time you threaten us!"

"Save it! Go away, or I'll be cleaning you off my porch tomorrow. I can't have you leave a bloody stain."

She tried to shut the door, but his hand stopped it from closing. He pushed harder, and she had to retreat a few steps back into the house as he advanced toward her and slammed the door behind himself.

"You have yourself to blame, not Snow. She was only trying to protect Henry. You and Cora left her no choice…"

"Are you even listening to yourself?!" She leaned back, eyes impossibly wide, as if she'd never heard anything as scandalous and insulting in her life. "Murdering my mother was for my son's protection?"

"You know damn well Cora was a liability," he barked back at her. "You tried to stop her from coming here in the first place!"

"She was my mother!... " Her eyes watered at the emphasis on the last two words.

"Yeah, a mother who made your own son believe you killed his therapist!"

He fully expected a slap across his face when she headed toward him, but no slap came. Like an arrow stopping just before it hit its target, she came to an abrupt halt in front of him, using her impetus for verbal blows instead.

"No, YOU did that! You were the first to point the finger at me, even though you knew how hard I tried to change for Henry. You used my help when it suited you, and then the moment Snow and Emma came back, you turned your back on me…"

"It was a setup, Regina, and I fell for it, but Cora had us all fooled!"

The harder he insisted, the more she was reminded just how easily he was convinced that Mary Margaret had killed Kathryn. Disappointment had a bitter taste.

"You should've known better! You should have had faith in me!"

"She made sure you'd take the blame, don't you realize that?!"

"She loved me! And she would have done anything for Henry's safety - unlike the imp you fought so hard to keep alive."

"You don't know that! Hell, if even you feared her, she was never 'the loving grandmother' material!"

Regina gasped loudly.

"Is that what you tell yourself to help you sleep at night? That your dearest Snow had no other choice? Maybe even that…" Regina scrunched her nose in a mocking expression, "she did the right thing? Let me refresh your memory. You once assured me that she was not capable of murder; she proved you wrong. She darkened her own heart, for the sake of revenge. I wonder how that makes you feel?"

"She's still nothing like you!" David stood mute for a moment, glowering at Regina, her humorless laughter piercing his ears. "She isn't, I know her…"

"No, you don't. You've just realized that you don't know her as well as you thought, and that terrifies you. The truth is, you've known her for, what, two years altogether? I've known her for forty. And you should be terrified, because, believe me, she has quite the potential for evil."

David shook his head. "She will never be a monster like you, much less like Cora!"

She grabbed his jaw with one hand, pulling him closer to her face. "Oh, but you no longer believe that, do you? If you did, it would be so much easier to blame me, and you wouldn't have come here to confront me about it. You're out of excuses, dear."

Her lips crushed his with savage hunger. His mouth fell open in surrender. His tongue twisted of its own accord. Her lipstick tickled his taste buds. He pushed her back.

"What the hell are you doing?!"

"Giving you what you came for. You're not here to threaten me with empty words, David, and you're certainly not here to convince me that Snow White is innocent."

His fists tightened, knuckles turning white. Such an infuriating creature…

"You're insane…", he whispered with as much disgust as he could muster.

With all her strength, she pushed him against the wall. Caught off-guard, he stumbled back. She wrapped one hand around his neck to pull herself up. "Am I?" she whispered, her breath searing hot on his jawline. Her mouth swiftly enveloped his earlobe. Teeth nibbled on the soft flesh. She parted his legs, bringing her knee up until it could go no further.

"Then why does it sound like you're trying very hard," she mouthed while her parted lips glided over the side of his neck, all the way down to his shoulder with a trail of smudged lipstick, "…to convince yourself she's better than me?"

He tried to think of a biting reply, but logic was quickly evacuating his mind. He involuntarily shut his eyes, reveling in the attack on his senses. Her heavy breathing ignited his skin. She used her right hand to unbutton his jeans, then slipped it underneath his boxers. He let out a strangled moan when her fingers curled around his length - the sheer shock from the intimate contact sent a shiver through him.

Watching his face closely, she moved her hand upward along the line where his hip joined his torso, then slid it over his stomach. "You're going to leave her sooner or later, I'm just done waiting for you to grow a spine and make up your mind."

Instead of voicing an objection, he wrapped his arms around her waist. One big hand snaked from the small of her back, up her spine and between her shoulder blades. He reached even higher, grabbing a handful of her hair. She tried to pry open his grip, but to no avail. When he pulled the raven strands down, she was forced to follow the motion and tilt her head back.

He should've known that wouldn't be enough to keep her quiet.

"Let it out, Charming! Show me that anger of yours. Do your worst."

For weeks, he'd barely managed to suppress the urge to do just that. It was maddening, having to tiptoe around someone when all you wanted was to scream and throw heavy objects at them. Or rather, fuck them senseless. She was better at hiding it, but he knew she was just as frustrated as he was.

"You can't handle my worst," he punctuated each word with a threatening growl in his voice.

"Well now I'm intrigued," she shot back.

He shoved her forward with his entire body, knocking over a vase on the nearby table in the process. The sound of the vase shattering on the floor merged with Regina's loud gasp. Before her lungs could draw air, David pressed his hips against hers and she found herself anchored against the wall.

"Oh, I'm very intrigued," she managed a throaty laugh between ragged breaths.

"Tell me why you want this, the real reason", he hissed through gritted teeth against the skin of her neck. The question had tortured him for weeks, yet now that he had finally asked it, he was more interested in the sheer thrill of overpowering her than in the answer. His mouth hovered over a pulsating vein, so he could feel the blood throbbing under the slight pressure of his lips. Her loud panting reminded him to loosen his grip on her hair to let her speak. "To see Snow heartbroken, is that why?"

"Hah," she laughed at his remark with bitterness. "She'll do that to herself, why bother anymore?"

"Then why?", he demanded.

"I already told her. I can have everything I want - I'll be damned if I don't make good on that promise."

It was a claim so far-fetched it sounded like the ramblings of a mad woman. "What do you want from me?!"

"Everything," she blurted out.

He looked at her as if she'd recited the number pi to the twentieth decimal.

His hesitation allowed her just enough freedom to grab the hem of his shirt and pull in opposite directions with all the strength she could muster. The buttons flew in the air as she ripped the shirt open.

It was hard to tell who was first to pull into the kiss. Harder still was to determine if it was meant to be an end or simply a continuation of their heated argument.

"You didn't tell her you're coming here, did you?", she taunted absent-mindedly while her gaze lingered on his bare chest.

He figured she was spoiling for a fight again. No doubt trying to provoke him to the point of abandoning all inhibitions.

Even so, there wasn't much he could do to get a hold of himself. Weeks of tension, frustration over having to compromise, deep-seated anger and everything else they'd tried to suppress during their unease truce had suddenly come to the surface.

"Stop talking," he tried to cut her off with a kiss, but her hand on his chest kept his face at a short distance.

"Would you rather hear me scream?"

"Shut up!" His voice, loud and harsh, boomed at the same time as the thunder outside, as if to make his point.

She leaned closer, baring her pearly white teeth between blood-red full lips. "Make me."

His whole body was tense and ached for release, and Regina seemed all too pleased that she was driving him crazy. He bit down on his lower lip hard enough to bruise it. Restraint wasn't an option.

With trembling fingers, he unzipped her dress at the back. He nuzzled against her neck, blindly shoving the straps of her dress down her shoulders. The wet, open-mouthed kisses on the exposed flesh were making her head spin, depriving her of all sense of direction. Her mind registered that they were moving – but the fact seemed unimportant. She stumbled forward, to wherever he was pulling her. Lightning tore up the sky and flooded with brightness the spacious living room.

"What was it you said last time we were here? That I'd have to earn my piano lesson?"

"What?" She blinked, trying to make sense of the reference. Then she remembered making lasagna for him after his break up with Kathryn and the conversation they'd had before dinner that night.

He laid her onto the cold polished surface of the piano, holding her down with one hand stretching up to her neck as he sat down on the stool. She tried to push herself up at first, to get some semblance of control. That however proved impossible: the weight of his muscled arm was keeping her pinned down. The touch of his other hand soothed her, smoothly running along her thigh to push her dress up to her waist. Her body relaxed on the slippery black surface. Nevertheless, she couldn't resist stretching her neck to marvel at the wonder – the accusatory finger he'd pointed at her, the sharp tongue he'd used to insult her – were instead put to the task of giving her pleasure. Another flash outside illuminated the features of his handsome face, framed by her own thighs.

He lost himself to her with passion and abandon, much like a musician loses himself to the music. Soon she was squirming again and trying to grip the edge of the piano. She ran her fingers through his wet hair, but it was much too short to get a grip on, so instead she dug her nails into his biceps. Her stilettos were bruising his back. Her low moans gradually got louder, accompanied by heavy breathing and incoherent screams that sounded a lot like his name. It all blended in a glorious melody to his ears, wicked and sexy as hell. He brought her to the brink of a climax, then stopped. He lifted his head to look at her, waiting.

"What, lost the music sheet", she quipped in between ragged breaths.

Regina's eyes flew open, lingering on him. The sight before her was incredibly erotic on the most primal level: her juices were dripping from his lips, smeared all over his chin. Once certain that he had her full attention, he purposely licked his lips.

"Maybe it's an intermission," he suggested with a wink.

Her mouth opened to speak, but all that came out was a sensual growl. David lowered his head again and kept going. Her body was writhing wildly underneath his muscled arm. Finally undone, she relaxed onto the piano, but he pulled her down onto the black and white keys, causing a cacophony, and then into his lap.

Judging the piano not to be convenient enough, he lifted her and carried her to the buff sofa. He got rid of the rest of their clothes and donned protection. She shoved him down on the sofa and straddled his hips. He shifted abruptly and changed their position, then sank deep into her with a low moan. Gripping her thigh with one hand let him set a delicious rhythm, while he supported his weight with the other.

A pair of chocolate eyes, dark and mesmerizing, fixed on his face. The corners of her mouth quirked up. The defiant look she gave him nearly finished him right then and there. She pushed herself up to kiss him, reaching to wrap both her arms around his neck, then she slid her right hand down to his chest.

A soft neon glow dripped from her fingers and lingered on his skin. He recognized what it was immediately: magic. A moment later, it started to settle in his bloodstream, and it felt like a thunderbolt of energy spreading through his body. Every fiber of him was pulsating with pleasure more intense than he had ever imagined.

Outside, thunder boomed and lightning flashed. He felt like he was flying, and the atmosphere of the room made it all the more difficult to tell reality from fantasy.

She'd never been one to play fair.