Part Four
Hatred Lasts Forever

Persistent sunlight flooded through the large, arched windows of the Queen's bed chambers; the yellow rays twirling and swaying through the room splashed a glimmer of warmth against the cold black and white walls. The brilliant glow seemed to crawl beneath the sleeping blonde's closed eyelids, calling to her, begging for her to wake. Dark eyes traced the form of the savior as the brunette watched Emma's body slowly began to toss and turn. Cocking her head to the side, Regina looked over her shoulder at the blonde, wanting to savor the innocence of the moment without the help of her vanity. The savior's pale face seemed luminous in the morning light, and her delicate features were pressed into an expression that was inexplicably serene. Sighing, the brunette let her dark gaze trail down Emma's body, her eyes devouring the perfect slope of the blonde's waist, and the seductive curve of her hip. Tightening her hold on the edge of the table, the Queen's pupils dilated as she caught sight of a pale, slender calve that had slipped out from beneath the thin, black blanket. Digging her nails into the rich wood of her vanity, Regina bit back a moan as she remembered the events from the previous evening.

Her lips had burned and trembled as she pressed them against the savior's in a kiss that had whispered so many begging and pleading thoughts that the brunette knew she could never truly utter. They were whispers of how she wanted the savior, and how terribly she wished to want anyone else—anyone who wasn't the daughter of Snow White. Something within her chest had burst as she felt herself fall away in parts; little, fluttering pieces of her soul gingerly piecing together as her fingers scratched the back of Emma's neck, drawing the woman further into her mouth. And yet, as the Queen's heart sang and soared with the heavenly harmonies of a tender sensation that was thought long ago buried, Regina couldn't help but to tear herself away. The increasing warmth and dull ache was too grand, and the brunette couldn't seem to fathom how long she had truly waited for a moment like that—a moment that made her head spin with fervor and her stomach coil and twirl with imaginary butterflies. Thus, she pushed the niggling sense of hope away, and clutched her fingers around Emma's throat, turning the once beautiful situation on its head and painting it black with her own darkness.

After she had threatened the savior, allowing the rage to cease the pitter pattering of her heart, and the quaking of her knees, the Queen spun on her heel and left the blonde in the bath chamber alone. Slamming the doors behind her, the brunette slumped against the cool wood and let a single tear slide down the chiseled curve of her cheek. Lifting a finger to her lips, Regina gathered the tears on the pad of her thumb and licked the salty sadness from the tips, but there was something unusual about the flavor that encompassed her mouth, which gave the Queen pause; an undeniable sweetness that rested at the front of her palate. Rolling her tongue over her teeth, the brunette tried to place the taste, and yet the only solution that presented itself within her mind was that it was the tart, crisp flavor of infatuation, of hope. The very idea made Regina's head spin, and she found herself staggering towards her bed, sitting upon the soft mattress. As her mind tried to find an excuse, a more plausible reason, the brunette barely noted Emma enter into her bed chambers, draped in a thin, black blanket.

Digging her fingers into her temples, the Queen flicked her gaze upward and was captured by penetrating emerald eyes; the gaze was so intense that Regina felt as though she was rendered lifeless from the force of Emma's stare. Grinding her teeth together, the brunette merely motioned for the savior to sleep upon the cold, marble floor. The blonde opened her mouth to speak, but with a hard, angry glare the Queen seemed to break Emma's voice, and the savior shuffled across the room and lowered her beaten and bruised body to the ground. Watching as her captive did so, Regina pulled her form fitting clothes from her body and nestled between the cold, silken sheets. As she stared up at the dark ceiling blankly, sleep inevitably evading her, the brunette rolled onto her hip and peered over the side of her mattress, gazing down at the dark form sprawled across the floor. The elegant strokes of golden waves strewn upon the black and white marble made the Queen's fingers itch with need; the digits wanting to bury themselves in the yellow hair. Shaking the thought away, Regina knew that she could claim the woman whenever she saw fit, and yet the brunette didn't want to take that from the blonde, she wanted to be given the savior's carnal affections freely. Rolling her eyes in annoyance at her conscience's random presence, the Queen allowed her dark eyes to slide shut, slowly falling into a restless sleep as she listened to the soothing lullaby of Emma's slow, tired breaths.

As the memories cramped within her cerebrum, a strange pang echoed within the brunette's chest and she turned away. She could no longer look upon the woman who slept upon her floor, and Regina forced herself to face her own reflection. A gentle flutter of light warmed the color of the Queen's brown eyes and she clenched them shut as she waved her hand, magically piling her long, dark hair atop her head. Weakness, in any form, was not acceptable and would only hinder the brunette's plans, and yet, as she slowly opened her eyes, peering at herself once more, Regina couldn't help but ache to be the young woman she had once been—the woman who had owned those honey brown eyes filled with hope. But her innocent wonder, and belief in true love and happy endings had been ripped away from her; her very soul crumbling to dust from one little girl's betrayal. A sneer crept across her full, red lips then, and the Queen embraced the anger that rumbled inside of her stomach, after all, her rage was the only thing that she could trust, and have faith in any longer; love was flippant, and unreliable, but hatred could last forever.

It was then, as a wave of vulnerability wafted across her chiseled, olive face that Regina's black eyes opened and decided to flicker towards Emma's reflection. A silent gasp of shock fell from her parted mouth as the brunette was pulled into a curious green gaze, the savior examining her with a hard, yet gentle stare. Stiffening at the blatant intrusion, Regina spun around on the black bench and faced the blonde, her cold eyes boring into Emma openly. The blonde hid the flinch that the Queen's eyes provoked within her, and merely continued looking into the dark depths. Squaring her shoulders, Emma leaned forward, her thin lips pursing as she tried to find the soft sparkle that she knew danced within the orbs, hidden beneath the empty blackness. If she hadn't seen it with her own eyes, the savior wouldn't have believed it, and yet, as her eyes fluttered open to the morning sunlight, the blonde had found the tenderness that Regina hid beneath her steely façade.

"Why do you always do that?" Emma croaked her voice scratchy and soft with thirst. Licking her lips, the savior stood and wrapped the small, thin blanket around her body. As she crossed the room a fraction, letting herself get closer to the brunette, the blonde stopped and toed the floor, letting the cold temperature of the marble sink into her skin. "Why do you always act so cold when we both know there's something else there?"

The Queen's eyes widened at her captive's insistent questions, and she felt her heart beat just a bit faster. No one had ever questioned her, yet alone challenged her as mightily as this woman, this savior, had and it made Regina ruffle with an edge of dismay. Her veins tightened as her pulse quickened and the brunette could feel her jaw clenching in defeat. Why was she allowing the blonde to get to her this way? Why had she always allowed Emma to affect her so acutely? The internal confession bubbled inside of the Queen with a taste of poisonous rage and it spurred Regina into action. Standing, the brunette stormed towards the savior and grabbed the blonde's thin neck within her hand, pressing her fingers hard against the windpipe. For a moment the green eyes widened and flickered with doubt, but just as quickly it vanished; the strength that radiated from them gave the Queen pause, her grip faltering.

"I'm not afraid of you," Emma choked out, in a shaky, strangled breath as she lifted her hands and wrapped her slender fingers around her captor's wrist. The small touch shocked Regina, and her hold was relinquished, her palm falling to the savior's shoulder as her thumb absently stroked a bruised collar bone. Taking a breath, the blonde leaned forward, a cold expression on her face as she pushed into the Queen's personal space. "You're just a coward, and cowards never go through with their threats."

"Don't presume that you know anything about me!" The brunette hissed as she pushed Emma away from her, needing to get away from those delving green eyes; needing to get away from the truth that the savior was spewing. "You have no idea what I've been through…what I've needed to do."

"What, Regina?" The savior scoffed, running a soothing hand over her throat as her green eyes glazed with an impending fight. Although her life could have instantly been snatched from her, several times over, the blonde felt bold and curious as to what was so horrid, so terrible about Regina's life that it had transformed her into an evil witch. An empty, lifeless form of darkness that was pleased by death and destruction, the very idea of the truth of the Queen's character disgusted Emma, and it made her wonder why she had ever felt remorse or attraction for the despicable woman. "Tell me what was so hard about your life…your Majesty."

With quickly stiffening limbs, Regina ceased her pacing and stopped abruptly in the middle of the room. Her back muscles rippled and twitched with phantom pain, and the brunette flinched from the dark, deceased memories of her mother's hands on her—pinching and prodding, beating and maiming her—as if torture and force alone would make the Queen fit into the delicate mold that her mother had always wanted her to fill. Bristling with a combination of child-like terror and an unquenchable thirst for revenge, Regina closed her dark eyes to the world and shivered, nearly whimpering from the painful reels of images that tangled within her youthful memories. A cry begged to be released from her throat, but the brunette merely swallowed it as she felt those steely green eyes piercing into her spine, braced herself as she felt the savior step closer penetrating the veil that separated the Queen from her thoughts and her reality. Turning around slowly, Regina opened her eyes and flicked her gaze up to meet the blonde's threatening stare—how close Emma was to severing the final string that attached the brunette to a modicum of sanity; how close the savior was to breaking the Queen entirely.

"Tell me," the blonde grumbled, her face nearly brushing against the cold hard curve of Regina's cheek, her mouth poising at her captor's ear, "did your father never buy you the horse you thought you deserved?" Emma supplied in a whisper, venom dripping from her words as she lifted a hand and let her fingers ghost across the brunette's arm. The savior wasn't entirely sure what she was doing, it was as if the Queen's evil, bombarding darkness had penetrated her, wrapped it's freezing fingers around her throat and made her echo it's cruel inquires. "Or…let me guess," the blonde breathed, letting the tart smell of apples waft from Regina's hair up into her nostrils, "your mother never treated you right, never let you be yourself?"

That last sentence, those words that Emma had uttered so freely, so vindictively had ripped through the brunette's chest with the agony and precision of a blade. It tore at her like a wound that would never fully heal, continuously bleeding until the pain and memories alone finally drained the Queen of all life. Her breath caught in her throat as her heart stalled, and all Regina could seem to do was to clutch her hands into fist, digging her fingernails deeply into the flesh of her palms, praying for some kind of release. As the nails dug further into her skin, and the sting of the savior's words hammered into her skull the brunette let herself fall away, allowed the building anger and frustration that she had stored away for so many years to ultimately release itself. Her emotional cup spilling and faltering as the madness trembled and toppled over the brim. A scream echoed throughout her chambers, and Regina was too far gone to realize that the anguished noise had tumbled from her own full, red lips.

Jutting her chin out as a growl rumbled in her stomach, the brunette caught her captive off-guard and lunged at the blonde, unceremoniously dropping them both to the cool marble of the floor. A terrified gasp rumbled through Emma's body as she tried in earnest to fight the Queen away from her, pushing and shoving to no avail. Regina seemed to notice none of the obvious struggle and she merely clenched her lifeless black eyes shut as she dug her fingers into the matted yellow hair, tearing at it savagely. The cries that reverberated within her ears only seemed to add to the burning steam of the loathing she felt for the savior. Cackling with beauteous vengeance as the brunette squeezed her eyes closed tighter, unable to witness the excruciating scene before her.

Biting down hard on her lip until she tasted blood, the Queen lifted her captive's head from the floor and roughly began smashing Emma's sobbing skull against the marble. With each resounding crack that the torture supplied it aided in clearing Regina's addled mind until finally, on the fifth strike—the moist crunch of bone against stone resounding throughout the chambers—did the brunette finally allow her hands to still. Pulling her fingers away from the damp, blonde hair, the brunette rubbed her thumbs across her digits and paused as she felt a sticky moisture coating them. It was then that the Queen noted that the only sound that remained in the room was the sound of her own heavy, labored breathing. Quivering and shaking as she felt the wetness snake between her fingers and down her wrists, Regina suddenly snapped her eyes open and gaped at the sight before her. Thick, crimson blood coated her hands, oozing between the brunette's palms as they shuddered in fear. Hiding her scarlet-stained hands from herself, the Queen hesitantly let her gaze flitter up to the savior's face. It was paler than usual, completely vacant of any emotion or sensation; the visual was galling, and Regina needed to bite her tongue as she felt bile rise in her throat.

All she could see was red—all she could see was the sickeningly tender life draining from the blonde in quick succession. A sob tore through the brunette's lungs and shivered over her lips as she bowed her head in shame. After all of these years, all of these trying and demanding situations, it was this devastating loss of judgment that had simultaneously sealed the Queen's fate—after all these years she had inevitably turned into the one person she had despised beyond repair. Dark eyes traced the trail of crimson that flowed from golden waves onto the immaculate black and white floor, and it was in that moment that Regina realized that she had become the embodiment of her mother. Stilted whimpers fluttered from bloodied lips as the brunette leaned over Emma's unconscious body, placing a chaste kiss, and a whisper against cold, pale lips.

"I'm sorry…"

A/N: I'm so, so, SO, sorry for the delay in this chapter. I've just had so much going on in my personal life that my writing was the one thing that needed to pay the toll. I apologize to everyone who was following this story and was not given proper updates. I'm terrible, haha. Anyway, this chapter turned out far, far darker than I had ever imagined it to become, but hear me out, this needed to be done. I felt that I need to portray just how messed up and abused Regina was in order for the story to unfold the way I would like it to. Besides that, the real drama is going to start next chapter, and it shouldn't be a long wait for that one, as I've already gotten it outlined and ready to go. Well, with that, I hope you enjoyed the chapter and I'm glad you (whoever is reading this) stuck around! Feel free to leave a review if you'd like ;)