It's just sex, right? Rough, awkward, lustful, amazing sex.

It doesn't mean you like her. In fact, you think you might hate her now more than ever.

You hate the way her pouty lips gasp in pleasure when you touch her in just the right way. You hate the way her dark eyes bore into yours, like they can see all the way into your soul, before they flutter shut behind long, dark lashes. You hate the marks she leaves on your body, and the fact that you can still smell her on your skin despite scrubbing yourself clean in Mary Margaret's shower. Twice.

You hate that when you storm into her office, she barely acknowledges you. She's signing a piece of paper with an old-fashioned fountain pen. Her signature is large on the page, bold and dark, much like the woman herself.

You hate that your heart skips a beat when she finally sets down her pen and meets your eyes. Her dark, deep eyes boring into yours, a sarcastic smile on her face.

You're angry, so very angry. Tired of being manipulated, tired of being lied to.

You know she was involved in Kathryn's disappearance. All of the slimy trails lead right back to the mayor's desk. But you can't prove anything and it makes you so very angry.

How can a woman so full of passion also be so unbelievably cold?

You're leaning on her desk now, demanding answers, but it's clear she's not paying attention to your words. Her smug eyes are wandering over your chest and it makes you feel self conscious, awkward. You wonder if this is all part of the mayor's game, part of a sick power trip. You straighten, cross your arms.

You can never win an argument with this woman. Somehow she always twists your words with a snide remark and you're left feeling like a lost child. She can cut you down in an instant, and it hurts.

You hate this woman.

And yet you're caught by her smoldering eyes, by the faint lines around the corner of her mouth that make her less perfect. More human. More desirable.

When she moves around the desk and into your space you find your breath catching painfully in your throat. Your heart is hammering in your chest and you will your legs to move, to take you away from the mayor's magnetic pull.

You take a step back, and then another, but you falter at the sudden, brief vulnerability in her eyes as you pull away.

Then the look is gone, vanished so fast that you think you may have imagined it. And she's in your space again.

Her breath is warm on your face and you close your eyes, helpless. Her hot tongue finds the fluttering pulse in your neck before tracing a wet path along your collar bone. You dare to reach a hand into her thick hair and rake your nails against her scalp. She allows you to pull her head back and ravish her throat, and you relish the faint gasp that escapes her blood-red lips.

Then abruptly her hands are on your skin, caressing, clawing. Your shirt is on the floor, and then your pants.

Regina is glorious naked. She's not shy, but rather wields her body with confidence. Your hands run over her soft skin, fast at first but then slowing. You want to appreciate her curves, to relish her body. You wonder if she'll let you.

She allows the caress, her face softening as your hands worship her body. Her eyes slide shut and a soft smile spreads across her face. In that moment she is the most beautiful thing you've ever seen.

Then she freezes. Her eyes snap open, raw and vulnerable for a split second, and then the smirk returns. Her hands descend your body rapidly.

All thoughts of gentleness fly from your mind when she slips a perfectly manicured hand between your legs. You stumble, caught off guard by the sudden rush of hot wetness and the feeling of her strong fingers.

You cringe at your vulnerability, expecting to hear mocking words, but she merely catches you with a strength that belies her smaller stature and maneuvers you onto her leather couch.

The couch is small, too small really, and your body is bent in such a way that it's almost painful. But at this moment, with the mayor hovering over you, body flushed and hair flying, you can't bring yourself to care.

You gasp into her mouth as her lips catch yours in a vicious kiss. Teeth and tongues struggle for dominance. Her fingers twist inside your body and you cry out, arching into her, hungry for more.

Later, after a shower and a cold beer, you remember that you'd never finished your conversation with the mayor about the missing woman. You wonder if sex is the mayor's latest game, her latest way of distracting you from you goal.

Alarmed, you fish through your pockets, sighing in relief when you find the broken piece of metal where you'd left it, safe in a marked, plastic evidence bag.

You've snuck out of the mayor's house before, but never in. And certainly never into her garage.

And there it is. A shovel with the corner broken off, which perfectly matches the piece of metal in your hands.

You're surprised by the disappointment welling in your chest.

You've been anticipating this moment for months, the moment when the perfect mayor finally slips up. You expect to feel triumphant, jubilant. But the sinking feeling in your stomach is not triumph, the stinging in your eyes is not jubilation.

You swipe at your eyes with an impatient hand and slip back out of the garage.

Two hours later you're banging on the mayor's door with a search warrant in hand. You find yourself dreading this, but you make yourself follow through. Demand to search the house.

The mayor trails after you, condescending at first, then surprised when you bypass the house entirely and head straight for the garage. There's a flicker of fear in her eyes which you see only because you're looking for it. Looking into her dark eyes instead of looking for the evidence.

You shake your head at your folly and move forward.

The mayor slides in front of you. Offers you a drink. Threatens your job. Then purses her lips and raises her eyebrow in that sexy way that always ignites a fire in your belly.

You falter, feeling a rush of wetness pool between your legs, a heat that aches for the dark woman's touch. But you collect yourself.

You shoulder her a little harder than necessary as you push past, trying to ignore the warmth of her body close to yours.

The shovel is where you saw it last. When you turn back, you can see the fear in the other woman's face. She's trying to hide it behind her usual cold mask, but like an animal you can sense it. You open your mouth to speak. To arrest the woman standing in front of you.

You see the confidence in her eyes begin to collapse into fear. Vulnerability.

And what comes out of your mouth is the last thing you'd expected. "Nothing out of place here."

You snap your mouth shut, shocked. There is disbelief in the other woman's face.

You feel another familiar flash of anger. She's manipulating you again, she must be.

But you find yourself ushering her out the garage, a hand in the small of her back, and you realize that no, this is all you.

For some strange reason you want to protect this monster. This manipulative woman who has the most beautiful smile you've ever seen. You want to see that smile again.

Outside the garage her knees buckle. You catch her as she falls, then maneuver the two of you down into a seated position. Your back is against the garage door, her body is cradled in yours. Your arms go around her and you're feeling suddenly protective. This is the first time you've touched her that hasn't been about sex or a fist fight and you find that you like it. You like it very much.

She's sobbing into your body. The words repeat themselves, over and over. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry."

You don't know if she's apologizing for the lies, for harming another person, or for something else altogether. You find that it actually doesn't matter.

What have you done? If you're not against her then you must be with her. Caught in a web of conspiracies and power plays.

Yet this woman in your arms feels so broken. You wonder if you can help put the pieces back together again. You wonder if this makes you just as guilty as she is.

You wonder what on earth you're going to do now.

You press a soft kiss to the top of her head.

Back in the house, you're straddling her naked body. You run your tongue over a pebbled nipple and revel in her gasp. Your fingers trail a path down her torso, swirl around her hip bone, then back up again to gently cup a soft breast. Her hands grasp the headboard above the bed. Her body is stretched out enticingly beneath you, muscles taught under your fingers and tongue.

On their next path downwards your fingers find the hot wetness between her legs and she arches up into your body, a soft cry escaping her lips.

Your hair is down, getting in the way, and you toss it over your shoulder absently. You've never been in her bedroom before. In fact, you've barely had sex with her lying down before. It's always been fast and hot and rough, pushed up against a desk or a bathroom sink.

This time you don't want to rush.

As you stroke her body, as she writhes beneath you, you spare a moment to wonder what comes next. You realize that you will do anything to protect this woman, and you worry what that might mean.

But then her eyes open and meet yours, brown and warm. She smiles.

And you realize that it's not just sex.