Title: Of Love and Loathing
Author: Sapphire Smoke
Fandom: Once Upon A Time
Timeline: Season One
Summary: "I have been sleeping with someone," Regina began tentatively, an acute awareness that once she said the words out loud that the madness behind her highly unorthodox situation became all the more real, "whom I absolutely loathe."
A/N: This was originally intended to be a one shot, but the word length seems to have gotten out of control so I decided to split it up into chapters. Updates will be approximately once a week, as I am currently in the middle of another multichapter fan fiction that also demands my attention and do like to be a little bit ahead of what I've currently posted.
There had always been something so grotesquely alluring to Regina about succumbing to that which would ultimately destroy her. It was the masochistic part of her personality; the part her mother made special care to develop so that she would have something to compliment her own sadistic ways. The love and acceptance Regina so desperately craved fell into step with the pain her mother convinced her she deserved, forcing her down a path paved with all the bad choices that Regina felt forever compelled to make.
This was one of them.
The pit of Regina's stomach was burning, aching for an addiction she should have never begun to feed. Perfectly manicured nails dug into soft flesh and Regina arched her back, her mind growing hazy as she sought oblivion, needing to forget, even for a moment, how damaging this had all become. The woman on top of her possessed something she should have never been able to get within reach of, and now that she had touched it, Regina felt herself falling further into the madness that this stranger had brought with her to Storybrooke.
Regina Mills was a woman who was very set in her ways. Every part of her day had always been precisely planned down to the minute, a routine that had provided her with a sense of comfort she had never been allotted as a child. Yet nostalgia for the unpredictable seemed to override her good sense as Regina found herself craving the untamed disaster that was Emma Swan, despite knowing that nothing good could ever come from succumbing to the idea of change. Everything Regina had worked for, everything she had built, was being set aflame around her and yet all she could do was spread her legs, lie back, and watch it burn to the ground.
She disgusted herself and yet it was that same feeling of worthlessness that Regina found she desired, for it had been a part of her for so long that to live without it felt like a lie. So she tangled her fingers in a mess of blonde hair, encouraging the woman on top of her to move her hand lower, a breathless plea on the tip of her tongue that her dignity would never allow her to voice. Even if she had though, it probably would have been ignored, as Emma was far too headstrong to ever be a true subordinate.
"Stop being so damn impatient."
Emma's fingers wrapped around the Mayor's wrists before she pushed down with all her strength, effectively pinning Regina to the bed. There was a struggle of course, there always was, but like all the other times before this one it was brief; Emma was built better for this kind of dominance and it infuriated Regina to no end. Even in bed they could never agree with one another, and once again, Regina found herself asking why she even bothered in the first place. Self-torture, perhaps; she did seem to be uncannily good at it.
"Either fuck me or get out," Regina snapped, humiliated to find she couldn't move an inch beneath the Sherriff's weight. She was not one to submit, but perhaps that was half the fun for the woman she allowed into her bed. "I don't have time for games."
There were moments where Regina could see the same self-disgust reflected in Emma's eyes, moments when she knew Emma hated herself for doing this as much as she, and right then was one of them. She scoffed in infuriated disbelief, looking down at the giant mistake they both insisted on making week after week. "God, do you ever shut up?" she asked, her grip tightening on Regina's wrists as she dug her fingernails into her flesh. The pain bordered on pleasure and Regina squirmed beneath her, conflicted by the vast difference in sensations. It was that feeling that she found she desired the most. "I'm tired of you always ruining this by speaking."
Regina's eyes flashed, an angry retort beginning to slip past her lips, but as quick as it came it was gone, devoured by Emma's tongue as she silenced her in the only way she knew how.
Their lovemaking was always tinged with violence, as it was the only truth they allowed themselves to see as they made their bed of lies. Regina never hesitated in marking her, a feeble attempt to mask her own shame of being owned. But it was Emma who left scratches on her skin and bruises on her arms, her own desperate reminder that she hated the woman beneath her as she shamefully begged for Regina to make her come undone. They were such a disaster, the two of them together, and yet they devoured the pain they gave each other like a drug as they slipped a little further towards the edge.
And when they fell, when they both had had their fill, they turned away from one another, the heat between them becoming an icy chill that left them both feeling rather raw and exposed. It was a routine that was expected, yet managed to cause discomfort all the same.
Regina felt herself slick with sweat and as she took a moment to find her breath, she pushed her hair back from her face and leaned against the pillows. Her heart was racing, every inch of her skin tingling with the aftermath of pleasure, and yet she felt sick to her stomach as she watched Emma pick herself up off the bed. The air around them began to grow thick as the reality of their situation was brought to light once more, and when Emma looked at her, Regina felt like ripping her heart from her chest just to save herself the misery of feeling this way again, because it was hard to rid herself of a feeling she couldn't even begin to name.
"I think you should leave now," she said, her voice loud enough to mask the weakness she felt inside. Emma merely laughed, the tone of it indicating she would never allow herself to believe anything different anyway. She violently grabbed her clothes off the floor before stepping into her jeans, almost tripping over them in the process.
"Yeah," Emma responded, her anger over the situation just as apparent as the dark marks of passion that littered her skin. She pulled her shirt over her head before looking at Regina, her azure eyes holding far more feeling than the bitterness of her tone would probably wish her to reveal. "Cause why on earth would I want to stay?"
Regina stayed silent, not wanting to prolong this anymore than she had to. She was already beginning to feel dirty and she needed to shower, which was something they had never and would never do together. It would be far too intimate to allow Emma to stay past what she needed her for. Regina might be weak, but she had yet to be so utterly stupid as to allow this to become any more than it already was.
Emma looked at her with such loathing as she breezed past, allowing the door to slam behind her in a gesture of finality that they both knew was a lie. The sound made Regina jump, finding herself unusually on edge as she scrambled to get out of the bed that bore witness to a passion that would have been better left undiscovered. And as she stripped the sheets, wishing to get any reminder of Emma as far away from her as possible, a sickening feeling began to enter the pit of her stomach. Because no matter how many times she washed the bedding, no matter how many times she scrubbed the feeling of Emma off her skin, Regina knew that she could never erase the memory completely.
And perhaps what bothered her more than anything else, was that she knew a part of her didn't want to.
"I have been sleeping with someone," Regina began tentatively, an acute awareness that once she said the words out loud that the madness behind her highly unorthodox situation became all the more real, "whom I absolutely loathe."
The desperation to at least allude to the idea that she had some dignity left prevented Regina from coloring with the shame she felt for admitting her greatest weakness. To Dr. Hopper's credit, his face remained neutral at the information. Understandably, Regina had been hesitant about speaking about something so personal, but her past attempts at ending her relationship – if one could even call it that – with Emma had always yielded undesirable results. Even if she resolved never to call her again, a day or two would pass before the familiar itch invaded her system and Regina once again found herself caving to her addiction in a rather embarrassingly short amount of time.
She had begun to believe that perhaps it was due time for an outsider's perspective on the matter, as Regina's own perception was too skewed by the unfathomably attractive picture of Emma Swan nude to ever think clearly on the matter.
Archie leaned back in his seat, clasping his hands neatly on his lap as he assessed Regina's expression. "I see." His tone lacked judgment, yet he did noticeably pause for a moment before uncomfortably fiddling with his glasses. "And how long has this been going on?"
Regina's mistrust was apparent in her lack of detail. Despite the laws that bound psychiatrists to secrecy in this world, there were some aspects of her situation she wished to keep private. Storybrooke was a small town and gossip spread like wildfire through its residents. Besides, Regina was certain there was no need for Archie to know neither Emma's name nor how long they had been sharing the same bed to give her adequate advice on the subject.
Archie exhaled a patient breath at her answer. "Regina," he began, yet faltered for a second at the informality he used. Wishing to clarify if it was an acceptable form of address, he hesitantly inquired, "Is it alright if I call you Regina?"
"I'd really rather if you didn't."
Archie did not argue her preference. "I just want to remind you that this is a safe space; whatever you say in here will not be repeated—" he tried, but was immediately cut off by Regina's quickly growing agitation.
"I'm more than aware of the law, Doctor," she bit out, displeasure coloring her face at being spoken to like some kind of half-wit. Regina had done extensive research about this world's laws after she had brought them all there; in this town, there was no one more knowledgeable in that area than her. But then again, perhaps it was foolish of her to expect the credit she deserved from a bunch of fairytale characters with retrograde amnesia. "And if you value the comfort and security that this job gives you in my town, I hope that you would know better than to jeopardize it."
Regina's threat was clear enough to cause Dr. Hopper obvious discomfort as he fidgeted slightly beneath her gaze. However, the man had no backbone and so Regina was unsurprised when the topic of discussion quickly reverted back to the reason she had come there.
"What is it that you hope to gain from therapy, Mayor Mills?" Archie asked, giving her a tight-lipped smile that Regina assumed was meant to encourage her to open up. It was met with a singular arched eyebrow.
"I had thought that would be rather obvious," Regina responded, beginning to question why she even bothered to come here in the first place. The man was trying her patience; her time was precious and she was starting to feel as though it were being wasted by all these unnecessary questions. "I need for you to tell me how to stop."
"And you're certain that's what you want?"
"What did I just say?" Regina snapped, infuriated by the doctor's complete lack of listening skills. Perhaps she had made a grave error in appointing someone so utterly useless to this kind of position; it was clear Archie didn't know how to handle her situation any better than she did.
But then again, perhaps it was her who was foolish in assuming someone like Archie would have adequate sexual knowledge in order to provide her with the proper advice. Regina had long ago realized that books could only tell someone so much; experience was a far better learning tool and it was doubtful the man in front of her had any when it came to the topic at hand.
Dr. Hopper, despite Regina's less than forgiving tone at his question, remained calm. "I only ask because it seems that if you're unable to do so, there may be a part of you that's preventing it. If you have an emotional attachment to this person, the key to separation would be to address the reason why that bond formed in the first place."
Regina's fingers curled around the edge of her seat in a desperate attempt not to throttle the man in front of her. She merely wanted answers, not some kind of deep exploration into the inner workings of her own mind. She didn't need a doctor to show her how disastrously fucked up she truly was; she had a mirror for that. "My emotions are not a factor in this, I assure you," Regina began, irritated that he would assume such a thing. "What we have is purely physical, as is my attachment to the pain we inflict upon one another. It is a dangerous and unhealthy sexual addiction, Dr. Hopper, nothing more."
Archie seemed to take that in a different manner than she intended it because after he allowed himself a moment to let that information process, he cleared his throat and began, "Despite the taboo that has been placed on sexual encounters that deviate from the norm, from my understanding, sadomasochism between two consenting adults can be somewhat of a therapeutic escape from the stresses of life, guilt, or even—"
"Oh for Christ's sake." The last thing Regina wanted to hear was the like of Archie Hopper explaining her kinks in a logical fashion; they were pleasurable, end of the story. She didn't much care why she did it. But more than that, he was missing the point entirely and it was frustrating her to no end. "What we do to one another isn't what I consider dangerous, Dr. Hopper; it is the fact that I am doing them with her."
Realization dawned on Archie's face and Regina immediately wished that she could rewind time so that she could stop herself from being stupid enough to use gender specific pronouns. Everyone in town was aware of how much she and Miss Swan hated each other; all it would take was an educated guess to assume the truth and Archie was, annoyingly, very educated. Regina's face darkened in an instant, an unspoken threat behind her onyx eyes that dared him to comment on his newfound discovery. He knew better too though.
"I see," Archie responded, his tone much softer now. Regina found his empathetic nature incredibly taxing however, as it was not what she came here for. "Have either of you talked about your situation?"
"Why on earth would I want to do that?"
Archie seemed surprised by her answer. His eyebrows rose significantly as he explained, "If you're feeling uncomfortable about the nature of your relationship, it would be best if you expressed those concerns to your partner—"
"She is not my 'partner' and it is not a 'relationship'," Regina told him fiercely, the misunderstanding making her feel entirely uncomfortable. What they were doing was complicated enough; she did not need for it to get any worse by being mislabeled by the one person she chose to confide in. "It is an addiction, plain and simple; one that I wish to be rid of. So if you're done trying to make sense of my subconscious actions, I'd appreciate if you wrote me a prescription, or whatever the hell it is that you do to aid addicts, and I'll be on my way."
Archie's face masked in sympathy; Regina had to exercise a disproportionate amount of self-control not to wipe the look off his face with the nearest heavy object. "I'm sorry, but there is no magic pill for what you are experiencing. If you really wish to discontinue your rela—ah, arrangement, my suggestion would be to talk with her about it. Perhaps if she shares your same concerns—"
Regina's patience had reached its limit. She abruptly rose to her feet, the quick movement startling Dr. Hopper into cutting off the rest of his words. Frustration curled off Regina like smoke and she haughtily pulled on the base of her suit jacket in a hasty attempt to make herself look more put together than she felt in that moment.
"This is a waste of time," she told him, thoroughly irritated by his lack of helpfulness. "If talking is the best solution your feeble brain can produce, I think it's best if I don't waste anymore of my money on this nonsense."
Archie tried to stop her from leaving of course, but his stuttered pleas that therapy required patience were ignored as Regina swept from his office, having already made up her mind. When the Mayor reached the street, she was startled to find that her hands were trembling. Shoving them into her jacket pockets, Regina let out a heavy breath and looked down the road towards the Sherriff's office.
The urge to go to Emma and release all of her current frustration on the woman's body was overwhelming to the point of pure insanity. It was almost laughable, how Dr. Hopper believed this could be solved with a simple conversation. Outside of the fact that neither of them had ever been able to say two words to each other that weren't laced with hatred, whatever it was that allowed this madness to continue wouldn't be solved without Regina first finding another means to release her stress and frustration.
Because Regina was certain that was the root to her problem. After all, it was absolutely unfathomable that it could be anything but.