DISCLAIMER: Once Upon a Time and its characters are the property of ABC. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I can't even recall when I first started working on this story. Things have certainly gotten away from me the last few months. I had wanted to post this before the new Red Riding Hood episode was aired but things came up (like the ocean). My sincerest thanks and appreciation to mooglemuse for betaing this story and nearly all of my others. Mistakes seen are mine as I don't always take her advice.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To daughter2artemis[at]yahoo.com
Blood Red Moon
With the hand cart leaned back on its wheels I make my way into Granny's Diner with the sole purpose of getting these boxes into the large fridge in the kitchen. Looking into the main galley of the diner I see that there are a handful of stragglers quietly seated throughout the room. It's just about ten thirty so the morning rush is over and the lunch rush should start piling in within the hour. Kind of looking forward to seeing who shows up and who doesn't.
"Those boxes aren't going to move themselves." I roll my eyes as I push the cart forward at Russell's insistence.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah don't get your panties in a knot," I state over my shoulder as I lead the procession into the kitchen. Russell's laughter echoes through the small hallway, breaking the silence that had fallen over us for a moment. Russell's a pretty decent guy. Average guy, average build with an over-active imagination. He's worked here for well for the last 28 years, just like I have, and Granny has, and Gloria has.
Not a lot has changed around Storybrooke, or at least not a lot had changed. Now that the curse that brought us here has been broken and our memories from 'before' have returned, everything has changed. A lot of the people here have decided to continue on living life as we have been for the last 28 years. Why wouldn't we? Not everyone here was once a King or Princess. I know I certainly wasn't. Life wasn't easy as an orphan taken in by your elderly grandmother.
Don't ever let Granny hear you call her elderly. I know and I've learned my lesson.
Life here in Storybrooke isn't that bad. If I had the option of staying here or going back to the Enchanted Forest, I think I'd stay here. Granny probably would too. Now that everyone has remembered their pasts it's hard to walk down the street and see people who had once smiled at me as they passed shy away from me. They remember and sometimes I wish, selfishly, that they didn't.
In the last two weeks since the curse has broken and magic has returned to us I have heard at least a dozen people discuss what they will do if it is decided that we should return back to the Enchanted Kingdom. Those that I've heard discussing it always stop talking when I come close enough to hear them. They seem to forget that with my enhanced senses I could hear them from all the way across the room if I wanted to. I let them keep their secrets, or at least appear to be keeping their secrets.
They don't feel comfortable talking to me about it anymore. I'm not just Ruby Lucas to people here. I'm Red Lucas, the best friend and confidante of Snow White and Prince Charming.
And personal bitch to them both.
I shake away the thought as quickly as it appears.
I'm no longer just a 'commoner' like I once was back in the Enchanted Forest.
Sometimes I'm thankful that I've risen above the commoner status, especially when people start talking about my monthly transformation. It's good to be in a place of power when you're a known werewolf. It keeps you safe from angry villagers who seek revenge against you for the death of their cattle and herds or family members. It doesn't matter if you're not the wolf that killed them. You represent something evil and dark and dangerous to them. Having connections, knowing the rulers of several kingdoms, being friends with them, and being on their councils keeps you safe from people's vengeance.
Being an able bodied soldier doesn't hurt either, does it? Your ability to kill a dozen men in ten minutes keeps you in their good graces. They overlook the fact that you've killed dozens of people before this, that you've enjoyed the taste of men's blood on your tongue and howled with the pleasure of tearing a person limb from limb.
I didn't know what I was doing! I didn't know anything about my heritage, my curse! Besides, Snow overlooked my crimes because she knew how guilty I felt over the deaths of those men, over Peter. She took me into her life and treated me as she had treated me before she knew my secret, knew of the blood that covered my ledger.
James wasn't as forgiving of your past though was he? He was frightened of you, with the ease in which you killed and lost control.
He just needed to get to know me!
Right, he got to know how useful you were to him. Funny, isn't it? The way you never realized how they were using you. Using your 'curse' to benefit them when they needed it most. They made you their bitch, their personal werewolf body guard who sat when told to sit and killed when told to sic 'em. Your crimes were overlooked because they needed you; they needed you to fight for them. They would have lost without you.
I fought for them because it was the right thing to do.
You killed for them.
I bled for them!
You did their bidding and like a good little puppy dog waited in the corner until they needed you again.
I close my eyes tightly against the voice in the back of my head. It has just gotten louder and louder all day. I don't know why. I've never had any trouble with an 'inner conscience' before. Especially one that likes to focus on gruesome details. Even before I knew about my wolf I wouldn't hear such thoughts cross my mind. I was two separate entities in a way as a young girl. One half of me was an innocent village girl. The other half was an aggressive, murdering animal. They did not co-exist. My mind protected me by separating the two. Even after I became aware of my wolf I had trouble remembering what transpired while I was transformed.
Maybe this is just my conscience playing tricks on me. My guilt finally manifesting itself. It's had 28 long years to sit silently behind while I lived a normal life without having to pay for my crimes.
"You alright, Red?" Russell asks me, noticing that I've stopped piling the milk cartons into the fridge.
I blink out of my stupor and offer him a small smile. "Fine." I add a bit of pep to my announcement before grabbing the next carton and stacking it into the fridge. Once I'm done I leave the kitchen quickly, rubbing at my temples. I have a horrible migraine.
I'm not paying attention to where I'm going as I walk and bump right into Gloria.
"Whoa you alright, Red?" she asks me, catching the both of us before we crash to the floor.
"Sorry, sorry, I wasn't looking where I was going." I offer the apology as I look up at my friend. She's smiling as she shrugs her shoulders. My eyes watch as her shoulders lift and then fall as if in slow motion. I blink sluggishly as I take a deep breath. She smells of oranges and cinnamon. My eyes settle on her neck. They zero in on the pulsing of her carotid artery. The way the skin moves as the blood pumps restlessly beneath the delectable flesh.
Saliva fills my mouth.
"Red? Hey, you alright?" Gloria asks, laughing a little nervously as I continue to stare at her neck. Her neck bulges for a moment and I can hear her heart begin to race against her breast bone as she swallows convulsively. There is a flush rising to her skin now and the scent of her blush makes me dizzy. I involuntarily take a step closer to her, needing to get closer. Just a little closer, just a tiny bit more, I can practically taste her I'm so close.
I lick my lips.
She smells divine. She probably tastes just as sweet as she smells. Go on, take a bite. Flatten your tongue against her neck and lick up that juicy delicious artery before sinking your teeth into her flesh. Just a small nip. She's so close, so scared, you can smell her fear. Go on, do it, do it, DO IT!
I snap to attention, jumping slightly at the sound of someone breaking a glass. Gloria gasps and quickly rushes over to help Mr. Franklin pick up the shards of glass.
My heart is pounding beneath my chest.
My blood is rushing beneath my skin.
I feel feverish.
I shake my head trying to clear away the haze that has settled over me. I cover my eyes with both of my hands and press the palms into my eyes. I breathe in through my nose and I know that it's a mistake before I finish sucking in the breath.
The room is filled with mingling scents. Both good and bad. A delicious scent carries on the air with a hint of soil and grass as the bell above the door sounds and someone enters. It's so potent that it masks the scent of rotten eggs, overcooked meat and sour milk. I moan as the aroma floats to me, swirling around me like a fog making it impossible to distinguish any other scents in the room any longer.
I drop my hands away from my eyes and stare across the room. My chest is heaving with my effort to take in more of the fragrance. Around the room people are staring at me. I don't understand why until Granny hisses at me. I flinch at the sound of it and shift to whine. Shift. Shift the sound I was making into a whine. I was growling. It was low and soft but I've been growling since I first caught a whiff of that saturating scent.
"Granny " I whisper as I stare at her, desperate for her to make this go away, to make the panic setting in around me ease. I look to her like I did the night I killed Peter, the night my life changed, for answers and comfort.
Black spots appear at the edge of my vision but I fight it. I'm not ready to pass out. I'm not ready to change. I won't change.
You won't change, you moron, it's not even noon yet.
I growl viciously at the voice in my head. "Go away!" I order it, stumbling backwards as I do.
It laughs at me and suddenly around me there seems to be a lack of air.
I gasp, my lungs burning. I take in short breaths, trying to get as much air in as fast as I can but it feels as if I'm being suffocated. It feels like someone has their hands on my lungs and is squeezing them like they would those therapeutic stress balls.
"Russell!" Granny calls out and I feel someone touch my forearm, say my name, but everything sounds so far away. I blink up at the person in front of me. I can't see who they are. I can't even make out if they are male or female. They smell they smell like amberwood, crab apple and firethorn.
It's their scent that has enveloped me in this lust for blood. I reach out at them, trying to cling onto them as my legs collapse under my weight and everything goes black.
There are voices. A lot of voices. They sound like an amateur band having their first practice with the varying emotions their voices emit. They clash against one another. They don't know how to talk to one another, like newbies wouldn't know how to play with each other yet. Some of them sound angry, others worried and scared. Some even sound concerned and frustrated.
Too bad I can't make out whose voice is whose. Everything is still too foggy. It's like I'm sitting in the middle of an auditorium and everyone is talking at once. But I can't tell who is saying what because the auditorium is filled with artificial fog, thick artificial fog, making it impossible to see the person sitting less than a foot from you.
"This isn't a good sign."
"She practically salivated over Gloria's neck!"
There are a lot of different people in the room. I haven't tried to open my eyes yet to see just how many. I wish they'd all just shut up already. Or at least go talk somewhere else. Don't they realize that it isn't a good idea to poke a sleeping irritable wolf?
"She was growling at something. Growling."
"The full moon is tomorrow night."
My head hurts. My chest aches and I generally just feel like crap. Worst hang over ever! And without the benefits of having over indulged the night before, this really sucks.
I'm in my bed. The pillow has my shampoo clinging to it. The conversation keeps going. I growl again and cover my ears with my pillow to shut the voices out.
"No, it's tonight."
Groaning, I shift and kick off the covers. I'm burning up. My clothing is sticking to me uncomfortably. I'm itchy. I just don't feel right in my own skin.
"Do none of you own a calendar? Or read the paper? Hmm? Uhh There's a lunar eclipse tonight."
"No .that means,"
"Yes, that means it'll be a red moon."
My ears perk up beneath the pillow at the exaggerated 'red moon'. I let the pillow drop away from my ears and dare to peek open one of my eyes. The light assaults it and I quickly close it. But at least I've confirmed that I'm in my own bedroom and that I'm alone. The door is open though and I imagine the group of concerned citizens convened downstairs in the lobby of the Inn.
Slowly, to not draw any attention to myself, I slide off my mattress and make my way to the doorway so I can hear better what is being said. I look out the door and quickly duck back into my room. I was right. There is an entire group downstairs. It looks like most of the dwarves are present. I sniff at the air and wrinkle up my face at the overabundance of testosterone and sweat coming off the group downstairs.
With a bit more care I scent the air again and sigh. Granny's Alyssum smell calms me. It is a soothing odor, and it relaxes me. It smells like freshly mowed grass and hay. There is something more but the overpowering sandalwood and peppermint scent of Charming makes me sneeze. I back away from the door quickly; I can hear their conversation halt for a moment and someone moves to the bottom of the stairs. After a few minutes they've calmed down enough to continue with their previous discussion.
"Red moon, you're not making any sense. What makes a red moon different than any other moon?" David/James/Charming, oh whatever he wants to be called. That's his voice.
"Before magic was here it meant nothing." That's Granny. "It was just a lunar eclipse, but now that magic is here"
" and we have a resident werewolf." Grumpy/Leroy states in his gruff manner. Coming from anyone else that would have been insulting, but of everyone downstairs he is the person I would trust the most if Granny weren't down there. He'll look out for me. We always look out for each other. Even here in Storybrooke we've looked after each other. Something that's just residual from the Enchanted Forest I assume.
Oh please, he only looks after you because he knows how useful you are in a pinch, in a battle. If you weren't as useful as you are he wouldn't care one bit about you. He only cares about Snow and what protects her.
Uhh, not you again. Leave me alone.
"Get to the point." Charming isn't being so charming right now and I'm surprised with how irritated I'm becoming by the mere sound of his voice.
He is an annoying bug. You should have let him make a fool of himself. He is no hero here.
Shut up! He's trying!
Trying to do what? Save his wife and daughter. Like always. He doesn't care about his people, about you or anyone in town. He only cares about his family. What has he done for this town but stand on the bed of his truck and keep them here. Taking away their choices.
It wasn't like that. If they left they would have lost themselves.
What right does he have to tell them they can't forget? Some people might want to forget. Don't you think? Like say you.
Uhh please leave me alone.
Fine, but only because you asked so nicely and you should probably be listening in to what everyone is saying about you. Especially since they could be deciding to hang you.
They I swallow, they wouldn't. Would they?
Snow isn't here to protect you anymore little Red.
"It's when werewolves mate, mark their successor or turn their chosen into wolves as well. Or at least that's what it would mean in the Enchanted Forest. Here, I'm not sure what it means. It could be nothing or it could be even worse than that." I'm surprised to hear Regina's regal voice float up the stairs. What is she doing here? Granny let her inside? Hell, the dwarves let her in? They must be desperate or truly frightened of what I might be responsible for causing if I change.
"Worse than a werewolf trying to mate?"
"How does a werewolf mate, exactly?" Leave it to Leroy to voice that question.
Obviously, there were only two legs while 'mating' as a human, as a wolf you lost hands and arms and got a second pair of legs. Just some lovely skin to skin to indulge in as a human, and what as a wolf, fur to fur? Or am I going to go all interspecies here and creep even myself out with the fur to human skin?
I roll my eyes at that question, though to be honest I am a bit curious. Mating as a wolf would be different than mating as a human. I've mastered several different styles of 'mating' as a human especially here. Which, I'll be sure to question Regina on at a later date, especially since before we came here I had only ever been with Peter. I was no slut. Not in comparison to some people.
I would not insult the Queen if I were you.
Oh, and what is it to you whether I insult the bitch or not?
Nice comeback. Besides, I thought you were going to be quiet.
And I thought you were going to be paying attention to what they were saying rather than thinking about your past sexual exploits here in Storybrooke.
"Well she could start to change before the eclipse." Walter/Sleepy yawns as he says his guess as to what could be worse than me just being my normal people-eating wolfy self on a full moon.
"Without the moon being visible." Mac/Dopey continues, man are they on a roll. Finishing each other's sentences all over again.
Oh that was so annoying in the Enchanted Forest.
"She could also bite someone while human and turn them into a werewolf." Phil/Happy sounds almost too happy about that.
There is silence as the options seem to settle in for all of them. "That would be worse." Prince Charming concludes as if their silence hadn't been enough. "What is there to do?"
"Her cloak. We must find her cloak." Granny, she's determined and that was never a good thing for the person that got in the way of what she wanted.
Usually it was me. Not doing the dishes. Not doing the laundry. Not wanting to take a Friday night shift. The list went on and on, but this time I wasn't going to be at the epicenter of her anger or frustration.
This time it won't be because I don't have my cloak. It was the first thing I came home to look for after the curse had been broken and magic had come back. I knew I would need it. But I didn't have it.
Well then, where is it?
I don't know! Do you think I would still not have it if I knew where it was?
Think. When was the last time you had it.
Duh in the Enchanted Forest.
You did that to annoy me.
Perhaps. I grin, and laugh under my breath. I did that, thinking of the word duh, to annoy the annoying voice in my head. . . . . . . . .
Oh god, how crazy am I?
Shut it! Gods, I can imagine myselfbecause even though you don't sound like me I know you are me because you're in my head, smirking right now and it's weird! Okay?
Fine don't answer me now.
Now, last I had it. When that smoke was coming towards the castle.
I have to find the time to ask a former witch why curses always come in ominous clouds of billowing smoke. Why couldn't it just be like true loves kiss and have a nice jet of rainbow color cut across the land?
Because that is far too innocent like to be evil and dark, like curses are meant to be.
I sense your 'duh' tone.
Good, I'd rather not sink to your level and use such arbitrary vocabulary.
Whatever now back to finding the cloak. I was I was with the dwarfs trying to defend the east wing on the first floor. We were overrun. I I was knocked out. But I was wearing it when I passed out. I remember
You tried to crawl, like the animal you are, towards the stairs to your mistress as she screamed and gave birth to her child.
Shut up! The guards they were going after them, she was defenseless.
What were you? Without the moon what were you doing on the front lines? You were just a body to help give them time. They didn't care if you died or not. They just cared about themselves.
No, they needed to get Emma to safety. They needed to send her through the wardrobe!
No! They needed to defeat the 'Evil' Queen. They had months to find her. Months to stop her from using her curse. Instead they sat around and found a way to save themselves. To save their child. Not the children of their people. Not you. Not Granny. Not their friends. But themselves and their child.
Right, so, I'm going to ignore you and try and figure this out on my own. Try not and interrupt me this time okay? It's hard enough to think about this, let alone think about it with another voice in my head giving off commentary.
So, when was the last time I had my cloak? Enchanted Forest. I had it when I was pulled away to this land. I was guarding the castle and Snow and Charming
While Snow was in labor. The Evil Queen
Seriously? What is she like your Queen or something? Do all evil things that go bump in the night subjugate themselves to her? If so, let me make this very clear to you. I will not be bowing down to that woman. Ever.
She is more than that you silly girl. She is power. True power. She is royalty unlike your precious Snow White and her Prince Charming. Use. Her. Name. Give her the respect she is due.
Fine, but I'm not about to respect Rumple.
That imp is hardly worth respecting.
You confuse me. He has power but you won't respect him? Why?
Because his is stolen power. He was not born with his power. Unlike you and Regina. You were born to be great. He stole his greatness. A thief of such things does not deserve respect.
So you're saying everyone born without a curse or magic power does not deserve respect.
You are above them.
No. I am not!
They are nothing in comparison to you. Nothing. They are weak and meek. You are brave and strong.
I am scared to death of my curse.
It is not a curse to be different. You should embrace it. After all, your 'curse' is what has attracted you to your precious Snow White and her Prince. Without your curse you would be nothing to them but another commoner. They keep you on a leash so that you do not realize your potential. They make you fear yourself, your power, and your strength so that they might control it. Control you.
They're not like that. Snow and I are friends. She was there for me when no one else was! She cares about me. She's my best friend.
Granted, the girl took you with her and took care of you. Once. How many times have you repaid that debt to her? How often have you saved her life? Or the life of her Prince? Or even her child? Hmm ? And how close were you to that Princess here? Surely not as close as you were there.
Things were different here. We weren't as close because of the curse. The curse changed things!
It only made things that were beneath the surface more apparent. It made people who they really are. It took away responsibilities and duty and inhibitions. You became a sexual being like you were always meant to be because you were not trapped within a society or under the thumb of someone who was naturally meek and ashamed of her sexual nature. It made your prince as weak as he truly is. You were strong. You were strong minded and willed even without being brought here. And being here you were just as strong and opinionated. You did not care for others' opinions here. YOU were strong. You have ALWAYS been strong. THEY just make you weak. THEY need to make you weak because you are too strong. Stronger than they could ever be and they fear that strength. Fear you.
That's not true! I look away from the door, pacing towards the other side of the room. I stand and stare at myself in the full length mirror there. It's not true. It's not!
Isn't it? Think. Think hard little Red. Now that you know, Snow has disappeared to save her daughter. Charming has put aside his inherited duties, to find her and Emma and only took care of his 'duties' because of you. Because you made him take charge. You put the power in his hands because he has trained you so well to turn to him for answers, for leadership and guidance. You are nothing but a pet. Even now.
"Shut up! Just just SHUT UP!" I scream as I clutch at my head, my nails scratching painfully into my scalp as I pull at my hair. A feeling of hopelessness and despair fill me. I don't even care that I've just alerted the entire Inn to my wakefulness.
I'm out of breath as I grab a hold of the chair by my makeup table and lift it up without an ounce of effort. I swing the usually heavy wooden chairhand crafted by Marcoat the mirror where I see golden eyes staring back at me and a laughing smirking face. "Arhhh SHUT UP!" I smash the chair into the glass twice before throwing it. The table it hits breaks. Above the broken wood I can see my image laughing at me in the mirror.
The glass shatters into hundreds of pieces even as the laughter and the taunting continues.
Poor little Red, poor little puppy dog looking for affection.
I cover my ears and fall to my knees in the pool of broken glass covering the floor. I feel nothing even as the glass cuts into my knees. I can't make it stop. I just want it to go away. Why won't it just stop? Why won't it leave me alone?
The little lap dog of Snow and Charming. Scampering and whimpering for attention, for their love. Red, little red
"Please, please just shut up. Shut up " I plead, tears falling even as my eyes remain tightly closed.
Pathetic little Red
"Please stop. Stop." I'm cold. So cold, but so hot too.
Sniveling little Red
I'm sweating, my skin almost too hot even though I feel like I need to turn up the heat. I'm shaking and and why won't it just-
Wretched little Red
"STOP!!" I scream, and scream and scream. And it stops talking. But it keeps laughing. Always laughing. Always there to make fun of me. To taunt me. To belittle my choices. No.
No it makes me strong. It tells me I am strong. I am brave. It tells me I am powerful. I am worthy. I am respectable. I am not cursed. I am gifted. I am blessed.
I stiffen, my body tight; it doesn't hurt though. It feels right. I stop shaking.
I breathe in deeply, and I can smell myself. This is my home, my dwelling. I am home. But there is something. Something more. I open my eyes slowly and look around. I am not outside. My eyes are clear. Sure. Like I am. There are no tears.
Something touches me. I whirl around. I'm in the air. I pounce on it before it can lean away. My hands land on either side of it as I hold it to the ground with my knee pressing against its stomach. The air of my prey leaves its body with the impact of its back against the floor. I snarl and growl, my back rippling. There is no hair there to stand on end.
"Red!" I look up and see people. They want my prey. They can't have it. I lift my lip and show my teeth. They are sharp. Sharper than they are supposed to be. Beneath me my prey tries to move but I slam my hands against their shoulders and keep them on the ground.
They can't move. I am stronger. I am faster. I am hungry. So very hungry.
I growl as I stare down at my prey and add more pressure to its shoulders, keeping it down. It groans in pain and doubles its fight.
"No. Stop!" I hear the movement at the door. I look up. The one in front of the group. Older, larger. She stops them with her arm. I growl again, she bows her head; she accepts that this is my prey, my kill. I stop snarling at her and look back down at my meal, seeing him for the first time through new eyes.
He does not smell very appetizing. Perhaps I won't eat him. There is something there, in his eyes. In his smell. In the way he fights beneath me. I want to kill him. I usually do not waste my kills. But he is not what I want to eat. I sniff at his neck. I huff at the offensive smell. I may not want to eat him. But I know. I can feel his physical strength. It is no match to me. But it could be when I am weak. He is a threat.
He keeps moving beneath me. He has not accepted his fate.
"Stop!" I hear the person at the door state. Her voice holds authority. She should be obeyed. Expects to be obeyed. I will not follow her orders. She does not control me. "Stop fighting her you fool! She'll break you before you could get away!" Interesting. She was speaking to my prey. I grin.
"She is right darling Prince. I would break you before you could reach the door."
Those at the door gasp at the sound of my voice. They would. It is not that of their darling Red. The raspy sultry sound of her voice is gone. Mine is rough, gruff in a way the dwarf Red prefers, is.
Leave him alone.
Ah, so Red speaks. No. I will not leave him. I think I will enjoy killing him. It will rid us all of his uselessness.
Don't! You can't hurt him. Please.
Stupid girl. Of course I can. I am in control now. You have no say in what I do.
It's my body! You are not a wolf here.
No. I am less here. I am trapped in this bipedal form. But I am not human. But not animal. I am half, between. Stuck.
I now have long arms with hands to grab things with.
I have small ears that hear the heartbeats of the humans across the way.
A nose that smells the odor of dirt and grime under the nails of the former dwarves.
Eyes that see the veins on their necks race with their fear, fear I can taste in the air with my nose and my tongue.
My teeth are sharper so that I might tear into flesh and crack bone with them.
Like this, half-thing I have become, I can kill easier. I will not frighten those until I am upon them, when it is too late.
No! You can't do this! It is my face they will see before they die. This is different than before. This is so very different.
Why? Because you are aware of what I am doing? Or because it will be your face on wanted posters, not that of a wolf? You should thank me. Now they will respect you. Will fear you, not just me. They will listen and obey you. Not the man beneath me. The one unworthy of such power. A thief. A fraud.
I am going to enjoy this new freedom. I have been dormant for far too long. I have many years to catch up on. But first, I'm going to enjoy sinking my teeth into the Prince's neck and watch him die.
"Red " Granny steps closer. I huff away her scent and the calming effect it has on me even now. She is my kin. Though old and no longer wolf she was once wolf. She is my blood. She created my line. My power.
"Leave or I'll kill him. Right now." I startle them, showing them how sharp my teeth are even inside a human's mouth. I lower my face to his neck, but hold Granny's eyes.
The men around her, the dwarves, are itching to move, to rush me, to overpower me. I can smell it on them. They are afraid though. They are uncertain. Hesitant. Except the bearded one. The one Red is fond of. He tries to get past Granny.
She knows what I know. They will lose. She knows it. She wants them to know it too, but they will not learn until they have been taught. Lucky for them, I am willing to do that.
He gets past Granny, growling his own pitiful human growl as he gets closer. The moment he is close enough I shift this body's weight. I am not very used to it. But it is flexible, very flexible. Keeping one hand on the Prince's shoulder I lift up upon it, making the Prince groan with pain. I kick off the floor and thrust my feet right at the charging man. He meets my feet, one on his chest the other on his hip, and I push back against him. Within a hundredth of a second it is all done and my body uses the momentum of kicking him to push back into my former position, with one knee and both hands on top of Charming.
The dwarf flies back towards the doorway and the group there. He knocks them all over. Granny has already moved out of the way. Those foolish enough to stay in the doorway are laying in a twist of limbs while I settle back on top of my prey who is once again trying to fight me off.
"Aww shuhhhh " I soothingly mock the man beneath me, grinning as I let the tip of my nail scratch his cheek. It cuts him it is so sharp. First blood is mine. He is still and holds his breath. His blood rushes and finally I smell fear on him. Good.
I seem to have gained all of my wolfish traits back except for the bodily form. That will have to do. I am cunning and intelligent. I will make this prosperous for me. I will adapt.
"Who are you?" The Prince speaks. Pathetic little man.
"Oh, isn't it obvious? I am the thing you used for so long. The being that did all of your dirty work for nothing but scraps." His eyes widen and I lower my face towards his neck. He stiffens. "I. Am. Wolf. I am your worst nightmare ." I hiss into his ear taking a good long lick of the skin there. Uhck he tastes as slimy as he smells.
Still, the fear coming off of him is delicious. Perhaps I will stay a bit longer. Keep him in this state of uncertainty. It suits him better than his false bravado.
"Red " I roll my eyes. Now what?
At the doorway Granny is standing with her preferred weapon. The arrow on the crossbow is silver tipped, I can smell it. She has shot me with it once before. "What are you going to do? Shoot your kin, matriarch?" I ask her, her grip on the bow loosens for a moment before it tightens again. The men are beginning to stand again, but this time they place themselves behind Granny and the Queen.
"Do it!" The dwarves insist.
"Take the shot!"
I lift an eyebrow, my grip on the Prince's neck tightening. My nails dig into his skin, sinking beneath it. The smell of blood rises into the room and I watch my matriarch's face. "You would shoot your blood to save the man who has used and abused his power over your granddaughter?"
I see her taste the blood, first through her nose and then open her mouth and breathe it in. It has been long, far too long, since she has tasted blood. Her wolf is dormant but present. I can see it beneath the surface enjoying the treat I am offering it. Just beneath her human surface. Like I always have been in Red.
The power we share is not laced in her blood like it is mine. She was turned. I was born with my power. But it is still there for her. It will always be there. The animal. The desires. The need.
There is blood under my fingernails, around my fingers from my prey and it is magnificent.
"Don't listen to her."
"She's not Ruby!"
"Of course she is Ruby you fools, merely one side of her."
"Yes, I am," I insist, seeing the bow lower just the tiniest bit. "I am the side of her that has been leashed. The one who has been tamed and used to do others' bidding. No more. No more " I growl, glaring down at the man beneath me. The cause of my taming. The one who used me as a weapon. Kept me like a pet!
Taking my eyes off of my matriarch was the wrong decision. The moment I am not looking into her eyes she squeezes the trigger. I hear the snap of the bow and react. I roll to the side, the arrow embedding itself into the wall. Looking at the arrow and back at my matriarch I growl and snarl. The arrow, had it hit me, would have pierced my heart.
You sound shocked. Do you not see it for yourself! Where the arrow is in the wall? Kneeling as we were, that would have been our chest, our breast cavity. Our heart!
It's that's no
Yes! She would have killed us for the Prince. She is not loyal to us. She is loyal to him. This is what weakness has done. It has turned blood against blood. She would rather save him.
"You have made your choice!" I turn to see the Prince roll quickly to his feet and back away from me, his hand around his bleeding neck and cheek. I scratched him as I reacted. I should have torn his neck apart.
Seeing the group enter the room they surround me. I growl and snarl at them. They should know better than to corner an animal, to make me feel trapped, don't they?
It is when the Queen enters the room that I sway. I begin to shake and tremble. Why is she here with these commoners? Why does she stand behind them and let them disobey her? Why is she not ruling above them as she should? She is power. She is strength. She is royalty. They are nothing. Nothing!
That's not true
Shut up, little Red.
My nails bite into my own palms as I stare between Granny and the Queen. I sneer at them both. Pathetic. The both of them. I look into the Queen's eyes, her alluring scent fogging over the room as my legs tremble, making me fall back to lean against the wall. "You disgust me," I tell her. She has become weak. She has let them rule over her.
Good. At least we agree on one thing.
"I didn't realize I hadn't always disgusted you."
Well, that's because I have. It seems my monthly friend has other feelings about you. But rest assured, once this is over I'll go right back to hating your guts.
Did I not tell you to shut up?
"You were power once. You were strong." Her eyes widen, she has no idea how I once respected her. She is only aware of you, Red, and your contempt.
Good. She doesn't deserve anything but the pain and suffering she has caused.
If she deserves such suffering, what is it that you deserve for those you have harmed? Through your own actions you have killed. What of the families affected by your killings? What of the children without fathers and mothers? What of them? Do we not deserve the same suffering as her? We are not pure of fault. You used me to kill and maim for the good of something you believed in. She has done the same.
It, I didn't, it was different!?
Why, because you and your band of merry men won? History is written by the victors, or is that a lesson you do not recall from your false memories here in this world?
"You were different. Now you are weak. You let them rule over you." The three men launch at me at the same time. I thrash against them as they try and hold me down. I throw one easily across the room into Charming who is trying to get into the mix as well. The other two are not as easy. One of them has rope. Does he think this will hold me?
I laugh, enjoying the thrill of battle. I curve my fingers and swipe my arm down, scratching the long sleeve of the dwarf right off. He drops the rope and clutches at his arm.
Stop, stop it! You're hurting them!
"They are nothing!" I feel my head whip to the side, and turn it back around slowly to stare at the bearded dwarf. The one that attacked me before. I smell blood. Not any of these males blood, but my own. I swipe my tongue across my lower lip and taste the iron, feel the cut on it from his hit.
"I'm not opposed to hitting a lady. Not one like you," he tells me.
I grin. "This is still an unmatched fight." I laugh as he tries to punch me again. I duck away twice. I am faster than all of them. I land two 'pitiful' hits in quick succession. One to his face, the other to his ribs. Even though the strength I used was pitiful he still backs away, bent over in pain.
I turn on my heels quickly. I curl my hand around the width of a bat, stopping it from hitting me. I raise an eyebrow. I wonder where she got the bat, but then remember she is the Queen, she still has power even though she refuses to use it. The burn of magic remains on the bat and makes my palm itch with the sensation of it.
She tries to wrangle her weapon free from me but I hold it tightly, crushing the wood beneath my grasp as I hold her eyes. "See they have no power but that which you give them. And now? Now you give them everything," I jeer at her, spitting on the floor at her feet. I lean closer to her, using the bat we both hold to pull her closer. I find her scent intoxicating. My eyes flutter the closer I get, but I remain strong. "You disgust me," I whisper, practically against her skin. She's frozen, staring at me defiantly. She tries to grab the bat back from me. She is not physically strong, not without her magic. I can overpower her.
The tip of my tongue ghosts across her skin as I pull away and and
Uck, what the hell?! That was
WHAT? No. No I was going to say creepy and disgusting and
I focus on the taste of her, the smell of her.
Oh well that's but she's uhhmh that's mhmmm
I salivate as I let the taste linger on my tongue for as long as I can. But it is gone too quickly. I must have more. I must!
"Hey!" Granny comes towards me with her bow. I lash out, knocking the bow from her grip. I will not harm her. I will not harm my matriarch. But she cannot come between me and my
Your what? Your prey? I'm okay with that. Let's kill her. We can eat her. I'm fine with eating her. She doesn't taste that bad. Besides wit
Mate. My mate.
MATE!?!? Oh no. no no no no no no no no. NO! The Evil Queen?!?! NO! Not okay with this. Not going to happen. She is NOT our mate. No.
You do not have a choice in the matter. Neither does she.
Her scent changes. It becomes stronger.
Amberwood she is her smell crab apple. Hahaha of course she smells like crab apple.
Pushing her against the wall I pull the bat from her hands completely.
I use the end of it that I've already half cracked to hit Charming over the head. The fool thought he was sneaking up on me. Flipping it around I grab the broken end and use the butt of it to jab one of the dwarves in the gut before kicking him. I don't even spare them a glance. But by the sounds of it they have both skid across the wooden floor towards the opposite wall. Good. I need a moment with my mate.
Leave. Please. Just leave. Right now. We can leave. We can run away. Come on. Let's just go. Anywhere. Anywhere but here. Please, please don't. Not her. Anyone but her.
I turn back to my prey and pull in a lung full of her scent, my nose touching her neck. "Firethorn " I whisper; she smells of amberwood, crab apple and firethorn.
Oh god it was her. At the diner! It was her. Oh god no, please, this cannot be happening! I am seriously not okay with mating with the Evil Queen. Regina. Whatever. Whoever. I am not okay with this at all. She's been trying to kill my best friend for years! Doesn't that matter at all?!
I ignore Red and her whining. She has no choice in this matter. I am wolf. I have found my mate. I will have what is mine.
The Queen shivers, and gasps. Her skin warms, making her scent that much stronger. Her blood races faster in her veins and her heart pounds steadily against her chest.
I whimper at her reaction. Her hands move to grab me but she doesn't attempt to push me away. They grab me and hold on, tightening against my forearms. Her eyelids become heavy as she stares at me, her mouth open as she breathes.
I pull on her shirt, ripping it towards the right to bare the shoulder above her heart to me. I open my mouth and bring my teeth to her skin. I run my tongue along the skin and taste its ambrosia once more, savoring it.
Slowly I bite into her flesh, her body tightens as she moans in pain but she does not scream. Before I can really sink my teeth into her, someone has grabbed onto me and yanked me away.
She screams then. I growl darkly as I turn and push my hands against the body that stole me away from her, caused her pain by interfering.
Instead of a clean bite her skin has now been torn and more blood than expected is flowing from her wound. A wound I created due to this fool's interference.
Charming's eyes widen a split second before my closed fists meet his body.
I scream my growl as I throw Charming across the room and into the wall, where he hits with a resounding crack and slumps to the floor. He is still breathing. That will not do.
The dwarves are scattered around the room. The one I sliced with my claws is leaning against the wall keeping pressure on the wound.
The one I threw across the room is still trying to hobble up onto his feet. That leaves the bearded one. He is standing between Charming and me. His Adams apple bobbles as he swallows thickly, fear upon his skin.
I go to move towards him, he is in my way. Charming must pay.
No! "No " I turn around quickly to face the voice that whimpered that command behind me.
Granny is there. But it is not her voice that has spoken. It is my mate's.
I gnarr at my matriarch. I have marked my mate. She will respect that. She will respect my claim to her!
Granny glares at me but she dips her head. She will respect my mark, my mate.
Oh no. Come ON, Granny. Really!? It is REGINA! You just no. Why would she give her consent?!
Because she knows it is not about the person. As you should! It is not about who it is. It cannot be helped. This was meant to be. She is mine. As we are hers.
Granny is standing by my mate, helping her sit upon the floor, her back against the wall, helping her stop the flow of her blood. The blood is too much. It is soaking into her hand, between her fingers. Damn him. Damn him! Damn him!
I turn to exact my revenge on the foolish Prince. It was not meant to cause her such pain!
"Don't he's a fool. But don't kill him."
"Why would you protect him?" I do not like the way they protect each other. I look between the fallen Prince being aided by the bearded dwarf and back to my mate.
She laughs, as if seeing my assumption in my eyes alone. The bond has not been completed. She cannot read my thoughts just yet.
WHAT? Read our thoughts? Bond? What bond? What in the hell does THAT mean? You can't be seriously saying that she'll be able to read my mind
"He is, important," she struggles with her breath, "to my son."
Son she has a son. A cub. She is
Oh calm yourself. She adopted him. Henry, remember him? The boy that wouldn't be alive if Emma hadn't been saved. Yeah, him. That's her son. Jeeze and you accuse me of not paying attention to my fake memories from here. Now, back to the mind reading shit. You weren't serious were you?
Yes, very. She will be able to once it has been completed.
No. I refuse to accept that. Any of this. We have a choice. I have a choice damn it. Hell, I don't even LIKE Regina. How do you expect me to LOVE her?
Love does not have anything to do with this. She is ours. We are hers.
Well, I want love to be a part of this damn it! I mean, you just fucking marked Regina Mills! The Evil Queen as my mate. I don't want that. I don't want this. I don't want her!
You will accept this. You have no choice. It is done.
Fuck you! Fuck you and this damn curse. Fuck Regina and being mated. Fuck it. I am NOT her mate. I am NOT. I will NOT be hers. She will never be ours. If you think she'll submit to you, to us. You are crazy. Crazier than I am. And I'm pretty sure I'm off my rocker. But you have to be over the bend twice over for thinking that marking Regina Mills makes her yours. She's no one's. She's a cold hearted bitch who only cares about herself. And Henry. But she treats everyone else like shit.
Stop. You will not insult her. You will treat her with the respect that she is due. If not for her power then as our other half. She will be ours. It is only a matter of time.
Time what do you mean time? Like, woo her? You want to woo the evil queen?! Ha! Oh god you are crazier than I just thought you were.
No. We will not 'woo' her. She will be ours. She will come to us.
Huh why would she come to us? We just scarred her!
I lower my head in shame for the pain I have caused her. It was only meant to be a mark. A claim to her. It shouldn't have been so painful. There should not be so much blood. I whimper as I take a step closer to her, to them.
She flinches, her breathing heavy, her eyes pained.
"Go." My ears perk up at the order. I do not understand. Why is my matriarch telling me to "Go. Now. I'll look after her." She juts her head towards the men around the room. They are recovering quickly.
They start to regroup. I turn back to see my ma
sitting limply on the ground. The scent of her blood is overpowering. But it is making my stomach churn. I take one last look at the men, and then meet her eyes, "I will be back," I promise her before I race out the door as instructed.
I will be back. My matriarch knows that.
"Hey Ruby, what's that on your shhh irt?" A boy asks me, stuttering as he gets a better look at me. He stands between me and the doorway of the Inn. I look at him and then look at my shirt. It is covered in blood. My hands too. Most likely my face as well. I hear the group upstairs moving around. They must have heard the bell ring thinking I had left.
He swallows nervously and steps away from the door, keeping his back against the wall. He is smart. He knows what I am. I can see it in his eyes. He knows.
"Who are you?" he asks me.
Who am I? Who is he?
Henry, that's Henry! You know, the son of the woman you just tore into with your teeth and marked? This is her son, adopted son, Henry.
How does he know what I am?
He's known about the curse before we did. Remember?
No. I do not. Why do I not remember him?
You're asking me? Aren't you supposed to be the one with all the answers?
He smells odd. He has the remnants of the slimy Prince but touches of fading firethorn as well. He is innocent and smells of sweetness and freshly baked goods.
Bubble gum and brownies. He smells like bubble gum and brownies.
He smells of bubble gum and brownies and fear. I frighten him.
Well duh, you're covered in blood. His mother's blood and grandfather's blood by the way. Just so you know.
"I am Wolf," I tell him.
He nods. "Are you going to eat me?"
I smile as I stare at him, he gasps at the sight of my bloody sharp teeth. The noise from upstairs has gotten louder. They will come down soon. I must leave.
"No. I will not eat you. I will protect you."
Wait huh? You will? Why ? What's your game?
He is now my responsibility. Like his mother.
Woah, woah woah. I am sooo not ready to be a mom. Hell this kid already has two moms. He doesn't need a third.
Do be quiet, little Red.
I nod. "Stay safe, pup," I tell him as I leave the Inn. I feel his eyes watching me as I race down the streets.
I am uncomfortable in crowds of people that I am not allowed to eat. I head for the woods. I will find a place to rest for the day before I return to my mate while the moon is high.
I will be back for her. For now, she will need tending to. Our matriarch will take care of her. But I will return for her. She will need me.
I have bitten her.
But you're not a wolf in wolf form, it's not a full moon you
It is a blood red moon. I have marked my mate and bitten them. She will be mine. It will just take time. The bond will be completed.
To Be Continued
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