Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: Once Upon A Time
Challenge/Prompt: clockwork_hart1's Free For All Ficathon: any, any, I’m sorry you couldn’t find me. I have been in the woods. I put myself there because I couldn’t be good. requested by rhymesofblue
Word Count: 1,182
Date Written: 10 July 2018
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to their rightful owners, not the author, and are used without permission.
"Red!" There were tears already shining in Snow’s eyes when she cried her name. She raced to her, threw her arms around her, and held her tightly. Then she pulled away, looked at her as if trying to make absolutely certain that she was truly there in her embrace and was all right, and hugged her again. “I was so worried!” Her tears wet Red’s long, dark hair.
“I’m sorry. I -- I didn’t mean to frighten you,” Red tried to explain.
“When do you ever go this deep into the forest alone?” Snow questioned, pulling back and looking at her again. “I’ve been looking for you for hours!”
“I -- I tried to leave a trail no one could follow,” she murmured, lowering her eyes from Snow’s intense gaze.
“You almost succeeded too!” her dearest friend, her only friend, in all the kingdoms cried. She lifted Red’s chin with a finger and looked into her troubled eyes again as she vowed, “But I will always find you, wolfy. Unless . . . Unless the Queen takes you away from me. I was so scared that was exactly what she had done!”
“No force on this Earth will take me from your side,” Red vowed, raising her hands to grip Snow’s quivering shoulders, “unless I let it.”
“Well, then don’t let it! Why were you hiding from me anyway?”
“I . . . “ Red looked away. She looked at the ancient trees surrounding them, their tall, tall branches blocking out the sun in the green, forest canopy they created what felt like hundreds of miles over their heads. “I’m sorry you couldn’t find me,” she whispered. “I’m sorry you were so worried.”
“But why? Why did you come this far on your own?”
“I would have gone further,” Red admitted, “except that I realized I was beginning to walk in circles. I have been in the woods all day. I put myself here, because I couldn’t be good. I couldn’t keep the wolf -- I couldn’t keep her in, Snow, not when I heard people talking about turning you in for one of the Queen’s fabled rewards. I . . . killed a man,” she said, lowering her eyes. “Again.”
“One of the Queen’s guards?” Snow asked.
Red mutely shook her head. After a long moment, she confessed, “He was determined to turn you in. He wouldn’t listen to reason. He -- He -- “
“So you killed to protect me,” Snow observed, “again.” She reached up and wiped a bit of blood from Red’s cheek. “And I’m guessing the wolf was hungry?”
“Ravenous,” Red whispered shamefully.
She started to turn away from her, but Snow gripped her wrist and held her steadfastly beside her. “Red, I’m not afraid of your wolf, and I’m not ashamed of her either. I am grateful to her and to you, because you have both saved my life so many times.”
“There are other ways,” Red whispered, “to shut up a man.”
“But not as effectively.”
Red searched her friend’s beautiful face. “Are you jesting?!”
Snow raised her lithe shoulders in a shrug. “If it will get you in a better mood,” she said.
“The only thing that’s going to get me in a better mood is learning to control this beast.”
“Then maybe we should move out here.”
Snow looked around them. “It’s far enough out that I doubt the Queen or her guards will ever come out here, and it’s far enough away from civilization that we should be able to work on training your instincts. I’ll help you learn to control your beast.”
“You’d do that for me?” Red questioned, suddenly feeling quite breathless.
Snow’s eyes met hers again. “Haven’t you figured it out yet, wolfy? I’d do anything for you.”
Anything but love me, Red thought and lowered her eyes at the shameful thought. She had no right to think such a thing. She had no right to ask for friendship, let anything more, from such a beautiful and brave woman who had already had so very much taken from her. She may have saved Snow’s life today, but Snow had already saved her countless times. She saved her every day really, because she gave her a reason to turn back from the wolf. She gave her a reason to be a girl again, to not forget herself, to not just let the animal inside of her take over. She gave her a reason to want a life and to choose to live.
“Anything,” Snow repeated and kissed her quickly.
Red’s green eyes flashed on yellow and then continued to widen as she stared at her best friend in shock. “What was that?” she asked, her voice rushed and hot.
“That . . . “ The heat of embarrassment was already rising inside of Snow. It burned her cheeks and made her lower her gaze this time from Red’s. “I’m sorry. That . . . That was me not being good. I know good girls don’t . . . don’t do that with other girls.”
Red chuckled. She sounded so amused that Snow had to dare to look back up at her. “Are you laughing?!” she demanded, her face now turning as red as the Queen’s poison apples.
“Yes!” Snow started to turn to flee from her, but before she could go, Red reached out this time, gripped her hand, interlaced their fingers together, and held her tight by her side. “Yes, I am! When have we ever been known to be the good girls?!” she demanded, still chuckling.
Snow slowly raised her eyes back to hers. Her gaze was questioning, and she searched Red’s face for the answers she’d been needing for a long time now. She loved this brave, wild, beautiful, and wonderful woman, but she wasn’t satisfied with just mere friendship as good girls were supposed to be. She wanted more. She wanted to know Red in every way possible; she wanted to love her in every way possible! “Is that . . “ she asked slowly, “ . . . why you’re laughing? Because we’re not good girls?”
“Because we’re not good girls and yet here you are trying to deny us both what we want to be something we were never meant to be!”
“What we both want?” Snow repeated, catching and hanging on to the words.
“Yes, Princess, what we both want!” Red closed the distance between them, lowered her head, and completely covered Snow’s gaping mouth with her own. Her tongue swept into her heated mouth. As her fingers clung more tightly to the hand they already held, her other hand found its way to Snow’s waist and tugged her even more closely against her. She kissed her until her own lungs started to burn, and she knew she had to let her up to breathe. Humans couldn’t hold their breath for anywhere near as long as wolves, after all. Sure enough, the second she let up, Snow gasped for air, but then a second later, before either of them could speak again and ruin the moment, Snow grabbed her face in her hands and returned to kissing her and making both their dreams come true in the wild woods at last.