Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: Once Upon A Time
Character/Pairing: Red/Emma, past Snow/Emma, mentioned Charming/Snow
Rating: Soft R/M
Challenge/Prompt: ficlet_zone 7: Duran Duran: Hungry Like A Wolf
Warning(s): AU in which there is no Hook
Word Count: 2,361
Date Written: 16 October 2018
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to their rightful owners, not the author, and are used without permission.
“Ruby!” Emma cried out in surprise as the waitress ran pass her, the door to her grandmother’s diner slamming shut behind her. The beautiful woman, who was known throughout the town for being more than a bit on the wild side, something Emma had known long before the curse had been lifted, didn’t stop. She kept running until Emma, chasing behind her, called out in concern, “Red! What’s wrong?!”
She stopped then and turned swiftly around. Emma was caught by her feral, yellow eyes. She stopped running, but Red noted she didn’t go for her gun, even though that would have been the first instinct of most humans who carried a weapon when confronted with something Supernatural and obviously dangerous. Instead she frowned. “What’s going on? What happened?” she asked, starting to edge slowly closer.
“Don’t,” Red growled out in warning.
“It’s not even a full moon -- “ Emma started.
“It doesn’t have to be!” Red threw out a hand in the direction of the diner. Emma’s eyes widened soundlessly as she saw the thick, gray fur beginning to cover Red’s skin and her fingernails elongating into dangerous claws. “Ask your mother!” Red tossed at her before turning and continuing to run in the direction of the woods.
Emma paused. She thought about going back to the diner and questioning her mother, but she already knew that her mother wasn’t telling her the whole truth about several things. For someone as supposedly pure and good as Snow White was purported to be, her mother still had her secrets, . . . and there was no way she was going to tell her the truth about her relationship with her best friend, especially with her Prince present. Emma’s eyes tore back and forth into the direction in which Red had seemingly vanished and the diner with its bright lights and warm atmosphere. No answers would come from there, she knew, so she turned and ran after Red.
She crashed into the forest just a few minutes behind her, but the other woman was already howling. A chill ran down Emma’s spine even as her heart felt for her friend. Something was wrong obviously. She was hurting; she was in pain. Her emotions were running wild or she never would be turning into a wolf this early in the night with the full moon still being two weeks away.
“RED!” Emma bellowed as she chased after her. “RED, DON’T DO THIS! TALK TO ME!” She crashed through underbrush grabbing at her jeaned legs and jumped down a little incline, heading deeper into the forest. She spied Red’s back and froze. “Talk to me!” she called again to her. “You can tell me anything!”
“I told you -- “ Red growled out, shaking visibly to Emma’s wide eyes despite the distance that still separated them. “Ask your mother!” Her hands covered her face momentarily, but Emma was still pretty certain she could understand what she cried out next, “She knows what she does to me!”
“What,” she asked, edging slowly closer, “does she do to you?”
“The same thing your heart is doing now,” Red snarled, whirling to face her. Her nose had become a snout, and dangerous teeth gleamed from her once human mouth. “I can hear your heart, Emma, beating harder, faster! You’re afraid of me, and you should be!”
“No,” Emma countered, “I’m not. I was once, yes, but not any more.” She shook her head to emphasis her words. “You’ve proven yourself a good, loyal friend time and again, Red.” She followed the Werewolf’s gaze to the gun at her side. She inhaled deeply, then grabbed her pistol and tossed it away from her. “I. Am. Not. Afraid. Of. You.”
“You should be! Your mother is!”
“No, she’s not! She’s your best friend!”
Red shook her lupine head. “That shows what you know about friendship.”
“Then tell me,” Emma coaxed. “Tell me what’s going on between you two, because she sure as Hell isn’t about to!”
To her surprise, the wolf sighed and looked truly sorrowful for a moment. “That’s because she’s afraid of it,” she answered quietly. “She’s afraid of me.”
“No, she’s not!” Emma rebuffed again.
“Maybe not of me,” Red tried to explain, “not of my wolf but of . . . of what we used to do, of being found out, of giving into it. She wants her future with you and your brother and your father too much.” She snarled.
“You like my family. Hell, you are a member of my family!”
“Adopted,” Red snarled. “Always adopted.”
“I never remind you of that! That doesn’t matter! You think I feel like a fullblooded Charming? Please! This world still seems like a fairy tale to me sometimes! I grew up thinking that Princes and Princesses and Werewolves and all this stuff was just imagination! There isn’t a day that goes by that a part of me doesn’t think I’m going insane!”
“You’re not going insane,” she said softly, sheathing her claws, “but I feel that way too sometimes, especially when I have to look at your mother making out with your father.”
Emma made a face. “Euuw! They were at it again?!”
“Yes, again! Every damn time I turn around, she’s kissing him again! It’s clear he’s all she wants!”
“What’s so wrong with that?”
“You don’t know our history! You can’t understand!”
“Then tell me your history! Tell me what I’m missing!”
“I DON’T WANT TO THINK ABOUT IT!” Red screamed. “ISN’T THAT CLEAR?! IS IT TOO MUCH TO ASK THAT I DON’T WANT TO SEE THE WOMAN I LOVE MAKING OUT WITH A FREAKING PRINCE?!”
“You . . . ,” Emma said slowly, “ . . . love . . . my mother?”
Red sighed and dropped to all fours. Slowly she was beginning to return to human. “Always have,” she said as the fur seemed to seep away from her troubled face. “Since the first moment I saw her. I used to believe she would fall in love with me too.”
“But she never did,” Emma guessed.
“She claimed she did. She claimed she didn’t need or want your Prince of a father!”
“You know,” Emma said gently, “it’s not exactly Dad’s fault -- “
“I never blamed your father,” Red admitted as Emma walked closer, the colorful, fallen leaves of Autumn crunching underneath her red boots. “He never tried to pretend that he didn’t love your mother.”
“But Mom did?”
“She used to tell me I was all she needed,” Red whispered, turning her face away from her.
Emma knelt before her, cupped her cheek, and turned her face back to her. “I can’t blame her,” she said, a small grin tugging at her lips even as she saw fury flash in Red’s yellowed eyes, “not really. You’re one beautiful woman, Red.”
To her surprise, Red groaned aloud.
“What?!” Emma asked, taken aback.
“You’re coming on to me?! Now you’re coming on to me?!”
Emma shrugged. “Not exactly. I’m just stating the truth. You know, I remember the first time I saw your eyes turn yellow. It was during the first Winter I spent here. I wondered how you could do that, and I wanted right away to get to know you better.”
Red laughed, making Emma’s eyebrows rise. “You wanted to get to know me better because you saw my wolf’s eyes?!”
“You were dangerous,” Emma replied. “You were different. You were beautiful. And you seemed lonely. Like I was. Like I am.” Her fingers brushed Red’s cheek.
“This is so wrong,” Red said, rolling her eyes, “in so many ways."
“From the sound of things, so is what my mother made you feel. You fell in love with her, and she made you believe she loved you too. Then she went ahead and married my Father and had me and . . . “ She shook her head slowly, and despite Red’s uncertainty, she found herself wanting to curl her fingers up into Emma’s blonde tendrils as they shimmered along her shoulders. “ . . . and did what with you?”
“She left me,” Red whispered, “back in the cabin . . . in the woods . . . where we’d once said we’d build our own happily ever after. She told me I could live in the palace with them,” Red admitted, “but that would have been too painful.” Tears shimmered in her eyes, which were still going back and forth between a deep, rich green and the wolf’s yellow glow.
“She left you alone,” Emma said gently, “hungry, lonely, just wanting to be loved. You know, that sounds kind of familiar,” she admitted.
“Your parents never wanted to lose you, Emma!” Red exclaimed quickly. “They were both devastated by your loss! We tried everything to protect you. Granny and I were there for all of that, and I can assure you, if there had been any way that they could have kept you, they would have! They put you in the wardrobe to save your life!”
“And did what with you?” Emma asked, her palm caressing Red’s cheek as she knelt before her. “You were there for Mom through . . . through everything, it sounds like.”
“Not everything. We didn’t meet right away -- “
“But after you did, you were there for her through everything. Nothing kept you from her when she needed you.”
“No,” Red agreed softly, shaking her head. “Nothing.”
“Do you know what most people would do for that kind of love and loyalty today?”
Red smiled sadly; her gaze dropped from Emma’s. “If it wasn’t for your parents,” she whispered, “I’d believe that kind of love didn’t exist.”
“Me and you both,” Emma agreed, her words bringing Red’s eyes back to hers. “People are starving in this world, Red, not here in Storybrooke but in the real world. Everybody’s hungry for love. Everybody’s looking for it, and damn few find it.”
Red raised her slightly trembling fingers and wiped a tear away from Emma’s eyes. “You were one of those?” she asked.
“Hell yeah. And I didn’t think I’d ever find it.” She shook her head. “Then I came here. I found Henry. I found my parents. But there are times I still feel lonely.” Red’s hand had lingered on Emma’s cheek; now she reached up, curled her fingers around Red’s, and brought her hand to her mouth. “Maybe . . . ,” she said slowly, “ . . . maybe we can help each other with our loneliness?”
“You’re Snow White’s daughter!” Red exclaimed in surprise.
“Yeah.” Emma nodded. “I know. It sounds crazy. But you know what? There’s nothing in this world that doesn’t sound crazy to me any more. I’m a mother, but I have to share my kid with the Evil Queen. My parents are Prince Charming and Snow White, and for all my Mom’s talk about loyalty, love, and bravery, she hurt her very best friend.”
“I know she didn’t mean to -- ,” Red started.
“Maybe she didn’t, but she still did you wrong.” Emma took a deep breath and leaned closer. “Let me try to do you right.”
Red sniffed. Her lupine nose could always tell when people were telling the truth. Emma was speaking the truth now, or at least the truth as she believed it. Her mother had been telling the truth all those times she had told her that she loved her and that she didn’t need a Prince or a kingdom to make her happy. She’d believed, back in those days, that all she needed to be happy was right there with her in Red. And she’d been wrong.
What was there to make her think, Red argued with herself, that Snow White’s daughter would be any better? She may be telling the truth now, but what if some dashing hero came along to woo her? She’d lose her too. But she’d felt lost for so long, and right now, in this very moment, she felt found.
Her fingers curled around Emma’s. Emma leaned closer still and pressed her lips to Red’s. Red remembered how she’d tossed her gun away so carelessly and how she’d chased after her even knowing that she’d been wolfing out. She recalled that night of which Emma had spoken and the passion that had followed the pumpkin-and-rum-spiced hot chocolates they’d shared. They had shared a lot more that night, and although they’d never talked about their one night together, Red also had never forgotten it.
Right now she felt alive and warm and cared for as Emma’s mouth hungrily suckled at hers. Her sweat and tears, the very moisture of her lips, tasted sweeter than the sweetest wine. She’d taken chances before, Red thought. She had a long list of men and women with whom she’d tried to get over Snow White. Maybe Snow’s daughter was the answer to that dilemma. And maybe . . . Maybe for once somebody telling what they believed to be the truth would actually find out that their words were true not just for one night but for years to come.
She’d taken far more dangerous risks, Red thought, and at this point, she had nothing more to lose. Oh, Snow and Charming would be furious with her tomorrow, but that was tomorrow and only if they found out. This hot, eager, and caring woman was also the closest she was going to get to Snow White any time soon. It was worth a shot, Red mused, and slipped her tongue into Emma’s mouth.
Emma welcomed her. Their heartbeats roared in Red’s ears as they kissed longer, deeper, and more passionately. Emma suddenly pushed against her. Red pulled away, thinking she was going to pull away but watched, through widening eyes, as Emma quickly struggled out of her red leather jacket. She threw it onto the ground, then leaned Red back against it. Her lips covered hers again but then traveled from her mouth down her neck and down lower still . . .
The howls that echoed through the Storybrooke forest that night were no longer simply the sounds of a hungry, angry beast. They were the passionate sounds of a wild animal who had been found and a woman who just finally might learn what love meant. Soon they were joined by the sounds of a human mouth as passion, romance, and one, last, desperate chance for love ruled the night.