Author's Note: Although the prologue doesn't, the main part of this story begins toward the end of episode 4x08. So, beware - SPOILERS - kind of. Sort of.
I meant for the prologue to be mysteries and for you to not be able to guess who certain characters are but when you're doing that with more than one character, it's pretty brutal. I confused myself at some points writing it. I did throw some very distinctive clues though - mostly to just be able to distinguish between the characters - so let me know your guesses on who is who!
I hope you and enjoy and reviews are always welcomed!
This wasn't happening.
She stood next to the bed, her arms folded loosely over her chest, her blonde hair falling in waves to frame her face. She still couldn't believe this was where they were. After all they had been through, after all the sacrifices by so many brave people over the years… this is where they were. This moment. Her eyes fell on the body on the bed, traveling from the leather boot clad feet to the serene face – motionless, timeless.
A single tear rolled down her cheek.
She didn't want to take this journey. She still thought there was another way to defeat the Snow Queen, something they had over looked after the years of conflict with her. A part of her still thought the way to defeat her was simple, as simple as True Love's kiss breaking a curse. How many times had that saved them over the years? But deep down, were her sharp instinct lay, she knew that even if there was another way, this was the way they were going to have to do it. The events of two days ago had left them no choice in the matter.
Two days ago…. It felt more like a lifetime ago. They were so use to the constant attacks from the Snow Queen's minions that they had went in half hearted, half ready. They assumed it was just another average assault on them – how wrong were they. None of them had expected the Snow Queen to show up, they weren't prepared for her magic – and it had cost them one of their own.
Another tear fell and that's when she heard the quiet footsteps behind her.
She didn't have to turn around to know who they belonged to. She knew it was him by the scents that always seemed to envelope her whenever he was around – the smell of leather and sea – the smell of home, the smell of safety. She wiped the tears away when she felt his hand on her shoulder and turning she looked into eyes as blue as the ocean, eyes that echoed the silent words in her heart at that moment.
"It's time, lass."
She closed her eyes, a million more tears threatening to fall, and nodded. As they turned to leave the room he slipped his arm around her shoulders, an act that immediately made her feel like a seven year old little girl again who needed comforting after a nightmare. She threw one last glance back into the room at the motionless figure lying on the bed, making herself etch every detail of that horrible image into her mind. She needed to remember this moment to remind her that what she was about to do was necessary.
"I meant what I said earlier. I don't want you doing this alone," he said as they made their way down the long hallway. A small smile tugged at the corner of her mouth and she was suddenly comforted by the fact that some things, no matter how bleak their surroundings, never changed.
"We don't have anyone else who can do this and it not catastrophically change things," she said as they reached the large double doors at the end of the hallway. They opened to reveal a circular room a buzz with people. She surveyed the room and for the first time since the Snow Queen's surprise attack two days ago marveled at how the people in that room had come to together to make this plan happen.
"We're almost ready," said a woman off to the side dressed in a magnificent long sleeved black dress, her raven black hair pulled into a high ponytail, her lips stained blood red.
"Are we sure this is even going to work?" she asked, tucking her long blonde hair behind her ears.
"It'll work," came the reply from the other side of the room. She turned her head to see the older man walking to the woman dressed in the black dress, one hand holding a golden potion, the other leaning on his cane. Her jaw involuntarily clenched at the sight of him. She knew they needed his help for this and that without it there would be no way this insane plan would even work without him but the anger that bubbled in her at the sight of him couldn't be tampered. It was only when he put his hand on her shoulder and gave a quick, understanding squeeze that she unclenched her jaw, that familiar smell of leather and sea calming her.
She couldn't change what had happened and she wouldn't apologize for her feelings but they needed him right now. As much as she wished him a swift death she had to put that to the side. The plan was more important than an old rivalry.
The doors across the room opened and the two figures who walked in had her smiling. The woman had waist-length black hair, it falling loose around her regal gown. The man was clad in regal wear as well, a great sword belted on his side. They held hands as they entered the room, walking until they were a few feet away from her. It was then she noticed the figure behind them, his black hair a sharp contrast to their white surroundings, his deep blue eyes taking in everything around the room before landing on her.
He smiled at her and she smiled back. He had been just against this plan as she had but like her had also realized it was their only plan. They had to give it a fighting chance.
"And we're sure this is safe for her?" the long black haired woman said, worry clearly evident in her tone.
"As safe as anything else," the woman in the black dress replied, taking the golden potion from the man with the cane. "The magic will work, it's just up to her to get there."
"Will it be able to carry two people?"
She whipped her head up and looked into those brilliant blue eyes, the smell of the sea somehow even stronger now. "I thought we agreed that no one else could make this trip because of the possible repercussions?"
He nodded his head and she followed the direction of it to the black haired man on the other side of the room, his own blue eyes clouded in confusion.
"He can," he said. He turned his ocean-blue eyes back to her. "I meant what I said, lass – I don't want you making this journey alone. Not because you can't take care of yourself – I'm more than confident that you can – but let's be blunt, trouble tends to find you. I'd feel better on this end if he went with you. " His gaze returned to the woman in the long black dress. "Will it still work?"
The woman nodded. "The amount of people who go through doesn't matter, the magic will be strong enough to hold them safely."
"I take it this is non-negotiable?" she said, her arms crossing again over her chest.
He smiled for the first time in days but she noticed it still didn't reach his brilliant blue eyes like it normally did. "Aye," he said.
"Fine," she muttered, looking to the woman in the black dress and the man with the cane. "I'm ready whenever you are."
They both nodded and went about the final preparations for the spell. The long black haired woman came to her then, enveloping her in a warm hug. After a few seconds she pulled back and took her face in her hands. "Be careful, okay?
"I will," she whispered, feeling the beginning of tears prickling her eyes. The regally dressed man followed and she smiled fondly when she felt one of his hands go the back of her head. It once again filled her with comfort that some things never changed.
"Kick some ass, okay?" he whispered in her ear. It made her laugh despite the lump that was slowly rising in her throat. She saw the long black haired woman walk over to the black haired man across the room and give him a hug as well, whispering something to him. He nodded into her shoulder, returning the hug.
"It's time," the man with the cane said.
She let go of the regally dressed man and turned to that pair of brilliant blue eyes as the black haired man came across the room to stand beside her. Those blue eyes looked between the both of them before enveloping both of them in a fierce hug, filling her senses with the smell of sea and leather.
"Both of you look after each other," he said before pulling back, his eyes landing squarely on the black haired man. "I meant what I said – keep her out of trouble."
"I'll do my best," the black haired man said. The brilliant blue eyes once again found hers and for a brief moment she saw him warring with himself over something. He reached into his long leather coat and pulled out a bundle of leather. Her heart started hammering against her chest when she realized what it was – a red leather jacket.
"Take this, for good luck," he said, handing it to her. She smiled at him, the tears really threatening to flow over now. She quickly shrugged out of her blue jean jacket and donned the red leather one, seeing the deep sorrow in all their eyes as she did so. It was another painful reminder of just how important this plan was.
"You have the ring?" the woman dressed in black asked. She nodded, momentarily reaching her hand up to feel it's outline beneath her shirt as it hung on the end of a chain. "It will help you reach out to us if you need us. You'll have to be in the Enchanted Forest for that to happen but as we've said this entire plan doesn't work unless you get there."
She nodded and taking a deep breath turned to the blank wall, the black haired man coming to stand at her side. The man with the cane waved his hand at the wall as the woman dressed in black muttered the phrase for the spell, tossing the golden potion at the wall. The bottle of potion broke as it struck an unseen barrier and a golden portal appeared. She looked to the black haired man at her side, a lopsided smile forming on her lips.
He nodded, throwing her his own smirk, and both of them took a running leap into the swirling, golden portal. As they did they both thought of only one thing….