AN: Welcome to my Finding You Always side story, Dashing Rose. I figured it was time that Rose Red and Fandral deserved to have their own story told. I chose to keep this in the Once category since I consider Dashing Rose a Snowing AU or parallel of my own creation. Rose Red is Snow's counterpart in another land(who is identical to Snow) and Fandral is obviously from Asgard. It helps to have read Finding You Always to understand this story completely, but it could probably be read alone as well as a Snowing parallel. Please enjoy and let me know what you think!
Dashing Rose: A Finding You Always Vignette
Chapter 1: Rose Red and Fandral of Asgard
"Grams...Gramps...guess what I found?" Henry called, as he came running up to them excitedly.
"Whoa kid...take a breath," David teased, as he saw Neal chasing him.
"No kidding...not everything is a race, kid," Neal agreed, as he finally caught up.
"You're just slow," Henry quipped, earning a withering glance from him, as David snickered.
"What did you find Henry?" Snow asked.
"More books...like mine, only these have stories from the Land of Untold Stories I think," Henry said. Snow took the book and started leafing through it, as Jekyll took notice.
"Yes...these are stories from the Land of Untold Stories," Jekyll confirmed.
"It would make sense I guess, if what that goon said is anything to go by. Those people are here now," Neal mentioned.
"And they have unfinished stories, so a book appearing to the Author does make sense," David agreed.
"I think I'm supposed to finish the stories," Henry said.
"Whoa kid...back up. Let's be careful. Hyde also said that these people don't want their stories finished. I don't want anything putting you in danger," Neal replied.
"He's right Henry," Snow and David agreed, as she continued to leaf through the book.
"Is your story in here, Dr. Jekyll?" Henry asked curiously.
"Oh...mine? Perhaps so...though you have nothing to fear from me, lad. My story is finished, I believe," he said, a note of uncertainty in his voice.
"Look...the one about Rose Red is here. I thought you said she wasn't in the Land of Untold Stories anymore?" Snow questioned.
"She's...she's not…" he said, seemingly leary all the sudden.
"Maybe it's in there because she was in that land for a while," Neal deduced.
"Maybe hers is one that's actually finished," Henry agreed. Snow nodded.
"I'd like to know for sure...can I hang onto this for a little while, Henry?" she asked. The boy shrugged.
"Sure Grams," he replied.
"Oh...there isn't much more to Rose's story than what I told you," Jekyll said nervously.
"Oh, I don't know...there has to be. I mean, I know the story of how Charming and I met is quite a story. It only makes sense that Rose has a story too. I'd like to know how she met her Charming," Snow replied curiously, as she looked at her husband. She intended to read and learn all about Rose Red, her counterpart from another land, and how she met her true love…
Once Upon a Time, there lived a Princess, beloved by all in her Kingdom. She had been born to the King and Queen, who struggled to have a baby, on a summer eve. It was said upon her birth that every rose, despite no sunlight, bloomed in the palace gardens in the twilight as the Princess drew her first breath. For this reason, the Queen called her Rose Red and it was deemed she would one day be the fairest in all the land, for she would have hair black as ebony, skin fair as snow, and lips red as a rose.
Unfortunately, tragedy struck the Princess at a young age when her parents were killed and her evil Uncle assumed the Throne since she was too young to become Queen at the time. Her Uncle John was determined to never let the Princess usurp him and claim her rightful place and thus sent her away into seclusion with a dwarf as her caretaker, who was in his employ.
The dwarf was unkind to Rose Red and raised her to serve him and slave over his care. But Rose was a free spirit and befriended all the animals she came in contact with. She knew of her heritage, but was humble and was not bitter about what her Uncle had done. Things were not good in her Kingdom though, for her Uncle had bankrupt the Royal coffers and the people were suffering. But Rose was at a loss to what she could do, for the evil dwarf that had enslaved her kept her under his thumb.
But one day, her life changed completely when she found a badly injured stranger that seemingly dropped into her garden out of nowhere. She could not know at that moment that true love would blossom and free her and her Kingdom.
The last thing he remembered was being stabbed by the sword of a woman that looked like she had ascended from hell itself and then nothing. He was sure he was dead at that point and would soon be welcomed into the afterlife. Valhalla awaited or so he thought and though his pain was too great to open his eyes, he felt himself being vaulted around almost violently in somewhat of a volatile river, until he was pulled into something bright. Valhalla...he was sure, but the pain remained and that confused him, until he opened his eyes to find the most beautiful woman he had ever seen in his considerable fourteen hundred years. This was Valhalla and she had to be an angel…
"Your Majesty...there is a Lord from a far off land here to meet with you," Sir Hiss, his adviser, announced to the evil King John.
"What does he want?" the King asked skeptically.
"He has heard of our Princess. He is looking for a bride and insists that only the fairest and most beautiful will do. He is prepared to pay handsomely for her hand," Hiss replied. The King could already taste the gold and motioned to his adviser.
"Please...invite this Lord in immediately," he requested.
Rose Red hummed to herself idly, as she tended to the flowers in the garden. Birds and small woodland creatures alike scurried around her, per normal, and she enjoyed the feeling of the sun upon her. Life living under her evil Uncle was not always good, but she always tried to find the good in everything and was grateful her Uncle allowed her out into the gardens everyday. As part of her chores, he demanded that the garden be tended to as well and that was a task that was no chore to her.
She heard a strange whooshing sound at that moment and then a thud. She looked around and gasped, as she saw the injured man, who had seemingly dropped out of the sky. She had heard of such occurrences though; portals from other places and wondered if this man had come from such. As she got closer, she noticed how serious his wound was and called for the dwarf that lorded over her.
"He might as well be dead already. What do you want me to do about it?" he snapped at the girl.
"No...he's alive! He still draws breath, however faintly. You must heal him with your magic!" she pleaded.
"Oh...and just why would I do that? He has done nothing for me," the dwarf griped.
"Please...I will owe you the favor!" she begged. And the evil dwarf smirked deviously. He had just received word that there was a very rich Lord that wished to have Rose Red's hand in marriage. Just the riches a deal like that could barter him was too tempting and having her owe him ensured that he would benefit greatly.
"Fine stupid girl...I'll save this stranger and then you shall repay me with whatever favor I desire," he growled, as he used his magic and healed the handsome stranger's wound.
As the man opened his eyes, Rose was captivated by the bluest eyes she had ever seen. The stranger saw the beautiful woman kneeling over him and was also captivated by her beauty.
"Where...where am I?" he asked.
"You are in my garden...you were gravely injured. I bartered a favor from this dwarf to heal your wound," she replied. His brow furrowed.
"But you don't even know me? Why would help me?" he asked in awe. She looked down shyly.
"I could not let you die…" she said, as he sat up and their hands brushed, as electricity passed between them.
"What is your name?" he asked.
"Rose Red…" she answered.
"I am Fandral of Asgard...or at least I was," he introduced himself, as he stood up and towered over her.
"Was?" she asked.
"I'm afraid Asgard is gone...I was fatally wounded in an apocalyptic battle or so I thought," he replied.
"You must have fallen through a portal as your world collapsed. I've read of such things," she surmised.
"And then you saved my life," he added.
"It seemed like the honorable thing to do," she said, as they stared at each other.
"You're alive...now you'll kindly leave my castle. And you girl...get back to your chores and cook my dinner!" the dwarf snapped.
"He has nowhere to go...I'll show you to a room. There are many empty ones here," she said.
"You'll do no such thing!" the dwarf growled, as he grabbed her arm, yanked her away, and then his hand struck her face. That made Fandral practically see red and he drew his sword.
"You will take your hands off her, dwarf!" Fandral growled.
"It was my magic that saved you...she owes me everything and she will know her place," the dwarf growled back.
"I will be grateful that you saved my life, but nothing will allow me to let you strike her again!" Fandral hissed, as he and the dwarf stared each other down.
"Fine...stay in the palace for all I care," the dwarf spat, as he stalked back inside.
"It won't matter when we marry her off for all the riches in the Kingdom anyway," he grumbled underneath his breath.
"It's you who have saved me this time," Rose said breathlessly, as they stared at each other again.
"It seemed like the honorable thing to do," he replied. She looked down shyly.
"I will show you to a room and then I must prepare the evening meal for my Uncle and the dwarf," she said.
"May I ask you something?" Fandral said.
"Of course," she replied.
"You are not treated well here. Why do you stay?" he asked. She looked at him and then looked away shyly. He was so handsome. She'd never met one so kind and handsome.
"This was my parent's castle. When they died, my Uncle took over and I'm afraid he has led my Kingdom to ruin. My people do not have enough to eat and he has taxed them into poverty," she explained.
"I'm so sorry," he said sincerely.
"I feel responsible. They are my people. How can I leave them? But then I feel even more guilty, for I do not know how to help them. To be honest, the only thing that keeps me here I think is my library," she replied.
"Your library?" he asked curiously. She nodded.
"It has fallen into terrible disarray since my parents died, because I do not get enough time to maintain it. But I still love it. Uncle hates it...but even his dwarf does not have the power to burn an enchanted library," she revealed.
"Enchanted?" he asked. She nodded.
"Would...would you like to see it?" she asked.
"I would. Back in Asgard, our Queen had quite an impressive library too. But not enchanted. What makes yours enchanted?" he asked curiously. She smiled.
"It is protected by the Goddess Hermes and has been in my family's care for generations. It houses stories for all the realms in existence," she announced, as she opened the dusty doors and revealed the massive library.
"By Odin's beard…" he uttered in awe.
"In my fourteen hundred some years, never have I seen anything like this," he said, as he looked around.
"I wish it was in better shape...I just don't get the time I'd like. If I could...I'd spend all day in here," she said.
"Rose Red! Rose Red! Where are you, stupid girl?!" the dwarf shouted. She gasped.
"I must go...if I'm late with my Uncle's evening meal, he'll be terribly angry," she fretted, as she ran off and he watched her go with longing and sadness in his eyes. He had only known her a short time, but the thought of her being mistreated made him ache. And as long as he was here, he was determined not to let that happen.