AU, character death.

Author's Note: I'm not gonna sugarcoat it, I don't like what I did with this fic. But after spending about a week thinking about a suitable different ending with no success (mainly because of my inability to choose between two options), I decided to let it go. Maybe when the plot bunnies pay me a visit again, they'll tell me what to do.

This story is set in an alternate universe when Finn lives in the same time as our heroes, but hasn't met any of them yet. Loosely inspired by the classic fairytale about Little Red Riding Hood (retold by me) and the song Omnos by Eluveitie.

As always, I wasn't born in an English-speaking country, you know the drill.

Little Brown Jungle Skirt

Once upon a time, there lived a girl known only as Little Red Riding Hood. Nobody would call her any other name, because of the red cloak she always wore.

One day, her mother asked Little Red Riding Hood to go through the woods to her sick grandmother's hut and bring her some food. Thus, the girl packed her basket and set out.

Since Roxton fell sick with a flu, Challenger was taking care of him and Marguerite was „too busy", Veronica had to go hunting. It was her turn, anyway. She sighed as she missed another cassowary, which then ran off with surprising speed. There goes another piece of our dinner. She couldn't focus today. Something eerie was in the air… Almost as if someone was watching her. The blonde picked up her knife from the ground and began tracking the bird again.

Even though Little Red Riding Hood had promised not to stray away from the path, she saw beautiful flowers in the forest and thought it would make Grandma happy if she brought her some.

Veronica lost it again. She was getting impatient and that would never pay off, especially not when hunting. She should have known better than that, but she was tired and worn out.

As the girl kept tracking her prey, for just one moment, she looked away – and saw a beautiful flower. One of those blue orchids she used to gather with dad. The cassowary was quickly forgotten, and she walked over and sat down next to it instead. Too bad such beautiful flower had been tainted with such heartbreaking memories; especially the part when Largo tried to use them to make Challenger's expedition his zombified lackeys. Still, it was one of the pleasant things you could find on the Plateau, along with her other favorites, exquisite – albeit dangerous – wildlife, adventure, a summer eve's sunset; that sort of thing.

The innocent child didn't notice the wolf creeping behind her. Suddenly, she heard a deep voice.

„What are you doing out here all alone, little girl, so far from all living beings?"

To which Little Red Riding Hood replied, „I'm only going to see my grandma and picking some flowers for her. Would you care to join me, mister wolf?"

She was drifting off to sleep, when suddenly, she heard a crack as someone stepped on a fallen branch. She jerked and opened her eyes to see a slightly shorter but equally blonde (in terms of hair color), short-haired woman leaning against a trunk, grinning at her. She was dressed in a black T-shirt with shorts, which really stood out in the jungle.

„What are you doing out here all alone? I don't meet the likes of you that often in these parts," the stranger said.

Veronica blinked in surprise. „I could ask you the same. Why, I'm hunting, what about you?"

„You certainly didn't look look like you were hunting. It seemed more like the entire jungle would start shaking if you kept snoring like that," the other woman replied impishly.

Veronica's cheeks turned red. „I wasn't sleeping and I sure as heck wasn't snoring!" The unknown young woman seemed very much amused by her reactions. „What's your name, anyway? And how did you get here?" She hoped that didn't seem just like a desperate attempt at changing the subject.

„You can call me Finn," the girl replied and jumped off her high horse – I mean, the little rock (that she had just accidentally stepped on, not to feel higher or anything, of course) – and over to Veronica. „I'm a wanderer of sorts. I noticed you suck at hunting. I can help, if that's okay with you!"

What in the world is she thinking! I've lived here alone for eleven years! Veronica scoffed, but didn't object. If she could just not come home empty-handed and get some sleep, that would be perfect. Plus, she would hopefully be able to get some information out of this, this… suspicious individual. She got up and made her way through the bush, followed by the ever so smiling blonde.

And the handsome wolf agreed. For long minutes, he would pick pretty flowers for Little Red Riding Hood, being careful not to hurt a single one of them.

While scouting through the forest, Finn and Veronica managed to keep a decent – a quite interesting, even – conversation. They found out they had a lot in common; both had lost their parents and lived alone for some time. Finn said her parents had died when a rampaging T-Rex had destroyed her village. She was very young and didn't remember anything else about them or her origin. Veronica actually began to feel sympathy for the youngling and forgot about her obnoxious behavior before. She even wondered if she should introduce her new friend to the family.

Without either of them noticing, the hunt fluently transformed into a game and the jungle into their playground. After spending a night camping together – for no success went their way that day – they were soon playing hide-and-seek like children and teased each other like best friends would.

Until both of them stopped in their tracks. Veronica lifted three fingers, to which Finn nodded knowingly in reply. They had become the mouses in this game, with raptors being the cats.

But we all know the cat will never win over the mouse, just as the mouse will never truly escape the cat.

At the exact same moment, both women leapt out of the way of hungry raptor throats. Finn then shot hers with her crossbow, while Veronica defended herself with her knives. However, while moving closer to pull the dagger out of the raptor's neck, her eyes widened in horror as she spot the third lizard charging directly towards her companion.

Without thinking twice, Veronica tackled Finn out of the way and ended up on top of her while the miserable, unlucky raptor was dragged straight into an unsuspecting tree by the power of inertia, and probably cracked its skull, falling unconscious to the ground like a log.

After a moment of very awkward silence and elusive looks, Finn seemed to realize what had just happened. She pushed Veronica off her and hissed angrily, „You didn't have to do that! I'm quite capable of taking care of myself, thank you very much!"

The older woman was taken aback. „I'm, uh, sorry. I acted on impulse, I thought it was going to kill you! Well, if you insist, I promise I'll never do it again!"



They stood there back to back, sulking for minutes, in the middle of a small dinosaur graveyard. For some reason, Veronica remembered a couple occasions when Roxton and Marguerite argued like this – like a married couple. She felt like an idiot.

When he had enough flowers, the wolf handed them over to Little Red Riding Hood, and she accepted thankfully. She realized she was going to be late if she didn't hurry, but didn't want to leave the wolf. After all, he had been so nice to her. Maybe, just maybe, she even began to develop feelings for him and was certain he felt the same. Why would a strong wolf be picking flowers for a girl?

„I'm going to have to go," she said truthfully.

„I'm afraid I can't let you," the wolf replied. He growled and stuck his teeth into the girl's flesh, ripping her to pieces.

„Why are you doing this, mister wolf? I thought you loved me!" Little Red Riding Hood whispered in pain.

„Foolish child," the wolf roared. „I have never loved you. This is what I do."

Veronica soon heard stifled sobbing behind her. She turned around. „Finn?" No answer. „I'm sorry, I didn't mean to— " But before she could finish her sentence, she was met face to bolt with Finn's warning crossbow.

„Turn around and drop all your weapons."

Obviously in shock, Veronica obeyed. Her dagger was still stuck in the raptor carcass and there was no time to pull out another. Was this Finn's plan all along? Was she just a robber? Was she a murderer? So many questions, zero answers; only fear.

„Why are you doing this?" the taller blonde asked, her voice shaking.

„It's what I do," came the cold-hearted answer, before a steel bolt dug into Veronica's back.

Finn grabbed the few knives she was awarded, then ran off into the distance. And the lone tears she had spilled for the victim who had inadvertently become her only friend in years? They lay amidst the orange autumn leaves, dying along with the one they were meant for.

PS: I'm so sorry if it seems out of character for Finn. She had a reason to do what she did, but I might need to explain it. Let me know what impression you get.