Author's Note:so yes, I know I have aHellboyfanfic already (a very popular one; we're on chapter 44 and in the mid-300s on reviews) but my beta/roommate had this idea for a fanfic and she's really persuasive so I started collabing with her on this. Hopefully you enjoy it. It's very experimental. Yay for experimenting!

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Snow White, Blood Red
A Modern Faerie Tale

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Prologue
A Change in the Wind

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People disappear all the time. Ask any policeman. Better yet, ask a journalist… Young girls run away from home; young children stray from their parents and are never seen again. Housewives reach the end of their tether and take the grocery money and a taxi to the station. International financiers change their names and vanish into the smoke of imported cigars. Many of the lost will be found eventually, dead or alive. Disappearances, after all, have explanations.

Usually.

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3:45PM
Library, BPRD Headquarters

Abraham Sapien floated amidst the cool blue, enjoying the delightful strains of Stravinsky's "the Firebird" emanating from his special, water-proof headphones. Nibbling on a rotten egg, he hummed along and lightly kicked his webbed feet. Gentle flutes and strings practically shimmered beneath the water. For once, the icthyo sapien was entirely at peace. There had been no new cases in several days. Red and Liz, as far as he could currently gauge, were getting along perfectly (for once). The last email they'd received from Special Agent Myers had been cheerful despite the freezing Antarctic temperatures. He was going to be in New York on leave for the next couple weeks and might stop by to see them. Things were good.

Abe blinked at the first faint, dark brush of... something... against the outer barriers of his mind. His imagination, or something more?

The rotten egg slipped from his webbed fingers, forgotten, as he made a full three-sixty rotation in the water, free hand up and palm open, scanning. Scanning. There was Red and Liz in their room. Manning in his office. The countless "normal" agents working out or eating or patrolling. In fact, all he sensed were the bustling, everyday lives found in the hive-like BPRD headquarters. Nothing out of the ordinary. And yet...

There it is again,the fish-man thought when that dark something washed over his psychic self. What is that?It felt young. Almost adolescent. No malevolence or anger in it at all. Yet it also felt strangely ancient in a way that few things he'd encountered ever had. A false god? A demon? A particularly strong Old One? Or something else?

Whatever it was, it stopped abruptly when it touched his mind. Poked a little. The psychic sensation Abraham felt then was almost... apologetic. And then it was gone, leaving the icthyo sapien pondering it. Perhaps a strongly gifted psychic child? That would explain the aura of strange simplicity left behind by that powerful mind. Extreme psychic ability was very common in children who suffered from mental retardation. That would explain the youngness and the intense extrasensory energy… but it didn't explain the unique, ancient feeling of the mind that had touched his. It hadn't felt supernatural the way a demon's mind did, either. But it hadn't felt human...

Well, whatever it was, it meant the BPRD no harm. He could sense that, as well. So Abe would say nothing. His own early memories of his first years at the Bureau - grueling research experiments, inhumane conditions, and the barely-thwarted threat of vivisection, halted only by Hellboy and his… unique way with people - made him hold his tongue.

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4:12PM
Tucson, Arizona

There's a saying often applied to old houses: if these walls could talk.Such a house stood amidst the desert sands, windows dark and shades drawn against the blistering late-summer heat baked into the ceramic shingled roof and stucco walls. A phantom walked the halls of this house. Tasted the memories soaked into its walls as it studied the papers spread out on a rickety kitchen table and scanned the sloppily written words written in ink just beginning to fade with age.

"It feels like there's more to this world than either of us are seeing. I just don't know what. Neither does Siobhan. Maybe it has something to do with the dreams. Or maybe the dreams are because of finals. Jeez, I hate finals. If I could drop out and be a lazy bum forever more, I totally would. But I'm not old enough yet. Have to be sixteen to drop out. Stupid law.

"But all kidding aside, I can't stop thinking about these stupid dreams. They don't make any sense. I'm standing out on the porch. Monsoon is coming - I can see the clouds, black with rain. Lightning strikes. I can smell the charge of it in the air. And I'm waiting for someone. It's not Siobhan (she's standing right next to me). And inherdreams, I'm standing right next to her. But whoever I'm waiting for needs something. Something I have. Only it's not just me. I don't know what it is, but I'm not the only one who has it. Lots of people have it. Whatever it is.

"And there's a white coyote loping toward me on the edge of the storm. Is he the one I'm waiting for? I don't know. Especially since coyotes and dogs scare the jeebus out of me. I don't think I'd be standing all calm in the middle of a thunderstorm if I'm waiting for a coyote that probably has rabies and wants to eat my face for dinner.

"Only the coyote never gets to me. A bolt of lightning strikes the sand right in front of it, blinding me. When I can see again, the coyote is gone. Not even charred bones. Only the sand is scorched. And there's this awful sense of loss, like I've lost a part of my soul or something. And betrayal. Not like I've been betrayed, but like I've betrayed someone else. Like I've destroyed something or someone.

"I just don't know who."

The phantom presence gently traced over the words with its consciousness. The last line was smeared as if with drops of water. When the presence lifted the topmost page to lightly inhale the scent of it, there was the sharp tang of salt. Tears. Good. Her heart had made the connection nearly five years ago, even if her mind still hadn't yet. It would take that damaged mind a long while to make that connection. But she was almost ready.

Putting the page aside, the phantom lifted another sheet of paper. The handwriting was different, more rounded than the other. Yet the words were the same. Oh, not exactly. Not identical. But the passion, the sorrow, the yearning... it was all there. It would have made the phantom being smile - if such a creature could smile.

"They are ready for the first step, and just in time. The gate will soon be open." After all, the wind was changing.

Papers flew in a sudden gust of wind. Whirled around and around the cramped kitchen before fluttering to the floor. When the pages had settled to the cracked linoleum, the phantom was gone.

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4:30PM
The Troll Market, Brooklyn

Human legends are often based on truth, even if that truth is only a tiny seed amidst the life of the myth. Still, some hit far closer to the truth than most mortals would dare to imagine. And one of those bits of truthfulness was this: trolls live under bridges. Believe it if you're smart, don't believe it if you like (and you have a potential death wish), but under almost every bridge resides a troll.

Beneath the east end of the Brooklyn Bridge, the Troll Market bustled with activity. Vendors hawked their wares in trills, whistles, clicks, roars, and calls. Ogres slugged back mason jars full of different colored drinks (most of them alcoholic). Tiny piskeys and other wee fae scuttled through streets trying to avoid being smushed by larger patrons. Faerie children giggled over toys and sweets set out on display. Steam hissed. Condensation and grimy water dripped from pipes. Feet splashed through puddles. Shadows gathered.

The troll was large enough, muscled enough, scarred enough that he didn't have to worry about shadows. He strode through the Troll Market with the unconceited swagger of a warrior born and bred. Pausing only to purchase a steaming haunch of zlatorog from a meat-vendor and a jack of manna cordial from a drink-seller, the troll moved through the Market as if driven. And this night, he was. Driven by his liege lord's orders, by the ticking of his internal clock that reminded him that tonight it would end. The exile, the dwelling amidst the shadows. Tonight, Prince Nuada Silverlance would declare war on the pathetic humans and shatter the truce between the mortals and the Fair Folk.

Wink had been in the service of Prince Nuada for more years than the frail, pathetic humans could possibly imagine. He was not simply Nuada's vassal and shield-brother. He was the last of the warriors that belonged completely to the Silverlance - bound to the prince by fealty and the magic of the royal family that called to those meant to serve. Every true leader of the fae had the summoning magic of kinship, a power that called to those whose hearts were irrevocably bound to that leader. King Balor had always possessed it. So had Nuada. Wink had felt it when he and the prince had both been boys on the practice field during weapons' training. In that moment, though the troll had been but a stripling, he knew he would have laid down his life if Nuada had asked it of him, and would never have asked why the prince thought it necessary. There had been others who also felt the pull, but they were gone now. Dead in the wars. Only Wink remained.

Nuada's vassal paused just before entering the tunnels that led to the prince's underground lair. Tore into the haunch of faerie venison as the spines on his back suddenly bristled. The Troll Market, being underground, didn't see much in the way of breezes. Yet tonight, there was just the faintest tickle of wind from the north. It brought with it a hint of frost, a warning of winter yet to come. For some reason it gave Wink an uneasy feeling. A faint sense of dread, or perhaps only anticipation. After all, everything would change tonight.

Everything.

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Author's Note:okay, so there is our prologue. What do you guys think? Too early to tell yet? I know it's very, very different fromOnce Upon a Time(no heroine in peril introduced in the first chapter, and we haven't seen Nuada or Red yet, or even Nuala). And it's also very different fromWaking the Prince (when that's popping up, I have no idea). But I hope you guys enjoy it. Yes, chapter one and two are to be posted alongside this prologue because I want to give you all a good start in the story so you can more easily form an opinion. So... yeah.

So, yes, I know, I have a really really popularHellboyfanfic (by the name ofOnce Upon a Time) currently in-progress. However, I update fairly regularly (like, at least 4 chapters a month) so I don't feel that bad about starting a new one. However, this fanfic is special. I'm writing it with two different goals in mind.

Goal numberone, I'm collaborating with someone (my beta/roommate). Now, some of my more devoted fans (hi, Ocean) know that I've worked a bit with other authors before. Well, that's usually for a scene or a plot point/idea or a plotting conundrum. This time, I'm starting at the beginning with another author, IK Scott, and working with her until the end - either of the fic, or one of our lives. Whichever comes first.

Goal numbertwo, you know how the whole "regular mortal falls into fandom world at just the right time and right place" is totally overdone and usually when a new author (new meaning never done it before, not new period) tries to do it, it ends up sucking? Well, I/we are trying to see if it won't suck. With the success ofOnce Upon a Time, I'm wondering seriously if I might be able to accomplish this (with my beta/co-author).

So if you absolutely don't want to see this, you probably shouldn't read any further.

BUT, for those of you wondering about all the freaking plot holes in the second film (why didn't they melt the crown piece before Nuada showed up instead of melting the crown at the end of the film? Why didn't they make sure that he couldn't glean the location of BPRD HQ - gotta love those acronyms - from Nuala's brain? Why did Nuala stab herself in the heart and not in the hand/arm/stomach even?), continue reading now.

We love all of you. Goodbye. Enjoy.

Disclaimer:the first two paragraphs (well, first paragraph and the next word) are an excerpt from the prologue to Diana Gabaldon's novel,Outlander. It was beautifully written, intriguing, and fit in with this prologue, so I borrowed it. Fair use laws allow this, as I'm making no money on it, I'm not claiming it as my own work, and it makes up less than 30% of the work. Actually, it makes up less than 30% of the chapter. It's about 6% (not counting author's notes). So yeah.

Mary Sue Litmus Test Scoresfor Aisling, Geoff, Siobhan, and the unnamed character are17,8,19, and9(it helps that Geoff's a guy, and keep in mind that this is an AU/real-world-character-dropped-into-fandom fanfic). If I need to post the Test Results, let me know.