AN: Don't own anything dealing with Once Upon A Time. Just enjoy the show and wanted to try a little something. Hope you enjoy this.
She flung the doors open to find the queen tending to her favorite apple tree. Storming out into the courtyard, the girl's hands curled into fists. The queen turned just as the girl reached her. Her hand clapped against the queen's cheek, making her drop the basket of apples.
"What have you done to her?" demanded the girl. "Where is Snow? Where is my sister?"
The queen gave the girl a soft look. "You don't need to worry about her. She is no longer the fairest in the eyes of this world."
The girl let out a shuttering breath. "What have you done?"
"A very kind huntsman took her into the woods yesterday," explained the queen. "I expect him back any moment with her heart."
Tears began to well in the girl's eyes. "Oh Snow," she said in a quiet voice.
"Shh there now," soothed the queen. She placed a hand on the girl's cheek and the other on her shoulder. A sickly sweet smile graced her features as she spoke. "You were always my favorite you know. If I could have had a daughter of my own I'd want her to be exactly like you. My dear Rose Red. You're a lot like me when I was your age."
"I'm nothing like you," Rose answered in a tight tone. The queen laughed and ran her fingers along the girl's delicate curls.
"Oh Rose, my dearest. I always felt closer to you than your sister." She looked at Rose thoughtfully. The light of the day made her hair shine, the tears made her crimson eyes glitter, her pale complexion a family trait. "I am so glad to have you as my child."
Rose pushed her hand away. "I'm not yours! I never will be yours and I will never be like you!"
Though she felt love for the child, Regina felt impatience growing. "Now Rose I understand it must be hard to lose both your father and sister in the same month but that is no reason to strike out so."
"What would you know of loss?" bit out Rose. "You care for no one but yourself."
The smile dropped from Regina's features. "You're starting to break my heart child."
"You have no heart! You're a witch Regina! I wish you had never come into our family!"
A cold glare came into Regina's eyes. Her mouth formed a tight line before speaking. "Guards!" Three men came out into the courtyard. "Take this ungrateful child to the dungeons."
Rose fought and struggled against the men. As she was dragged back into the palace she saw Regina turn and pick up the fallen apples. This woman had murdered her sister, and most likely her father. Their deaths didn't bother her at all. Now she was throwing the one she said she cared for into the dungeons. Rose knew she was right to call the queen heartless. The woman's heart had stopped beating ages ago.
Unlocking the door she stepped inside and shut the door behind her.
"Henry!" she called into the house. The boy came down the stairs and gave her a curious look.
"Kat what are you doing here?"
She smiled and shrugged. "Thought we could hang out. You know maybe go see a movie. Didn't you want to see that John Carter movie?"
Henry shook his head. "Nah I have more important stuff to do. Hold on…aren't you supposed to be at work?"
Kat nodded. "Yeah well I sort of got canned today."
"You lost your job?" came a voice at her side. Kat jumped and let out a little laugh.
"Geez Aunt Regina," she said putting a hand over her heart. "You scared me."
"How did you lose your job Kat?" Regina pressed. "Was it Mr. Gold? Let me talk to him. I'm sure we can arrange…"
"No don't worry about it," Kat said pushing the subject away.
But Regina wouldn't let it go. "Really all I have to do is…"
"Aunt Regi please," she said a little harsher than she meant. Kat paused and lightened her tone. "I'm twenty-three. I can take care of my own job situation."
Regina nodded and smiled. "Of course sweetheart. I'm just trying to look out for you."
Kat smiled quickly before turning back to her cousin. "So how about it Henry? Want to hang out?"
The boy looked from his cousin to his mother and back. "Yeah sure. I'll be right back, have to get something."
While Henry went back upstairs, Regina turned to her niece. "You could always get your job back at the bookshop."
"Mr. Gold fired me. Said I was no good with the books. He said I was good with helping people." She shrugged. "I think he is right."
Regina moved over to the girl and ran a hand over her hair. "Kat darling you could have kept your job. You just need to be firm and a little more self confident. Like me."
Kat shook her head. "I'll never be like you."
Regina looked at the girl for a long moment. For a brief second she panicked, thinking Kat was recalling something from her life before. But she could see in the girl's strange crimson eyes that there was no recognition of the words. But they still stung all the same, just as they had the first time they were spoken. The queen had felt her heart break when her Rose Red had spoken so harshly. It broke even more with the punishment she inflicted upon her beloved step-daughter.
Henry came back down, backpack in hand. "Ready."
"Let's go." Kat and Henry walked to the door, Regina following them and stopping at the threshold.
"Don't be out too late," she called after them. "And don't take him to the sheriff's station Kat."
Kat waved to her as they walked to the car. As they walked she could feel Henry's eyes on her. "What?"
"Nothing. It's just what you said to her…" Kat gave him a questioning look. "'I'll never be like you'. It's what you said to her in your other life."
"What other life?" she asked as they got into the car. Henry got his storybook out of his backpack. "Oh right. The book."
"You're Rose Red," Henry said opening up the book.
Kat nodded as she navigated the streets. "Right and Mary Margaret is Snow White, who is also my sister."
"You remember?" he asked with hope. Kat shook her head.
"I remember what you've told me. That I am Rose Red, Mary Margaret is Snow White, she and David are Emma's parents, and…"
"And you don't believe me," Henry added in defeat.
"It's a little farfetched don't you think?" She glanced over at him. He let his head sink until his forehead rested on the book.
"Why does no one believe me?" he asked in a small voice. Kat pulled up to the stop light and looked over at him.
"Henry," she laughed. "Henry c'mon. You don't really believe this storybook thing do you?" He didn't answer. She sighed. She loved this kid but it was really unhealthy for him to have such a strong belief that they were all fairytale beings. But she couldn't stand to see him like this. Like it was him versus Storybrooke.
"Look how about we go get ice cream and I'll try and wrap my head around this whole…Rose Red thing."
Henry's head came back up with a smile on his face. "Can we make it a double Root beer float and a brownie?"
Kat laughed and turned her attention back to the road. "Why not? Your metabolism will burn it off anyway."
Henry ran into the ice cream shop while Kat paused to fix her shoe. Upon standing, she bumped into someone. Kat lost her balance and began to tip back. A pair of hands reached out and steadied her. As she regained her balance, Kat found herself in the arms of a man she had never seen before. His green eyes held a warmness and familiarity she couldn't place. He gave her a smile as she stared at him.
"Sorry," she said quickly. "I didn't mean to…"
"Bump into you," she corrected. He chuckled.
Shaking his head he said, "It was my fault. Wasn't looking. Had I been looking I would have run into something else." Kat smiled and let out a little laugh. "Your eyes," he said in a soft voice.
"Your eyes their…crimson?"
"Oh," she said with a little laugh. "Yeah some combination of brown and green or something."
Kat smiled and blushed. Suddenly she realized that he was still holding onto her. She hadn't realized how close they were until she felt his chest rise and fall against hers. Looking into his eyes she knew she had seen them somewhere before. But for the life of her, she couldn't place it. It was like she had seen him in a dream that she couldn't recall.
"Hey Kat," called Henry from the door to the ice cream shop. She looked over the man's shoulder to see her cousin beckoning to her.
"I have to go." She gently began to maneuver out of his hold. He let go and gave her a smile. She returned the gesture before heading into the shop.
Once they had their Root beer floats, Kat and Henry walked over to the park and sat at a table. Henry set the book out on the table, open to the story of Rose Red.
"Okay so tell me again," Kat said as Henry shoveled soda and ice cream into his mouth. "Rose Red slapped the queen because she had Snow White killed?"
Henry swallowed down some brownie before answering. "Rose thought the huntsman killed Snow. But remember Snow is set free and lives with the dwarves. But yes she, you, slapped the queen."
"And the queen is Regina?" Henry nodded. Kat smiled. "I like this girl already. Right so what happens then?"
"Then she gets put in the dungeon…"
As Henry went into explaining Kat glanced up. The man from earlier came walking into the park. He took a seat on a bench a little ways off. He looked up to her before preoccupying himself with a newspaper. But every now and again he would look up and straight at her.
"…Kat you're not even listening," complained Henry. She brought her attention back to him.
"He's staring at me," she said ignoring her cousin's complaint. "Why is he staring and why did he follow us here?"
Henry turned to see who she meant. His eyes glowed upon seeing who she was talking about. "Of course! It's the Mad Hatter."
"The who now?" she asked raising an eyebrow.
Henry flipped through the pages. "The Mad Hatter, your boyfriend."
Kat laughed. "Oh yeah sure," she said putting on a voice. Henry gave her a stern look.
"You said you were going to try Kat." She sighed.
"Alright I'm sorry." But he wasn't convinced. "I won't make fun anymore. Promise."
Henry moved over to her side of the table and showed her a picture. In the picture she saw a girl who, she admitted, closely resembled her and a man that did rather look like the one who was staring at her. They were standing in front of a little cottage looking at each other intently. She let her eyes wander over to the text to see what the scene was depicting.
'I wish you could stay,' he said with a deep sigh. Rose smiled sweetly at him.
'I wish I could stay too. Being here with you and Grace is the only freedom I have. The queen watches me so closely now.' Jefferson placed a hand to her cheek, thumb stroking her cool skin. They leaned closer together until his forehead rested against hers.
'Rosey,' he said in a quiet voice.
Kat brought her eyes back to the picture to see the two figures close the distance and share true love's kiss. She gasped and pushed the book away. Henry looked to her with excitement.
"What? What is it?" He looked from her to the book and back. "What did you see?"
Kat swept a hand through her hair. "Nothing. It was…a trick of the light."
"You saw something Kat," he pressed. "What was it?" He searched over the page, trying to see if there was anything out of the ordinary. Kat looked back to where the man had been sitting. He was gone, newspaper sitting on the empty bench. Where had he gone?
Kat shook her head trying to push out all the chaotic thoughts coming into her head. But the image of the picture moving stuck. She looked back to the book, Henry's nose practically pressed to the page in search. The picture was right back to what it had been, the two figures looking at each other intently, and nothing more.
Henry's shoulders slumped in defeat. "I can't see anything. Kat what happened?"
"I told you. It was a trick of the light." But she knew Henry wouldn't stop asking her. "How about we go see Emma for a bit," she said hoping that would distract him.
He perked up but then a questioning look came into his eyes. "But my mom told you not to take me around the station."
Kat stood and grabbed her untouched float. "Hey this is Rose Red you're talking to," she said with a smile. Henry smiled and grabbed his things. Walking back to the car, Kat looked back into the park. Who was that man and why did he look like the figure in the book?