Another 'Out of Boredom' oneshot. Don't own OUAT. Red Riding Hood/The Huntsman. Complete AU. R&R!
He's always had a thing for wolves.
He knows that much.
But the one he saw the other day was like no other.
It was no wolf. No normal wolf.
He has to find it.
Snow falls around him, but he keeps walking.
His legs are burning, his lips are chapped, but he keeps walking, following the paw prints.
He isn't sure how much longer he can keep doing this.
But this wolf...he needs to find it.
It is a vicious, ferocious animal, of that he is sure.
It was tearing into a deer before his very eyes, parts of the dead deer all over the ground.
And he was sure he would meet the same fate when the animal noticed his presence.
But it had stopped when it saw him. It had whimpered. And it had ran.
But the look in its eyes as it stared at him...
It was a connection.
He knew not why, or how.
But this animal was the answer to everything.
The answer to life itself.
He needs to find it.
He has to.
But he's been walking for far too long.
His head spins.
He collapses...and everything turns black.
He isn't sure how, but he wakes up in a room and on a bed.
He sits up, but is pushed down by something.
"Lie still. You are hurt."
He turns his head to the voice, his vision blurry.
He blinks a couple of times and she's there.
A young girl with raven black hair.
Gorgeous blue eyes.
And a red hood.
"Who...who are you?"
"My name is Red." She says, smiling. He finds himself smiling back for no reason at all.
He isn't sure whether he can tell her his name.
Not a lot of people are happy with him. They'd pay good money for that information.
"A huntsman." She says, pointing to his bow and arrow on the end of the bed. He chuckles.
"Indeed. I am." She giggles and looks at him with bright eyes, but her face is serious.
"I found you out in the snow. Face down. You are lucky you didn't freeze to death. What were you doing out there?"
"I'm looking for an animal. A wolf. I saw it a couple of days ago in the woods. I must find it."
Red's face pales and she clears her throat, tears in her eyes.
"There's no wolf around here. None at all."
He looks at her suspiciously and she sighs.
"There might be one north of here."
"Then I must continue my journey, excuse me."
He goes to sit up, but the pain in his ribs makes him yell.
"You're very hurt, Huntsman! You can't leave! Not until you heal!"
"But I have to find this wolf! It's...it's special...I can't let it get away." He says, gritting his teeth and trying to ignore the pain. She looks at him.
"Are you going to kill it?" She whispers hollowly. He is appalled by this accusation.
"NO! of course not! Why would I harm a creature as beautiful as it?"
"Beautiful? It's killed innocent people! It is a monster!" She says, sitting up. He looks at her in wonder.
"You know it." She freezes.
"I know OF it." She says stiffly.
"Please...this creature...it didn't attack me. I...I connected with it. And I must find it! I feel almost...incomplete without it." He whispers. A tear falls down her cheek.
"It's a monster." She whispers back.
"Then perhaps that is why I connect with it. I am a monster, just like it." He says, sighing. He shakes her head to disagree, but sighs.
After all, she doesn't know him very well at all.
"Please...just tell me where it is?" She shakes her head.
"I don't know. I'm sorry."
A month passes by and he loses hope of ever finding the wolf.
He left Red's cottage as soon as he healed, a week or so after she found him.
He thanked her and her Grandma for their hospitality. He felt bad leaving Red. His connection with her had been almost as strong as the one he felt with the wolf.
He contemplated forgetting about the wolf altogether, and staying with her.
But he couldn't do it.
The tears in her eyes as he walked away left his heart broken.
He is positive he has never felt this way about a woman before.
He is positive he loves her.
But he must find the wolf. He needs to know where the connection came from.
He just needs to.
And it kills him to leave her, and it kills her to see him go.
But he will return.
As soon as he finds the wolf.
He's at Grub's Inn, drinking from a tankard in despair when he hears it.
Everyone in the Inn freezes, and a man reaches for a bow and arrow.
"That wolf better not find it's way in here." He growls, loading it.
"Don't!" The Huntsman reaches forward and puts his hand on the man's bow.
"I'll take care of it." He says. He gets up and runs from the Inn before anyway can call him back. He's running as fast as he can toward the howling sound.
He enters a clearing and that's when he finds it.
It's tearing into the Kingdom's Men left, right and center, roaring and howling with pleasure.
He watches in horror, and fascination.
There's only one guard left under the wolf's paws, whimpering, begging to be spared-
And the wolf sees him.
It stops in its tracks and looks over at him, whimpering.
And the last guard strikes it with a hidden dagger in its belt.
The wolf howls in pain and collapses on the floor and the guard gets up, about to strike it in the heart-
The Huntsman releases the arrow before the guard has time to look up.
He falls to the floor, dead and the Huntsman runs to the wolf.
It whimpers and looks at him with one, round golden eye. He feels shivers go up his spine, just like the first night they met.
The Huntsman is crying, and it feels as if his heart is breaking all over again.
"No...I've searched for you for so long! You can't leave me!" He whispers fiercely, tears falling down his cheeks. The wolf takes one deep breath and its eyes close.
The Huntsman lays against it, gripping its fur in his hands.
And that's when he notices it.
Not far away, near the woods-
A red hood.
He runs over to it and picks it up in his hands.
"Red..." He murmurs. What is her hood doing here?
He shrugs. Perhaps she left it behind by accident. Or maybe the King's Men had been after her, and the wolf had saved her!
He runs over to the wolf and drapes the red hood over it sadly, hoping Red won't mind.
He will return it to her once he buries the poor creature he's sure he loves.
He lays it against it once more, wanting to express his love, even though the animal is long gone-
And the impossible happens.
Light begins to filter and he falls back in astonishment.
The wolf is gone.
And a young woman is lying in the snow, stark naked, her raven hair cascading down her back.
It can't be...
"Beautiful? It's killed innocent people! It is a monster!"
"Red?" He whispers.
Her skin is pale, her lips blue. He crawls over to her and places his hand against her cheek.
She isn't breathing.
In the blink of an eye, everything begins to make sense.
The connection with the wolf, the connection with Red...
All the same.
"Red! PLEASE!" He shakes her, but her blood begins to stain the hood as he wraps it around her more closely, covering her pale skin from the snow.
"Red, it's me! Don't leave!"
But she is gone. Not there to answer his calls.
He presses his lips against hers, just for one taste.
Because he cannot accept that the woman he loves is gone.
"Please come back to me." He whispers, tears falling from his cheeks to hers.
She is limp in his arms and he regrets everything.
He regrets leaving her. He regrets not helping her with the guards. He regrets never telling her he loved her.
"Red...please...I love you."
He presses his lips to hers once more.
And a warmth like none other creeps and enters his soul.
And her lips begins to answer to his.
And her heart begins to beat beneath his hand, which is resting on her neck.
He pulls away and her eyes flutter open.
"Huntsman?" She whispers.
"RED!" He kisses her passionately and she pulls away, looking around.
"I found you here! You...you are the wolf!" He exclaims. She looks at him with tears in her eyes.
"I'm sorry I didn't tell you! I was...ashamed..."
"No...you are the most beautiful thing I've ever seen...I could never think anything less..." He whispers. She smiles and places her hand on his cheek.
"Did Prince James get away?" She asks. He looks around.
"I don't see any Prince around here." He says, chuckling. She laughs nervously and goes to get up.
"Don't! Your wound!" He says, touching her side.
"What wound?" She asks, confused. He bites his lip and closes his eyes.
"A guard, he stabbed you when you were the wolf. I think it was somewhere near your stomach. Is it bad?" He still keeps his eyes closed and she chuckles.
"So innocent." He hears her ruffling the hood.
"There's nothing there." She whispers. He almost opens his eyes in shock.
"I-uh...what? But I'm positive it's-"
"Open your eyes. See for yourself."
He hesitates, and feels her hand on his cheek once more.
"It's okay." She whispers. He slowly opens his eyes and looks down.
She's covered herself up, but exposed her stomach-
And there is no wound, whatsoever. He gasps and strokes her skin, completely amazed.
"But...you were bleeding...you were...dead..." He whispers.
"True love's kiss..." She whispers, smiling. He smiles back at her.
"I'm so glad you're okay."
He hugs her to him tightly, promising to himself he'll never let her go.
He's always had a connection with wolves.
Before, he wasn't sure why.
But now it's clear.
And it's clear because of a young woman with raven dark hair-
And a red hood.