AN: I took this one far away from the original, although there are still similar scenes… Hope you Enjoy.
Ruby watched him stagger around the crypt in a frantic search for something, "Graham?" She entered carefully, "Hey, hey!" She cautiously walked over to him and took his face in her hands, "Graham… what is going on? What are you looking for?"
He was panting and feverish that she could feel on his clammy skin, "My heart! It has to be here somewhere! It has to be!" He tried to push the brunette aside, but she wouldn't let him.
"Graham…" She shook her head, "Why are you looking for your heart?"
"Because! I can't… I can't feel anything!" His accent thickened, "I just want to feel something! I need my heart! I need it back in my chest…"
Ruby's spirits completely fell at this admission. She knew that she was walking through a dangerous path as all the gossip came through the diner, and when she saw him kiss Emma the night before, "Honey…"
"The wolf… the wolf showed me this place. He guided me here. It has to be here."
"The wolf?" Ruby's ears perked.
"The wolf with the eyes?"
"One's red and one is black." He nodded.
Ruby's heart began pounding in her chest again. She wasn't sure why, but she felt like she could help him in some way, "Graham…"
"It has to be here." He almost whimpered out.
"Honey…" Ruby let her hand fall from his face to his chest, "You're heart… it's right here…"
"No… it's not." A tear fell from his eyes.
Ruby took his own hand and brought it to his chest as well, "Yes… it is. You feel that? You feel that beating? That's your heart, Honey… that's your heart."
Graham seemed to calm at this. He visibly relaxed.
"Graham, will you do me a favor… please?"
"What?" He looked at her like she was a new person.
"Will you come with me back to mine and Granny's place and let us get that fever of yours down?" With the hand still on his face, she stroked his scruff cheek.
Graham swallowed and nodded.
Ruby smiled at him and put her hand through his arm as they made their way out of the cemetery, "I thought I was the only one who'd ever seen that wolf…"
"The wolf guides you too?" Graham asked obviously wanting to know more.
Ruby shrugged, "I guess you could say that… I saw it come from this way and I found you, so…" She shrugged again.
"You know… Henry's been telling me all about this other world that he thinks we're trapped from…" He looked to the brunette, "I get the feeling that you and I might have known each other there…"
The huntsman had been running about the forest that night looking for the pack. He heard a howl and turned to see one of the biggest full moons he had ever seen… and to accompany it far in the distance as well, one of the biggest wolfs.
He took off in the general direction the wolf was in, hoping that he'd found his brethren. The night was almost over, the sun just about to dawn when he got to the spot he knew the wolf had been. As he got closer to where he suspected the wolf to be, he found a couple of the queen's guards… ripped from limb to limb and clawed and chewed on.
He knelt down to view the marking closer, not believing that the wolf would have done this voluntarily. Even though he hated people, the blood bath around him deserved a moment of silence and mourning. He looked around to find no one else and nothing else alive around him; the only thing he saw was the beginning light of day. As he bowed his head to pay these men some respects, he heard a distinct growl in front of him.
He looked up to see that the wolf was huge. He put his hand up trying to show that he wouldn't hurt it, trying to ensure he was spared. But, the wolf didn't hesitate to pounce. It clawed through his shirt, but the oddest thing happened. As it was clawing, its paw turned into a hand and he felt the immediate change from claw to fingernail rip at his torso. He felt it, but he didn't feel pain. He was too hyped on the adrenaline running through his system as he saw the werewolf begin to take its human form… she was quite lovely. She was about to fall, but he caught her and held tight.
Red looked up as she felt arms tighten around her. She saw her fingernails digging into his flesh and immediately retracted, putting her hands over her face, "Oh gods, what have I done!" she wept.
"No! No, no… It's okay… You didn't do anything." The huntsman said, subtly trying to shield her eyes from the two brutes she had torn down, but she saw them, "You didn't mean to do anything anyway…"
"I couldn't get to my hood in time… I…" She shook her head, "I really didn't mean to…" She looked up at him, "Oh, I'm so glad I didn't hurt you…" She looked down to his chest, "Well, not too much anyways.." She looked back up into his eyes, "Please… let me at least take you to my place and tend to the wounds I've caused…"
The Huntsman could only smile and nod, offering her to take lead. It didn't take them long to get to her small village and her small house. He saw the many looks he received and the gasps he got. And he saw the villagers all asking Red where she found him and if it was the wolf. He also saw how she looked down and said nothing to any of them. He followed suit and ducked his head down, not letting anyone catch his eyes.
When they got inside Red's house, he saw an older woman.
"Oh girl!" She hissed as she closed all the doors and windows, "What have you done? I told you!" She grabbed the younger one's arm, "I told you to always wear your hood!"
"I know Granny! I was making a mad dash for it and I couldn't get to it in time!" She pleaded with her grandmother.
Granny looked over to him as he watched the two intently, then back to her granddaughter, "Is he the only one?" Red shook her head and broke down once more. She fell into her grandmother's arms, "Shhh shhh." The grandmother then started whispering words of comfort before turning to him, "Let's get you taken care of shall we?"
Ruby stayed with Graham through the night. She and Granny kept him in their living room in front of the fire. Ruby refused to go to bed. She watched him helplessly as he struggled in his sleep.
He was rolling around relentlessly, sweating once more, "No!" He started barking out, "No! Leave her alone! RED!... Please! I'll do anything you ask!..." His accent thickened immensely as he slept, "Yes, your majesty, anything. Please! I love her!"
Ruby sat forward and placed a hand on his chest, "Graham…" Her other hand started stroking his hair from his face, "Graham, wake up."
"I love you, Red." He was crying now.
"Graham!" She shook him once more.
He gasped as he shot up in bed. He stared at Ruby and squinted before cocking his head, "I had the most intense dream… I had one like it last night, but this was even more real." He reached out and touched her cheek.
"You know… they say that dreams are memories of past lives…" She provided some of her random knowledge.
Graham stared directly into her eyes as he sat up completely and retracted his hand, "And what do you believe?"
"I never rule anything out…" She sat on the coffee table in front of him. She gently put her hands on his knees before she moved them up his thighs a bit to his forearms then down so that she took his laced hands apart and held them in hers, "What was your dream about?"
Graham had actually stayed in the village a while. He worked around Granny and Red's place, doing the manual labor neither of them could alone. He'd go out and hunt, teaching Red with Granny's permission. He knew as soon as he held her in his arms that she was the person he was supposed to be with.
They fell in love swiftly.
It was actually on one of their hunting trips that the queen's guards came and scooped them both up, giving them no choice in any matter of going with them or not.
They were looking around wide-eyed as they were brought down the endless halls of the castle to the queen's quarters. Red's hand stayed tightly in his own until they were brought to a halt in which they wrapped their arms around each other.
The queen stared at them both, then focused on him, "Do you have a name? Or shall I just call you 'the huntsman'?"
He didn't answer her, he only squeezed tighter to his ladylove.
The queen smirked, "You're a tortured one, aren't you huntsman?" She looked to Red then back to him, "Is this because your parents abandoned you to the wolves?"
"Those weren't my parents… those are just the people that gave birth to me. The wolves are my family." He took a step in front of Red as the queen approached. They still kept a tight hold on each other.
The queen cocked a brow and stared directly at his true love, "Wolves indeed." She walked passed them both and continued talking, "I always felt there were two kinds of people: Wolves and sheep. Those who kill and those who get killed. And you huntsman… you, and Red Riding Hood" She turned and looked at the red hooded woman, "You both are most definitely wolves."
He took a step in front of Red again, "Why are we here?"
"Oh no… not 'we' I don't need you both. I need you."
"Why am I here, then?"
"I need you to kill someone for me can you do that?"
"You have an army at your disposal, what do you need of me?"
The queen advanced on them both once more, "My prey is beloved by all the kingdom. I need someone who won't be blinded by that. Someone without compassion. Someone who will have no qualms carving a heart out and bringing it back for my collection." She put her hand to his chest and signaled the guards to come closer.
He pulled away from her, squeezed his love's hand and said, "That's me."
"As I suspected. I'm glad I didn't need to threaten you and your true love." She walked away once more and turned to him, "Now tell me… what will it take? There must be something."
"Outlaw the hunting of wolves." He squeezed Red's hand, "They are to be left alone. They are to be protected… And don't ever seek out my services again."
Regina moved forward and took his hand, "Simple enough."
"Now, who do you want me to kill?"
"That doesn't seem that terrifying, Graham… you… were in love and you were asked to kill someone…" She bit her lip, "Did you do it?"
"No… I couldn't…" He shook his head, "I killed a fawn and brought back it's heart… and then we…" He shook his head before he fell into the back of the couch, digging his palms into his eyes, "We were separated."
"Separated? Honey… what do you mean?"
"The queen figured out it wasn't a human heart. She had kept you—"
"Kept me?" Ruby sat back a little.
Graham had been careful to say, 'Red' the entire time. He tried to continue with just a correction, "She had kept Red while I was out killing Snow White… and when I came back and gave her the letter… and she realized the heart wasn't human… She locked us in the chamber room that held her hearts… it was just us three." He shook his head.
"Did you think you could fool me with a stag?" She cried as she threw her hands up and shut all of the exits, leaving only the door to the heart room open. The huntsman was being held down by two guards, "You've given me no other choice, Huntsman. I wanted a heart and a heart I shall have. Bring me the girl." She signaled for a guard to get her from the heart room.
"No." He mumbled under his breath when he saw that they had her already, "NO! Leave her alone! RED!"
Red was struggling with the guards and trying to reach for him as well, "Darling!"
"PLEASE! I'll do anything you ask!"
"Really?" The queen turned her head to him, "Anything? For your she-wolf?"
"Yes, your majesty, anything! Please! I love her!"
"Bring him up here." She raised her hand to the guards bringing Red up to her.
The guards holding the huntsman brought him up and set him down. The queen wasted no time digging her hand in his chest and pulling his heart out.
"NO!" Red cried.
"Do you see this?" She looked to Red then down to him, "This means I own you. You're now mine… My pet." She stood and walked to the center of the room then put her hand up and gestured a heart box over to her, "And this is your cage." She started to put the heart in the box, but thought better of it, "From this moment forward. You will do everything that I say. And if you ever disobey me… if you ever try to run away to your true love…" She looked over to said true love, "And if you ever try to break in here again… if you ever try to 'rescue' him… All I have to do is squeeze."
The huntsman fell forward and Red ran to him, trying to help him in whatever way she could. Regina came over to them and bent down. She whispered in the Huntsman's ear, "You're life is now in my hands. Forever."
"Guards!" Regina cried. "Get her out of here and take him to my bedchamber!"
Ruby stared at Graham, "And you think that I'm Red Riding Hood and you're the Huntsman? You think that what we have is true love?"
"I hope so 'cause I think that despite her having my heart I'm starting to feel again…" He whispered.
Ruby considered his words. She looked at him carefully as she sat forward, "I think there's only one way to know for sure…" She nuzzled his nose up and pressed their lips together.
Her eyes flew open and a rush of memories came back, "Oh Graham…" She pulled and stared at him, "We have to get back your heart!" She pushed him onto the couch and they were content to just hold onto each other and make quiet plans.
Three days later, Regina walked into the diner, "Ruby." The mayor walked over to her, "I'd like to talk to you about Graham… You have a moment."
Ruby stared at her, "Of course Madam Mayor… just, come on back here." She led the woman to the back room.
"Are you here to ask me about my relationship with him? Or your lack of one with him lately?"
"Yes, that's exactly what I wanted to talk to you about." She advanced on the waitress, "Stay away from Graham. You may think that what you have is innocent, but you're putting thoughts in his head. Thoughts that are not in his best interest—"
"Thought's that aren't in his best interest, or yours?" Ruby crossed her arms.
"You are leading him down a path to self destruction… Stay away." She leaned in, in intimidation then walked away.
"And if I don't?" Ruby asked as she turned to the mayor.
Regina stopped. She put her hand on the doorway and turned around, "There will be consequences." She threatened.
"You're sure it's in there?"
"Yes… the wolf led me here." He looked over to Ruby.
She only nodded and said, "Well… let's go in, shall we?"
They went into the crypt again… this time, they shut the door. As Graham started looking around again, Ruby stared at the coffin.
"Honey?" She looked over to him as he looked up at her, "What if it's under the coffin?"
Graham and Ruby got on one side and pushed with everything they had… nothing… They went to the other side and again, pushed with all they had. It moved and revealed a staircase.
They looked at each other then walked down, "I can feel it." He said quietly.
"You think you know which one it is?" She looked over to him.
"Yeah… I do." He walked over to the one that he knew was his and lifted his hand to the box. With just a touch, the box opened to the chest. And with another touch, the chest opened for him to reveal his pounding heart. He picked it up and analyzed it.
"Are you sure you know what you're doing?" Ruby asked him as she watched him put the heart to his chest.
"No." He shook his head, but pushed on it anyways.
They both marveled as it went perfectly back into his chest.
He turned and stared at her. Tears sprang to his eyes, "I can feel… I can feel you again." He took her face and kissed her.
They both heard the sound of a wolf howling, and quickly put everything back as it was, even the coffin before they walked out of the crypt holding hands and smiling goofily at each other.
"What the hell do you think you're doing?" Regina asked as she saw them leave her father's crypt.
"What are you doing here?" Ruby asked with knit brows.
"Bringing flowers to my father's grave like I do every Wednesday." She narrowed her focus on Red..err, Ruby.
"Don't blame her." Graham said as he stepped down in front of her, "It's my fault. I wanted to look in there."
"Really? Why?... What were you looking for?" Regina tried to sound as if he was her boo… and not her fuck buddy.
"Nothing." Graham shook his head, "It was nothing…"
Regina took him in, "You don't look well dear…"
Both Ruby and Graham thought about the fact that he just shoved his heart back in his chest… Ruby wanted to roll her eyes, but she stayed focused to listen to Regina's next words.
She grabbed his wrist, "Let's take you home."
"No! I-I-I don't wanna go home…" he took three steps back, "Not with you."
Ruby looked from her love to the former queen for her reaction.
"No? But you'll go with her?..." Regina looked to Ruby.
Ruby opened her mouth to respond, but Graham beat her to it, "Yeah…" He looked her in the eyes, "You know, I realized that I don't feel anything when I'm with you… And I know now that it's not me… it's you." And the fact that you ripped my heart out and I just shoved it back in so I could love my true love…
"So you're leaving me for her?" Regina asked. Graham said nothing. He only took a step back and wrapped his arm around Red's waist. Regina pursed her lips, "Graham, you're not thinking straight…" She rolled her lips into her mouth then pushed them out.
"Actually for the first time I am… I need to feel something Regina, and the only way to do that is to give myself a chance with the woman I was made for…"
Regina placed her hand over his chest and he pulled it away, "I'm sorry…It's over."
Regina turned to Ruby, "I don't know what I ever did to you, Ruby to deserve this."
"Regina… it's not her…" Graham tried.
"Oh please! You just went on and on about her!"
"Did you ever stop to think that maybe the problem isn't with me, but with you?" Ruby asked with a bit of a smirk on her face.
"Graham kissed me." Ruby said as she walked around her love to get a better look at the mayor, "He was completely and utterly miserable… Maybe Madam Mayor, you need to take a good, hard look in the mirror… First your son to the Deputy and now the Sheriff to the waitress? Why is everyone running away from you?"
Regina smirked at her darkly before balling her hand into a fist and throwing the first punch. Ruby fell into Graham and pushed herself back up quickly. She turned and punched the mayor back before throwing her into the wall of the crypt. She hit the side of it instead of the mayor's face once more as she felt Graham start to pull her away, "You're not worth it!" She grit through her teeth.
She turned into Graham's hold and allowed him to take her away.
They had gone back to the Sheriff's station to raid the first-aid kit. Graham was tending to Ruby's wound before he smiled and leaned in to kiss her.
They had forgotten abut the cleaning and were more focused on the kissing when they were interrupted, "Hey I saw the light on—OH! Wow…" Emma's eyes went wide, "Well you certainly get around, don't you Sheriff?"
Graham looked at Emma, "I know you don't believe me, but I truly am sorry about that… Ruby and I…" His focus was back on the brunette, "We were meant to be…"
"Yeah, I'll believe that when you stop going around kissing people and you stop fucking the mayor…"
"Done and done… except I will kiss my girlfriend.." He said.
Emma crossed her arms, "You're done with the mayor?" She asked.
"So…. You don't know where she is? Henry said that she's usually home by now from the cemetery…"
"Uh… yeah… actually…" Ruby turned around, giving Emma a view of her black eye, "Uhm… she have been delayed, see… we got in a bit of a tussle…"
Emma's eyes went wide as she came and inspected it, "Wow… well, I hate to see what she looks like…"
"I'm sure I got her as much as she got me…" Ruby said.
"Well… I guess I'm off to the cemetery to see that she gets home so the kid stops worrying…" She turned back to them at the door, "Good luck… with everything… like dealing with the wrath of Regina and all that…"
"Thank you." They both said as they pulled closer to each other.
Graham turned to Ruby, "I love you."
Ruby only smiled back at him, "I love you too."