The wind whispered ominously through the woods, rustling the leaves and branches of the centuries old oak trees. He felt the air slide over his face, bringing a melting pot of scents to his nostrils. His eyes slowly closed as he took in a breath. The smells unraveled; damp earth, poppies, bloodroot, bluebells, animal blood. They were all a part of the aroma that he had grown to be familiar with as well as his own heartbeat.
It was the closest semblance to family he could have. The winding river to the dark abysses that were the valleys, it was all his. It had been for all his life. Once upon a time, the surrounding villagers tried to mark this area as theirs. It was a terrible mistake they made and he ensured they were aware of it by giving them enough blood to create a second river. No one dared to enter his forest since, exceptthe foolish traveler or drunken idiot every once in a while.
He sometimes wondered what they told their children, what stories and truths they shared to scare them into not sneaking into the forest. Perhaps they talked of a clan of cannibals or a fire breathing dragon. Perhaps some got it right and warned their children of a very big, very bad wolf.
An unfamiliar sound echoed in the land until it reached his perceptive ears. His eyes opened immediately, flashing gold. He tilted his head to the side, straining to identify the sound.
Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme;
Remember me to one who lives there,
For once he was a true love of mine
A soft voice sang while a pair of light feet pressed against the fallen leaves. He felt his body tense and one word came to mind. Intruder. He moved with supernatural speed, following the music. He jumped over a fallen branch, ran lithely over the twigs without a sound and fell to an equally silent stop behind a grand tree. He pressed a hand against the bark, extended claws laying against the rough surface as he scrutinized the figure walking leisurely in his forest.
He was only given sight of the back of the intruder. His piercing eyes found a pair of long, pale legs and the end of a plain, gray gown. Covering the rest of the body was a silk, blood red hooded cloak. He let out a low growl as she made her way further in the woods carelessly.
Caroline's eyes wandered, taking in the infamous scenery that was the setting of horrid legends. She expected to find bodies hanging from twisted tree limbs, creeks of blood, any sign that the dreadful beast was real. She was happily disappointed at discovering it was anything but. Beautiful flowers littered the soft ground and the deep green trees stood tall and defiant against the early night sky. The dying ember sunlight trickled against the forest. It was something out of a fairy tale and with every step she expected to stumble upon a castle or home of dwarves.
It was difficult to believe this was the place Mother was so disposed to avoiding. It was the truly quickest way to dear Grandmother's home. If she had followed the path Mother had advised, the fresh bread would be anything but fresh and the cherry pie would be as cold as winter's ice.
She froze her steps at a deep, rumbling sound filling the air. Her heartbeat sped up and her thoughts immediately conjured up the stories tossed over the bonfire in the village.
A creature with no eyes and thousands of teeth—
It rips out the innards of all who trespass—
Hangs what is left from the highest trees—-
None are left alive—-
The sound came again, shaking the girl. Her grip tightened around the homemade basket as she slowly turned her head to peer behind her.
He watched as the intruder turned to look back. Tousled blond curls formed a border around a pretty face. Full lips were parted as she took in a shaky breath and wide, startled blue eyes scanned the shadowed forest that kept him invisible. He felt a flame of unfamiliar warmth shoot through his spine as her gaze briefly settled on his hidden self, unaware of his presence. She shook herself before returning to her path.
Throughout the years a handful of women passed though and he wasted no time on cleansing the land of them. However, this specimen was different. She was a tasty young thing. It would be a shame to dispose of her too quickly
He followed her as she continued walking and singing. Minutes passed as his gaze memorized the practically methodical way she gracefully moved around the trees. Every movement was tantalizing. Her voice, which he had originally found vexing, became sweet, dripping from her lips like honey. Her golden locks floated in the breeze, close enough for him only needing to reach out and pull to bring her into the dark. She was utterly oblivious to the danger she walked in. His mouth salivated as his mind conjured up the possible ends to her tale, many beginning with a chase.
He decidedly stepped out of the shadows as she passed his hiding spot. She yelped in surprise at his appearance, jumping back. His lips formed a devilish smirk.
"Hello there," He tilted his head.
"He-Hello," Caroline stuttered, heart beat racing. Mother was right. It was foolish to come into the forest.
He took a step forward, relishing the way she flinched back. Oh yes, this would be more than amusing. He let his eyes graze over her curves, enjoying the closer of view. "It's not very intelligent to be traversing these woods by yourself," He chided as he moved in a slow circle around her. "Have you not heard? There's a terrifying animal inhabiting this place."
She eyed him warily. "I am aware of the legends," She spoke with more confidence than she felt. "But I am not afraid of some myth."
"Are you so sure that it's a myth?" He asked curiously.
Caroline felt an unwanted shudder pass through her body at his seemingly light question. "I should continue on," She began walking with newfound vigor.
"I cannot let a pretty girl such as yourself wander alone," He matched her pace with ease, settling by her side. "I shall accompany you."
"I wouldn't feel comfortable walking with strangers. I do not even know who you are," She explained, her tone firm.
"I can fix that," His smile became all teeth. "I am Niklaus. You, love, may call me Nik. And you are?"
"Caroline," She answered automatically, immediately wishing she had held her tongue.
"There now. See? We are no longer strangers," He nodded.
She bit her bottom lip, weighing her handful of options. There was no way she could force him to leave her alone. He was a man and a strong looking one at that. He would easily be able to overpower her. She swallowed, accepting that she would have to tolerate her new companion.
They traveled together in silence. She glanced at him from time to time, assessing her new acquaintance. He donned a simple shirt and worn black trousers. From the opening in the shirt, she could see a well-defined chest that made her young heart flutter. A light stubble of hair was sprinkled the bottom of his face. His countenance was anything but repulsive. He had lips shaped like a bow
"Niklau—Nik," She began quietly, "Why are you in the woods?"
"Why are you, my dear?" He answered.
"I am going to my grandmother's home to give her these," She lifted her basket, displaying the cooling goods. "I baked it all myself. Mother has a horrible touch in the kitchen, leaving me to cook for us. Many of the villagers say I can rival the King's chef."
Another smile tugged at his lips. She was a humble little treat. "The food smells delicious," He complimented.
"Thank you," She smiled, flashing her pearly whites. "Now you must answer,"
"I came to the forest to gather kindling for my fire," He lied smoothly, "I live beyond the edge of the forest."
"Oh," She responded and they fell into silence once again.
It was eerily quiet, nothing stirred in the forest and the breeze had abated. Caroline despised the quiet. She barely noticed that she had started to sing again. It wasn't until she heard a low chuckle from her companion that she realized what she was doing.
"I am so very sorry!" She exclaimed, placing a hand over her mouth. "I did not realize that I was—-"
"No, no," He waved away her apology, smiling. "Keep singing. Your voice is beautiful. It fills the forest with life."
Her eyes brightened at the compliment, enjoying the boost to her ego. "Thank you."
She ran a hand along the rough surface from tree to tree, almost forgetting he was there. She lost herself in her own world, practically dancing to her own music.
He followed a meter behind, enjoying the oblivious—almost trusting—manner she let her guard down. He ran his tongue over his teeth. So similar to a baby lamb, such easy prey.
"Ouch," She paused her movement, pulling her hand back from the bark. She raised it to her eyes, wincing at the sight of blood seeping from her index finger.
"Allow me," He moved with swift ability and took her hand with ironic gentility. He slowly lifted it to his lips, and ran his tongue over it. Caroline was frozen with disgust and fascination. His eyes stayed on hers and he pulled his mouth away. "All better."
She forced herself to break the gaze and found her the cut all healed. Surprise mingled with confusion and arousal from his lips on her skin. Her blue eyes raised to meet his hard green ones before dropping to the ground. This wasn't right, not one bit of this was right. She shouldn't be here in these woods. She shouldn't be walking with a stranger. She shouldn't be wanting for this unknown man like a common whore.
He could hear her blood as it rushed through her veins and her heart slammed against her ribcage with alarming force. The rhythm of her body was so cacophonous and melodious that he was sure even she could hear it echo throughout the woods. He felt a spike of desire (both human and inhuman) as he watched her chest heave and the blood pour into her pale cheeks, tainting the snowy complexion with delicious pink.
He stalked closer, the want turning to burning hunger. His hands circled around her small waist and pulled her roughly against his body. He felt his own heartbeat begin to match hers as his eyes glowed with gold.
"What pretty eyes you have," She whispered, licking her bottom lip.
"All the better to see you with, my dear," He rumbled, eyes trailing down to her chest.
Her hands raised to touch the arms holding her, feeling the hard muscle under the smooth skin. "What strong arms you have,"
"All the better to hold you with," He lifted her up, faces barely an inch a part.
She attempted and failed to avoid looking at his lips. She stared at them with unhidden longing. "What fine lips you have,"
"All the better to kiss you with," He told her before crushing his lips to hers.
Caroline moaned in response to the forbidden touch. The taste of her blood was still on his lip. Animalistic desire filled his body as various images flashed through his head of her-squirming underneath his body, screaming for him, screaming at him, running from him.
His body froze as his senses caught the sound of a door a few kilometers away opening and a pair of slowly moving feet step outside. That must be the girl's grandmother. They were not close enough for the human to see them, but they were definitely close enough for her to hear her granddaughter's screams.
"I must to go," He pulled back, sliding her to her feet. He held onto her arms tightly, eyes glowing with feral gold. "But before we part, I warn you. Do not trespass in my forest. Next instance, you will not be so lucky and I won't be so forgiving."
Then he was gone, faster than a blink of an eye and quieter than death himself. Caroline was immobilized for minutes as her dazed mind came to terms with a late epiphany that the man who accompanied her to Grandmother's house was the monster from the legends, the beast of the forest.
Little Red Riding Hood
I don't think little big girls should
Go walking in these spooky old woods alone.
"I told you this time I would not be so lenient," He whispered, running a hand up her side. His claws dug through her light material and into her skin. She shivered, only partly regretting her return. She had to see him again, the monster who had let her go free.
"I'll allow you a minute head start," He lifted her chin up with a hand and pressed his lips against hers. She moaned, sliding her hands around his neck and parting her lips. He returned the kiss, making her final return worth while.
He pulled back, his lips baring a wolfish smile. A predatory, frightening glint entered his golden gaze. "Now run, sweetheart, and pray to God that I don't catch you."
Eyes black, big paws and its poison and its blood
And big fire, big burn into the ashes
And no return
A/N okay so first and foremost, a big shout out and thank you to miss Danielle aka theebreezyd on tumblr. She was my beta for this one shot. :) I really hope you enjoyed the story since I enjoyed writing it. The songs mentioned (in order of appearance) are Scarborough Fair, Little Red Riding Hood by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs and Fever Ray's The Wolf. It's a neat little soundtrack that I suggest listening to if you read this story again. I'm surprised no one else has written a fic based on this infamous tale. I hope I did it justice. Thank you very much! Please review and tell me what you think!