"I know that there is a heart somewhere deep down, disguised by all of that darkness that shrouds her."
White balls of snow drifted silently downwards to coat the earth in a forever white. The only sound was the fire crackling in the other room and the faint whisper of the princess's breath as she slept for what seems like a century. I had been sitting on this bed for nearly two days now, my eyes taking turns to gaze out the window and then back at the still woman.
He face had regained color by now and her breath was easy, but still she had yet to utter a single word of assurance. The times that Red wasn't around, when she wasn't insisting that I do something else other than sit here, I found my hand touching Snow's ever so gently as if doing so would make a difference.
Who knew I would be here today, lost within the great heights of a deadly mountain without a single ounce of power. Without my dignity and pride. All lost because of this sole woman.
My eyes fell upon her once more, her dark locks spread out on the pillow like a dark halo, her perfectly pale skin…
That raging flame inside of me was gone and even when I tried to ignite it, my mind would extinguish it as ill thoughts rushed inwards at me like an avalanche. I couldn't hate her anymore.
But what was I to do? I could leave her now, never look back, and hope that I could find my own way off this mountain. Perhaps call to Rumpelstiltskin once more. Snow had the red-cloaked girl to look over her now. She didn't need me.
But I needed her. I gulped down air that was trying to suffocate me.
"I need you to wake up," I mouthed silently and pulled myself into a ball, resting my forehead against my knees.
I was helpless here. Utterly helpless. The only other time I felt like this was around my mother before I knew what my very own hands could do. Before I knew how to stop her.
I was helpless like the time my own men tried to kill me or the time when the wolf found me in the cave. It had been because of Snow that I was alive and now she was the reason I was in so much torture. What if she never woke up? What if I never had the chance to tell her who I actually was?
"Everyone deserves a second chance no matter what has been done. All I would ask of her is that she would come clean. Admit to everything that she has done and say she is sorry. That is all I ask."
A single tear slid down my cheek; there was no desire in me to wipe it away either. Instead I curled up where I was on the end of the bed, my head resting on her legs like I was a child.
I wasn't there when Snow woke. Instead, I was outside of all places collecting berries and herbs for dinner. It wasn't until I walked inside of the small cabin that I saw her standing beside the fireplace with the other woman, hand in hand.
Upon seeing this, a deadly feeling rushed inwards and the basket I had been given slipped between my fingers and everything spilt out onto the floor.
Then hazel eyes were locked onto mine and before I had time to stop what I was doing, I was running towards her throwing my arms around her neck like she was a long lost friend.
"Snow…" I gasped out as, the way the words came out sounding foreign on my tongue yet so natural. I felt her hands wrapping around me in a tight embrace, "you're okay."
The weight of the world had been lifted off of my shoulders for just a moment, a moment that I would later realize was the turning point of this journey.
"Of course I am," she replied softly.
"The ice wraith...I thought it…" I couldn't find my words, but then her cool hands were cupping my cheeks.
"Wilma, don't worry. I'm alright."
The sound of my name hit me right in my heart and that very urge to tell her who I actually was fled like a demon in the light. I couldn't. Not now anyways. The moment was far too serene.
For a second I felt a glowing warmth rush through me while my hands held onto her cheeks in denial that those blue-green eyes were sparkling. I had to memorize them, for there would come a day when they wouldn't look upon me with such adoration. That day, how far or near, would likely be the death of me now.
There was another hand on my back, one that I knew wasn't Snow's, and when the princess released me I turned around to see a smile upon the other brunette's face that faltered just for a second but in an instant it was bright again.
"I told you she would be okay."
"When did she," I looked back at Snow, "when did you wake up?"
"Hardly a half hour ago."
And that's when I remembered the array of items that were sprawled out across the floor. A frown took over my smile as I relived the odd emotions that caused me to drop everything in the first place, yet the warmth of the younger woman's embrace still jolted across my skin and blurred that scene away.
"Oh, God," I leaned down and began to collect everything back into the basket, "My apologies, Red."
"Don't worry about it."
She shooed my hand away and made it clear that she would clean it up in order for me to turn my attention back to the raven haired woman.
"Red told me how she found you," Snow vocalized, "How did you defeat the ice wraith?"
I shrugged not really wanting to remember those questions I had pondered over for three days straight.
"I didn't. It fled as if something scared it away."
"That's really weird."
Her arms encircled me again, this time tighter. Her breath hit my ear as she whispered into it.
"I'm sorry I couldn't protect you."
A burning shiver ran down my spine which she felt and in response she held me tighter. I couldn't speak a word. Alternatively, I leaned into her out of fear that I would lose her again but in a whole other way.
We stayed like that for nearly five minutes until I heard the sound of a basket being placed upon the counter, and when we tore our attention to the kitchen, Red was pulling out a piece of meat she had recently caught.
"I owe you my life, Red," the dark brunette spoke with gratitude after she took a bite of the prepared meal of rabbit and herbs.
"You owe me nothing, Snow. Despite everything, you've always been kinder than anyone would ever ask of you."
"Where is Granny? Did she not wish to come along?"
I had eaten in silence as the two women chit-chatted about past times surrendering to the fact that I was just another companion on the woman's journey and regardless of the stories I had been told I still knew very little. However, upon the last inquiry I watched the crumbling orbs of green eyes as the bright smile that seemed to light up the room fell away like a distinguished candle.
My own face twisted up in confusion, yet Snow seemed to understand the shift as if it were an open book.
"…No. Red, did you…"
The brunette shook her head in reply, shutting her eyelids to hide the forming wetness behind them. I watched while Snow extended out her hand, placing it on the other women's with concerning comfort.
"No, she got caught in the cross-fire trying to protect me. I told her not to, but well, you know how Granny was."
There was a bitter laugh.
My mind attempted to wrap around the encrypted words just as an unfamiliar stirring, similar what I felt earlier, filled my chest. On this journey it had been Snow to comfort me, or at least try, and now her fingers were entwining around another's.
"What in the gods' names are you talking about?" I blurted out a bit too stern.
Their heads snapped towards me like they had forgotten my presence, Snow's hand falling away.
"You never told her?" the princess tilted to her at Red.
"Tell me what?"
"I," a tilt to Red's lips, "didn't want to frighten her."
"Frighten me? What are you talking about?" I huffed out in frustration.
They shared a silent look with one another before the green eyed woman took in a deep breath. She went to speak, but her lips remained still as a great struggled played across her features.
"Do you remember me mentioning the Children of the Moon?" Snow said to me.
"The stories of the wolves?"
From the corner of my eye I saw Red bite her lip and in that instant it was as if her features mirrored that of a shy beast, one that held a ferocious bite yet was trying to conceal such out of shame.
"The more appropriate term would be werewolf," Red stated.
"You're telling me that you're a…?"
"But one attacked me or at least that's what Snow thought."
Red glanced at her friend and was given a nod. Meanwhile, I was shrinking down against the back of my chair remembering all too well the sharp teeth and gleaming yellow eyes. The woman reached out to me in order to provide consolation, but I withdrew me hands.
"I won't hurt you," her hands went up into the air, palms facing me, "I came to these mountains alone for a reason. On a full moon we change into the beast, unaware of our own human instincts; however of us have learned to control it."
"I'm getting there, but I still prefer the solitude of the mountains for precautions."
My body relaxed just a bit as I came to realization that the wolf-girl was no harm. At the moment at least. I reached for my mug and let the warmth rush down my throat. Inwardly I was chuckling at myself.
What an Evil Queen I was to be afraid of the big bad wolf.
"What happened to your grandmother? Was she a werewolf?"
The readjustment of Snow's body told that she was just as curious.
"My mother was, but she left before I was able to even crawl. Granny on the other hand retained more of the senses like heightened awareness, hearing, and smell. It wasn't long after Snow left us," there eyes met for a second, "that people in the village caught on to what I was, so one day they showed up at our doorstep with weapons and torches. Granny tried to stop them and they warned her that if she didn't stand down then she would be brought down with me. The idiots came at me on the harvest moon," she shook her head with a shiver, "and I did what I had to. I slaughtered every single one of them, but it was in vein. I couldn't change my form, but the wolf knew something wasn't right and I found her amidst the bloodied corpses with an arrow through her chest I knew it was too late," her breath had become shaky as she took in air, "I wanted to give her a proper burial, but I knew if I waited another night the rest of the village would catch on, so I fled."
There wasn't any more restrain as a strand of tears began to trail down her pale cheeks. Snow rose to her feet and walked over, wrapping the wolf-girl in an embrace which was enough to prove how close they all had been.
I couldn't utter a single word except for "I'm sorry," because I knew that sorrow, but I couldn't show it. The anguish of losing someone close was all too familiar for me.
I was beginning to come to the realization that I wasn't the only broken, torn woman in this world.
Snow had fled. Red had fled. And I? I conquered, but like the wax of a burning candle, I was watching all that I had built melt away into nothing but muddled confusion.