The day had finally come to depart from the comfort of warm walls. We packed as much supplies as we could into our sack along with fresh herbs and preserved rabbit. I left much space between the two women to allow them time to say goodbye. I could see it in their eyes; they didn't want to part.
Just as I didn't want to lose Snow, she didn't want to lose Red and it was a hard sight to see. I bit down onto my lip and pushed back every bitter taste that was stirring around.
Walking up to the wolf-girl, I placed a hand upon her shoulder to get attention.
"Red," I spoke with hesitation, "you're welcome to join us."
Snow's hazel eyes were wide, astounded by the words that left my lips. I simply gave her a soft smile and looked back to Red. The brunette smiled. I had grown fond of that bright smile that seemed to lighten the heart of any weary traveler. No one deserved to be alone. Not like this.
It surprised me when she took hold of both of my hands and squeezed them gently.
"I am grateful for your offer, Wilma, but I don't think I'm ready to venture away from my solitude just yet."
Her emerald eyes held a bittersweet hue and I had to look away from them. It would be a look that the two women shared the rest of the day. Part of me wanted to believe that I was missing something entirely between them, which for how long they had known each other could have been very possible, but I held onto Snow's words.
I had no right to harbor these feelings for the raven-haired woman, yet I did. It wasn't right for me to be accepting a farewell embrace from a woman that helped Snow White escape my grasp several times.
Despite the anger I had harbored for all of these years, I couldn't come to face with it anymore. Whenever my dreams would wash me in a fiery rage, when I would hold her hand in my heart, I would awaken to the clutches of regret.
Soon I would be alone with Snow and I'm not sure how I felt about that.
"You should be far enough away by the time the moon is full," the red cloaked woman said to us.
We stood right outside the cabin under the morning sky. Both Snow and I held a bag each along with new supplies that would benefit us in the long run. I adjusted my sword on my hip and then pulled my fur coat around me.
"Are you positive you don't wish to join us, dear?" I asked the red cloaked woman one last time. It was like acid on my tongue, but I asked anyways.
Once more she shook her head. I gave the two women a moment to themselves before we left the comfort of the small cabin in the mountains.
I soon came to the realization that we were heading downward now. One would have assumed this to be a blessing, but gravity had its fun trying to pull me forward at times towards the ground. Luckily for us, just when the trail was starting to become ice it would begin to flurry again adding traction.
I didn't bitch about the cold, although it was brutal compared to what we had grown used to over the last month. Instead I turned my attention to trying to formulate my impending doom.
"I'm going to miss the view," the brunette said quietly as if she were entranced by the scenery.
A white snow bird zipped across our path singing its song. I watched her hazel eyes follow it with serenity. If only I could bottle up this moment and save it. Over this time with Snow I had come to appreciate even the smallest things like the sound the wind makes as it brushes through the trees or the warmth the sun gives upon my chilled skin.
"It's quite heavenly, I'll say."
"I'm sure we'll run across even more wonderful places to explore."
I met her eyes and smiled softly, a hurtful pang hitting my heart. If only she knew that our journey together was drawing to an end. I took a deep breath and looked at her in a way that the Evil Queen would snarl at.
"No, but I truly believe this will be the most beautiful."
I listened to the sound of our feet crunching in the snow. I was hoping she wouldn't ask any person questions or bring up the other night when I broke down. I wanted to tell her everything about me. I wanted her to see the side that no one else could see, the good side of me that was locked behind a shroud of darkness. But I wanted her to see me.
"You're still having nightmares."
I almost didn't hear her. My jaw clenched and I forced myself to keep my pace, not to gain speed in order to run away. It was a wonder how she caught onto these things when the entirety of my life no one gave a second to simply stop and ask me how I was. But here I was hiding behind a veil yet she still seemed to be able to see something.
I admired her for it. I hated her for it.
"What are they about?" she asked cautiously, knowing that there was still that edge between us.
Something inside of me begged for an outlet, it screamed to be set free. The young part of myself that I thought died long ago wanted to wrap my arms around her, confide in her through tears, but the Evil Queen despised even the thought of it.
My gaze drifted to the sunrays trying to peak into the atmosphere. They provided a comfort that I had never found in the light. My soul had been like the sun once. Bright with so much to give, so much love, but then it was shrouded by clouds that turned black. Only recently the rays started to break through, illuminating the very path I walked.
"They're horrible," I said meekly as if I could feel her beating, bloody heard in the palm of my hand, "They keep me up for many hours of the night. In the past week they had started up again ever since…"
I could form the words to say it, yet the look on her face confirmed that she knew. Ever since we kissed again.
"I'm always hurting someone without regret. Without an ounce of emotion. And sometimes I can hear my mother like a faint whisper telling me I am weak. That no matter what I do I will never be enough."
The familiar taste of poison was building on my tongue. It was sliding down my throat and rotting away everything I was, but I didn't feel it. Over the years I had grown numb to the echoes, yet nevertheless the still taunted me.
"Let everyone know where the new power lies, and you'll hold the hearts of your people in your hands."
I had tried so hard not to become her. I tried to run, but the faster I did the quicker it took over.
Pale fingers wrapped around mine and produce sudden warmth. My feet began to slow until we came to a stop and she turned to face me. She was holding both of my hands now as she searched for answers within my eyes, and I feared she would see me.
Not Wilma. She would suddenly see that I had led her astray, but what she wouldn't see is that the foolish actions of mine were pulling me asunder.
"Wilma," so sure that was my name, so full of…love…"You may try to hide it away, but I know that behind this wall you've built up is a bright heart dancing with an array of emotions. I've never met anyone like you before and I'm glad I did. No matter what you may think, no matter what these voices in your head keep telling you, you're more than enough."
No one had ever uttered those words to me.
I could forget about who I was. I could be Wilma for the rest of my life. I didn't have to hurt her or anyone else ever again. That was still an option, yet could I bear to live a lie?
Her thumbs were tracing circles along my hand and her eyes were gleaming with such sincerity that I could have cried.
Snow White. I had fallen for Snow White.
I wanted to tell her. In its place, I leaned forward and placed a gentle kiss onto her cheek. Her fingers released mine and moved to embrace me.
"I'm not going to abandon you, Wilma. You're all I have left."
This was what I was afraid of. The sad thing was she was all I had left as well.
After Daniel died I had lost all hope of finding happiness. In its place I had found a shelter in a seductive darkness that blocked out everything save for anger. Without the comfort of magic I was forced to live in the shoes of a peasant. Of a no one. Ironically, this was how I had come to feel the breath of life once again. It wasn't through power or magic. No, simply love; the very thing that had been preached to be weakness.