Ruby shot up in her bed, looking around for what had woken her. A moment later, she heard what sounded like a wolf's howl and her blood chilled. Regina had removed the cloak and from the sound of things, she wasn't in her basement this time. Slipping out of bed, Ruby grabbed a quick outfit and her jacket, forgoing shoes in order to avoid waking her grandmother.
Securing her key around her neck, Ruby made her way along the streets of Storybrooke, knowing no one would be around to stop her. Everyone was most likely cowering in their homes, hoping they wouldn't be the queen's target for the night. Striding in the direction of Mifflin Street, the waitress wondered if what she was doing was a good idea. If Regina had transformed by now, it was extremely dangerous for Ruby to be going in her direction.
Coming to a stop down the street from the house, Ruby glanced around to be sure neither Emma nor Marco had spotted her before ducking around the back of the manor. Scurrying across the grass behind the large house, Ruby gently slid open the back door and crept inside.
The house was dark, as to be expected. The wolf didn't respond very well to bright lights. Slowly making her way through the large house, Ruby peered into room after room, straining her ears to catch any noise. Once she had checked the entire downstairs, the tall woman set her sights on the stairs. Thanking whatever possessed her not to wear shoes, she began the ascent.
Ruby paused when she reached the landing, not wanting to alert the wolf to her presence too early. Spotting an open door off to the side, the waitress cautiously stepped over to it and peeked around the jamb. Her breath caught at the sight of a large, pitch-black wolf lying beside Henry's bed and staring out at the moon. Regina's wolf was easily larger than Ruby's own, confirming Ruby's suspicions that she was a natural-born alpha. Ruby would have been content to watch the beautiful creature all night, had the wolf not heard and smelled her.
Leaping up, the large animal stalked forward, snarling at the intruder of her territory. Ruby remained where she was, knowing that moving would only further upset the wolf. Regina crept closer, paws padding heavily against the floor as her yellow eyes glared up at Ruby suspiciously. Green stared into yellow for a long time before Regina's growling softened and she tilted her head at Ruby.
Slowly, she crept forward and prodded Ruby's hand with her nose, licking it with a whine. Ruby relaxed slightly, still aware that Regina was not in control of this wolf, but the wolf seemed to be reflecting Regina's inner self because she didn't attempt to attack Ruby. Instead, she simply padded back to her spot beside Henry's bed and flopped down, staring out the window.
Ruby wasn't sure if she was allowed to enter or not, considering this was likely a sacred place for Regina. Instead of going in, she sat down in the doorway, leaning against the jamb and watching Regina's wolf. Neither said anything, simply staring out at the moon. Even though she no longer had the wolf inside her, Ruby felt oddly communal being with Regina in wolf form. It was like she still had the pack mentality, even though their magic had been switched.
As the night drew on, Ruby started to doze against the jamb. The black wolf glanced at her every now and then, but the waitress didn't feel like she was in any danger. In fact, she felt somewhat safe around Regina, even though she knew the former queen wasn't in control of herself. But something, possibly the pack mentality, reassured her that, so long as she didn't intrude on the wolf's space, it wouldn't hurt her.
With that thought in mind, Ruby drifted off to the sound of Regina's breathing.
Emma sipped her coffee idly, watching the house for any sign of trouble. The shift things was going well so far. She'd heard the howling once the moon could be seen over the trees, but there was no sign of a wolf anywhere. If Regina had broken out, she must've headed right for the woods without a second thought for the town. Still, though, since there was no sign of her, they needed to stay around just in case.
"I cannot believe I have to watch my son's other mother all night," Emma groaned. "This has got to be the plot of some bad romance novel somewhere." Likely one I've read, she added quietly to herself with a snort.
Nothing stirred around them, so Emma was content to relax a little bit. If something moved more than usual, she would be on high alert. Last thing she needed was to be blindsided by a wolf. She really didn't want to have to hurt Regina, since she hadn't done anything (of note) since the curse broke.
Just then, her cell rang and Emma hurried to answer before it drew unwanted attention. "Hello?"
"Are you on shift right now?" It was Granny, likely calling from the inn.
"Yeah, why?" Emma's blood ran cold. Had Regina managed to slip passed her? Was she roaming the town? Did Granny need to use her crossbow-?
"I think Ruby might be there," Granny said, interrupting her thoughts. "Have you seen her?"
Emma's eyebrows pulled together. "No, I haven't seen her at all. She's not home?"
"I don't smell her here," Granny explained. "Her scent is fading."
"Alright." Emma took a deep breath. "I'll go check-."
"Don't." Granny's order stopped the sheriff in her tracks. "If you go in there, without her being locked up, Regina will not hesitate to attack you. Just keep an eye on the house. If you see any sign of Ruby, try to stop her. I can't imagine what that girl is thinking."
"You got it, Granny."
The line hung up and Emma sat up straighter. She had no idea why Ruby would come this way either, but she didn't want her friend doing something dangerous. Regina hadn't been trained in her wolf, which meant she was dangerous to everyone, even former wolves.
Ruby cracked her eyes open as the sun began to rise. Dawn peeked through the window, signaling the start of a new day. Ruby yawned, sitting up straighter and glancing into the room. Regina snoozed gently beside Henry's bed, her head just high enough to lay on his blanket.
As the sun's rays rose higher, Ruby watched as the wolf stirred. Its massive jaws opened in a wide yawn before it began to shrink. A blush flared to Ruby's cheeks as Regina sat before her, once again in nothing but her undergarments.
The sound of a pounding heart drew Regina's attention to the door. She raised an eyebrow as she covered another yawn. This was an interesting development. From the looks of things, Ruby had slept near her even though she had transformed. Did the wolf not recognize Ruby as a threat or food?
"Good morning, Ruby," Regina said, slowly getting to her feet. "I trust you didn't break down my door this time?"
"No," Ruby stood as well, stretching. "No, I came in the back door."
"You walked all the way here from your home, at night, right into the lair of a murderous beast?" Regina didn't know if she should laugh at Ruby's stupidity or be impressed by her bravery.
Ruby bit her lip. The creature she saw last night didn't seem murderous in the slightest. The wolf looked sad, lonely even. But Ruby would only be able to see that in the wolf. Regina never let on how much she was hurting, so talking to her about it would be fruitless.
Instead, Ruby cleared her throat and shrugged. "Yeah, well, I needed to make sure you were okay. I heard a howl and didn't want you breaking out. Even without wolf powers, I'd say I'm still pretty formidable."
Regina eyed her for a moment and Ruby could've sworn she saw the older woman's pupils dilate for a second. What was that?
"Yes, well, formidable or not, I don't need any more murders on my record." Regina stretched and Ruby averted her eyes before she passed out. "If you must come here during the full moon, please refrain from coming too close to the wolf while the moon's up,. I don't need your grandmother coming after me with her bow, whether she's proficient with it or not."
"Deal," Ruby agreed. She turned to leave, but an idea struck her. Turning back, she said, "Regina, would you be alright if I brought you food?"
Surprise flashed in the former mayor's eyes. "Beg your pardon?"
"Well, you seem pretty into all the spellbooks and stuff," Ruby pointed out. "You didn't even want to leave the house for food yesterday. To compromise, maybe I can bring you food on my lunch break and after I get off for the night. That way, you're still eating without having to deal with the people around town."
Regina stared at her, brown eyes narrowing minutely. Ruby knew she wouldn't trust it immediately, but that was fine. She was patient… ish. "What's the catch?" the former queen inquired lowly.
"There isn't one," Ruby shrugged. "But if you want, I can think of one real quick so you don't feel like, you know, it's charity or something."
Regina nodded and Ruby thought a moment. Looking down at her hands, the waitress remembered something. "You could teach me how to control your magic?" Ruby suggested. "So that I don't burn things up or p-pull out hearts." She stumbled over the second part, feeling the ghost of Leroy's beating heart in her hand.
"That's it?" Regina chuckled. "Well, that's quite a steal, but I'll yield. Once you bring me food at night, I'll teach you the basics. How does that sound?"
"Perfect!" Ruby chirped. "So, I'll see you around noon with your lunch!"
Regina nodded, covering another yawn and Ruby made her way from the house. As she came around the front, she heard a door shut and her heart sank. She'd forgotten about Emma and Marco. From the look the sheriff was giving her, Ruby could guess that she was in quite a bit of trouble…
Ooh, Ruby's in trouble! Hopefully Granny won't be too hard on her. Until next time!
Remember, sneak peeks and updates are available on my tumblr, gothalbinoangel-fanfiction. Where you can also ask questions. I just opened up commissions, too!