Snow couldn’t help but smile at Rose’s kind generosity. She had never seen these two around here before, but they appeared to be just as docile as most of the animals in these woods were to them. Even as a skilled hunter, the two of them knew how hard it could be to hunt down food in the winter. She had no protests to Rose giving up two rabbits for them, and she found it funny how differently the two animals seemed to react to this whole thing. It was as if they had their own personalities - but she believed that all animals did. They weren’t stupid, no, not in the slightest. In fact, Snow White always felt personally offended when someone, usually men, would refer to the woodland creatures as ‘stupid animals’. These two, as interesting as a pair as they made, were certainly as different as they looked, she thought. The wolf was so friendly, and already seemed as taken with Rose as she did him. Adventurous, risk taking, trusting. That’s the vibe she got from the wolf.
The bear, on the other hand, appeared to be a bit more apprehensive. Looking him over, he seemed just as exhausted and starved as his fellow companion, but it took him a while longer to start eating. Such a wary bear, Snow thought to herself. It saddened her to think of what could have happen to make him so dubious to others, but at least he was beginning to eat now. Smiling at the sight, Snow looked back to Rose once she heard her beautiful voice. “Of course they can stay.” She began, before looking around their cottage. It was large enough for all of them, of course. She was always a little worried about someone coming across their witchcraft and then shouting for the torches, but these two were not foolish, bigoted humans. Even if they saw the potions, the scrolls, and spells, they couldn’t tell a soul. Nor should they care. Snow wasn’t worried about these too.
"For however long as they want." She added, finding that there couldn’t be any harm if they wanted to stay through the winter. Even with their fur coats they had to be absolutely freezing, and it wasn’t as if they could make a fire out there for themselves. If she had the choice, Snow would invite all of the poor animals out there to stay. There just simply wasn’t enough room, and that had her feeling guilty. The instinct and that feeling also had her approaching the bear to brush some of the snow off of his fur, which would hopefully help him warm up… even if just a bit. Moving her gaze back over to Rose and the wolf she was snuggling with, it had the smile tugging at her lips widen that much more. "He already seems to be quite taken with you."
Rose was far too taken with the beautiful wolf in front of her to notice the bear’s hesitation or she probably would have been offended by it. But she was already falling in love with the adorable animal in front of her to see anything else. He had the absolute sweetest disposition but also there was this feisty side to him that she knew meant he would be fun. When Snow assured her they could say Rose jumped in the air excitedly and then threw her arms around her neck. “Thank you, thank you!” She gave her several large kisses before pulling away to go back to the wolf so she could pet him. His fur was incredibly soft and she loved running her fingers through it.
"Did you hear that? You can stay with us for as long as you want!" Rose bent down and kissed the top of the wolf’s head before nuzzling their noses together. She was a very touchy-feely person and she absolutely loved to feeling of his fur against her skin. The more she hugged him the warmer his fur got but he still felt cold. Her head turned to Snow when she made the observation that the wolf was taken with her. "It must just be because of how taken I already am with him. I mean, look at him Snow. His coat is lovely and he has the most beautiful eyes. They look tired though. I wonder how long they have been wandering around outside." Rose frowned for a moment, feeling very sorry that they had been stuck out there.
"It is rather odd that he’s without his pack, but at least they found each other." The corners of her mouth pulled into and smile and she finally looked up at the bear, grateful he had joined together with the wolf to form some sort of odd little tribe. If she was more alert Rose might have thought longer on just how weird it was that these two creatures were traveling together but she was exhausted from the troll. She scratched the wolf behind his ears, hoping to find a spot that would get his tag wagging. "How would you like to sleep in my room with me tonight? You can curl up at the foot of my bed and keep my feet warm." Rose stood up to give Snow a goodnight peck before leading her new friend back to her room. "I’ll see you in the morning Snow, sleep well love."
How long had it been since the two girls returned home after their victory? Snow was still half asleep when she was awakened by the sound of what could only be identified as… scratching? Groggy and a bit out of sorts, the dark haired girl sat up from her feather bed, only to be presented with the noise once more. What on Earth could it be, she wondered, trying to rub the exhaustion out of her eyes to clear up the fogginess. Getting to her bare feet, the floor beneath her toes having a bit of a chill - although nothing compared to the outdoors, she made her way through her and Rose’s cottage. Perhaps it was nothing, maybe a nearby branch was torn loose from a tree, and now it was rubbing up against the front wall. Maybe it was all in her imagination! Snow was known to be a bit paranoid, a little overly worried for reasons she felt made sense in the moment. Arriving to the front room, she took a quick glance around for Rose, but she didn’t appear to have been woken up by the noise as she had been.
The scratching - there it was again. Something was at the front door. Eyebrows furrowed, Snow reached for a ready made potion that would immobilize anything it came in contact with… just in case. It was late, who could possibly have stumbled upon their cottage in the middle of winter? She’d rather be safe than sorry. Reaching for the handle of the front door, Snow White pulled it open only to be greeted with two animals. A wolf, and a bear. That was an odd pairing, she thought. She knew that most of the animals here were quite intelligent and docile, but she still wasn’t sure of what to think of them in front of the cottage. “Rose?” She called out, hoping to stir the girl awake so she could come see for a second. “Rose, are you awake?” Snow asked again, loud enough for it to reach the back room her partner had to be in. Before she made any decisions about anything… well, the blonde needed to be here. The two animals had to be cold, poor things. They must have come by here to try and escape the snow, which immediately had her heart strings being pulled on. Well, Rose wouldn’t mind if they came in just for a second, right? Gesturing for the wolf and bear to quickly come in to escape the cold, (and to prevent the loss of heat from having the door open) Snow closed the door behind them and waited for Rose to join them.
Rose was a heavy sleeper and had been ever since she’d mastered her witchcraft. There were protective wards on the woods surrounding their small cabin in the woods that would alert the girls to any intruder who wished to do them harm. Or at least that was what it was intended for. So far it had worked but there was always the off chance that they hadn’t performed it correctly. But when Snow called out for her in a worried voice Rose woke right up in a confused daze. Not wasting anytime to coverup her short, flimsy nightgown Rose jumped out of bed and hurried into the front room. “What is it Snow? Are you —” Her words were cut off when she saw the two animals standing outside their door. The bitter cold air was seeping in but she hardly noticed for she was far too shocked to see the wild beasts.
There was no fear in Rose’s heart, not after she locked eyes with the wolf in the front. It looked to be so kind and if it had wanted to attack, which was unlikely as all the animals from the woods loved her and Snow, it would have done so already. There was a fine dusting of snow covering it’s fur and she rushed forward to wrap her arms around the wolf. “Oh he is so sweet Snow! Can we let them stay with us? It’s so cold outside, they’ll likely freeze to death!” Her arms could feel the bones sticking through his fur, an indication that the poor thing hadn’t had a proper meal in ages. “He must be starved too! At least… I think it’s a he.” A quick look underneath the wolf confirmed this and Rose straightened back up with a nod. “Yes, he’s a he.” Rose began running her fingers through the thick fur and finally looked up at the tall bear who was also in the room. He was so large that he was almost intimidating but she could sense that he had a good heart, just like the wolf in her arms.
"Are you hungry?" She looked down at the wolf, hoping that perhaps he would be able to answer her. There were a few birds who could speak in a few short sentences and this wolf had a look of intelligence in his eyes, as if he knew and understood everything she was saying. Standing up slowly Rose was still waiting for a response but she didn’t want to waste time for something that might not come so she made her way over to the fireplace where a few rabbits hung to dry. She took two down and walked back over to the wolf. "Would you like some rabbit? He’s very good, I caught him myself. Almost got away before I could gut him but luckily I’m just as fast as a rabbit." With a smirk coming over her rosy lips she laid a rabbit down in front of both the bear and the wolf and stepped back to stand near Snow.
The moment Snow felt Rose’s soft lips on the skin of her neck, she was done for. Her head tilted away to provide her with a little more room, and a smile crept up on her lips. All of the blood that was coursing through her veins surely rose to the surface of her skin, tinting it a soft pink. The blonde just had to love to tease her like this - she knew it! Humming a soft noise from her throat, Snow closed her eyes momentarily as she was absorbed in the moment. A moment that was over all too quickly, once Rose pulled away to put the pie in the over. Ducking her head as she flushed an even brighter red, Snow tried to compose herself. Tucking dark brown hair behind her ears, she finally looked back up, only to meet her friend’s bright blue eyes.
She could stare into them for the rest of her life. Snow had no idea just where she would be without her best friend. Her partner, her love. The only person that she loved, as a friend, as something more. The trust ran so deep, she could hardly bear it sometimes. Maybe she was just a little too co-dependent of the remarkable young woman in front of her… but if that was the case, so be it. It was better than being miserable without her, something she knew she would be, if Rose wasn’t in her life.
Dragged out of her thoughts by that shimmering voice, Snow bit down on her lip as she finally composed herself from the kisses she had just received. She was all to easily swept off her feet. “Yes, of course.” Snow said, smoothing out her shirt as she fell back into the mindset of a trained hunter. A witch who would stop at nothing to protect the others around her from the evils that plagued this land. Now was no time to be a love-struck puppy, not with that troll on the loose. “I’m ready to go when you are.” She confirmed, eying over the supplies. It may be a tough battle, but she had no doubt that they’d return triumphant.
The troll hunt had gone according to plan, with no surprises, and the girls were able to make it back home just as the sun was rising over the tree line. Rose let her fingers play through the tall grasses as the girls walked back to their cabin. The bow strung over her shoulder swayed in time with each of her steps and she smiled at how well it had served her tonight. As they neared their house Rose felt as though a pair of eyes were on her. She looked around but didn’t see anything out of the ordinary, which didn’t put her at ease. Still she was too tired to investigate so she simply reached out for Snow’s hand and laced their fingers together with a grin.
Once inside of their house Rose dropped her bow off next to the door. The string was slightly loose and she’d have to tighten it but later after she’d gone to bed. “I’m going to lie down, love, I will see you in a few hours.” She leaned into her friend and gave her a quick kiss on the cheek. “That was really fun tonight, you did well.” And with one final smile Rose walked to the back of the cabin into her room and flopped down onto the bed, falling asleep almost instantly. It was only because she was so tired that she didn’t hear the knock on the door that came five minutes later.
Snow so loved her friend’s enthusiasm for everything that they did. Her ideas must be what got them through with flying colors, hunt after hunt. Every time Snow’s own mind failed her, she knew she could count on Rose no matter what. “I think I know which diversion is your favorite.” The brunette matched the other girl’s grin, her eyes distracted by her for a few moments before she got back to the potion in front of her. A little more blood of a lamb, she reminded herself before grabbing the vial and dripping one, two, three drops of the crimson liquid into the cauldron. It resulted in a bit of a smoky fog, but that quickly dissipated in a matter of seconds.
Although now paying a little more attention to her brewing, Snow’s eyes flickered up when she saw Rose stand up with apples in hand. Had she decided to make the pie now? If that was the case, she sure knew that she could eat a piece or two. The half of an apple as delicious - however not very filling. Mind distracted with all of her thoughts, the last thing she saw coming was the quick peck on the lips she received, but to no surprise, it caused a smile to break out on her face. A hint of a blush may have been visible upon her skin, Snow wasn’t sure… but hopefully Rose wouldn’t notice. “Cheeky.” She couldn’t help herself to say, before ducking her head back down to continue working on the last of the second cauldron that they needed.
"Would you like any help with that?" She asked over her shoulder, as she wouldn’t be against taking a short break to help her out with the pie. They had plenty of time before their confrontation with the troll tonight, so Snow felt in no rush to complete all of the brew they were cooking up. The pie though, she may have been in a little more of a rush to taste that. It did seem that Rose had it under control, though, per usual. Snow thought so highly of her friend and partner, she just hoped that Rose knew. Pulling herself out of her thoughts at the sound of a voice that wasn’t her own, she took a look at what the girl was doing. "Oh, I agree! What a good idea." Snow beamed, taking a look at the pie that was now being placed in the oven, just before the second cauldron was complete.
Surprising Snow with a kiss when she was deep in thought was one of Rose’s favorite things to do. It always brought such a lovely pink shade to her cheeks that she would do anything to bring out. An opportunity arose to deepen to blush when Snow offered to help with the pie. Rose waved her over with a smile and moved over to let her near the crust. Standing behind the girl she guided her palms to the tops of Snow’s hands so they could finish it together. When they pinched it all closed Rose rubbed her hands together to brush the flour off and turned her head to the side, kissing Snow’s cheek and then moving her way down her neck. The warmth of her skin beneath her lips was heavenly, the texture soft and velvety, she could kiss it all day. But she pulled back to put the pie in the oven and so she could admire the red color of Snow’s cheeks.
There was still a bit of sugar and apple on her fingertips so Rose slowly licked them off as she relaxed against the counter admiring Snow. They had been friends for as long as she could remember and she always enjoyed flirting with and teasing her every chance she got because Snow had the cutest reactions to it. Her feelings for her went further than usual best friend, sisterly love and she knew she couldn’t live without her in her life. They complimented each other so well and made for the perfect team.
The pie didn’t take too long and soon the whole cottage was filled with the lovely scents of cinnamon and apples. Carefully Rose took it from the oven and cut them both a slice. “The sun is setting. Do we want to head out after we’re done here?” All their supplies were set neatly against the door waiting to be put to good use by spilling troll blood.
Not that she was surprised, but Snow’s racing mind was put to rest by the confirmation that Rose hadn’t run into the slightest bit of trouble. Looking away from the blonde briefly to sort the ingredients into their jars or proper placement, she wanted to make certain that nothing was out of order. Some of these herbs looked similar enough to pick up by mistake, and the last thing either of the girls needed was for her to make a rookie error and mess up a whole batch over one little wrong ingredient that was tossed in by accident. Distracted only momentarily by her organization, that still didn’t stop Snow from immediately lifting her head up to look at Rose, once she heard the other woman’s smooth voice. A smile crossing her features at the words she spoke, Snow let out a little laugh. “They’d certainly be a fool for trying to cross you, that’s for sure.” Not much put up an even fight for the two young witches, not when they were prepared, and it wasn’t very often that the two of them weren’t.
Glancing over at the old, worn journal where Snow had been scribbling down the ingredient lists for potions for years, she may have been pretty familiar with the concoction that she was working on, but one could never be too careful. Bloodleaves were required, and luckily they had a vast quantity now, thanks to Rose. Taking a carefully considered handful, Snow ground them into smaller pieces, making their consistency easier to mix in. Glancing back up to that oh so familiar voice, Snow laughed under her breath at her offer. “I would love to, thank you.” She accepted, taking the half of an apple from Rose before taking a bite from it. Snow hadn’t realized that she actually had worked up an appetite, not until the other mentioned it. “Of course! It’s better to be safe than sorry.” Snow agreed to going over the plans, as that was perhaps a motto of hers - better safe than sorry.
Listening to Rose rehash the plans, her mind’s attention was split in two as she was attentive to both her friend, and the potion being brewed. She was always quite the multitasker… luckily, she had been getting a little better at that than she had been years prior. “I think all of that sounds like our best bet… but I agree, I do believe that we could use a trap.” Snow trailed off, a different set of traps and diversions all being mapped out within her mind’s eye. There was so much they could do to trap the troll who insisted on attempting to bring havoc, but the best option? That remained to be fully seen. “The salamanders should do just the trick, I think. Perhaps a few diversions leading up to the trap will buy us some time, in case things do go awry.”
Rose finished up her half of the apple as Snow suggested setting up a few diversions to delay the troll. It was a very good idea and her mind started whirling immediately with the best tricks ones could set up. She ticked a few off out loud for Snow to approve or disapprove. “We can lay a scent trail that will put him off the path, cause a rock slide in the gully, or get some of the birds to peck at his eyes.” A wide grin spread over her face at the last one. “Yes we should definitely do that.”
Adding a few of those notes to the end of their pans Rose then set down the quill and stretched out. Her limbs were slightly sore from the long walk and all the gathering and it felt good to rest them. Their cottage was so warm and comfortable and the smell coming off the cauldron was positively intoxicating. It made her stomach rumble and she thought maybe that pie should be made now rather than later. She gathered the rest of the apples from the bowl and stood up from the table to take them over to prepare on the counter. Before wandering to far from Snow she nipped back to steal a quick kiss and then turned back to make her pie.
With a contented smile on her face she mixed up the pie crust and rolled it out on the countertop. She laid it in the pie tin and mixed in a bit of apples, butter, sugar, and cinnamon before going over to seek out one of her salamanders. Rose whistled until one poked its head out from her hiding place and she took a hold of her. Quickly she brought it back to the pie and took the dagger off her thigh to cut along the creature’s stomach and pour the blood into the pie. “I think we could use one to make sure we’ve got our strength as well.” She put the top crust on and pinched the ends together to close it off. Once in the oven it wouldn’t take more than an hour to crisp up and, always the hungry one, she couldn’t wait to dig in.
As soon as the door closed behind her, and Rose was out in the woods collecting the items needed for the potion, Snow was worried about her. She was so very aware that her dearest Rose could protect herself from any creature that thought they’d be foolish enough to try their hand, but she still worried. Perhaps it was simply a part of her nature, but in any case, she tried to divert her attention back to the brew at hand. Snow really did think that Rose was just as good at the brewing as she was, but if the blonde wanted her to do it while she gathered the ingredients, she would not refuse. She did enjoy work like this, after all. There was a chance that it was obvious, as she organized all of the needed herbs and ends, humming a tune that had been stuck in her head for days along with it. Sage, poppy seed, lilac, frog legs, the blood of a lamb, and other countless ingredients were kept in jars around her, taken out only when they needed to be included within the brew she was concocting.
The supplies they had left wouldn’t be enough for what they needed to use on the troll, but it was best for her to start now while Rose was out collecting more. Snow knew that the other woman was very efficient, so it couldn’t have been too much longer now before she came bursting back through the door of their home, with overflowing basket in tow. Smiling at that thought, Snow brushed some of her dark hair away from her eyes, feeling foolish for not thinking to put her hair up while she was working on such a potion. She was actually about to go do so, when she was distracted by the other woman who just arrived - the vision she had been expecting to see. Grinning at the sight of Rose’s own smile, her eyes went quickly to examine her inventory. She saw a plentiful amount of everything they needed, and she had a feeling that Rose was right, and this would make four cauldrons easily. “I think you’re right, Rose! This is perfect.” She complimented, smiling back up at the blonde.
Her smile only grew bigger when she saw the other girl bite into the apple she had plucked from the bowl of fruits. “I think that would be a good idea. Relaxing after a hunt with pie? Cannot think of anything better.” Snow told her, taking the basket of supplies that Rose had gathered, and bringing them toward where she was working. This should take down the troll with ease, she thought. “How was your venture?” Snow began, hoping that everything went as well as it seemed. “No issues, I pray?”
Rose gave Snow a smile when the girl inquired about her trip, it was so touching how must she cared and worried about her. She set the apple down on the table and put a reassuring hand on her friend’s arm. “Everything went very smoothly, no issues at all.” With her other hand she lifted up her skirts to reveal the dagger she always wore strapped to her thigh. Rose slid it out of its holster and made a jabbing and slicing motion in the air. “And if I did run into any trouble then I wouldn’t hesitate to gut them on the spot.” Talking about the macabre always brought a smile to her face and this time was no different. She tossed the knife into the air with a flourish and caught the handle on the way down, stabbing down into her apple to cut it in half. “You want to share? All this potion brewing must have worked up an appetite.” She waved one half in front of Snow’s face while munching on the other half still attached to the blade.
Pulling out a chair at the table, Rose sat down and pulled their plans towards her to study as she finished her snack. “Shall we go over these one more time to make sure we’ve prepared for every outcome? I don’t want any surprises with that damn troll.” Her fingers smoothed out the pieces of parchment that detailed their every move and then a map that highlighted the route they’d take. “So on the positive side if this takes longer than planned we will just hold him off until day break when he turns into stone. The negative side is that day break is a whole five hours after we are expected to meet him and if it comes to that it will be exhausting.” Her lips pursed as she thought this over, trying to come up with a solution if it came to all that.
"It looks like we have more than enough potion for him but if he somehow takes a different path then we’ll have to be prepared. Maybe set up a trap. We’ll have to fortify it, thank the gods these salamanders showed themselves to me. They should do just the trick." She rapped her fingers on the hard mahogany and caused the little animals to scatter across the table. Laughing at their attempts to flee Rose made no move to stop them. When it came time to use them they would be easy enough to regather. "What do you think, do you have any ideas?"
In the woods was always when Rose felt she could be her true self. Under the cover of trees the only eyes which pried upon her were those of the woodland creatures she loved so much. She danced through the open meadow, bending down every so often to pick a particular flower and add it to her basket. To the untrained eye it would appear that the girl was merely gathering a bouquet of beautiful flowers but upon closer inspection one would see that they were all potent, magical ingredients for a potion that Snow was finishing back at their cottage. Snow was best at the actual brewing so Rose always left it to her, preferring instead to go out and gather all the needed ingredients. Once her basket was full she turned to skip off back home, very proud of her haul and excited to show Snow all that she’d found.
A cluster of bright orange on the trunk of a tree caused her to skid to a halt, almost spilling the contents of her basket but quickly saving it. On the tree was a small family of salamanders who would come in use very soon. Rose reached out a nimble finger and beckoned the creatures to crawl up her arm, which they of course did, intwining in a sort of bracelet around her wrist. With her new jewelry in place Rose continued on the familiar path until she saw the thatched roof and brick chimney peeking out over the tree line. When she was about ten yards shy of the place she could have sworn she saw the yellow eyes of a wolf staring at her from the shadows but upon second glance saw nothing. She shook it off, thinking that when one had werewolves on the brain they would hallucinate one every so often.
Rose burst through the front door with a wide smile and held her wrist out for her friend to see the basket and salamanders. “Snow look at what I have gathered for us. This should be enough for at least four cauldrons I believe, though you are the expert, not I.” She set the basket down on the table and brushed the salamanders off onto it as well before plucking a ripe, red apple from a bowl. Juice dribbled down her chin when she bit into the fruit and she sighed at its sweetness. “These are very good. I think I might bake a pie with them after we get back from out hunt tonight.” There had been whispers among the birds about a troll who was on his way to them and the nearby village, intent on gorging himself on human flesh as all trolls loved to do. The girls were putting a plan into action to stop him before he came too close and thus the need for such large quantities of this potion because trolls were so gigantic that they couldn’t risk running out.