William was vaguely aware that he was at some sort of ball, and was also aware that he was a.) surrounded by simpering women and b.) simpering right back. He was enchanted by two of these young women particularly, and couldn't make up his mind which he liked more. They were both so beautiful and gracious, so talented and humble, so wonderful, so gentle...each was practically perfect in every way. He was also vaguely aware that something was not on, but for the life of him he couldn't figure out what it was...nor could he summon up the energy to care. He was, as has been already stated, surrounded by beautiful women, so that was naturally all he ought to care about.

And it was all he did care about, for a good portion of the evening...until she claimed a dance.

He wasn't sure what it was about this particular young woman that set her apart from all the others; even apart from the beautiful Marie and the lovely Susan. Possibly her height, he mused as he lead her onto the dance floor, noting with a small sting to his pride that she was quite a few inches taller than he was. It could've been the size of her hands, which he could easily say were the largest set he'd ever seen on a female. It could also have to do with the fact that as soon as the music started up, she took off at once, attempting to lead.

"You know, usually it's the man who leads during a dance," he heard himself say. The young woman flushed and immediately withdrew, allowing William to lead the dance from there on out. He regarded her icily. She stared without hesitation directly into his eyes, seemingly completely unfazed by his stony gaze.

"I hope you're not holding out hopes for a proposal," William said after a few uneventful turns about the dance floor. She regarded him with obvious surprise.

"I'm sorry?" her voice was quiet, and rather low. Something about it niggled at the back of his mind—it was such a familiar voice, he was sure he'd heard it somewhere before, but he couldn't figure out where.

"I said, I won't be asking you to marry me. You're too tall. Do you realize how ridiculous we'd look together at state and social functions?"

He was surprised when she gaped at him—that was not something he'd ever seen a woman do before. However, she quickly recovered her composure and apologized, explaining that had not been her intent when she had requested a dance.

Why is her voice so familiar!? He asked himself as they lapsed back into silence for the remainder of the dance.

Once the music ended, he fled back into the adoring arms of dear Susan and Marie, and danced with them each as much as was polite to all the other young ladies waiting for a turn. Every once in a while, he caught sight of the tall damsel in white out of the corner of his eye, standing on the edge of the crowd, watching the dancing.

It was near midnight when both Marie and Susan abruptly disappeared to greet a friend, and William was left to entertain the rest of the ladies without them. He wasn't as happy about this as he thought he ought to be--after all, what man could be so ungrateful as to not fully appreciate the task of dancing attention upon multitudes of adoring, beautiful women?

It was then that she appeared again—shoving rudely through her smaller contemporaries, stepping on feet and elbowing stomachs in her drive to reach him. Leaning close to him, she placed one white-gloved hand appealingly on his arm and said,

"Excuse me, my lord, would you do me the great honor of joining me for a moment on the terrace? I have something I desperately need your advice on; only your advice will do,"

As she spoke, she stared imploringly into William's eyes. His first instinct was to refuse—who was she but a nameless acquaintance, after all, to ask him something so easily, and in such a personal way? And yet...

And yet...

Her voice, her hauntingly familiar voice, spoke to him even as her words did not.

He fought with himself for a moment, reason arguing with curiosity, but finally, curiosity won out. Perhaps if he talked with her more, he could figure out why her voice was so familiar, and then go back to dancing attention on Marie and Susan in peace...

He smirked and offered her his arm. "Of course, my lady," he said. He lead her out onto the terrace, which was surprisingly empty, and waited for her to speak. The mysterious woman took a deep breath, as though gathering her courage, turned to him, and removed her mask.

She was rather plain under the feathers, but her dark eyes were intense as they stared into his. He felt a stirring in the back of his mind, some long dormant thought fighting to wake up at the sight of her face. She was so familiar! Where had he seen her before?

He didn't allow any of his thoughts to show on his face, instead waiting for her to speak.

"William," she said, leaning much closer to the prince than he was comfortable with. He remained silent, however, and waited for her to continue. "I need to get this off my chest, but I'm not sure how to say it..." she trailed off, staring once more into his eyes, her expression forlorn, lost.

For some reason, seeing her look like that caused a thrill of concern to race through William's stomach, and he frowned in irritation. Why was this woman causing him to have such odd feelings?

Apparently alarmed by his expression, she hurried on, "I want you to know...if you want to run away with me, I'll go. I won't dance around the issue any more: I love you, and if you'll have me, I won't argue."

William felt as though his heart had suddenly stopped beating. He knew her, he knew her, but from where? Why was his mind so cloudy, so messed up? Why couldn't he call to mind a name to go with that face, with those eyes, with that voice, that voice that was driving him insane as he tried to think--

As he frantically tried to remember, because she obviously knew him, and he knew he knew her, she placed her hand on his left shoulder, leaned down slightly, and kissed him.

The instant their lips met, he remembered.

Cinder.

Not a woman at all, but a man, dressed as one.

Cinder had come to the ball, had somehow gotten in, dressed as a woman.

Cinder was here, at the ball.

Cinder had just said that he would run away with him, if he'd asked. He had just told him the one thing he'd wanted above all else to hear for many years; Cinder had just told him that he loved him. And...

Cinder was kissing him.

Cinder was kissing him.

Cinder was kissing him.

Just as it occurred to William that he ought to start kissing back, a voice cut in and strong hands pulled Cinder away.

"Cinder! We need to go!"

"Arachne! I'm busy!"

"I can see that! But you did what you needed to do, and now we need to go! Hurry up!"

William caught sight of a lime green-haired Elf Queen pulling Cinder away from him, and he stared after the strange apparition, and more specifically Cinder, face blank. Cinder's retreating face was a mask of despair, staring back at him, and it tore at William's heart. Before he could even take a step after him, however, Cinder was gone, tugged away and back into the crowd.

Alarmed, William followed. His mind was surprisingly clear—surprisingly, because he hadn't properly realized before now how muddled and cloudy it had been. Ever since he had first encountered...them...in Cinder's glass shop, he'd been...under a spell.

"Prince William!"

"There he is!"

"Prince William!"

An enormous crowd of women converged as one when they spotted him, crowding around him a flock of silk, brocade, and velvet birds, blocking his progress. Still feeling the shock of Cinder's confession, he didn't snap at them as he would have normally, only stared at the retreating white gown which clothed his beloved peasant.

Well...he would just have to chase him in another way. It wasn't as if he didn't know where Cinder lived, after all.

----

After discarding his...'ball costume', he would call it (and throwing it in the freshly lit fireplace in his bedroom), William donned a simple outfit of black trousers and tunic, along with a pair of black boots and matching cloak, and snuck out of the manor. Let his subordinates handle the rest of the ball. The cloudy memories of dance after dance pressed against various soft female bodies turned his stomach, and he had no desire to repeat the experience ever again.

William slipped into the stables and picked out a black mare, just to continue with his sneak-thief theme. He was planning a burgling operation, of sorts, so he figured he might as well. Smiling sardonically at himself, he quickly saddled and mounted the horse and kicked her into motion.

The cool midnight air felt wonderful against his face as he encouraged the mare into a faster gallop. There was silence all around him except for the pounding of the horse's hooves and the sound of his own rather rapid breath.

Cinder's country estate was to the south of the city, but the miles passed quickly on the roads, and he was there almost before he realized how far he had come. The house was dark, so he walked the mare for a while to cool her down, then settled her in the stable after giving her a cursory rubdown with a fistful of straw.

That done, he stared up at the dark, slightly imposing manor and tried to remember how he'd snuck in the last time he'd visited Cinder in his room. It had been several years since he'd been able to get away so completely, so his memory was a bit rusty.

After a few moments, however, he found the woodpile which he climbed to get up on top of the kitchen roof. From there, he made his way to the lowest eve around the side of the house and pulled himself up, straining a bit; it had been a while since he'd done anything this strenuous. After a few moments struggle, though, he pulled himself up to the next level and lay on his stomach for a moment, willing the feeling back into his finger-tips and arms.

After a minute or so, he felt ready to continue on upward...all the way to Cinder's attic-room window, which he could see from his current position. It was propped open with a block of wood—a stroke of luck for Will.

After several more minutes and one slightly scary moment when he slipped on a patch of damp roof tiles, William lay triumphantly, panting slightly, in the middle of Cinder's narrow bed. In the dark, he couldn't see much of the room, but it still felt the same. Small, cramped, warm, and incredibly...homey. William plumped the rather flat pillow and propped it against the wall so that he could lean against it while watching the bedroom door.

He was just nodding off when he heard the slow, heavy clomping of Cinder's boots on the stairs outside the room. Jerking into wakefulness, he withdrew as far as he could into the hood of his cloak, hiding his pale hair and skin in a mask of shadows.

The bedroom door creaked open, and William could just make out the dark shadow of Cinder against the darker shadows of the hall. Why hadn't he brought a candle...?

Cinder trudged over to his bed and seated himself on the end, shoulders slumped. He propped his elbows on his knees and buried his face in his hands. Not sure whether to be alarmed or amused, William watched in silence, looking at the shadow of Cinder's broad back.

It was completely quiet for several minutes, before the silence was broken by a loud sob. William stared at the black shape that was Cinder in astonishment as the sob was followed by a sniffle and indecipherable mutterings.

Figuring that he'd better not wait any longer, William deliberately pushed off his hood and leaned forward slightly, causing the bed to creak. Cinder started and whirled around; all William could see of him in the dark were the whites of his eyes.

"I know I didn't react all that well at the ball, but certainly that's no cause for you to run home sobbing, is it?" he asked leaning forward in an attempt to better see Cinder's face. From what he could tell, the other man was gaping, slack jawed.

"What's this? I come all the way to see you and you have nothing to say?" William teased, leaning closer still. He could see the shiny, damp trail of tears tracing twin trails down Cinder's cheeks, and wondered why he was crying. He didn't really think that the other man was sobbing his eyes out over him; he knew there must be some other reason for it.

"...Will?" Cinder finally managed to get out.

"Yes?" William responded with exaggerated patience.

"Will...Margaret...is dead."

William blinked. Cinder's words didn't seem to want to lodge in his brain properly. Cinder's stepmother couldn't be dead. Yes, he recalled with a slight shudder Marie mentioning something about her mother being sick, oh the woe and tragedy, but he'd never thought...

...Well, it didn't matter what he thought. His friend was upset, and that was his concern at the moment.

"Oh, Cinder," he said softly, reaching out to his friend and pulling him into his arms, something he'd wanted to do so many times over the years. He was a little surprised when Cinder nearly squeezed the breath out of him returning the embrace, burying his face in the crook of William's neck. William smiled slightly as he breathed in the scent of his beloved peasant. He could smell some lingering girly perfume, but under that was the faint scent of iron and sweat, just as he remembered.

They stayed like that for a long time, with Cinder sniffing occasionally and William gently rubbing his back.

"It's just so...unexpected," Cinder said when he finally pulled away. "I knew she was sick, and I haven't seen her all month, but still! She's just..." he trailed off, wiping his eyes and sliding his glasses back onto his face, as he'd taken them off to hug William. He was silent for a moment, staring at his lap, and then his head shot up and he stared at William.

"Will! What are you doing here? I thought..."

Despite himself, William laughed. Scooting forward and dropping his feet to the floor, he sat on the edge of the bed right next to Cinder, pressing his thigh against the glass smith's. For good measure, he took one of Cinder's hands in his, lacing his fingers through Cinder's and squeezing gently.

"You saved me, Cinder," he said quietly, staring at the shadow of their joined hands. "If it weren't for you, I...would've done something awful. And I don't think I would have ever regretted it. I was like...a completely different person. I wasn't me, and I didn't care! I could tell something was wrong, but I didn't care! And..." he trailed off, aware that he was rambling, and angry at himself for it. This wasn't like him. He'd only just gotten back in control of himself, and he was already losing it...in front of Cinder, no less. He expected Cinder to make a smart-ass remark, but the other man simply sat there by his side, holding his hand, and listening patiently, waiting for him to continue.

They sat in silence for a long time, legs pressed together and fingers entwined. Finally, William spoke again.

"Did you really mean it when you said you'd run away with me if I asked?"

He expected Cinder to pause, to hesitate; he half expected the man to deny that he'd ever said such a thing in the first place. He was surprised when Cinder responded immediately.

"I really did."

"Really?"

"Really."

"Alright then. Will you run away with me?"

"When do you want to leave?"

William could have laughed. How had this happened? How had his best friend, who he had been pining over for nearly as long as he had known him, come to return his feelings? There must be some higher power out there, watching over him, helping him along. There was no other explanation that William could think of.

"Right now," he said. "Let's go right now."

"Alright."

This time, William did laugh. He hopped to his feet, pulling Cinder up after him, and twined his free arm around the man's waist, pulling him close. He frowned momentarily when he realized that his friend was still slightly taller than him, even without ladies' slippers, but waved the thought aside as he leaned up and kissed Cinder.

Cinder returned the kiss eagerly, bringing up one hand to cup William's jaw, and freeing his other from William's grip to wrap around his waist and draw him closer still, pressing their bodies together from knee to chest. William wrapped his free arm over Cinder's and around his back, gripping his shoulder. The kiss deepened, though whether by his own or Cinder's efforts, William didn't know. He was aware of the sensation of heat deep in his belly, a pleasant warmth that soon spread to other places.

Without breaking the kiss, he nudged Cinder into sitting back down on the bed, following the other man's movements closely and straddling his lap once he was sitting so as to continue kissing him.

When he pushed him down flat on his back, William half expected Cinder to break away and ask him what the hell he was doing. Instead, he snorted in amusement and rolled over so that it was he who was laying on top of Will.

"What are you doing, peasant?" William growled, narrowing his eyes. In the dark, he could still see Cinder smile pleasantly.

"This," his friend responded, and did something to Will with one of his hands that shocked all protests out of the prince's mind.

-----------

The sky was just beginning to lighten with pre-dawn grey when Cinder and William left the house and crossed the yard to the stable, where they saddled and mounted their horses. In the misty chill of the early morning, the two rode off, side by side, without looking back.

-------------

"What? You're kidding me!" Arachne said, surprise evident on her face. Red sighed in irritation, because the volume of her voice was much too high for his pounding brain to endure. He hadn't slept a wink last night for the fact that subconscious guilt kept gnawing at his mind whenever he'd let his head touch the pillow. So he had stayed up the night to go and rectify the problems that were the Montblanc sisters. "Both girls--completely changed?"

Red, who was nursing a hot cup of camomile tea to ease his nerves, nodded numbly at the woman. "Yes. Totally transformed...I hadn't recognized them until they told me that they were Susan and Marie Montblanc," he said, frowning quite a bit.

"But...they also told you that they didn't remember a thing of the last few months." Arachne pointed out, taking a sip of her hot chocolate. She had made a small fortune for the shop, helped a man win his true love, and saved the kingdom from total ruin--she deserved to indulge herself after such a stressful night. "That's a little hard to believe, don't you think?"

Red scoffed into his tea. "Tell me about it. Then again, their crying and cluelessness was so convincing I had to believe them." He paused. "That and it shut them up long enough for me to figure out what to do with them."

For all intents and purposes, the baker had sought out the two girls, expecting them to be still enchanted or what have you, either clinging onto some poor sod who didn't have the sense to get away or primping themselves, and try to set them straight somehow. Instead, he'd spent most of the night wandering aimlessly, trying to figure out where the girls had wandered off to (he'd checked all parts of the town and its outskirts--and that included quite a bit of the surrounding forests) only to find them lost, scared and in a very fragile state outside Tempus Manor. When they heard him calling out their names (he'd been rather desperate at the time since quietly searching had proved fruitless) when he'd swung by the manor, they had rushed towards him as if he were a lifeline--clinging onto his clothes for all they were worth.

It had been pretty difficult handling the girls. Red had had a lovely time trying to sort the girls out as they demanded of him what was going on, where they were and how they had gotten there--when they weren't wailing, of course. Apparently the loud, shrieking, harpy like voices had not been a side effect of the spell they had been under, so Red had been treated to a cacophony of woe for about a half hour (and beyond that, still). After that, he'd set about taking the girls home and found--much to his chagrin--even more tragedy and woe when Marie and Susan had discovered themselves completely abandoned. This led to much more crying, awkward moments, and a migraine that had gotten worse with every second.

Sometimes Red just wished he was a total bastard instead of just a selfish bastard. At least, if he were a total bastard, there would be no redeeming qualities about him at all and he could have gone on with his life without batting an eye at the girls and their rather terrible circumstances. But, as things often were, he was merely an irritable little mortal who did things because his conscience told him to do it and wouldn't leave him alone until he did it. It was like a cricket you heard chirping at night really loudly and no matter how hard you tried to block out the sound--you couldn't get rid of it.

After promising them that someone would come to take care of them, he convinced the girls to get some sleep so he could trudge dutifully back to his comfy couch for some well-earned sleep...

...only to realize that it was morning and he had to go early to the market to shop for breakfast.

And that was how he'd ended up at the kitchen table of Arachnia and Arachne, Seamstresses, with a huge headache the size of the moon, weary and tired with dark circles under his eyes. His mood had already been very foul since he had learned who 'Warren' really was, and his sleep depravation had made it much worse.

At least he had tea.

"I wonder...how did they change back?" the seamstress mused, absently twirling a lock of her lime green hair around a long finger.

Re shrugged. "Your guess is as good as mine, Arachne." He told her, looking perplexed himself. It was a very good question. He was quite sure that most sane men wouldn't have touched the girls with a ten foot pole and that the ones under their spell had become so mindless that they couldn't breathe without the girls telling them to, so the spell hadn't been broken, in the usual way. And the possibility that whatever enchantment they had been under had simply worn off didn't sit well with him. Something had to have happened...

"Yeowch!"

"Red! Are you alright?"

The baker nodded, waving a hand dismissively as he held his head with the other.

Or maybe, just maybe, he was being paranoid and thinking too much.

They didn't speak of the matter anymore as there wasn't much left to say except for speculations, and neither was in the mood to listen to or make those. Instead, they quietly enjoyed breakfast together passing the butter, scrambling over who got the last piece of bacon--just normal things, as if they hadn't helped to save the relationship of two people and, consequently, the safety of an entire kingdom. She moved to clear up the table and he went to help her do the dishes. Side by side they soaped, rinsed and towelled off, falling quickly into an efficient routine that left them room to speak to one another.

"..................."

"..................."

Not that they did, but had they wanted to, they could have made some sort of conversation about the weather or the latest jousting contest or archery tournament (which would have, admittedly, brought them to think of Cinder and speculate on how he was faring now that all was said and done, but if they did it would lead to even more awkward topics and neither of them wanted that).

Time passed by quickly with the two alternatively doing errand work or work inside the shop, putting things back into their proper place, receiving rented costumes and setting them aside to be properly cleaned. Both were keeping themselves busy, not wanting to have to say good-bye...for what was there left for Red in Tempus now that his chores were done? He had a life to get back to.

But the time for farewells was drawing near, and Red couldn't find something to do that could keep him inside the shop much longer. As much as he had dreaded Arachne's company two weeks ago, he had made his peace with the woman and was now quite comfortable in her presence. Even so, it was time to hit the road and head back to his cottage in the Fluffy Forest of Forbidden Fruits. He was already groaning at the name in horrible anticipation. Hopefully he wouldn't meet up with the forest's dreadfully sweet and well-mannered demon guardian on his way in, because he wasn't in any mood to deal with anything even remotely magical for a while yet.

After a nice late lunch filled with sweets Red had spent half a morning baking, he put on his cheerful trademark red cloak, swirling it with a flourish before fastening it around his neck with care. Arachne escorted him from the shop and down a good distance towards the outskirts of town, with the seamstress talking about this and that. She didn't want to have to say good-bye herself, but if she was going to have to, she'd make the most of the time they had left by talking his ear off.

"You remember to write, you hear Red?" Arachne said, hands clasped behind her back as she walked with the younger man. Red nodded, but knew he'd probably neglect to do so when he restarted his daily routine of running a bakery again. He was sure he had a lot of lost time to make up for. A visit to Wonderland and its schizophrenic ruler was in order after he was settled at home good and proper.

"I'll do my best Arachne." He said. "You find yourself a nice guy, alright?"

She grinned. "I'll do my best." She said, echoing his words. The both of them laughed a little while, then fell back into companionable silence. They kept going like that until Arachne had to stop, saying that the very edge of town was as far as she could go. Before the comfortable silence turned into something awkward, she enveloped Red in a hug that he returned rather fiercely. It was a little out of character for him, but humans tend to be spontaneous every once in a while.

"Bye, Arachne," he breathed.

"Be seeing you around, Red." Arachne replied.

And that was that. With one final squeeze, smiles of encouragement, and a wave of their hands, the two parted ways. Red faced the world outside of Tempus and took a deep breath before taking the first step on his journey back home.

His mind wandered down memory lane as he traveled the roads towards Baker Town and his forest home beyond it. He remembered the annoying princess (who had really been an annoying prince) and her three fairy godmothers, and the time they spent together. He grinned as he passed the spot where he thought Robin Hood and his Merry Men had robbed him and the others while riding towards Tempus. He remembered how angry and desperate he had been in the afternoon following to get his basket with its precious cargo back so he could fulfill a terrible prophecy (and was reminded how he'd ended up losing the basket anyways at Wicked's castle later on).

He walked through the Sleeping Forest carefully, wondering if he could, per chance, meet up with a friendly face or maybe just a familiar one. He didn't think he could face his grandmother for a while, yet. Even if he hadn't seen her in some weeks--he did have an ongoing promise to visit her every week to do some chores around her house or to just spend time with her, after all--he wouldn't be able to get the thought of an otherwise sweet little old woman slipping him a condom out of his head for quite some time.

He passed by Hunter's cabin without seeing the man. He was most likely off taking care of the forest--or at least keeping the unwary traveller from getting lost. Maybe even helping a damsel in distress somewhere. The thought of his ex-boyfriend finding a nice, normal girlfriend to fawn over both made him feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside, while also making him want to be violently ill and wildly jealous at the same time.

He passed by the gates to Wonderland, noting with a worried expression that more than one soldier now guarded the entrance. They knew who he was, of course, and had actually been present during the whole spectacle involving himself and Wolf, so Red had to move quickly, while blushing a bright cherry red when they asked how the baby was coming along and if they could feel it kick.

Wolf. Now that was a person he wished he didn't need to think about. What a strange man!

At first glance (or ten-year long stare, if one wanted to argue technicalities), the silver haired man was simply just a scruffy, dirty minded stalker who just didn't know when to quit. And then he became a sort of quiet hero who stood off to the side, hiding in the shadows waiting for when Red needed to be saved. And after that, he switched to a sweet, gentle, almost normal man of whom he had wanted to spend more time with, back at the Masquerade when he hadn't realized who he was. All of these images clashed horribly with one another. Who was the real Wolf? What did he care anyways? Why did he do the things he did?

"Like you, dear Red, he doesn't have a fairy godmother, and he's destined to continually stumble into his True Love's arms all the time, though he has no clue it's happening."

Red stopped as Love's words suddenly--out of the blue--passed through his mind. He shook his head in disbelief as one thought connected with another to link up as one. No, it couldn't be what he thought it it? The man was a plain old stalker...albeit a nice one when he wanted to be...Downright heroic if he checked...

The baker looked around him, wondering where Wolf was right now. It was three times now that he had spurned the man. Once in his youth, once after he had saved him from Wicked and the last time at the ball (at least he hadn't hit him with anything that time). He couldn't see the man anywhere, but at the moment, there wasn't much place to hide. Red felt a little disappointed when he realized the man in black leather wasn't around, but continued on ahead.

But then, he saw the strangest thing sitting ever so innocently near the next bend in the road. He thought he was imagining it, but there it was...his basket, in one piece, atop a boulder with a note attached to its lid. Not stopping to check its contents or if it was booby-trapped, he ripped off the note to read it.

A precious item retrieved and a gift freely given.

Love,

Wolf

Red wondered what he could mean by a 'gift freely given' and opened the basket. The food left inside had been thrown out and the inside of the basket smelt faintly of lemon. Whatever else that wasn't disposable had been left in place, but that wasn't what had caught his eye. Reaching inside he carefully pulled out a little doll--an effigy of the scruffy man who had been chasing after him for ten years...in angel form (albeit, still in black leather).

The baker didn't know whether he should chuck the doll into a ditch or start chuckling as hysteria began to take over. Instead, he quickly shook his head and remained calm as he glanced around again for any sign of Wolf. Not that it would do any good, he admitted to himself. If the man was hiding, (something he was very good at, Red had noticed), then he wouldn't be able to see him unless that was what Wolf wanted. He could also have gone on ahead of him...Either was possible, and, either way, he wasn't around that Red could tell.

Still, he put the doll back into his basket and hung it in the crook of his elbow as he made his way home again in relative peace, an odd feeling of safety following him. When he got home, he found another note waiting there for him on the door. It made him smile somewhat. Even if the sender wasn't around anymore (and he had good reason not to be as Red knew that Wolf wasn't the skipping and frolicking sort), he knew he was watching.

With that in mind, Red felt both relieved and had the urge to shake his fist in the air.

To the amusement of the Higher Powers, Ironic Overpowers, and a certain wolf watching from the shadows, he held his hand up and did just that.

-(End Book I)-

Kiwi's notes: Well! This was quite an adventure, wasn't it? Don't worry, my dears, we're not done with Red and Wolf yet. They might take a small break, however, because yours truly has made the very silly decision to study abroad this upcoming fall term. That's right, I'm making a pilgrimage to the Gaming Mecca of the World (aka Japan), and will be studying like a madwoman as I attempt to make heads or tails of the spoken Japanese language. I'm fairly sure we'll be able to continue writing, but not at the pace we've been going for these past few chapters; that was an extra special effort we made in an attempt to finish the 'Cinderella' arc before I took off for foreign lands.

Anyway, that's about all I've got to say. I now turn this little Author's Note over to Apple, who has many things she'd like to say to you as well, I'm sure. Ciao! : )

Apple's Note: Excuse me as I scream for about a good twenty minutes, go to the Muffled Weeping Corner and then toss myself off the Jacque-Cartier bridge. sniffle I miss my Kiwi already. Why? Why must we be separated?! Whhhhhhhhhyyyyyyyyyyyyy?! Pourquoi?!

I miss you already, Kiwi. I'm only half as awesome without you. is heartbroken

clears throat Alright, now that I've gotten THAT out of my system, I would like to thank everyone that helped make this story possible. They being the Brothers Grimm (who are most likely spin cycling in their graves), Disney (because—lets face it—we grew up watching them), people at the PPC boards who were interested enough to join the forum to add their opinions (Props for Rez!), the fans (where would we be without you guys supporting us?) and my dearest angelic partner (who should REALLY get that halo of her's fixed), who is the coolest person in the entire world. hugs her

goes back to sniffling pathetically, tries to trudge on without crying

Now, as stated, we are NOT done with Red and Wolf. Not at all. XD In fact, we've planned so far ahead that you guys will be enjoying 'Little Red's Fairy Tales' for a loooooooong while yet (unless something happens to separate Kiwi and I further…like an earthquake in Tokyo which sends her into intensive care…or worse). And, at the moment, we are planning out the first chapter of book two as we speak. nod nod BUT! While you guys wait for the wonderful Book Two to be started…I have several side stories that I will be writing for you guys. And guess what? You get to choose which one you want to read first!

The choices are as follows:

One Card Short of a Full Deck

This is a story about the royal family of Wonderland, or just Wonderland in general. It ideals with—specifically--Fourteen and his life. Fourteen chapters, a prologue and an epilogue. Yes, it DOES explain how he met Red.

Angel and Demon

This story happens to be about how the Ironic Overpowers came to be and reveals quite a few things about what they did before they decided that meddling in the affairs of mortals in a fairy tale realm is a good idea. This is a three-shot.

The Talk

This is a one-shot where King Bartolby is set with the task of giving innocent little Briar Rose the Talk when s/he comes in to complain that s/he isn't…er…like other little girls.

Have fun choosing! Also!! We will have a special chapter for this book made just for you guys! What is it? Well! It's a Q and A session with the Ironic Overpowers, of course! Ask us any question you like and we'll do our very best to answer them in an interview/flashback story format. Sound fun and fair? Good!

On a random side note, I decided (with Kiwi agreeing) that we should try to get published. Not professionally, though, but copies of Book One will be available for sale on the net if anyone is interested (then again, we want paper back copies ourselves, so we don't care either way). All we have to do is get the story polished/editted properly and I just have to get off of my lazy bum to design the cover for the book…as well as illustrations that will be EXCLUSIVE (in other words: NOT POSTED ON THE NET) to it. This includes a 10 page comic before the first chapter begins. Another exclusive feature to the book is that it will contain the MISSING EXPLICIT SMUT SCENE between Cinder and William that we decided to leave out so we could retain our 'Teen' rating on the site. Heh.

sighs I think that is about it. Should you require updates on the state of things…either head to our web site's forum or a livejournal that I will eventually make. Both links will be in our bio.

And so…I sign off for now. Thank you everyone!