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Dorothy“I was afraid. I couldn't lose you to Zelena”
Red“Well, yeah, but I almost lost you”
Dorothy“You didn't. You came back for me”
Red“I always will”
— True Love

Ruby Slippers is the femslash ship between Red and Dorothy Gale from the Once Upon A Time fandom.

Canon

PAST

Mulan and Red arrive in Oz searching for Red’s pack. She loses the scent and they decide to try and find a way back to the Enchanted Forest, just as Red hears a growl. A small dog appears. Red is about to pet him, calling him Toto, when Dorothy appears. She points her crossbow at them, demanding to know if which one is a witch, since Toto only barks at witches. Red says that Toto barked at her because she’s a werewolf, not a witch. She goes to pet Toto, but he starts to run away. Dorothy chases after him, but he begins to get lost. Red offers to help her but Dorothy doesn't want it. Red calls that she’s going the wrong way and tells her the correct direction. Dorothy is a little impressed and starts to follow them.

The three get to where a tornado touched down and begin to search for Toto. Zelena appears and the three pull their weapons on her. She reveals that she was here after being banished and only wants to get back to her baby. Dorothy doesn’t believe her, but Zelena only demands that she be given the silver slippers to go back. Dorothy won’t give them to her, but Zelena reveals that she has Toto. Dorothy starts to lunge at the dog, but Mulan holds her back. Zelena will give back Toto in exchange for the slippers, and magics away.

The three begin to make a sleeping powder to knock out Zelena, and the only ingredient they need is poppys. Dorothy knows where to get them and Red decides to go with her. Dorothy tells her that she can handle herself, but Red didn’t ask for permission. There is a moment of uncomfortable silence before the two leave.

As they walk towards the poppies Red asks about Toto. Dorothy reveals that when she came back from Oz the first time her family thought she was crazy and tried to have her committed. The only person who stopped that from happening was her Aunt Em who died shortly after, but was the one that gave her Toto. Red assures Dorothy that they’ll get him back, and she understands what it’s like not to belong, since her entire village ran her out, since she wasn’t so in control of her shapeshifting and accidently killed her boyfriend. She lived on the run after that, and although she found people that cared for her, she still felt like something was missing. Dorothy asks if that’s why Red came to Oz, but Red actually came to look for her pack since she thought that’s what was missing. She’s not sure if that’s actually what she was looking for. Dorothy takes a step towards Red and asks her what she is looking for. Red’s not sure. Dorothy says that’s the problem and starts heading towards the poppy field. Red takes a moment then follows.

They get to the poppy field, and Dorothy warns Red to be careful. Dorothy apologizes for calling her Wolfie since she didn’t know about the village. Red says that it’s fine. In fact she kinda likes the nickname. Although she thinks it should be fair and gives Dorothy the nickname Kansas. She laughs at the name but allows it. Red goes to pick up a flower, but Dorothy pulls her back a moment letting her hand linger on her shoulder. She doesn’t want Red to accidentally get hit by the seeds and picks on of them. She gives Red the flower and the two smile at one another. Suddenly several flying monkeys appear. The two begin to run, but Red knows of a faster way. She asks if Dorothy trusts her and Dorothy hesitates for a moment before saying yes. Red takes off her cloak and transforms into a wolf. Dorothy is shocked but gets on Red’s back, to get away from the flying monkeys. They make it back to Mulan, who asks what happened. Dorothy explains that Zelena came after them, before putting Red’s cloak back on her. Once she’s human again, Red asks if she’s okay. Dorothy takes a moment to answer, but is fine. She feels tired, blaming the poppies, and goes to get some sleep.

Mulan gives Dorothy a vial of the sleeping draught and goes to inform Red, who sounds hurt. Mulan can tell that something is off and asks Red what’s wrong. Red explains that when Dorothy asked her what she was looking for she couldn’t tell her, but she’s realized that she was looking for Dorothy. Even though they’ve just met, she’s never felt this way for anyone before. Mulan asks what’s so wrong about that. Red saw the way that Dorothy looked at her and transformed, and thinks that Dorothy is freaked out. Mulan believes that Dorothy feels the same way as Red, and just couldn’t voice it. She tells Red to not be like her and not wait too long to tell Dorothy how she feels. Red decides to go for it, and goes to Dorothy, only to find that she’s gone. The only thing left of her is a scrap of cloth.

PRESENT

Red lies unconscious after the Charming Family finds her. They don’t know why she’s in the underworld aside from a piece of checkered cloth. She wakes up and ask her how she got here. She explains that she used a tracking spell to find Zelena to help Dorothy. She doesn’t know what happened to her after she went to face Zelena. Despite looking everywhere with Mulan they couldn’t find her. She becomes distraught, blaming herself for Dorothy going missing, but Snow tells her that it’s not her fault and they’ll help her find out what happened. They then head off to go talk to Zelena.

They get to the farm house before Zelena can take off. Red demands the Zelena tell her what she did to Dorothy. Zelena shows them a magic mirror that reveals Dorothy. Red becomes distraught again, thinking that Zelena killed her. Zelena actually put her under a sleeping curse, which Red demands that Zelena wake her up from, but she can only be awoken by true love’s kiss.

Red paces back and forth, upset about Dorothy. Regina then comes out and gives her the silver slippers she was able to get from Zelena. Red thinks they won’t do any good since there’s no one to give Dorothy true love’s kiss. Snow asks if there was anyone that could help Dorothy. Red knows that the only person in her family that was good to her was her Aunt Em, but she’s dead. Emma thinks that Em might still be there, and they go off to look for her.

They arrive at the Underworld version of Granny’s diner to get information from the blind witch about Em. They find her at another diner, they reveal that Red knows Dorothy and she asks Em for help. She needs her to blow true love’s kiss into a bottle, in order to wake her up from the sleeping curse. Before she can do so Em screams and turns to water. Hades appears and reveals that he was the cause.

Back at Granny's Red worries when Snow finds her. There’s no one else left to give Dorothy true love’s kiss. Snow doesn’t believe that, and thinks that Red should. She can tell how much Red care’s for Dorothy and let’s her know she can tell her anything. Red says that Snow is right. Snow asks why she’s not headed to Oz now, but Red doesn’t think Dorothy feels the same, so the kiss wouldn’t work anyway. Snow keeps encouraging her to try but Red is scared. Snow says that love is worth the risk and Red decides to give it a try.

Red uses the silver slippers to get her and Snow to Oz, where they find Mulan and a sleeping Dorothy surrounded by its citizens. Red thanks Mulan for finding Dorothy and Snow gives her some reassurance before she goes to her. She hesitates for a moment before placing a kiss upon Dorothy’s lips. A glow of true love’s magic spreads across Oz and Dorothy awakens. Red is in tears as she helps Dorothy sit up and asks why Dorothy left. Dorothy was afraid of losing Red to Zelena, but Red almost lost Dorothy. But that didn’t happen because Red came back for her. Dorothy places her hand on Red’s face and the two kiss.

In the Underworld, Henry writes what happened in his storybook.

Fanon

Most fans are mixed on the couple. Fans overall liked the couple, and were happy to see LGBT representation in Once. Many also thought that it was handled the same way any couple had been on the show, which is more an insult towards the writing of the show than the couple themselves. Fans however were upset that the couple would not appear ever again, as Dorothy only started to appear in that season (with the exception of her child appearance in season 3), and Red had become a minor character. There were also those who thought that Red would end up with Mulan, since she had previously been confirmed to be a lesbian/bisexual. Mulan never got a girlfriend.

Fandom

FAN FICTION

Dorothy/Red tag on AO3
Ruby/Dorthy on FanFiction.Net

TUMBLR

Ruby Slippers tag on Tumblr
RedKansas tag on Tumblr
Ruby x Dorothy tag on Tumblr
Red x Dorothy tag on Tumblr
Ruby Slippers posts on Tumblr
Ruby x Dorothy posts on Tumblr
Red x Dorothy posts on Tumblr

Trivia

  • The ship name Ruby Slippers originates from the episode where the pairing became canon (and their only appearance together).
    • It's also used in reference to Red's real name, Ruby, and Dorothy's silver slippers
    • In The Wizard of Oz film the slippers Dorothy wears are ruby instead of silver
  • Ruby Slippers is the first canon LGBT true love in Once Upon A Time.
  • Dorothy calls Ruby "Wolfie," while Ruby calls Dorothy "Kansas."
  • The term "Friends of Dorothy" was a slang term back in World War II, used to say that someone was gay out in public, without having others know it's meaning.

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