Hello. My first fanfic ever, but I've been reading so many for a really long time. So...if I'm on here, does any of this really belong to me? I think not.

To take that first step

Before Shirayuki's parents had died of the plague sweeping across Tanbarun, she had asked them many questions, some involving love.

"Papa, how did you know Mama loved you?"

"Mama, how did you know Papa loved you?"

"Papa, how did you know Mama didn't hate you?"

"Mama, how did you know Papa didn't hate you?"

And her parents would smile and say, "I just had to take that first step."

And now, Shirayuki faced that problem.

What if Zen didn't return these feeling bubbling up inside her, threatening to spill over and out until she screamed it from the highest tower in the castle?

I, Shirayuki, love Zen, the second prince of Clarines.

How could she know that he didn't hate her? If he did…she would be devastated. Would it be better not to know? What if he despised her for thinking of him this way? What would she do then?

"I just had to take that first step."

Could she be that brave?

She put on an air of confidence and greeted Kiki.

"Hey, Kiki."

"Shirayuki, Zen's just finishing up his papers for today, so you can go on in." Kiki, still emotionless, opened the door for her.

Shirayuki popped her head in first, observing Zen, waiting to see if he noticed her presence.

He did.


"Hi, Zen." She walked cautiously closer to his table. He noticed the concerned face she was failing at hiding, stood up, and stepped towards her.

He took her hand. "Are you okay?" She turned red. Like her hair, Zen inwardly commented.

"Yeah," she muttered, looking away from him. "I, uh, just wanted to know…"

"Mmhmm?" he prompted, bending his head down to see properly into her eyes.

"Doyouwanttogotakeawalkwithme?" she bubbled out. "Outside of the castle, I mean."

He laughed. She turned redder, nearly matching her hair, and tried to tug her hand away. "Yes, yes, Shirayuki. Calm down." He grinned at her. "Wait a bit for me?"

She smiled. "Yeah."

They walked past the gates, out of the earshot of the gossiping guards who were whispering and chuckling at their beloved prince and his best friend.

Once well into the neighboring woods, Zen turned to Shirayuki. "Clearly, you have something to tell me, otherwise we wouldn't be out here. Please, tell me whatever is on your mind." His concerned eyes drew her in, diminishing her confidence just a little.

You just need to take that first step, Shirayuki.

"Okay. I can do this," she mumbled.


"No, uh, yeah, I need to tell you something. Before I explode, ehehe." She laughed nervously, and twisted her hands together anxiously behind her back.

He waited expectantly.

Go. There it is, the first step.

She steeled herself and--


She winced. She hadn't meant to yell it, just say it with enough force and meaning and –

"Ah, you beat me to it." Shirayuki looked up in surprise. Zen was blushing, but then again so was she, and he had hidden half his face with one palm. "I wanted to say it first," he muttered.

"W-What?" she said, disbelievingly.

"Well," he said, resigned but with a quiet happiness, "that means I can do this now, right?" He stepped closer to her and cupped her face, face completely serious.

"What are you – mmph."

Her eyes fluttered closed, but flicked open again when he moved back.

She stared at him. He waited for a reaction apprehensively.

She looked away from his eyes, and he grinned. "Shall we go back to the castle now, Shirayuki?" he asked, offering her a hand.

She allowed him to take her outstretched hand, and they walked back in peaceful silence.

All she had to do was take that first step.