A crow flew to me, kept its distance
Such a proud creation

Snow had always kept her distance from me; even before her father, even before the secret, even before the marriage. She was always the girl hiding behind the pillar and watching us speak, though she should have learned that 'if I can't see them, they can't see me' is not a valid theory many years prior. I could see her out of the corner of my eye every time I walked through the gardens, disappearing in the shade of an apple tree with that silly, obnoxious robin of hers. Cellion was the name, I think – though I can't fathom why I would still remember that, after all these years. Then again, it is true that I never tried to reach out to her. It was always him who through some heinous trickery managed to have the two of us in the same room and at first, I was willing to comply. I saw her pride was getting hurt as much as mine, and in a way that now seems ridiculous, this simple fact was the first step for us to grow closer.

I saw its soul, envied its pride
But needed nothing it had

But then she betrayed me and I wished desperately for our – my people to only call her Snow White because of me making her skin ice cold and paler than flakes. And so when I sent the lonely hunter after her, there was no pang of regret in my chest. The only regret I felt was at her successful escape. The huntsman I had picked might have had a wolf's composure but he lacked the emptiness I had been looking for. Snow White, however admired, however adored, was a parasite that had to be eradicated, although no one else could see it.

An owl came to me, old and wise

Pierced right through my youth

I was in my orchard at night when Mr. Gold approached me for the first time. Funny how our encounters always seem to play out there; perhaps I should stop coming. I had always suspected he knew more than he would tell – and he would, if paid appropriately, tell a lot. My message had gotten through and he had found the right boy for our transaction. I was overjoyed, but couldn't help but wonder where his path led. Though I have lived to see kingdoms fall, I was a toddler in my own realm then.

I learned its ways, envied its sense

But needed nothing it had

Mr. Gold taught me about caution, presumption and the price of knowledge. He taught me how to live on coin and thrive on more than just other people's discontent; their confusion, their blank expressions, their weaknesses. But in the end, this was a war like any other in history, and the most important thing in war has always been both-sided pain. You could say now that this defeats the purpose of war, and you might be right. I suppose we are all simply masochists, dangerously desperate and desperately dangerous. Basking in the one piece of knowledge I possessed and was sure he did not, I smirked as I promised him comfort.

A dove came to me, had no fear
It rested on my arm

Out of all the people I've known, Maleficent was the second person I've never seen openly fear me. It was not that she was emotionless – certainly not, for sometimes her anger spoke louder than mine – rather that she chose well what emotions to show. We both knew that within our circle, there was no such thing as partnership in crime, yet she kept playing this game; and I followed her example, because she was my only friend.

I touched its calm, envied its love
But needed nothing it had

It was that ridiculous pony of hers that made her crumble and I could only stand in the corner, utterly helpless, as she traded in our common ways for a pathetic excuse for momentary bliss, seemingly having forgotten all about our ideals, wishes and longing. Her desire wasn't strong enough to beat this creature and I knew someone had to do it for her – but it wouldn't be me, because by losing her essence, she lost my companionship as well. It was taking away all she was and she couldn't see it. And so I scoffed and showed no mercy as I threw knives at that disgusting four-legged, malicious beast.

A swan of white, she came to me
The lake mirrored her beauty sweet

Once upon a time, there was an Emma Swan. After twenty eight years of solitude, I had been blessed with a challenger, and where others might retreat, I took the opportunity to push forward. Where Gold had failed, she would succeed. Where Maleficent had remnants of compassion, she would lock them away and give in to rage. Where Henry was innocent, scars decorated her bare back. I would lie if I ever were to say that Miss Swan hasn't intrigued me since the beginning.

I kissed her neck, adored her grace
But needed nothing she could give.

There's no point in lying now that I'm planting kisses on her neck and touching her in places the poor white bird never even knew existed until I showed her just how far my power can reach. She gasps and I pause, taking in the sight for a moment before our eyes meet and she dares me to move. I stand still for a while longer. I need none of the things she is willing to give me. I want all the things she will not give up easily.

I will make her crumble beneath me like I have done so many times already and our lives will go on because it will always be the same.

Author's Posthumous Note: I promise I will stop oneshotting and get back to the serious stuff, really. I just needed to get this out of my system because the song taunts me every time it mentions the "swan of white."