A/N: I found the love story between Snow White and the Hunstman needed a little more investigation.

Bring Me Her Heart

0000

"I'm sorry, you can't have my heart," she had said almost politely, and the irony of the comment did not escape her.

0000

"You look rather fetching in mail."

He had said to her, as if she had not previously been lying dead on a bier, as if he had not come to her, drunk and crying, to reinvigorate her life with a vitality all his own.

Her mind harps on the words, and she remembers it all.

She has been kissed before him, by her father, gently, and less so by William, her almost-brother. Less gently and less frequently, as he presses his lips to her almost desperately. He knows that she does not love him, and this only enhances the despair.

They kissed in the woods, an almost-love with her almost-brother, before she almost-dies, and the significance of connection almost makes her laugh. Their's is a story of almosts.

She has haunted William, she realizes, a phantom of could-haves, would-haves, should-haves, and she has become someone in his mind that she could never be, not now.

00000

"You don't know who she is."

He is angry, irrationally so, when he learns that she has concealed this facet of her life from him. Although, honestly, he is not surprised.

They walk in silence that night, the burning village to their backs, occasionally breaking in to a jog to diversify the monotony.

"Why didn't you tell me?" He finally asks, when they stop to rest, partially swallowing the words in his thick accent and beard.

She looks up at him from underneath her thick hair, uncomfortably aware of the dirt lining her scalp. "Would it have changed anything?" She wants to know.

He shifts, weapons and buckles jingling. "Maybe," he concedes.

"Maybe that's why."

"That's not the real reason," he says, and she finds herself again surprised at the dichotomy that he is; the simultaneous lack and depth of his perception. He reaches a hand forward, as if of it's own volition, and runs a knuckle along the harsh line of her cheekbone. She holds herself motionless under his touch, unaware of why she is suddenly unable to breath.

"No," she finally agrees. "It's not."

00000

"You have eyes, Huntsman, but you do not see."

The words echoed in the silence and she caught her breath in her throat, unknowingly hanging on them, desperately hoping for a response, though none is forthcoming.

She wonders idly what he cannot see.

She cannot see the decades of grief that haunt him, cannot fathom the waves of despair he feels, cloying him, suffocating him, crashing around him. She cannot understand him, as he watches William kiss her, lying in the snow, the bloodred apple falling from her hand.

She cannot see the way that she watches him; the light in her eyes, the sparkle in her cheeks, the way she takes a pleasure in his company that she gains from no one else.

She can see the healing, and the way he looks at her, as she fixes the doll for the scarred child, as she dances around the fire to the dwarves' song.

"I suppose it's my turn next," he says, standing, when they have finished their odd pairing.

She drops a curtsy, surprising him, and his eyes snap with brief laughter. "I suppose so."

They dance, awkwardly at first, and then more gracefully around the small fire, and she realizes that he has lured her in to his arms. It darkens around them, as night falls more truly, and he unconsciously holds her closer. She does not protest.

He leans forward, resting his chin atop her head. "Hair black as night," he whispers, half to himself, as they sway around the fire. "But that's not exactly true, is it."

"No," she murmurs, and suddenly their faces are very close, and her heart is pounding. "It's lighter."

"She is the light," the old dwarf had said, or something very close, but she was his light, and that's all that really mattered after all.

00000

"Don't flatter yourself," he had said, when he leans down to rip away her skirt and she shies, like a frightened horse.

She is dirty, her clothes covered in mud, her pale skin obscured by years of grime, her hair falling in tangles around her face. But she is still the most beautiful thing he has ever seen.

The words cover a tremor as he leans down to divest her of part of her clothing, usually a more romantic endeavor. This is the closest he has been to a women since his wife, and he is accosted by the smell, something so inherently feminine that he almost finds himself choking.

He rips it away brusquely, ignoring her scared and hurt expression, ignoring the fact that she has been hurt, recently, by someone. She is barely his concern, his concern is the money—what she is worth.

But it is something about her helpless, cautious desperation, the way she throws herself into the sword despite her clear lack of knowledge, that makes him stop.

"Like this," his voice is low, as he shows her the correct placement of a dagger, and instructs her in the art of murder. "Don't hesitate." They are suddenly extremely close, and he can feel the way her heart is beating, rapidly, like a frightened bird's. He is overcome by the sudden desire to protect her, to pull her in, to never let it go.

"Got it?" He says instead, and pushes her away.

00000

She remembers the roughness of his beard, contrasting with the softness of his lips, and she feels again the moisture of a single tear, transferred from his cheek to her own. She remembers it all as she looks around the great hall, filled with her subjects, and has never felt so alone.

But she has been alone now for as long as she can remember.

Her eyes scan the hall as the red drains every last drop of color from her skin, and she knows that her lips, lips red as blood, are shining like a beacon, revealing the blood that she has spilt to gain the throne.

Was it worth it? She asks herself, and no answer is forthcoming.

And then he is there.

00000

"Yes, but I saved your life." She points out after the troll has attacked them, and he regrettably concedes: touché.

But she has almost killed him anyways, as his mind filled with fear and he hazily watched her stand, unafraid, in front of the gigantic monster.

He shakes his head a couple times to clear it, unable to quite process the scene he has just witnessed.

"Are you alright?" He asks her, and a million possibilities live and die in the sentence, as he aches to step closer, brush her off, push the hair from her eyes.

She smiles at him, and everything extinguishes in lieu of the glimmer of hope in her face.

00000

"Snow White," he whispers, picking her up off the ground where she has fallen. The Queen is gone and she is alone, as always.

"Only fairest blood," she mutters, and he looks at her, concerned, and then unceremoniously slings her over his shoulder, fetching mail and all.

She protests weakly, banging on his shoulder. "I'm your sovereign," she says, and then faints.

"You were very brave," he is telling her, and she gradually returns to consciousness, worried that she was dead again. She is lying on something cold, and hard, and someone has removed her mail. But no warm lips caress hers to call her to wakefulness, and she regretfully opens her eyes, remembering it all.

"I was?" They are in an abandoned corridor. Her head is cushioned against a fallen stone, and he is sitting next to her, legs crossed, looking tired but alert.

His hand comes forward to stroke her hair, and she leans into it with a sigh. "No kiss this time?" The words slip out before she can stop them, and she is surprised by the faint tinge of a blush high in his cheekbones.

"Was that a royal command?"

"I believe you could construe it as such," she says archly, managing to be regal even from her stone pillar, and he leans forward, softly brushing his lips against hers. The world seems to stop for a moment, but he pulls back all too soon, and the sound of swords crashing outside the window returns her to the present.

"Where are the others?" She manages to ask when she has caught her breath again.

"Still rounding up the last of the Queen's supporters," he replies. "I wasn't sure where was safe, and I couldn't carry you for long. This was the best I could do."

She pulls herself into a sitting position, groaning at all the aches and pains. "It's perfect," she smiles at him. And then, "did you remove my armor?"

"Don't flatter yourself," he laughs, and then pulls her to him again.

00000

"I'm sorry, you can't have my heart," she had said almost politely, and the irony of the comment did not escape her.

It's already taken.