This was written after I saw SWATH for the second time last Tuesday. I just loved the little scene of Snow White and William talking.

As always, I own nothing, and I very much hope you like this.

Slipping

She is slipping through his fingers once more, he can feel it.

As a child he worshipped the ground she walked on, taking pleasure in the fact that he was her favourite and they were inseparable. They would bicker with each other incessantly and he often accused her with all the boldness of youth that he could do more than her as she was just a girl. She was the one he always ran to when he was upset though and she would nurse him back to happiness, just as she did with the various woodland creatures they always found themselves rescuing.

He remembers the night he lost her so clearly. The chaos and the screams of the people as the castle was set alight by Ravenna's soldiers. He remembers the smell of the smoke and the pain in his arm as his father ripped him from his bed, dragging him down the corridors. He remembers the spray of blood as they encountered one of the enemy soldiers and his father drove his sword into the man's neck.

And he remembers the tearful look of desperation on the princess's face as he reached out to swing her onto the back of his father's horse with him, only for the horse to shy away at a nearby explosion.

She had screamed his name then, needing him to protect her, willing him to come to her aid. And he had felt relief as she was lifted onto another horse and they galloped towards the gate. His relief was short-lived though seconds later an arrow felled her and her rescuer and she was taken away screaming by the Queen's brother.

He hated his father in that moment, hated that he had abandoned Snow White to the mercy of the enemy.

That hatred had grown over time, as had his self-recrimination. He had failed to protect his princess; he had failed to save her from what the Queen had planned. He learnt to channel his anger and despair into his fighting, becoming a lethal challenge to any opponent. His father had watched him sink into fury with a bowed head, knowing that his son was not the only one who felt like they had failed their friends.

Then the news had arrived. The Princess was alive! It should have filled him with joy to know this, but instead came the realisation that once more he had failed her. He should never have believed the Queen's announcement that all in the castle had perished that night long ago; she lied about everything else, it made sense that she would have lied about this too. But that meant that for all these long and lonely years, his Princess, Snow White, had been imprisoned within the stone walls of the fortress and he had nothing to help her.

Searching for the Princess had been something that he had to do. His father hadn't understood; he merely thought that it was childhood adoration at play here, but he knew that it was more than that. It was the knowledge that all through his life there had been someone missing and now he had the chance to get her back once more. He couldn't fail her now.

So he had sought her and he had found her in the company of dwarves and a huntsman, a mere peasant.

His heart had rejoiced to see her again and he hoped that she felt the same way, that she still harboured the same affection for him that she had always had. She had welcomed him to their band of travellers with a smile and the hope of friendship renewed.

In many ways it is still the same between them, but at the same time it is so different, they are so different.

He felt it at that moment that something had happened to her, not the imprisonment or the torture that her stepmother had inflicted upon her, but something else. She accepted his help readily, but there was a niggling feeling in the back of his mind that part of her was holding back from him.

She had never withheld any part of herself from him when they were children. It had been part of what he loved about her.

So now he tries to reach out to her once more in an attempt to regain what they lost that fateful night so long ago.

She is walking ahead of him across the moors, the dwarves some way behind them, her Huntsman crossing the brook ahead. As she walks she lifts her face up to the sun and he is struck by her innocent beauty in the light. His feelings of love for her flood through his body and he reaches out to touch her arm, to halt her in her path, so he can beg forgiveness of such a woman.

"I would have come for you," he pleads, willing her to understand. "We were led to believe that all within the palace had perished. If I had known...I would have come for you."

"William," she breathes his name and his ears rejoice to hear it. "There was nothing you could have done."

Just like that she cuts into him. He knows that she means that kindly, but the simple statement strikes him as if she had wielded a sword.

He couldn't do anything to help her. He is worthless to her.

"We were just children," she adds.

They have reached the running water now and the Huntsman appears in his line of sight, holding out a guiding hand across the stones to the Princess. She accepts it, allowing him to lead her away.

He is her hero now. He is the one that she trusts to protect her.

Not him anymore. Not William.

As she moves away her arm slides out of his grasp and he is left once more on the other side of a barrier from her.

She has slipped away once more.

He has lost her once again.