I've got a few revisions for Snow White and the Huntsman. I think this is going to be a quick couple chapters; this plot bunny is kinda small. We shall see. Starts the morning after the Queen is killed. I own nothing.
Snow woke with a start, her hands desperately groping around her for a weapon. She looked around the elaborate room, startled by the beauty that her stepmother was able to appreciate. She felt a wave of sadness pass over her and grieved for the woman who needed so much to satisfy her and ruined all chances at happiness to get it.
Last night was a blur. Celebration and exhaustion had worn her down quickly. The last thing she remembered from the evening before was sitting with Duke Hammond, discussing the crown.
"You are the rightful heir, my lady."
He shook his head at her dejectedly. Duke Hammond was a man of tradition and couldn't understand why Snow would even consider not taking the throne.
"I know what I am, sir."
She sat up a little straighter, trying to give off a little more authority. She had just escaped from ten years of imprisonment, by way of a sewer no less, and within days traveled through the black forest and killed her own stepmother freeing the land from her oppression. She damn well knew what she was. She also knew her rights. She had the right to live free, unencumbered by title. Although she had great passion, she had little desire to run a kingdom. A champion of the people? Yes. Their sovereign? No.
"I also know what you are. I have seen and talked to people under your protection during these long and dangerous years. You have the heart required to rule, as well as the knowledge. You will make a good King, and William after you."
She saw a light click behind his eyes at the mention of his son.
"You complement me too much, my lady. If you truly feel this way, let me be your advisor. Let me do what I did for your father. As for William, let us join our families. There is love between you, a child's love now, but in time it will mature. He would be good to you and he has been raised in the ways you would have been."
Her head was shaking, had been since she noticed the light in his eyes. She needed to be free of those walls, free of prying eyes, free of duty (as selfish as that felt). She had joyfully submitted to her responsibility after her escape. She knew that she could become the spark that put out the darkness in the kingdom. Now the darkness was vanquished, there was growth and life again. She had done her duty, now she wished to live her life.
"No, no. You see it isn't doubt of my abilities, it is disinterest. I know you too well to think this conversation indicates that you would not want to rule. You want to care for these people, you were raised to take up the crown if need be, you were second in line behind me when father died. I was raised in fear in a small room. I want to live with the people, to see and serve their needs daily, as an equal not as a queen."
Her eyes began to droop and Snow felt her body sway. A rough hand straightened her out before she could tumble off the bench. She heard Duke Hammond give someone instructions and felt herself lifted up, her eyes too heavy to keep open.
"Sleep, my lady, and we will discuss this in the morning."
We will most certainly discuss this…she thought to herself as she climbed out of the ornate bed. Looking down Snow realized she was still in her battle clothes. She had striped herself of her armor as soon as she could after the battle, and now she sat in a bloody tunic and breeches, boots still on her feet and a braid still in her hair. A light knock on the door shocked her out of her reminiscence.
"Yes..." she answered hesitantly, not sure if visitors were the best idea. She had been dirty before, the last dress she had worn for more than half the year, but the dried blood garnered too much attention.
"My Lady, a chambermaid has come to draw you a bath."
His rough voice caused her heart to speed. She felt her cheeks warm and fought to stifle her body's reaction to his voice. She walked out to the door and pulled it out slightly, not being able to resist looking upon his face again. Even in the state she was in. His eyes were soft and concerned and she froze for a moment not knowing if she would be able to move from that spot. She shook her head and glanced at the woman with the gown and soap in her hands. When her eyes rested again on the huntsman he was smirking.
"Yes, please come in. Thank you so much, it's been years since I've had a bath."
After the plump chambermaid entered and began filling the basin with the pitchers of steaming water she had brought, Snow turned to look at Eric. He was leaning casually on the doorframe, a smirk still on his lips and a suspicious twinkle in his eyes.
"If you would excuse me sir, judging by the stench wafting under the door as I approached it earlier I would hope that they have plans to draw you a bath next. "
His eyebrows shot up and her cheeks began to burn. Thankfully the chambermaid saved her from her embarrassment.
"Oh, I filled the horse trough this morning for you, sir huntsman. You'd better be getting on your way, though, the horses were a bit thirsty. I think I and the hundreds of men inside this castle right now might be able to keep her safe now, dear. No need to stay outside the door."
Snow looked at Eric curiously and watched as a wall seemed to slam in his eyes. Had he been the one to take her up here? Had he really sat by her door all night? Did his heart beat speed when he heard her voice as well?
"A word with you in the hall before I go, lady"
Snow nodded and followed him a few steps into the hall.
"Do you remember what you were speaking to Duke Hammond about last night?"
Her spine straightened and her eyes flashed towards his. She would not be bullied into a position she did not desire.
"Yes, and I meant every word."
His eyes betrayed his emotions for a moment and she saw a worry fly from them, soon displaced by skepticism.
"Do you truly know what that would mean, though? Think of all of the people you could help."
"Exactly, I've done all I set out to. Now I want to serve the people and know their names. I've never dreamt of being queen. I've dreamt of fields and forests and oceans, but no thrones. I will not budge on this, sir, and you are the last person I would have expected to challenge me."
His eyes softened and his hand reached for hers. When they touched she felt a spark and then sweet warmth that settled in her stomach. He pulled her hand to his mouth and kissed her knuckles, his eyes closing briefly as he did so. He released her hand and began to walk away, not turning back to look at her as he spoke softly.
"I needed to know if my hopes were unfounded, that is all."