First snow in Beijing. This moment crept upon me, and I had to write it. Enjoy.

It was snowing.

It had started during the night and hadn't stopped. The snowflakes twirled unsteadily in the air, moved to and fro by the wind, before settling on their final bed, the roofs, the sidewalks, the road. Everything was covered in a thick blanket already, some of it already ruined by the footsteps of those who had to get up in the morning. The air was cold and crisp, and came out in white puffs, even his own, reminding him that he was human, here.

Mister Gold's bad leg throbbed painfully in the cold weather, but he found he didn't mind. He liked snow; for all it reminded him of his lonely castle back in the Enchanted Forest, he liked snow. The pure, unmarred fabric had always moved him. It had an exciting effect on the people of Storybrooke, too, he realized as he – regretfully – trudged his way to his shop. Already there were children throwing snowballs at each other, laughing, jumping up and down. The adults were more composed, but there was also a spring to their step, a peculiar inflexion in their voice as they spoke louder than usual. Even his passage barely hindered their good mood. He was fighting not to smile, as well; he was the villain figure, the black spot amidst the white, their reminder that reality was not as beautiful as the morning snow made it seem – it would not do to smile.

Yes, Storybrooke was definitely more agitated today, he decided as he walked up the step of his shop. He stopped there, on the threshold, for one last look before going in to his dark wood and antiques and age and loneliness.

And that's when he saw her.

She was standing on the other side of the road in the middle of the sidewalk, still when all around were moving, silent when all around were speaking. She was looking up in wonder, her blue eyes opened wide to the beauty of the falling snowflakes, her pink lips slightly parted; her own blonde hair was slowly turning white, and the flakes made a sharp contrast against the red of her leather jacket, but she didn't notice, so caught up was she in the moment. Mister Gold stared. The sheriff was a matter-of-fact, down-to-earth woman, a woman who would swear magic didn't exist if she was threatened with a gun at point-blank, a woman who only believed what she saw, who had a hard time trusting people and who never showed her feelings if she could help it. And yet there she was, watching the snow like the little girl she'd never been allowed to be, still, silent, reveling in the magic of it all.

Emma Swan had always been a beautiful woman – but now, she was splendid.

And then the moment passed and Mr Gold could not retain a sigh escaping from his lips as she looked down, once again caught up by time and space. From across the streets their eyes met. He could not help smiling then, a tinge sadly as he regretted that the instant had not lasted longer. He gave her a nod, knowing what to expect. She would scoff or glare or sneer, and turn away as she always did when dealing with him.

Yet she did not. His heart skipped a beat when she smiled, for it lit up her face in a way he'd never before been privileged to see.

And he would have gone inside his shop, content to treasure this moment and replay it in his mind – except she was crossing the street. His hand tightened around his cane as she stopped next to him, his heart sent pounding in a way it hadn't for a very, very long time.

"Hello, Mister Gold." There were those blue eyes looking into his own, and this long, blonde hair full of snow, and this smile that tugged at something inside of him. She was so close. He almost trembled, and the cold had nothing to do with it. "Beautiful day isn't it?"

It was a second before he found his voice. "Indeed, Miss Swan," he replied with a dry throat, causing his tone to be slightly rough. His heart still pounding in his ears, he drank in the sight of her; when he answered, he was not speaking of the day. "Beautiful."