It's night out, Snow White could tell that rain would be coming in soon. The cold air in the wind brushed across the bare skin on her face, giving her a chill. It might even snow, being this cold. She considered scooting closer to the fire that was still going strong after being started earlier that night. Then she decided against it. She wouldn't be able to get close enough because the bodies of the dwarves were sleeping all around it, snoring silently. The young girl pulls the blanket over her face to block out the cold air. The warmth from her breath and body filled the inside of her blanket and she began to inhale carbon dioxide a moment later. Feeling light-headed, she pulls the blanket off her head. She'd rather let her cheeks and nose burn red before she would let herself suffocate.
In her mind, Snow White thought about the situation she was in. For almost a month now, she, the Huntsman, and the dwarves have been on the run from the Queen's brother and her minions. Now Duke Hammond's son, William, had joined their rebellious group just today after a short battle with the minions that ended with the death of Gus and the Queen's brother. Snow White knew that Gus had strong feelings for her. She befriended him and developed a close bond with the young dwarf but knew she could never return his feelings. She saw him only as a friend. If he was alive, now, she'd soon have to tell him in the future that she didn't care for him the way he cared for her. He would've been hurt…very heartbroken. A broken heart is the worse death than death itself.
The sound of moaning and grunting in fear could be heard from across the other side of the fire. Snow White sat up slowly, wondering who could be making those sounds. She travels with her eyes across the sleeping figures; the Huntsman was sleeping soundlessly a few inches away from her as a few of the dwarves shifted uncomfortably around the fire. Her eyes landed on William who was the source of the sound. He kept flinching and moaning in his sleep as if he were being attacked.
Snow White stands to her feet, wrapping the blanket around her shoulders. Then she begins making her way over to her friend, careful not to step on the little people along the way. When she reached William, she sat beside him, leaning her back against the large boulder behind her.
"Shhh…" she hushes him soothingly. When she placed a cold hand on top of his, he instantly stopped moving and his eyes fluttered open. He stared up at her questioningly. "You were struggling in your sleep." She informed him softly.
The man takes in a deep breath before pulling himself up to a sitting position. "My apologies, princess…" he murmurs, rubbing his sleepy eyes. "Those dreaded nightmares never left me. After all these years I wished them to go away…I know it is because I left you. I brought them upon myself."
"Do not put yourself through this again, William," Snow White says to him. "You didn't."
William leans his head back against the boulder for a moment, staring up at the stars. Snow White did the same, watching as the clouds begin to move in slowly. The moon and the stares gave off quite a light this night but unfortunately their beauty will be entirely covered by the dark clouds that would soon, perchance, bring snow. Snow White could see her own breath escape her lips and float away, to become one with the air around her and feed Mother Nature that needed it so. William turns his head until he's facing her once more, his beautifully green eyes locking with Snow White's.
"I remember that day clearly…" he began slowly. "I wanted to stay behind, take you with me, but I wasn't strong enough. I let my own fear consume me whole and pull me away from you. The first few days, I tried to get back to you but…why wouldn't I let myself go?" he turns away in frustration with himself. Snow White stares at him unblinkingly. "The first few days I…relieved the day I left you and much more than that. I dreamt of what that wicked Queen was doing to you…hurting you…punishing you…murdering you." He pauses.
Snow White intertwines her fingers with his warm ones comfortingly.
William blinks at her slowly, his eyes sparkling. Was he…going to cry? "I'm sorry," he said it with so much emotion…so much guilt…so much contrite. "I am so sorry…" his voice cracked a bit and the tears threatened to spill from his eyes. He shut his eyes tight to keep the waters from dripping from his sad eyes.
Snow white releases his hand and places her hand on his cheek. "William," she says gently, trying to get him to open his eyes. "Please look," and he opens his eyelids slowly as if they were heavy as stones and forced his eyes to gaze into her orbs. "I know how you feel…believe me," she started silently, sincerely. "But you do not have to dwell any longer on what happened years ago, too many to count. You do not have to apologize anymore because I forgive you. I never hated you for leaving…I always forgave you…" she slowly lets her hand fall from his face and to his hand again. He squeezed her hand tightly. "I did hope you'd return to me one day…" she went on. "At the same time I…didn't. I knew that if you came…you'd be killed just easily as a small animal," William opened his mouth to protest but she put a finger to his lips. "I am glad you didn't come. I am glad that you are alive here…with me. Now don't…don't blame yourself any longer."
William stares into her eyes. She hoped her true words were sinking into his mind comfortably and that he wouldn't blame himself anymore. She hoped he has forgiven himself.
William nods slowly after a few moments of silence but his eyes still held pain. He pulls her hand to his lips and plants soft kisses on her fingers. "They're cold…" he murmurs. He begins to blow hot air onto her hand while rubbing it together between his hands. When that hand was warm enough, Snow White gave him her other hand to warm.
Snow White watched him patiently as he warmed her hand. He seemed determined and so focused on the task at hand. She appreciated him doing this for her but was confused at the same time. She was confused with him and with herself. When they were younger, they use to fight with each other a lot. She was always the victim of his tricks but they were best friends nonetheless. Whatever happened to that young, playful boy she once knew? Now he was a man. He grew into a handsome, attractive man with proper attitudes and manners. He was patient, skilled with his bow and arrows, and very efficient in almost everything he did. Those years growing up changed him for the good. Not that he was ever wrong or bad…just not as pertinent as he was now.
"Warm?" William asks suddenly as he rubbed her left hand between his hands.
"Warm enough. Thank you…" Snow White breathes taking her hand back. Strangely she felt this warm feeling in her belly. Perhaps it was the warmth from her blanket? No. It was something else. Something that had to do with him…this man sitting beside her. She knew he cared for her deeply, for she can see it in his eyes and his actions. What did she feel for him? What was this emotion that she was feeling now?
William scoots closer to her and she tenses. He notices this and immediately moves back away. Instantly, she regretted tensing up. She hadn't meant to do that. It was only a reflex. "No it's…it's fine." she nods brusquely. She allowed him to sit closer next to her and rest his forehead against hers, letting his hands wrap around hers. They stayed that way for a few moments, silently breathing in each other's breaths as the clouds rolled in. The fire had long ago died down taking with it the last of its warmth.
"For a long time I dreamt of this day…" William breathes against my lips. His smooth lips were just inches from Snow White's strawberry ones. "The day I would hold you and have you by my side. Those were the only dreams I was grateful for…"
Snow White closes her eyes. She didn't remember a dream she had of him. She only had dreams of him the first few months after he left her but they soon went away. From then on she only had nightmares and dreams of escaping the Queen's clutches. A swirl of guilt formed inside of her, swimming around, tormenting her with malice. She can't tell William the dreams she was grateful for because there weren't any to be grateful for.
For what it's worth, Snow White leans in and kisses him on the lips. William does not hesitant to return it. He kissed her as if she were fragile and that he might break her if he came off rough. He didn't seem sure where to put his hands though. Eventually, she felt one of his hands hesitantly rest upon her thigh softly and the other was left at his side. She felt him moving his lips against hers, slowly and passionately. She was aware of how careful he was being with her. He was incredibly well-mannered and not as aggressive as any man would expected to be. Nonetheless, she enjoyed herself, loving his soft, warm lips against hers.
The kiss only lasted a few seconds. Snow White found herself breathing against William's lips again. She felt him remove his hand from her thigh and place it on her cheek. He pushed a strand of hair behind her ear, sighing. His eyes were filled with so much affection and love.
"We should sleep," Snow White suggests, stifling a yawn. "Before the sun comes up."
William's eyes flickered in disappointment but he nodded.
They wrapped themselves around each other in the blankets and easily drifted off to sleep.