Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Character/Pairing: Charming/Snow, Ensemble
Challenge/Prompt: 1_million_words Bingo: Fluff #1: Make Believe, Baby Animals, and Fairy Tale
Word Count: 2,234
Date Written: 4 March, 2016
Disclaimer: All characters are in the public domain. However, I always think of Disney's when writing fairy tales they've done. :-)
It isn't on a mere whim that I skip from the castle and through the guards, demanding they don't follow me. I've been thinking of this for months, for nearly a year actually. I've been thinking of it ever since you brought me here, dear Charming. I know you mean well, but this is all I've wanted since you awakened me.
I want to feel the cool, green grass underneath my bare toes. I want to feel the wind in my dark hair. I want to see the trees and the animals, not house after house with ever more people. I want the forest. It is my home. I may have been born in the city, in a castle like you, but I've never belonged there. I am a being of the wilds. I can feel it singing inside of me. This is the right route, the only route my life can take and truly have a happily ever after ending.
They say those don't exist, that they're only fairy tales, but then most of those people who say so also say my brothers do not exist, that Dwarfs and Witches and curse, too, are all only make believe. I know better, my dear Prince, and so do you. They may not exist in the city, but they do exist. The Dwarfs saved me first, and then you saved me when they no longer could.
Only, sometimes, I wonder if you really saved me. Please don't misunderstand me. I know you saved me from my Evil Stepmother. I know you saved me from the curse. You were the right one to break it, the only one who could. You are my soul mate, the only man to whom my heart can ever belong. You could not have broken her spell had you not been so.
But you are not, and you never will be, the only one I love. You are the reason I have stayed within these walls as long as I have. I do not wish to disappoint you. I never meant to hurt you. But I can stay here not a moment more.
The forest is calling me. Her call has not hushed the entire time I have been gone to try to build a life with you, to give you the life you want for us both. She used to beg and plead for my return. It was all I could do not to go home with them when my brothers would visit us. Every time they left, they took another part of me with them until they stopped coming.
I know it hurt them to stop, but they couldn't bear to see what was happening. It was Grumpy who told me they would not return again. Only he could look in my eyes and tell me that they hated seeing what I had become but were happy for me as long as I was happy. I did not have the heart then to tell them that I was not truly happy, but I can no longer hide it now.
They felt the city was a cage in which your love had locked me. They were not entirely wrong. The city was a cage, but I know you never meant to lock me inside it. You never meant to cage me, only free me from the Sleeping Curse. You did free me, my love, but you put me right back inside another cage.
My brothers were right. The forest is my home. The only time I have been happy away from her is when you've held me in your arms and kissed me. I do have happiness with you, my love, but the city is a cage. Every time you left me to deal with some border problem or some other official something, I felt like my wings were being cut again.
But now they're open once more. I'm running now, full out running down the path winding away from the city. I feel the questioning looks of passer bys on their way into the city. They do not understand why I am running. They see no one chasing me, but I can feel her. The city even now is trying to pull me back into it. Soon, the guards will realize that the Queen has escaped and has no intention of returning, and they will be after me. But if I can just reach the forest, I'll be home, and safe, forever more.
You gave me everything you could. You broke the Curse. You loved me as to the best of your abilities, and I do love you, my Charming. But I love the forest, as well, the wind and the Earth, the trees and the animals. It is Spring time again. Baby animals are just beginning to awake. There will be so many being born. I look forward to seeing every one of them.
I wish you could see them with me. I wish you could feel the soft velvet of a baby deer's nose and the downy feathers of a tiny bird not long having hatched from her egg. I wish you could see the rabbits bounding through the flowers and the tall and proud stag watching over the forest and all her creations. I wish you could see the wonders I will and feel the love that will be shared.
But you are not of this world. Your world is behind me now. Made of stone and steel, it is so utterly unfeeling. I will not miss it at all, but I will miss you. I hope you can come to understand and to forgive me. I forgave you long ago, my love, for I know you never meant to imprison me. You only wanted to love me.
I run until I can run no more, and it feels great. It feels more than great. I have no words to describe the emotions singing inside me now. I am free at last. I am home at last! I start to sing my joy. There are no words to my song, but it resounds throughout the forest, melding with the birds' songs and bringing forth friends I have not seen in oh so long.
I pet every head. I am greeted with smiles, wagging tails, and tender, gentle licks on my fingers. I've been cold ever since I left here, cold like the Winter, held back by steel and other man made things, but I am warm now. I am free now. I am home!
I run through the forest, and my animal brothers and sisters run with me. I run until I reach the cottage. The sun is high in the sky. My brothers are still at work, and so, whistling joyously, I set to work as I did the first time they left me here. I wash linens and clothes, scrub clean dishes that look as though they've been used again and again without ever a touch of soap, and make beds. I sweep the floor and tidy their tings, putting everything back into place, and all the while, I sing. All the while, the animals keep me company.
They will not let me out of their sights, but they need not fear. I am home now. I am never leaving again! No man, Prince or otherwise, love or otherwise, will ever take me from here again. I sing, and I dance, and I work with a smile and a happy glow that I have not felt in months.
It has been a long, cold, and dark Winter away from here. Every day has been Winter for me, trapped in a darkness the most brilliantly shining sun could not penetrate. Every day, I have been surrounded by people, and yet, I have been alone. I have not been whole until now.
My brothers come home to a feast for I have cooked like I have not since I left home. That was yet another thing the Queen was not supposed to do. I was not to lift a finger, not to clean, not to cook, not to wash. I was to do nothing but sit pretty while I ruled over them at your side and in your wake. I have never been one who could do nothing. I take pleasure in doing things for others.
We dance the night away. There is no band within all your kingdom who can make music like my brothers can. Even their prettiest music is still restrained. They are limited to a fine number of notes, but my brothers use everything they put their hands on to make a rhythm that keeps us joyously waltzing all night.
In the morning, they do not want to head out. They do not want to return to the mines and leave me here not because they fear what may become of me should the Queen find me again. Oh, the Queen has not bothered them the entire while I've been gone, they say. I have a feeling there is much more to it than that. I have a feeling we'll never see her again, and not simply because you broke her curse. No, I quite suspect Grumpy at least has done something to her, but whatever the cause, she is no longer a threat to any of us.
Whatever the cause, we are safe again, even if we were unhappy for far too long. But I assure them, every one, that I will still be here this evening, and I will. If the guards come for me, they will have to kill me, because I will never willingly return with them, or with you, to such a cold and unfeeling place. I am gone from there forever. I am back home, and I will never, ever leave again, no matter what.
I kiss every head and send my brothers on their way. I start with their laundry today, washing shirts and hanging them to dry. The animals never left last night. They chose places to sleep inside and around the cottage instead. They are no more eager to leave me than my brothers were, but they have nothing to fear. I am where my heart has been all along.
But as I hang a shirt to dry, your hand catches mine. I jump at first, startled. My tongue is set to argue, but when I look up into your eyes, sweet Prince, I can find no words with which to argue. I have not missed the city. I have not missed the people there. I have not missed their rules and expectations. But I have dearly missed you.
You take my hand in yours and lift it to your lips. You kiss my hand, and a thousand shivers race through me. Your touch has always had that effect on me. That's why it was so hard to remember I was trapped for so long. Every time I was ready to run, you would take me in your arms, and I would fall underneath your spell again.
I will not fall today. I will not go back with you. But your eyes are shining today not with expectations but with something else. You spin me around and around. We dance for hours there in the forest until you accidentally sway me into one of the deer. I look down, apologizing already, and I see the fear in her eyes.
You bend with me as I stroke her, but I am no longer apologizing merely for bumping into her. I am promising her I will not leave again, promising her and all the other animals and my brothers, though they can not hear me at this moment, and, most of all, myself. I will not leave again. I love you, my Prince. I do. You are my soul mate. But I will not leave my home again not for you or for any one.
You take my hand again. You lift it to your lips and kiss me once again. You do not try to pull me away, and now, at last, I think I'm beginning to understand why your beautiful eyes are shining so. I move to ask you, but I can not find the words. Then you smile at me, and my heartbeat flutters like wings that suddenly have the power to fly again.
"Do you think," you ask me softly, "the cottage can hold nine?" And now, I'm soaring! I'm soaring in your arms! I'm soaring in your love! The long Winter is over. I am awake! I see it all, and at last, I understand it all! Fairy tales do exist, as we already know, but I am in possession of the rarest of all "make believe" beings: a good man! Your hand is mine; my heart is yours!
But never again will we leave this place. This is my home, and because it is my home, it is yours, as well. What is mine is yours, and what is yours could be mine if I want it ever again. I do not, but I do want your heart, your soul, and I have them. I have you and all my family, all my friends, our home. I am complete. We are complete, and here we will dance and love and laugh and live happily ever after at long last!