Rating: M. One scene with adult activities.
Disclaimer: Not my characters, just my words.
Author's Note: Set in the Enchanted Forest, after true love's kiss waking Snow, but before the dark curse is cast.
They're holding hands. Such a normal thing, and yet Snow frequently glances down at their intertwined hands with wonder. Their fingers are laced, their palms touching, an intimate yet casual show of affection that she never thought much about seeing other couples do, yet now feels like the most wonderful thing in the world.
They're together. Her and Charming, a couple holding hands. A couple. She knows they have so many challenges ahead of them, with Regina, with King George, with the kingdoms, yet at this moment, they all feel possible with him at her side.
Because she loves him. She thinks she has loved him from the moment she saw his mother's ring on his finger and it just felt right, or maybe it was from that moment on the troll bridge when she realized she just had to save him even at risk to herself, or maybe it was from that moment when he risked his life to save her from Regina's knights, or maybe it was even the moment she saw him and he grinned cheekily up at her. Maybe she fell a little bit more in love with each of those, and they added up. She isn't sure. She is just certain that she loves him, that she will always love him – and that changes everything.
"Snow," he says, and she looks up at his face. He looks hesitant, she notices, almost pained.
"What's wrong?" she asks instantly, lifting a hand to his cheek.
"I wanted to tell you this earlier," he says hesitantly. "There just never seemed to be time. Snow, I... I'm not who you think I am."
"I think you're Charming," she reminds him softly, and he smiles fondly for a moment.
"I am your Charming," he agrees, his eyes seeming to caress her face lovingly a moment before he looks down. "But I am not Prince James."
Oh, she thinks. She did suspect there was more to the story given the remarks King George made when he threatened her to lie to Charming about not loving him, but she wasn't sure just what.
"My name is David," Charming goes on, and she can see the tension in his shoulders. "James was my twin brother. I didn't even know I had a twin until recently."
She remains silent as he continues, explaining that he is actually a shepherd, that he was forced to impersonate his brother due to threats against his mother and that King George resents him for not being James. It's enough to make her already low opinion of King George plummet even further, and she bites back a great deal of anger. Charming will just think it is directed at him, and she doesn't want that.
"I'm sorry, Snow," Charming finishes with, and she can hear him swallow softly. "I didn't want to lie to you. I know you must think less of me."
"No," she cuts in sharply.
"No?" he echoes.
"I don't think any less of you for that. I certainly don't love you less for that," she says, and he looks up at her, eyes bright with hope. "The more I know you, the more I love you. You're far more honorable than any prince born to it that I know, and the best man I have ever known. You're kind, and stubborn, and patient and cheeky and care about everyone else more than yourself, and Charming, you're..."
She tries to find the words to describe just how wonderful he is to her, but he seems to get it even without words, his eyes bright with love and wonder as he looks at her.
"Snow," he says hoarsely, and she gives him a hard, reassuring kiss. "I love you."
"I love you too," she says. "Don't you ever dare think less of yourself for who you are. I don't. Do you think less of me for being a bandit?"
"Of course not!" he exclaims, sounding offended by the very notion. "Bandit Snow, she's brave and resourceful and determined, cares a great deal even if she tries to hide it, and very, very cheeky, and I love her."
"And I love David, the shepherd," she says, and he finally nods, as if accepting it. "I still think Charming suits you better, though."
He laughs, then looks at her very tenderly. "I'm still sorry I had to lie to you."
"Don't be," she says sincerely. "I'm just sorry you had to. Charming, knowing what you've been through, I..."
She feels tears pool in her eyes, and she swallows, trying to steady her voice.
"I love you," she says, and he brushes away a tear with his thumb.
"Snow," he says intently. "It's okay."
"It's not," she insists. "It's not okay. You being hurt is never okay."
"Any hurt is worth being with you," he says earnestly. "No matter what King George or Regina tries to do to me, it will be worth it to be with you, Snow."
She wants to protest, but at the mention of Regina, a very troubling thought is suddenly occurring to her.
"Did Regina hurt you while she kept your prisoner?" she asks, and he takes her hands in his.
"Only by taunting me with your death," he says, his voice pained, and she swallows. "It... was the greatest pain I've ever known, knowing you might be suffering. I couldn't... Snow, you shouldn't have done that for me."
"Why not?" she counters, staring at him intently, willing him to understand. "It was the same for me. Knowing you were in her dungeons, that she could kill you at any moment... That was the greatest pain I've ever known. How could I have done anything else?"
"Snow," he says, the emotion in his voice so raw, pain and love and fear all mixed together. "I can't lose you."
"Neither can I," she says passionately, and kisses him. He makes a soft moan at the touch of her lips, then meets it with equal passion. Distantly, she's aware of being back into a tree, but she's far more focused on how Charming's body feels pressed against hers, how his lips brush against hers, how his fingers play against the skin along her neck.
"I love you," he murmurs into the kiss, and she knows. Oh, how she knows and feels it in every touch, every caress, every brush of lips. He kisses her with so much love it makes her dizzy, and so much want and passion and tenderness too, and everything else he feels for her – and she kisses him back just the same.
His breath is slightly ragged when he breaks the kiss to look at her, still keeping her as close as possible, his gaze as warm and embracing as his arms.
"Please don't put yourself in danger for my sake again," he pleads.
"And if I asked the same of you?" she counters, and she can tell from the stubborn look on his face what the answer to that will be. "Then don't ask me that."
"Snow," he says helplessly, and she leans her forehead against his. "I cannot bear the thought of you in pain, I can't..."
"Neither can I," she says, and he closes his eyes. For a moment they just stand like that, holding each other.
"Perhaps we just need to accept that we love each other so much that if one of us is in pain, the other will feel that twofold?" she suggests softly. "I love you, Charming. No less than you love me."
"I know," he says, pressing a light kiss against her lips. "As impossible and incredible it seems that you might love me as much as I love you, I do know. It's... It's True Love."
"True love," she agrees. "I'm glad you agree."
"I doubt it would do me much good to argue with you," he says dryly, and she chuckles. "Besides, you'd just remind me that we just shared true love's kiss."
"Mmm," she says, and even if they just thoroughly kissed, the mention of sharing kisses gives her an overwhelming urge to kiss him again, and she realizes that no matter how much they kiss, or hold hands, or are together, she'll always, always want more.
So she kisses him again, and again, and they pretty much end up making out against a tree until the dwarves find them, and Charming gets glared at for a whole evening after that.
She suspects he considers it more than worth it, especially since he sneaks into her tent come morning and she wakes to being kissed by Prince Charming – without a curse this time, but with just as much love.
They're kissing, and they can't seem to stop.
True love has a serious, serious problem, Snow has come to realize. At least when it's romantic, and also comes with a serious, serious helping of want and lust - because the problem with lust is that it manages to be twofold too.
She wants him, and he wants her, and the fact that she wants him just makes him want her more, and the fact that he wants her just makes her want him more, and in the end they both want each other so much it becomes almost unbearable.
Especially when they're aren't meant to officially be sleeping together, since they're just officially engaged and not married, and officially that means courting but not consummating, but unofficially... Well. Unofficially, that's another matter. That's a whole other matter indeed.
Which is why a simple scouting mission in the forest ended up a make-out session in one of her old hide-outs, and now seems on the verge of becoming something else.
"Snow," he growls into the kiss, as she bites lightly on his lower lip. "We shouldn't... Not now... I don't want to..."
"Want you," she says, and he closes his eyes, unable to hide the flash of desire across his face. Oh, he wants her as much as she wants him, she can tell. Sure, she isn't sure who pulled who into the bed of sheep skins, but she is sure they're both equally guilty of grinding against the other, of groping and letting hands sneak inside clothes to brush against skin, of kissing as if they can never get enough.
Charming opens his eyes again, and the look of want in them is so palatable she feels a flash of heat in her cheeks.
"Want you," he says, kissing her and letting out a soft sigh, like a surrender, his lips parting against hers to let her kiss him deeply and hotly. She feels dizzy as his tongue brushes against hers, and the heat of his mouth seems to make her lips feel flushed too. This is... This is love and lust, Snow knows, and delights in how they make each other stronger.
"Want you," she gasps, as he makes a triumphant noise when he finally manages to pull down her outfit to her waist and discovers that she is not wearing a corset. Immediately, his hands are warm against her breasts, light, tender touches in the midst of a kiss that is anything but.
Her own hands are busy tearing at the laces of his doublet, and she thanks years of archery for nimble fingers that manages the task even while being kissed breathless. His shirt is far more trouble, since getting it off him would require lifting it up and off him and breaking the kiss, and she's not in the mood for that. She is in the mood for kissing her husband good and hard and without interruptions, so instead she simply tears at his shirt until enough of it gives to let her hands roam his skin.
He moans in appreciation, especially as she runs her nails down his back and her tongue along the edges of his mouth. He grinds against her in response, and she feels her already strong impatience becoming rather rampant.
"Want. You," she says against his lips, punctuating each word with a hard kiss.
He has the indecency to grin cheekily against her lips, clearly delighted and turned on by her impatience in equal measure. She knows the fact that she is quite eager in initiating kisses and love-making is a huge turn-on for him. He has happily admitted that when she worried she was being too forward, and the fact that it clearly turns him on so much is rather a turn-on too.
"Soon, Snow," he murmurs reassuringly, pressing light kisses against her lips, and she can feel his hands working on getting the rest of her clothes off. "Love you."
She has no breath to reply, her lips parting in a soundless gasp as his hands move between her legs and stroke her gently. Soon, she is lightly panting while he is still kissing her, light kisses and light brushes of his fingers, making her skin flushed and her body tense. She wants, she wants...
"Charming," she whimpers against his lips. "Please. Want you, want you, want you, Charming."
"You have me," he promises in a strained voice, giving her a soft kiss before moving off her for a moment. She groans at the loss of contact, but watching him efficiently strip out of the rest of his clothes through lowered eyelids is also rather enjoyable, she has to admit. And when he lies down again, and there is nothing but skin between them, she sighs happily.
He kisses her at the same time as thrusting into her, and she hums happily. As always, being intimate with him in this way feels all the stronger by being intimate with him in every other way too. They feel joined, together, close, intimate. Eagerly, she kisses him back and meets his thrusts, her hands pressing against his buttocks to egg him on. He seems to take the hint, putting his hands on her waist and setting a rather frantic pace, each fast, hard stroke making them both moan.
Joined, together, love and lust, Snow and Charming, coming together twofold.
Unofficially, of course.
They're getting used to it, Snow realizes.
They've been officially married for a little while now, and can hold hands and kiss in public as much as they want, and officially go to bed together (and unofficially have a lot of fun outside of their own bed too). They've learned each other's histories, and habits, and preferences and favorites, and sensitive spots and body language.
They've become a couple.
And yet waking up in his arms still feels like the most wonderful thing in the world, Snow thinks, watching him through half-open eyelids. He looks peaceful, and happy, and all Snow wants is for him to always stay like this, always stay with her.
She's afraid she won't be able to. In her mind, Regina's threat still echoes, and there are other threats too, maybe even threats they don't know about right now. There might always be a threat to them, to him, to her heart.
"Snow," Charming murmurs sleepily, pressing a kiss against her temple. "What's wrong?"
She doesn't question how he knows something is. He knows her so well now, after all.
"I can't lose you," she says, her voice pained even to her.
"You won't," he promises, opening his eyes more fully to look at her. "Snow, I'm here."
"I know," she says, caressing his chest with her fingers, feeling the smoothness of his skin against her fingertips. "I'm afraid."
"About what Regina will do," he says, sighing. "Snow, we've talked about this before. We're safe for now."
"For now isn't good enough," she says, and he takes one of her hands in his, lacing their fingers together. "The thought of losing you, or losing the family we'll have together, I..."
"Snow," he murmurs softly. "We will always find each other. Have faith."
She swallows, and nods, and tries to let his faith in them overcome her fear. It does sometimes, but not always, because she knows what Regina is capable of – and most importantly, she knows how much Charming means to her.
Love, she thinks. She loves him. Madly, deeply, and truly.
That's the problem. So much love – meaning the pain of losing it will be all the greater. The problem isn't that they love each other. The problem is just how much they do. Twofold the love, twofold the pain.
"Snow," he says again, looking at her lovingly as she leans forward to kiss him greedily, and she knows that no matter her fear, or the pain that might come, there is one thing that will never change.
It will always be worth it to be with him.