This is my version of Charming waking Snow up, how he found out, etc. I wrote it a couple of months ago. Those of you who read Hot Chocolate might recognize a portion of this from the 14th chapter; I used some of Charming's thoughts for that flashback. I hope that you all enjoy it!

Disclaimer: I own nothing, and I'm not making anything off of this.

Getting Back

He was free. Free of Abigail and their farce of an engagement. Free to be with the woman who was his true love. He was rushing through the halls of the castle to get to the stables. He had to go to her, tell her that he loved her and ask her to marry him.

"Your Highness!"

He gritted his teeth, hating whoever was calling out to him in that moment. He slowly turned to face the guard coming toward him. "Yes?"

"Sire, there is a craftsman in the entrance hall; he says he knows you and has something important to tell you."

He frowned. "What is his name?"

"Gepetto, Sire."

Ice settled in his gut. What was Gepetto doing here? He should have been home with his son, helping the dwarves keep Snow safe. "I'll see him. Make my horse ready," he instructed as he began to hurry his way to his friend, his fear increasing with every step.

The old woodworker had his back to him, wringing his hat in his hands, staring off into the distance.

"Gepetto," he gasped out, breathing hard from his run.

The man froze, and then slowly, reluctantly turned to face him.

He couldn't breathe. No. It was the one clear thought in his head. No.

"What's happened?" he didn't know how he managed to gasp out that much.

The old man wrung his hat harder. "It is Snow," he said.

His heart stopped in his chest.

Tears glistened in Gepetto's eyes. "The Queen found her."

He couldn't breathe. He couldn't think. The world was spinning around him.

He was out the door before anyone could say or do anything else.

The stable hand was bringing his horse out when he came bursting out of the doors. He didn't even acknowledge the boy leading the horse as he took the reins, swung up into the saddle and was immediately racing off.

He was pushing his steed far harder than was good for the animal, but he just had to get to her. The Queen couldn't take her from him. He needed her too much. He loved her too much.

The world flew by as he galloped across his kingdom to the home she had made with the dwarves.

He saw them clustered not half a mile from their home. He swung down from the saddle, not even waiting for the horse to stop and not bothering to tether it.

They turned at his approach.

Doc stepped forward. "You're too late," his voice quavered.

They parted and he was faced with the terrible reality. The cold winter sunlight glinted off of the glass lid of the coffin; if its purpose wasn't so grim he might have called it beautiful. He could see her still form inside.

"No…" he gasped out. "No!" his voice rose to a cry of denial as he rushed to her side.

Her face was so serene, cheeks still rosy, even in death, beauty unmarred by its cold touch. He pressed his hands to the lid as if he could sink through it and join her.

"Open it," he commanded.

"I'm sorry," Grumpy's raspy voice said, and he truly meant it, "she's gone." The gruff dwarf was crying. Grumpy never cried.

His world fell out from under him. His body bent, broken with the grief and pain that wracked him. His hands caressed the glass. He just wanted to crawl inside and lie down beside her; let his own life expire with hers.

Her red lips looked even darker than normal against her too pale skin…why hadn't he ever kissed her? Why hadn't he told her he loved her? They both had known it, so why hadn't he told her? Why hadn't he ignored his own insecurities and the near constant supervision of the dwarves and woodworker and all of their friends and kissed her as he had always wanted to? They were supposed to get married. He was supposed to give her his mother's ring. She was supposed to meet his mother; they would have loved each other. She would have listened to his mother tell stories about him as a boy and teased him about them. She was supposed to roll her eyes and call him "Charming" for the rest of their lives. He was supposed to find her every day of their lives. He was supposed to have watched their child grow in her womb; held her hand as she gave birth. They were supposed to grow old together and died together in each other's arms after seeing their children and grandchildren all grown. Why hadn't he told her that he loved her? Why hadn't he kissed her?


He looked up at the dwarves, it wasn't the same but it was his only chance to do so. "At least let me say 'good bye'."

They looked at each other, before silently agreeing; they all stood and carefully removed the glass lid.

He looked longingly down at her unmoving form. He knelt down and bent his head to hers. Her lips seemed to hold the tiniest bit of warmth still. A warm breeze blew around him, but he cared not. He just wanted to stay here with her, frozen together in this moment forever, but he knew that was not in his power. This kiss and leaving his mother's ring on her finger were the most he could ever hope for. So he slowly and reluctantly pulled away.

She gasped in a breath, color flooding her pale features and her eyes flying open.

His heart started beating again. He could breathe again. A deliriously happy smile spread across his face as she gasped a couple more breaths before her eyes turned to him and her face flooded with recognition. "You," she breathed. Her hand rose up and rested against his jaw, where she had hit him the first time they met.

He wrapped his hand around her arm, needing to reassure himself that she was indeed alive.

Her smile was as bright as the sun. "You found me," she said wonderingly.

"Did you ever doubt I would?" he asked, a little teasingly, running his hand up to hers. She then used his grip to help lever herself upright.

"Truthfully?" she said as she sat up. Neither was able to look away from each other. "The glass coffin gave me pause." She reached out to cup his jaw again, running her thumb over the scar she had put there.

He just couldn't stop smiling. "Well, you never have to worry," he assured her, reaching up to brush his hand through her hair. "I will always find you."

She looked up at him joyfully and trustingly – something he had never seen in her eyes with anyone else; a trust he treasured. "Do you promise?"

He had to be grinning like an idiot, but he didn't care. He cupped the side of her face. "Every day, for all eternity, my love."

She grinned and leaned forward to kiss him properly; he returned it with all his heart. They had their future back, everything he had hoped for was ahead of them, a lifetime of love and laughter and happiness.

When their lips parted she whispered, "I love you too, Charming."

He didn't think he could smile any wider.

"Where's my ring?" she demanded teasingly.

He smirked. "I thought you weren't the jewelry type?"

Her eyes sparkled with joy. "For that ring, I think I can make an exception."

He reached into the leather pouch he had been carrying it in and pulled out his mother's ring. Snow held her hand – her left one this time – out to him and he slid the ring on, it fit perfectly.

She smiled down at the glittering band and jewel. "Perfect," she softly echoed his thought.

He brushed the curtain of her hair aside, raising an eyebrow at her. "You said that it wasn't your style."

She looked up at him, eyes shining with amusement and love. "I lied."

He was grinning again as he kissed her, sealing their hopes and dreams.

Thank you so much for reading! Please let me know what you think! And read other people's versions of Charming waking Snow up, because they're awesome!

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