Chapter 6: Promises, Promises…

It was likely near-on midnight. James was in the tallest tower of the castle; it had been given no purpose other than the occasional lover's rendezvous…or a retreat for someone seeking to be left alone. He was sitting in one of the crenels with his back against a merlon, one leg stretched out along the crenel and the other bent up; he stared out at the moonlit seascape.

"You know, James, if you don't want to be found you really need to find a new hiding place," a wry voice commented from behind him.

He glanced over his shoulder at Liam. "What'd be the point? You'd just find it anyway." He looked back out at the night. "I figure I might as well save us both the time."

His friend came over to lean against the merlon at his feet. "You've been coming up here since we were kids." He looked out at the stars. "One'd think you'd get tired of the view after all these years."

"Nah," the prince shook his head, "best view in the kingdom."

"No denying that," his friend acknowledged.

They remained in a comfortable silence for several moments.

"So, why'd you come up here to bother me?" James finally asked.

Liam cleared his throat. "It's just this trip to Riverdon –"

"The answer is no, Liam," the prince cut in.

"James I would feel much better if I was going with you and Thomas," the general was frowning deeply.

"And I need you here," James countered. "Not only to keep the men's training up to par, but for Belle too." He looked at the other man. "Aside from Thomas and me, you're the only man she really trusts, and the only one I trust with her."

Liam's mouth was set in a grim line, clearly torn. He was unwaveringly loyal to his prince, and preferred to be the one in charge of his guard at all times, but he, like James and Thomas, had come to care for the librarian like a sister.

"She made a comment about going into town on her own; made it to be joking, but we both know that when she does that she is usually serious." James turned slightly, to properly face his friend. "I want her to go; I want her to regain more of her independence and beat back this fear that's been keeping her captive."

Liam nodded. "Understood. What do you want me to do?"

He turned completely, lowering his feet to the floor and leaning forward, resting his arms on his knees. "If she does go I want you to follow her…discreetly."

The general narrowed his eyes. "You fear for her?"

James clenched his jaw. "Gaston might be banished, but it's not infallible, he could still possibly return."

The other man scowled. "The bastard should have been sentenced to death," he growled.

Fury was flickering in the prince's eyes. "I couldn't agree more. Any man who does what he tried to do to Belle, in my opinion, deserves no less, but our laws are clear; banishment was the extent that we could go."

"Yes, well," his general began grimly, "if he ever does show up again he's going be killed while 'attempting to escape our custody'."

James raised an eyebrow at his friend's meaningful tone. "I didn't hear that."

Liam smirked. "You know that even if he did make it as far as your dungeons he wouldn't last past his first meal."

The prince chuckled darkly. "The rest of the staff have become quite fond of her, haven't they?"

"It's impossible not to be," his friend pointed out.

"True," he agreed.

Liam gave a resigned sigh. "Very well, I shall remain here, though I insist on Hama going with you in my stead," the general's voice brooked no argument on his second in command being the one to head up their guard while in Riverdon.

The prince's lips quirked in amusement at being ordered by his general. "That's fine," he acknowledged, though they both his agreement was just a formality; Liam would do as he would see necessary for the safety of his princes.

The general leaned his shoulder once again against the merlon, eyeing his liege. "So," he began, "will we be seeing Princess Snow White any time soon?"

James rolled his eyes.


Snow stared out over the pond that graced the edge of Gaspard's castle's lands. She'd changed into breeches, a tunic and vest earlier in the evening to practice her archery; now she sat on the platform of the tree house with her feet dangling over the edge. During Gaspard's tenth summer his parents had commissioned Geppetto to build the tree house on their property. The five youths had spent hours up there playing as children and now, as adults, they would frequently retreat up to it if they needed time alone. She silently contemplated the gentle ripples the wind played over the water.

"Is this a solitary party, or may I join you?"

She looked down and grinned upon seeing Eric. "What's the magic word?"

He swung himself up on the ladder, laughing. "I don't think any of us remember that one; it changed too many times."

She chuckled. "That's true."

Once he reached the platform he hoisted himself over the edge; he had to nearly crawl to join her at the ledge. "This place just seems to get smaller and smaller every year," he commented sitting down.

"I'm pretty sure that we're the ones who are changing," Snow countered amusedly.

Eric shrugged. "The effect is all the same," he told her dismissively.

She rolled her eyes, leaning forward and bracing her hands on the edge; she turned to look back at the pond.

"So, what did you think of my cousin?"

Snow frowned, turning back to her friend. "Your cousin?"

He smirked, nodding. "Yeah, James and I are distant cousins - third, I think. His grandfather and my grandfather were first cousins; after my great-grandparents died my grandfather was cared for by James's great-grandparents."

Snow nodded, her expression clearing. "I had forgotten that your families were related."

"Well," he shifted a bit, settling in more, "our families haven't really been close since my grandfather died, mostly because my family has so little free time. James and I have only met a handful of occasions; he was mostly too busy to really socialize much, but my impression of him was positive. I know his brother Thomas better."

Snow raised one leg so that she could rest her elbow on it and prop her head on her hand. "What's he like?"

"Thomas? He's a good man, kind, comfortable with letting his elder brother take the lead on things but willing to step up when necessary, he's strong but perhaps not as forceful as James, a good listener and insightful. He definitely looks up to James, though" he tossed an amused grin at her, "I got the feeling that he had taken it upon himself to make sure his brother doesn't lose his sense of humor or take himself too seriously."

"An ideal brother for him, then." She smiled out at the nightscape.


They sat in silence for a few moments.

"So, how did you and Ariel meet?" she turned to him.

Eric rubbed the back of his neck. "I was out for a walk on the jetties one evening just before sunset; she saw me and decided to surface and finally meet a human." He cast her a wry smile. "Ariel is far more interested in the human world than her father would care for."

She drew both of her legs up, hugging her knees to her chest. "I've heard that King Triton dislikes us in general, and will only deal directly with the Seaborn throne."

"That's correct," he nodded in grim confirmation. "And he only does that when absolutely necessary. I think if he could, he'd avoid interacting with humans all together."

Snow was watching him with a troubled expression. "Does he know about his daughter's interest in our world?"

He grimaced. "Only partially. He knows she's intrigued with us, but I doubt he knows the full extent of her interest…or that she has even met a human."

She rubbed her upper arms. "Eric…" She waited until he was looking at her again. "I know that you know how dangerous this situation is, but…" She bit her lip and reached out to grip his arm. "Promise me you'll be careful? I couldn't bear it if something happened to you."

He gave her a small smile, covering her hand with his. "I promise." He gave her hand one last squeeze before his smile became a smirk. "After all, if something did happen to me I'd have to contend with the wrath of not only you, but Aurora and Red as well. And, honestly, you three are much scarier than King Triton could ever be."

Snow rolled her eyes with a smirk, poking him in the shoulder. "And don't you forget it."


Three Days Later


Ella's steps were stumbling as she attempted to carry the pail of milk into the house. Her stepmother and stepsisters had traveled out of town for a month and Ella had been "hired" out to a local merchant, Pierre Le Pieu, of course what money had changed hands went directly to her stepmother and Ella herself saw not a shilling. If it was possible the merchant and his wife treated her worse than her so-called family; she was given even less to eat, more work and less sleep to do it on.

She winced as one of her steps jarred her still-healing sprained ankle; she barely managed to keep herself from falling.

But that was for naught when some boys running by accidentally bumped into her, sending her over onto her bad ankle. The sudden movement and weight was too much for the weakened joint and she went crashing to the ground with a cry of pain. She reached down and grasped her ankle with both hands, trying to hold back the tears from the pain radiating up her leg.

Le Pieu's wife, apparently alerted by the loud crash and Ella's cry, rushed out the door. "You stupid, clumsy girl, look what you've done now!" she snarled at the young woman, upon seeing entire contents of the bucket spilled over the cobble road.

Le Pieu next stormed out the door, his face darkening further at seeing Ella's predicament. He strode right up to the young woman. Ella tried to scoot herself back, away from him. The back of his hand sent her sprawling.

"How dare you!" an outraged voice cried.

Ella lifted her head to see a white clad figure with a long cascade of ebony curls falling down their back, move to stand between Ella and the merchant, like a guardian angel sent to protect her.

"Move, girl," the merchant snarled at the woman.

"No!" the woman snapped back. "I won't let you hurt her!"


James sauntered through the market, he was causing a small stir but he ignored it and just endeavored to put people as much at ease as possible. He and Thomas had arrived at Riverdon Castle two days before with little fanfare, assuring the harried staff that there was no need to stand on ceremony. The castle had been fairly dilapidated when King George had announced over a decade ago that he would be releasing control of Riverdon and that James would take the throne. Since then the extensive necessary repairs had been made to the building, at this point they were mostly furnishing rooms and generally preparing the castle for Thomas to take up permanent residency in a year or so. It was somewhat strange walking around the castle that had been originally meant for his occupation, but now would be his brother's home. His presence was mostly just in case his brother required his help with anything, and for general support.

Hama followed him at a companionable distance; relaxed enough that his presence wasn't an insult to James's own abilities, but still alert. James, Thomas and Liam had been discussing transferring the young commander to Riverdon upon Thomas taking the throne. Hama was Liam's protégé and would be an excellent choice for the head of Riverdon's guard. The three of them had decided to consider this visit a sort of test to see how the commander did heading up the guards they brought with them on his own. So far both princes had been pleased.

A necklace on a vendor's cart caught James's eye, he leaned over to get a closer look. It was a thin, delicate, gold chain with a small sapphire pendent hanging from it. It was perfect for his mother; he picked it up, and paid the vendor, giving the man more than enough to cover the jewel. The man stammered his thanks to the prince, who grinned at him broadly as he tucked the necklace away.

He spun at the sound of a loud crash and cry of pain. A few stores down the street people scurried back from something in an alleyway that James couldn't quite see, but he soon heard angry shouts and he hurried over to find out what was going on.

A young woman dressed in rags was sprawled on the ground clutching her cheek, where she had apparently just been struck by the bear of a man towering over her.

James's eyes narrowed in fury at seeing a woman so treated.

Before he could move a lyrical cadence cried out in protest at the man's mistreatment of the young woman and an achingly familiar form darted between the man and woman.

Snow was as lovely as ever as she stood there like an avenging angel, protecting the injured woman.

The raging man demanded she move out of the way but she refused, her jaw set at a defiant angle that brought a smirk to James's face.

That smirk was gone in an instant however as the man drew back his hand, in its place was ice cold fury.


Snow had arrived in Riverdon's capitol just a couple of hours ago with her father and stepmother, she had almost immediately slipped away to wander the town and to avoid one of Regina's lectures. Her father wouldn't mind all that much, though he wouldn't be pleased that she had also left behind any guards and was on her own.

She stopped at a vendor selling fabrics; she lifted the corner of a thin, white one that had a floral pattern embroidered along the edge. It was light and soft; it would make a lovely wrap she decided and lifted her head to speak to the vendor.

A loud clatter and cry had her spinning to look for the source. Just a few yards away a young woman had fallen in the road, she was clutching her ankle. Snow began to approach the woman with a worried expression when she pulled up short at the nasty words thrown at the injured woman by an older one. When the man struck the girl Snow was outraged and immediately shouted at him.

"How dare you!" she had moved to place herself between the large man and the fallen girl.

His face was contorted in such rage, but there was no back down in Snow, she didn't even flinch as spittle flew in her direction when he snarled at her to get out of the way.

She didn't budge in the slightest. When he raised his hand to strike her she set her jaw and braced herself to take the blow while she mentally prepared herself to draw the knife she had hidden at her ankle.

The hand never flew. It was caught in an iron grip.

Both Snow and the man turned to see who had stopped him.

The emotions that crashed over her at seeing Charming took her breath away. She had known she'd missed him over the past weeks but she hadn't realized just how much until the moment that she saw him. Though, she could have done without ever seeing that expression on his face. His electric blue eyes for once didn't glint with humor or teasing, they held not an ounce of their usual warmth. It was like staring at a glacier, frigid…and oh-so furious. She almost pitied the man at whom it was directed…almost.


Ella stared up, wide eyed at her two saviors, she wasn't sure who the beautiful dark haired woman was, but there was no mistaking Prince James.

"Your Majesty!" Le Pieu gaped.

"One thing you should know about my family, sir," Ella could hear the barely controlled rage in the prince's voice and the thick sarcasm when he called the merchant "sir", "is that neither my brother nor I tolerate violence against women, particularly ones who are unarmed."

"But, Your Highness –"

The prince didn't give Le Pieu the chance to finish whatever he was going to say, he just turned to call over his shoulder, "Hama."

A man with a short blond ponytail stepped up.

Prince James jerked the merchant off balance in the other man's direction, who took custody of Le Pieu. "Take this filth to the palace and inform my brother of his crimes." The prince cast an eye at the dark haired woman who was still standing defensively in front of Ella. "And you can add to the list threatening the heir to the throne of Everland."

Whispers broke out all around them and all color drained from the faces of Le Pieu and his wife.

"H-he-heir?" the merchant actually squeaked out.

Ella's own eyes had gone as wide as saucers and turned to the white clad woman who had turned from the crowd to crouch down beside Ella, her hands gently running over the blond woman's ankle. Ella couldn't seem to get her voice to work; she was just so shocked at having a princess kneeling next to her trying to tend to her injuries.


While the knight, Hama, dragged the vile man off Charming moved to kneel beside Snow and the blond woman. Snow could feel his eyes burning into her, she tried to ignore it but after only a handful of heartbeats she lifted her eyes slowly to his. She could see the anger in his eyes.

"We'll discuss your lack of protection later, Princess," he managed tightly in a low voice meant only for her ears.

She narrowed her own eyes at him, her temper leaping to match his. "I told you once, Charming, I'm my own person."

She could see him clenching his jaw, but they both knew now was not the time for one of their arguments and they managed to turn their attention to the young woman.

Snow softened her expression. "I'm Princess Snow White and this is Prince James. What's your name?"

The young woman swallowed nervously, eyes darting between the two royals before finally managing, "Ella…De Barbarac."

Snow smiled at the younger woman warmly. "It's nice to meet you, Ella. Where are you hurt?"

"I-I'm…all right, Your Majesty. Really – AH!" she broke off with a cry as Charming had lifted her swollen ankle to inspect it.

He raised an eyebrow at Ella. "That doesn't look 'all right' to me."

"Where do you live?" Snow inquired.

The woman who had yelled at Ella earlier stepped forward, clearing her throat, looking meeker in the presence of the two royals. "Her family's out of town, Your Majesties, she's stayin' with us. We hired her."

The princess's eyes narrowed. "So you treat a paid employee this way?" she didn't bother to hide the sarcasm and scorn thick in her tone.

The prince had leveled the woman with a dark look of his own and she quailed under their combined fury.

"Well… I mean…"

"They don't pay me."

All heads turned to Ella, whose voice had rung clear and confident in that moment. The young woman's eyes were on the fidgeting woman. "They paid my stepmother for me to work for them while she and my stepsisters were out of town."

Charming's head turned to the woman, raising an eyebrow, anger still flickering in his eyes. "You and her stepmother bartered for her like a slave?"

All color drained from the woman's face and she swallowed convulsively.

The prince rose to his full height, towering over the now-fearful woman. "You will retrieve Mistress De Barbarac's belongings, along with enough money to pay her proper wages. I want you gone by tomorrow evening. Are we clear?"

The woman's head bobbed and she was gone.

Snow had never seen Charming actually wield his power as a prince before; it was somewhat strange after how she had seen him conversing and mingling so easily among her people. He didn't raise his voice once, though his cold, cutting tone was more threatening than any shouting could have ever been. He knelt back down beside the two women, his gaze and voice softening as he turned to Ella. "Your ankle doesn't seem to be broken, but it is probably badly sprained."

The blond bit her lip and nodded. "I sprained it a little a few weeks ago; it was still sore and weak."

Snow scowled. "You should have been off of it until it had fully healed."

Ella shrugged. "I was allowed to rest it for a few days."

The princess lifted her head to meet Charming's equally angry gaze.

The woman hurried out to them again, carrying the smallest of satchels, she thrust it into the prince's hands along with a small money bag. As she turned to rush back to her house Charming called her back, he stood and leisurely approached her, emptying the coins from the money bag and holding them out for the woman to see. "I think you could do better than four shillings. Don't you?"

The woman swallowed and reached into the pocket of her apron, with shaking hands she pulled out her own purse and reached inside for another shilling. When Charming didn't pull his hand back she placed another…and another…finally she upended the bag and emptied the remaining three coins into his palm. He nodded, closing his fingers over the money and dropping it into the bag for Ella. He didn't even deign to dismiss her, just turned away and went back to Snow and Ella.

He handed Snow the satchel. "I think it best that I carry you, Mistress De Barbarac."

"Ella," the young woman corrected, "and that really isn't necessary, Your Majesty, I'm sure I could – OH!" She let out a yelp as Charming swept her up in his arms and proceeded to carry her despite her protests.

Snow rolled her eyes as she stood, ignoring the slight twinge in her that wished that she was the one in Charming's arms at the moment, and moved beside him.

"Where shall we take her?" the princess inquired.

"Well," he began drolly, "since my brother has rather a large number of free rooms I thought it best to bring her to the castle, and to extend an invitation to you, and your father and stepmother, since I'm guessing they are here as well."

"They are, and that's kind of you, but it isn't necessary," she told him.

He gave her a look. "Princess, you're a royal family, my brother is in residence; by the rules of the High Court it would be considered a great insult to your family not to."

She grimaced.

"Besides, Ella cannot stay in the castle with my brother and I alone," he pointed out.


"I can find somewhere else to stay," Ella spoke up.

"Absolutely not," both royals informed her.

Snow pressed her lips together. "But I don't want us to inconvenience your brother."

"He won't mind." He added under his breath, "Especially when he finds out you're among the party."

Snow cocked an eyebrow at him; he shook his head in a gesture of, "never mind."


Ella's eyes darted back and forth between the pair, unsure how to really react to this prince and princess bursting in, saving her from another beating at Le Pieu's hands, getting her money for the first time in her life and a way to escape the Le Pieus. Prince James bore her along the streets as if she weighed nothing; a blush stained her cheeks at the feeling of him carrying her so effortlessly. He was a very handsome man, but she found herself strangely not attracted to the prince.

Their group strode through the gates of the palace. Ella's heart was pounding as she gazed up at the archway as it passed over her head, she swallowed thickly. During her lifetime she had watched the castle being slowly renovated, though she could just remember how it looked before, when it was still in mostly ruins. She had never passed through the gates, but her father had brought her to stand before them and stared up at the desolate beauty of it. "Someday," he told her, "this grand old place will rise again." He looked at Ella. "Our kingdom's throne will be occupied once again." His prophecy was coming to pass, though he never lived to even hear King George's proclamation. Oh, how her heart ached at missing her papa!

A servant stopped dead in his tracks, gaping at them as they entered, but soon seemed to shake himself out of it and scurried over to the door to open it for them.

Both royals thanked the man graciously as they passed through the doorway.

A higher ranked serving man met them in the entrance hall. "Sire, Hama said that you were taking care of a situation in the town that included the Princess of Everland?"

"That's correct, Bates," Prince James confirmed. He turned to the princess. "Snow, this is my valet, Bates. Bates, this is Princess Snow White."

The servant bowed deeply. "Your Majesty."

She nodded her head in acknowledgement. "It's lovely to meet you."

"And this is Ella De Barbarac," the prince continued.

"Mistress De Barbarac," the man acknowledge with a nod.

Ella was blushing as she nodded back.

"James, what's going on?"

All heads turned at the voice.

Ella's heart stuttered.


Thomas jolted to a stop. His eyes locked with lovely cerulean ones, her face was difficult to really see well under all the soot and dirt smudging her face, but he could hardly draw a breath.

"Thomas, good."

He snapped out of it and turned to his brother. "I just spoke with Hama, what's happened?"

"Just a situation in town, I'll explain all later. Thomas, Princess Snow White. Snow, my brother Prince Thomas," James quickly introduced.

Thomas turned his attention to the princess who had so captured his elder brother's attention, he could easily see why James was attracted to her physically at least. He looked forward to learning why she had ensnared his unreachable brother so wholly.

"Your father and stepmother are here," he told her. He caught a wince flashing over her features. "I have invited you all to stay in the castle while you're in town, they accepted."

"Thank you," she smiled at him.

"And this," James looked the woman in his arms – Thomas tried to squelch the jealousy that reared its head at the sight of his brother holding her – continuing, "is Ella De Barbarac."

They young woman bowed her head, biting her lip. "Your Majesty."

"Mistress De Barbarac," he returned.

"Ella sprained her ankle in the scuffle in town, she needs a place to stay," James explained, "I took the liberty of extending an invitation for her to stay here for now."

"Of course," Thomas immediately agreed.

Bates returned from instructing the maids to prepare a room for Ella. "Shall I have one of the local staff fetch the physician?"

"Yes, thank you, Bates," James confirmed.

The valet sketched a quick, but respectful bow and headed off.

A maid approached the group, she curtseyed. "Your Majesties, the room you asked for is ready." She gestured an arm toward the stairs.

"Thank you, Sasha," Thomas acknowledged. They all turned to head up the stairs.

"Snow White!"

The princess grimaced, turning slowly to face her father and stepmother who had just walked into the entranceway.

"Where have you been? We heard that there was an incident in town, involving you." King Leopold was frowning worriedly.

"I'm sorry for worrying you, father," she said contritely. "But I'm fine." She gave him a reassuring smile.

"What happened?" he insisted.

She began to take a few small steps away. "I promise to tell you later, but right now I'm needed to help Ella here." She nodded to the young woman. "I'll come speak to you as soon as possible." She turned quickly and began to follow the maid and princes up the stairs.

Once they reached the room James lowered Ella to the bed and Snow White moved over to sit beside her.

Sasha lifted a bowl from a table with a cloth and went to join them at the bed. "I thought that you might want to clean up a bit before the physician comes. It will take longer for a bath to be drawn."

Snow smiled at her brightly, accepting the items. "Thank you, Sasha."

The maid blushed with pleasure and bobbed a curtsey before leaving.

The princess dipped the cloth into the water, she then reached out with her other hand to gently cup Ella's chin and delicately wiped her face.

"Your Majesty, you really don't have to…" Ella began.

The princess gave her a warm smile. "I am very happy to help," she assured the younger woman, continuing to clean the soot and dirt from her face. Her expression fell as she wiped at the right side of Ella's face.

Thomas's jaw clenched as a mottle of red, and blooming purple and blue was revealed under the princess's ministrations. The area was also starting to swell, encroaching on her eye. He turned his back, not wanting the young woman to see the anger he knew was in his expression, and moved over to stand beside his brother. "The man Hama brought in," he said low enough for only James to hear, "he did that to her?"

His elder brother nodded tightly.

Thomas pressed his lips into a thin line, and then headed toward the door; just before he stepped out he turned back to the bed, hands clasped behind his back. "I hope that you will be comfortable here, Mistress De Barbarac. If you need anything, please just let me know."

A blush visibly stained her cheeks, but she met his gaze. "Thank you, Your Majesty. And please, it's Ella."

The corners of his lips curled up, as a pleasant warmth spread through him. "Ella." He bowed to her and finally left.


James and Snow turned to each other, eyes coupling after observing the interaction between his brother and the young woman on the bed.

James lifted an eyebrow and both of Snow's rose in return before she turned back to tending to Ella. At the moment his anger, her temper and their argument had been set aside, but it was there, in undertones, making their interactions less humor-infused than usual.

"Thank, you," the young woman said, prompting both princess and prince to look up. "For being so kind."

Snow reached over to clasp one of Ella's hands. "It isn't necessary to thank us for doing the decent thing."

Ella looked down. "Well, it's more than anyone has done for me in over half my life."

James's jaw clenched at those words, but he forced himself to calm down. "It was an honor to be of service."

Ella blinked, blushing slightly.

He saw Snow roll her eyes from the corner of his eye; she leaned over closer to the younger woman and said in a faux confidential tone, "You know the best part? He really does mean it and he actually does speak like that."

He tilted his head to the side, leveling a look at Snow, who looked back at him with entirely false innocence.

Ella was looking back and forth between them, restrained curiosity in her expression.

The physician chose that moment to arrive; he scurried over to the bed. "I'm Jean," the older man introduced himself.

"I am Prince James." He gestured a hand to Snow. "Princess Snow White of Everland. And your patient, Ella De Barbarac."

The physician stilled from pulling out his instruments and lifted his head slowly to look at Ella, stunned. "Not Auguste's Ella..."

The blond woman's eyes went wide and she pushed herself up to sit taller. "You knew my father?"

His expression softened and became rather sad. "Very well, my child. He was one of my oldest and dearest friends. I knew you as well, but you were much too young to remember." He approached the bed, clutching his stethoscope. "My deepest condolences, for his death."

Ella's eyes cast down to her hands in her lap and she thanked him quietly.

A pregnant silence enveloped the room for a few moments before James cleared his throat.

"I'll be in the hall."

"Thank you again, Your Majesty," Ella called after him.

He tossed her a half-smile over his shoulder. "My pleasure, Mistress De Barbarac." He cast one last loaded look at Snow who met him head on, pressing her lips together, before he left the room.


Ella had noticed all of the looks Prince James and Princess Snow White had shared and the tension between the pair; she was burning with curiosity but held her tongue.

The princess leaned over, taking her hand. "I can stay with you through the exam, or we can call for a maid, if you prefer."

Ella's fingers tightened over the princess's. "If you really don't mind…I would like for you to stay."

Princess Snow gave her a bright smile. "Of course."

She didn't know why, but Ella instinctively trusted the princess and she felt oddly comfortable with her. With all that had happened in the last hour or so she felt like she'd just gotten off of a runaway horse and she was clinging to whatever comfort and stability she could find at the moment.

Jean first examined the bruise on her face, determining that it was a simply a bruise and would clear up with time. When he sat back he was looking at her thoughtfully. "You know, you have your mother's eyes."

"Papa always used to say that," her tone was tinged with both joy and sadness.

He gave her a bittersweet smile before standing and moving to her ankle. "Well, she was a lovely woman, Nicole, very soft spoken, but determined. She and my wife, Lillian, used to talk for hours when they were together." He ran gentle, probing fingers over the swollen joint. "Poor Auguste was never the same after Nicole died." He lifted his eyes to Ella shining with warmth. "But you were ever his joy, he always talked of you, little else interested him."

A tear slid down her cheek. "I miss him so."

Jean stood and moved back up the bed and patted her hand. "As do I, my dear." He straightened up and cleared his throat, shifting to a more professional front. "Now, that ankle is indeed sprained, so I want you to rest it, put it in cold water to help with the swelling. No getting out of bed on your own for two days at least, and after that I want you to use crutches to get around until the ankle is fully healed."

"But I couldn't possibly just stay in bed for two days –"

"No arguments!" he insisted. "You need rest, you have dark circles under your eyes from fatigue and you are much thinner than is good for you. Your body needs you to save your energy so that it can heal."

Ella wrung her hands. "But I can't take advantage of Prince Thomas's hospitality like this!"

Princess Snow leaned forward. "From what James has told me I doubt very much that Thomas will see it as an imposition. And they will both likely insist, as do I."

"Well," Jean said pleasantly, "it all seems to be arranged." He began packing the tools of his trade. "It was wonderful to see you again, Ella." He turned to her again. "After I tell her that I've seen you Lillian will likely want to visit, if you are amenable to that?"

She nodded vigorously. "I would like that very much, if it is all right with Prince Thomas; I wouldn't want to presume."

"I'm sure it will be fine," the princess assured them both.

There was a tap on the door, Jean lifted his bag and went to the door, opening it. Sasha and a second maid stood in the opening.

"The water is ready for Mistress De Barbarac's bath, if you have finished, sir," the maid told him respectfully.

"Wonderful." He turned back to Ella. "A bath will do you much good." He faced the maids once again. "I want her to stay off of her ankle so you will need to help her."

"Of course Master Jean," Sasha assured him.

He looked back at Ella. "I will be back to check on you in two days. Until then," he nodded.

"Until then," she agreed.

Several manservants began carrying in steaming buckets and kettles of water.

Princess Snow placed a hand over Ella's, drawing her attention. "I need to go, but I will come back later to check on you."

Ella nodded, she was still feeling overwhelmed by everything, but was steadier now and was sure she could handle it. "Thank you, Princess,"

The other woman tilted her head. "You can call me Snow, Ella. It's what friends call me."

The younger woman's eyes went wide. "Oh, I couldn't! It wouldn't be proper."

The princess laughed softly. "Since I'm asking I'm fairly sure that any impropriety could be blamed on me. But if it better suits your sensibilities you can call me 'Snow' when it's just the two of us."

The blond woman bit her lip but nodded. "I – I'd be honored."

The dark haired woman's eyes sparkled with humor. "Well, I will see you later, Ella."

"See you later...Snow," she said the princess's name hesitantly.

Snow smiled at her brilliantly, squeezed her hand, rose and left the room.

Once the princess had left Ella's mind caught up with the second part of Snow's original statement. She had referred to Ella as her friend… Tears burned behind her eyes at the thought of finally having a friend.


By the time Snow stepped out into the hall, aside from the servants coming to and from the room carrying the water for Ella's bath, Charming was the only one there. Their eyes locked from the instant she exited the room, and held as they moved to stand a couple of feet apart from each other.

"I'll take you to your room," he told her.

Snow nodded, they turned and headed down the hall. She knew that the reprieve from their argument was up; the only question was where they were going to have it.

They had turned down another hall and moved a ways down it when he abruptly grabbed her arm and pulled her into a room, she didn't fight him. Once he had closed the door he pressed her against the wall and his mouth was on hers, he parted her lips and his tongue delved into her mouth.

This kiss was just as passionate as their first one, but Snow could feel a difference in it. He was angry with her, but there was also fear. She felt it in the trembling of his hands as they gripped her waist, the touch of desperation as he kissed her. She realized that this kiss was in part a release of all those emotions but also a reassurance to him. So she surrendered. She reached up, tunneling her fingers through his short hair, her own tongue dueling his. He groaned, pulling her tighter to him.

For several moments they just lost themselves, fighting for dominance of the kiss, before his hands slid up to grip her upper arms and hers down to flatten against his chest. They pushed each other away at the same time, tearing their lips apart; however he maintained his grip on her and her hands fisted in his shirt. They were both panting, trying to catch their breaths.

"Damn it, Snow," he finally ground out in a husky voice.

She lifted her head to meet his gaze.

He clenched his jaw, trying to gain control of his emotions. "I'm not a violent man by nature," he told her tightly, "but when I saw that man raise a hand to you I wanted to…" He gritted his teeth.

Snow swallowed hard at the fury in his eyes.

"Gods, Snow, I think of something happening to you and I can't breathe." His hands tightened infinitesimally around her arms. "Why won't you be more careful?"

She pressed her lips together, her temper snapping. She pushed at his chest; he released her, stepping back a couple of paces in the limited space of the entranceway of the room, but in some ways that just made her angrier, knowing that he could have kept her from pushing him back.

"Do you think it's any easier for me?" she snapped, fisting her hands at her sides. "I'm not blind, James," she hissed at him. "I saw you fighting those thugs, you've seen real battle, I know you have." Now she was the one shaking. "Do you think it's any easier for me, knowing that you go off to fight, and facing the possibility that one day you might not come back?" She pressed a fist to the left side of her chest. "It makes me feel like someone stabbed me through the heart."

Their eyes remained locked and they just stood there for several moments.

Finally they broke eye contact; Snow wrapped her arms around her middle, staring off to the side.

James ran both hands through his hair before scrubbing them over his face. "Gods…" He let out a frustrated breath, dropping his hands. "You were right, this is insane." He looked at her watchfully. "How can we feel like this…" He shook his head slightly. "I have no right to be angry with you about your safety."

"But it feels like you do," it was half-question-half-statement; she turned her gaze to his.

He nodded.

"It's the same for me," she told him quietly.

He lifted his hand, reaching toward her, but stopped and began to pull it back. Snow caught it in both of hers, keeping her eyes on him she lifted it, kissing his palm, and brought it to rest against her cheek.

A look of aching longing filled his eyes as he moved back toward her, bracing his other hand against the wall over her shoulder and lowering his head to rest his forehead against hers. He stroked his thumb tenderly across her cheek. "How can this be happening so fast?"

She caressed her fingertips over the inside of his wrist. "Does it matter?"


James gave a half-hearted chuckle at her quoting his words back at him. "I thought," he said after a moment, "that giving it time and space would slow things down but…"

"It didn't," she finished for him, a wry smiled tugging at her lips. One of her hands left his and slid up to wrap around his shoulders, urging him closer.

He feathered his thumb along her jaw. "Would it alarm you to know that I've dreamed about you day and night since I left Everland?"

She didn't even bat and eyelash. "Only if hearing me say the same would you."

His hand slid to her throat, his thumb settling over her pulse. "Intense, vivid," he brushed his lips from the corner of her eye to her temple, "incredibly detailed and very real dreams?"

Snow nodded, her eyes sliding shut; he felt the pace of the beat under his thumb increasing.

He drew in the scent from her hair, the familiar blend of cinnamon, chocolate and lacrimae lunaris. The memories of his dreams were running through his mind, in particular the more intimate details. Certain things that in the dreams he had known would elicit gasps and cries from her; this wasn't a dream but… He brought his hand from the wall and allowed his fingers to just barely ghost over the inside of her upper arm; she shuddered, her hand shifted to apply more pressure to his neck, pulling him closer still. Her mouth sought out the corner of his jaw, her teeth grazed the skin there before her lips pressed against it. His hand left her cheek to wrap around her waist, pulling her flush against him, but he lifted his head so that he could look her in the eye.

"Your father would probably kill me if he ever found out I compromised his daughter's honor like this," he commented thickly.

"He definitely would," she informed him bluntly.

James gave a half-laugh half-groan. "Don't sugarcoat it for me, Snow."

She gave him an impish grin, wrapping both of her arms around his neck and pulling his head down to hers. "Wouldn't dream of it, Charming," she whispered against his lips.

He pressed his lips firmly to hers, turning the teasing touch into an actual kiss. They languidly parted their lips and kissed each other leisurely, an unhurried exploration. The flaring passion from moments earlier brought down to an easy simmer.

Her stepmother's voice coldly inquiring after Snow to a cowed servant on the other side of the door had their lips slowly parting. They pressed their foreheads together; listening to the queen speaking cuttingly before her sharp footsteps faded off and the softer padding tread of the servant disappeared.

"Your stepmother sounded quite pleased," he muttered to her.

Snow rolled her eyes and said sardonically, "Always." She gave a heavy sigh allowing her arms to slide from his neck. "I guess that this means we have to return to the real world and be responsible."

"I believe so," he reluctantly released his arms from around her waist, "since if your father or stepmother, in looking for you, happened upon us like this we would undoubtedly find out for certain if he would kill me," he confirmed wryly.

She canted her head to the side in a considering manner.

James raised an eyebrow, leveling a look at her that had her laughing softly in return.

"Only joking, Charming."

His hands had been holding her waist; he allowed his fingers to dance briefly over her sides prompting a short yelp of laughter from her. "Something you might want to take into consideration the next time you want to tease me, Princess."

Snow gave him a mock glare. "That's completely unfair, Charming."

He brought her against him again, their lips centimeters apart. "Who said I was going to play fair?" he asked in a husky voice.

He saw the hitch in her breathing; he smirked, kissing her on the tip of her nose, before releasing her entirely and opening the door. He checked the hall before stepping aside and letting Snow out first.

"I believe the saying is about payback…" she muttered to him as she brushed past him.

He smirked at her as she turned to face him, head held high and a challenging light in her eyes, in the middle of the hall. "Gods, I hope so…"


Unable to sleep, Snow was curled up on the window seat in her room watching Beatrix and Benedict falling bickering-ly in love through the pages of the book in her lap. Over dinner earlier her father and the two princes had decided that while they were all in town they would sit down and at least broach a few subjects that would need to be addressed between their kingdoms with Thomas taking the throne. Snow and James would be participating as well as the future monarchs of their respective kingdoms. The discussions couldn't be considered official negotiations but at least they could have a head start for when the time really came. Once the meal had been finished Snow had excused herself and gone to check on Ella to find the young woman was already fast asleep; the princess had quietly closed the door and had continued on to her own room. The castle was now quiet; the soft chirping of the crickets and hoots of the owls drifted through her open window, a slight breeze stirring the still, warm air in her room.

She lifted her head at a knock on the door; her lips curved into a smile, knowing exactly who it was. She stood, setting her book face down on the seat and moved to the door.

Charming stood, hands braced on either side of the doorway, a half-smile on his face.

Snow kept her hand on the door, leaning against the frame, smiling brightly back at him. "Charming."

"Princess," he acknowledged, humor tingeing his voice.

She canted her head to the side. "You know, you haven't fought me on calling you 'Charming' once today."

He smirked at her. "I figure, what's the point, you're going to call me that anyway. Besides," he leaned forward slightly, bringing their faces closer together, "it's starting to grow on me."

Her heart skipped a beat in her chest. "To what do I owe the pleasure, Charming?"

He straightened up slightly. "I was heading down to the kitchens when I saw your light on," he gestured at her window with his chin. "I thought I'd come and see if you wanted to join me."

She bit her lip and then nodded. "Yes, thank you." She stepped aside, opening the door wider. "Come in, I'll get my shoes on." She left the door open and moved over to where she had left her slippers by her bed.

Charming slowly followed her in, leaving the door open for propriety's sake. Snow's pulse skittered and she fumbled a little in putting on the first slipper, it was very intimate, having him in her room, even though neither had any plans for something to happen between them.

He walked over to the window seat and picked up the book. "Much Ado About Nothing." He glanced at her over his shoulder.

Snow smiled at him. "It's my favorite of his plays," she told him, setting her now shod foot on the floor and lifting the other to cover it.

He turned it over to look at the pages it was open to. "I have heard most women say they love Romeo and Juliet."

Snow wrinkled her nose. "Most of them find it romantic, which I don't. The poetry of the play is romantic, but the story itself is a tragedy, not a romance. The ending, while I understand the power and message behind it, I find it a rather depressing testament to a waste of two young lives. And, personally, I prefer happy endings." She lowered her other foot and picked up her dressing gown from beside her as she stood.

He smirked. "You seem to feel quite strongly about it."

She began to slip on the robe. "I don't think that a couple of fourteen year-old children know what real love is."

"True," Charming commented thoughtfully, "Romeo does spend a good deal of time at the beginning bemoaning the loss of that other woman who was supposedly his great love and only minutes later he is professing his undying love to Juliet."

She paused in shrugging into her robe. "You read Shakespeare?"

He set the book back down. "I'm fond of most all of his comedies, like you I prefer happy endings, but I do have a liking for some of his tragedies as well." He turned back to her and, seeing her slight surprise, grinned. "Our librarian is a close, childhood friend of mine; she insisted on my being well read, at least by her standards." He clasped his hands behind his back. "Sadly I have less time to devote to reading than I used to."

Snow nodded her understanding and agreement. "There never seems to be enough hours in the day." She belted her dressing gown closed and then nodded at the door. "Shall we?"

He gave a bow, gesturing for her to go first through the door, following her out and closing the door behind them.

As they made their way to the kitchens Snow took the time to look around the halls. "So this was supposed to be your home?" She looked to him.

He nodded, glancing around as well. "Had things not…changed, I would likely have taken the throne a year ago."

She nodded thoughtfully, catching the falter in his voice when he alluded to his brother's death, but saying nothing. "Is it strange being here now that it's your brother's home-to-be?"

He shrugged. "In some ways. I spent little enough time here that it's not as much so as it might have been."

She moved closer to him so that their arms were brushing; he looked down at the point of contact, seemingly intrigued by it. He turned his hand, bringing it around hers, and, when she didn't pull away, laced their fingers together. Snow pressed her cheek briefly into his shoulder, drawing in the faint scent of leather, evergreen and horse that always seemed to cling to him. They continued this way until they reached the kitchens.

Snow glanced around the space before turning back to Charming with a raised eyebrow. "So, do you know where the hot chocolate makings are?"

He smirked, leading her over to a cabinet. "I believe we have all but the whipped cream," he informed her as they pulled out the necessary items.

She gave a put-upon sigh. "How very disappointing."

He chuckled, pulling the milk from the ice box and bringing it over to her. He leaned back against the counter beside her while she began the process of making the drinks. "Can I help?"

She looked at him with a raised eyebrow. "Do you know anything about cooking?"

He cast her a crooked grin, humor glinting in his eyes. "Nope."

Her own lips were twitching. "Then I would say it's best that I do this myself."

He laughed softly and braced his hands on the edge of the counter behind him. "As you wish."


James remained beside her as she when through the process of heating the milk, his gaze ever on her. It was soothing, watching her go through the ritual of making the drink she was so fond of.

"See something you like, Charming?" she inquired saucily, her eyes sparkling at him.

He smirked. "What do you think?"

"I think," she stepped toward him until they were less than a foot apart and leaned her hip against the counter, bracing one hand on the surface, "that you can't take your eyes off of me," she observed.

He leaned his head down so that their faces were inches apart. "And what if I can't?" he asked huskily.

"Well," she said softly, leaning a bit closer so that their lips were only centimeters apart, "then I'd say that it's a good thing that the milk is ready." She stepped back away to the stove with a smirk.

He returned the smirk and leaned back again. "Now who's playing unfairly?"

She lifted her chin in a superior manner. "I wasn't the one who first said they weren't going to play fair," she countered.

"That's true," he admitted with a half-grin.

She handed him a mug of cinnamon laced hot cocoa, lifting her own as well. He placed his free hand at the small of her back and guided her over to the fireplace where there was still a fire, flickering low; they settled into the two chairs in front of the hearth.

Snow observed him over the rim of her mug as she blew gently on the steaming liquid. "So," she began, taking a sip of the cocoa before continuing, "what is it you wanted to talk to me about specifically?"

He swallowed a mouthful and then set the mug aside. He reached out and took nearest of her hands from around her mug in both of his. "There's something I want to tell you about, that I believe you should know and I don't want you to hear from another source." His eyes lifted to hers. "I don't want any misunderstandings between us."

She tilted her head to the side, looking at him watchfully; she set her mug in her lap, hand still steady on the handle. "That sounds almost ominous," there was a thread of teasing in her tone, but he could tell that she was taking it seriously.

James traced the lines of her palm. "A few months ago, over half a year, King Midas approached my father and I. He had heard that I was a skilled fighter and wanted me to kill a dragon that was plaguing his lands in exchange for gold. I agreed and managed to complete the task." He skimmed the tips of his fingers over her knuckles. "When Father and I came before Midas to exchange the dragon's head for the gold Midas threw something else in." He twined her fingers with his, not wanting her to pull away from him at the news he was about to give her. "He wished to arrange a marriage between his daughter Abigail and I."

"Princess Abigail?" she suddenly burst in, bringing his head up at her outburst. "That nag with a bad attitude?"

He was surprised to hear his own unvoiced thoughts about the blond princess echoed perfectly back at him. "You know her?"

Snow grimaced. "Unfortunately, but I'll explain later. What were you saying about Midas wanting to trap you forever with his annoying daughter?"

He smirked at her characteristic sharp tongue. "He was willing to give us a year to 'consider' the possibility of entering into an engagement." He pressed his lips together. "Which translates to I either propose to Abigail within what's left of the year or I propose to another woman, and the only possible chance of that not starting a war is if the woman I choose would bring greater material gain and or power to my kingdom."

He felt her go still.

"And I'm the only one that fits that bill…" she murmured.

When she began to pull her hand away he tightened both of his around it. "But none of that is why I'm pursuing you, Snow." He lifted his eyes to hers; he saw her breath catch.

"Then why are you pursing me?" she asked softly.

James lifted her hand to kiss each fingertip, his eyes gazing into hers. "I'm pursuing you for myself. I'm pursuing you because even if I was given the choice of any woman in the world I would always choose you."

Her chest was rising and falling quickly. "James," she breathed.

He brought her hand to rest over his heart. "When I first traveled to your kingdom, I had expected that at most you and I might manage to be friends. I fully expected to have to marry Abigail, to preserve peace for my kingdom." One corner of his lips lifted. "Then this beautiful, bewitching young woman hit me with a rock." Snow grinned at that. "I had no idea who you were but I knew I had to find you." He was grinning now. "And then you were the one to find me I suppose."

She slipped her hand from his and brought it up to trace the scar on his chin with her fingertips. "Let's just say we found each other."

He brought one of his hands up to cover hers. "That's fine with me."

They looked at each other for several moments before Snow leaned forward and pressed her lips to his in a brief, chaste kiss. She pulled away and skimmed her fingers up to his furrowed brow, smoothing them over it. "Stop worrying, Charming," she soothed, "I'm not going anywhere."

Relief washed over him as he leaned into her touch. He pressed his forehead to hers and after a few moments asked, "So, how do you know Abigail?"

She sighed sitting back. "You sure know how to kill a mood, Charming."

He chuckled softly, picking his mug up once again and taking a drink.


Snow sipped her hot chocolate. "When my mother was alive I used to attend the High Court functions with my parents. When I first started attending Princess Abigail was one of the only princesses near my age, so it was expected that we would play together." She grimaced. "That lasted about as long as it took for her to end up falling in a pile of horse manure."

"Entirely by accident of course," Charming teasingly interjected.

Her eyes danced with laughter. "Entirely." She continued, "After that I decided that I wanted to play with the princes."

He narrowed his eyes thoughtfully for a moment, before his expression cleared and became rueful. "I…uh…I remember you," he chuckled.

She raised her eyebrows. "Really?"

"Mm hmm," he nodded, looking down at her mug with a smirk. "I remember this spunky, little dark-haired princess marched up to myself and the other princes, and insisted on playing with us. One prince stepped forward and told her she couldn't because she was 'a girl'." Snow's eyes slid closed as memory dawned on her expression. "She retorted that she was a 'woman' and pushed him into a mud puddle."

Snow rubbed a hand along the side of her face. "You – uh – were there for that?" She glanced up at him.

"Oh, yes." He gave her a rueful half smile. "I was the prince whom you pushed into the mud."

Her jaw dropped. "Oh my…" She slapped a hand across her forehead. "James!" She let her hand fall to her side. "I never made the connection," she looked at him wonderingly. "I'm so thick."

"No, more than I," he assured her. "I was older than you when you stopped coming to court and I didn't remember it either."

She smirked at him. "Well, you did deserve it, when I pushed you in the mud, for what you said." She lifted her mug and took a sip.

"True," James agreed, grinning, "though I got you back anyway." He smirked. "If you remember I pulled you into the puddle a moment later."

She just barely managed to swallow the sip before she laughed. "Yes, you did and we got into quite the mud-throwing fight." She lifted her chin proudly. "But after that you and the other princes never questioned my right to play with you again. Though, we did get in trouble with our parents once they saw the two of us covered in mud."

"That we did."

She looked at him consideringly. "I thought for sure you were going to rat me out, but you just told them that we accidentally fell in the puddle." Just like he had covered for her about being attacked on the road.

He gave her a half-grin. "I had finally found my partner-in-crime; I couldn't have left her hanging, now could I?"

An answering grin spread across her face. "No…you never have."

Later, after Charming had escorted her to her room and then gone to his own, Snow went back over to the window seat. She drew her feet up under her, folding her arms atop the window ledge and resting her chin on them, staring out the window into the starry night. She wondered if Charming remembered the last time they saw each other as children, if he recalled his promise to her…



The prince spun at the tear-filled voice of his best friend who came running into the room. A fury at whoever had caused the little princess to cry rose in him; he rushed to her and hugged her tightly. "What's wrong, Snow?"

She had buried her face in his chest and looked up at him tearfully. "Father says we're leaving!"


"As soon as our things are packed." Tears continued to fall down her face. "Father said that we shouldn't've come. That we weren't ready to return to Court."

James frowned. "But you'll be back next time."

"I-I don't know." Her lip trembled. "It didn't sound like Father wants us to come back for a long time." Another tear slid down her cheek. "James, what if we don't come back ever?"

"Then I'll find you," he stated firmly.

"Do you promise?" Her eyes searched his, to reassure herself that he spoke the truth.

"Even if I have to wait until I'm grown up, I'll come and find you. And we'll go on adventures together, because we'll be old enough no one can tell us not to."

She gave him a shaky smile. "But we've gotta get married someday and we can't just run off together on adventures, 'cause I don't think the people we marry'll like that."

"We'll get married to each other," he told her decisively, hugging her tighter. "Then no one can tell us we can't."

She gave a teary laugh, tightening her hold around his middle as well. "Ok."

James stood beside his mother, watching Snow climb into the carriage after her father; once inside she stuck her head out the window, staring back at him. As the carriage took off he ran after it calling, "I'll find you, Snow! I promise!"

She waved forlornly at him, a tear streaking its way down her face.


James was leaning against the door frame to his balcony, staring through the open door to the light still glowing in Snow's window; he could make out her head resting on the window ledge. He hadn't bothered to light any candles in his room when he came in, thinking that he was going straight to bed, so the room behind him was dark. However, when sleep wasn't forthcoming he had gone to the balcony.

Childhood memories had washed over him. Years of boring High Court functions, most of them just a blur of the sameness, but a few years stood out, with a little dark-haired princess's sparkling eyes and mischievous grin being at the center of them all. Time and the distraction of obligations had pushed the memories of the girl who had been his best friend to the far corners of his mind, but now here they were, fresh and clear as if they had occurred yesterday. He had kept his promise to find her, though it had taken longer than he had imagined at the time and had certainly come about in a way he would have never expected.

The silhouetted form in the window stirred and rose, moving out of sight; a few moments later the light was extinguished.

James pressed a hand to where his mother's ring hung around his neck, he wondered if Snow remembered all of his promises from that day…


The part where Snow says: . "I don't think that a couple of fourteen year-old children know what real love is." Is intended to be in part a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor, considering the fact that in most of the original fairy tales these characters were around that age, maybe a couple of years older, or in some cases younger; I'm going by the ages that they are in OUaT.

Thank you for reading! I hope that you guys liked it! I'll try to get started on the next chapter as soon as possible; we'll be seeing more of Ella, Thomas, Snow and Charming. Please let me know what you think!

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