Summary: Each chapter is [spoilers]a possible secret that the Evil Queen may have told Snow White.[/spoilers]
Characters: Snow White, Evil Queen, Huntsman; mention of the King.
Rating: Mature. Adults-only. not for kid eyes. (thanks to part of the content)
"You asked to see me?" Snow White asked.
"I did," the Queen said, sitting on a bench in the castle's highest balcony. "Please, sit down."
Snow did as asked. "My father's out hunting with my uncles and, I fear, the fathers of some men he is considering for my hand in marriage."
Fools. Always seeking allies through marriage - if there is one thing you learn from my words, Snow, it should be that you marry for love...like all my people have always done. The Queen thought that; she said this: "I know. What I am about to tell you, is a secret not even for the ears of your father my husband."
Snow's eyes went wide. "Truly?"
"What is it?" Snow White asked. "I can keep a secret."
"Even from your father," the Queen repeated.
"I can," Snow promised.
"I'm not, strictly speaking, like you."
Some people don't think you're human, Snow thought. "You had a hard life before my father came into your life," she said.
"That I did," the Queen said. "And you know I came close to refusing your father's offer of marriage."
Snow nodded. "But not why you would have done so."
"Because of what I said - that strictly speaking, I am not like you. My family has never been under fairy protection."
Snow shrugged, not seeing it as a big deal.
Begin at the beginning, then. "Before the dwarves and the dragons arrived, before the lake monsters and the burrowing things came to nest. Before the fairies brought people and made the forests grow... we were here."
Snow looked confused. "Who are 'we'? All the people came with the fairies."
"No, they didn't. Not really. They brought people who were under their protection. We were people who were already living here. We were farmers, millers, sifters. We worked the land."
"With no magic?" Snow asked. "And how can you be one of them? Nothing survives from the time before the fairies."
We learned magic to survive - your ancestors left us no choice. "My father was a miller, as my family has always been"
Snow was silent. Finally she asked, "Why tell me?"
"I trust you." Even then, it was no easy decision.
It would have been easy to say the Huntsman had lost count of how many times he had already been summoned to the Queen's bedchamber. But that would have been a lie - the man was good with numbers.
The Queen right now was stalking towards him across the bed. He considered closing his eyes and wait for the inevitable, but that tended to replace her in his mind's eye with a wolf, and he wasn't in that mood today.
The Queen read his face, and decided not to toy with him today. "To be honest, Huntsman, you're not my type." Let him think he's getting out of this before anything happens.
"I can go get one of them for you," the Huntsman offered. "Let me guess - tall, dark, and striking?"
"And she has to have good legs. But you're not leaving here now," an undercurrent in her voice informing him that he was being punished as much for his refusal to kill Snow, as for the Queen's trust in the two of them - that he would kill Snow, and that Snow could keep a secret.
"You have that look on your face," the Queen said. "I've surprised you."
Very much, yes. "I take it that was the secret?"
"Did you -"
"No," the Queen said. "She and I were talking. I mentioned it in passing. A confidence."
"The secret she couldn't keep."
"Suddenly I disgusted her. Her feelings at that, poisoned everything I had ever said and done." She aimed to destroy me - I resolved to destroy her first.