The Only Thing We Share.
Now this applies both equally to you and I
The only thing we share
Is the same sky
'Eve, the apple of my eye' Bell X1
Thing was, he always loved the princess a little, he guessed. It was hard to precise the feeling, when what you had, mostly, were bits of song stuck in your head, a glimpse of a song and, if he was lucky, a smile that was only for him.
He had been married, once upon a time, with a maid of the castle, way before the previous Queen had even given birth to the princess, and they had been happy, he guessed, as happy as to people that learn how to live with each other without grating each other too much ever did. It really hadn't been about (how had it been in the songs) everlasting love, about wanting to be a better man for her.
He hunted, got some money out of it, took it home, laid down over their bed and then rolled over her, and she'd mutter something but she'd spread her legs for him. When she died at childbirth, taking the infant with her, he had thought that, well. Perhaps it had been for the best. He didn't think he was much of a father either.
Snow White was a different matter. A princess, for starters, all soft skin and skin so, so white with her wide, doe eyes. He had seen eyes like those before. The eyes of the deers he hunted, he thought. Skin like the rabbits he trapped. Eyes guiless and soft and tender like he had never known in a human being.
And she smiled at him the way no one else had. "Mister hunter," she'd say in her soft, small voice, reaching for his hands and looking at him gently. "You hurt yourself, mister hunter. Here, let me clean your hands."
She always had a smile at him, despite the hour, despite how busy or tired she was. Snow White would be, he guessed, the one person to miss him if one day one of the animals he hunted killed him too.
How could he not love her?
And she had fallen in disgrace. The Queen, after all, would keep her in the kitchens, make sure she withered away. Snow White was still a child, despite her beauty and soft eyes. His heart ached when he thought of her, getting those jaded, bittered eyes. He thought about saving her, marrying her and taking her away to another kingdom, give her a small place near the woods, surrounded by light and flowers and the birds she seemed to like so much.
He could save her, he realized. He could make her happy, perhaps.
And then her Prince Charming came and he hated him more than he ever thought he could. Hated the secret smile he put over the princess' eyes, the way her songs were now for him.
He hated enough that the poisonous words the Queen offered pierced through him, and he took the offered dagger without doubts.
And yet, he couldn't do it. As he saw Snow White picking up daisies and violets, as he saw her humming and smiling in the sun, his heart gave him that sweet, soft thought of the place he had dreamed off, and he thought about small smiles and soft hands roughened by work, and he remembered the songs about brave knights and charming princes, and that roughened part inside of him told him that he wasn't the one supposed to give the princess her happily ever after.
Well, then; he thought, putting the dagger away. But I can be the one to save her anyway.