Once again, Arielle from Fairy Tale Central came through this month with another awesome prompt! I’ve been really enjoying doing them!
I have no idea where this is set and if it’s a fantasy world or if it’s historical fantasy, but you know what? Let’s just call this historical UK. Now, where is it in the UK? Is it in Scotland? England? What time period is it? I don’t know! I’m professional!
I tried to give Snow selective mutism, and I hope everything was accurate. *fingers crossed*
And as always: No plagiarism, do not steal. I’m sure that I don’t have to say this and that everyone who reads this is a lovely person, but it can happen occasionally, so. 😀
Snow rested atop the boulder, her tattered red cloak covered in snowflakes. She sat very still, as usual. She sat so still that she looked as if she were waiting for someone or something, and she stared intently out into the distance past the cliff’s edge where the thick, roiling grey clouds coated the earth beneath, and if Rose hadn’t known her, she would have thought she were doing something very important. But she was not. She was simply thinking about something, and Rose didn’t know what. Rose was never privy to those particular thoughts.
Rose snuck up behind her, the snow crunching loudly under her feet, and she ruffled Snow’s white-blond hair, accidentally tugging some of it out of her braid. It wouldn’t have worked on anyone but Snow. Rose was horrible at sneaking.
Snow jumped and turned around to see her. Her eyes narrowed, and she turned away. “Don’t do that,” she said, placing a hand to her hair.
“Sorry,” Rose said with a grin, brushing Snow’s cloak off, because she’d never do it herself. She sat down on the boulder with her back to Snow. She bit her lip, a million things she wanted to say and the words for none of them. But she had to tell someone, because the words tightened in her chest until they wanted to burst, and she should have said these things to her family by now anyway. “We’ve been growing older, haven’t we?” Her voice was soft and a bit hollow, but Snow didn’t notice.
“Obviously,” Snow said dryly. “Did you think we would be sixteen forever?” Rose shut her eyes. That hadn’t come out right at all.
“What I meant was…” She licked her lips. “Not physically. But I feel older.” She thought for a moment about leaving the subject there and saying something else. “You’ve made a friend, and I’ve…” And Rose didn’t fit in with her old friends anymore, and she looked at them now and she felt ancient and apart. “And I’ve been feeling positively antiquated,” she said frankly. Snow didn’t say anything.
Snow’s friend was—he was a man enchanted to be a bear, and Rose was never quite certain about the details, or if Snow had ever remembered to tell their mother about him. He’d come in late one winter’s night when their mother was away, covered in snow and soft whispers, and Rose had fled under the table, her hands over her head and waiting for the sharp teeth to pull her out. But Snow stood there in the doorway for a moment, watching him with her serious eyes, and then she stepped aside and let him in. Rose hadn’t been able to believe her eyes for a moment. Snow would probably have shut the door to a person. Rose thought that she must have gone mad.
But the bear hadn’t eaten them, and he began to talk to Snow, softly. Rose could not hear what he said, and she was too out of it to try to listen. Snow said nothing—she never said anything to strangers—but she nodded, shut the door, and began to stoke the fireplace, gesturing at Rose to come out. And he had stayed there for the night, and Snow rested her head against his back and went to sleep.
He’d come to their house a few more times, never when anyone besides them were there, and Snow had even begun to talk to him sometimes. Rose couldn’t begin to say how much of a relief that was to her, despite the fact that he was—well, enchanted to be a bear. Snow never talked to anyone who could talk back, besides her family. Rose had no idea what their prior relationship was, or how he had been enchanted, and sometimes the fact that she was left out of so much in this family rubbed in her throat, but she never said that.
“Antiquated how?” Snow asked. Rose jumped. She’d been silent for so long Rose hadn’t expected her to answer.
“I—” She waved her hand. “I…” Because the woods had gotten a little too deep into her and sung her their wild uncanny ways and– “I fell in love,” she said, changing the subject. “I think.”
She did not turn to see Snow roll her eyes, but Rose was fairly certain she was. Or maybe Rose was being paranoid. “With whom?” Snow asked, and her voice was not sarcastic.
“With…With…I met him during a dance.” She felt Snow nod her head against hers. “And I danced with him a lot, and he…” She swallowed. Her voice was a little higher-pitched than usual. “He wanted me to stay there forever with him,” she said slowly. “But I would not, because I still loved this place, and I loved my friends, and I love you and Mother.” Her hands trembled. She had never, ever said this aloud, not to him nor to anyone else. She had never even whispered it, but the thought kept coming to her in the dark of night until she felt certain that it would eat her. “But I don’t want this anymore.” She was whispering. “I want to be there with him—”
“Who—” There was a dangerous edge to Snow’s voice—“Is him?”
“His—his name is Bran,” she said. “You wouldn’t have met him.” Her hands twisted in her lap. They felt frozen, even with gloves on.
“What is he, then.” It was not a question. Rose thought of trying to lie, but there wasn’t much point.
“He’s fey,” she whispered even softer, “and I’ve never seen his true form, but he always appears to me as either a beautiful man or a wild antlered thing from the woods. But he is…” She swallowed. Holy. Sublime. She could not say that without sounding utterly ridiculous.
“Oh, good heavens,” Snow said, and her voice could not have been more dry. Trust Snow to react that way. “Why couldn’t you have fallen in love with a human like an ordinary girl, Sister?”
That stung a bit. “Says the girl who is falling in love with a bear,” she snapped back. Snow did not say anything for a moment, and Rose was not sure if she were hurt or surprised; but when she turned to apologize, Snow was only looking thoughtfully past the cliff’s edge, her lips parted slightly. Rose found she did not know what to say.
Snow shook her head sharply, breaking out of the reverie. “Don’t make our relationship sound stranger than it is,” she said, her voice gentle. “Have you told Mother?”
Rose bit her lip. “No. Have you ever told her about the bear?” It was a question she’d wanted to ask for a while.
Snow paused. “No.” Her voice was a little different. “We had probably…better do that soon, shouldn’t we?”
Rose sighed, her breath turning to mist in the cold air. “Yes, we probably should. So let’s go and do it, because we’ve waited an embarrassingly long time. Poor Mother.” She got up, dusting the snow off her dress, and held her hand out to Snow.
Snow looked at it for a moment and took it with a wry smile. “Poor Mother,” she agreed. “Yes, let’s.” And they walked off together, Rose not entirely sure what she was going to say when she got home.
I like the idea of Bran a lot, and I might reuse that idea for another story, honestly. The same goes for Snow. I’m probably not going to do anything more with this story in particular–at least probably not, though there’s always a possibility with me–but my little sister did give me the idea of doing a Snow White and Rose Red retelling set in Alaska, and just…Excuse me, let me go add that to my queue of stories I want to write. (Has anyone else done Snow White and Rose Red with Eskimo characters yet? And can you rec it to me if they have?) [Edit: I did NOT know back when I wrote this that ‘eskimo’ was very much not the right word to use, I am so sorry. (◞‸ლ) ]
This story’s working title was ‘Awkward boyfriends’ and if that doesn’t sum up this story I don’t know what does. My mom helped me come up with the actual title, and can I just say…Thank you?? That title is perfect??
Also, in case you’re wondering…I most certainly named Bran after the character from one of my very favorite Irish poems.