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All The Glories

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Charming watches as they ride back to Snow's castle, watches her receive directions and news from the bluebirds and rabbits and squirrels.

When they stop to rest his horse, he watches her share a joke with a deer and her faun across the stream.

He startles when she reaches up to hold a branch high above her head so that it won't hit him as they pass under it and the whole tree, a dead craggy thing, begins to bloom in front of him.

He gapes a little when, as she's singing softly to herself as they walk, The White Stag appears just a little bit away, trotting down the path to bump against Snow.

Charming had only seen the legendary animal once before, on his first hunt. He'd been a boy and had stared into the Stag's fathomless eyes for an eternity. His father's hunting party came crashing in behind them and broke the spell. Startled, Charming had accidentally released his arrow which flew straight and true as ever, barely missing the Stag.

The Stag stays for the duration of the song before giving Charming an intensely judging look and then cantering away.

When they're talking about their lives before (and honestly, he wants to catch the queen again and make her feel just an ounce of the pain she'd inflicted on this girl, he has intense visions of burning enchanted shoes) and Snow talks about her life after her father died, the warm summer breeze turns cool, the green trees turn amber.

As she talks about how she'd run through the forest afraid for her life, how she'd encountered the queen again and again, how she'd worried for the dwarves, her animal friends, for him, her arms curl around herself as the wind turns frigid and the trees turn bare, looming and ominous.

He thinks about pointing it out to her but she has already calmed and started singing as the trees return to their normal state.

His heart stops and he doesn't think he could blink if he wanted to when the bear ambles out of the tree line to hug Snow like a long lost friend.

By the time the wolves circle her, yipping and panting, Charming has reached a state of permanent shock and he just continues building a fire as Snow faithfully scratches every single one behind the ears.

He gets roped into petting a few of the lionesses, and the foxes that wound their way through the couples legs seemed to almost prefer him over Snow (almost, they still deferred to her, especially when she sang).

When the unicorn ambles out of the thicket at a crossroads to huff against Snow's hair and nudge her to the right path, Charming officially makes his peace with being the only Kingdom around to ban hunting parties, and wonders how hard it would be to eat only plants for the rest of his life.

Chapter Text

Kit knows his soon-to-be-wife is magic.

She had told him about her fairy godmother and really it was the only way to describe the slipper that fit absolutely no one but Ella.

(Her feet were beautiful and wonderful but they were not the only one of their size in the kingdom.)

Her laugh always resonates perfectly with the nearest glasses, enriching and emboldening it. Her hair always manages to catch the sunlight just so. Butterflies flock around her, and even the jeweled ones in her hair or on her dresses seem ready to leap into flight.

To walk in on her conversing with mice was not a huge surprise.

(The lizard was another story.)

During their evening walk, he finally asked why mice and not the horses who seemed to love her so, or the dogs that stood by her over all others; to which she turned those huge liquid eyes on him and explained (in a way that somehow did not incriminate or demean her stepmother or stepsisters at all) that they were the best friends she'd had during the worst and most lonely times of her life.

She then smiled beatifically before reaching down to pet the hound that had accompanied them, saying that the mice were not the only friends she'd had, just the most easily concealed.

**

Years and years later, as Ella pardoned the former Lady Tremaine and invited her stepsisters to their anniversary ball, Kit remembered her standing on the deck of their rain drenched ship, in little more than a slip and a dressing gown, talking down a hysterical deckhand who had rigged the ship to blow.

She spoke eloquently and empathetically of her abuse, likening it to the young man's, before continuing a conversation with him, sitting in the rain and easing the gun out of his hand, until they reached the shore. She ensured that he was hospitalized and helped, before giving him a job at the palace.

Remembering her then and watching her now, he can't help thinking that her magic is not in her clothes and silk-spun hair and delicate wrists and talking animal friends. It was something subtler and kinder and more courageous.