And tears across her casket wept…

No more, no more, no more.

She was an angel. A sprawl of calm undertones and softened black, the angles of midnight curving over the sky. To look upon her – unable to touch, too precious to hold, finger tips cutting across the beads of moisture on that enclosure, streaks of water, air crisp with autumnal oranges, yellows, reds - So much red, the only color her lips knew – there was a slight chill beneath his skin, but a blossom of overwhelming warmth.

Like waves he is possessed by reason, receding with the tides toward an endless equilibrium. There is cutting nature about despair, an all over hue. She touched – once upon a time, he supposed – the silks of every dimension with a swirl of logic. He knows why her lungs remain still, and the curse of love, that curse… Only to wonder if it was more harrowing than being trapped within that glass coffin, eyes closed to the branches hovering above like the extended fingers of a witch.

She laid there stiller than death. But then the depths of sleep were always moribund, a breath drawn before her teeth plunged into that apple, piercing the red – all her lips knew – in a moment of weakness, dropping, colliding with the floorboards in a deluge of diaphaneity. A sprawl of Snow white, sable, and poison.

He loved her.

Was life always as cleanly carved as the woods were lonely? He draws a breath, and it is only for her. Drawn for the pain and the envy and their parting. A child of wintry cream and delicate hip bones, fingers curled over her simple, peasants dress, locked in a glass coffin for all to look upon, a never ending wake, lips a stain of scarlet, lashes black and curling upwards toward the coniferous canopy that had seen so many winters, but never a romance so tragic. He traces her lips above the coffin. Always just a frost picture that will never melt, a fantasy forevermore.

A kiss to break the curse, he knew; - And the hinges on the coffin appeared so heavy.

Killing her would have been appropriate, the task he was supposed to complete in the first place on that one cold evening, leading her far into the forest, the sky a steel blade over rolling hills through out forlorn eyes. "Go," he commanded instead, the sapphires in her head glowing with blue fright. "Run. Go now, child!"

Running away, running away. And among the green moss and the hooting owls, she scurried into the underbrush, disappearing for so long, nicking his heart like a blot of toxin, only to lie there… A death-like sleep filling her lungs.

His pockets were empty, sachets filled with lint rather than gold; gloves that were ripped and stained, a dismal, poor brown, the glass so smooth against his calloused fingers, not nearly as flawless as her skin. He looked at his hand. A rough pallet of masculine hardness, scars wrapping around the back of his fingers like tiny thorns on a blade of grass, splinters colonizing over unsanded oak. A lifetime of hard work and diligence. Too harsh for a woman's touch.

Then a tremble. It shook his heart to say it, to admit the swallowed words from so long ago, his own poison, what could break so easily, the trills of ice under the blue bird's song: but adoration was all the huntsman had to offer, never chests full of riches or silk ball gowns, never the satin of refined hands, the glow of candlelight, dinners under the moon. A whisper of kindness. A warm, severe embrace. But luxury… It faded beyond the edges of an uncharted course, never undergone. Sailing was never a talent of his, the ocean far too deep, more winding in its shades of blue than her doleful eyes, the sorrow, pools of it, ages, centenarian tokens of devotion.

Neither was he royalty.

He had heard the pattering of dressage hoof beats from over a mile away, the jangle of a princely cortege, horses groomed like the gliding precision of high noon, like his loved one, too perfect to hold.

A lock and a key.

"And now the time has come, my dear," the whisper hushed softly over the casket, unmoving as an ancient ruin, sliding across the glass. "For you to be given all that you deserve, and far more than I could ever offer."

Fare well, fare well, fare well… And so they echo on.

He diminished into the wood like the love he would never have, not a twig snapping, everything so dark and bright and colorless and chromatic and lonely, claws of green to carve the sky, lips of chapped white to taste the air, and the kiss of another… The hinges of the casket opening, soft, aristocratic hands peeling back the glass, pouring their sights upon true beauty, his beauty, but not his, not truly.

And a kiss to awaken.

To save her from that prison, the mercifulness of sleep, the prison of unconscious bars bestowed by the queen, sliding over the silk like ribbons on a beautiful, glowing wedding dress, petals thrown into the air, and what songs they would sing and what notes they would hear… But to be condemned, alone, no more.

She would be held by soft hands in the satin of royalty, glistening like a jewel over a high, November sea – and the tears that brought, of bliss and of despair -

He gave a beast's heart to the queen, but Snow White his own.