Edmund frowned and stepped back again. She was probably the most harmless-looking person he had ever seen, but people didn’t get exiled for nothing.
"Why? What did you do?"
❀– “My stepmother tried to have me killed.” She said softly, twisting her fingers together as she looked down at the ground. It still hurt her feelings to talk about if she was entirely honest. Snow White had always hoped the woman would be her mother, but then she just…wouldn’t. “She wanted to eat my heart. When someone helped me escape, she told everyone I was the reason why my papa died.”
Snow White felt her brown eyes filling with tears to remember, but she just kept looking at her pale hands as they twisted together. “My prince has been gone a terribly long time. I do hope he hasn’t forgotten about me.”
"…Oh." He tried to imagine what they looked like, but all he came up with was a series of over-exaggerated expressions that were actually quite frightening in nature. "Doc? I thought they were all named after…descriptive words." It was his own fault for forgetting the word adjective, though it didn’t stop him from feeling embarrassed. Luckily for him, though, the thick fur on his face happened to hide any sort of coloring his skin could display. “Singing? What kinds of things do you sing to them?”
He didn’t laugh along with her, but one side of his mouth did twitch, just slightly. “You could try talking to the wolves.” Which wouldn’t go that well at all actually, because they were even more savage than he was. “It isn’t that silly. People are afraid of all kinds of things.” His voice took on an odd note when he spoke, but he fell silent after that, finishing up with the curtains and crouching next to a chair across from her. “Like me.”
❀–”I guess Doc is the exception? He’s very smart, perhaps that’s why they call him Doc, like a doctor!” Snow White hadn’t really thought about it much before. She tapped the side of her face with a single finger, pondering until he spoke again. Snow White smiled, “Well just about everything! It’s fun to sing and just make the words rhyme.” She explained, fingers clasping together in her lap.
"I wonder if they would listen." She mused, thinking about it for a moment before falling silent at his reassurances about her fears. Snow White paused as he spoke, trying to speak carefully. "I don’t think you’re scary. Well, you can be a bit frightening if someone doesn’t know you’re actually very kind." She began carefully, but smiled a bit shyly. "After all, you’ve been so very nice to me to let me stay here while the storm’s going on. And you’ve been pleasant to make conversation with."
"Are there any other dwarves with names like that?" His large eyebrows furrowed when she mentioned animal friends. "Animal…friends? How can you be friends with animals? Do you talk to them?" He wasn’t friends with any animals—the only ones that lived around the castle usually attacked him on sight. Or ran.
"As long as you stay with me…no. There are things in this castle that you aren’t allowed to see." He slid up from his mostly-crouching position to lead her into the dining hall, and then beyond to a sitting room. "You can sit anywhere you like." He nodded when she thanked him, making sure to close the curtains (dusty and torn as they were) to block the storm going on outside.
❀–”Yes, actually, there’s Sleepy, Sneezy, Bashful, Happy, Dopey, and Doc! Doc’s the eldest you see, and usually Sleepy and Dopey are the only ones that live at home year round, the others often go exploring and come back!” She explained as she followed him down the vast halls, having to take a few steps for his every one, but chattering happily all the same. “Oh, it’s really quite easy! They seem to like my singing. They can’t really talk back, but I do like speaking with them.”
"Oh, don’t worry, I don’t mind staying with you, who else would I talk to?" She asked with a laugh as she looked about the room. Snow White settled on a small settee and smoothed her dress over her knees, smiling as she noticed him closing the curtains and blocking out the storm. "Thank you, I know it’s silly, but I guess I’m just silly like that." She confessed, clasping her hands together in her lap.
“The public has grown so foolish, all concerned with which list they are or aren’t on. Does no one have the time to simply make a wreath with me? Remember the true meaning of Christmas? The intent of character?”
"Oh a wreath? Of course! That’s what the cottage was missing!" Snow White smiled sweetly. "Do you mind if I help?"
"Is he…grumpy?" he asked, almost reluctantly. Puns aren’t exactly his favorite thing—a lot of the servants made furniture puns, and they had been for years—it got old very fast. “You’re alone all day? Why don’t you go with them?” If the work was dangerous, he’d understand, but if it wasn’t…maybe she just didn’t want to leave. “Where do they work?”
Despite his assurances, she jumped again, and against his better judgement, he swept an arm out, towards the large foyer and beyond. “If you want, you can come in a little more, away from the windows. The thunder won’t be as loud deeper in the castle.”
❀–”Yes! Very much so!” She said with a laugh, but shook her head carefully. “Not exactly, there’s my animal friends, but yes, I can’t go to the diamond mines. They’re much too dangerous and the way is very tricky.” Snow White explained.
"Oh, you don’t mind?" She said thankfully, putting her hand to her cheek and the other holding up the edge of her dress as she took a few steps forward. "I know I’m already intruding, but thank you, Beast." Snow White said with a bright smile.