Snow and the cubs
"Mommy! Watch this!"
A perfect loop-the-loop is executed, and Snow claps dutifully, beaming, at her middle daughter's new achievement.
"Wonderful job, darling! You've made a lot of progress."
Not just the loop-the-loop, she thinks, though that was certainly what recognition was sought for, but how far she'd come in the past year, along with her sisters. All too short a time ago they had needed to be tethered to their cribs, having little to no control over their flight or shifting abilities, and not seeming inclined to learn any speech. Not yet a year that they'd been here, far less than that that they'd had any degree of real instruction in controlling their abilities. She smiled to herself as she watched them play above the treetops, laughing in the carefree manner only the very young or the very sheltered can manage.
She never considered the possibility of herself as a mother, really. Not even during the very short period in which she believed she'd found her 'happily ever after' with Prince Charming. She'd had minimal experiance with children, even back when she'd been a child herself. Playing in the woods with Rose, they never had the games of 'House' or acted as mother to dolls as many others did. They never really saw the point. Her own mother figures had been well-meaning but ineffective at best and homicidal at worst, so there was never a role model set for her.
But life will find a way, as it will. Her still unrecalled romp in the woods with Bigby had produced better results than she ever would have hoped for when she first learned of them. It had occured to her in the later weeks of her pregnancy, when it had a chance to sink in that, had she been given a choice, bearing the illegitimate offspring of a wolf that truly loved her was indefinately preferable than if she'd borne the children of a prince who was untrue.
She'd had a lot of time to think about things, since leaving behind her work.
What things would be like, if she hadn't gotten so upset with Bigby when she found out.
What would have happened, had she gone with him, when he asked.
If she'd asked him the same first.
If she considered the possibilites, taken the chance, before mind control removed all choice.
If she hadn't driven herself to overwork for centuries, to the exclusion of most real emotion.
If she hadn't gone with the superficial choice of a prince on his white horse, if any other option were given to her.
What would happen, in the world of what-if? Would things be better? Worse? Would Bigby be by her side now, wherever she might be, watching their cubs fly together? She had no illusion that he would be elsewhere, had he the choice. Not considering how he proved his love for her, not considering how happy he'd been to learn of her pregnancy, even when she was so upset with him.
A series of giggles from above drew her out of her thoughts, and she snickered quietly when she saw how the cubs had tricked two of Mr. North's attendant winds into flying together into a tricky tangle.
It took her by surprise when she realized she'd subconsciously used Bigby's term for them, and something pained deep within her. For now, she smiled supportively and was every inch thier mother, caring for them as best she could with what she had. Tonight she would let the tears out, mourning what might have been, before falling asleep and dreaming of the one cub she managed to give his father a chance to know.