Set just before Storybook Love
She missed it, sometimes. But to open herself enough to trust someone, allow them close enough to trust . . . and the potential for betrayal. It wasn't worth the risk.
On occasion, she would feel something more. A hug from her sister, after they'd finally reconciled. The soft crunch of tissue against her knee during that one memorable Remembrance Day ball, when Prince Charming thought it a good idea to spike her drink and make a move on her. Despite the headache the next day, her overwhelming satisfaction made the entire experience worthwhile.
Then one day, Bigby passed his Security report to her, as usual, and their hands brushed together. It was as if an electric current ran through her, and she jerked away. Cheeks flushed, she quietly hoped Bigby hadn't noticed and returned focus to her work.
It was futile, as her thoughts continued to race. She couldn't feel this, shouldn't feel this, but what she knew had to be seemed irrelevant. Memories came to her of previous touches, ones she had set to the back of her mind. A gentle hand supporting her during her numerous lessons in regaining the ability to walk and before, the underlying strength held back to allow her to support herself as much as she could. Respecting her independence with an unyielding, unspoken vow to protect her however he could. A comforting hand solidly gripping hers, the first stimulus she registered after coming out of her coma. Unsure hands guiding her roughly, in a crude attempt to win her over at the infamous dance. It wasn't charming; he never would be, no matter his efforts. But Snow knew all too well what charm would bring her. Even before that, a thousand casual touches over the centuries, slowly building . . . and once, long centuries past, the gentle scrape of fangs into her flesh.
There was work to be done, and she knew these thoughts should never be harbored, let alone drydocked and refurbished. It wouldn't work, couldn't work. They were too different, there was no guarantee of keeping their highly effective business relationship going if they started something personal, she had no idea how the fuck to have a real relationship.
Try as she might to come up with arguments against it, the feeling inside would not bend to logic. But the report required her attention, and she finally managed to push emotion to the side long enough to review it. Maybe later she could consider it, work out a rationalization to set it to rest and continue the way things had been. Maybe.