The fires had all been put out. The dead had been laid to rest. Houses were still being rebuilt, but everyone had somewhere to sleep and food to fill their bellies and the little island nation of Veroma was getting back to some sense of normalcy. It was a new normal, one missing a lot of people and with a sad feeling in the air but it was beginning to feel more normal just the same.
This isn’t at all what a younger Snow had seen when she pictured her life. She could never have imagined all the death and heartbreak, or having to grow up without the guiding hand of her father teaching her what to do when it was her turn. She hadn’t expected to be Queen so young. She was supposed to have had more time. No amount of wishful thinking could undo what had gone wrong or bring back the people they had lost. But there were the parts of her life that she wouldn’t change for the world. Certain things that life had unexpectedly given her. Certain people, one of whom she was on the way to see right now. Someone who meant more to her than she ever imagined was possible, someone she loved so much it made her heart swell inside her chest, someone she would get to love the rest of her life if she was lucky.
With him, Snow felt that lucky.
It was hard to think of him without her mind reminding her about how close she had come to losing him. Sometimes at night when he’s restless beside her the images spring up under her eyelids and she can’t escape them. Images Snow desperately wants to erase from her mind but knows she never will. Images of his blood running down Eadric’s sword, running out of the corner of his mouth, dripping onto the forest floor. Images of his eyes meeting hers as her broken heart escaped from between her lips in the form of those grief struck screams. The way he smiled when he knew she was safe.
It was easier not to think about it when she could be with him. Indisputable proof that he made it through to put her mind at ease. Physical proof like his hand in hers or his fingers tucking her hair behind her ear or his chest rising and falling at night. Then she wasn’t so afraid.
Between all the meetings and the checking in on people and the running around Snow didn’t get to feel like that as often as she would like. Mostly getting to see Tris for a few moments during the day and then those tired ones before her mind finally gave into sleep. But right now she had a couple free minutes, and she couldn’t think of anywhere else she’d rather spend them.
She’s about to turn down a hallway when a servant steps into her path. "Your majesty.” He gives her a nod. She smiles at him, then steps closer to the wall to get around him. It’s when she’s rounding the corner that Snow is surprised by a tug at the fabric of her skirts by her waist. The pull spins her around and right into Tristan’s arms.
A surprised laugh rings through the stone hallway. Her arms reach up to wrap around the back of his neck as he pulls her close to him. Her hazel eyes are looking up into his ocean ones. ”Gotcha.” he says softly before he kisses her. There’s that feeling in her chest again, like her heart had wings.
“Yeah, you did.” she says, the corners of her lips turning up into a smile before she presses them into his again.