Fans have been speculating about the nature of Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle) and Cora's (Barbara Hershey) relationship ever since they shared a surprising kiss on Season 2, Episode 12: “In the Name of the Brother.” Now, new spoiler-y sneak peek pics of Season 2, Episode 16: "The Miller's Daughter" hint at what kind of answer we might get when Sunday rolls around and we're finally shown Cora's backstory.

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Credit: Jack Rowand/ABC Photo: Once Upon a Time Season 2, Episode 16: Rumplestiltskin and Young Cora

As you can see in the photo above, a young Cora seems to be touching Rumple's heart. It looks like it might be a tender gesture ... though given Cora's penitent for ripping out hearts, who knows?
 
And what about this photo to the right? In it, we see Rumle sitting, clutching Cora's hands and looking up at her. She's looking down at him with something akin to tenderness or friendship. Certainly it's not an expression we've come to expect from her, and it doesn't look like a normal tutor/pupil situation.

What do you make of these photos? Do you think they hint at a possible romantic relationship in the past (or at least a close friendship)? And if they do, do you think that romance/friendship was genuine, or were one (or both) of the parties involved playing the other?

Share your theories in the comments!

Read more OUAT spoilers here.

Catch the next episode of Once Upon a Time on Sunday, March 10 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

Rebecca Martin is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @BeccaDMartin.