Rating: T for now; it may go up later
Summary: She knew it was Wednesday, because it had been Wednesday every morning for the last four days, and she was the only one who seemed to notice. AU for the end of 3.11; Regina stops the curse, but there are consequences.
Note: I probably shouldn't post this, since I have no beta reader and a nasty case of bronchitis, but here we go anyway. Here's hoping it makes sense at all. LOL.
Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It's perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we've learned something from yesterday. — John Wayne
It was Wednesday.
Emma knew without even opening her eyes that it was twenty after 9 Wednesday morning. Again.
On cue, the sounds of Katrina and the Waves' annoyingly peppy "Walking on Sunshine" started playing downstairs, with Mary Margaret's voice chiming in cheerily. Emma wanted to scream and throw something, but that would mean actually opening her eyes and getting out of bed, confirming what she really already knew.
She knew it was Wednesday, because it had been Wednesday every morning for the last four days, and she was the only one who seemed to notice.
When Pan's curse had descended on Storybrooke, Regina was able to stop it, as Gold predicted. Magic always came with a price, though, and Emma wished she'd asked what that price was beforehand. Turns out, the price was her own sanity, which would have been nice to know at the beginning.
Groaning, she pushed herself out of bed and grabbed her phone from the nightstand. 9:22 a.m. Wednesday.
"Morning," she said half-heartedly.
She'd taken her time getting ready before heading downstairs to face the exact same conversation she'd had with her mother every morning, one that she already knew was going to piss her off. Mary Margaret's complete lack of perspective about the Neal situation was wearing thin even before she'd started living the same day on repeat.
Mary Margaret turned to her and beamed. "Good morning!" Pat Benatar had replaced Katrina and the Waves on her mother's favorite '80s radio station. Normally Emma would approve, but like everything else in this scene, it was annoyingly familiar.
As Mary Margaret turned back to the stove, Emma mouthed her next words along with her. "You slept late. Feeling OK?"
"Great! Listen, I know with the curse and everything, you didn't have a chance to have that lunch with Neal —"
Emma rolled her eyes. She was not about to listen to this speech for the fourth day in a row.
"I … I'm sorry?"
"No, I'm not going to meet with Neal. No, I'm not going to have lunch with Neal; I'm having lunch with Henry. No, I'm not going to get back together with Neal."
"But Emma, don't you think —"
"No." Emma seriously considered just walking out rather than having this conversation again, but the anger bubbling up in her was too strong to fight. Dammit, couldn't her mother see how unhappy the thought of Neal made her? "What the hell? When you were just my friend, Mary Margaret, you understood me so much better! Now, you're too interested in mothering me to see what's right in front of you."
"Emma, that's enough!" David came running, of course, to defend his True Love. The sight of the two of them standing together against her — and yes, the small part of her that could still be reasonable knew they weren't against her — sparked her temper even more.
"All those walls of mine you used to lecture me about? A whole hell of a lot of them have Neal Cassidy's name on them. He ruined my life, abandoned me and sent me to jail! If it weren't for him, I never would have given Henry up. I would have been able to raise my son! Do you think I could ever forgive him for that?"
Mary Margaret and David exchanged a shocked glance.
"He. Did. What?" her father all but growled.
"You know what, it doesn't even matter," Emma continued. "What I'm really mad about is the two of you not trusting me! I have told you day after day that something happened when Regina stopped the curse. We have been living the same day over and over, and I'm the only one who knows."
Apparently her reveal about Neal had rendered them speechless, because they didn't give her the standard replies of "Emma, honey, you're so tired," "Neverland was stressful," and so forth.
"I wish you two would make up your minds. You're so quick to brag about how your daughter is 'the savior,' yet you never believe me when I tell you something important."
With a growl of her own, she banged out of the apartment.
She considered going in to work, as she had the past few days, but there was really no point. A short note from Leroy detailing the utter lack of trouble in Storybrooke while they were gone and an uncomfortable call involving a man who called himself "the Emperor" and was running around town flashing people was all she could look forward to there.
She was supposed to meet Henry at Granny's for lunch. He and Tinker Bell had stayed the night with Regina, who had been completely drained by the effort of stopping Pan's curse. When Emma had stopped by to see the queen, she'd looked pale and tired but still had enough strength to snark over her "super-sized case of deja vu."
"If it's still tomorrow tomorrow, let me know," she'd said tiredly before pulling up the covers and obviously dismissing her.
Yeah, she wasn't going to repeat that experience today, either.
For lack of another plan, Emma headed for Granny's. She was a couple hours early for her lunch date with Henry, but she figured a hot chocolate and some quiet time to think were in order.
She already felt a little bad for going off on her parents, but at least she knew they'd forget all about it when the clock struck midnight and the whole day rewound again. She supposed she was the last person in the world who should judge them for not believing something that sounded crazy.
But it stung a bit that, much like the case with Tamara, they'd failed to believe in her again.
Hook, of course, was sitting at the counter at Granny's. It seemed to be his favorite place in town. She hadn't known that he'd be here this early, but she wasn't really surprised. She was glad to see that he was eating a late breakfast, because she knew from experience that he'd spend most of the rest of the day drinking.
And staring at her when he thought she wasn't looking.
She sighed and motioned to Ruby, miming taking a drink and hoping the waitress knew what she wanted. She just wasn't up for any awkward conversation with the pirate, not when she hadn't had time to sort out her confusing feelings about him.
Then again, she figured as she slid into a booth, she had nothing but time right now.
There was no denying she was attracted to him, not after that explosive kiss in Neverland. Her eyes skated his way as Ruby — bless her mind-reading heart — brought her the hot chocolate she was craving.
Speaking of craving, damn, she had wanted to shove Hook up against a tree and see what exactly was under all that leather. It took every ounce of willpower she possessed to let go of him, and that didn't stop her from replaying the kiss in her head a million times since.
And he obviously cared for her. She could try to deny it, but Echo Cave would have proved him a liar ("until I met you" still did something funny to her stomach whenever she thought of it) if he hadn't been telling the truth.
He'd been avoiding her for the most part since they'd gotten back, and she wasn't sure —
She jerked, realizing she'd been staring into her untouched hot chocolate for who knows how long. Unfortunately, she hadn't been paying enough attention to avoid the unwelcome surprise of Neal sliding into the booth across from her. This was a new event, and one she made a note to avoid tomorrow.
She swallowed a sigh and tried to focus on the fact that Neal was grieving. He had, as far as he knew, only lost his father the day before. And it wasn't his fault that she'd had to deal with her mother's clumsy matchmaking attempt for the past few days.
"Hey," she said gently. "You OK?"
He blew out a breath and sent her a half-hearted grin. "I'm … yeah, I'm good. I mean, at least we got the chance to reconnect before he …"
She knew she should say something, invite him to lunch with her and Henry or some other kindness, but dammit, she wasn't in the mood for his puppy dog eyes and his utter amnesia about all the reasons they would never work out.
"Listen, Emma," he said seriously. "I've been thinking."
Oh, God, this could not be good. Stop talking, she ordered him mentally. Stop now.
Sadly, his mind reading powers were not up to par.
"Losing my dad, almost losing Henry in Neverland, it made me realize just how short life is," he said, taking her hand. "Emma, we should be a family. A real family."
"Neal," she said warningly, trying to pull her hand away.
Instead, he held it tighter. "I know we have things to work out, but I love you, and I know you love me," he said, voice getting uncomfortably louder. She could feel Hook looking at them; hell, she could feel everyone in the damn diner looking at them. Naturally, it was nearly full. "Emma Swan, will you marry me?"