I own nothing except my delusions.
Standing at the town line, Emma did everything she could in her power to remain calm as she faced the harsh reality that the family she had finally found after twenty-eight years was about to be ripped away from her. A year ago on her birthday she had been brought to Storybrooke to Henry to break a curse, resulting in her finding her parents. And just before her twenty-nineth birthday, it was all going to be ripped away.
She was going to be all alone again.
The only comfort was that she would be there for Henry, the only one who couldn't go to the Enchanted Forest. That fact alone, that she would be with her son, was the only thing to give her the strength she needed to say goodbye to her parents. Henry was all that mattered.
It was the last time that she would be embraced by her parents, to feel her mother hug her tight as her father cradled her head as if she were still a baby. She was out of time, time that she never knew was limited. Just as she had finally found them, she was going to lose them.
She even mourned the loss of Hook, knowing that she would never get to explore whatever it was that existed between them. He had said he would fight for her, and he would never get the chance because of the curse. Emma knew there was something between them, otherwise his goodbye wouldn't hurt so much.
The fact that Regina told her that when Storybrooke was gone, their memories would be effected, scared her. She didn't want to forget her family. She didn't even want to forget Regina, the woman who had raised her son. She knew it would be a gift to have new memories given to her by Regina, but a large part of her didn't want them; she wanted to remember everything, including the pain. She didn't want to forget her parent or the pirate who had invaded her mind so much.
"You... you can bring someone with you," Regina told her, her voice pained. "Someone who wasn't brought over by the curse. They can still cross the town line."
Feeling her breath leave her, Emma couldn't help shifting her eyes over to Hook, who met her eyes, her emotions raging inside her. She knew it was wrong, to rip him away from his life to plunge into the unknown. But part of her selfishly wanted it.
Seeing the anticipation and hope on his handsome features, his blue eyes bore in to hers as he gave her a small encouraging nod, silently telling her to just ask.
She took a deep breath, about to voice her proposal, when a small, nervous voice broke the silence that surrounded him.
"Dad?" Henry's voice pleaded.
Closing her eyes, Emma couldn't help but kick herself. Of course Henry would want his father to come with them, to have his family together.
As she opened her eyes, she saw the resigned expression on Hook's face, both knowing that Neal had more right to be there for Henry than he did.
She looked over, her blood running cold as she saw Neal with an uneasy expression, before he shook his head, backing slightly away. She knew exactly what he was about to do, and she couldn't even protect Henry from it.
"I can't," Neal said, his voice slightly shaking. "I just- I can't. I need to find some way to find my father. I'm sorry, Henry, but I can't."
Emma felt completely helpless as she watched Henry's face crumple, instantly pulling him into her arms as she glared at Neal. Neal shifted away, away from her furious gaze, along with those of Regina and her parents, who looked at him in angry disbelief.
She saw the green and violet smoke billowing nearer. They were running out of time.
She turned her head, seeing Hook staring at Neal in both anger and disappointment. She was quiet when she spoke again, her voice tentative. "Hook?"
Hook's eyes instantly softened when he turned his gaze to her.
"Are you sure?" he asked her.
She nodded. "Yeah."
Hook instantly stepped forward, moving to join them. He stepped over to Regina, saying something quietly to her as Emma's mother stepped forward.
Mary Margaret held Emma's face between her gloved hands, giving her a weak smile.
"Be happy," she said quietly, leaning forward to kiss Emma's forehead.
Emma couldn't stop the moisture that spilled over, knowing it would be the last time she would see her mother.
She looked at her parents one last time as Mary Margaret went back to David's side, willing herself to memorize them despite knowing she would forget them.
Looking down at Henry as he moved back to her side after his final goodbye to Regina, her heart clenching as she saw silent tears leaking from his eyes, she gently tugged him to her yellow Bug, parked and ready just shy of the town line. Pushing the front seat forward, she ushered Henry in, making sure that he was settled before pushing the seat back for Hook.
"Hook," David called as Hook stepped away from Regina toward Emma.
He looked up towards the prince curiously.
"Take care of them," he said, giving him a nod.
Hook returned the nod as he continued to walk toward Emma.
Looking slightly apprehensive, he climbed in, letting Emma shut the door behind him as she rushed to the other side, climbing into the driver's side and quickly starting the car. With one last lonely glance at her family, the smoke about to encompass them, she stepped on the gas, driving them over the town line.
Everyone disappeared as the smoke swallowed them, before that vanished, Storybrooke becoming no more.
Emma instantly missed them, feeling an acute ache for the loss of her parents. She quickly wiped at her eyes, checking for any tears that may have fallen. She knew she had to be strong for Henry.
She glanced in the rear view mirror at Henry, tears still leaking down his face at Neal's abandonment, holding his storybook tight to his chest.
What nearly killed her was that she had so little experiance being a mother, only really stepping into the role for the past year. She had no idea what to do to comfort him. She'd faced abandonment countless times as she grew up, but she had never been put in Henry's situation.
She shifted her eyes over to Hook, who looked completely out of place in her car dressed in his coat, vest, and pants, all made of leather, his metalic hook gleaming in the setting sun. He was staring out the window, silently taking in their surroundings, having only been outside of Storybrooke once.
She sighed to herself, wondering what they were going to do with no where to go back to.
Shocked realization suddenly washed over her, making her slam of the breaks of her bug. Hook and Henry instantly looked at her, both their expressions betraying alarmed concern.
Regina's words ran through her mind, but Emma couldn't deny it. She remembered.
She looked at Hook, her eyes searching to see if he had held onto his memory.
"Who are you?" she asked intently.
"You know who I am, love," he said, quirking his brow at her in question.
"Humor me," she said, her voice serious.
"Killian Jones," he answered, his tone curious.
"What's the name you're known by?" she pressed.
His eyes grew understanding, catching on. "Captain Hook."
Not letting herself feel the relief that wanted to rush through her, she turned in her seat to look back at Henry, dropping her voice to a gentler tone. "Henry, where did you grow up?"
Henry looked at her, confused. "Storybrooke."
"Who's your mother? Your other mother?" she asked.
His look twisted further in his confusion. "Regina. The Evil Queen."
Emma finally let some of the relief wash over her, knowing she wasn't crazy, but the feeling was marred by confusion.
"We remember," she said, wonder filling her tone. "Storybrooke, all of it. We remember."
Author's note: For now, I will only be updating this story once a week on Thursdays, at least until I've almost finished writing it, then I will hopefully be able to start posting twice a week again.
Teaser: "I'm fine, Swan," he responded just as quietly, taking a glance back at Henry's sleeping form. "It's better to be in the bow of one of these vessels than in the stern."