First off, I want to thank, Tinian I'att, for beta-ing this story and getting back to me so quickly! This is a one-shot post-Snow Falls piece for John Doe/Prince Charming.
Disclaimer: You know that whole thing about "When you wish upon a star…"? Yeah, it's not true. I still don't own Once Upon a Time.
John – he had been told his name was David, but for some reason it didn't feel right and he still thought of himself as John Doe most of the time –stepped into Granny's; the diner was very busy, almost all the seats were occupied. He was here to meet Kathryn, his wife. It still didn't feel right referring to her as his wife, though she had said that was probably because they had parted on less than good terms, but she was determined to start anew. He scanned the crowd looking for her blond locks.
Instead a cap of dark hair caught his eye.
She was sitting in a booth across from the blond woman, Emma Swan, who had been part of the rescue party and the little boy, Henry Mills, who had been with them as well. Mary Margaret Blanchard. It was strange how it was so much easier to latch onto her than onto his wife, and that it was easier to remember two strangers, whose names were only mentioned in passing, than to remember that Kathryn was his wife.
All three were enjoying hot chocolates; Henry seemed to be trying to describe something to the two women, gesturing animatedly with his arms and talking excitedly. Both women were smiling at him fondly. The sheriff moved to stand next to the table; he was greeted warmly by the trio and the little boy started to speak to him as earnestly as he had been to the two women. Emma seemed to make some wry comment –trying to provoke him if John was not mistaken by the look in her eyes – which had the boy turning back to her, speaking and gesturing even more emphatically. When she grinned he seemed to realize that she was teasing. An expression appeared on his face that matched the blond woman's from just a moment ago as he said something back.
Mary Margaret's laughter rang out over the din, attracting several looks and smiles from the other patrons. The sound was so pure and happy. John could not look away from the joy and mirth on her face; her already beautiful features enhanced by a genuine happiness that seemed to grace her face so rarely. The laughter grew as Emma scooped up some whipped cream from her hot chocolate on her finger and smeared it on Henry's nose. Henry retaliated in kind, scooping up a near-handful from his mug and smearing it across her cheek.
Mary Margaret called to the waitress, Ruby, for more napkins while the sheriff made some comment about disturbing the peace that provoked grins and chuckles from the others.
Emma thanked Ruby for the napkins; then wiped the whipped cream off Henry's nose; John caught the looks of love and longing in both the child and woman's eyes at this moment, though he was not sure what it was about. Emma then wiped off her own cheek, but apparently missed a spot because Mary Margaret gestured her to lean across the table; she then used a napkin to clean off what the other woman had missed. When they sat back again, there was a look in Emma's eyes that John could not read, but it was gone so quickly he thought that he might have imagined it.
He took a step in their direction, forgetting entirely about his wife, feeling drawn –compelled to join the party of his rescuers. Mary Margaret turned, their eyes locked and he found himself rooted to the spot. The connection was so strong that it felt like if he reached out his hand he could touch it; a connection he didn't have an inkling of with his wife.
John jolted when a hand landed on his arm, breaking both his gaze with Mary Margaret and the moment.
Kathryn was standing there, her hand on his arm. "I called your name three times, David," she said reproachfully.
He looked at her, willing himself to feel something, but there wasn't even a stirring. "I'm sorry, I'm still getting used to it."
She smiled – for some reason it didn't seem as warm as Mary Margaret's to him –and wrapped her hand around his arm, leading him over to the two person table she had claimed for them. "It's all right. Things will start coming back soon," she said reassuringly.
He glanced over at Mary Margaret again, but she was staring fixedly at the tabletop; he thought he could detect hurt in her features.
As John and Kathryn took their seats the mayor came through the door; John tensed, every muscle in his body poised for an attack. This was odd considering he had been told this woman was the one who had originally found him and brought him to the hospital, but for some reason she set off every alarm in his mind and body. She strode over to Mary Margaret, Emma, Henry and the sheriff, not looking particularly pleased; the four people at the booth tensed. Henry pressed himself against Emma, who, under the table, gripped his hand. The sheriff straightened to his full height and he shifted slightly in a way that was protective of the women and boy in the booth. Mary Margaret sat up straight, head held high, trying to look strong, but John saw the slight tremble in her form. Every protective instinct John possessed was screaming at him to do something; he almost got up, but managed to stop himself, this wasn't his business.
The mayor came to stand next to the table eyeing the inhabitants and their visitor. "Henry, what are you doing here?" she demanded.
Mary Margaret took a visibly deep breath and spoke up first, "I'm helping him study." She gestured to a couple of books lying open on the table.
The mayor's lips twisted into a disdainful smile. "How kind of you, but," she swept the books into her arms, "I'm sure he would have a much easier time," she grasped the boy's wrist and pulled him firmly out of the booth to stand next to her, "concentrating at home…away from…" she eyed Emma in a cold manner, "distractions."
John saw Emma clench her fists, but she just looked on in helpless frustration.
The mayor gave the two women one last scathing look, and tossed a disgusted one at the sheriff for good measure; then escorted her son out of the diner.
Emma rested her elbows on the table and buried her face in her hands; Mary Margaret reached across the table and gently placed a comforting hand on one of the blond's arms. The sheriff rested his hand on Emma's shoulder, making some quiet comment. She looked up at him, nodding almost bleakly, one of her hands now gripping the one Mary Margaret had laid on her arm.
Everything in John still yearned to join the group at the table. Why was he more drawn to a couple of strangers than his own wife?
Ruby stopped next to their table and asked to take their drink order.
"Two green teas, please," Kathryn ordered for them.
"Actually," John cut in; both women looked at him, "I would like a hot chocolate…with cinnamon, please." He didn't know why, but he felt compelled to add the cinnamon.
Ruby gave him a strange look for a moment, but shrugged and went off to fill their drink orders.
"David, hot chocolate is not really a healthy thing to drink, especially when you're just now on the mend," Kathryn told him chidingly.
He shrugged. "I feel like having a hot chocolate," he told her simply; she looked like she wanted to say more, but dropped it. She was, he realized, picking her battles; reluctant to start any fights. He wondered how long that would last.
Minutes later Ruby returned with their drinks and took their food order. Kathryn ordered a fruit plate; John ordered eggs, hash browns and toast; again his wife looked like she wanted to say something, but didn't. Ruby moved off again, leaving them to enjoy their drinks.
John lifted the mug to his lips and took a sip.
Well here was something he somehow remembered. He definitely liked cinnamon in his hot chocolate.
Most of the above came out in a rush, all at once, last night after watching episode three. I hope you guys enjoyed it! Thank you for reading and please let me know what you think.