Chapter Twenty Two
Don't you cry tonight
Rest your weary eyes
Cuz all that you are
Is broken inside
It's nothing you could change
It's nothing you could hide
It's nothing you could hide
Pink flowers and bows
That's all you should know
And summer days
Cuz all that you are
Is beautiful child
But they'll never know
They'll never know
They get to the parking lot of the cemetery only to realize they don't have the keys to David's truck. Luckily, many people fleeing back to the Enchanted Forest had simply left their cars, keys and all, open in the parking spaces.
Henry and Graham don't talk the whole ride to the hospital. Henry leans his forehead against the window, slumped over with exhaustion and grief. Graham's fingers are tight on the steering wheel, and he's sick with guilt and dread.
The sun's beginning to rise when they pull into the visitor's parking lot and stop the car. Henry doesn't lift his head from the window, and for a second Graham wonders if the boy's fallen to sleep: a full day and night of walking surely took a toll.
But when Graham softly says, "Henry?", the boy looks up right away, his eyes red and glassy but definitely awake. "Ready to go in?"
Henry blinks a few times, before saying in a slow, sluggish voice, "What are you going to tell them?"
Graham rakes trembling hands through his hair, exhaling long and slow. "I don't, uh…I guess I have to just…tell them what happened." He looks over and meets Henry's eyes. "Henry. David's a hero. And he saved Emma's life, because he's a father who would do anything for his daughter. But I am so sorry I couldn't save him."
Henry's eyes slide downward, and he stares at his own fingers, twisting in his lap. "Grandma's gonna be really, really sad, though. And Emma…she just found out he's her dad, it isn't fair that he's already gone."
His face folds and twists slowly, and when Henry speaks again his voice is small and pinched. "It wasn't supposed to be like this. We were all supposed to be a family." Henry swipes the back of his hand across his cheek. "But now David's dead and Emma's maybe still gonna die-"
"Hey…" Graham rests a hand on the top of Henry's head, making the boy look at him. "Emma's gonna be fine." He puts his free hand against his own chest, feeling the steady thump of his heart. "We're gonna walk into that hospital right now and wake her up. Just like before, remember?"
Henry nods, and Graham squeezes his shoulder before undoing his seatbelt and getting out of the car, as Henry does the same.
They pass a nurse in the corridor, and without even having to ask she gives them Emma's room number.
"Graham…" Mary Margaret's voice is pure relief when she sees him, and that should make him feel horrible because he's about to break her heart, but for a second, all thoughts of anything else, even David, leave him. All Graham can see is Emma.
Henry follows him into the hospital room, brushing past Graham and going straight to Emma's bed. He walks to the opposite side of the bed from Ruby and Mary Margaret, just as his grandmother gets up from her chair and hurries to hug Graham. "Thank God you're back…she hasn't flat lined in a couple hours, we hoped that meant you were close…"
Even over her shoulder, Graham's eyes are fixated on Emma, once again lying lifeless and small in a hospital bed. He wants to go to her so badly he can't breathe, wants to kiss her and watch her eyes open. And then he wants to ask her how the hell she could ever think it was okay for her to die.
But then Mary Margaret lets him go and glances expectantly over his shoulder. "Where's David?"
Graham pulls his gaze from Emma, but he can only hold Mary Margaret's eyes for a few painful seconds before he lowers his head, throat tightening around the words.
It's like the air gets sucked out of the room; in the beat after asking what she'd thought was an innocuous question, Mary Margaret realizes there isn't an easy answer. "Where's David?" There's a shaking, panicky note in her voice now.
Henry pillows his arms against the hospital bed and drops his head against them, his forehead resting against Emma's arm. Ruby gets up from her hospital chair and comes to stand behind her best friend, resting a hand on her back and giving Graham a searching look, dread etched in her face.
"Graham…" Mary Margaret's forces out tightly. "Where is my husband?"
"I'm sorry," he finally manages, no strength behind the words. "I'm so sorry, I couldn't…" His voice is unraveling.
"No." Mary Margaret's shaking her head, and once she starts she can't stop. She takes a physical step away from Graham, nearly colliding with Ruby. "No," she says again, simple and plaintive.
"We were almost back to the portal," Graham begins in a dull, hollow voice. "And suddenly Regina was there. She had a bow, and she was shooting at me…someone must've told her killing me would kill Emma. David…he jumped in front of me."
Mary Margaret's face is frozen, her eyes huge, looking like the ground was just ripped out from under her. After twenty-four hours of being terrified for her daughter's life…she is completely unprepared for her husband to be the one who's gone.
"I tried to carry him the rest of the way to the portal," Graham continues, a plea in his voice now. "I tried, but Regina was coming, so David, he…he shoved me off him and pulled the arrow out, and he made me keep going…" Graham's face tightens, and he swallows hard against the lump in his throat. "Mary Margaret, I…I never would have left him to just save myself, I swear…"
"Of course not," Mary Margaret replies in a quiet, dazed voice. "You had to save Emma, David had to…save Emma, of course he…" Her voice fades, and she turns around to look at her unconscious daughter like Emma's the only thing keeping her from falling apart. "You should wake her up Graham, go ahead and wake her up, please, please wake her…"
But Graham even doesn't move as Mary Margaret steps out of his way, walking numbly to the far end of the room, her back to all of them. Even Henry looks up, and he and Graham and Ruby stare helplessly at Mary Margaret.
The rhythmic beeping of Emma's heart monitor is the only sound in the room besides Mary Margaret's slow, deliberate breaths. In and out. Inhale. Exhale.
Then suddenly, instead of the even breathing, Mary Margaret lets out a crooked, wailing sound. It's like something in her chest cracks open, and she sags against the wall of the hospital room, her whole body suddenly wracked with sobs.
Ruby goes behind Mary Margaret, wrapping her arms around her best friend and resting her chin on her shoulder. Henry presses his face against Emma's arm again, this time folding his arms along the side of his head, blocking the sound of his grandmother crying.
Graham just stands there, every second torturous. After a few moments, he walks to the side of the bed with Mary Margaret and Ruby's vacated chairs. He sits in the one closest to Emma, and leans forward to rest his forehead against her temple.
He can't wake her up now, not with the sound of her mother's grief filling the room. Graham takes her hand, wanting comfort from the fact that she's alive, but all he can think of is that he's going to have to break her heart the way he's just broken her mom's.
It takes him a minute to pick up a pattern in Mary Margaret's cries. Beneath choking, hard sobs, she's repeating his nickname, "Charming…" over and over. He sees Henry's arms squeeze tighter over his ears, and Graham wishes he could copy the gesture.
Five long minutes pass, before Mary Margaret abruptly straightens up, wiping the heels of her hands across her cheeks. "Emma."
Her daughter's name is like a magic word, like the last unbroken thing inside of her. Mary Margaret walks purposefully to Emma's bedside. Henry's in the only chair on his side, so Mary Margaret kneels down beside him and brushes back the hair on Emma's forehead, seeming oblivious to the tears still rolling down her cheeks. She rests her other hand on top of Henry's head, and he tentatively lifts his face to look at her.
Mary Margaret's throat works furiously for a few moments, but finally she gets the words out, her voice wrecked, "Graham?"
He meets her eyes across Emma's prostrate form. "Yeah?"
"I've watched my daughter's heart stop over twenty times since yesterday." Her voice catches, but she sets her jaw determinedly. "Please wake her up."
Tight throated, he nods, then leans over, thumb gently tracing the curve of Emma's cheekbone before he gently encases her lips in his.
Graham leans back, looking at her expectantly.
Her eyes don't open.
"Em?" It slips out, a tight, panicked syllable. "Emma?"
Graham kisses her again, desperate. Still nothing.
Graham meets Mary Margaret's eyes across the bed. The muscles in her face are contracting and smoothing in quick succession, and Graham can almost see something crumbling behind her eyes. Her last thread of control is breaking.
"Hey…" Ruby comes to stand at the foot of the bed, her voice resolutely calming. "Remember what Gold said, it's about Graham's heart, and how close it was to Emma's. The kiss may not be what works."
"But I'm here," Graham insists, his voice cracking. "So she should…she should be awake."
"Her heart hasn't flatlined in a few hours," Ruby reminds them gently. "She's already getting better, it just may…take a little more time for her heart to get stronger." She meets Graham's eyes. "You just stay close."
Graham nods, reclaiming Emma's hand in his own; he can feel Henry watching him, so he tries to keep his expression hopeful, but the truth is he's terrified.
Mary Margaret squeezes her eyes shut for a long beat, then opens them to look at Graham. "Charming, was he already…" Her voice falters, and she looks away before continuing, "Was he…gone when you left him?"
She doesn't mean anything accusatory by it, but Graham still winces at her phrasing. "No, he wasn't. But…he was losing a lot of blood, he…he pulled the arrow out." His eyes flit to Henry; the boy's listening intently, and Graham wishes he would cover his ears again. "Without help he…he didn't have long, and Regina was the only one…"
Mary Margaret covers her face in her hands, and for a few long, tense moments, everyone's silent. Once again, Ruby breaks it, her voice determined. "I'll go back." Mary Margaret lifts her head to look at her best friend, expression questioning. Ruby meets her eyes. "You should be with Emma. I'll go through the portal, see if…see if there's any chance."
"Red…if she hurts you-"
Ruby shakes her head dismissively. "She has no reason to hurt me." No one bothers to point out the flaw in this logic; they nod along with Ruby, pretending that Regina needs a reason to kill. Then, she adds, more practically, "It won't take long. And she won't be expecting anyone, I doubt she's still n that exact spot."
Mind made up, Ruby looks at Graham, expression businesslike. "Where was he?"
"Less than a quarter mile from the portal," Graham tells her automatically. "I think…northwest, a few hundred yards parallel from the river-"
"I can track him," she cuts him off crisply, then returns her attention to Mary Margaret, walking over to her and hugging her tightly. "I'll be right back."
"Thank you," Mary Margaret whispers into her ear.
Ruby nods, forcing a shaky smile before striding out of the hospital room, every step purposeful.
Mary Margaret exhales shakily, and puts an arm around Henry. He leans against her, grateful that at least something's being done. "Do you think maybe she'll find Grandpa? That he could still be alive?"
Before she can stop herself, Mary Margaret looks at Graham, a question in her eyes, a dormant spark of hope lighting in her chest.
But Graham's whole face darkens, his eyes full of sorrow and apology. He thinks of how much blood was seeping onto David's shirt, even before he jerked the arrow out. He's calculating how long David's been lying there, bleeding and helpless.
Mary Margaret sees the answer in his face, and she presses her lips against the crown of Henry's head until she can answer him in a steady voice, "I don't…I don't think we should get our hopes up, honey."
Ruby's back in two hours. She opens the door to Emma's hospital room and seems a little taken aback that their positions are exactly the same. "No change?" she asks, eyes falling on Emma.
Mary Margaret's trying to read Ruby's expression, and she barely hears the question. With difficulty, Graham lifts dull, frightened eyes from Emma to answer, "No…an intern came in and said her stats are up, and they took the tube out of her throat so I guess she can, uh, breathe on her own but she still…she still hasn't woken up."
"Red." Mary Margaret's voice is tiny. She looks at her best friend, pleading. "Was he…?"
Ruby's eyes fill with tears. "I'm sorry," she whispers, a catch in her voice. "I'm so sorry, Snow, I…I found where it happened. I could see the blood…" She stops abruptly, looking at Henry.
Graham swallows, and opens his mouth to suggest that Henry go get something from the vending machines so he doesn't have to hear this. But as he glances at the boy, he sees Henry reach out and slide his fingers securely through his grandmother's. The boy's lips are pressed tightly together and his eyes are huge, but there's a resolute braveness in his expression. Graham looks back at Ruby and gives her a slight nod to go on.
"There was a lot of blood in one spot…a lot." Ruby continues, the words coming out in halting phrases. "And then…there was a trail of it, all streaked, like…" She can't bring herself to look at Mary Margaret when she says it. "Like he'd been dragged." Ruby opens her eyes again, and she finishes in a rush, "And then the trail just ends I'm so sorry."
"I, uh…" Mary Margaret is shaking her head slowly. "But that's…that's good, isn't it? If he was still lying there, that'd be bad but maybe…maybe he's okay, maybe he…crawled away?" There's no strength behind her voice.
Ruby and Graham look at each other, neither wanting to be the one to reply. Finally, Ruby does, her voice as gentle as she can make it. "It was…really close to the portal, Snow. And the trail it…it moved away from it." She swallows, glancing at Henry again. "And it didn't look like the blood had been dripping, it was…streaked."
Tears run unchecked down Mary Margaret's cheeks, and the look on her face triggers Ruby's tears, too. She can't go on, so Graham finishes, his tone soft and sympathetic, "There are other people, now, in the Forest, that came through the portal…Regina probably didn't want them to know there was reason to be scared, she…she had to move the body."
For a long moment, Mary Margaret says nothing. She's holding Henry's hand in a white knuckled grip, her face soaked with tears. When she finally speaks, her voice is thick and shaking, "He's really gone, isn't he?"
"I'm so sorry," Graham tells her. Henry loops his arms around Mary Margaret's waist, hugging her without getting up from his chair. Ruby comes over and hugs her, too, and Graham lets his forehead drop against Emma's shoulder.
They stay like that for a long time; Mary Margaret cries are soft now, and they go on for a long time. Then, as though making a decision, she straightens up, setting her jaw and gently disentangling herself from Henry and Ruby's arms. She wipes her eyes. "How are we going to tell Emma?"
Graham lets out a strangled, incoherent sound; it's that question that's been gnawing at him for hours, the one thing that pulls him up short every time he gets desperately hopeful that he feels movement, or thinks he sees her eyelids flutter.
An hour passes with no change. Ruby leaves after forty minutes, to update Granny and bring them all back some food. Twenty silent minutes after her departure, Mary Margaret stands abruptly, her face twisting as she barely manages to murmur something about needing some air.
Fifteen minutes after that, Henry wrenches his eyes away from his mother to look up. "Graham?"
"Is it bad that she hasn't woken up yet?"
Graham swallows hard, fumbling for reassuring words. His terror that she won't wake up, that he's lost her, is so sharp he can taste it, bitter and stinging in the back of his throat. But the small part of his brain that can still function on logic knows that there's no reason to think that, not when Emma's only improved since they got here.
So he answers as steadily as he can manage, "Remember how many times the doctors had to get her heart started? That just takes a lot out of the body…so it still needs some rest. But she's getting better, see? A few hours ago she couldn't even breathe by herself." He smiles, clumsy and weak. "Shouldn't be much longer."
"Okay." Henry rubs his eyes with his knuckles, a gesture that makes him seem even younger than he is. Graham scrutinizes the boy, noting for the first time the heaviness of his eyelids, the deep rooted exhaustion in his face, and he remembers how long Henry's been awake, not to mention how much walking he's done in the past twenty four hours. "Henry, if you wanted to lay down and get some sleep…I promise I'll wake you up as soon as Emma is."
He shakes his head immediately. "No, I'm alright. But…I might go check on my grandma, if that's okay."
Graham starts to protest, suggest that they give Mary Margaret some time alone, but he remembers the look on Henry's face when Ruby gave the report on David's body, the way the boy had reached for his grandmother's hand. So Graham just nods. "Sure. But stay on this floor, alright? And if you don't find her in a few minutes, come straight back here."
"I will." Henry scrambles off his chair, hesitating slightly when he looks back at Emma. He rests a hand on her shoulder, and leans forward like he's telling her a secret. "I won't be gone long, Mom." His eyes skirt to Graham's, almost embarrassed, but Graham just gives him a reassuring nod before Henry turns around and leaves the room.
Graham leans forward again, his chin propped on clenched fists resting on Emma's mattress. He raises his eyes to look at Emma's heart monitor; he wonders if it's his imagination that his pulse is jumping in perfect time to the beeps.
He doesn't know how magic and medicine coexist; trying to understand any of this just makes his head ache, but it definitely can't hurt to try again, so Graham leans forward and kisses Emma, hoping against hope that maybe it'll be enough this time.
It doesn't take Henry long to find her, because this time he knows where to look.
He remembers the first time Emma was in the hospital, when he'd found Graham crying in the stairwell, so he goes there first, and right away he hears long, low sobs, the kind of crying that makes his stomach tighten, echoing from above him.
He hurries up the stairs, making his footsteps loud so he doesn't scare her. The cries halt quickly, and when he reaches her, Mary Margaret's got the back of her hand pressed over her lips. "Henry…" Her voice is scratchy and nearly unrecognizable. "Is Emma…?"
Henry shakes his head. "Not yet." He sits down beside her on the stairs, his shoulder pressed against her arm.
Mary Margaret swipes the sleeve of her sweater across her face and wraps an arm around her grandson's shoulders.
He looks up at her. "Are you okay?"
"I will be," she tells him softly, trying and failing to smile. "Once your mom wakes up…I'll get there."
Henry leans against her quietly for a moment, worrying his lower lip between his teeth. Finally, nervously, he asks, "Grandma?"
"Are you mad at her?"
Mary Margaret frowns slightly, confused. "Mad at who?"
"Emma," his voice is small, almost embarrassed.
Leaning back slightly so she can look at him, Mary Margaret asks, "Mad at her for what, sweetheart?"
Henry's eyes slide to the ground. "Well…she was going to die. On purpose. And she lied to us about it. And now…that's why Grandpa got killed. He wouldn't have had to save her if she hadn't tried to die. So that's kind of because of her, too."
Mary Margaret's quiet for a long moment, choosing her words carefully. Finally, she lifts her hand and begins to absently stroking Henry's hair, the gesture softening her next words, "First of all…I need you to promise me something, okay? You can never say anything like to Emma. What happened to your gradnpa isn't her fault. And no matter how angry you get at Emma, you can never say that to her. Do you promise?"
Slowly, Henry nods, his eyebrows still knit in confusion.
"Good." Mary Margaret manages to give him about an eighth of a smile before continuing. "Do you know why David…" Her voice falters, and it takes her a moment to say the words. "Do you know why David is dead?"
"Because he had to save Emma's life."
"Yes. Because he's her father, and that means he loves her more than anything else in this world." She blinks out a few tears. "Your grandpa was a hero. Everything he did, he did it to help others. To do what was good. And you know what, he probably would have jumped in front of that arrow to save Graham even if it hadn't meant saving Emma, too. But he did more than that. He made Graham leave him behind. He pulled the arrow out of his side, knowing it would make him bleed out faster, just to make sure Graham had no choice but to get back to Emma."
Mary Margaret touches Henry's face gently, making him look at her. "The way a parent loves their child…it's the strongest love in the whole world. And it means they'd do anything to keep their child safe, even if that means dying." She draws a long, shaky breath. "That's what Charming did for Emma. And It's what Emma was prepared to do for you."
They're both crying now, and it's a moment before Mary Margaret can continue, "Henry you can be mad at her for lying to you if you want. You have every right to be, and I think Emma expected that. But you have to know…she did this for you. She wanted to be a hero for you, but more than that she wanted to make sure you were always safe."
Crying harder now, Henry puts his head on her lap for a few moments, feeling her fingers gently stroke his hair, the same way Emma did two nights ago in his bedroom.
Finally, he sits up, and Mary Margaret gently thumbs away the stray tears on his cheeks. "Can we go check on Emma now?"
He kisses her longer this time, afraid of the moment he has to sit up and shatter his hopes once again. But finally Graham has to sit up, staring at Emma's face, already preparing himself for disappointment.
For a second, nothing.
Then her eyes open.
Graham lets out a stuttered, choked sound of relief. Emma's eyes land on his, and for a second they light up with such profound joy his heart feels like it may burst.
In the next instant though, the happiness leeches from her eyes and they widen, horrorstruck.
"No, no, no…" she mumbles hoarsely, eyes darting the room as she tries to sit up. "No, the curse, it was supposed to break, I had to-"
"Em," He puts his hand on her arms, firmly but gently keeping her lying down, and raises his voice above her frantic protests. "Em, it's okay. The curse is broken, you did it."
"But…" Her eyes stop their darting and focus on his, confusion on her face. "But Gold said I had to die."
Hearing her say it, so matter-of-factly, crashes against Graham, and for the first time it feels like it's really hitting him, what Emma had tried to do, what had come so close to happening, and warm tears rush to his eyes. "You did," he tells her, his voice teetering on the edge of breaking. "Your heart stopped. A bunch of times actually, but the first time it did, the curse broke."
Emma's eyes narrow as she processes this. "That…that worked?"
Graham hesitates, not sure how much information to throw at her right now; but she's going to need to know, and it'll be easier to explain now than when he has to tell her about David. "Gold says it shouldn't have. He says you shouldn't have been able to survive without the curse, but…he said I shouldn't have been able to survive after Regina crushed my heart, but you made me. And somehow…that meant that you could still stay alive, if I was."
Emma's quiet for a moment, her face drawn and overwhelmed by this. Suddenly, though, her eyes widen in realization, and she reaches out and grips Graham's collar, her tone practically melting with relief, "You remember me!"
His whole face softens into an expression of impossible tenderness, and he reaches up to thread his fingers through her hair. "I could never forget you."
Her face crumples slowly, tears welling in her eyes. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry, Graham, I didn't want to lie to you, but I had to, I had to know you were safe…"
"Ssshhh…" He wraps his arms around her, and she buries her face in his shoulder. Graham's throat narrows and he closes his eyes against the persistent tears. "It's okay. Everything's okay now." He holds for a long moment before saying softly, "Just never, ever do that again. You're done being shot, okay? I'm forbidding it."
She lets out a choked laugh, then pulls back to look at him, reaching out and cupping his cheek like he's something impossibly precious. "I thought I'd never see you again."
Graham's body sags, weariness and relief washing over him, and he leans his forehead against hers. He can't speak right away. It's as though he'd only let himself a fraction of the terror he should have last night, pushing most of it behind determination and purpose. But the terror's still there, even though she's alive and awake and touching him, and at some point Graham will have to feel all of it.
Now, though, he only lets a little bit in, and after a moment he whispers, "I love you."
"I love you, too." She kisses him, fierce and needy, and after a few moments pulls back to bury her face in his neck again.
Abruptly, though, Emma sits up. "Where's Henry? And Mary Margaret and David?"
The smile on his face freezes and wilts. Words tangle up in his throat, but he can't bring himself to say it. "I can…I can go track them down."
But with impeccable timing, the hospital door opens, and Mary Margaret and Henry enter.
"Emma!" Mary Margaret's crying almost immediately, but a smile splits her face as she runs toward the bed. Graham stands quickly, giving Mary Margaret room to sit on the edge of the mattress and hug her daughter.
Emma hugs back, just as tight, and Mary Margaret rocks her slowly, back and forth like she's still a little kid, saying nothing.
But after a moment of this, Emma starts, "I'm sorry-"
"I'm so sorry-"
"I didn't want to hurt you-"
Mary Margaret pulls back, and reaches up to cradle Emma's face in hands. It's such a searing, loving moment that Graham looks away, feeling oddly like an intruder.
"Emma," Mary Margaret says simply. "I love you, and I am so, so proud of you."
Emma's lips tremble as she smiles, and she looks ready to pull Mary Margaret into another hug when her eyes land on Henry, who hangs back behind Graham, almost nervously.
"Henry." She makes his name sound like so many things: a song, a prayer, the most important thing Emma's ever said in her life.
He moves toward her slowly; Mary Margaret gets up off the bed, leaving Henry space, but he doesn't climb up. Instead, he goes to stand beside Emma, something frightened and uncertain in his eyes when he looks at her.
"Hey kid…" Emma reaches out, cupping his cheek in her hand, her voice already thick with tears. "I know you're probably really mad at me right now. But it's really, really good to see you."
Henry ducks his head, staring down at the floor for a long moment before he jerks his head up, eyes glittering with tears. "I'm not mad, Mom," Henry says softly. He reaches up and covers Emma's hand with his own. "I'm just glad you're okay."
Emma moves her hand off his cheek, turning it and threading their fingers together. "I don't want to lie to you. Not ever again, okay?" Henry nods, his lips curling together. Emma slides over in the bed a little, sitting up and lifting her arm. "C'mere…"
He crawls up on the bed, his knees on the mattress, and Emma wraps her arms around her son. Henry buries his face in her neck, and Emma's lips brush Henry's temple, and she leans close to the boy's ear, murmuring, "I'm so sorry, Henry, I love you, I'm sorry…"
He just tightens his grip on her in answer, and for a moment they held on silently, until Emma opens her eyes again and, over Henry's shoulder, gave Mary Margaret a questioning look. "Where's David?"
She asks it in the same tone Mary Margaret used earlier: innocuous and casual, like the only sort of answers she's expecting are that he's in the cafeteria, or making a phone call. There's no fear behind it, or even confusion.
But asking the question changes everything. There's no way to put the moment off, and almost immediately Emma can sense something's wrong.
"Where is he?" The pitch of her voice shoots up on the final syllable. Henry shrugs out of her embrace and sits back down in his chair, his eyes darting to the ground. Emma turns wild eyes on Mary Margaret, as Graham comes forward and sits on the edge of the hospital bed, the side opposite Henry. "Mary Margaret, where's David?"
Mary Margaret opens her mouth to speak, but immediately closes it against rising sobs. She turns away as still more tears descend down her cheeks, one hand clamped over her lips to stay silent, as if that can protect Emma from the truth.
"Where is he?!" Emma demands to no one in particular. She's panicking now, her breaths shallow, eyes going unfocused. "Henry?" The boy drops his forehead onto the bed, once again lifting his arms, ready to cover his ears the second he needs to.
"Graham." Emma turns to him, a plea in her eyes. "Graham, where is he?"
His stomach tightens, and it hurts to look at Emma, but he holds her eyes, reaching out and holding her arms in a gentle grip. "Emma-"
"Where is he, Graham, where is my dad?" Emma's voice breaks into pieces at the final word, and Mary Margaret lets out a loud, muffled sob.
Each word rips him to shreds, hurting him as much as he knows he's hurting her. "Regina shot him."
"No, no, no she didn't," Emma shakes her head hard. "No, Graham, no, I only…" Her voice falters, and she sounds like a little girl when she protests weakly, "I only put one bullet in the gun, she…she couldn't have." There's something desperate in her face, like what he's saying will be less true if she can just find flaw in the logic.
"It wasn't a gun, Em," he tells her softly. Every syllable is an apology, a wish that he didn't have to hurt her. "David and Henry, they had to come get me…they came through a portal. Regina must've have found out, and she…she knew that I was the one keeping you alive, so…she got a bow and arrow, and she shot at me. I didn't…" His voice wavers, and Graham swallows hard. "I didn't even see her, and David got in front of me and…"
The muscles in Emma's face tighten, something almost like anger flashing in her eyes, like she's still scrambling for a way to reject this outright but can't find it. Finally, though, she asks, "So is he…is he here, in the hospital?"
Tears sting Graham's eyes, and he slips his hand into hers. He'd give anything to protect her from this. "No, Em. He isn't."
She stares at him for a second, waiting for a follow up. No, Em. He isn't. Because he's resting at home. or even No, Em. He isn't. We had to send him to a bigger hospital outside of Storybrooke.
But nothing comes. And Emma knows.
Her mouth falls open and she exhales, sharp and shaky, several times in a row, not getting any air in. Henry lifts his head cautiously, unable to look away. Graham weaves his fingers through her hair, the rest of the story getting tangled in his throat. She doesn't need to know it all right now, about how David hadn't let Graham help him, the way he'd pulled the arrow out of his own body to bleed out faster.
Mary Margaret finally turns around, her face once again tear streaked, and steps up to Emma's bed, beside Henry. But before she can speak, Emma swings around to look at her, face slowly crumpling, "I'm sorry…."
"Oh, sweetheart, it isn't your fault-" Mary Margaret touches Emma's shoulder, but Emma immediately shrugs away from the touch, looking away, unable to accept comfort.
"Em…" Graham starts to put his arm around her, but Emma leans back from him, shrinking away from all of them in the hospital bed. She looks like she wants nothing more than to be able to bolt from the room.
Emma feels hot, stinging tears pricking at her eyes, but she squeezes her eyelids against them. It's convenient, because it helps her pretend they aren't all there, Graham and Mary Margaret and Henry, looking at her with sympathy. As if she deserves sympathy.
David is dead he's dead her father is gone and it is because of her. Graham, he could have died too, and that would have been all her fault, too.
She is suddenly sure if she has to open her eyes and look at Mary Margaret she's going to be sick.
"Emma, sweetheart, look at me…"
"Mom, are you okay?"
"I'm so sorry, Em."
Their voices are coming through a fog, and Emma doesn't want to hear it. She hadn't thought she'd be waking up ever again, but all the unexpected joy at her second chance, at seeing Graham and Henry and Mary Margaret…it's all gone now.
She is supposed to be dead, and she even managed to fuck that up. David is dead and she wishes it were her.
The tears are still threatening, but she doesn't let them out. She doesn't deserve to cry or grieve; she shoves that away underneath the overwhelming guilt, the crushing knowledge that this is her fault.
She finds herself remembering the morning Graham disappeared, David's arms around her in the floor of the sheriff station, him holding her together when everything was breaking. Ironically, that's what she needs now, needs it so much it aches, but he isn't there anymore. David's gone, and he'll never hug her again, never say her name in that awed, reverent way that makes her feel like the most important person in the world.
Her brain runs away with this line of thinking. He'll never walk her down the aisle, never dance at her wedding. All these stupid Dad fantasies she hasn't thought of in almost two decades, the clichés she never let herself want.
But those clichés had flickered briefly and tantalizingly into view, but now they're gone because he's dead and it's her fault her fault her fault.
"Emma. Honey, say something."
"She's in shock."
"Mom? What's wrong with her?"
Something's beeping, faster and persistent than before.
"It's too much stress-"
"Get a nurse!"
"Em, stay with me, c'mon…"
Eventually someone sticks a needle in her arm, and everyone in the room fades even further away.
"She won't even look at me," Mary Margaret says, tearful and distressed. She turns her gaze toward the window of Emma's hospital room, eyeing Emma through the blinds. Emma's sitting up, talking to Henry, who's perched on the foot of the bed.
Ruby touches Mary Margaret's arm sympathetically, and Graham follows her gaze to look at Emma.
Emma's only been awake from the sedation for a few hours. They haven't pushed her. They're not talking about David, or anything else about Emma nearly dying, the letters she'd left, or the fact that Regina is still somewhere, after them.
And it's true: she's barely been able to look at Mary Margaret for longer than half a second. Emma visibly suppresses a wince anytime her mother says a kind word to her.
"She's blaming herself," Graham says lamely, the simplest and most obvious explanation.
He doesn't elaborate, but Graham's pretty sure he knows what Emma's thinking. It breaks his heart, knowing, so he won't do that to Mary Margaret.
But Graham sees it behind the dulled light in her eyes; not only does Emma blame herself, she's waiting for her mother to blame her, too. And it's just a guess, but he's also pretty sure that Emma thinks it would have been better for her family, especially Mary Margaret, if she'd died instead. Like she'd planned.
Mary Margaret closes her eyes and presses her index finger against them, massaging her eyelids. "I don't want that, I can't stand the thought of her blaming…" Mary Margaret sighs shakily. "I should talk to her."
Graham hesitates, then says, almost apologetically, "Maybe we should hold off on that, until tomorrow." Mary Margaret looks at him, questioningly. "She hasn't…cried, she's barely even talked since we told her." Graham closes his eyes, adding tightly, "Em didn't even think she was going to be waking up at all, and now all this. I don't want to push her."
To his relief, Mary Margaret nods, sighing. "You're probably right."
"You could go home for the night, if you want," Graham says tentatively. "You've been here for two days, and you…you deserve some time away from the hospital…" He trails off awkwardly, not wanting to say what he means: time to grieve for your husband. "And Henry, he's been awake for 36 hours. I don't see how that kid's still awake."
There's something desperate in his gaze, and Mary Margaret scrutinizes his expression, visibly stopping herself from instinctively protesting.
He knows he's asking a lot, asking her mom to go after she's spent two days watching her daughter's heart stop over and over. But he can practically feel the raw pain radiating off Emma in waves, and he can see her fighting it, thinking she doesn't deserve to let the grief in, especially when Mary Margaret's in the room.
Mercifully, Mary Margaret seems to understand, or maybe she just sees the truth of his suggestion. "Okay," she murmurs. "Alright, I'll take Henry home. We should get some sleep."
Ruby shoots Graham a grateful look before putting a hand on Mary Margaret's back. "Do you want me to stay over?"
Mary Margaret meets her eyes, nodding, her lips silently forming the word please.
"Okay." Ruby squeezes her shoulder. "I'll wait out here."
Henry looks up, relieved, when Graham and Mary Margaret come back in the hospital room. Mary Margaret had told him not to talk about anything too serious with Emma, but she looks so sad that it didn't feel right rambling on about something stupid.
"Emma, I'm gonna take Henry home to get some sleep," Mary Margaret tells her, coming over to touch her daughter's shoulder lightly; Emma visibly stiffens under her touch, and hurt flashes in Mary Margaret's eyes.
"I'm not tired," Henry insists stubbornly.
"You haven't slept in almost two days," she admonishes, trying to make her tone casual. "And Emma needs rest, too."
Henry looks at his mother, reluctant. Emma reads the fear in his eyes, and she finds her voice again. "I'll be fine, kid," she tells him gently. "I'll see you in the morning."
In the next second his arms around her, and Emma hugs him back hard, her face registering more emotion than she's allowed herself since she woke up from sedation. "I love you, Henry," she says softly. "I'm so sorry."
He pulls back to look at her, hesitating before saying sincerely, "You don't have to keep saying that."
Emma's face tightens, eyes filling up with tears. "Yeah, I do."
Henry gets up and Mary Margaret comes to sit in front of her daughter. Emma tenses immediately, closing her eyes until the threat of tears is gone.
"Emma," Mary Margaret's voice is firm, but she can't keep the thread of pleading out of her tone. "Honey. I love you so much, and I'm so glad you're alright. Please believe that."
But Emma can't even hold her gaze; her eyes drops into her lap, and she absently twists a loose thread from the sheets around her finger. She manages a vague sort of nod, only to end the exchange, and Mary Margaret's face collapses as she turns quickly away.
Graham touches her arm, trying to give her a reassuring look. "It'll be okay," he murmurs quietly.
Mary Margaret tries to smile, but fails spectacularly, and her voice is tight when she says, "Ready, Henry?"
"Yeah." He follows her toward the door, looking at Emma over his shoulder. "Night, Mom. I love you."
"Love you, too, kid. Goodnight."
Mary Margaret pauses in the doorway, staring at Emma in the vain up that the power of her gaze can make her daughter look up at her. After an uncomfortable thirty seconds, she turns away, sure if she speaks she'll start sobbing, and follows Henry out of the room.
Graham exhales slowly before going to sit on the edge of the bed. He slips one hand into hers, lifting his other to brush back an errant strand of her hair. "You okay?" His voice is all tenderness and concern.
"Yeah." Her voice is barely a breath, trembling and fragile like a little girl's. Graham brings her hand to his lips, gently kissing her knuckles, and the gesture sends the tears she's been stubbornly fighting all day spilling over. Emma doesn't seem to notice. "Graham?"
Her lower lip is trembling. She opens her mouth to speak but closes it again. After a second, she repeats, "Graham?"
He traces his thumb over her cheek, catching another tear as it slides down. "Mmm?," he murmurs vaguely, patient.
"Graham…" It takes her a second to get anything out besides his name, her voice quivering. "Did David, um. Did he read my letter?"
"He did," Graham tells her gently.
The tears are coming faster now, and Emma reaches out, almost unconsciously fisting Graham's shirt with her free hand. A sob rips out of her.
"Em…." He pulls her into his arms at the same second she finally falls apart.
Graham doesn't shush her, or tell her it's going to be okay. He just holds her tightly while she sobs against his chest, stroking her hair and blinking back his own tears.
He wonders just how powerful it is, this magic that connects their hearts. He wonders if that has something to do with the fact that it feels like his heart may burst, if that's the reason it physically hurts him to hear her cry like this, to know she's hurting when he can't do anything to stop it.
Maybe it's the magic, but maybe not. Maybe that's just how it always is when you love someone.
A/N: Sorry for the delay on this one, I've got a lot of writing projects going on. But we're so close to an end here, I'm definitely not abandoning it. More to come, and I'd love to here what you think of this chapter.