Disclaimer: Nothing you recognize is mine.
A/N: This is just a little piece I've been working on for awhile and finally finished. Spoilers for episodes that aired a long time ago. Mild speculation about who Henry's father might be, but you also don't have to read it that way. Song lyrics that start each vignette come from She Went Quietly, which is a hauntingly beautiful song by Charlie Winston.
Thanks to Melissa for betaing.
i. But she went quietly; she didn't make a sound
He dashes through the palace, his baby cradled in his arms, the screams of her mother echoing in his ears. It's amazing to him that she is asleep, given all the commotion around them. One of her tiny hands is balled into a fist near her mouth; the other is hidden beneath the embroidered blanket. He feels the stitched letters under his fingers, repeating her name over and over in his head as he runs.
Emma. Emma. Emma.
Snow's cries die away and his footsteps echo loudly in the silence. He comes to a halt when he sees the two enemy soldiers and one of his slaughtered guards. Sword drawn, he races toward them, keeping Emma tucked protectively under his arm. He twists and turns, dodging their blades while trying to get a clear shot of his own. He feels one of the blades slice across his chest, feels the blood running down his shirt. Enraged, he slashes his blade until the two enemy soldiers have fallen.
Amazingly, Emma still hasn't cried.
He runs into the next room where the wardrobe has been placed against the wall. He drops his sword and uses both hands to lower his daughter into the wooden enclosure. Her eyes open and she reaches out her tiny hands. Knowing he doesn't have much time, he leans forward and kisses her forehead, knowing very well this could be the last time.
"Find us," he whispers fiercely.
Sensing the enemy approaching, he shuts and bolts the wardrobe doors. He picks up his sword and whips around to join the fray once more. But his wound has weakened him, and he can feel his strength waning. He feels the long blade pierce his chest and he knows he's lost. He collapses to the ground, gasping for air in what he knows are his last moments of life. His only chance – their only chance – is if Emma has escaped.
One of the soldiers begins breaking into the wardrobe, wrenching the wooden doors apart. All he can do is watch and hope that his daughter will not be there.
With a bang the doors open, but Emma is gone.
ii. She went quietly, with a wish not to be found
Emma wakes slowly and finds herself naked in a bed that is not her own. She looks to her left and catches sight of the dark-haired stranger she'd met at the club the night before. She racks her brain for a name, but comes up empty. Brian? Andrew? Maybe it's Ted. She wonders if it even matters.
The alarm clock to her right tells her it's just after five. Emma rolls onto her side, bringing her knees into her chest. Only then does she feel the pain. It's not her first time, but she is still just seventeen. The realization comes to her almost immediately, along with a slew of memories she already wishes she could forget. The memories are hazy, but she remembers enough of the details to be ashamed.
He took advantage, she knows that. But she still hates herself for letting him.
Unable to lie in his bed any longer, Emma slips out from under the sheets and makes a beeline for her clothes. She dresses quickly in the dark, feeling exposed, vulnerable. She cannot wait to get him to take a shower, to wash any trace of him from her body.
She knows better than to go to the police. Her foster parents didn't know where she'd gone last night, not that they particularly cared. They had their own kids to worry about. The meager amount of money provided by the state for Emma's care will dry up next month when she graduates high school, turns eighteen and ages out of the system.
She slips quietly from the room, not bothering to leave her name, number, or a note. As she pushes open the front door and steps out into the dewy morning, Emma thinks about how easy it would be to just disappear. Who would look for her? She's been on her own her entire life.
She crosses her arms across her chest as she walks down the street. Only then does she realize she has no idea where she is, let alone where she's going. The feelings of hopelessness overwhelm her and Emma sinks onto the sidewalk curb, her head in her hands, trying her hardest to keep the tears at bay.
She wishes she could crawl into a deep, deep hole and stay hidden forever.
iii. She went quietly, without a word of where
Mary Margaret watches as Emma leaves her office, feeling the cool bronze of the key clenched in her hand. She opens her fist only after Emma has shut the door, ashamed that she is even considering this. She has never been one for running.
She has never had reason to run.
The burden of her promise weighs down on her. She has promised Emma she would have faith in her, that she would wait for Emma to come up with a solution, to find the evidence to prove that Regina is behind this mess. She wants to believe Emma, she really does, but she is so, so scared. The penalty for murder in Storybrooke is death.
Mary Margaret looks down at the key in her hand. Again she wonders who could have placed it there. Perhaps it had been left by mistake, although it seems too purposeful. Emma wouldn't have let such a careless thing happen. For a moment, she considers the possibility that Emma herself placed the key, but almost immediately brushes it aside. If Emma wanted to help her escape, she would have said something. And at any rate, it seems that for better or for worse, Emma is committed to following the law.
She thinks of Emma, her roommate, her friend, her…jailer. She cannot blame Emma for what's happened to her, but at the same time, she cannot help but feel betrayed, however irrational that feeling may be. She is so desperate to prove her innocence, but if even Emma thinks that proceeding with the case is the best way to go, who will truly believe she's innocent?
Even David thinks she's guilty.
Mary Margaret looks at the key again, and this time she does not hesitate. She moves purposely toward the door and slides the key into the lock. It fits as easily as it did the first time. When the door opens, she steps across the threshold and onto the office floor, her iron prison behind her.
She runs from the office without looking back.
iv. Just a note that wrote "forgetting is easier"
Snow fingers the glass bottle with her delicate fingers. The liquid is a curious color, she decides, not quite a color at all. Her fingers inch toward the stopper, but she hesitates. She doesn't know how much she can trust Rumplestiltskin, if she can trust him at all. She's heard the warnings all her life about his power, the danger of making deals with him. But if all she had to give him was a strand of her hair, what harm could there really be?
Her heart feels like it's been torn out of her chest and stomped on. Even knowing that she lied to keep James safe is no consolation. She has always prided herself on her ability to set her own course, to choose her own destiny. She does not like being manipulated by someone else.
But she will do it to protect someone she loves.
It's almost worse this way, she thinks. Before she didn't know if he felt the same way about her, but she knows now how he feels. Her heart aches for him. She imagines the pain he must be in, thinking that she doesn't love him after all. He must be so confused, she fears, after she came all the way to the castle, only to tell him that she didn't love him after all. She has never been one for lying.
The color of the liquid is quite beautiful.
She can hear Grumpy and the other dwarves chattering away in the kitchen. She thinks about what Grumpy said, about how your pain makes you who you are. But she doesn't want to be in pain, and she certainly doesn't want this to define her. Grumpy is truly miserable, she thinks. She feels sorry for him.
She feels sorry for herself.
She reaches for the stopper, and this time her hand does not hesitate to uncork the tiny bottle. Snow raises the bottle and eyes the contents appraisingly. She trusts Rumplestiltskin's potion will do exactly what he said it would, though she's not sure what else. It seems worth the risk: She would give up anything to be rid of this anguish.
"I love you," Snow whispers as she brings the bottle to her lips.
Forgetting is easier.
A/N: Thanks for reading. I appreciate any and all feedback! My mind is still reeling from last night's episode, although I do plan on posting a post-ep soon. Stay tuned!