Disclaimer: I own nothing.
A/N: This is a post-ep for 1x21, taking place immediately after the fade to black at the end of the episode. There is some speculation about the powers of the sleeping curse, but no speculation about what transpires in the finale. Probably not canon compliant, as I don't think Mary Margaret will appear before Emma gets Henry to the hospital (given the sneak peeks), but hey, that's what it's fanfiction. You know you want to know what Mary Margaret would have done, if she'd been there.
Thanks to Melissa, my fabulous beta, who went through this story more than once.
So help me decide. Help me to make up, make up my mind. Wouldn't that save you, wouldn't that save you, wouldn't that save you? - Save You, Matthew Perry Jones
Her first thought is that he must be faking.
She stays rooted to the spot, waiting for him to jump up and announce he is fine. Disappointed that the apple tart isn't actually poisoned, but fine all the same.
"Come on, Henry," she says when he still doesn't move. "I know that apple wasn't really poisoned." Emma walks over to him and drops to her knees. "Hey, Henry. Time to get up." She grabs his shoulder and shakes it. "Henry. Henry. Henry!"
Her cries increase in volume when he doesn't respond. He gives no indication that he's even heard her. She feels tears in her eyes, but refuses to let them fall. It's not poison, she tells herself angrily. Curses aren't real.
"Henry, please," she begs, her voice choked by emotion. "You're really scaring me."
She stops shaking his shoulder and looks at his face. His expression is calm, no hint of a smile playing at his lips.
In one horrifying moment, Emma realizes he's not pretending.
She feels as though her heart has been clenched in an iron fist. She has never felt this kind of fear before. Her mind races through the remedial health classes she took in high school, how to deal with emergency situations. Check for pulse, check for breathing…
Slowly, Emma moves her hand from his shoulder and presses two fingers to his neck, trying to ignore the thought that it's colder than it should be. For a moment, she feels nothing and is about to panic, when it comes. It's faint and frighteningly slow, but it's there. It means he's there. He's not dead…yet. She moves her hand to his nose and waits, but the breath never comes.
"Henry?" Emma whimpers, fearing the worst. She presses her fingers to his neck again, terrified that his heart has stopped, too. But she feels it again, the softest beat, just barely pulsating against her finger tips. She tries not to think that it's even slower than before.
"Okay," Emma breathes, trying to pull herself together. Mary Margaret's words ring out in her head: You're his mother. Figure it out!
She springs into action. She takes Henry by the shoulders and pushes him gently onto his back. She tilts his head back and opens his mouth. She pinches his nose.
Emma realizes she has no idea how to do what comes next. Breathe, she thinks. But how will she know if it's working?
"I'm really sorry, Henry," she apologizes. She pinches his nose again and breathes into his mouth.
"Oh my – Emma!"
Emma pulls back and whips around. Mary Margaret is standing in the doorway, stunned. "What are you – what happened?"
"I – I don't know," Emma admits. She presses her fingers to Henry's neck again. His pulse is still lethargic. She leans over and breathes into his mouth again.
"Hold on – stop!" Mary Margaret exclaims, rushing over. "Are you sure you know what you're doing? Have you called 911?"
"No," Emma responds, feeling for his pulse again. "Damn it!"
Mary Margaret crouches beside her. "Emma…if Henry's not breathing, you need to call someone. We need help."
"Listen to me!" Mary Margaret exclaims. "Emma – Regina – you're going to be in so much trouble if something happens."
"Something already did happen," Emma points out. "Regina tried to kill me."
"She tried to kill me, but ended up hurting Henry instead." Emma leans forward and breathes again into his mouth, though she's starting to fear it's hopeless. His pulse isn't getting any stronger, and he isn't breathing on his own. She pulls back, defeated, tears stinging her eyes.
Her son is dying and there's nothing she can do about it.
"I'm calling 911," Mary Margaret announces, standing up.
"It won't help," Emma protests. "What are you going to say to them? Curses aren't real!"
Mary Margaret stares at her for a second before saying, "Emma, you're in shock. It's going to be okay. I'm doing what's best for Henry. And you." She reaches for the phone.
Emma watches, defeated, as Mary Margaret dials. She can hardly hear the conversation, she feels so numb inside. The guilt rips through her heart. It's her fault he's dead. He had been so confident that the tart would be poisoned, and he ate it anyway. Just to prove a point, just to prove the curse was real.
But curses aren't real! Emma protests furiously. And he can't be dead. Because curses aren't real.
But at the same time, he's still so pale.
"I'm sorry, I'm so, so sorry," she whispers, reaching for his hand. "Please, Henry. I believe you. Just please be okay."
"The ambulance is coming," Mary Margaret says, coming back over. "They think it could bean allergic reaction. Do you know if he's allergic to anything?"
Emma shakes her head. "I don't think so, but I don't know for sure. Even if he were…Mary Margaret, he just dropped. He didn't choke. He didn't have trouble breathing. One minute he was standing in front of me, and the next he was-" Emma's voice trails off as a new wave of tears begins. "It's my fault," Emma sobs. "He just did it to prove a point. If I had just – if I hadn't told him I was leaving – if I had just believed him-"
"Emma," Mary Margaret says gently, sitting next to her again. "This wasn't your fault. Allergic reactions happen." She nods toward the remainder of the tart. "Is that what he ate?"
Emma nods. "He thought the apple was poisoned."
Emma smiles weakly through her tears. "You know how he believed that fairy tale… The queen kills Snow White with an apple, so Henry thought that if Regina was giving me an apple tart, she would have, I don't know, done something to it."
Mary Margaret bites her lip. "That book…I didn't think he'd take it this far."
"Me neither." She feels compelled to do something, even if she has no idea what. Emma moves toward Henry and checks for his pulse again. This time it's almost a minute before she feels the dull thud.
"He's getting worse," she mutters, as she prepares for another resuscitation attempt.
"No," Mary Margaret says, darting forward. "You're too worked up. Let me." Emma looks at her skeptically, so Mary Margaret points out, "I did save David."
"Right," Emma responds, sitting back to let Mary Margaret take her place. It feels like forever ago that they found David by the Toll Bridge. Emma presses her head into her hands, trying to clear her mind. She feels like her entire world has been shaken in just ten minutes. She has no idea what to believe. All she knows is that Henry can't die.
"I just wanted what was best for him," Emma mumbles. She looks up in time to see Mary Margaret lean over Henry again. "I thought leaving was best, but I was wrong. I thought not believing in the curse was what was best for him, but I was wrong about that, too." She sighs. "Everything that I've done since I've come here has been because I thought it was best for him. And it's all led to this."
Mary Margaret pauses and shakes her head. "I don't believe that," she tells her firmly. "You did not do this to him. I know that you being here changed him for the better. And I know that you've always wanted what was best for him, even if you were a bit misguided at times. He loved you so much. And…" She falters and when she speaks again, Emma can hear her voice break, "I know you loved him, too."
Emma leaps to her feet at the sudden knocking on the door. She opens it and two paramedics rush inside with a stretcher. Mary Margaret scrambles to her feet as they converge on Henry.
"He told me he believed in me," Emma whispers as she watches them strap her son to the stretcher. "Right before he took a bite. He told me he believed in me."
Mary Margaret takes her hand as the paramedics carry Henry out the door. "I believe in you, too."
A/N: Thanks for reading. If you're feeling generous, I'd love a review! Hope everyone enjoys the finale this weekend.