*sigh* They aren't gonna play repeats of Once Upon a Time on Sundays. What a bummer. And Hulu will only play episodes if I get a membership. ABC doesn't have all of the episodes and the DVD won't be out till August. Gosh darnit... It looks as if I'm not the only one who will have to have a steady diet of fanfiction to keep myself from getting withdrawal.
Emma wanted nothing more than to walk out of that hospital and find out exactly what was going on. Afterward, she'd begin work on Mr. Gold's gravestone. She didn't move, though. Henry still had a few tests to undergo, and Emma was not going to let him out of her sight. Not now, not ever.
The strange, invisible beast that had taken up residence in her chest let out a defiant growl.
"Don't worry, Miss Swan." The nurse assured the onlooking mother. "It's just a routine check to make sure that everything is working."
"Doesn't 'True Love's Kiss' fix everything?" She asked, impatient to leave, but unwilling to take a step away as Doctor Whale took Henry's temperature.
The nurse nodded. "Of course it did, but we do need to adhere to this world's mundane procedures."
"Well, he looks perfectly fine." Doctor Whale said, straightening up. "I'd tell him to take it easy, but that seems futile, considering the circumstances." He glanced worriedly toward the window, clearly referring to the violet cloud.
"Thank you!" Emma nodded at Henry. "Get your clothes on, kiddo. We have business in town."
"Gotcha!" Henry grinned. "Operation Viper is underway!" Jumping from the examination table, he grabbed his clothes bundle and went into the bathroom.
"Operation Viper?" Emma blinked, approaching the door. "What happened to Operation Cobra?"
"Operation Cobra was a success!" Henry explained over the muffled sound of his shirt being pulled over his head. "We need a new name for our next project."
Emma smiled, folding her arms. "And, what is Operation Viper?"
"Magic has been brought to this world. We need to find out why. Also, we need to figure out how to send everyone back to the Enchanted Forest. Now that they know who they are, they're gonna want to go back home." He opened the door. His shirt was on backward. "And we're gonna find the way there!"
"Switch your shirt around first, kiddo." Emma chuckled. "The leader of Operation Viper will have to be presentable."
Henry blinked. "Whoops!" He pulled his arms into his sleeves and turned the shirt around without even taking it off. "Okay, that's better." He grinned brightly. "But, I'm not Operation Viper's leader. You are."
"Oh, no." Emma shook her head. "You were the one to believe in Operation Cobra. It's because of you that I believe now. You are the keeper of the book. You need to be in charge here."
Henry tilted his head at her for a moment before nodding. "Alright!" He said. "In that case, follow me!"
"Where are we going?" Emma asked as he opened the door.
"We need to talk to the Mad Hatter." He explained. "If there's magic in this world, then maybe his hat works now."
"Whoa!" Emma put a hand on her son's shoulder. "There's no way you're going anywhere near that-!" Her words were cut off as a warm body nearly knocked her over and a pair of arms wrapped tightly around her. A second, larger figure quickly followed, pressing her tightly into the impromptu group hug. "Hn...?" She moved her face away from a surface of soft fabric and found herself looking into the rapturous face of Mary Margaret.
Mary's eyes were full of tears as she leaned in to kiss Emma's cheek. "Oh, Emma. We're so proud of you!"
Behind her, Emma felt David rest his head on top of hers. "Well done, Emma. Well done." His voice was shaking with emotion.
Emma blinked, her throat tightening and her heart rapidly flooding with a thousand conflicting emotions: happiness, anger, elation, fear, love, confusion. Shaking her head, she pushed herself away from her newly-reawakened parents. "Hold on." She managed to choke. "Give me... Give me a moment, okay?" She held up her hands. "This is a lot to take."
Looking clearly at her parents for the first time, Emma noticed a major difference between now and how they had been. They were no longer confused, controversial, timid lovers. They were confident, pure, and strong. His eyes were like chips of an untainted sky and hers were like pieces of warm wood. They both had relieved, sad, overjoyed smiles on their faces.
Mary was the first to regain her composure. "Of course, Emma. I understand." More tears fell and her smile grew more gentle and solemn. "We'll have plenty of time to talk, when you're ready."
"We wanted to give you the opportunity to have a good life." David said, licking his lips, clearly trying to get a handle on his emotions. "You were our only hope."
"I know all that." Emma said, waving a hand dismissively as she managed, through years of practice, to steady her voice and force the lump in her throat to subside. "Henry told me everything, and I understand." She glanced at her son, who was observing the scene silently, and smiled. "Believe me, I understand."
She turned back to her parents and regarded them seriously. "Throughout my life, I've imagined what it would be like to see my birth parents. I imagined them being wonderful angels who were forced to give me up. I imagined them as drug addicts wasting away in an alley." Mary winced at this. "I imagined hundreds of things to say to them, both hateful and loving."
Emma shook her head slowly, a bemused grin coming to her face despite her inner turmoil. "But, I never imagined that they would be my age."
David and Mary blinked, dumbfounded, as if this thought hadn't even occurred to them. David stared at his wife for a moment before turning his gaze back to his daughter. A bright grin came to his face and he started laughing. "Well, it's every mother's dream to be mistaken for her daughter's sister!"
Mary stared for another moment before also starting to laugh.
Emma blinked rapidly as she listened to her parents' laughter. All at once, her reserve faded away and she approached them once more, throwing her arms around her mother, laughing and sobbing at the same time. She then turned to her father and smiled as she was pulled against his warm chest. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Henry, who was unable to refrain any longer, rushing into his grandmother's arms.
David touched his lips to Emma's forehead as he held out a hand toward his grandson, clasping his hand tightly. "You brave, brave man." He murmured fondly, still holding Emma close with his other arm.
Mary looked as if she was about to burst with happiness as she planted kiss after kiss on Henry's face before standing up and pulling Emma into another hug.
Henry, who was now pressed against Emma's side, let out a muffled exclamation. "Guys! Guys!" He broke away hurriedly. "We'll have time for this later. Right now, we need to enter the first stage of Operation Viper!"
Mary, unwilling to dislodge herself from Emma, elected to simply turn her head toward Henry. "Operation Viper?"
"Operation Cobra was a success." Emma explained, moving her head away from David's chest. "Henry says that our next step is to figure out what released that magic cloud and to find a way to get everyone in Storybrooke back to the Enchanted Forest."
"I like the theme you have with the names of these Operations." David commented, smiling.
"We're going to see the Mad Hatter." Henry said. "His hats could have the ability to get everyone back home."
Mary's face immediately darkened. "You are not going there."
"That's what I was telling him." Emma agreed, folding her arms as she looked at Henry. "Listen, Henry, Jefferson kidnapped Mary Mar-" She paused, faltering. "Er...I mean..." She glanced uncertainly toward her mother.
Mary shook her head dismissively. "Whatever you're comfortable with."
Emma smiled gratefully before continuing. "He locked up Mary Margaret and tried to kill me. He's crazy."
"Well, yeah." Henry looked at her as if she had just told him that the sun was hot. "He's the Mad Hatter."
"Look, am I the leader of Operation Viper or not?" Henry folded his arms stubbornly. "Trust me."
"Fine, but you have to stay with David and Mary." Emma declared. "I'll go to see Jefferson on my own."
Henry sighed, but didn't argue. "I guess he'd rather talk to you."
"I should go with you." David said, his brows furrowing.
"No." Emma shook her head. "That might scare him off. It's fine. Since the magic is here, he probably won't try to have me make any more hats. I'll call if something comes up." Noticing her parents' concerned faces, she rolled her eyes. "I won't drink any tea. I promise."
Reluctantly, they agreed. However, their plans were put on hold as they walked out of the hospital. Waiting outside, sitting on a bench, clutching a wooden whale in his hands, was Marco.
The old man looked up at Emma and the look of grief on his face was heartbreaking. "Where is he?" He whispered. "Where is my son?"
Emma froze, her eyes widening. In all of the excitement, she had completely forgotten! "August!" She gasped.
As they walked further into the woods, Belle kept half an eye on Rumpelstiltskin. That reddish glint in his eyes hadn't gone away, nor had that look of hungry excitement. He was no longer the beast he had been before, but he was certainly not a man yet.
Her unease dissipated, however, as he turned to look at her. His face immediately took on an unbelievably tender expression and his eyes glittered gently. It was almost enough to mask the red spark. "How are you feeling, dearie?" He asked, squeezing her shoulder lightly.
Belle smiled at him. "I'm fine. What are we going to do now?"
"We are going back to my house." Rumpelstiltskin replied. "You've been through a dreadful ordeal and I have much work that still that needs to be done. You are to take my room and sleep until tomorrow morning." He touched a finger to one of the dark circles that marred the area beneath her eyes. "No arguments."
"Yes, father." She said sarcastically. As the words left her mouth, however, she paused. "Rumpelstiltskin...where is my father?"
The red spark lit up again in his eyes and he steered her more rapidly, hitting the ground with his cane every time he took a step. "Come. You need to sleep."
"Is he alive?" Belle dug her heels into the ground, looking firmly at her love's face.
Rumpelstiltskin hesitated. "He is..."
"You need to sleep." Rumpelstiltskin insisted as they came to a large, shadowed house. "No more questions now."
Belle sighed, noting his panicked/stubborn expression. "Very well, but I want to hear everything tomorrow morning. Understand?"
The red spark lit up brightly for a brief second. There was a pause, during which Rumpelstiltskin fought to control some bitter, angry emotion. The spark dimmed and he nodded. "Of course, Belle. I will tell you everything tomorrow. You have my word."
Belle studied his face for a moment before nodding, satisfied that he was telling the truth. "Alright." She watched as he unlocked the door and entered the house. He led her up the stairs and opened one of the doors.
"I will bring you new clothes shortly." He told her. "The bathroom is in the next room. You may shower and..." He paused, trailing off awkwardly, as if a thought had suddenly occurred to him.
Belle tilted her head. "What is it?"
"Er..." Rumpelstiltskin frowned. "Do you know how to...?" He gestured vaguely toward the bathroom.
Belle laughed at his nervous attitude. "You don't need to show me how to use the shower. They had one in the asylum."
An odd expression of combined relief, pain, and guilt moved across his face before he quickly cleared it away and nodded. "Very well, then. I'll return to check on you shortly."
Belle nodded. "Alright." She took a step forward to kiss him, but he shied away as she approached. Her brows furrowed, but she was suddenly too tired to pursue the matter. Instead, she subtly nodded and reached out to brush a strand of silvery brown hair from his cheek. "I love you." She whispered as she lightly caressed his face.
Rumpelstiltskin let out the tiniest sigh of relief and allowed his face to lean into her hand. "I love you too, Belle." For the tiniest moment, the red spark in his eye vanished entirely.
"I'd like to renounce my vows." Nova kept her eyes downcast as she addressed the Mother Superior, who was now beginning to look more and more like the Blue Fairy. Ever since that pulse of magic had spread across the town, the nuns had started showing signs of growing their wings back and regaining their fairy powers. The Blue Fairy's sky blue dragonfly wings were particularly prominent.
The Blue Fairy breathed a sigh, folding her hands. "I knew that you'd be coming here to say that, Nova." She murmured.
"I know what you said to Dreamy." Nova persisted. "And I know why you did what you did." She bowed her head. "But, I still love him."
"Nova, do you understand that you are giving up your dream?" The Blue Fairy regarded her sternly. "You will not be able to be a Fairy Godmother if you make a union with this dwarf."
"I can still help people!" She insisted, fiddling with a pencil for a few moments before causing it to break in half. Wincing, she put the wood pieces on the table in front of her and opted to imitate the Blue Fairy, folding her hands harmlessly. "I helped people as a normal human, didn't I? So did you!"
"That is true." The Blue Fairy breathed a sigh. "I hear your wish. However, I do not grant my permission yet."
Nova looked up, about to reply, when her superior silenced her with a wave of her hand.
"I will give you three weeks to consider this. Do no address me about your decision until after those three weeks are up. Then, you can either begin training as a Fairy Godmother or begin life with the one you love. Understand?"
Nova's face lit up. "Oh, yes! I understand! Thank you! Thank you!" She stood up to leave, somehow tripping over the flat floor on the way out.
You know, I don't care how many times Emma is called the savior in this. HENRY is the savior, darnit! Does anyone else agree? Anyway, it's hard to predict how Emma's reunion with her parents will turn out in the actual series. I decided to opt for the sappy, happy, warm approach. Because, let's face it, Emma needs more of those moments. I mean, she had Graham die right after kissing her (GO DIE, REGINA!) and nearly lost her son (Again, GO DIE, REGINA!)! Issues will be addressed with her and her parents, obviously. So, don't worry. Review, but don't flame. Flames make Archie/Jiminy sad. Peace out! ^_^