A.N: I AM SO SORRY I HAVEN'T UPDATED IN FOREVER OMG. My muse took a very long and unwanted vacation. Luckily I was bitten by the writing bug last night and was able to get out another chapter! Hopefully it'll make up for my absence. I'll try not to take so long with the next one, promise.
P.S: don't forget to review!
"I can't get it work!" she shouts exasperated, slamming the hat on the table. "What you're asking me is impossible!"
"No!" Jefferson growls as he snatches it, examining it for any faults, any flaws that could be constraining it's magic. This hat was his last hope, she was his last hope. He had already lost Grace, he couldn't lose her again too."It has to work. You've made it work before, I've seen it."
"Seen me when?" Emma exclaims. Was this man seriously that delusional? "Where the hell have you ever seen with that hat before?"
He hesitates for a moment. Should he tell her, or would it only encourage her denial even further? "Back there," he finally says. "Home."
Emma just looks at him, blinking. "Oh." she whispers suddenly, as if it all makes sense now. She settles back down into the stool, sitting there for moment before putting her head in her hands and giving him a painful chuckle. "Oh, I see." continuing to laugh hollowly. "You're trying to say that we knew each other in this magical forest aren't you?"
Jefferson sighs. Of course she wouldn't believe him, why should she? Emma had always been stubborn, so stuck in her beliefs. Her hardships in this world had only enforced that. He had always admired how she could stick to her guns, going with her gut and fighting till the end of the earth for what she believed in. He had loved that about her, he missed it.
Of course now it would prove to be the end of him. She didn't know him here; she didn't trust him. She couldn't trust anyone, never mind some lunatic that had lured her off the streets. How could he get her to believe him when that obnoxious gut of hers was screaming that everything he was saying was a lie.
"Yes." he eventually forces through gritted teeth. "We knew each other."
"How?" she asks in a deadpan tone, clearly prepared to hear another ridiculous misimagined story from his fictionalized memory. She's obviously humoring him. He presses on anyway. "Well, you were a princess. It was part of your job to familiarize yourself with the civilians of the realm."
She shifts in her seat, propping an elbow on the table. "Of course it was." she affirms in mock interest.
He pauses a moment before continuing, contemplating how much he should tell her. "We… ran into each other a once or twice."
"Were we friends?" she asks, a blonde eyebrow quirked.
He smiles and it hurts. Were they friends? They certainly hadn't started out that way. "Something like that."
Emma looks at him, her eyes searching his face. He really believes this she realizes, this mismatched broken fairytale in his mind. She thinks of Henry and his book of stories. Stories and characters that he so adamantly believes in. It's a crutch, of course. A crutch for his loneliness and a mechanism to deal with the disappointment in his reality. She rises and moves to his side, and for a brief moment he cowers away from her. His cryptic and menacing bravado now dissipated. She sees in Jefferson's eyes the same hopelessness as her son's. It makes her stomach turn.
"Why it is so important that I get the hat to work?" she asks. Henry needed the stories to cope with Regina's neglect the isolation from his peers. Why did Jefferson need them?
He doesn't answer at first. His eyes fixated on ground. "You'll think I'm crazy." he says with a humorless laugh.
"I think we're way past that point Jefferson." Her eyes dip down to the gun still in hand. At least he's not pointing it at her anymore.
"Your son," he begins in a hoarse voice, throat suddenly dry. How often had he seen that boy sulking through town with that dragon of a mother hauling him by leash. He saw the way she dismissed his knowledge of truth, calling him delusional and sending him to the cricket twice a week. He wasn't his son no, but he was Emma's. If she loved him so did he. "Regina won't let you be together right?"
Her eyes narrow at his words. Why was he avoiding the question?
"He's the only family you have." Or at least the only she knew of. Her father had once threaten to have him executed if he ever broke his little girl's heart. He would never have guessed he had much worse things to worry about.
Emma was getting impatient. "What exactly is your point here Jefferson—"
"Family!" He snaps, cutting her off. "Family, Emma. That's my point." He points to a telescope perched at the window. "Look." With a sigh she moves, leaning down to put an eye to the lens. She expects to see the empty sheriff's station again, or maybe Mary Margaret's apartment. Instead she sees a young couple with a little girl about Henry's age. Slowly, she begins to piece it together. The stuffed rabbit on the sofa. The tea set in the living room…
"You think she's your daughter." she realizes out loud, and he's back in her face again. Piercing gray eyes cutting into her. "I don't think!" he hisses, causing her to jump. "I know."
She is my daughter, he assures himself. Our daughter.
"I remember." He says it with so much conviction, so sure in himself, she almost believes him.
"Without that hat. Without you…" he struggles. "I can't have that." She looks in his eyes and notices tears starting to well up, tears he wouldn't shed. She sees her reflection and wonders if her own were mirroring his agonized face as well.
"Jefferson," she begins in a weak voice. "I understand, I really do. But I can't help you."
"Yes you can!" he insists, a frantic hope in his voice. "You could have so much power Emma if you just believed." He looks a her with a mix of love and pity. His heart mourns for the certainty the curse has taken from her.
"I can't!" she yells, tears burning in her eyes. "I can't believe in fairytales Jefferson. I gave up the idea of magic and happy endings way too long ago."
"But can you try." he whispers. He takes her face in his hands, the gun now long forgotten. To his surprise she doesn't flinch away. "Can you just try, please. For me?" For the first time she looks at him and doesn't see a madman, but just another broken, lonely soul. She knew what it was like to want a family. How many nights as a child did she spend praying that she could have a mother or father of her own. It didn't help that Jefferson looked at her with so much hope in his eyes, so much belief. No one in her life had ever believed in her like that before.
"I'll try." she promises. A small, aching smile tugged at her lips.
And for the first time in 28 years he smiles back.