The Right Wrong Choice
"Keep him safe, Ruby," Emma said. They had all agreed that Henry shouldn't go with them to Mr. Gold's. Of course, Snow had an ulterior motive as well. She quickly figured out Emma was using Henry as human shield. As happy as Snow was to answer Henry's hundreds of questions about the Enchanted Forest, all she really wanted was to spend time with her daughter. Unfortunately, Emma, as it would turn out, was very good at being near someone physically without actually being there at all. As Mary Margaret, she had never noticed this - probably because Emma had never avoided Mary Margaret.
Snow White watched her daughter and narrowed her eyes. She didn't know why, but she felt like she had already earned the right to talk to Emma - not as Mary Margaret but as herself. She had the feeling she had gone through all of this before, which made Emma's reaction to her that much more frustrating and hurtful. Every time they made eye contact, every time they had a moment, Emma evaded her. It would have been funny, but after waking up from a twenty-eight year curse to a daughter who wouldn't even speak to her, Snow found she was not amused.
Charming must have read her mind. He had a knack for that that David never had. "Don't push it, Snow," he told her.
"I'm not," Snow said innocently.
Walking up to them, Emma asked, "You guys ready?"
Enough was enough.
"We need to talk," Snow told her and ignored Charming's sigh of disapproval.
"I, well, I...I don't...just..." Emma was apparently unprepared for the direct approach. She turned and looked like she was going to make a mad dash for Ruby's car only to find it was already gone.
"You can run," Snow said to her silently, "but I will find you."
Emma must have realized there was no escape; so she turned back toward them and said, "I don't want to talk."
"That might have worked with Mary Margaret who was afraid of her own shadow," Snow thought, "but that is not going to work with me."
"But I do," Snow told Emma frankly, "okay? Gold can wait. I can't."
Emma continued to stare at the ground.
"I mean, you're my daughter," Snow said. That got Emma's attention. She looked up at her in surprise. Snow smiled at her, saying, "and I want to talk to you."
"I know that we have talked," Snow continued, "but we didn't know that we were talking."
"I'm not making any sense," she thought but continued. "We talked about things we probably shouldn't have even talked about..."
"I might as well get this over with," Snow thought.
"...one night stands and the like."
"One night stands?" Charming asked, suddenly tuning into the conversation.
"Whale," Snow said.
"We were cursed. That is neither here nor there." Snow took advantage of her husband's momentary shock to shift the conversation back to Emma who looked, if possible, even more awkward than she had previously.
"The point is...we did not know that we were mother and daughter, and now we do. And...so, please," she pleaded with Emma, "let's talk."
"If I have to start crying," Snow silently threatened, "I will."
Emma must have gotten the hint. "Okay," she said, "what do you want to talk about?"
"Yes!" Snow thought and then suddenly realized she had no clue what to say. It wasn't as if she'd had a speech written for the occasion. "We're together, finally." Snow smiled brightly and then looked from Charming to Emma. Neither of them were smiling back. Perhaps she shouldn't have mentioned Whale.
Snow stopped smiling and said to Emma, "And I can't help but think you're not happy about it."
"Oh, I am," Emma told her, "but, see...here's the thing, no matter what the circumstances, for twenty-eight years I only knew one thing - that my parents sent me away."
"We did that to give you your best chance," Snow White told her.
"You did it for everyone," Emma said, "because that's who you are - leaders, heroes, princes and princesses. And that's great and amazing and," Emma sighed, "wonderful, but it doesn't change the fact that for my entire life, I've been alone."
Mary Margaret had known this. She had known how sad, how lonely Emma's life had been. Mary Margaret had hurt for her roommate who had never known the joy of being a child. For Snow White, though, this was the first time she'd seen this side of Emma. It was the first time Emma had blamed it on her.
"You think I abandoned you," Snow thought and then began to worry. "Is that what I did?" That's what Mary Margaret had thought Emma's parents had done. Though she had never expressed it to Emma, Mary Margaret had always been secretly angry at Emma's parents for leaving their daughter alone to face the world. How was that for irony?
"But if we hadn't sent you away," Snow said as much for herself as for Emma, "you would have been cursed too." Somehow, saying it aloud made Snow feel like she had just made up the worst excuse she could have possibly said at that moment.
Emma looked at Snow White. There were no walls, no pretenses, no accusations. There was only pain. "But we would have been together," Emma looked away as if she were about to cry, and then she asked her, "Which curse is worse?"
Whatever Snow White had been about to say was silenced by the undeniable fact that she had in an effort to save her daughter from one curse, created a whole new kind of curse instead. At that moment, Snow would have given anything to not be a queen or a princess or a hero, but to have another chance to be Emma's mother.
Emma said something that Snow White couldn't hear above the wall of emotions she had just slammed into, and then she walked between her two parents and on toward Gold's pawnshop. Snow White watched her go off to save the town of Storybrooke...again. This was what Emma thought her mother had sent her to this world to do - to be its hero.
As noble as it sounded, Snow knew that honor had never been her true motive. There was only one person she thought of when she sent Emma through the wardrobe - Emma. None of that mattered now though.
She felt her husband hold her hand, but there was no comfort in it. All Snow could hear was the sound of her daughter's voice reminding her, "no matter what the circumstances, for twenty-eight years, I only knew one thing - that my parents sent me away."
Snow White had felt a lot of things in her life, but this was the one thing she had never felt: regret. She had always been one of those people who leapt first and then thought later. All those years ago, she had jumped to the conclusion that sending Emma through the wardrobe was the best decision, but had it been?
"Maybe it would have been better if I had never remembered who I was."
"Snow -" Charming started.
"No," Snow White said, "no, don't try to make me feel better. This is my fault. You told me not to do it."
"When I told you not to push?"
Snow White was quiet for a moment and then said, "No...when you told me I was crazy to send her away."
"It was the right thing to do, Snow. If you hadn't, we wouldn't be standing here having this conversation."
"No," Snow thought "we wouldn't, but I might be standing here holding her."
"There wasn't a right thing to do," Snow said. "There were only wrong things. I don't think I made the right wrong choice - not for her."
"Then all you can do, Snow, is the next time you're in that situation, make the right wrong choice for Emma."
Snow White nodded and said, "I will."
a few hours later...
"No!" Snow White screamed as she watched her daughter pulled into the hat. Regina had said it send the wraith to oblivion, which meant that was where Emma was going - alone.
"But we would have been together," Emma had said, and suddenly, Snow White knew what she had to do.
"I'm not losing her again," she yelled to Charming.
Snow jumped into the hat after her daughter. As they fell in the darkness, she reached out and grabbed a hold of Emma's jacket. "Together," Snow promised her. No matter where they went, they would go together.
It was the right wrong choice.