A/N: Yes, ladies and gents, I have returned with the sequel to LIT. It's okay to squee, I understand. Okay, so I started work on this Sunday right after the premiere. Mainly because after spending FOREVER thinking on what this sequel was going to be about, an idea finally made itself present in my mind. Enjoy this first chapter.
Regrets. Everyone has them. Some are small, things you ate or drank that you shouldn't have. Some are bigger, important things that you passed up on. Things you should have done but you didn't. Regrets are a part of everyone's life but some people have regrets that eat them up inside.
Emma Swan is one of these people. She regrets many things. Things like how she treats the woman that claims to be her mother and the young boy that claims to be her son. Part of her wants to be warm to them. Considerate of their thoughts and feelings, but a larger part of herself shies away from them. The solemn looks on their faces as the days continue to pass on by without her remembering anything from her past. It's all too much for her to withstand.
However, the thing that Emma regrets the most is denying to visit the man that is supposedly her father. According to the woman who claims to be Snow White, her father has been in a coma for the past five months. While she forces herself to remain a prisoner in her room, her father, Prince James, continues to lay in a hospital bed, unmoving. Not knowing about the time that continues to pass by him as he lays there.
She might not remember knowing these people, her heart lets her know that at some point it was indeed true. Every time one of them gets that heartbroken look on their faces or when she thinks about the man that lays unconscious in the hospital, her heart clenches uncomfortably. Tears shine in her eyes, and she once again finds herself locked into her room as the tears flow in a constant stream down her cheeks.
She has lost track of how many nights she's cried herself to sleep over the past five months, but she's nearly certain that it would be a high percentage. There was only one person that she was able to confide in, and she wasn't even entirely sure why. It might be his easy-going attitude, the fact that he doesn't force her to attempt to uncover a memory, or just the fact that he's there for her.
Emma found herself smiling up at the intruder that she hadn't heard enter her room. The scruffy beard that covered the lower half of his face was darkening each day that past. His blue eyes were piercing her's, as he smiled back. If she really allowed herself, Emma was fairly certain that she could fall in love with this man. His giving heart and the way that he was with her son. She closed her eyes for a moment to try to keep the depressing thoughts at bay, at least for one night.
"How did you get in?" Emma asked, her eyebrow raised slightly.
His smile only grew larger. "Your mother let me in. We go way back."
Emma scooted over on her bed, and patted the now empty portion. As he sat down next to her, she sighed. He placed his arm around her shoulders, but didn't draw her into his side. "Emma, talk to me."
She looked up at him from the corner of her eyes. "I feel like I'm letting them down by not remembering. I see how they look at me everyday. How they're always showing me things from my past, and I know that all they really want is for me to remember. God knows, that's what I want to. I hate feeling like this. Like there everything is familiar, but it's just out of my grasp of knowing why. Everyday I don't remember, is one more day I cannot get back."
He sighed, and drew her in closer. He knew that it was a toss up of how she would handle it. Sometimes she welcomes the comfort easily, and sometimes it causes her to retreat back into her newly built, silver fortress. His eyes closed, and he sighed contently when she didn't pull away. Her aminsea was hard on all of them. He had tried to talk to Snow and Henry about not pushing Emma quite so hard, and he knew that they were trying. It was just so hard, to have her there, but for her to be so far out of reach.
He placed his lips to the side of her head, and his heart nearly jumped into his throat when she sighed contently at the touch of his lips to her head.
"Graham." It was merely a whisper, but he heard it clear as day.
She pulled away from him slightly, the tears in her eyes made his heart ache. "Will you stay with me tonight? I really don't want to be alone tonight."
Graham merely nodded, as he pulled back her blankets and let her climb in. She patted the empty space in front of her, and waited for him to climb in. Laying on his back, Graham smiled softly as she laid her head on his chest. In a matter of minutes her breathing had evened out, and Graham sighed softly before his eyes started their downward descent, and he too was overtaken by sleep.
Snow stared intently at the slightly worn photo that sat on the kitchen table. A lukewarm mug of hot cocoa sat beside her, barely touched, as tears streamed down her cheeks and collected in a puddle on the table.
Her fingers brushed against the family portrait that they had managed to get taken. They all wore smiles, as Henry was squashed in-between Emma and her mother. It was one of Snow's favorite memories. That day in general. Though it had been after Emma's accident, it was before everything started to fall apart. Before Baelfire returned to town, and turned everything on it's axis.
James was still in a coma, though the doctor is certain that he will wake up. The words its just a matter of time, run on a loop through Snow's head everyday. She visits with him every single day, sometimes it's for hours at a time and other days it's just for a few minutes. It really more depends on Henry. The poor boy has been through so much, and seen his fair share of heartbreak, but the look on his face when his mother practically looks right through him. It breaks Snow's heart every single time.
The first couple of months after the incident, Henry had become withdrawn. He slept much more than what was normal for the generally happy and easy-spirited young boy. He was often sad, and she had found him crying alone in her bedroom.
Since Emma was having a hard time adjusting to life with amnesia, Snow had moved Henry into her room. It was in an effort to make sure that everyone was more comfortable, but it appeared to backfire greatly. Snow had hoped after a couple of months, even with Emma's memory not returning, that Emma would become more comfortable with them. That she could at least acknowledge her son, the person that she had risked her life so hastily for to begin with, but that moment hadn't come.
Instead, Snow found herself consoling Henry more and more everyday that passed and Emma continued to hideaway most of her days in her room. Occasionally slipping downstairs to eat. The only person that Snow saw Emma connect with was Graham, and if Snow was being honest, that had really hurt her. Her daughter was supposed to connect with her mother, even if she didn't remember who she was. Yet, here she was sharing her worst fears with a man that they all had once thought to be dead.
Graham had spoken to her a few days ago about why it was that Emma felt so comfortable with him. It was a conversation that she found that fluttered through her mind at times like this.
"You have to be more patient with her, Snow." His voice wasn't forceful by any stretch of the imagination. His face was drawn, and Snow could see that he hadn't been sleeping much if any at all since Emma had been released from the hospital. Graham didn't have a place to live since he magically reappeared in Storybrooke, so Snow had offered him the couch downstairs. She felt bad that she didn't have an extra room or bed for him to sleep in. She too, had slept on that couch before. Comfort was not something that it offered.
"I have been patient!" Snow tried to not raise her voice. Both, Emma and Henry, were asleep. Tonight had been a hard night for Henry. He had stumbled onto a photo of him and Emma, both grinning widely, and the poor boy had cried himself into a fitful sleep.
Graham sighed, as he slid into a chair at the kitchen table. He shook his head. "It's the looks. They put her on edge. Like your just waiting for her to snap her fingers and have her memory back." He saw the look that Snow was giving him, which caused him to frown. "Those were her words, not mine."
Snow nodded. It definitely sounded like something Emma would say. "I can't help how I look at her, and I definitely can't help how Henry looks at her. She is his mother, and I know she doesn't remember him, but she isn't even trying, Graham. It kills me. All he wants is his mother, and she isn't even trying to see it from his point of view. He watched as the life literally drained from her body. He was there when she stopped breathing, Graham." She sighed, as a tear slipped down her cheek. "I think he blames himself."
Graham's eyebrow pinched at her words. "How in the world is it Henry's fault?" His voice was full of concern. He had known that Henry hadn't been dealing well with his family's current circumstances, not that he blamed Henry. Most days, Graham isn't even sure how to deal with it. Though, he does try his best to keep his poker face in place whenever he's around Emma. She was skittish before her amnesia, and that part of her personality was only intensified by not knowing the people around her.
"I think that he thinks there was something he could have done." Snow exhaled loudly, as her head fell against her arms. "All I know, is I'm exhausted. I don't mind taking care of Henry, I really don't. He's my grandson, and I will do anything I can for him. I just can't handle all of it anymore, Graham. I feel like I have to leave the house at least a few times a day so that she will come out of her room to eat. When she does come down when we're home, she barely glances at us before she scampers back off to her room."
Graham nodded, as he reached out a hand. He gripped Snow's hand tightly. "I understand. I'll talk to her."
Snow felt her eyes fill with tears. "The worst-" Her voice cracked. "Is that she refuses to visit her father."
Graham's head lowered, as tears threatened to fall from his eyes as well. "That I have talked to her about. She's beating herself up over it." Snow glanced at him, and saw the turmoil on his face. "She asked me to tell her what happened. Why he was in a coma." Graham's adam apple bobbed in his throat as he swallowed. "I think she blames herself. That she could have done something to prevent it, even if she doesn't remember it. Not only that, but she feels like it would be useless for her to visit someone she doesn't know. She said she wouldn't know what to say that would make any difference."
Snow's head snapped up at that. "Just being there would make all the difference. If he just knew that his little girl was there-" She let her sentence trail off as tears escaped her eyes. For more than once over the last five months, Snow felt like she was at an impasse with her own emotions. "I need to go to bed." With that she disappeared into her bedroom.
The stairs creaked, as someone started to descend. Snow waited with baited breath, as her eyes were glued to the stairs. A smile crossed her lips when the first glimpse of unruly, blond curls bounced into her view.
"Oh, uh—hi." Emma spoke, as she looked up at the woman claiming to be her mother. For the first time in five months, Emma really took in her appearance and frown. Snow—as the woman called herself—looked as if she had aged a good ten years in the matter of five months. Her hair was starting to grow out, it was almost to her shoulders, but it was dark circles under her eyes that really got Emma's attention. They stood out asked the nearly stark white, paleness of her skin.
"Hi." Snow smiled at her. "Would you like some hot cocoa?"
Emma brought a finger to her chin as if she was putting deep thought into it. She offered a small smiled. "Sounds great." Her voice was quiet and almost meek sounding.
Snow fought the urge to cringe at how un-Emma like it sounded. Instead, she continued to smile as she stood up and poured her daughter a mug of the barely warm, brown liquid. She turned back to the table, that Emma was now sitting at, and sat the mug down.
"Thanks." She mumbled out, her hands wrapped around the mug as she stared into the brown, murky depths. "So-" Emma's eyes looked directly to the left of Snow as she spoke. "I was thinking that, if it was okay with you—that I could go visit-" She sighed, what was his name again. James? Did that sound right? Damn her stupid muddled brain.
Emma's head jerked up from her inner musings, her eyes wide, but she nodded.
"I think that would be fine, Emma." Snow said softly, as she pulled her own mug to her lips and forced herself to drink down half of the chilled concoction.
Emma peered into the darkened room. The sunlight barely filtered through the closed blinds. James, the man that was her father, lay unmoving on the bed. Well, practically unmoving. The only motion coming from the force fed breaths that the machines forced in and out of his lungs. The breathing tube was sticking out of his mouth. His eyes were closed, and if Emma could see past the machines and the noises that they all made, she could picture that he was just in a peaceful sleep.
That's all a coma was, wasn't it? A deep, peaceful sleep that you could possibly awaken from. She had seen the hopeful expression on—she cringed—Snow's face when she had told her that she wanted to visit her father. It wasn't necessarily a choice that she made easily. Aside from the fact that she felt like garbage because of her refusal to see her bedridden father, Emma just wasn't sure she could deal with all the hope.
She knew that Snow and Henry were trying to be patient, and they were trying to keep that particular look off their faces. Yet, it still managed to creep in, and Snow hadn't even attempted to extinguish the look, the moment it popped onto her face. Equally, Emma fought the urge to promptly turn around and run back up the stairs, and faced the look on Snow's face head on.
Now, she stood, all alone, facing down her father. This, she had hoped, would be easier. He couldn't stare at her with eyes that practically begged her to remember. He couldn't speak with a voice that held so much hopefulness that her memory would return. Yet, she found herself standing at the cusp of his room, unable to move forward. Emma knew that she wouldn't do any good just standing there, like a scared little child.
Removing her gloves from her hands, and shoving them in her jacket pocket, she started to move forward. She found it to be easier if she kept her eyes on the floor. If she didn't look at James, then she could move forward. She spotted the chair, and promptly sat down. Her hands were folded in her lap, and finally she forced herself to look up. A gasp caught in her throat. Even though she didn't remember any of the people in her life, she could see her resemblance to each. Like the fact that she had her mother's chin and smile, or how Henry practically held onto much of her own facial features. She had to assume that the hair and eye color belonged to the young boy's father. Looking at her father now, she noticed the thing about him that she held in resemblance. Aside from the shape of his cheeks, it was his nose. Hers was practically identical to his. These people she didn't know really were her family. They really were her parents.
Snow and Graham, both had tried to explain to her why her parents were practically the same age as her. Right after they lurched into their stories of far away lands of princes, princesses, and evil queens, Emma had practically laughed in their faces, and shut herself down. Firmly believing that they were all completely whacked out of their minds. Curses? Curses were not real. They did not live in a land that had kings and queens. Especially evil queens. She had rejected their reality that Snow White and Prince Charming were her parents. The woman who called herself Snow, she might be her mother, but there was just no way she was Snow White. Not the Snow White. Her father wasn't Prince Charming either.
Emma sighed. "So—your my dad." Emma said softly, her eyebrow cocked. She felt stupid speaking to someone who obviously couldn't hear her. "Snow—or whatever her name is—she said talking might help, but you're really just laying there—so I honestly don't think making small talk is going to change anything."
She groaned. Why had she decided to do this again? Oh, right. Graham, his damn puppy dog eyes, and that stupid guilt thing.
Emma sighed, as her eye popped open. She didn't need to look at the clock to know it had only been a couple of hours. Her eyes found Graham's face, and she tried to not move to much. She didn't want to wake him when he looked so peaceful.
"It's a little creepy to watch someone sleep." He mumbled out, a smile etching onto his lips.
"Always the teaser." Emma said, fighting a smile of her own, as she swatted at his chest.
"That's me." He whispered, not wanting to wake the remaining members of the house. "What's bothering the princess?"
Emma groaned. "Really, with the princess thing?"
Graham sat up a bit, his back against the headboard of Emma's bed. "Fight it all you want. It doesn't make it any less true. So, what's on your mind?"
Emma sat up, turning her back to Graham. "We really should have you checked for your psychic tendencies."
"Smarty-pants." Emma mumbled, before flopping back against the headboard, and peering at Graham. "Fine!" She sighed, exasperated. "I was just thinking. What if—he like—dies. I mean, what if I had the chance to at least see him, and I pass it up."
Graham nodded. "You want to go see your father?"
"I don't know. Honestly? Yeah, I do. I'm just—I'm scared. I am terrified of that hopeful look that I know that she will give me. Like I'm the world's savior or something. I'm afraid—I don't know. Of everything. It's stupid. I shouldn't go. It's not like it'll make any difference anyway."
Graham placed a hand on Emma's chin and forced her to look at him. "It's not stupid. It's okay to be scared, Emma. You can't let the fear overtake you though. You're so much stronger than that. You're so much stronger than you give yourself credit for. Just do it. Jump in head first, and worry about everything else later. That's how you've been since I've known you. Don't change now." He grinned at her, but the intensity of his blue eyes bore into her own, and she felt her resolve crumbling.
She nodded. "Okay. I'll talk with-" a pause, "Snow about it in the morning."
Emma sighed. This had been stupid, just like she had thought it would be. "I'm sorry." She said simply, as she outstretched her hand to the bed to steady herself. Her hand grazed against James, and Emma gasped at the shot of electricity that shot through her body. She looked at their barely touching hands. Suddenly the machines that were hooked to her father started to beep uncontrollably. Emma stumbled backward slightly, as the door to his room flew open. A blur of white passed by her as the doctors and nurses rushed to her father's side. Emma felt like she was no longer in her body. Like she was just floating there, watching everything from far away. Her fingertips were still tingling, as she watched the scene unfold.
Suddenly the sea of nurses parted, and Emma felt tears cloud her vision. Her father was sitting up, his eyes were wide open as he peered around the room. An ear splitting scream broke through the room. It wasn't just a noise, like someone was injured or in pain. It was a word. One word. A name. Her's.
Without a second thought, Emma turned around quickly and took off running. She found an emergency exit close by, and pressed through it. Her breathing hitched, it felt as if her chest might implode in on itself. She scanned the area, and noticed that she was near the forest. No backward glance, as she sprinted off toward the trees. The only thing she could think as she ran past the blurring of browns and greens, was that she had her father's eyes too.
A/N: So...thoughts? Good first chapter? I hope so, cause I really worked hard on it. Poured my soul into it, gave myself over to the angst. It was an absolute blast to write. Did you enjoy reading it? I hope so. more to come soonish.