AN/ I always loved the way August and Henry interacted. Especially since August was the first one who made Henry really believe that he wasn't crazy. I guess that Henry will need his Operation Cobra Partner for operation Viper.
Disclaimer: I do not own any of these characters. This story is for entertainment purposes only and means no copyright infringement. Please do not publish without my explicit knowledge and consent.
Henry entered in the carpenter's shop and looked around. On the floor he noticed an old coo-coo clock that looked like it had been made in the Enchanted Forest. There was wood dust all over the floor of the shop. On the shelf, Henry saw a small wooden whale that he'd seen before in his book and that he knew to have been Pinocchio's.
"Shouldn't you be at the fair?" Henry jumped. He turned around and saw August looking at him.
"I was. But it doesn't feel right to be partying when Mary Margaret and my mom are away."
"You miss them."
"I do." Henry confirmed.
"Me too." August smiled at the boy. And he did. He would have given anything to see Emma walk down the street from the sheriff station. Or to take her out on his bike.
"August? Why are you still wooden?" Henry asked.
"Like I told you before. I messed up pretty bad and now I have to bear the consequences." August said with a serious tone. "What can I do for you?"
"I wanted to give you this." Henry reached inside his bag and pulled out a purple bandana that August recognized as his. How did it end up with Henry. "I found it at home."
"I must have left it when I came to put the lock on the door." August said reaching for the scarf but Henry didn't give it to him.
"I'm 10, not stupid." The boy said. "It was under my mom's bed."
"I…" August didn't know what to say. The situation was so complicated. Henry was only 10 and couldn't possibly understand the entire situation. He never anticipated that night. And he definitely didn't want it to be a one-night stand. But only days later Emma had thought him to be crazy and shut the door to any possible relationship between them. "Can I have that?" August avoided the subject.
"As soon as you answer something." Henry smiled pulling the bandana away.
"Well, well, haven't you learned a few new tricks?" August joked. "And you don't need to have something I want to use as leverage." The man took the bandana from Henry's hand and dropped on his knees before the boy. "What do you want to know?"
"You changed the book right?" Henry asked.
"Yes. I wanted to let Emma know what really happened." August looked on the ground.
"Can you find your way to the tree? The one you came through?" Henry asked. "I was thinking that…"
"If we make it into a wardrobe, it could be used to follow Emma and Mary Margaret in the Enchanted Forest." August finished for him.
"Yeah. Do you think it can work?" The desperation in the boy's eyes made him want to cry.
"I don't know." August said.
"Gramps asked the Blue fairy if there was a tree on this side. She didn't know because she didn't have fairy dust. But you know where it is. You can show us."
"Henry, it's more complicated than that." August tried to explain. "Your grandfather, he…"
"Will be angry at you and Geppetto. I know. But he wants to get Emma and Snow back. If you show him that you want to help..."
"Henry, I wish it were that simple." August tried to say.
"I read the book. Your father wanted to protect you. Like Snow White and Prince Charming wanted to protect my mom." Before August could say anything Henry continued. "You were a kid. You were younger than me when your father asked you to take care of Emma. Gramps will understand that."
"It's not only that." August said. How could he explain to Henry that he could have went after Emma or that he shouldn't have given up on her in Storybrooke. If he hadn't backed off, maybe Henry would not have had to eat that turnover and almost die. "You should get home. Your grandfather will be worried about you."
"I thought you had changed but you can't be brave and unselfish. You deserve to be wooden." That hurt. He should have expected it: even with his endless optimism, Henry was entitled to a breakdown. August stood up as well as he could and hugged the boy.
"Oh, Henry. If I could bring Emma back here, I'd do it in a heart beat." His choice of words obviously calmed Henry. "But I can't. If I could change everything that I did wrong, I would. I'd protect her like I was supposed to. But the think is I messed up way to much. And I can't just come back to town like nothing happened. All actions have consequences. I don't even know how to start fixing things."
"You could start by showing gramps the tree." Henry said with optimism is his eyes.
"But you said…"
"The tree is outside of Storybrooke, Henry. About a half hour drive." The disappointment in Henry's eyes ripped his heart apart. Even if they wanted to, they couldn't bring the tree in since no one could leave the town limits beside him. "You'll find a way, Henry. I'm sure." August hugged the boy again.
"Yeah. Everyone says that but no one is doing anything about it." Henry pulled away and started walking back on the street obviously disappointed. "I should get going. Gramps will be worried."
"Take care, kid." August said as he watched him go away.
He entered in his father's shop and sat down on the only chair there. He realized that he was still holding the bandana in his hand. He looked at it and brought it to his face. Even if he was wooden, he wasn't deprived of his senses. If he hadn't been sitting, the smell would have made his knees go weak. The bandana had spent enough time in Emma's room to absorb its scent. It smelled just like her perfume. August closed his eyes and inhaled the hypnotizing aroma. He felt as if Emma was there, with him. He could almost see her walk down the street with Henry and smile at something that the kid had said. When she smiled, her eyes filled with light. And her face had a beautiful glow. He missed seeing her face. He could almost feel her hands around his waist hen she climbed on his bike on their out of town escapades. The night they had spent together flashed before his eyes. Her arms around his neck, then on his chest. His hands on her back, going up to her hair. The electrifying sensation every time she touched his skin. The way that they had been lost in each other. The way that they completed each other to perfection. The emptiness that he'd felt when they had to separate in the morning.
He shook his head. She wasn't there. She wasn't there and there was no way to get her back any time soon. Well, there was. And maybe with some help, he could figure out a way to transform the tree into a portal. And that portal would either take him to Emma or help him get Emma there. He let out a small laugh. Why would he be the one to bring Emma back? No, if they managed, Prince James or Red would be the ones to travel to the Enchanted Forest. Not him. Nevertheless, he had to help. Henry was right: he had to step up. If there was anything that he could do to help, he had to do it even if it meant Prince James burning him to the stick. He stood up and ran after Henry as well as he could.
"Hey. Wait up." August called the boy. "You shouldn't go alone. It's not safe."
"August?" Henry looked at him. He could see right past the lame excuse. August had underestimated his intelligence.
"Even if I can't bring Emma back, maybe I can help."
"Thank you." Henry hugged him. The hug made August feel alive. There was someone who needed him. Someone worth fighting for. Henry. And Emma. The protector was needed now and he'd do his job to the end this time. "Can I ask you one last thing?"
"Are you in love with my mom?" The question came from nowhere. August looked at him in shock. "I saw the way you smelled the bandana. Like you were trying to remember her. I do it too. Sometimes I take one of her sweaters out just to smell them. It feels like she's there, you know?"
"So? Are you?" Henry asked again with anticipation.
"Let's get to town, kid." But August knew that Henry had seen right through his grin.
AN/ So? What is the verdict?