The Aftermath

Mary Margaret woke up gradually, her mind muddled and her mouth feeling like she'd swallowed several cotton balls and washed it down with alcohol. The faint stirrings of a headache pulsed behind her eyes, and she groaned and shifted, only to find that she couldn't. Still groggy and disgruntled, it took her a minute to realize that it was the arms wrapped around her waist that were impeding her movement. It took her another minute to realize that waking up with someone cuddling her was not a regular occurrence, and then another several to work up the willpower to be bothered by it.

And then the world came rushing at her like the impact of someone whose parachute didn't open in time, and she stiffened in alarm. What had she—how did she—WHAT?

Suddenly she was afraid to find out what she had done in her drunken stupor. Mary Margaret carefully prodded at the memories of the night before, fractured and hazy from the drinks she'd imbibed. She'd been at the diner… Sitting at the bar… Then someone had joined her.


Shock made her veins freeze. She hadn't—not with HIM… Had she? Ugh, this was the last time she ever tried to drink her worries away—the aftermath wasn't worth it.

Carefully, curiosity and dread mixing into a nauseating cocktail in her stomach, she turned in whoever-it-was's grip so she was face-to-face with her bed partner.

The face of Dr. Whale, his face softened and relaxed in sleep, made her stomach lurch.

Okay. She could… This wasn't the end of the world. It was just a little tryst. It wouldn't be TOO hard to avoid the doctor for the rest of her life, would it? Oh, God. This was humiliating—her face burned in mixed shame and embarrassment.

Get ahold of yourself, Mary Margaret, she told herself sternly. This is NOT the end of the world. It's just a one-night stand, it's nothing intimate or personal- I bet he does this sort of thing all the time, right? Despite what people thought of her, Mary Margaret wasn't a saint—she wasn't above rumors and gossip, most of which were provided to her by Ruby. She'd heard the stories. Dr. Whale wasn't one for relationships, or anything remotely long-term. He'd understand, right? In fact, he'd probably encourage her to not think anything of this… Whatever this was.

Reasonably comforted—or as comforted as she could be, given the situation—Mary Margaret was at a loss as to what she should do next. Should she wriggle away and risk waking him up, or should she wait for him to wake up on his own? Either way, that was NOT a conversation Mary Margaret wanted to have—all she wanted to do was slink away and ignore it, avoid him, avoid the rest of the town if she could because, God, how could she possibly face anyone after all of this? First David remembering and ripping her heart out in the process, now this debacle with Whale—it seemed the world was out to get her lately.

Maybe her movement had woken him, or maybe it was the massively forlorn sigh she emitted despite herself, but Whale shifted and peeked one eye open sleepily, making her freeze like a mouse caught in the sights of a cat. She could feel her ears reddening like they were aflame, meekly darting her gaze away from his blue one as he smiled at her cheekily. "Hello," he murmured, taking in their position like it was the most natural thing in the world.

"M-morning," Mary Margaret squeaked, ducking her head to avoid looking at him, sure that if she did she'd be frozen with humiliation.

Whale paused before sighing slightly through his nose and releasing her, shifting away in a way she would have thought was self-conscious if he weren't, well, Whale. "You regret it," he stated matter-of-factly, making her look up at him in surprise. He met her wide eyes and smiled, but something was off in it—it looked almost forced.

Instantly reacting, Mary Margaret began to protest. She didn't want to hurt him, not like she'd been hurt—she wouldn't wish that on anyone, not even Whale. "No, it's not that, I…" But she couldn't think of anything to say, and so stared at him helplessly for a few moments. "I'm sorry," she said finally, in a broken whisper.

Whale shook his head. "Don't be. Just a slight to my pride, is all. What I am curious about, though, is where your objections lay—in the emotional aspect, or the physical?"

"I—what?" Mary Margaret blushed further, staring at him confusedly.

He stared at her patiently, smirking slightly. "How—was—the—sex," he sounded out for her evenly, and Mary Margaret quailed, almost completely red now. "Ah, good. I've still got it." Whale sat up, moving to swing his legs over the side of the bed and stand, but paused, looking back down at her closely. She avoided his gaze, twisting his sheets anxiously between her fingers and trying not to wilt with embarrassment. A brief conflict passed over his face before he sighed, resigning himself to his fate, and leaned his elbow on his pillow. "Do you want to talk about it?"

"Talk about—the sex?" Mary Margaret looked at him with hazel eyes blown wide.

Whale couldn't help it—he laughed. "No," he said finally, still chucking but trying not to, because at this point she looked as if she'd like nothing better than to dissolve into his mattress and never be seen again. "About whatever it was that made you visit the diner in the first place. I've never seen you as one for hard liquor, princess."

Mary Margaret wrinkled her nose at the nickname before looking down at her hands and gnawing on her bottom lip. Even the mere thought of what had happened—that conversation by the toll bridge—made her heart physically hurt. She still longed for David, even as she lay in bed with another man, but she couldn't bear to think of him—nor could she fully comprehend Whale taking up the gentle, 'I-can-help-you' tone of Archie Hopper, let alone her confiding in him. "I don't want to talk about it," she murmured.

The pause between them stretched on thoughtfully for a few moments before Whale sighed again and settled his shoulder blades against the wooden headboard, looking down on her like she was a student who had just given an incorrect answer to an obvious question. "Are you sure, because this isn't something I offer to everyone," he pressed. "Hell, I don't know why I'm asking you this. In case you hadn't heard, I don't care much for a heart-to-heart after sex." Whale ran a hand through his disheveled blond hair, looking bewildered at himself.

Mary Margaret looked up at him, curious despite herself. "Why are you trying to help me?" It didn't fit the picture of him she held in her head—he was aloof, narcissistic, and condescending. This man taking to her now didn't seem to be any of that. Maybe it was the afterglow.

She almost had to rub her eyes, she was so disbelieving of what she was seeing—if she hadn't known better she would have thought he looked uncomfortable.

"I—" He looked unnervingly lost for a moment before regathering himself. "It could have something to do with the fact that you're not terrible to look at, princess," he smirked down at her.

Feeling a little bolder because of his moment of discomfort, Mary Margaret rolled her eyes, hoping he didn't notice the blush his compliment had evoked. His widening grin told her he had. "Sure," she muttered dryly.

Whale raised his eyebrows in mock surprise. "You don't believe me?" She merely looked at him skeptically, lips pursed. His lips shifting into a grin that made her traitor heart skip a beat, he leaned down, his intent obvious. "We can't be having that…"

The ringtone of his phone on the bedside table made them both jump, and suddenly very conscious of the fact that he'd been about to kiss her, and that she would have let him, Mary Margaret jerked away. Having a one-night stand while drunk was one thing, but letting him pick up where they'd left off while she was perfectly sober was an entirely different matter.

Looking annoyed, Whale reached over to answer the phone, the sheet slipping down his torso as he did, and Mary Margaret averted her eyes to prevent herself from staring at the developing love bite on his abdomen. Had—had SHE done that? Her ears began to redden again, and she lost what semblance of boldness she'd had in favor of ducking further under the sheets and hiding herself from the world.

He listened for a few moments before sighing heavily, almost in a growl, muttering his assent, and hanging up. They sat in silence for a few seconds, Whale brooding and Mary Margaret wondering how quickly she could get dressed and sprint out of his apartment.

"Well," he said finally, prompting her to glance back up at him shyly, "I've just been called into work, so…" He trailed off, meeting her gaze. Whale's mouth tightened uneasily before he glanced away, swinging his legs out from under the sheets and standing. Mary Margaret watched him stretch before realizing that she was staring and hastily looked away.

Look on the bright side, she told herself optimistically, sneaking another glance at Whale out of the corner of her eye as he moved around his room, getting dressed. I definitely could have done worse.

I don't even- what is this. I guess you could say this is speculation on my part, on how exactly the one-night stand between MM and Whale would go, but...

Someone needs to take the computer and OUAT away from me. ;-; (But let me keep Frankenwhale please, I love him so.)