I'm sorry, this whole August thing has been bugging me all week. I'm a little devastated. LOL. This is just a quick oneshot I may expand on at some point.
I'm sorry I haven't come to see you-
I've tried to write this letter so many times since the curse broke-
I'm sorry I left you in that foster home. I cannot tell you how many nights I've lain awake, riddled with the guilt I felt for abandoning you to the system. I really did think you would be safe there. I didn't know about what happened in Seattle until you had already been emancipated. That's when I started looking for you. You would be surprised how many Emma Swans there are in the United States!
I finally found you completely by accident, when you were coming out of a McDonald's in Tennessee. I wasn't sure it was you, but as I watched over you, I noticed things that made me sure. You have the same smile as Snow White. You have her eyes. And her chin. But even more than that, you have her goodness, and it showed. Even when you were robbing convenience stores with Neal.
Which brings me to my next apology.
When I found you in Tennessee, you were with Neal. At first I was glad, because he seemed to be looking out for you. But then I realized what you two were up to, and it was no good for you. It was not the life you were meant to lead, Emma. I had no idea how to get you to Storybrooke, but I knew if you were settling down in Tallahassee with Neal, you wouldn't get there.
I found a woman in Utah named Margaret Crowe after a contact of mine ran a background check on him. She'd been Neal's foster mother. She knew, Emma. She knew about the Enchanted Forest and she knew about Neal. She told me he was running from his father…Rumplestiltskin. That's how I found out he was Baelfire.
Yes, I knew. I approached Neal in Phoenix, when you two decided to sell those watches. I waited until you'd left the car and I chased him down, cornered him in an alley and told him about the curse and you. He told me I was full of shit, said I was bluffing. He refused to leave you, Emma, because he loved you. So, I told him I knew he was Baelfire.
He believed me then.
You can't know how sorry I am for causing you so much pain. I figured you'd be safe in prison. Just like I figured you'd be safe in the system. I found out about Malcolm Ingram through a young girl named Kate Murphy. She said you'd protected them.
Don't you see Emma? Saving people was always part of who you are.
There's something you need to know. Neal didn't want you to take the fall for him. I had to convince him. I caught up with him in Vancouver, he made me promise to give you the car. But that wasn't all I was supposed to give you. He gave me twenty-thousand dollars. For you. I know what you're thinking, and I don't blame you. What I didn't account for, when I sent you to prison, was Henry. I had no idea, Emma. You could have kept him with that money, and that haunts me. No amount of apologizing will ever make things right. I can't ever give you those years back, but I can try to make things right.
Before I came to Storybrooke last year, I met up with Neal in New York. I told him what I was coming here to do, and I told him I'd let him know when it was done. That was before I actually got to know you. Before all of this, you were just my responsibility. The baggage I got stuck with in a world I didn't understand. Then I actually spoke to you, and you were this gorgeous, sarcastic, tough woman with more strength and determination than I could have ever hoped to have, and I was lost. I was supposed to protect you, Emma, and you were the one of us who turned out right…and that was all you. I had nothing to do with it.
At some point in all of this mess, I fell in love with you, Emma. I don't know exactly when, but it happened. Maybe it was there all along, when I was watching you from afar. I don't expect anything from you, of course. I just thought you should know.
To be honest, in the end, I'm glad I've reverted to wood. It's what I deserve.
You should forgive Neal, Emma. Go and be happy with him and Henry. Have your family. Live the life you were cheated out of. I know he still loves you. He never wanted this for you…he just wanted you to be happy. And so do I.
Sometimes, I wonder what might have happened if the Evil Queen hadn't cast the curse. We would have grown up in the Enchanted Forest. We probably would have been friends. You would have been the princess you were meant to be, and maybe things would have been different for us. We might have even courted. Become betrothed. Married.
I guess we'll never know.
I'm sorry, Emma. I failed you. In every way. I wish things could have been different.
August Wayne Booth