Mary-Margaret sat on John Doe's bed, reading the book that had originally been hers, before she'd passed it on to young Cora Mills, in an attempted to give the lonely girl a bit of hope. Apparently, she had succeeded, because now the girl had a wild imagination, claiming that she was Snow White, and this John Doe that she was currently reading to… was her Prince Charming.
While he did look the part… at least, without the hospital gown, Mary-Margaret had to laugh a little at the notion that she was a princess. Princesses and fairytales didn't actually exist after all… as much as Mary-Margaret liked the idea of being Snow White and finding her happily ever after.
She gasped as she felt a warm hand enclose on hers, and she stared at John Doe, who wasn't moving anything else.
The teacher sat frozen, unsure of what to do. She knew she should go see Doctor Whale, and tell him that something was going on, but there was a small part of her screaming that it would be a bad idea. Why she thought that, she didn't know, but… her gut was telling her to continue reading.
Taking a deep breath, Mary-Margaret continued to read after putting his hand back where it had been before.
She turned the page, and smiled as Prince Charming proposed to Snow White.
Doctor Whale walked in just then. "Mary… as much as we appreciate you coming in and trying to work with him… it is getting late… why don't you go home and get some rest?" he said. "Tomorrow is Thursday, after all."
Mary-Margaret looked up at the clock and gasped a little at the time. "Oh! Doctor Whale, thanks."
"Have a good night, Mary," Doctor Whale said, giving her a polite squeeze of her shoulder. Mary-Margaret blushed a little, but pushed it aside, remembering how her date with him had gone.
"See you tomorrow, Doctor," she said simply, hoisting her purse onto her shoulder and walking out of the hospital, unable to get the thought of John Doe grabbing her hand out of her head.
Emma groaned as her cell phone rang loudly, her arm flailing around the small table in the room she and David were still staying in at Granny's, and flipped it open.
"Hello?" she muttered drowsily, her blue eyes only just cracking.
"Emma, need your help. The John Doe at the hospital is awake and somehow escaped from the hospital," Graham's voice said from the other line.
The woman snapped up from the bed. "What?!"
"Meet me at the hospital, fast. I'm looking at surveillance footage now. It looks like he went out the back door into the forest. I'm going to get a head start in the woods."
Emma only just managed to pull on a shirt, attaching her deputy badge to her breast, and her walkie-talkie on her hip. "Are you sure? Which direction are you heading in? I'll head the opposite way."
"I'm taking a left at the fork, you head right."
"I'm on it," Emma said. "See you in a few minutes."
"Mom?" she heard David say as she snapped the phone closed.
"David, I got a call. I need to head out to the hospital, okay?" she said, pulling on her shoes.
"Did Prince Charming wake up?!" he asked.
She raised an eyebrow at how excited he sounded. "John Doe. Yes. He escaped from the hospital, into the woods. I'm going to help Graham find him."
"You have to check the Toll Bridge! He'll go to somewhere that feels familiar!" David told her.
She felt slightly concerned about how knowledgeable he seemed to be about this. "How do you know that?"
"Cora told me. He's been in a coma. He doesn't know who he is. Well, no one does, but he might remember things from the Enchanted Forest!" David's smile alarmed her. "Please Mom, you have to believe me!"
"David…" she said softly, sitting down on the bed and putting her hands on his shoulders. "As much as I would love to believe that fairytales exist… the fact is, they just don't. But… I will check the Toll Bridge." She felt thankful that they'd walked around the woods and she remembered where that was. "I'll be back soon hopefully. Stay here, okay?"
"But Mom, I can help!"
"No David," she said, making her way to the door. "No way. It's late, and I do not want you navigating these woods alone." She didn't want him doing it when it was daylight, let alone when it was almost two in the morning. "Please. I know you love adventures and all of that stuff, but please. It's too dangerous."
"Okay… okay Mom. I'll stay," David said quietly, laying back down.
Emma smiled, before running out of the room, going to the forest.
"Mary-Margaret?" she asked, nearly stumbling over a rock as she noticed her son's teacher also wandering through the woods. "What are you doing here?"
"I'm looking for John Doe," she said simply. "I… was the last one in the room with him besides Doctor Whale and he… he grabbed my hand while I was reading to him. I didn't say anything because I thought… I thought he would wake but I just thought someone would be with him… that, or there wouldn't be an open door for him to walk through."
Considering it was a hospital, she thought that was a pretty rational thinking.
"Come on then," Emma said, heading toward the Toll Bridge.
"Why are we going this way?" she heard Mary-Margaret ask from behind her.
Emma chuckled a little. "Well… David seems to think that John Doe is Prince Charming, going around trying to find something familiar."
"Oh no, so Cora got to him?" Mary-Margaret asked.
"She… seems to think that the characters in her book are people in town."
Emma looked back at her. "Really?" That explained why David seemed to be looking at people differently.
"Mhm," Mary-Margaret said. "She seems to think I'm Snow White… and of course, John Doe is my Prince Charming."
Emma looked over her shoulder at the woman, trying to picture her as Snow White. Well, she was kind like Snow White, but so were many other people in the world, and she did have dark hair, but then again, so did one of her foster mothers, and that woman was as far from Snow White as someone could get.
"That's… that's pretty funny," she said slowly, unsure of what else to really say. "Do they have these… identities for everyone in town?"
"Seems to be… for one, Regina is – Emma, look! I think I see him!" Mary-Margaret said, before pushing ahead of her, going to a dark figure on the ground near the water.
"Oh my God," Emma muttered, grabbing for her walkie-talkie. "Graham! I found him! He doesn't seem to be breathing. We're down by the Toll Bridge. Call for an ambulance, quick!"
"I'm on my way," Graham said from the other end.
"Mary-Margaret – " she started to say, before noticing that the teacher was doing CPR on the man. That was good. If the man was in danger, it was good that Mary-Margaret knew what to do.
As Graham arrived, the lights from the ambulance faint in the distance, she heard the man begin to cough.
"You'll what? Find me?"
"I will always find you."
He didn't know why he was walking, or where he was, but he knew he needed to get to the Troll Bridge.
He stumbled, his bare feet slipping on a rock jutting out from the dark, damp earth. But why was he barefoot? He was a prince, right? Surely, he would be wearing shoes.
"Snow!" he shouted into the distance.
Wait, it wasn't snowing. Why would he say that?
Grunting, his head pounding, the man let out a cry before falling into the river, the pain unbearable.
Someone was kissing him, trying to breathe life back into his lungs, and he fought against the pounding that was trying to encourage him to go back to sleep.
Eventually he coughed, water coming up from his lungs, and he opened his eyes, staring into a woman's.
A woman who felt… far, far too familiar. He knew her – he knew he did, but from where?
"We found you!" she said, relief clear in her voice, and he smiled. That felt familiar.
"You saved me…" he whispered, his voice weak from lack of use.
Another woman appeared then – with blonde hair and blue eyes, shining a light that made him wince and pull away.
"Don't worry sir, we have paramedics on the way…" the blonde said as she put the blinding light away.
"Paramedics?" he mumbled. What the hell was that?
He was suddenly hoisted up onto a cart, wheeled into some sort of carriage (ambulance, his mind told him), and taken to a large building.
"I must say, sir," a man told him hours later as he was being checked out, "you are very lucky you weren't killed out there."
"Yeah… all thanks to…" he looked over at the door, where the dark-haired woman, the blonde-haired woman, and a young boy were waiting.
Wait, that didn't seem right… but he couldn't recall what did feel right, so he simply nodded.
"Your wife is on her way I hear," the doctor said.
Wife? He had a wife?
Well, he supposed it made sense that he did, he was an adult male after all.
"David!" a woman suddenly cried, bursting into the room. "Oh thank goodness they found you!"
"Um…" he said, grunting a little as she threw her arms around him. "Sorry but… what's your name again?"
"Kathryn. I'm your wife Kathryn."
The woman hugged him again in relief, and he returned it, looking over toward the glass wall.
The pained look on Mary-Margaret's face brought guilt to his heart.