Emma’s hand shook as she placed the key in the ignition and turned it slowly. Beside her, Henry shifted in his seat, his eyes focused on Regina as she lifted her hands and countered Pan’s magic with her own. Emma started the car and switched gears into drive, her eyes glued to the mirror instead of the road ahead even as she pressed her foot gently on the gas pedal.
Her chest ached as she watched the magic surround her friends and family, the people who she loved so much and would never see again – who she wouldn’t even remember in a few seconds. Tears slipped down her cheeks and she wished that everything could be different – that they could all stay together and have the life they were meant to have. They were supposed to be a family and have their happy ending. This wasn’t it.
The car crossed the town line seconds before the magic reached it. Emma swallowed hard, blinking away the remaining tears from her eyes as she sent Henry a sideways smile. “Next stop New York City, kid.”
A loud beeping noise was slowly pulling Emma from sleep, but she wasn’t ready to greet the day just yet. Reaching out, she swatted at the alarm clock until it mercifully stopped beeping and then she snuggled deeper into her pillow with a content sigh. She’d slept in a lot of places over the past twenty-nine and a half years, but this bed was definitely the best one she’d ever had. Emma mentally rolled her eyes at how ridiculous she was being and decided she could just write it off as sleepiness.
She started to drift back to sleep, ignoring the voice that reminded her that she needed to get up and make sure Henry got out the door for school on time. But she still had a few minutes. Pushing aside her thoughts, Emma was about to give in to the haze of sleep when movement from the other side of the bed startled her and her eyes flew open as an arm settled itself around her waist, a warm body pressing into her back.
What the hell? Emma clamped down on the urge to scream because she knew Henry was in the next room and she didn’t want to scare him. Her heart pounded frantically in her chest as she shifted as quietly as possible, her eyes trailing over the bare arm that was holding her rather possessively until she saw a messy head of dark hair and a familiar face sleeping beside her. “Hook?!”
He muttered something into his pillow and then managed to shift even closer to her, his face a breath away from hers as Emma’s eyes widened to the point that she wondered if it was possible for them to fall right out of her head. Hook was in her bed. What was Hook doing in her bed? More importantly, how was it possible that she even recognized that it’s Hook in her bed?
The curse was supposed to erase her memories of Storybrooke and everyone she’d met there. Emma’s heart ached just thinking about the goodbyes she’d shared with everyone at the town border. She remembered watching the curse take them away and then…nothing. But here she was with Hook sleeping beside her like he didn’t have a care in the world and she knew her parents were Snow White and Prince Charming and Regina was the Evil Queen and Henry’s adoptive mother and…what the hell was going on?
“Hook, wake up.” He made another unintelligible noise, but didn’t move. Emma sighed and placed her hand on his shoulder. “Wake up,” she ordered as she began to shake him with more force than necessary, but the panic that was rising steadily inside of her was taking priority over his comfort at the moment.
His blue eyes flew open and Emma held her breath, waiting to see how he’d react to finding her in bed beside him. “What’s the matter, love?” he asked. His voice was hoarse and sleep addled, but there was nothing in his tone that indicated the oddness of their current state.
Emma just stared at him, not sure where to even begin because she had no idea what was happening. “Do you remember yesterday?” she asked carefully, her eyes searching his for any sign that he knew what she was talking about. “We’re not supposed to be here.”
A flash of understanding crossed his face, but before Emma could be relieved, he reached out and brushed his knuckles across her cheek. “Is this about the bachelor party? I thought I more than made that up to you last night.” He sent her a knowing look and ran his tongue across his bottom lip in a gesture that could only be described as completely obscene.
Emma felt something hot and needy stir low in her belly and she decided that no one had any right to look that appealing first thing in the morning with his hair sticking up at odd angles and those damn blue eyes and that stupid tongue of his. No, she hissed at her subconscious or whatever the hell it was inside of her that had spun this particular train of thought. She ordered herself to focus. “Bachelor party,” she repeated.
“It got a little out of hand at the Rabbit Hole,” Hook admitted with a sheepish grin. “Dave’s alcohol tolerance is rather low, but as the best mate, I should have been watching him more carefully. I apologize for rousing you at such a late hour.”
Her mouth fell open and Emma wondered how it was possible that this conversation had gotten even stranger. Not only was Captain Hook in her bed like he belonged there, but he thought she was angry because of something that had happened at her father’s bachelor party because he was the best man – mate – unless there was a different Dave in whatever the hell this scenario was. “Dave as in my father?” she asked carefully.
“Father?” Hook repeated. He barked out a laugh and then winced, bringing his hand up to rub his head. “Maybe I overindulged as well,” he muttered. “Dave does have his fatherly moments, doesn’t he? Always lecturing about this or that or giving those inspiring speeches of his.” Hook’s mouth curved into a fond smile. “I imagine that he and Mary Margaret will want to start a family soon after the wedding.”
So her parents were together, but they weren’t married. They also didn’t know they were her parents, which was another huge problem to add to her list. But Hook had mentioned the Rabbit Hole so they were definitely back in Storybrooke. Emma ran her hands over her face and tried to figure out what to do. Something had obviously gone wrong with the curse and brought them back or maybe they’d never really left. She certainly didn’t recall getting to New York – just driving over the town line with magic in her rearview mirror.
“Okay so there was a bachelor party last night that got out of hand and you called me. How did we end up back here?” Emma asked. She needed to try to put the pieces together so she could come up with some kind of plan to fix it.
Hook raised an eyebrow. “Are you sure you weren’t the one drinking, love?” He trailed his knuckles across her cheek again and Emma was unnerved by the calming effect the gesture had as she found herself leaning into his touch. “I most certainly was not the one to place the call to the sheriff, but once you arrived and reminded Dave that his behavior was not becoming of a deputy, the party was over and we came back here.”
“Okay,” Emma said again, deciding it was best to halt the story there before he got to whatever he’d been alluding to earlier with his tongue. Stop thinking about his tongue, she scolded herself. “How long have we lived here?”
“In Storybrooke?” Hook caught his bottom lip between his teeth as he considered it. “I’m not entirely sure, but it certainly feels like forever. Emma, are you feeling all right? Maybe you should go back to sleep and I’ll get Henry off to school.”
“Henry.” Relief washed over her at the mention of her son’s name. At least he was here with her and since he’d been in the car with her when they’d attempted to leave Storybrooke, there was a good chance that he had his memories too. Emma needed to find out. “It’s okay, Hook. I’ll take care of him.”
“Hook?” he repeated, his eyebrows rising as he stared at her like she’d grown a second head, “As in Captain Hook?”
This had to be some kind of reverse déjà vu, Emma thought as her mind drifted to the first time he’d officially introduced himself to her in the Enchanted Forest. She decided to play it out to gage his reaction. “Yes, Captain Hook,” she confirmed. “Does that name ring any bells with you?”
“No,” Hook replied, drawing the word out and once again looking at her like she’d lost her mind. Maybe she had. “The only Captain Hook that I’m familiar with is the one from Henry’s Peter Pan movie, but it’s been ages since we watched that. Should I be concerned that you’ve developed some sort of cartoon fetish? Perhaps I should get a bad perm.”
Emma just gaped at him as she recalled taunting him in Neverland. He was clearly amused by the conversation and she’d assume that he was messing with her if it wasn’t for the concern that she saw in his eyes. Despite the teasing, he’d been watching her closely and knew something was wrong. She just had no idea how to tell him what that was without sounding more insane than she already did. “That won’t be necessary. Let’s just blame it on lack of sleep,” she suggested.
He searched her face for something and Emma did her best to look relaxed even as she continued freaking out internally. “If you’re sure, love…” He waited a beat and Emma managed a small smile that she hoped was convincing enough. “I should get ready for work.” Hook started to move away and then changed his mind, shifting closer and leaning in so his mouth hovered against her ear.
“If pirate fantasies are your thing, perhaps there’s a more suitable one out there. Unless of course the idea of me replacing my wooden hand with a hook appeals to you…” His lips closed over her earlobe and Emma’s entire body shuddered, her eyes sliding shut before she realized what she was doing.
“No pirate fantasies,” she insisted, giving him a gentle shove to try and put some space between them again. It was impossible to have a coherent thought when he was so close. Hook just laughed and sent her a knowing look as he pushed the covers aside and got out of bed, which presented another problem for her because he was completely naked. She bit down on her tongue to stop herself from gasping and was eternally grateful that he didn’t seem to notice as he walked toward the bathroom door.
Emma’s face grew hot as her eyes trailed over him and even though she knew it was probably all kinds of wrong, she couldn’t seem to make herself look away. That warmth fired up in her belly again and a treacherous voice inside her head scolded her for not getting more details about what had happened once they’d returned from the Rabbit Hole.
A few seconds later, the door closed at his back and she let out a shaky breath. She was going to file her blatant staring and inappropriate train of thought away for things to worry about at a later date because there were more pressing matters at hand. She pushed aside the blankets and her face burned even hotter when she realized that she was naked too.
“Not going to think about it,” Emma muttered as she got up and crossed the room to the dresser. She opened the top drawer, grabbed the first bra and pair of panties that she found, pulled them on and then moved to the closet. She selected jeans and a blue sweater, dressed quickly and opened the door to the hallway. It was only then that she realized that in addition to the naked pirate in her bed, the apartment was something else that she’d never experienced before.
The master bedroom was at the far end of a long hallway. She passed a second bathroom and a bedroom that was obviously Henry’s along with a small laundry room before turning a corner and finding herself in the main room. Like her parents’ loft, it was one large room that served as a kitchen, dining room and living room. Henry was sitting in an overstuffed armchair, eating cereal and gesturing animatedly as he talked to whoever was sitting on the couch.
Emma tensed and quickened her pace, moving around the table and chairs to see who her son was talking to. Her eyes widened when they fell on David. He was wearing what she assumed were his clothes from the previous evening, which were severely wrinkled and torn in certain spots. His hair was sticking up, his eyes were bloodshot and it was pretty clear that Henry was talking too loud for his hangover, but he was doing his best to follow the conversation.
“Morning,” she called uncertainly, hating that she had no idea what to expect from either one of them. David winced and sent her an apologetic look as Henry jumped from his chair, nearly knocking over the remnants of his cereal before placing the bowl on the table.
“Mom, there you are.” Henry grinned and gave her a quick hug. “I need that permission slip for the trip to the lake today. Where’s Killian?” he continued, not giving Emma a chance to comment on the permission slip. “He said he was going to let me take his good binoculars for bird watching.”
Killian? Bird watching? That certainly answered the question of whether not Henry had his memories. Emma saw David rubbing his head and decided to try her luck with him. “I think Killian has your permission slip,” she said, figuring if he didn’t, he’d have better luck finding it than she would. “Why don’t you go ask him? He’s getting ready for work.”
That was enough to send Henry bounding down the hall and Emma moved into the living room, taking a seat in the chair her son had previously been occupying. “Rough morning?” she asked her father. Emma was torn between being amused that Prince Charming had one hell of a hangover and continuing to freak out because she seemed to be the only one who knew that something was very, very wrong.
“Emma, I’m so sorry about this,” David apologized. “Last night…” He paused, clearly searching for an explanation and not finding one so he just hung his head in shame. “And I know it’s asking a lot, but if you could maybe not mention to Mary Margaret about the fight in the alley, I’d really appreciate it.”
Fight in the alley? Her father had gotten into an alley fight? This morning just kept getting weirder. “Don’t worry. I won’t say anything. But maybe don’t do it again?” she suggested. Now it made a little more sense why the sheriff had to intervene. “Won’t she be worried that you didn’t come home last night?”
David shook his head and clearly regretted it, reaching to rub his temple once more. “Killian told her I’d be sleeping on your couch and not to worry. I should probably get going though so I can change and head into work. I’ll make sure all the paperwork is done while you’re at Regina’s.”
“Regina’s?” Emma asked. David frowned and she saw concern in his eyes similar to the way Hook – Killian – had been looking at her earlier. “Lack of sleep,” she explained, only feeling slightly bad about adding to David’s guilt. There was an irrational part of her that was annoyed that they were just going about their lives like this was normal and she was stuck figuring out what the hell happened. But that was for her to deal with later. “I’m supposed to go to Regina’s today? Did something happen?”
“No, it’s just the monthly status report to the mayor. You drew the short straw,” David teased as he got to his feet and immediately placed his hand on the couch to steady himself. “But I can go if you’d like. It’s the least I can do.”
Emma shook her head. “I don’t mind.” She figured she might as well see what Regina’s life was like in this new version of Storybrooke. “Do you…”
“Come on, we’re going to be late!” Henry rushed back into the room, his backpack on his back and a pair of binoculars hanging from his neck. “I want to make sure to get a good seat on the bus for the field trip.” He paused to give Emma another hug and then practically ran to the door, tugging it open.
“You heard the lad,” Hook said as he moved into the room, causing Emma’s jaw to drop once more when she saw that he was dressed in jeans and a long sleeved black t-shirt beneath a charcoal gray vest. Aside from the robe and hospital gown, it was the only time she’d ever seen him dressed in anything from this realm and of course he looked like he’d stepped out of the pages of some fashion catalog and why the hell was her heart beating so fast?
She pushed the thought aside as his voice brought her attention back to the situation at hand when he addressed her father. “Dave, would you like to walk with us to pick up your truck?” He smirked when the other man just glared at him and muttered that he needed to lower the volume.
David walked to the door, sending Emma another quick smile and a promise to see her at the station before he ducked out, clearly intending to give them a minute alone. Emma glanced back at Hook – Killian – but she didn’t get a chance to say anything before his mouth was on hers. She let out a surprised gasp and felt him smirk against her lips. “Enjoy your morning, love.” He gave her another quick kiss and then walked out the door, pulling it closed at his back as Emma just stared after him, her lips still tingling from his.
Emma parked her yellow bug in front of the mayor’s house and made her way up the walk, nearly slowing to a crawl by the time she finally stepped onto the porch. She’d replayed her morning talk with Hook – Killian – she was really going to have to work on that – over and over again on the drive over along with her brief chat with David. Neither man seemed to have the slightest clue that things were not what they seem and Henry didn’t either, which already made this different from the first curse.
Regina was a wild card. She’d cast the first curse so of course she’d known the truth, but Emma assumed that she hadn’t played a part in this one, assuming it was a curse. If she had, Emma was certain that she wouldn’t have done anything to risk her connection to Henry. Pan had wanted to take away their memories completely, but that hadn’t happened either, not exactly. Rumplestiltskin was gone so did that mean that someone else had done this? Who else had that kind of magic?
“Are you planning on standing out here all day?”
The sound of Regina’s voice caused Emma to jump and she nearly fell backward off the porch before she managed to catch herself. The mayor stood in the doorway dressed in a black pants suit over a red blouse, her arms folded across her chest as she waited for Emma to answer her question. “Sorry, I was distracted. We need to talk.” She didn’t wait for an invitation, just slipped past Regina and moved into the house.
“Do come in, Miss Swan,” Regina muttered. She closed the door and then moved around Emma, motioning with her hand that she should follow her as she walked toward the kitchen, her heels clicking against the floor. “What brings you here this morning?” she asked.
Emma opened her mouth to remind her that they had a meeting and then immediately closed it, waiting for Regina to turn around and face her. No one was more meticulous about appointments and keeping a schedule than she was and she clearly hadn’t been expecting her. Maybe there was someone who knew the truth after all. “Regina, what do you remember about yesterday?”
She saw the other woman’s back tense before she turned around and met Emma’s gaze. “It was a day like any other in Storybrooke. Was it not?”
There it is, Emma thought smugly. Regina was holding back on purpose because she knew something was off and she wanted to find out what Emma knew before she said anything. Normally, Emma might offer her some leeway, but after her morning, she was not about to beat around the bush. “Except for the part where Rumplestiltskin sacrificed himself to kill Peter Pan and you used your magic to stop his curse and send everyone home while I left town with Henry.”
Regina sighed. “Except for that,” she muttered before she walked over to the cabinet and began pulling out baking ingredients. “Tell me exactly what you remember after you drove out of town.”
“Nothing,” Emma replied. She took a seat at the counter and picked up an apple, rolling it between her fingers as she watched Regina gathering bowls and a pan for whatever she was planning on making. “I remember saying goodbye and the pain of losing everyone and then the next thing I know, I’m waking up this morning in bed with…” She hesitated, color heating her cheeks as she debated whether or not the information was vital to the conversation, even though she knew damn well that it was. “…Hook.”
“And?” Regina motioned impatiently with her hand before picking up an egg and breaking it over one of the bowls. “How did you know something was wrong and it wasn’t just a normal day?”
“Seriously?” Emma asked incredulously. “Do you think I wake up in bed with Hook often?” The look on Regina’s face confirmed that was exactly what she thought and Emma felt her blush deepen. “Hook and I are not – we – it’s not like that,” she stammered. Her mind chose that moment to linger on the memory of him getting out of bed naked and she swallowed hard, wishing there was more air in the room. “It’s never happened before.”
Regina rolled her eyes and finished with the eggs, moving on to measure the butter she needed. “I take it that he was acting like it was a normal occurrence.”
Emma nodded. “He knew something was wrong with me and he assumed I was mad about last night.” She quickly filled Regina in on the bachelor party antics and skipped over the pirate innuendo to finding David on her couch. “Henry was excited about his school field trip and didn’t seem to notice anything was out of the ordinary. How is this possible? He was with me when we crossed the town life. Why doesn’t he have his memories? Why do you?”
“That’s the million dollar question,” Regina replied. She grabbed a whisk and started to mix the batter in the bowl. “I take it that David has no idea that he’s your father.” She glanced up and Emma shook her head. “But he’s engaged to your mother. None of this makes any sense.”
“Hook – Killian – doesn’t seem to have any past memories either. I asked him how long we’ve lived in Storybrooke and he said it felt like forever, but he couldn’t recall an exact amount of time.” Emma frowned as something else occurred to her. “Wait, how did you know something was off? Was it just because you woke up here in Storybrooke?”
Both women’s heads turned toward the doorway and Emma’s eyes widened for what felt like the millionth time that morning when she saw the little boy standing there. She guessed he was around three or four, dressed in Iron Man pajamas and he sent a shy look in Emma’s direction before gifting Regina with a large dimpled smile. “Daddy’s still sleeping,” he told her.
Emma watched as Regina’s entire demeanor seemed to soften as she walked over to the boy and lifted him up, balancing him on her hip as she moved back into the kitchen. “Well I guess we’re just going to have breakfast without him then. Would you like some orange juice, Roland?”
He nodded and Regina sent Emma a pointed look and it took her a moment to realize Regina wanted her to get it. Emma dropped the apple on the counter and got up from the stool. She grabbed the juice from the refrigerator and then opened a few cabinets until she found one that was filled with children’s cups, something she was willing to bet Regina hadn’t had in there before. She poured the juice and set it down in front of Roland as Regina settled him onto the stool.
“Thank you,” Roland said politely and rewarded her with one of his dimpled smiles. “Is Henry here?”
The hopefulness in his voice made something inside of her ache. Emma returned his smile, even as she shook her head. “Sorry, but he’s at school right now. I’m sure he’ll come see you soon.” There wasn’t much she knew about this new reality, but she was willing to bet Henry would love playing with Roland.
Roland nodded and took a sip of his juice, his eyes following Regina’s hand as she went back to stirring the mixing bowl. “Daddy said he doesn’t feel well and Uncle Kian is the devil.”
“Did he now?” Regina asked. Roland nodded proudly and Regina reached out with her free hand to ruffle his hair. “I’m sure he just needs some sleep and he’s right about Uncle Killian being a bad influence.” She shot a glare in Emma’s direction like it was somehow her fault and Emma sent one right back, the urge to defend Killian – Hook – ugh – nearly overwhelming her. But she kept her mouth shut since there was a child present.
“Sweetheart, why don’t you go and watch some cartoons in the living room?” Regina suggested. “I’ll come get you when breakfast is ready.” Roland’s smile widened and he nodded enthusiastically as he slipped off his stool and toddled out of the room.
“I guess that answers my earlier question,” Emma commented once Roland was safely out of earshot. She raised an eyebrow at Regina. “Who is his father?” She was confident she’d never met Roland before.
Regina didn’t answer right away, her eyes drifting to the mixing bowl like it was suddenly the most interesting thing in the world. Emma noticed faint color on the former evil queen’s face. “Regina, who is his father?” she asked again.
“I don’t know his name,” Regina hissed. She set the bowl down and glared at Emma like this was her fault too. “You’re not the only one who woke up in an unfamiliar situation this morning. I don’t know his name because he’s been sleeping, but it’s not the first time I’ve seen him. A long time ago, Tinker Bell took me to meet a man that she told me was my soulmate. He had a lion tattoo on his arm…the same tattoo the man upstairs has.”
Emma just stared at her, completely floored by all of that. The warning look in Regina’s eyes made it clear that she needed to tread carefully. Emma decided against commenting on the soulmate thing for now since they had much bigger problems. “And Roland?” she asked.
Regina shrugged. “He was more forthcoming with answers, but I didn’t think it was wise to ask him what his father’s name was. He seems completely at home here and now we know that he’s familiar with Henry and your pirate boyfriend.” Emma bristled and Regina smirked before her expression sobered once more. “We need to figure out if anyone else still has memories.”
“How?” Emma asked only to be met with another one of Regina’s dirty looks. “I take it you think I need to go out there and talk to more people?” she guessed. Emma wished she’d just stayed in bed and that was all it took for her traitorous mind to flash back to Hook beside her, his mouth against her ear. Damnit. “I guess I’ll head into town and see who I run into. Are you going to stay here?”
“For now,” Regina replied. Her eyes drifted toward the doorway and Emma figured she probably had enough on her plate for the time being with Roland and the mystery man in her bed so it was going to be up to her to try and gather more information.
“I’ll call you if I find anything. You’ll do the same?” Emma asked. Regina nodded and Emma made her way out of the kitchen and let herself out the front door. She pulled her keys from her pocket and debated her next stop as she walked toward the car. David was at the sheriff’s station, Mary Margaret was with her students, Killian was at work…wherever that was. She wondered what kind of job a former pirate had. She was going to have to find a way to ask him.
But first, she was going to head for the pawn shop to see if there was any chance Mr. Gold had returned.