and maybe someday we’ll figure all this out
“Are you okay, Miss Blanchard?”
The high school senior, Caroline Pallas, who helps out in Mary Margaret’s classroom two afternoons a week, is looking at her with an incredibly concerned expression. It takes the young teacher a moment to realize she must have drifted into daydreams again.
“I’m fine, Caroline.”
She wants to reach out to the girl, ask her who she is and if she remembers anything, and why her red velvet colored hair and big blue eyes and Cupid's bow mouth are so familiar, and why, when Mary looks at her, she can almost smell the sea; but as much as she is slowly (too slowly) regaining Snow White, she is still Mary Margaret Blanchard. Mary Margaret Blanchard is too timid to ask questions like that, and also too polite.
And far too sane, something Mary Margaret feels she’s losing a bit more each day.
She can’t pinpoint when she shifted from humoring Henry to believing him.
Actually, that’s not quite true, she muses as she wanders through the little thrift store where she likes to buy her clothes (she doesn’t usually like things that look too new; she likes for them to have character, likes it when they had a life of their own before they came into hers). Believing Henry hadn’t been an active choice on her part, but she knew when it had begun to seep into her consciousness.
The night Graham died.
What he’d said to her-- about thinking that he knew her in a past life, about things that Henry had been talking about even though he’d not spoken to Henry-- it had stuck with Mary Margaret far longer than she’d have preferred. But even then she hadn’t actually believed it herself.
Not until that night, after Emma had finally fallen asleep and Mary Margaret had tucked her into bed and gone to Emma’s room for the night. As she’d fallen asleep, she’d slipped into a dream world unlike any she’d ever experienced. She only remembered the most vivid bits-- a lush green forest, a man in black armor who wore it poorly, the fact that her hair was much, much longer than she ever remembered it being, and how her chest was heavy with grief-- but that had been enough.
The man in armor had been Graham. Not a knight, but a huntsman, sent by her stepmother the Queen to kill her.
Just like Henry said.
The rational side of Mary Margaret Blanchard insists that it is just the power of suggestion; Graham’s story, along with her near-constant exposure to Henry’s theories lately and the fact that she’s sure she had to have read the book she gave him (though she cannot for the life of her recall actually doing so) could have all easily combined to cause her dreams and make her think she was ‘remembering’ things that never happened.
The fire slowly building deep within her that she knows comes from Snow, however, insists that Mary Margaret is being an obtuse moron and that that particular rationalization is exactly what the Queen wants her to think.
Mary Margaret’s lips curl into a very uncharacteristic (of this version of her, anyway) scowl as her gaze finds her former stepmother across the diner, but she quickly averts her gaze. The last thing that she needs to do right now is to draw attention to herself, and the longer that Regina goes without knowing she’s remembering, the better.
It’s even harder to watch David with Kathryn these days, because her deep longing for him can be explained now, and she knows who he is, and who she is, and that they belong together (even though she kind of feels like a twelve-year-old, phrasing it that way). But it’s the truth. James is hers and she is his; it’s always been that way, before they even knew each other, when she was just a young princess with a doting father and he was a peasant working his mother’s farm for nothing more than the love of the land.
Then Midas’ bratty daughter had to come into the picture.
Abigail, Kathryn-- whichever version of herself that she is, Snow is obviously willing to concede that she had James first. In both worlds, apparently. But just because she had him first doesn’t mean that she gets to keep him. If that were the truth, Snow would’ve married Eric, and wouldn’t that have been awkward.
(Especially here in Storybrooke, because he’s a very handsome grad student at the college named Christian, and-- oh! That’s who Caroline is, no wonder she has such an obvious crush on Christian).
She steps out of her front door laughing with delight, not only at her most recent discovery but at the fact that it is snowing outside. Her namesake is a menace to all the gorgeous flowers that she holds so dear, but she cannot see it as destructive; more, it wipes the slate clean, preparing things for a new year. A fresh start.
Snow likes to think that things are heading that way for her too.
Snow knows that the children in her class have noticed a change in her; she’s not as afraid to get in their faces when they’re being little monsters, but she’s also just a lot more fun. Her timidity is beginning to melt away like the white blanket covering their playground will in a few days (at least, she hopes it will; they’re heathens when they’re stuck inside like this, and sadly Mary Margaret’s saintlike patience is evaporating along with the timidity).
She wonders, though, how evident it is to everyone else.
And if anyone else has remembered enough to see the change in her and recognize it.
She caught Thomas’ (Sean’s, she reminds herself) eye across the diner a couple of days ago, and for a moment she thought that she saw something spark there-- whether it was confusion or recognition she isn’t sure, though, and his attention had quickly refocused on Ella (Ashley) and baby Alexandra.
Snow’s heart pangs a bit whenever she sees Alexandra. Ally and Emma were supposed to grow up together, to be best friends and share everything, and instead her Emma grew up alone, and while Ella has her sweet, dimpled little baby Snow has a bitter, cynical twenty-eight year old sleeping in her guest room.
But then, the Queen’s curse was never about Ella, was it?
The hardest thing that Snow has ever done, as herself or during her life as Mary Margaret, is not going to James when she hears that he’s left Kathryn.
Going to him would call undue attention to herself from Regina, and the last thing that she needs is for the Queen to realize that she’s remembering. That would put both herself and James (and probably everyone else, for that matter) in danger. She just has to have faith that Henry is right, that Rumpelstiltskin was right-- her daughter, her Emma, is the one that can fix this. The one that can break the curse.
She will have her life with him back.
The second hardest thing that she’s ever done is not giving away her new-found knowledge to Emma. Nothing would make the jaded blonde run faster in the other direction than Snow gleefully announcing that, although she is several inches shorter (and probably, physically, at least a year or two younger), she is in fact Emma’s mother. Despite the fact that she knows Henry has probably already revealed this fact to the new sheriff, Snow also knows that hearing it from a wide-eyed ten-year-old is completely different than hearing it from a presumably sane adult.
She doesn’t want to upset the balance that they have; having Emma around and getting to spend time with her is better than the nothing she had for so long, so she keeps her mouth shut. She bides her time.
This, too, is something she will have. She vows it to herself.
There was a time once, when she was a young girl, that she believed everything her stepmother told her; believed that the Queen was a good person who genuinely loved Snow’s father and was someone that she could trust.
Snow laughs bitterly now at the fact that she was ever that naive.
Regina is watching her. She can feel the mayor’s eyes on her as she sits at the diner counter, sipping her hot chocolate with cinnamon, something that pleases her that she’s remembered all this time, and apparently something she passed to her daughter and grandson, who are supposed to be meeting her here.
So now she’s psyching herself up to put on a show for Regina; to play the pleasant, sweet-natured elementary school teacher who simply enjoys spending time with one of her students and his birth mother. To not be the princess who is infuriated that her life was stolen and that she only gets these superficial moments with her family.
The family that she can’t even acknowledge as family for fear that something will happen to them reminiscent of what happened to Graham when he’d gotten too close to the truth.
It isn’t fair. But it can’t stay this way.
She has to keep telling herself that.
The day the invitation for the Mayor’s Spring Fling Costume Ball arrives is the day that Snow snaps. The design of the invitation is far too close to her father’s royal crest for her liking, his colors and all, and it’s like she can feel Regina testing her.
Every fairytale needs its climactic moment.
When Snow walks into the party, she heads directly for where Emma, James and Henry are standing beside a table. She can feel eyes on her, but there aren’t too many yet, and none of them belong to the gaze that she wants to fall on her.
Henry’s eyes are falling out of his head, his grin threatening to break his face, which Snow expected.
“Miss Blanchard,” he says in a low stage whisper, “you look just like Snow White from my book, when she’s in the forest.”
She leans down so that she’s close to his face and says conspiratorially,
“That’s because I am.”
Let him take that as he will. Snow drops him a wink as she straightens up.
Henry’s reaction she expected. She even predicted Emma’s ‘I’m fond of you, but you’re insane’ smile and accompanying eye roll. What she did not expect was the warm look she received from James as she glanced over at him, or his hand slipping into her own and his fingers twining with hers.
Her eyes widen and surprise changes to pleasure changes to fury as she practically drags him from the room out onto the back terrace of the mayor’s home.
“Why didn’t you say anything,” she barely has time to hiss before James’ lips are slanting over hers and she completely loses herself in him. His embrace is strong and warm and familiar and so loving that Snow only hits him a little bit (and just on the bicep) when she pulls away.
“Ow! What, are you going for a scar on my arm to match the one on my chin?”
“Shhh. Keep your voice down,” Snow snaps quietly. “I have no idea where she is at this party; she could hear us. How long have you known?” she demands.
James at least has the dignity to look a tiny bit sheepish as he says, “Since the night at the toll bridge.” He barely dodges the second fist she aims at his shoulder. “I was trying to keep her from knowing I literally remembered everything, which is clearly what you are also trying to do, so stop hitting me,” he says in a low voice, catching her fist this time.
“We need to go back inside,” Snow says, ignoring his last accusation. Her eyes narrow at him. “This conversation isn’t over.”
“How about I come home with you tonight and we, ah, discuss it then?” he asks. The smug smile on his face pulls a slight grin from her before she rolls her eyes (in a manner very similar to her daughter’s) and heads back to the main room of the party.
Snow stops still in the doorway. Her eyes meet Regina’s across the crowded room.
The former Queen looks pissed as she takes in Snow’s outfit and James standing just behind her right shoulder.