Thank you to timenspace for beta reading this! I'm thinking that I'm going to possibly make this a series of semi-one-shots for John Doe/David Nolan/James/Charming, they are all going to be not too AU, at least not yet... My plan is that you'll be able to read them either as one story, but that each one can stand fairly separate.

So Henry decides to have a little chat with his grandfather…

Disclaimer: I don't own Once Upon a Time, wish I did, but I don't. (Sighs and goes off to pout.)

For Now

It was an overcast, gloomy, late fall day, there was a bite to the air that hinted at the winter around the corner; the sea was a steel gray, rippling lightly in the cold breeze.

John stared out over the open expanse of water, finding that he preferred this cold solitude to dealing with the stifling atmosphere of his "home." Nothing in that place was familiar, not the rooms, the furniture, not his wife, not even his own name. You would think that of all places that might feel familiar the place he lived would. And that of all the people who would seem familiar to him his wife would. But they didn't.

No, the strange thing was that of all the places he had been, the ones that seemed the most familiar were the Toll Bridge where he nearly drowned, the woods and the place he was sitting in at the moment. It was an old play set designed to look like a castle. It had fallen into slight disrepair and didn't seem to be used by anyone. He sat on the edge of one of the platforms, his feet dangling a couple of inches off the ground, watching the water gently lap at the shore.

As far as people…well either that was even stranger or not quite as strange, he wasn't sure yet. The people who seemed most familiar to him were three of the rescue party that had found him. Emma Swan, Henry Mills and Mary Margaret Blanchard. He supposed that since they were the first ones he saw after waking that would create something of a bond, though Sheriff Graham had been there too and while John felt a closer kinship to him than Kathryn it was still not nearly as strong as he felt for the other three. But even that explanation didn't really explain to his satisfaction the strength of the bond he felt. He had been told that he didn't know them prior to the coma, so that was out.

He rubbed a finger thoughtfully over the scar on his jaw. He had discovered several scars on his body but this one intrigued him the most for some reason; Kathryn didn't know how he had gotten it, he'd had it since before they met and he'd never told her the story behind it. This fact was not an overly rousing endorsement to him of their marriage.


John was jolted out of his thoughts and turned his head at the voice beside him to see Henry Mills sitting down next to him.

He grinned at the boy. "Hey, Henry, right?"

Henry nodded. "Yeah. And you're Mr. Nolan."

He grimaced and looked back out over the water. "So I've been told."

Since he was looking away he missed the knowing grin on the boy's face. "You don't sound too sure of that."

"No, I'm not," John agreed.


The man glanced at the kid. "You'd probably think I'm crazy if I told you."

Henry cocked his head to the side, an odd smile on his face. "Try me."

John looked at the child for several moments before deciding, 'Why not?' "Ok, kiddo." He leaned forward, bracing his elbows on his knees. "I'm not sure about it because David Nolan doesn't feel like my name." He waited for the kid's reaction.

Henry just shrugged. "Maybe it isn't."

John raised his eyebrows at the simplicity of the response and the boy's easy acceptance of what John had told him.

"Or at least it isn't anymore," the child added. "I mean, you lost your memory, well maybe now you aren't who you were before?"

The insightfulness of Henry's response surprised him; he looked back at the water thoughtfully.

"You should talk to Miss Blanchard," Henry said definitively.

John turned back to him, smiling. "Miss Blanchard?"

The kid nodded. "Yeah, she's my teacher; I talk to her about things sometimes and when I do usually it helps."

"What about your mom?" John asked.

Henry looked away, frowning. "I don't talk to her." John was a little thrown by the boy's tone and demeanor. Then Henry brightened a bit and looked back at him. "I talk to my real mom some, though."

John frowned. "Your 'real mom'?"

He nodded. "I'm adopted."

The man's confusion cleared and he nodded. "Ah…"

Henry nodded in return. "My real mom is Emma Swan."

Well that certainly explained the dynamics he had witnessed in the diner. "So you two are close?"

The boy shrugged. "Getting there. We've only known each other a few weeks, since I found her." He looked over at John. "She gave me up when I was born so that I could have my best chance." Something about those words pulled at John's memory, but he could not grasp it. Henry looked out at the water. "I know she likes me and I think she might love me, or will eventually at least." There wasn't any bitterness in the child's tone as he said this, a little sorrow with a jolt of hope perhaps.

The corner of John's mouth quirked up. "Actually, she does love you."

Henry turned to him frowning. "How do you know?"

John leaned toward the kid in a confiding manner. "Well you said that she gave you up so that you could have your 'best chance', right?" Henry nodded. "To give up your child so that they can have a chance at a better life takes a level of love beyond what many are capable of. It takes a selfless and unconditional love. And that is the greatest love a parent can have for their child."

There was surprise on Henry's face, along with a gleam of hope.

The man smiled reassuringly back.

Henry tilted his head to the side thoughtfully. "You know, as far as your name goes, you might try looking through a book of names. Maybe one will sound right."

John chuckled; then his expression became thoughtful. "Maybe I will."


The pair turned at the shout.

Emma was coming toward them, a worried frown on her face. Her eyes went from Henry to John and then back again before she said, "Hey, kid, you're mom's," there was a flash of pain in her eyes as she said that, "looking for you; she was freaking out again because she couldn't find you." She held her hand out, "Come on."

Henry glanced at John who nodded in Emma's direction saying, "Your mom's calling you." They both knew which woman he spoke of.

Henry gave him a hopeful smile before standing up. "Nice to see you, Mr. Nolan," he said as he made his way down the play set.

John frowned contemplatively for a moment; then called out, "Henry!" The boy turned. "Call me, John for now."

Henry smirked and waved. "See you, John!" He turned back around and ran to Emma, happily grasping her hand and letting her lead him off.

John watched the mother-son pair go; Emma glanced over her shoulder and their eyes met. He sucked in a breath and her eyes widened. The vague connection he had felt to her sprang up strong, as strong as the one between him and Mary Margaret, though this one did feel different, a strong desire to protect her from all of the hurts in the world ran through him.

Henry said something to Emma, pulling her attention to him. She smiled at her son, though John could see that she was still as shaken by the moment as he was. He watched them until they were out of sight.

He stood and paced around the play set restlessly, deep in thought; eventually he came to stand at one of the railings overlooking the water. He looked back out at the horizon, taking a deep breath. If one were to observe him in that moment they might see, instead of a confused amnesiac man standing incongruently on a children's play set, a handsome, strong prince standing on a balcony surveying his kingdom, perhaps with a beautiful princess standing beside him or nearby, just inside.

John watched as the tide slowly crept up the beach, letting his thoughts meander through all that had happened to him since he woke up from the coma.

As far as his name, he decided that as soon as possible he'd take Henry's advice and look through some names to see if any felt right.

As far as the breathtaking bond he had with Mary Margaret, the overwhelmingly protective one he had with Emma and the warm, fond one he had with Henry, whatever these connections were they meant something and he intended to find out what. And maybe in finding out that he would discover who he really was.

For now, though, being John would suffice.

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