For those of you who read Hot Chocolate and were expecting an update for that, I'm SORRY! My muse was being stubborn and wouldn't help me in the LEAST on that before I wrote this! I HAVE started the next chapter for Hot Chocolate, so it's on its way! This is Snow and Charming's thoughts and emotions just before they get their memories back up to the purple cloud rolling in. For the moment it's a one-shot, but there's a good chance that it will end up being at least a two-shot with a Charming family reunion, but Emma's being stubborn right now and doesn't want to cooperate. But once she does I will be posting the next part. I hope that you like it! :-D

Disclaimer: I do not own OUAT or anything therein. It is the property of ABC, Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis, and anyone else who has claim on it. No profit is being made off of this, it is purely for entertainment purposes.


Until the Stars are All Alight

Mary Margaret was searching, fruitlessly, for her roommate, heart aching over the student who was so much more than a student to her. For some reason the hospital was having trouble reaching Emma and Regina. As at odds the two women were, Henry was one thing that they both loved and it was unlike them to not be in contact when he was in danger. Hell, it was so strange that they'd left the hospital at all, Mary Margaret would have thought they'd have to be dragged out kicking and screaming, but for some reason calls weren't going through on their cells and no one had heard from either of them in hours. The teacher was so worried about Henry, the doctors had been working frantically on him when she'd been forced out of the room and things had looked very grim when she'd rushed out of the hospital in search of his mother.

She'd always felt a special bond with Henry, even before he was in her class, though Mary Margaret had never been able to explain it satisfactorily to herself. Just like the strong and instant connection she felt to Emma, and–despite her claims to the contrary to her roommate–how she fell suddenly, completely and inexplicably in love with David. The three people who had brought so much light and love to her dark and lonely world, filling the gaping void in her heart. For the first time her life had been happy and full. Full of love, full of joy, full of friends…

In hindsight perhaps she should have seen the storm coming.

First everything that happened with David and the heartbreak she–both of them actually–had suffered there. Oh, how she loved him still! But even though part of her screamed to say yes to him, that frightened, hurting voice in her head just wouldn't let her trust him again, heart still too raw from when he didn't believe in her during Kathryn's disappearance. And now Henry and Emma.

Tears burned in her eyes.

The doctors hadn't been hopeful from the start with Henry and now…

Mary Margaret squeezed her eyes shut.

She was fairly certain they would be calling time of death soon, if they hadn't already.

And Emma… Oh, Emma! The woman who had become so much more than just a roommate to Mary Margaret. She'd become her best friend, her family. And even though Mary Margaret felt rather betrayed at Emma trying to take off like she did, and then deciding to properly leave, she loved the other woman. And if Henry did die, nothing would keep her emotionally closed-off friend in Storybrooke; she'd take off just to try to escape from the pain of losing her son.

Mary Margaret was losing everyone she loved, and even though she had lived alone and isolated before, she hadn't truly realized how lonely her life really was because she didn't remember any other way. Now she'd had a full life. She'd had love and true, deep friendship. The thought of going back to that empty existence was like a vice around her lungs.

With a sharp shake of her head she tried to cast off those thoughts and feelings. Now was not the time. She had to find Emma and get her to the hospital.

Her cell vibrated in her pocket, signaling that she had a call; Mary Margaret pulled it out. It was from a friend, Lissa, who was a nurse at the hospital. Even though Mary Margaret wasn't family and technically not privy to medical information about Henry, Lissa had promised to contact the teacher to let her know how Henry was. Mary Margaret answered the call and didn't hear anything beyond the first two words.

"I'm sorry…"


David kept his eyes glued straight ahead on the road, using all his willpower to ignore the voice in his mind that was beating its fists and screaming at him to turn back around. To go back to Storybrooke, find Mary Margaret and fight for her. Because as much as he wanted to do just that, it was the wrong thing to do. He'd had her and he lost her for good. He'd messed things up so badly that he couldn't see any way to fix them. And he couldn't blame Mary Margaret for refusing him. What he'd done to her, how he'd treated her, was beyond the pale.

He still didn't know how he could have ever, for even a second thought that Mary Margaret could have hurt Kathryn. Looking back it didn't make sense, but he had believed it, even if only for a moment, and he'd told her so. He didn't deserve another chance with her, not after blowing all the ones he'd already had. And Mary Margaret had been beyond kind, giving him more than his fair share of chances.

"Unless you give me a reason to stay…"

"I can't."

The utter agony on her face and in her voice as she told him that tore his heart as badly as her refusal. She loved him, he knew that, but she didn't trust him, and even though he couldn't blame her for that it still killed him.

He'd destroyed the best, brightest and most wonderful thing he ever had, and he only had himself to blame for it.

He'd spoken truly when he told Mary Margaret that she was the only thing that seemed real, the only thing that made sense from the moment he woke up from the coma–ever if he was honest with himself. Because even before the coma, nothing felt real or made sense…until he opened his eyes to her emerald ones and there she was smiling at him, telling him that he was going to be "all right."

Why did he have to regain his memory the way he did? part of him railed. He couldn't help but wonder what his life would be like now if he hadn't. Perhaps he would have been divorced from Kathryn for a while now, saving her from the hurt he inflicted by having an affair and lying about it. He would have gone to meet Mary Margaret–a little late, but he'd have been there for her–and told her he loved her and she would've told him the same. They probably would've begun dating as soon as they could: laughing picnics down at the Toll Bridge in full view rather than hidden away, coffee at Granny's together rather than at separate tables, their heads bent over a book she wanted him to read.

Would some of his belongings begun to take up residence in her apartment? Maybe he would even be contemplating a ring to give her… Would he have managed to really make friends with Emma by now, rather than having her ticked off at him for hurting her best friend? Would he have become friendly with that August guy, who seemed so interested in Emma and Henry? Would Emma and Mary Margaret have come to trust him to be a role model for Henry?

He would've stood by Mary Margaret during Kathryn's case, and Emma wouldn't have run him off at the party, instead he would've probably stayed even after it was over and lain down in bed with Mary Margaret in his arms, thankful to have her there again. Maybe he and Mary Margaret would be together right now, getting ready to grab lunch, instead of him shamefully leaving town. Maybe he would've talked her into adopting a dog or cat from the shelter–more likely a dog given her affinity for birds. Maybe…

David determinedly shoved away thoughts of what "might have been" and maybes from his mind. He'd used up all his chances with Mary Margaret; he'd lost her. Now, as painful as it was, it was time to move on…without her.

Part of David wished someone would just stab him through the heart instead, he was fairly certain that would hurt less.


Henry was dead.

Mary Margaret's heart was leaden in her chest. She'd lost everyone she loved. She was no longer racing along the sidewalk; she dragged her feet, staring at the cement. No need to rush now, no rush to tell her best friend that her son was dead. Mary Margaret felt so numb, the realization that that bright, beautiful, imaginative, sweet boy was gone. Forever. It seemed some of the vibrant color of the world had been leeched out with his passing. If felt like the world should stop turning, that everyone should stop and mourn the death of this little boy. But the rational side of her knew that life would go on and few, if any, outside this town would ever even be aware that a special child named Henry had existed. Her heart broke all over again.

A wind–no, that's not the right way to describe it–a wave crashed over her.

Warmth and life washed through her body, melting away the dark abyss of her prison; as his lips left hers she gasped in a breath, eyes opening to his beloved face gazing down at her with joyous awe.

"Nonsense, the only way to overcome fear is to face it!"

The blonde looked down at the newspaper and flashlight in her hands, commenting with frank amusement, "In the world of tight spots I've been in, crashing in my car doesn't even rank in the top ten."

The man kneeling over her was heart-stoppingly handsome with the most incredible blue eyes she'd ever seen. "You're a…girl!"

Her roommate looked at her with amused exasperation. "Because…I'm sheriff and you are a lovesick schoolteacher."

A gruff looking dwarf stepped out of the shadows. "What are you looking at, sister?"

"He's waking up! He's remembering!"

"And now…I never want it off your finger." Her heart skipped a beat as he went down on one knee before her.

"I'm invested in your future."

"Because this is my happy ending!" her stepmother snarled.

"You're the one who woke him up." The child followed after her doggedly, determined to make her believe. "You're the last one he saw. He wants to find you!"

"I hunt you yet you stop to compose a letter…I will never understand your kind."

"Frosty. Really?" the younger dark-haired woman asked wryly.

"I'm choosing you." Mary Margaret could hardly breathe for the intensity in his gaze and voice.

"Love…true love…is magic!" She stared at Regina with wonder, hanging on her words, dreams of finding such a love someday for herself already blossoming in her mind.

"I'm human. I fell for it."

"What's twenty-eight years when you have eternal love?" Tears streamed down her face as she clung to him; they'd gone through too much to be together to separate now! She couldn't leave him!

Regina leaned closer to the bars, saying maliciously, "Apology not accepted."

"I'll kill him," King George growled.

"Nobody's ever been there for me except for you." She'd never seen Emma so close to tears. "And I can't lose that, I cannot lose my family!"

"But I love you…" David gazed at her longingly, a sheen of tears in his eyes.

"Regina." The beautiful woman who'd saved her life told her brightly.

"Maybe I'll like these better."

"Soon you'll all be in a prison, just like me, only worse," the twisted little imp told them with almost malicious glee, "your prison…all of our prisons…will be time…" His eyes took on an almost forlorn look.

"The only thing I care about is that you don't forget who you really are. I would rather die than let you fill your heart with darkness."

Henry grinned up at her happily. "It's from the whole class. And I got you a bell!"

"It's me, Charming!"

"Believing in even the possibility of a happy ending is a powerful thing…" She wasn't just speaking of her student, her own longing to believe in happy endings still lingering in her heart.

His hand brushed back her hair, the brightest smile she'd ever seen on his face. "…you never have to worry, I will always find you."

Two lives collided in her mind, twisting and swirling together, fighting each other for dominance. But while Mary Margaret had recently learned to stand up for herself, Snow White had always been a fighter.

"Charming," Snow gasped.


Leaving Storybrooke

David felt a jolt of nerves at the sight of the sign up ahead for some inexplicable reason, but he ignored them and kept driving.

A wave slammed into him from behind; somehow his foot managed to instinctively slam on the brake pedal.

His heart was raw and bleeding as he finally lifted his lips from hers, eyes opening to see her gasp in a breath, vibrant green eyes flying open; relief and joy crashed over him. "You…" she gazed at him with wonder.

"True love follows this ring," his mother told him with conviction, holding the jewel out to him determinedly.

"Have you ever used a sword?" the precocious child asked.

"Because I don't want to marry you either," Abigail told him with simple honesty.

"Well, I'm trying not to see you."

"Aren't you a real Prince Charming?" the dark-haired beauty taunted.

"Ok, look, I know there has been lies and deceit, and I'm really not judging you…" the sheriff's tone made it obvious just how much he deserved her judgment as the friend of one of the two women he'd hurt so badly.

"Emma…her name is Emma," Snow's teary voice admitted.

"Charming…isn't it?"

"I wonder if you'll be quite so incorruptible after your precious Snow is gone…"

"Do whatever it takes to get that woman out of your head," King George ground out between his teeth. "Because nothing is going to stop this wedding."

"Evil doesn't always look evil." Regina stood across from him, watching him evenly. "Sometimes it's staring right at us, and we don't even realize it."

"I can't blame you for just being the first one to see it." There Kathryn was lying in a hospital bed after going through her ordeal and she was comforting him.

"Is this always gonna be our life?" Her voice was laden with tears and weariness. "Taking turns finding each other?"

"That's the thing about true love, dearie, it can slip through your fingers. It's the most powerful magic in the world, the only magic powerful enough to break any curse. It must be protected, at all costs."

"But you decided to follow…true love," George sneered. Charming wondered if the king had ever known true love in his lifetime.

"And that," Mary Margaret's voice was thick with tears, "is what makes it all so sad."

The dark-haired woman looked at him almost incredulously. "Snow wants to be with you more than anything."

"Honestly, David, I'm sure your heart is in the right place, but the last thing she needs right now is words of encouragement from you," Emma informed him scornfully.

"Like we shall do everything…together." Her sweet grin had his heart skipping a beat.

"Nobility was not meant to be easy."

"Sometimes illusions are better than truth," the siren tempted him.

"You know, I will never forget that moment, the moment the world sort of blows you backwards, and the one person you thought would always be there to catch you…he isn't there."

The knight eyed him disdainfully. "Maybe you don't…"

"James!" Snow staggered over to a tree; she collapsed against it, head likely still reeling from the blow to the chin she'd just taken. "I will find you! I will always find you!"

"True love…isn't easy, but it must be fought for." Strange how facing a siren tempting him with lies using Snow's face would help him realize this, would reignite his determination. "Because once you find it…it can never be replaced."

He slipped the ring on her finger, letting the tips of his graze her palm as she raised her hand to admire the jewel like she'd done when they first met. Her gaze returned to his, lips curled in a grin. "What do you think?"

His mind was a disorienting whirl of memories from two vastly different lives; David tried to hold on, but Charming, with his single-minded determination, charged in and took control.

He stuck his head out the window of the truck looking back, eying both the road and the vehicle, a small corner of his mind wondering what the hell this thing was and where was his steed? He sat back, letting his head rest against the seat, eyes squeezed shut and taking a moment to organize the tangle of memories.

"You're making new memories just fine…"

His blue eyes snapped open. "Snow!"

Not even pausing to think about the fact that he wasn't even sure he could drive the truck, Charming wrenched the wheel around, slamming the gas pedal all the way down to the floorboard, sending the old truck in a screeching U-turn back to town.


Snow dashed as quickly she could down the sidewalk in her heels, of all the days she had to choose not to wear flats! She glanced over to where his truck was usually parked; ice settled in her gut when she saw that it was missing. Finally she reached Granny's–shortly after Kathryn had been found he'd moved into the bed and breakfast–and slipped through the back entrance, not wanting to be slowed down by the friends who might be inside the diner and the reunions that would occur. She ran up the steps, wishing her legs were longer so that she could get up them faster. Her feet carried her right to his door; not bothering to knock she wrenched the door handle, it was unlocked, and she burst into the room.

It was empty.

Not only was Charming not there, but none of his belongings were either. On unsteady legs Snow wobbled over to the bed, hands closing over one of the pillows–too perfectly fluffed pillows–and lifted it to her nose… Tears burned in her eyes at the absence of his scent; her knees gave out, she slowly slid to the floor, hands fisting in the covers and forehead falling against the mattress. Violent sobs shook her whole frame. Charming was gone. Her love was gone. She had no idea what that meant with the curse. How would she find him? Could she find him? Would he have his memories too? Fear, pain, worry, longing, heartbreak; all of it was sending her spiraling.

It was a struggle to draw breath when all she wanted was to just cry, pour out her agony on the coverlet.

Her love, her husband was gone, and she only had herself to blame. She pushed him away, told him she couldn't forgive him, denied them both their true love. Oh, gods, she couldn't breathe. Was her heart even beating?

Snow wasn't sure how long she remained crumpled by the bed. Who did she have left?

"I cannot lose my family!"

Her eyes flew open wide. "Emma," she breathed. Slowly she sat up, staring sightlessly across the room. Emma, her and Charming's Emma. Their little girl. She pressed her palm to her mouth to stifle another sob that wanted to escape. Oh! She was beautiful! And so strong!

Snow forced herself to stand, swiping away the tears from her cheeks. Her heart was still full of anguish, but now at least she had someone to focus on, to hold onto. She trudged back to the door, hand on the handle she turned back once more to glance around the room, the last place her beloved had lived, searching for some small piece of him to carry. But there was none. Feeling all the more keenly the gaping void in her chest left by her Charming's absence, she reluctantly stepped out of the room and closed the door behind her with an over-loud finality. It was a battle to take each step but she continued, her daughter needed her and she'd be there for her, no matter how shattered Snow herself was.


Charming finally hit the town proper, he'd progressively been able to organize the mess that was the memories of two lives, though one he wasn't entirely sure if most of it had even happened. What memories he did know were real were the best and the most painful ones…all the memories that revolved around Snow, or Mary Margaret as she'd been called in this cursed place.

He couldn't believe he'd treated his beloved Snow so abominably! That he'd doubted her ever! He knew her too well to ever dream that she would hurt someone like she'd been accused of hurting Abigail. Damn the Queen for doing this to them! But he couldn't place all the fault on Regina and the curse; no, David was part of him, and vice versa.

He had betrayed Snow, broken her heart and lied to her. He didn't deserve her forgiveness but he was going to go to her, get on his knees if necessary, and beg for it. Charming agreed with David that he deserved Snow's refusal and her anger, betrayal and hurt; he'd even deserve her never forgiving him. However he didn't agree with David's decision to leave, to give up. Charming had sworn to always fight for Snow, to fight for their love, because it was too precious to let go, and she was entirely worth anything he had to go through to get her back. And even if she was still angry with him he was going to tell her all of that and proceed to prove to her all over again just how much he loved her, that he was willing to die for her.

He parked the truck in front of the hardware store and got out, eyes sweeping the street for her, glancing in the windows of stores he passed. He absently noted a couple of friends who were walking about, most of them still looking rather dazed. His gaze ceaselessly scanned for his wife's familiar form and cap of dark hair. He froze.

There. Across the street, slowly and almost mechanically making her way down the sidewalk. His Snow. She seemed to notice nothing and no one around her, mind preoccupied elsewhere. Gods, she was beautiful.

Charming's heart raced in his chest, a smile quirking his lips, unable to take his eyes off of his beloved. "Snow!" he called out, hardly aware he was even doing so. Inwardly praying that she remembered, that she could forgive him, and wanting nothing more than to pull her to his chest and hold her there.

She stopped dead in her tracks. His heart leapt as her head slowly turned to him.


Snow plodded slowly back to the hospital, mind still in the process of organizing all of the memories now rattling around in her mind, and trying to push past the rending pain in her heart.


She went stock-still. That voice. She knew that voice, better than any, even her own. But he was gone. She'd pushed him to leave. Snow half believed it was just a hallucination that would reveal its empty promise when she looked to see it. But she couldn't stop her head from turning.

Her heart surged in her chest. "Charming," she breathed. There he stood, her charming shepherd and prince, her beloved husband.

Without her even telling them to her feet took off across the street, hands reaching desperately toward him.

Charming's heart galloped wildly when she began hurrying across the street to him, his own long legs covered the rest of the distance between them in ground eating strides. It still felt like an eternity before his hands finally closed around her waist, hauling her to his chest.

Snow's hands gripped the front of his jacket, her eyes flying over his face, trying to see every feature at once, her palms came up to clasp his face between them, needing the physical contact to prove to herself that he was real and there.

He drank in her beloved, familiar face like a man parched, unable to get enough, taking in her joyous expression with breathtaking relief. Oh, how he'd missed her.

Her fingers slid down again to furl in his collar, anchoring there, afraid that if she let go he'd be torn from her again.

Their shared wonder at seeing each other again, at finally being reunited, was plain to all who witnessed the reunion of the prince and princess. Their eyes were locked, unable and unwilling to look away.

Snow could feel tears of joy and relief pricking the back of her eyes. He hadn't left! He was here! "You found me." It slipped from her lips with hardly a thought.

Charming shook his head slightly, that half-smile she loved so much spreading across his face. "Did you ever doubt I would?" he countered easily, just like he'd done before.

He watched her mouth press momentarily into a line–trying to control her emotions at least somewhat, he knew–but with a shake of her head she quit trying and used her grip on his collar to pull herself up to weld her lips to his.

It felt like life was being breathed into him again; like this was the moment he truly awoke, every cell humming with life.

Warmth and love washed through her, filling most of the gaping hole in her chest, soothing hurts, easing her desperation.

Their grip on each other loosened a bit, becoming less frantic and more tender while still not allowing an atom of space between them. One of her hands splayed from its grip on his jacket to rest over his heart while the other cupped the back of his neck, wanting to make sure their lips didn't part any time soon. Charming kept one arm locked around her waist in an immoveable band, holding her flush against him, the other rising to caress her cheek, savoring the soft skin.

They just stayed wrapped together for long moments that felt too short to them.

Reluctantly they parted though they didn't release their holds on each other.

"Snow, I'm sorry!" Charming cradled her face in his hands, the pain of having hurt her creasing his expression. "I'm so sorry about everything!"

Snow pressed her lips to his again. "Don't! Charming, don't!" She kissed him over and over. "I love you. I forgive you. I'm sorry!" She wrapped her arms around his neck hugging him tightly while tears trickled down her cheeks.

"Why?" he hugged her back, eyes closed, reveling in the feeling of having her back in his arms.

Her voice was a bit muffled from his coat, but easily audible to him. "For pushing you away, for not forgiving you, for giving up on you, for everything!"

He gently pushed her back so that their eyes could meet; his thumbs wiped away the tears that were falling from her eyes, not even noticing the ones that wet his own face. "Snow, I love you. I hardly think there's anything to forgive!"

She gave a half-laugh half-sob, gloved fingers running over his cheeks to brush away his tears.

His head dipped down to kiss her again, hardly able to believe that he finally had her back! James lifted her off her feet spinning her around; Snow laughed against his lips, arms tight around his shoulders.

A distant whooshing had him setting her back down, drawing them apart; they looked around, searching for the source as the noise grew louder and louder.

Snow spotted it first. "Oh, gods!" she gasped, reminded all too violently of when the curse swept in, tearing all their lives asunder.

Charming turned in the direction she was staring in horror.

A large purple cloud was rushing toward them, cloaking the entire town. Snow's hands reached for his, he gripped them back. With the cloud drawing nearer they pulled each other close, Charming wrapping his arms protectively around Snow. They watched as it continued to draw closer until just before it enveloped them they ducked their heads and closed their eyes. Praying that when it passed they wouldn't be once again ripped apart…


So, that's it for now. Between Hot Chocolate and Once Upon a Time…and Again, hopefully I will be inspired for part two of this story! The title comes from the song "All Shall Fade" from Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. Thank you so much for reading! Please let me know what you think!

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