Loboselinaistrash prompted: teenage Emma when the curse breaks tried to push her parents buttons by acting out, she sneaks out one night and goes out drinking in the woods with her friends- her parents react to this when they find her
Title inspiration: Can't Go Back by Rosi Golan
Emma used to love living in Storybrooke.
And then the stupid curse had to break.
She had lived in the town for 6 months. After running away from another dead end group home, she landed in Portland, Maine after finding a crumpled bus ticket. It was supposed to be her ticket to freedom. But when the nosy boss at a department store didn't buy her fake ID upon Emma applying for a job and called the cops, the jig was up. Emma was put back into the system, the closest available home that would take a 15 year old girl with "her record" as Kim said was a woman in Storybrooke.
Mary Margaret had been chipper and too nice. She spoke in "Hang In There Kitty" motivational posters. But she also saw through Emma's walls and tried. She helped her with her homework, bought her new clothes and memorized her usual order at Granny's. Even when she got a new boyfriend, David, he was just as nice and wanted to actually get to know Emma. He seemed to understand that Mary Margaret came with a foster kid and didn't mind. They went to the movies, had dinners together and both of them even attended her softball games when they started.
It was the closest she ever had to having a family. She felt safe, comfortable.
So safe that one night before bed, she kissed Mary Margaret's cheek. A rainbow ripple fell across the loft and everything as Emma knew it would change.
Mary Margaret was really Snow White. And David, while that was really his name, was Prince Charming. They were her biological parents, from some faraway fairytale land. They had given her up, stuffed her in a wardrobe. They said it was to "save her". Emma called bullshit.
The happy family they had, crumbled upon knowing that that they could've kept her. That they were responsible for nights crying into a pillow, begging for a mom and dad. Countless foster homes, all the times she ran away.
They only wanted to be saved. They didn't give two shits about her.
She wanted to again, more than anything. However, the town line was cursed. No one could come in and no one could come out. After "the savior" entered, it locked down. She couldn't go to a different home, she was with her biological parents.
She was stuck, and there was nothing more that Emma hated than feeling trapped.
Luckily, she had made some friends. Joining the softball team had given her that. So, when Jenny invited her to a party in the woods, she accepted. She knew there was no way Snow and David would let her go and she didn't care. She waited until they went to bed before sneaking out onto the fire escape, just as she had done with "Mary Margaret" under the curse. Only this time, she wouldn't be drinking hot chocolate and watching the stars. Instead, she climbed down the metal ladder and headed on foot to the party.
Emma wasn't the only one who missed the curse. Snow did too.
Of course she didn't miss being separated from her husband. She didn't miss being "scared" of Regina or not knowing that she had a daughter.
She missed the easier relationship that she had with her daughter.
Of course it hadn't been smooth sailing from day one. Emma walked into Mary Margaret's loft with a scowl and an eye roll. But in time, she opened up. She told Mary Margaret that she hated oranges and that onion rings were better than French Fries. Two months in, she timidly dropped a flyer asking about softball and Mary Margaret encouraged her to go to try outs. She made her a chocolate cake when she made the team and cheered her on at every game, even if it embarrassed her.
Emma at least smiled at her back then. She still rolled her eyes, but she also said "You're not so bad" and it made "Mary Margaret" feel like she was on cloud 9.
Now, Snow had a daughter that hated her and she couldn't blame her. Yes, putting Emma through had saved her but it had hurt her too. A lifetime of foster care, feeling like all she was to her parents was the savior. She had screamed it all to them, not wanting to hear their side. David wanted to argue it, but Snow knew she needed the space. Emma was a fragile kid and she had been through too much. Pushing her would only set her over the edge.
So, that night when Emma had refused to watch a movie with them and had instead stormed up the stairs, Snow just did the dishes and watched it with David. She went to bed with her husband hours later, the silhouette of Emma present from her loft bedroom.
Around midnight, Snow awoke to use the bathroom. When she finished, she was at first going to head back to bed but something told her to go check on her daughter.
At the top of the stairs, Emma's blankets crumpled together under the moonlight. It wasn't out of character for her to do that. She ran cold ("Just like her father," Snow muttered) and took the lion's share of Snow's throw blankets.
She walked closer to the bed, moving back some of the covers to make sure she could breathe. It was only then that she saw the bed only contained a mountain of blankets and not her daughter.
Snow's breath hitched as her mind went into overdrive. They and Regina had called a truce, she had promised not to hurt their family if they stopped the town from killing her. Rumpelstiltskin had no reason to touch Emma, he was happy with Belle at the present moment. What other villains could pose a threat to their family?
And then she saw the open window. A quick peak out showed the lowered fire escape.
Snow was from the Enchanted Forest but she had spent 15 years in the modern world, teaching kids no less. Her daughter had snuck out of the house,
Racing down the stairs, she shook her husband awake. He rolled over in bed, his eyes barley flickering open.
"Snow," he mumbled.
"Emma's gone." He shot up in bed, his baby blues on full alert. "She snuck out. I don't know where she would go."
David groaned, scratching his neck. "I heard the softball team was throwing a party in the woods. I just didn't think Emma would be stupid enough to go to it."
"She's not stupid, she's rebelling. She's mad at us right now, which are going to lead to stupid choices."
"Either way, we need to go get her."
Snow didn't bother getting dressed, she just threw a light jacket over her pink nightgown and David did the same with his flannel pajamas. The two piles in his truck and headed for the woods. Being midnight in Storybrooke, no one else was on the road. A loan owl sang his song. It was a clear, late summer night. School would start back up soon and of course kids were testing their limits and having all the fun they could before tests and book reports.
They just had to hope it wasn't too out of control.
David parked his truck at the edge of the woods and Snow grabbed a flashlight from the glovebox. They walked for about 15 minutes until they could hear the loud music mixed with mindless chatter. Another few minutes and fairy lights were strung amongst the trees, teenagers leaned against one another. A few held red SOLO cups, others flat out held cans of Bud. It didn't take long for Snow to spot the keg. This party had all the trappings of a cliché teenage rager.
Her baby's first party. Quickly followed by her baby's first grounding.
"What do we do about the kids?" Snow whispered.
"I have a plan about that. Everything seems fine, calm for now," David replied. "Let's just find Emma first."
Because it was so dark and everyone was so focused on each other (mostly kissing), no one noticed the two parents, even if David rivaled the height of the trees. Eventually, they found a teenage girl with blonde waves wearing the tell tale red leather jacket, SOLO cup in hand sitting beside a couple of the girls from the team. Snow waved her flashlight a few times to get their attention and they glanced up. Emma did a double take, before the smile she inherited from her father washed off her face.
"Shit," she muttered.
"I'd say so," Snow said.
"What are you two doing here?"
"I think the better question is what are you doing here?"
Emma's cheeks tinted pink and her friends quickly scrambled. "This is so embarrassing," she mumbled.
"You think this is embarrassing?" David asked. He turned to the crowd, clapping his hands. "Alright, everyone, I won't call your parents or call Sheriff Humbert if you leave right now. That offer expires in 5 minutes. Leave the keg and all other alcohol related paraphernalia."
The music cut off and the teenagers became a mix of scattering quickly and gathering the fairy lights and boom box. Once they were gone and David kindly texted the forest ranger to apologize for the mess they were leaving, he and Snow turned back to their teenage daughter.
"Let's go, Emma. We'll talk at home," Snow said, her voice coming out a scary level of calm.
Emma pushed herself off the dirt, running past both of them.
Emma didn't talk on the ride home, which was fine by Snow. They didn't say anything either. Once they entered the loft, Emma headed straight for the stairs but Snow called her name, causing her to stop, her back to them both.
"Sit down, we need to have a talk," David said.
"I don't want to talk to either of you!" Emma snapped, turning around. "I went to the damn party to get away from you!"
Snow stepped forward. "I really don't care why you went. Your father told you to sit down, sit."
"He's not my father!"
"No! You two put me in a wardrobe, make me the savior of this dumbass town and then expect 15 years later that I'm supposed to love and respect you? That's bullshit!"
Snow pursed her lips. "We don't expect you to love us, we don't expect you to think of us as your parents. But Emma, we are. Like it or not, we're your parents and you're stuck with us."
"And that means," David continued. "That you can't just run off whenever you feel like it."
"Why the hell not?" Emma thundered in response. "You two did!"
"Emma, we didn't run away from you! We did what we had to, to keep you safe!"
"How the hell was that keeping me safe, David?"
"We didn't know that would happen to you. We were told it would give you the best life possible!"
"Well like it or not, it didn't!" Emma threw her hands in the air. "I didn't have a perfect, fairytale life where birds dressed me and people gave a damn. I was alone."
Snow's heard it before, but the admission was a hit to her heart. Her fists clenched at the thought of anyone mistreating her daughter, hurting her.
Until she realized that she fell into that category. She didn't mean to, but she hurt her. They both did.
"I wish the stupid curse never broke!" Emma snapped.
"Sometimes I wish that too," Snow said.
Two sets of eyes looked her, both just as shocked. Snow's a little shocked to admit it. But it comes out and it's there.
"I love you both, more than anything," she clarified. "And I'd give anything to raise you, Emma. To have that time back. But I also know that's not possible. And I know that cursed…we were happy. All three of us. You weren't completely open, but you didn't hate us, Emma. You trusted us."
Emma adverted her gaze and Snow gnawed on her lower lip.
"And I get why you don't now. Because I'm not Mary Margaret. I'm not the foster mom that made you baked goods and drove you to softball," she paused, drinking in the memory. "I'm Snow White. Your birth mom. The one who you told Mary Margaret that you wanted to find, but you also didn't understand why she gave you away."
Emma didn't say anything, her eyes stayed focused on the hardwood floor.
"I wish I could be Mary Margaret for you, Emma. I wish I could be her so you could be comfortable again. So we could all be happy. But the truth is, that curse wasn't real." She gestured between David and herself. "This is who we are. Two people that love you, more than anything in the world. Two people that put you in a wardrobe to give you, your best chance, but that best chance hurt you too. It hurt all of us. It was not an easy choice to make."
Emma slowly looked back up at Snow. Her anger melted, replaced by that lost little girl that Mary Margaret had been introduced to after Emma broke a vase and had been so sure she'd be "sent back". Snow reached out her hand but Emma shook her head, instead heading up for her room.
David's voice came out soft. "Should we…"
Snow shook her head. "She won't leave right now. Give her space."
He nodded and slipped his hand through hers. Snow allowed one tear to fall, followed by another. David pulled her close to him and she nestled her head against his chest, allowing them to flow as she thought about the past, future and what could've been.
Emma woke up the following morning with sore eyes and a headache. She only had a beer and a half, so it couldn't be a hangover. No, it was from the crying she did after Snow's emotional confession.
Why did feelings have to be so difficult? This was why Emma didn't bother with them?
She climbed out of bed, glad she had the sense to change into some gray sweats and a Storybrooke High Softball shirt before she fell asleep. Sleeping in her leather jacket is never a fun experience. Slowly, Emma climbed down the stairs, peering to see who was awake. The kitchen and living room were empty. Snow still slept soundly in her bed, a pile of blankets bundled up beside her that Emma assumed were David. Great, she could grab some breakfast before they woke up and then hide back in her room.
Emma popped two chocolate Pop Tarts into the toaster and poured a glass of apple juice to drink. Even Mary Margaret had hated apples, though she hadn't known why, but she still bought Emma's preferred juice. As she waited for the Pop Tarts to come up, she heard the bathroom door open.
David wasn't in bed after all.
He stood before her, dressed in a black long sleeved t-shirt and some jeans, his hair wet from a shower. Emma chewed on her lip, debating leaving the Pop Tarts but she was starving. Instead, she focused her eyes on the glass of juice in front of her.
"My dad was an alcoholic," David said after awhile.
Emma looked up. "Huh?"
"My dad likes to drink," he repeated. "Heaven knows we didn't have the money for it, but he indulged as much as he could."
"I thought you were a prince."
"I wasn't always. I grew up on a farm, raised by a single mom. When I was older, I found out I had a twin brother that had been given up for adoption to pay for our medicine and save our farm. He had gone to a wealthy king but had died and the king needed someone to fight a beast."
Emma blinked. This story was far more complicated than the Disney movie had her believe. The prince was barely in it. "So you became a prince, just like that?"
"But you said your dad was a drunk." The Pop Tarts popped up, but she didn't touch them.
"He was. I never knew him sober. And his drinking lead to his death when I was 6."
"Oh." Emma frowned. She suddenly felt sorry for David. He had a hard life it would seem. She didn't like that. "That's bad."
"It was. It's why I'm careful about drinking and I think you should be too. Probably waiting until the legal age is here."
"I didn't get drunk last night," Emma defended herself.
"I know. But alcohol can lead you down a dangerous road, Ive seen it. And I don't want to see it happen to you."
Emma nodded. "I'll be careful." David gave her a look and she sighed. "I won't touch a drop again until I'm 21."
"Thank you." Emma removed her hot pastries, bopping them from one hand to another. "You're grounded for a week."
Emma rolled her eyes, putting the Pop Tarts onto a plate. "Not surprised."
She walked to the island, sliding into a seat and diving into her breakfast. David started on the coffee, before opening the cabinets in search of some cereal.
"Snow loves you," he said. "Just like I do."
Emma bit into her Pop Tart, wishing the fudgey flavor could save her from her conflicting feelings when it came to her parents.
"Would you love me, even if I hadn't broken the curse?" Emma challenged. She's only half-joking, seriously wondering if she would be so beloved had she "failed".
David shut the cabinets, turning around to face her. His fingers gripped the island, his blue eyes matching her green. "Emma, we never wanted to you to be the savior. It was a prophecy written in the stars long before any of us were born. We wanted you to have a normal life, just like any other kid. Our love for you, has nothing to do with you being the savior. Your mom loves you, I love you, kid, because you're Emma. Our daughter. Our everything."
Emma bit her lip, not having expected such an answer. Snow was usually the one with the speeches. It made her a little uncomfortable as she wasn't used to it…but she felt a level of security added as well.
The two ate their breakfast mostly in silence after that. A little later, Snow could be heard in the background getting up and heading to the shower. David started on her tea and making her oatmeal, just as Emma watched him do most mornings. He doted on her and it was sweet, in a gross rom-com way.
The tea and mush was done by the time Snow emerged from the bathroom. She kissed her husband good morning and gave a smile in Emma's direction, before sitting two stools down. She was giving her space and Emma appreciated it.
"Snow?" Snow looked shocked when Emma called her name. "I um, need school supplies. I know I'm grounded, but do you think we could go later? If you're not busy."
Snow's lips turned upwards. "I'd love to."
Emma nestled further into her seat, picking a banana from the fruit bowl. She still wasn't sure how to figure out this situation…but if they were going to try, so could she.