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Prince Charming ([personal profile] princehonorable) wrote2014-02-09 12:08 pm

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Since Graham had arrived, Charming's been eager to talk to him without Ruby around to see if they really were on the same page or if it's just hopeful thinking that has Charming believing that he's not alone. Still, even if Graham does remember, he's not sure he knows about the part where he might not know if he's dead. Everything has changed so much since those early days when even Charming had known nothing more than the fact that he was David Nolan, a man married to a wife he didn't love and in love with the local schoolteacher.

Regina couldn't control everything, not without their hearts. That thought makes him feel guilty as he thinks about how she had controlled Graham, all thanks to his heart.

Still, Charming needs to find out if Graham knows about the Enchanted Forest, so he starts his perusal of the hotel, searching it high to low. Eventually, it's the stables where he goes to look. He's been working there as a sort of stablehand whenever the frustration of not getting back to Neverland eats at him, but it's not a regular occurrence.

"Graham?" Charming calls out, when he hears footsteps near him. "Sheriff?"

And then, there's that last hopeful attempt.

follow_the_wolf: (Consideration)

[personal profile] follow_the_wolf 2014-02-09 11:38 pm (UTC)(link)
The walls had seemed to have begun closing in on him, reminding him in echoes of memories of the Queen's sharp, cold cage and his inability to leave its confines for anything but the excursions the Queen sent him on, each less palatable than the last. The stables had hardly been his first thought, for all that he had been drawn always more to the company of animals than he had of men. How could they be, when he had spent so much time in his youth confused as to why any animal would submit themselves to the control of men, and so much time later too aware that he understood the feeling of having been yoked too well.

Out in the openness of the air and the freedom from mirrors, he had roamed the hotel grounds for hours, loosing the tightness that wrapped around his chest under the guise of continuing his explorations of the Nexus. It was only later that he neared the stables and was drawn on by the faint knickering and pawing of the horses in their stalls, curious to see what animals there were under those roofs.

Names laced themselves into his memory, colored his thoughts with which personality they belonged to. Even as they were weaving themselves into one another with every passing day to allow him room to breathe without tripping accidental over some remembered horror done by or done to him. His being caught up in the mire of his thoughts and the senses that belonged to the Huntsman far more than Graham had him missing the latter being called out. Then the title Regina had bestowed on him. Finally the name the Queen had taken and turned into a title at her command, leaving nausea roiling faintly at the sound of it.

His head jerked over at the sound of it, ripped suddenly from his thoughts by one word. He turned the corner of the stables to see Snow's Prince standing there and found himself asking, "David? Or should I call you Prince?"
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[personal profile] follow_the_wolf 2014-02-10 03:17 am (UTC)(link)
Closing the distance between them until they stood at a more friendly space apart, the Huntsman lifted his hand to meet the other man for a shake. He hummed a thoughtful note, giving the hand in his grip a firm shake before dropping his hand to his side. "I'd heard you weren't actually Prince James, but beyond that all I know is that you were Snow's Prince. Honestly, that's all I needed to know."

"Graham," he said after a moment. "I remember - remembered just about a second before I got here, actually - but I'd rather you called me Graham." There was a halting set to his shoulders then, as he attempted to vocalize something of the difficulty of understanding himself both as Graham and the Huntsman when by all rights he should have pulled himself entirely back to being the Huntsman. Perhaps he would have if not for the eight years he had spent seeing that name turn to ash and blood in his mouth. Failing in his attempt to explain anything of the matter, he shook his head and instead turned to a different topic. "Ruby said she was from a few weeks after me, and you're a year or so. I take it that the Curse was broken somewhere between the two?"
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[personal profile] follow_the_wolf 2014-02-11 03:57 am (UTC)(link)
Nudged at his back by the nose of a horse greedy and in search for a treat, Graham moved a step to the side, lifting a hand to stroke over its cheek. The action allowed him space to think, then shook his head. "I can't remember ever hearing of it, no." There was a good deal of information in that one small speech and lacking context to put it together with what he knew, he had to work to fit the pieces of it together into something resembling sense in his world.

He zeroed on the most important question: "Are they in danger?"
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[personal profile] follow_the_wolf 2014-02-12 02:16 am (UTC)(link)
While he listened attentively to the other man's words, Graham was pulled up short by his last statement. It had him shaking his head, lifting a hand to point at the other man's chest in a gesture that was insistent but by no means meant to be threatening. "Never. Never wish for that, you might not know who might be listening." There was much that he did not understand of how or why he had been taken from Storybrooke, but he had lived too long under the shadow of foul, black magic as the Huntsman to not be absolutely careful when it came to wishing for things. There was never the divide between wholehearted and misunderstood jest with some magics.

He dropped his hand with a suddenly weary expression, his tone gone reproachful. "Not all of us slept for twenty eight years. Some of us would have preferred it."
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[personal profile] follow_the_wolf 2014-02-12 05:11 am (UTC)(link)
The topic was one difficult enough for Graham to understand that he had to take a step back and breathe away from it, the whole matter a mess in his head that a few days could not have straightened out. He reasoned that the Prince had had a good deal more time to come to terms with what had happened, and it was hardly as if he could blame the man for having gotten that much needed perspective where he himself had not. For a second he nearly apologized, but was unsure how or even if he should. The words caught and died in his throat, leaving him to nod in something like understanding.

"You were farming...beans." He repeated, the sentence dragged out in his disbelief as his brows furrowed. "To get home?"
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[personal profile] follow_the_wolf 2014-02-13 03:24 am (UTC)(link)
"Henry was kidnapped? By who?" Where he was attempting to keep up with the information of a year's time, dealt out even as sparingly as their conversation allowed, Graham thought he was surely heading for either a great headache or dangerous waters concerning the knowledge of the future. Magic beans that allowed the passage between worlds, the curse broken but no one returned properly to their world, Rumplestiltskin and Regina still in all was a bit much. "By Rumplestiltskin and Regina?"

The mention of the woman who had been much in the center of his thoughts in the days since he had remembered who he had been, so long ago, and Graham left all else to the side. "Is she safe where you're from, Red?" He spoke with a great deal of concern, perhaps as much or more than he had in assuring himself that Regina was nowhere around or that Charming knew where Snow was. It did not occur to him to even not it, never mind to consider that he had no idea if David even understood they had known each other once.
Edited 2014-02-13 03:24 (UTC)
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[personal profile] follow_the_wolf 2014-02-15 01:22 am (UTC)(link)
Graham could not help but lift a hand to his head, pressing his fingers against his brow in an attempt to stem a threatening headache. Without a year's context to slate the information David told him, he could not seem to sort out the familiar and unfamiliar names, the strange situations and ideas into anything resembling sense to a man who had only remembered himself mere days before. He knew it was his own understanding that was lacking and it was hardly the most flattering of feelings.

The comment of Rumplestiltskin being Henry's other grandfather was more or less the final nail in the coffin.

He sucked in and then let out a breath, shaking his head as he dropped his hand again to his side. "I think we should get a drink." That he was assured that Red was safe - and what was this about Red being accused of killing, he knew her as both woman and wolf and could not imagine her turning on her friends - allowed him that much comfort in a sea of confusion. As he told the other man, "A strong one."
Edited 2014-02-15 09:06 (UTC)
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[personal profile] follow_the_wolf 2014-02-15 09:27 pm (UTC)(link)
Graham had no desire to then consider the implications of how or why Emma had apparently had a child with the son of the Dark One, the sheer mechanics of it as well as any confusion over Rumplestiltskin even having a son, let alone how he could have one available outside Storybrooke to father a child. He chose instead to focus on the relief over Red being safe and well back in that future Storybrooke. That as well as the knowledge that he could watch over Ruby there in the Nexus allowed an island of steadiness to his world he sorely needed.

"Sounds good to me," he walked alongside the other man and was surprised to find that he preferred the man's company and understanding to the idea of being left alone. Perhaps for one of the first times in his life. "If you need anything-" for a second he broke off, the words seeming unwieldy on his tongue before he gave the other man a rueful grin, "Well, I would give you a whistle as I did Snow, but we'll figure something out."
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[personal profile] follow_the_wolf 2014-02-16 03:20 am (UTC)(link)
There was no more point in considering the fact that Snow had never had the chance to use the whistle he had cut for her than there was in attempting to imagine what the world might have been like for him had the Queen fallen for his lie at least long enough for him to have gotten out of her kingdom. Even had he not been taken off guard by the other man's words and the direct honesty of his voice that suggested David believed what he said. Graham's eyebrows rose and he was left a second speechless as they neared the bar, before he chose a seat for himself and turned his head towards Snow's prince.

"I'm not sure if I would count the first time I meant Snow, given what I had meant to do," he demurred, although his tone was thoughtful. "Save for what I could do for her and for her, I have done more bad than good." The thought of what he had been forced to do under Regina's command turned his stomach and left him quick to speak of something better. "Did she tell you that I met her twice before I ever saw you?"
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[personal profile] follow_the_wolf 2014-02-17 12:22 am (UTC)(link)
As strange as it was to be sitting down with the man and ordering up a drink, he couldn't say it was an unpleasant feeling. Anything but, really.

The topic of Snow was one of the few he could find that was not painted in regret. While Regina had tried to twist those memories with her influence and the part she had played in them, she had ultimately failed. Graham took his glass from the bartender with a nod and a quiet thank you and angled himself toward David to speak.

"I only managed to escape Regina once. Years before the curse, she'd recruited a wolfpack to help her," he tipped his head before shaking it, lifting his glass to his mouth to take a drink. "When she took me out to watch what they did to a village that had resisted her, Red showed up."
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[personal profile] follow_the_wolf 2014-02-17 03:15 am (UTC)(link)
"I was able to grab the box with my heart and escape while Regina was distracted, and-" he broke off to fiddle with the glass on the countertop a second in the remembrance of the long hunt to find the wolf who had quite literally stolen his heart out of his arms, and of the woman's shock and horror at seeing what it was she had stolen before she had given it back to him. "Once Red and I realized that we were not on opposite sides, that we both wanted to keep the Queen from finding Snow, we agreed to band together to find her ourselves instead."

He remembered the surprise in it as much as the enjoyment of the werewoman's company as they had followed Red's knowledge of the princess to discover her outside a tavern in the dead of night.

"We found her just as she had decided to turn herself in to the Queen in the hopes of stopping her reign of terror." He shook his head and took a drink, "Even if you and I both know that killing Snow would not have kept Regina from destroying everything in her desire for power."
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[personal profile] follow_the_wolf 2014-02-17 11:12 pm (UTC)(link)
There was an embarrassed kick to his realizing that he had sunk himself into those remembered events and feelings so easily, in that surprising turn to adventure and of doing right, all without thinking too much of how it had ended. Graham lifted his glass to his mouth again to drain it in the hopes that the burn of alcohol could make it easier to speak matter of factly about it. Finally, he set the glass back to the countertop and turned his head towards the other man. "I gave it to her."

The words settled sour on his tongue and had him carefully adding, "It was the only way to allow Red time to get Snow away and still keep Regina from killing the Pack when they turned on her." As if his reasons could have made his decision any more palatable.
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[personal profile] follow_the_wolf 2014-02-20 12:49 am (UTC)(link)
"I can't say I'm feeling optimistic about that not having changed," he told Charming, but his tone was commiserating and wholly without bite. He knew better than most exactly how fixated Regina could be. All along it had been about destroying Snow and making her pay for whatever slight, real or imagined, that the younger woman had dealt her stepmother. No matter how the Huntsman had pushed for mercy, for forgiveness, for the girl and not for himself, his attempts had come to nothing as far as he was aware.

He allowed the bartender to trade his empty glass for a fresh one before he spoke again, measuring his words with care. "I don't regret it. No matter all that happened and all I had to do, I would do it again if it meant they were safe." If anything he knows of the man proved true, he thought that David would understand that.
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[personal profile] follow_the_wolf 2014-02-21 04:23 am (UTC)(link)
It sounded too fantastical to Graham's mind that there could be some other way than through bloodshed and too many lives lost against Regina's magic and her dealings with whatever dark creatures she could lure to her side. Regina was too fanatical, too seduced by power to be dissuaded by any means that he could see. She had proven time and time again that she would only trade one cruelty for the opportunity of another. While he allowed a sympathetic nod, he decided to keep his opinion on the matter to himself as he could see no way that it might help either of them to say so aloud at the moment. Instead he chose to say "And as many friends as enemies. It might help to remember that, that for all else you two will never have to stand alone."

David's question forced him to pause and consider how to say what he had only begun to turn over in his mind. Finally, he shook his head. "No, I will not." His brow furrowed, fingers brushing over the rim of his glass. "There's nothing left for me there. I had thought-" he broke off, uncertain of how to put it before he decided it was best to simply admit what he had not been able to in so many years. "I had thought I had a chance for something there once, beyond simply having my freedom, but now- Now she does not even remember who I am."
Edited 2014-02-21 04:23 (UTC)
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[personal profile] follow_the_wolf 2014-02-23 03:25 am (UTC)(link)
He did not want to count through the years he had lost to Regina's control, those years too out of his control and yet ones he could not entirely absolve himself of what he had done. Eight years after Snow to the Curse, those years after the Curse lost to a haze. All moving beside people he had known and not known, and been entirely unaware of either.

What he was about to say he wasn't sure how David would react to, as without context it might have seemed entirely out of left field. He scrubbed a hand over the back of his hair and admitted, "Red, actually."
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[personal profile] follow_the_wolf 2014-02-25 08:03 am (UTC)(link)
Another time and he would have to admit to the man that he had kissed Emma, ignorant of the fact that she was Snow and David's daughter. That matter was as tangled as any and was sure to make his head hurt even if it wasn't already full of the clash of two lives and the complication of Red/Ruby. Another time, but not this one.

Ruby and Red pushed Emma too easily out of his head, and when the other man laughed, he let himself smile. He had realized it too late to have done anything about it before the world had forced his hand. What he had buried willingly to keep from Regina had been become what had been buried for him, and when the woman had stood in front of him and held nothing of those memories in her eyes, he had felt all the more lost for it. Still, she was safe, she appeared happy, and he was not alone for both her and the Prince's presence.

"I was raised by them, actually," he replied easily, taking a mouthful of his drink. Where his words that followed had come only with disdain in the past, just then they came with a note of amusement, "They make a whole lot more sense than your kind."
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[personal profile] follow_the_wolf 2014-02-26 11:39 pm (UTC)(link)
In all likelihood and outside the realm as was connected to Snow and the reports the Queen had hissed in rage over, he knew no more about the other man's life than David knew about his. It had him listening attentively, even as he curled his hand around his glass and tipped it onto one side of its bottom and swirled the alcohol round and round. The action helped divert something of the energy that buzzed through his fingertips and across his shoulders. He meant to allow the other man to speak without any needed comment, but the word 'deal' caught his attention too much to let pass him by. "Deal?" he repeated, "What deal was that?"

He could not disagree with the man on the other matter, no matter that his experience had been almost the exact opposite in those who had raised him. Those he had left behind. He lifted his glass to his mouth again but paused there, lowering it again as he attempted to make sense enough to explain his thoughts without simply overwhelming the conversation with them. "Red had what my pack lacked - this sense of honor and the desire to do right by more than just herself. The Pack was too driven by fear and anger, I had to leave them long ago."
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[personal profile] follow_the_wolf 2014-02-28 02:53 am (UTC)(link)
That- that actually explained a good many things when it came to Regina's cryptic commentary, the smug tilt of her lips when she had spoken of the Prince and the King. The nature of having gotten his information only overheard or from the Queen's gloating had left his knowledge of the goings on of the world outside the Palace at once skewed and spotty. He had known that the man had not been King George's son, but had thought it fruitless to guess at how or why that situation had come about.

There was only one who the Huntsman could think of who would make such a deal, but he would not speak the creature's name aloud unless it was necessary.

"Huh," he said instead, tipping his head a degree at that new information before letting it be. Only for the conversation to open the way to the confession he had just set aside for a later time. "I do not know." He wanted, almost desperately, for Red to remember herself but could not say how it could be accomplished. He steeled himself, drank the entirety of his glass in one swallow and turned himself to look at David evenly as he told him in measured words, "I kissed Emma. That is when I began to remember."
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[personal profile] follow_the_wolf 2014-02-28 05:06 am (UTC)(link)
It's habit of twenty-eight years that had his hands lifting, palms forward in the universal gesture of 'wait wait wait' "Look, it wasn't like that-" A few days space was nowhere near enough for him to be able to forget the desire to kiss her or that he had done so while thoroughly sloshed. "It wasn't something I should have begun with her, I knew that - I just - I couldn't feel anything for as long as I could remember. Not until she arrived, and I couldn't understand why," He was rushing over his words, trying to make himself understood even where he had gone about everything the wrong way.

He stopped and sighed, "Without her I could not have freed myself from Regina, I would not have remembered who I am, and I am nothing but not grateful to Emma for what she has done for me. If she hadn't kissed me-" Even where he wanted to leave no doubt that he had nothing but respect and, yes, affection for the woman, he could not find the words to encompass all of what he felt then. He shook his head, "I did not mean to leave her, David, but if there is a chance in the world to be with the woman I love, shouldn't I take it?"
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[personal profile] follow_the_wolf 2014-03-04 12:30 am (UTC)(link)
With his understanding of men limited to the cobbled together knowledge he had picked up before the Queen's collar had tightened at his throat, and twisted through the years of his captivity, Graham did not know what to make of the situation. Not involving a man and his grown daughter. Not to do with protocol or expected behavior. Certainly not when the Dark Curse muddied the waters beyond any hope of matters clearing on their own.

He managed a nod at what seemed to be the other man's upset settling, but felt no more sure of the situation. Or that he had been at all successful at making himself understood. As it was, Graham thought he would gladly take the man simply taking pity on him enough to let it slide. Only for him to have to lift a hand to his hair again at the question asked of him. The matter had taken up much of his thoughts where it had been able, but his understanding of the Curse was tenuous at best and his ability to break such powerful magics non-existent as far as he knew. He had not been able to save himself from Regina's manipulations, how could he hope to save Ruby from her magic? "I don't know," he admitted, finally. "I don't even know if she felt the same as I had, all those years ago."
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[personal profile] follow_the_wolf 2014-03-09 02:23 am (UTC)(link)
Graham neither wanted nor sought the other man's pity, and so made to attempt to push further into the topic of what he had just admitted. Frankly, he was glad David left it as it was and did not prod at the confusion and frustration over the matter that Graham thought he needed a good deal more time to understand himself.

"I am too," he agreed, unable to stop the sigh that followed, though he would not forget to be grateful that Ruby was safe. That he stood not alone in a strange place, that he had an ally he knew could be trusted (as rare a thing as that was, to his mind). "Emma did break the Curse with time, didn't she?" As much as he hated the idea that Ruby might have to leave in order to remember what they had all lost, he could not deny that that might have been a strong possibility. "She is - as far as I am aware - the only one who holds the key to breaking the Curse."
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[personal profile] follow_the_wolf 2014-03-14 02:11 am (UTC)(link)
While he begrudged neither David nor Snow their happiness, having been witness for too long to the hatred Regina had nursed for the pair and the evil she had wreaked in her desire to destroy her step daughter, Graham did not smile then. He nodded, "I understand." Graham had little love of magic and less belief that it was the key to one's happiness, but even if it did not fix everything, breaking the Curse on Red was the least he owed her. "I don't expect a happy ending, David. I know better than to hope for that for me, but what matters is that Red be free of Regina's spell."