Chapter 23

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Storybrooke

Gracie's eyes fluttered open. She flinched away the sudden light that blinded her. Everything was still hazy and she couldn't make our her surroundings.

"Gracie," A man hummed to her left, "What a beautiful name. I have... had a daughter named Grace."

Gracie turned her head and squinted, trying to make the man come into focus.

"Are you alright little one? I didn't want to have to knock you out like that but it was my only choice. Don't you speak?"

"Why did you do this?" Gracie spoke up, her throat feeling dry and scratchy, "Who are you? And where's Mary Margaret."

The stranger didn't answer her questions. Gracie regained her vision and finally got a good look at the man. She felt like she recognized him from somewhere, but she knew for a fact they'd never met before. Gracie watched the stranger stand up and move away from Gracie. The child's head was cluttered with questions. Should she make a run for it? Where was Mary Margaret? Who was this guy? These were all questions she needed answers to.

The man returned to Gracie with a glass of water, "Let's take this one question at a time. I am Jefferson. I thought you would know me."

Gracie heard this name before, but where she couldn't figure out. Everything was confusing for her. She recognized this stranger and his name. Jefferson said she should know him. Gracie felt overwhelmed as she took a sip of water.

"As for your mothe- I mean friend you don't need to worry about her," Jefferson said while taking the cup from Gracie, "she is safe."

"So what do you want?" Gracie asked while sitting up.

Jefferson looked down at her with a sly smirk. Gracie's arms folded over her chest.

"What makes you think I need something?"

"It just seems kind of obvious."

"You are one smart little girl," Jefferson motioned for Gracie, "follow me."

Gracie did as she was told. She still felt a bit off, but had to hold herself together. Jefferson lead her into a room with hats lining the walls. Every hat looked the same. A table sat in the middle of the room with supplies scattered on it. Jefferson pulled out a chair for Gracie.

"Sit."

"I'm not a dog," Gracie didn't move an inch, "What do you want with me?"

Jefferson sighed and made his way to Gracie. He lowered to her level and took her hand in his, which was immediately yanked away.

"This is exactly what I wanted to avoid with my Grace," he said, "I have to tell you something that you might find crazy. Are you willing to listen to me?"

Jefferson took Gracie's silence as a yes.

"You come from a different land, a land called the Enchanted Forest," Jefferson began.

Gracie's eyes widened, "First Henry and now you? Have you all lost her mind?"

"Gracie please listen. I have to get out of this world, I can suffer here any longer. Your Mother, Regina, cursed me to this realm. I need your help to free me."

"You're mad!"

"Gracie please, you posses the magic to make the hat work! Either you do or your sister does! You have to help me Gracie I beg you."

Gracie backed away from Jefferson, fear taking over her body. Her back hit the wall behind her causing a hat to fall over. She slid down and pulled her knees up to her chest. Gracie's head buried into her arms. The sight briefly pulled at Jefferson's heart, but he needed the hat to work. He needed to escape from this world.

He lifted the small child up with ease and placed her in the chair easily. Gracie stared at the supplies before her.

"I don't even know how to make a hat."

"A smart girl like yourself can figure it out," Jefferson patted her head, "Now stay here like a good child while I go get your sister."

Gracie's head collapsed onto the table. She felt defeated. She needed to find Mary Margaret. But, her thoughts were overwhelmed by what Jefferson said. Was Henry's storybook true? It would explain her recent visions. And who this sister Jefferson claimed Gracie had? Was it indeed Emma? Gracie let out a small sob as all these questions swarmed around her.

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Gracie felt the warm touch of someone rubbing her back, just like Regina always did when she was feeling down. It was comforting until Gracie realized she had no clue who was with her. She jerked up quickly, startling the blonde that was holding her close.

"Oh thank god," Emma sighed in relief, "I was getting worried you weren't going to wake up."

Gracie rubbed her eyes quickly and gathered her surroundings once again. Her eyes met with Emma's and relief filled Gracie. The small child threw her arms around Emma and hugged her tight. A smile formed on Emma's lips as she hugged back.

"I found you asleep at the table," Emma explained, not bothering to put Gracie back in her chair, "You looked and felt cold so I huddled you up to get some warmth into you. How'd you get here?"

Gracie explained the events that had unfolded. Emma then explained how she ended up here as well.

"Listen Gracie, we're getting out of here," Emma said, "I'll need your help. You're a brave, little girl right? I know where Mary Margaret is. I'll distract Jefferson and you go get her."

"Okay," Gracie breathed out, her voice shaky.

"Are you afraid?" Emma asked.

Gracie held her head up high and put on a tough face, "No. I'm ready to do this."

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