Author's Note: I do not in any way own or take credit for the wonderful world & characters that this story is compiled of. The rightful credit goes to J.K. Rowling and the writers of Once Upon A Time for their characters and world. Also, please bear with me as I have not written a fan fiction in many years.


Prologue: 1982

Her robes flow about her legs as she hurries down the corridor. Her heels click on the old stones, creating an eerie echo. The eyes she passes in her haste follow her questioningly. In her arms the bundle stirs, hazel eyes fluttering open, framed by long blonde lashes. The blanket swaddling the babe is white with purple ribbon trimming; Professor McGonagall peers down at the precious little girl, "Emma." The name is stitched elegantly on the corner of the blanket. It's the only way she knew what to call the infant. Wisps of blond curls dust the top of the newborn baby's head. A cry escapes the baby's pink little lips, McGonagall rushes faster, all the while minding her step so as not to trip.

"Professor, might I inquire as to your haste at such a late hour? Your cheeks are quite flushed," Headmaster Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore glances at her as she nearly falls through the doorway into his office. He does not seem overly startled to see her, but she should expect no less from the great wizard before her. "Please, sit, Minerva," He instructs as he waves his wand, a baby bottle appearing on the edge of his desk. "I'm sure she's quite hungry after her journey."

After so many years, you would think nothing would surprise her anymore, but the fact that Albus seemed to be expecting her to stumble into his office with a babe in her arms, shocks her. No, the babe is not hers. Minerva is not nearly as old as Albus, but she is old enough to have seen her child bearing years pass her by. She was never blessed with children, as much as she might have wanted to be.

Without another thought she plops herself into the chair before Dumbledore's ornate desk and snatching the bottle puts it to the now wailing infant's mouth. The baby quiets immediately, content now in her suckling. "Where has she come from, Albus?" Minerva whispers, terrified to upset the little dear she cradles closely.

"We must not speak of that now, these walls have ears, you know." He whispers, peering over his half-moon spectacles at her. "What you must know is that you need to care for her. We will tell everyone that she is your granddaughter, her mother died in childbirth and entrusted her daughter to you."

Minerva's mouth hangs aghast; she cannot surely be hearing him correctly. He wants her to keep the baby? Who is this little girl, where did she come from, why has she appeared at Hogwarts? And to appear in McGonagall's wardrobe no less… So many questions, questions she knows he will not share with her at the moment. She trusts him though, with her life, so she knows that there must be a good reason why she has been entrusted to do this.

Sweet baby, Emma, is now sleeping soundly, a droplet of milk hangs on her chin that Minerva wipes delicately away with her thumb. Careful not to wake her, she whispers, "Is she a muggle, Albus?"

"No, neither is she a witch. She is not one of us, but it shouldn't be too hard to convince others that she is." Albus stands suddenly, waving his wand; black drapes suddenly cover each portrait in the room. Another flick of his wrist and the room becomes eerily silent. "We will only speak of this once, Minerva, so listen carefully."

Minerva sits wide eyed, unable to look away from the intense look in Dumbledore's eyes. "Her name is Emma Swan, and she is not from our realm. She is from another realm that does not exist, as far as anyone is concerned. I knew she would come, although this was not where they intended her to show up. She has a very important destiny, and now we must take careful steps to see that she lives long enough to fulfill it."

Struck dumb by his words, Minerva stutters, "Does…Does she have magic, Albus?"

"More than we will ever know…"


In Another Realm

"Where is the baby!?" The Evil Queen shrieks as she storms into the nursery, her cape of black adorned with red feathers whips behind her as if it too is furious.

"She got away," Snow White says in triumph, nearly to herself. Looking up with a broken smile on her red lips, her body weak from child birth, and her Prince Charming dying in her arms, she laughs, "Good will always win, Regina."

Disgust paints itself across the Evil Queen's face, the wind in the room picks up, and the building begins to crumble, being sucked into the swirling purple and green smoke. The curse is only seconds away from devouring them, and sending them to a land without magic. "Where are we going?" Snow White cries, terror seizing her chest as she realizes how real all of this is. In her heart she tries to hold onto hope, that in 28 years her daughter will find them, and fulfill the prophecy of breaking the curse. But in that moment, as she stares up at the Evil Queen, as the nursery she worked so hard on crumbles, she experiences a flutter of doubt. This could really be the end. What if good doesn't always win?

"We're going somewhere horrible, where I will be the only one who gets a happy ending," The Evil Queen cackles as the curse envelopes them.


17 Years Later

She had been warned not to venture out of the castle. They were all on lock down, and had been for over a year. Everyone was supposed to travel in groups, and never after dark. Emma was never one to follow the rules though; she always did her own thing. She'd given her poor grandmother a head ache on more than one occasion over the past 17 years. Two years ago they had all thought that Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived had defeated He-Who-Should-Not-Be-Named. So many people had died in the battle at Hogwarts. Dumbledore had died a few years before then, that's truly when the chaos had started. Now Headmistress of Hogwarts, Emma's grandmother, Minerva McGonagall, was doing her best to keep everyone else safe. The parts of the castle that weren't entirely ruins were heavily charmed, guards were constantly posted at every entryway, all to protect those inside from the evil that was still at their gates. Two long years they had been at war, two long years, they had been endlessly fighting, trying desperately to destroy the Dark Lord.

Emma looked around her, carefully eyeing the shadows; she wasn't even sure why she was out here. She'd had the strangest dream, and had awoken desperately needing fresh air. Not that the air was very fresh outside, the sky had been nearly black for months, the air was heavy with ash. Something was always burning, even in the cold of winter the air smelled of rot, and weighed heavily with smoke. She really hadn't intended to go very far, just beyond the wards, close enough that she could step back through if need be.

Standing there, wrapped in darkness and smoke, she didn't see the figures approaching her. She didn't see them until it was too late. She was knocked unconscious before she could even scream for help. The seconds before blackness overtook her, she cursed her stupidity. She should have known better than to venture out on her own.

The dim light in the room is blinding, as she starts to awaken. Her head is throbbing; whatever curse they hit her with was not gentle when it knocked her out. She hears voices, muffled but not far from her. She glances up, seeing the ceiling high above her, her body is stiff from being sprawled on the floor for god knows how long. A shadow steps over her and a drink is thrust into her hands. "Drink," a voice hisses. Emma shakes her head; she will not drink something from these people. They're likely trying to drug her. "Suit yourself, bitch, he'll like it better if you scream." Without another word the shadow is gone. Emma blinks hard, trying to get her eyes to adjust to the lighting, all the while fighting the throbbing in her skull.

"Where am I?" Emma calls out, only to hear her voice echo back to her off stone walls. It honestly looks like she's back in the Hogwarts castle, but this part of the castle is much worse for wear than the parts her friends and grandmother are heavily protected in.

Before she has the chance to examine her surroundings much more, another shadow descends on her, and she feels cold hands grasp her wrists. The lighting in the room flickers ominously, and for a moment she sees the face inches from hers. She screams, the face is ghostly pale and snakelike in appearance. His voice slithers in her ear like writhing reptile, "You're mine now, Emma Swan, and you will give me the victory I need."

She screams again, desperately trying to shove him off of her, but he is too strong. His body is heavy, and smells slightly of rot. It's as if the body pieced together to house his dark soul is decaying with him still in it. Bile rises in her throat, she hears tearing cloth and shrieks so loud she is sure the entire universe can hear her. Tears sting her eyes as she realizes what is about to happen, but there is nothing she can do to stop it. She doesn't have her wand, and any spell she might have been able to think up to shove him off, flits from her mind. Despair washes over her… And then there is more blackness…