Disclaimer: I do not own Once Upon a Time or the characters. This is just one of the many sandboxes I like to play in per say. :)

AN: This is my first Once Upon a Time fic. I've been a huge fan of the series since the beginning, but I just recently decided I wanted to try a story out after re-watching the whole series again. I do have a lot of experience with fanfiction though and have wrote many.

I love the idea of Snow and David getting to raise Emma. But I wanted to still bring them to Storybrooke. So I came up with this idea. This story is mainly a Snowing pairing and with lots of DaddyCharming moments, especially in the beginning. But will later include OutlawQueen and as Emma ages, a brief SwanFire(Henry, of course), and eventually much later down the road, CaptainSwan, as this story will span many years.

Things will be more clear as the story goes and since in our world this story starts in 1983 and continues in 1993 in the early chapters, there are no cell phones yet. Just keep that mind when you see the characters using land lines and pay phones. Hope you enjoy and let me know what you think!


Regina casts the curse and in the moments before Charming can put his daughter in the wardrobe, he is instead knocked into it and lays beside it with baby Emma in his arms as the curse sweeps over them. Due to the magical properties, he is found on the side of the road in Maine with his daughter. After ten years in a coma, he wakes up in a strange world with a jumble of partial memories. Together, he and Emma must not only venture to Storybrooke to find a wife he doesn't remember and who has no idea who they are. Even at the tender age of ten, can Emma break the curse? Or will Regina make sure she and David regret stepping inside Storybrooke?

Finding You Always

Chapter 1: Altered Prophecy

With a last lingering kiss from her on his lips, he took the bundle in his arms, sword drawn, as he raced to the wardrobe. The curse was nearly upon them and his wife's gut wrenching sobs tore at his heart. How had it come to this? How had he allowed this? For he and Snow to be ripped apart yet again and this time would be worse. They would be apart from their child as well. Tears pricked his eyes, but he pushed them back, as he slashed his way through the Queen's black Knights. Twenty-eight years would pass before the curse was broken or so it was prophesied. He and Snow would miss it all. Her first word, her first steps, her first ball...he cleared his mind. He had to let go of all that and safeguard their baby.

He slayed what he thought was the last guard and opened the wardrobe, prepared to place his daughter inside. He gazed down at the tiny, wriggling bundle, as a tear slipped down his cheek and he pressed a kiss to the infant's forehead.

But before he could place her inside, he felt a searing pain in his side, as one of of Regina's Knights wounded him. He fell to his knees and saw the soldier raise his sword to finish him. He tucked Emma close to his chest and inched back toward the wardrobe. The soldier kicked him in the abdomen, knocking him against it, as he pressed baby Emma close to his chest. Unbeknownst to him, some of the magical dust from the wood sprinkled on him and Emma upon contact.

The black Knight raised his sword to finish the prince when the black smoke swept over them and everything went dark…

Somewhere in rural Maine, 1983

Pinocchio was scared. It had been hours since he had come through the wardrobe and there was no sign of the baby. She should have been here by now. He was tired, cold, and hungry. And he missed his papa. He began walking alongside the road until he saw a light ahead. It was a strange looking house of sorts and he could see people inside. He only hoped they could help him.

A few miles away in rural Maine, 1983

The tiny swaddled baby wailed loudly, still in her unconscious father's arms, as headlights approached and stopped. A man stepped out of the car and gasped at the sight. He quickly got back inside the car and found the nearest pay phone and within twenty minutes, an ambulance was there. The man was thought to be dead for a moment, until they miraculously found a faint pulse. The knife wound, or so it looked, seemed telling, but blood loss appeared to minimal.

"Does he have any ID?" one of the police officer's asked, as the baby was cradled by one of the paramedics.

"Found a wallet on him," the paramedic said, handing it to the officer. There was no clues as to how this man, dressed simply a pair of jeans, button down shirt, and leather jacket came to be unconscious by the side of the road with an infant, with a stab wound in his side no less.. It screamed of foul play, but there wasn't a shred of evidence, like they had just dropped out of the sky. The baby was unharmed and they had also assumed was this man's child. It would be confirmed with a blood test at the hospital.

"David Nolan," the office said, as he examined the driver's license. He ran it through the state patrol's database.

"From Storybrooke Maine," he said.

"Storybrooke? I've never heard of it. It's not even on the map," his partner said in confusion. The senior office shrugged.

"Let's get to the hospital. Maybe this David Nolan can tell us what happened when he wakes up and where this Storybrooke is,"

Regina opened her dark eyes and sat up in her satin sheeted bed. She smiled and hurried to the window, seeing her town that she had created sprawling before her.

She had done it. She had gotten her way at last. Now...she just needed to make her rounds and soak in everyone's misery.

After getting dressed, she ventured outside her mansion. The clothing in this land was strange, but much more comfortable and she liked the way the clothing item they called a pant suit flattered her figure.

"Good morning, Madam Mayor," a bespectacled ginger haired man walking a dalmatian greeted kindly. She smiled.

"Dr. Hopper," she said coolly, as she continued walking and slammed into someone.

"Oh...Madam Mayor...I'm so sorry," the petite brunette with a pixie cut said. Regina smirked.

"You should really watch where you're going, Ms. Blanchard," Regina scolded, eating up the meek look on her nemesis' face. Snow White had been anything but meek, but this was Mary Margaret Blanchard, the kindly and meek school teacher, who was very much single now. She watched her step daughter scurry off in delight, before continuing on. There was one more thing she had to check on. It was Charming's curse to remain comatose and never awaken. If he was near Snow, even without their memories, it could unravel everything she had built.

But when she arrived at the hospital, Dr. Whale had no idea who she was talking about. The bed where David was supposed to be forever sleeping was empty. She frowned and marched back to the Mayor's office. She dug out the Census books and quickly scanned the N's. No David Nolan…

"That's not possible!" she screamed.

"Unless…" she thought for a moment. She had sent her guards to cut him down. Maybe he had actually died of his injuries. If so, he would have been left behind by the curse. Either way...no Charming would mean Snow would never remember and she was free to make her miserable for eternity, depriving her of her memories and true love. If Charming was dead...then she really had won.

The Officer cradled the infant girl, as he waited to hear from the doctor. She had been fed and it was determined that she was less than a day old. Where the mother could be was a mystery.

"Doctor...how is Mr. Nolan?" he asked.

"He's stable, but I'm afraid he's slipped into a coma. We don't really understand why, as there seem to be no life threatening injuries," the doctor reported.

"Did you do a blood test?" the officer asked. The doctor nodded.

"It's a match. That man is her biological father. We've called social services. Until the time that Mr. Nolan awakes, she'll be placed in the foster system," the doctor said. The officer looked down at the beautiful baby and wanted nothing more than to find whoever had done this to her father, but the scene was clean, like they had just appeared out of nowhere. There wasn't much else he could do with the case with no evidence so he only had to hope that the man would wake up someday soon and find his daughter.

Regina walked into Mr. Gold's pawnshop the next morning and eyed the imp behind the counter with suspicion. It was Rumple that wanted her to cast the curse. He had insisted she do it and she assumed it was because he had no one he loved to sacrifice to enact the terrible curse. But now she wondered what, if any fail safes he may have added to Maleficent's concoction.

"I'm looking for someone," Regina stated.

"Do I look like a bail bondsman?" Gold retorted. She gave him an unimpressed look.

"I'm serious. I'm looking for someone who should be in this town, but isn't," she insisted impatiently.

"Did you check the town Census?" he asked. She clenched her teeth.

"Don't you think that's the first place I looked?" she snapped.

"Then I'm not sure what to tell you. I deal in antiquities...not people," he snapped back. Regina searched his eyes for any flicker of recognition and found none. He really had no memory of their lives in the Enchanted Forest. She turned and headed for the door.

"Always a pleasure, dearie," he said. She paused for a moment, hearing him use that endearment and then quietly left. She looked around her little town and smiled. No...everything was just as it should be, better in fact. Charming was dead and therefore Snow White's happy ending was forever crushed…

The Enchanted Forest

Merlin surveyed the devastation that the Evil Queen's curse wrought upon this realm. Curiously, there was a small corner of it that remained untouched, but that was not his largest concern. As the most powerful Sorcerer in all the realms, he rarely interfered in any events that occurred, especially realms other than his home of Camelot. But what had happened here caused him great concern. Snow White and Prince Charming had taken measures to protect their child, a product of true love, to grow up untouched by the curse and eventually break the Evil Queen's curse. It was very noble. He was not often impressed by mortals and a true love like this one was a rare jewel.

And the product, little Emma Swan, would be powerful. However, something had not gone quite as planned. The child's father had somehow ended up outside the trappings of the curse and would now sleep until the curse upon him was weakened or broken. But with Snow White trapped by the curse, this would never happen. The only other source of that love would come from his daughter. An act of true love from child to parent.

But twenty-eight years was much too long under these circumstances. It would never happen and if he did not see that her belief was nurtured at a young age, there would be no hope. He held out his hands and in them appeared a book. The author would be quite displeased with his interference, but he did not trust him to alter the plan to counter the Queen's curse on his own. He was mortal, after all, and prone to selfishness. He waved his hand over it, adding his own specific enchantments, and it disappeared.

He then turned an eye to the corner that was untouched. Dark magic was protecting it and whoever was frozen inside would certainly be a threat. They would awaken when the curse was broken...unless he interfered.

"Emma needs time to come into her magic and the curse will be broken long before it was prophesied," Merlin realized. With a wave of his hand, he added his own layer of magic to the shield.

"Regardless of when the curse is broken, this land will not awaken for the foretold twenty-eight years," Merlin declared. And with that, he disappeared. He had interfered enough for one day. Good would always win...but this time it needed a bit of help.

Five years later

Little Emma Swan hugged her knees to her chest, as she cried. She hated the group home. The kids were mean and the adults were even worse. She tried to be a good girl, but no matter what she did, no one seemed to want her. Not even her real parents, whoever they were, had wanted her. They left her on the side of the road. She blinked through her tears and suddenly noticed a man beside her. He was an adult, but not a very old one by his looks and he smiled kindly at her.

"Who are you?" Emma asked.

"My name is Merlin and I have something for you," the man said, as he handed a book.

"Fairy tales?" Emma asked, as she opened the book.

"Just because they are fairy tales does not mean they can't be true. You only must believe," he replied, as the blonde child flipped through the book. She stopped on a page illustrating an Evil Queen interrupting Snow White and Prince Charming's wedding. These were different than ones she had read before or in the movies she had seen. Suddenly, she saw had a vision in her head. The beautiful Snow White, crying, as Prince Charming kissed her and carried the bundle away, defending the baby with his sword. The baby was wrapped in her baby blanket! She gasped, as the vision ended and Merlin put a finger to his mouth,

"What you saw can be our secret. This book will help you find your parents, Emma," Merlin said. The little girl frowned.

"No it won't. My parents didn't want me," Emma sniffed.

"I have something else for you. The social worker didn't want to give it to you, but I decided that you should have it," he said, as he handed her a piece of paper.

"What is it?" she asked.

"A note from the Police Officer that found you that night. He wrote it to you," Merlin said, as the little girl opened it. Okay, so the last part wasn't entirely true. But he needed Emma to believe in something that came from this world first if she was ever to believe in anything from another realm.

"Can you read it?" he asked. She smiled.

"I'm really good at that. I'm way ahead of the other kids my age," Emma replied. Merlin smiled at her innocence, something he encountered so rarely.

"Dear Emma,

My name is Officer Lance and I was the one that found you on the road when you were a baby. But what they might not have told you is that I found you in the arms of your father. He was hurt badly and that's why he couldn't take care of you. Maybe someday you will find him and he can wake up. Remember to never stop believing,"

Emma read, her eyes getting as big as saucers as she did.

"I have a daddy?" Emma whispered. Merlin nodded.

"But how do I find him?" she asked.

"Believe Emma...and your book will always lead the way," Merlin replied. Emma looked down at the book and then back up. She gasped, finding that Merlin was no longer there. Emma turned back to the first page of the book and began reading in earnest…