A new story is here! Hello to all! I've been plotting, writing, re-plotting, editing, and re-writing for the past few weeks, but I finally think that I have a groove going on. This is my first time dabbling into Modern AUs, so I hope that it turns out okay. Some things will be quite different in this story (i.e., I've changed up Emma's background a little bit and whatnot), but I will try my best to make sure that I explain everything clearly so that it will be easy to follow along. I really hope that you all enjoy!
RATED M for LANGUAGE and ANGST and other stuff.
"And the Emmy for best actress in a drama series goes to…" Emma closed her eyes and took a deep breath, trying to summon her fake smile that she would have to portray when she lost. "Emma Swan in 'Casualties'!"
A roar of applause echoed around the arena, causing Emma's heart to fall into her stomach and her eyes to snap wide open. She turned to her side and saw her brother standing up, clapping and cheering her on. "Stand up, Em. You won!"
She turned to the director of the television show that she starred in and waited for confirmation that this was not a dream. Director and Writer, August Booth stood up and cheered loudly. "Go on!"
Emma heard the MC speaking over the applause and she smiled brightly as she finally stood up, covering her gaping mouth with her hand. "This is Emma Swan's first Emmy nomination, and first Emmy win."
She quickly pulled her brother, David, into her arms for a quick embrace before walking slowly and carefully to the steps of the stage. She looked up and saw famous actress, Aurora, standing on the stage waiting to present Emma with her award.
After successfully climbing the stairs, she walked over to Aurora and gave her a tight hug.
"I'm so happy for you, Emma. Congratulations!" Aurora said into her ear.
"Thank you." Emma smiled through her joyful tears as she was handed her Emmy.
After taking another deep breath, she stood in front of the microphone— waiting to give her acceptance speech.
"I want to make this quick because I feel like I might be sick." She laughed as she tightened her grip on the golden trophy. "Seriously, this is insane. Okay… um first of all, I want to thank my brother. He's stuck by my side through everything that I have been through, and words cannot describe how much I love and appreciate you. To his wife, Mary Margaret, I love you. Thank you for being the sister that I never had."
Emma felt her lips quivering and she chuckled and tried to blink away her tears as she continued. "I have to thank my publicist and good friend, Regina. I would be so lost without you. I also want to thank the amazing cast and crew, and my second family— August, Graham, Lance, Mulan, Tink, and Killian. I want to thank the Academy for giving me this opportunity; and lastly, I want to thank all of the incredible fans for not only watching the show, but for loving the show as much as I do. 'Casualties' means so much to me, you honestly have no idea, and I am so grateful for all of those who have fallen in love with Laiken Halle and her story. Thank you."
Emma stepped away from the microphone and flashed the audience with one more smile before turning away and walking away, the sound of applause and cheers filling her ears as she disappeared behind the curtains.
As she walked around backstage, looking for Regina, she was immediately summoned by ENews anchor, Sidney Glass. "Emma Swan, come on over and talk to ENews for a second."
After scanning the room once more for Regina and not spotting her, she smiled awkwardly at Sidney and walked over to where he was sitting. She placed the Emmy on the table and sat down on the high stool next to him. "Hello, Sidney."
"Congratulations on the big win, Emma." He said as he held his mic and gestured to the award. "How does it feel to be an academy award winner after only four years in the business?"
"It feels amazing." Emma beamed. "I still can't believe it."
Sidney smiled and leaned in closer to her, clearing his throat for what Emma assumed to be a hard-hitting question. "You are only 28, how do you think winning this award will affect your career?"
Emma couldn't help but feel a bit taken aback by the question. She never gave it much thought of how winning such a prestigious award would affect her career in the future; but if there was something that Emma Swan knew, it was living for right now— and right now, she was proud and grateful for the win. She knew that time was limited, and she was so genuinely filled with so much happiness that she was able to reach such a milestone.
"Honestly, I have no idea. You know, ever since I got started on 'Casualties', I have been in the mindset that the future is uncertain. You never know what could happen, so I just try to live in the moment; and at this particular moment, I am just proud to be a part of a show that is so special and close to my heart." Emma projected to Sidney, her smile lighting up the room and causing those around her to smile and nod in agreement.
"Now this show is only in its second season, but it has already caught the attention of so many people. What makes this show so different than that of all of the other popular and mainstream television shows out there?" Sidney asked as he looked into the camera.
"Well, I am constantly amazed with the amount of research and strategic planning that the writers and creators do to make this show as authentic and real as possible. As a former Marine Officer, I can honestly say that I have not seen a show or movie that has correctly portrayed the life of a Marine quite like this one. And the show isn't just a story of a young woman trying to make it through Infantry School. It's about hope, honor, courage, and sacrifice." Emma rambled. She always tried to keep her interviews short and sweet, because she always tended to ramble when talking about things that she was passionate about.
Sidney chuckled as he watched Emma catch her breath after her extensive response. He looked to Emma and nodded his head. Emma knew the question that was coming next. She always saw this question coming, but she has never answered it; and she wasn't going to answer it any time soon.
"You probably know what I am about to ask; but I'm hoping that if I keep asking, you will one day just answer the question to shut me up." Sidney laughed as he leaned back in his chair.
Emma chuckled and felt her cheeks turn red, not from embarrassment but from anxiety. "You can ask me, Sidney; but I think we both know that you won't be getting the answer that you want."
"I am going to ask you anyway: Why did you give up the life in the military, being an Officer in the United States Marine Corps, to be an actress?"
Emma took a deep breath and smiled into the camera, ready to give her usual snarky comment, but the feeling of something thick and hot dripping onto her lip made her pause. She pressed her finger to her nose and saw the blood, gasping at the sight.
"I think your nose is bleeding. Are you okay?" Sidney asked as he pulled a handkerchief from his coat pocket. He handed her the soft fabric, but Emma shook her head.
She stood up from the stool, pinching her nose with one hand and grabbing her Emmy with the other. "No, it's fine. I'm just going to go to the restroom and take care of this. I'm sorry."
As she stumbled away from the interview, she bumped into Regina. "Oh, thank God. My nose started bleeding in the middle of an interview!"
Regina's eyes widened at the sight of the blood, but she quickly composed herself and whispered. "Are you okay?"
Emma brushed her off and nodded her head spastically. "Yeah. I feel fine, it's probably just the stress."
Regina looked over Emma's shoulder to where Sidney Glass watched them carefully, wondering exactly what was going on. "Go wash up. I will take care of it."
Emma didn't waste a second before running towards the restroom down the hall. Before she could turn the corner, she was stopped once again by another familiar face. Killian Jones, her bitter but extremely attractive co-star.
"Oooh, nosebleed." Killian snarled as he stepped towards Emma. "Has someone been tampering with illicit drugs?"
Emma's eyes widened and her mouth fell open. "Oh God, no! Are you serious?"
Killian smirked at her and shrugged his shoulders. "I've seen my fair share of nosebleeds, love."
"Yeah, because you would know all about illicit drugs. Wouldn't you?" Emma said as she walked past him towards the door to the restroom.
"Winning an Emmy really changed you." He said sarcastically as he turned to her. "I must say, though, I was a bit surprised to hear you give me thanks in your speech."
Emma rolled her eyes and tightened her pinch on her nostrils. "You and me, both; but I would have been questioned if I didn't mention you so... don't think about it too much."
"Trust me... I won't." Killian replied with squinted eyes. After staring Emma down for an uncomfortable amount of time, he cleared his throat and took a step forward. "Riddle me this, darling: how is it fair that you would win an Academy Award after only four years in the business- with no background in acting? You didn't even want to be an actor. Most of the people here tonight have been working their whole lives to win an award; and you show up, as a back-up plan, and snatch the golden statue right from their hands."
This wasn't the first time that Killian Jones had questioned her, but she felt the pang of guilt hit her harder than ever before. She knew that it was his dream to be an actor ever since he was 5; and he had never won an award as prestigious as an Emmy, or an Oscar. He had been nominated for an Emmy almost every single year in the past 12 years, but he was never able to call himself an Academy Award winner.
"I didn't ask to be nominated, Jones; and I sure as hell didn't think that I would win the damn thing." Emma asked as she let her hand drop from her nose. "Just like I'm sure you didn't ask to be 'the Leonardo DiCaprio of television'; but maybe in another 10 years, you will finally win something, too."
At that moment, she struck a nerve because his demeanor completely changed from being playful and snarky to furious. "Fuck you, Swan."
Emma grinned and tilted her head to the side. "Sorry, babe. I only give to charity once a year."
With that, she finally opened the door to the bathroom and walked inside. She ran to the sinks, placed her Emmy on the edge, and grabbed as many napkins as she could.
After about five minutes of cleaning dry blood from her nose and face, Emma looked into the mirror. The glow of happiness from her Emmy win long gone, and a sense of uncertainty and direness in its place. She cringed at the sight of Killian's face, but she was tired of hearing him constantly picking at her. After almost two years of working with him, she was finally able to shut him up. Now, she had a whole different problem... her health.
Emma heard the door to the bathroom open, and she quickly put on her best fake smile for whatever celebrity that walked in.
"You don't have to do that, it's me." Regina said as she walked up to Emma's side. Emma sighed as she turned towards her publicist, slumping against the countertop.
"What happened?" Emma asked as she started fidgeting with her hands. "Did Sidney suspect anything?"
Regina shook her head and pulled out her phone. "No. I just asked him to edit the last part of the interview out."
Emma scoffed and looked to Regina incredulously. "And he agreed, just like that?"
"Of course he did, he's Sidney Glass. I have that little skeeze eating out of the palm of my hand." Regina said as she stared at her phone screen.
Emma furrowed her brows and crossed her arms over her chest. "Are you sure?"
Regina sighed in annoyance and looked up from her phone. "I told him that if he aired that interview in it's entirety, I would tell the world, via Twitter, about his obsession with BDSM."
Emma tilted her head to the side and hummed to herself. "How do you even know about that?"
Regina shuddered and looked back down to her phone with a cringe. "Let's not talk about it."
Emma couldn't even try to suppress her grimace as she turned back to the mirror to check her nose for any more signs of blood. "Should we schedule an appointment with Liam?"
"If you really want to, but it's been almost four years, Emma. You've been cancer-free for almost four years. Don't psych yourself out for a mere nosebleed that might be nothing but stress and pressure." Regina spoke as she dialed on her phone.
"I'm not." Emma argued as she rubbed off a patch of dry blood from the tip of her nose. "I just want to be prepared for the possibility that the cancer might be back."
"We don't know that for sure." Regina said as she held her phone up to her ear. "Jones, we need to come in for a check up."
Emma turned to Regina and took deep breaths, trying to slow her racing heart. She closed her eyes and prayed to whoever would listen, pleading for them to will the cancer away for good. She wasn't mentally ready for a relapse. She wasn't physically prepared either. With her television show soon finishing its second season, she had no idea what she would do if she truly relapsed.
She also prayed that her interaction with Killian wouldn't reach the ears of his brother, and Emma's doctor, Liam Jones. She couldn't afford to lose him as a doctor.
"She says that she feels fine. It was just a nosebleed, but we want to be sure." Regina answered. "When do you want us to come?"
Emma grabbed her Emmy and held onto it tightly, trying to think of anything other than the cancer that was most likely infecting her blood cells.
Emma always knew exactly what she wanted to do with her life— she wanted to help people. As cliché as it sounded, she wanted to be a part of something that was bigger than herself.
When she thought of where she would be at age 28, she always saw herself as an Agent in the FBI; she never thought that she would be where she was at now.
Ever since she was 15, she knew that she wanted to be in the FBI. What required more thought was how she was planning on getting there. When she was 17, she decided on joining the military; but if Emma was going to join the military, she was going to be with the best of the best. She was going to be a Marine.
With college being a top priority for Emma, she decided on the Officer Program for the Marines. After half of a year of intense training, she was able to go to Officer Candidate School during the summer after her junior year of college.
Making it to the end of those rigorous ten weeks was Emma's proudest moment until she finally graduated from college and accepted her commissions, making her a Second Lieutenant of the United States Marine Corps.
Emma had much to be proud of in her life, from being adopted by the Nolans after being in the foster system for 16 years to being promoted to First Lieutenant; but her plans we cut short when she was 23 years old and training for the FBI Academy.
~Five years ago~
"Come on, Swan!" Ruby yelled from the side of the track as Emma sprinted past her. Her legs were aching, her lungs were burning, and she felt herself getting lightheaded. She looked to the double lines 200 feet ahead and pushed herself harder.
"Yes! You're almost there!" Ruby cheered as she held the stopwatch in her hand and ran towards the double lines at the end of the track. "Push!"
Emma gritted her teeth and cringed as her feet hit the ground. Each step that she took felt like death. She heard the beep of the stopwatch as she passed Ruby. Her breathing was heavy and sweat was dripping from her forehead and chest. She looked to Ruby and took a deep breath. "What was my time?"
Ruby smiled brightly and showed Emma the screen of the stopwatch. "21:37. Very impressive, Lieutenant Swan."
Emma chuckled as she looked at her time. "There's no way that I wouldn't get into the Academy with that time."
Ruby hummed as she handed Emma a water bottle. "The FBI won't know what hit them."
Emma nodded and took a long swig of the cold liquid. The second that she pulled the bottle from her lips, she felt her stomach convulse and she doubled over as she wretched in the grass.
"Oh shit!" Ruby cried out as she pulled Emma's ponytail from over her shoulder. "Emma, are you okay?"
Emma nodded as she regurgitated the water that she just drank. She opened her eyes to look to the grass but her vision was blurry. She stood up straight and wiped her mouth with the back of her sleeve. "What the hell?"
"Are you sure that you are okay?" Ruby asked from beside her. She ran her hand over Emma's face and flinched. "You are burning up, Emma."
"No. I'm fine." Emma slurred as she looked down at the grass. She turned around to face Ruby; but when she looked up, she felt herself go limp and all she saw was blackness.
Nothing hurt Emma quite as much as being told that she had Acute Myeloid Leukemia. It wasn't much the fact that she was dying that hurt Emma the most, it was knowing that all that she had worked for and trained for was over. She couldn't be a Marine. She couldn't be an FBI Agent. She couldn't even be a simple police officer.
She had to move in with her brother on the other side of the country, get the treatment that she needed, and try to find a new life.
After being cancer free for almost a year, she found Regina Mills at a bar in LA. It was a stroke of good luck on Emma's part because she was desperate for a job to help pay for the medical bills. Emma was on the Speech and Debate team back in high school, so she figured she could try to make a life as an actress, but booking auditions was tougher than she expected.
Regina, her brother, and his wife were the only people, besides Liam and a small number of nurses, who knew of Emma's condition. Emma often visited the University of Southern California Cancer Center for her checkups, but she only went during the night when she knew that there would be less people to recognize her.
After maintaining her "cancer-free" status, Emma felt confident in signing onto her first ever television series, "Casualties".
Emma immediately felt deeply connected with the role that she played in the show, and the writers thought that she fit in perfectly with the plot. When asked why she jumped from Marine Officer to actress, Emma never gave a straight answer. Sometimes, she would even give far-out and hilariously unrealistic answers to shut the news anchors and broadcasters up. As far as the world knew, she "lost a bet".
She never thought that she would ever have to tell them the truth… until now.
"Alright, we will be there as soon as the awards are over." Regina said as she pulled the phone from her ear. She walked to the door of the bathroom and opened the door. "Come on. We will need to talk to David."
Emma cringed at the thought of having to tell her brother of her scare, but she couldn't keep something this big from him. She followed Regina out of the bathroom with a nod, still white-knuckling her Emmy.
As Emma and Regina exited the bathroom, she spotted Killian Jones still standing backstage- waiting to present an award. He looked deep in thought, and Emma's eyes immediately caught the sight of a silver flask sticking out of his coat pocket.
"Stop staring at Captain Guyliner and let's go." Regina said as she pulled on Emma's arm. Emma turned to Regina and sighed.
"I messed up." She said as they walked back to the audience. Regina looked to Emma and raised an eyebrow in question. Emma took a deep breath and frowned. "I called him the Leonardo DiCaprio of television."
Regina inhaled loudly, but kept walking. Emma waited for a response, but all that she saw was a slight side-smirk appear on Regina's face.
"Aren't you going to scold me for continuously fighting with him like always? He was really angry this time!" Emma whispered harshly.
Regina shook her head in reply. "He probably deserved it."
"I won't deny that, but I shouldn't have stooped down to his level." Emma confessed.
Regina shook her head as she spotted David in the audience waiting for them. "Forget about him. We might have bigger problems on our hands."