Emma Swan, a 6th year Griffindor student was working on her Enchantment homework, trying to write the 10 inches of scroll for the next day in the Common Room. As was her habit, she was working alone, on a table by the window where she had a magnificent view on the forest and the Quidditch Pitch.
She was ardently trying to figure out how to describe the link between the wand movement and the wording of the reparo spell in more than three lines. Being the teacher's child provided no advantages when your parents actually expected more of you than of other students.
Tap, tap, a black eagle was at her window and she could see a black envelope tied at its leg. She closed her ink bottle and packed her stuff in her bag hurriedly before letting the eagle in. The bird as usual perched itself atop her right shoulder and waited until it got its usual pat and one of the treats she had in her pockets for such occasion before holding its leg out for her to untie the letter. The eagle flow out the window and she closed it before other students complained about the cold. They were going through a winter storm that had lasted for a week and magic had predicted that the end was not near yet.
Using the pocket knife she always carried with her, orders of her father, she cut the envelope on the top, without breaking the seal. The students in the Common Room who had been at Hogwarts for more than a year knew exactly who had sent the letter, from the color of the envelope and the unbroken seal.
She closed the pocket knife and put it in her bag with the envelope and read the letter, which was nothing more than a piece of paper folded in two. On it where written four words.
Our Usual Place Now
Emma grabbed her bag and went to the Girl's Tower where she left her bag and grabbed her heavy fur lined cloak and the scarf she had been offered for her last birthday. She then left the Griffindor Tower and ran down the three stairways that lead her to the bottom floor. She left through the castle's gate, pushing against the students who were hurrying inside the castle's walls because the snow had started falling again. She then turned towards the greenhouses. She watched over her back to see if anyone was following her and then promptly disappeared between the greenhouse two and three.
She arrived at the entry of a path to the woods where the trees protected her from the falling snow and crossed through them until she arrived at a clearing. The air had gotten warmer as she got close to the clearing and when she step inside, there was no snow on the ground or in the trees around the clearing, the air was no longer cutting at her face but warming her slowly. She headed towards to the black haired man sitting on his Slytherin green cloak spread on the ground against the giant oak tree in the middle of the clearing.
The young man had a book open on his crossed legs, his back resting over the trunk of the tree. His white shirt was opened at the top and his tie had been loosened up, resting lower on his chest than it should. As she got closer he finally raised his head from the book and looked at her with his blue eyes. Emma could see that he had again applied some eyeliner to his eyes, or "guyliner" as he liked to call it.
Emma stopped in front of him and started taking off her scarf and cloak. "You sent an owl saying you wanted to meet me and that it was urgent. What is it about, Killian?"
He closed his book, put it in the bag that was next to him and draw his knees up, putting his chin on them. He looked at her sadly and started. "It's about Milah, she–"
Emma stopped moving as soon as she heard that name.
"That's your emergency?! No, no, no! I am TIRED of listening to you babbling about her and how perfect she is, you are obsessed and I am not helping you getting deeper into that abyss! Find someone else to confide in because I am done listening to how awesome she is and how perfect she is for you, it's over!"
She yelled at him and turned around, her clothes over her arm, walking towards the path she had come from to go back to her Tower. Her head was down to hide the tears in her eyes.
Milah Milah Milah, it was the only thing he talked about this year, the boy was completely in love with the married woman but he couldn't even see how hurtful it was for Emma to listen to him talking about her all the time. Emma had been in love with him for two years and Killian still had not figured it out, he just thought of her as his best friend. Almost everyone in her house knew about her feelings for him and pitied her for it. They tried to tell her that he would never stop considering her as a friend and that he was sleeping around with elder girls. And yet since a few months, he had stopped flirting with everyone, no, now he only cared about Milah, the 40 year old, married bartender of The Three Broomsticks.
Killian stood up and ran towards her, grabbing her by the waist before she left the clearing. He buried his face in her hair and begged her.
"No Emma, please this is important, she is missing!"
"What now, you haven't seen her yesterday so she is obviously missing?!"
The pleading notes in his voice stopped her from leaving, she knew him and he would not make such a fuss unless he was certain something bad had happened. She looked at him and waited. He let go of her waist and sat right in front of her. Emma was doing everything that she could to avoid looking at his face, searching for something to look at in the clearing. He grabbed her sleeves to draw her attention to him and Emma had no choice but to yield and lost herself in his breath-taking and desperate eyes.
"Emma! You need to listen to me, I'm telling you, Milah is really missing! I have asked around Hogsmeade and no one has seen her in a week, since the last time she has worked at the inn! They say she got home to Rumplestiltskin and then she never came back to work or was seen out of the house. And now he is saying to the Aurors that she took her stuff, apparated somewhere and left him and Baelfire! He did something to her, he has to. She didn't just vanish: she would never do that to Bae!"
He stopped to catch his breath, his hands fidgeting with the lion patch on the sleeves of her robes.
"Look, lately she had been telling me things about Rumplestiltskin, how he was darker when he was at home and… And she said that he might be the Dark One! She overheard something and he has killed her for that. He must have used an Unforgivable spell, I know it. We need to tell your mother and your father, the Headmaster, they will be able to do something!"
He stood up, uncaring of the stain from the dirt of the ground, and Emma knew that this was more serious than she could imagine, and went to pick his stuff up from where it had been left next to the tree. He was muttering something about Aurors and Dark magic.
"Jones, stay here!" She grabbed his arms and pushed him until he sat on his cloak as he had been when she had arrived.
Emma kneeled in front of him and hugged him. "Listen, even if what you say is true we need proofs! We can't go to my mother with your accusations and no evidences: with your reputation no one will believe you otherwise! And if Rumple is the Dark One then he will do the same thing with you that he did with Milah, and no one will be the wiser. I'll help you, okay? I believe you but they don't trust you because of your family. We need to make sure that they have no choice but to believe us."
She let go of him and sat in front of him, her crossed legs touching his legs spread on each side of her.
"Now tell me what did she hear to make her believe he is the Dark One?"
He let his head fall against the trunk of the oak, closed his eyes and took a deep breath.
"First, you need to know that Milah has… Had some prophetic powers. Sometimes in her dreams she could see different possible futures and… She saw something about you before we had even met. It wasn't clear but basically it told her that you would either be the key to destroying the Dark One or helping him become stronger. So the first day we went to Hogsmeade after the school had started, when she saw us at the Three Broomstick she recognized you. And after you left to do your shopping, she came to talk to me, just chatting up.
She was nice to me, she didn't know who I was related to so we talked two other times. And she'd sometimes ask me questions about you because she saw us talking together in Hogsmeade. Anyway, during the last weekend of October she told me about her powers and what she had seen, she wasn't sure at first that it was really about you but then she had more dreams of you and the Dark One. So she confessed in me about how she was worried about you so we kept meeting. And lately she told me that she suspected her husband to be the Dark One and she thought he might have heard her speak during one of those dreams."
Emma could not believe what she was hearing, he had conspired with Milah about her life without telling her about it! And all those times he was talking to her about how Milah was amazing and smart instead of telling her the important stuff. Her body automatically recoiled away from Killian and his touch.
"Wait, wait, What?! I would be the subject of a prophecy? Shouldn't I have, maybe, been told about it? You know, since it's kind of my life?! What the hell Killian, I fucking trusted you!"
He moved to his knees and grabbed her shoulders.
"Emma please, believe me, I would have told you about it but Milah said that you knowing before the right time would put you in more danger than you could handle. You have to trust me, I never stopped asking her about when I would be able to tell you, so we could research it with your parents. And four days ago she sent me a letter, saying to meet her Saturday at the Shrieking Shack so we could start planning for a meeting with you and your parents to tell you the whole truth. But when I went to met her she was not there and that's when I got worried and started asking around for her. Emma, please, trust me on this, I would not lie to you if I had a choice, please."
The words were rushing out of his mouth, as was his habit of talking fast but his voice breaking on the last word made Emma understand that this man in front of her was still the same person she had been friend with for so long, the boy she had fallen for, he had just been watching out for her in the only way he could, in silence.