Storybrooke, Maine, Fall 2039
Three women surrounded the Wishing Well in the woods of Storybrooke. A fourth woman stood away, leaning against a tree. She didn't have magic, so the sisters didn't need her for the curse. She was only there at Hades' suggestion in order to ensure that the three witches kept up their end of the deal.
The three sisters worked their magic. It wasn't exactly the Dark Curse, since the sisters didn't have a thing that they loved the most, but it was a curse that would work almost the same.
Hopefully, it was also a curse that the Savior couldn't break. All they needed to do was make sure that they cursed the people Hades needed. If they failed, there would be consequences to face.
The fourth woman wasn't keen on the sisters failing and invoking the wrath of the God of the Underworld. They better not screw this up.
As the sisters finished the curse, smoke began to rise from the well. It was thick and a twirling mixture of deep red, emerald, and royal purple. The thick clouds rose towards the sky as it expanded outward, already engulfing the sisters.
In a slow roll, the curse headed towards the fourth woman.
She let the curse overtake her. Here we go.
A frequent, card carrying member of the Storybrooke Library, Killian Jones found himself entering said library on a lovely Saturday morning.
As usual Belle was there.
Her husband Will Scarlet, a man that Killian had actually grown fond of over the last twenty odd years, was there having delivered breakfast a la Granny's.
Will jovially greeted Killian, but Belle looked at the pirate turned deputy with sad eyes. She knew why he was here as he'd been coming to the library for the same reason for twenty years now. Emma joined him often enough, but today she wanted to spend her day off with their children. Killian just had the morning off, but he was due at the station by lunch.
After Will bid his goodbyes, Killian made his move for the stacks, but Belle stepped in front of him.
"Killian, don't you think that it's time to give up the search?" She spoke gently, not wanting to hurt him, but twenty years was too long to hold on to hope. Especially after everyone they knew had done everything in their power to find what was lost to the Jones family.
Killian moved around her, ignoring her comment. They had had many arguments over the years about him and Emma giving up, but it had only made the Jones' more stubborn. Often Killian ended up turning it on Belle, asking her if she would ever give up if it was her kids. That usually made her back down rather quickly, but she eventually always brought it up again.
It stung that even one of the Godmothers of his children, someone who had once believed that there was good in the Dark One, had given up hope just like everyone else had. Only he and Emma were left; it might not be healthy for them, but they weren't just going to stop if there was a chance.
Shaking her head, Belle returned to what was left of her breakfast, not wanting to get into another argument with her best friend.
Belle sighed as Killian perused the shelves. By now both he and Emma had read all of the books that the library possessed that referenced magic. They had even gone through all of the books and scrolls in Regina's vault, including the one's that had once been in Rumplestiltskin's possession. Surely, if they hadn't found some way by now, it was time to give up, right?
Deputy Neal Nolan tossed yet another pencil in the ceiling of the Sheriff's Station.
"You know, your sister isn't going to be happy to see more wholes in the ceiling." Robin Hood told the younger man as he read the newspaper. Robin was a part of Storybrooke's Forest Rangers, but he took shifts at the station from time to time to help out. His wife Regina was keen for him to retire, but Robin wasn't in any hurry.
"She won't know they're there if I make them disappear." Neal shrugged.
Robin looked at him over his paper, arching a brow. "Are you admitting to an officer of the law that you, another officer of the law, abuse your magic by using it to cover up your transgressions?"
Neal smirked. "That's absolutely not what I said. Go back to your paper, old man."
"And take my eyes off of you so that you can cover up your crimes?" Robin asked with good humor. "You are defacing public property after all. The town has to pay for that."
"Only if there's evidence." Neal said. A look of horror suddenly came across his face as he pointed at the window behind Robin. "Look!"
"That's not going to work." Robin said. "You forget, I have two children who live to pull the wool over my eyes."
Neal huffed. "Yeah, okay, you got me there."
The phones started ringing.
Robin and Neal shared a worried look since all of the phones and phone lines were ringing. That was unprecedented in Storybrooke's history.
Before either man could start answering phones, they heard people screaming outside.
The two men hurried out of the station.
People were running towards the center of town, the smoky clouds of a curse behind them following the residents of Storybrooke at an alarming speed.
Neal gaped at the clouds. "Well, fuck."
It was such a lovely day to be at the beach, and Emma Jones was happy to spend the day with her two children, especially since her son Wes would be finishing his gap year and going to college in the fall. At least Morgan was still in high school, so Emma's baby could still be her baby a little while longer.
Of course, in Storybrooke, happiness was usually interrupted.
They had heard the screaming from the town, and as they hurried back, Leroy had found them, screaming about another curse.
After living in Storybrooke for decades, Emma could handle a curse.
As she, her kids, and Leroy ran towards the center of town, Wes shouted at her. "Was there even a villain on the radar?"
"Not that I was aware of." Emma called back as she ran ahead.
"It's already covered half the town!" Leroy screeched. "We're too late!"
Emma rolled her eyes. When they reached Main Street, Emma could see the curse coming. It was three separate colors that twirled around each other. That was new.
It made Emma's gut churn. Now that she knew the curse was more of a threat than Leroy's usual overreactions, she hurried up Main Street trying to remember Regina's lessons in stopping curses and spells. It was tough for Regina to do, but she had long ago told Emma that as a product of True Love, Emma's magic could handle more than the average sorceress. If she couldn't stop it Wes and Morgan were right behind her packing just as much True Love magic as her thanks to hers and Killian's love.
Emma stopped in the middle of Main Street and took a deep, calming breath, centering herself before opening her eyes and flinging her arms out. White magic shot from her hands and hit the curse clouds, halting their progress. As she concentrated her magic into doing as Regina instructed, something didn't feel right. This curse was different.
"Mom?" Morgan sounded worried, and that wasn't usual for Morgan. As the baby of the family, she often let everyone else do the worrying.
But Emma knew why she was worried; Emma's magic wasn't working to stop the curse. She could hear people crowding behind her and she heard her mother speaking to the people to calm them down.
Wes stepped up to her side. "I don't think you can stop it."
"I can't just let everyone become cursed." Emma said. "We don't know who cast it or why or where we'll end up."
Wes was silent and Emma knew those gears in his head were turning. Like his father, Wes often thought of a solution Emma didn't, and she was glad to have him by her side with Killian being oddly absent. "Shield the rest of the town."
Understanding what he meant, Emma shifted her magic into a forcefield that rose over and around the remains of the town. "Everyone on the other side will be taken by this curse."
"Then we'll figure it out." Wes said. "You always figure it out, mom."
"He's right." Morgan spoke up, watching the curse clouds cascade over Emma's white shield. "Besides, you're not alone. Wes and I can help, and Dad and Henry wherever they are."
When the curse dissipated Emma lowered the shield and went to stand beside her mother in front of the gathered townspeople. "As you can see, we've had another curse. We don't know who was behind it or why, but we will find out. Unfortunately, we were too late to stop it. All I could do was protect the rest of you from being taken by it. I want all of you to go to your homes and jobs, and find out who all is missing. Report them missing to the Sheriff's station. If any of you see someone or something suspicious, call my number directly and immediately."
After years of Emma Jones being pretty much in charge of everything, the town agreed to her orders. She was the Savior after all.
Seattle, Washington, a few weeks later…
Henry Swan was alone. That was his life. Orphaned at a young age, adopted into an abusive family, and then bouncing around with no set goal in life, all Henry had was himself to rely on. He lost himself in reading and then learned that his passion was in writing stories. His stories, getting lost in creating these worlds, worlds of magic and curses and pirates and saviors, became his home; his reprieve from his lonely existence.
He was watching his ramen noodles cook in the microwave, his thoughts geared towards the newest adventure of Emma Swan and Captain Jones, when there was a knock at the door to his apartment.
Confused, because he didn't have friends and he certainly never had visitors, Henry left his kitchen and walked over to the front door. He peeked out of the peep hole, but saw nothing.
There was another knock at the door that made Henry jump back.
Cautiously, he opened the door.
There was a little girl with black hair and warm, dark brown eyes, her round face smiling up at him. She must have been no more than eight years old. He had never seen this girl in his life, but there was something painfully familiar about her, and his heart filled with an aching feeling that made his head spin.
He shook his head and blinked. "Can I help you?"
"Are you Henry Swan?" The little girl asked, though her tone made Henry feel like she already knew the answer. Even the way she was looking at him made him think that she seemed to know him, even if he didn't know her. She seemed to be very excited, but it appeared as though she was trying to hold it all in.
Like a bomb ready to explode.
It made Henry nervous. "Um, yeah?"
"My name is Sofia." She grinned even wider. "I'm your daughter."