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When You Love Someone, You Know

Chapter Text

Evergreen

Emma and Killian lay together on their couch with a fire crackling low. Emma was curled into his side and his arm was draped around her. She was so happy to be back here, in her home, in Killian’s arms. She felt like she hadn’t seen him in 30 years.

Just hours before, Emma had fallen through the portal followed by Regina and Robin. Emma was dressed in a pink gown and a pink velvet cloak trimmed in ermine. Emma had flung herself into his arms and held him and Henry as close as she could.

They had gone straight home at Emma’s insistence to get changed. Killian had talked her into keeping the regalia. Claiming fun to be had on the Jolly later. She smiled and tucked it into their closet- right next to his pirate coat. Then changed into favorite black yoga pants and oversized sweater, while Killian fixed them all some grilled cheese sandwiches and cocoa.

God, she had missed home.

“I know it might sound strange, but there is a tiny part of me that is glad this all happened.”

“How so?”

“I’ve wondered what it would be like if I hadn’t been sent through the wardrobe.

“I had a bad childhood there is no sugarcoating that, but I like the person I’ve become.”

She smiled at him. “I like the life I have, the life I share with you.”

She had told him of her and Regina’s journey through the creepy fake world. He listened and chuffed at the appropriate times.
When she got to the part concerning his doppelganger, the inevitable question fell from his lips.

“Dare I ask what I was like there?”

Emma was quiet for a moment before she sat up to look at him, reaching over to her fingers through his raven hair.
His doppelganger's hair had been long and silver. Framing a worn face and sad eyes.
Those eyes haunted her. Emma never, ever wanted to see that look of utter defeat and hopelessness in his beautiful blue eyes again.

“You were definitely different there.” She said thoughtfully, thinking of the warped version of her love. “I think you were how the Evil Queen thought you would turn out. The Evil Queen had a pretty low opinion of you apparently.”

He quirked an eye making eye contact with her, pulling his head away from her gentle touch.

“You were much older, and you had a bit of a belly. “

“I was fat?!”

“Your clothes were a bit of a mess.” She continued, ignoring the question. “You had stopped taking care of yourself.”

She brought her hand to cup his cheek. “He wasn’t you, he wasn’t my dashing, well-groomed, nice-smelling pirate captain.”

He voice fell to a whisper as she voiced the thoughts that had been floating around in her head since that encounter.

“He wasn’t the Killian that’s died for me.” She swallowed hard. “He wasn’t the man I love.”

“But, honestly, I’m kinda really glad I met him.” Emma continued, “Meeting him just made me want to get back to you all that more.”

“To tell me to lay off the deserts and rum?”

“You have seen my stretch marks and cellulite.”

“You’re still beautiful.” He said quickly.

“And you were still handsome.” She cajoled. “You remember when we went back in time? How I met my parents, but they didn’t know me? It was like that, only worse.That Hook was so unhappy and alone and I just remember thinking. ‘I missed it. I missed his whole life. I missed seeing him everyday’.”

‘I thought of all those wasted years which they could never get back and I didn’t want to risk a moment’s more regret.’

“I wanna get old and grey with you, Killian Jones.”

His expression melted into a smile at that, and he leaned in to kiss her warmly.

“And I you.”

Chapter Text

Killian was hiding something.

The last few days Hook just had been off.

His smile didn’t reach his eyes. He seemed distracted, his usually healthy appetite had waned, she had barely seen him eat anything.

She tasted rum on his breath. His normally passionate kisses had lacked their fire.

He wasn’t sleeping well. She had woken up last night to find him staring out his telescope at the window.

Seeing him standing alone in the dark, a feeling of cold dread had settled deep in her chest and stayed there.

Which is how she ended up here. Snooping in her own home. She didn’t even know what she was looking for. But she was doing it anyway.

If he was going to break her heart, she needed to face it head on.

She had never peeked inside his sea chest. She had asked him what a sea chest was, when he had first moved in. He had smiled and explained that it was a sailor’s chest for their belongings, that the seafaring life didn’t call for much for possessions. She had recalled with strange feeling of crating around her own few possessions. First in a backpack her young life, and later a few cardboard boxes.

The seas chest itself was beautiful, lid of curved wood and bold brass fixtures. She loved seeing it on his side of the room in the morning. Like a reminder that he was there. Emma was careful with his old possessions. She treated everything gently and with reverence. Everything in it was older than she was.

It was then she saw it. A small black box.

Inside was a beautiful ring.

A woman’s ring.

An engagement ring.

Emma held the ring in her hand, her heart fluttering against her ribs.

He wasn’t going to break her heart. He was going to propose.

Emma felt giddy.

That had to be what had him acting so strangely. He was scared of her reaction.

Of course he was scared, she had freaked out on him in Camelot when he had given her Liam’s ring.

Mrs. Killian Jones.

She giggled out loud, her smile hurting her face.

She wanted to put it on so much, but she also wanted him to put it on her for the first time.

Besides, Emma knew that when she did put it on, she would never want to take it off ever again.

She heard his accented voice call her name from the front room.

Emma clutched the ring and ran to meet her future husband.

Chapter Text

Emma never wanted to compare her children to one another.  

She loved her daughter and her son both so much, it overwhelmed her.

But she couldn’t help marveling at just how much her life had changed.

It was a shock sometimes, thinking about how far she had come. Emma never, ever would have believed that she could have this life.

Like now, as she was sitting in her daughter's room in the dim morning light.

Hope sighed as she suckled from her mother’s breast. Emma stroked her daughter’s impossibly soft skin as she rocked them in the unbelievably comfortable rocking chair as she became a little lost in thought.

Her true memories of when she had given birth to Henry was one of the most painful moments of her life.  Her ankle had been cuffed to the hospital bed.  It was humiliating. Like she could have run if she wanted to. Like her body, heart, and soul weren’t ripped in half that night.
His cries for her to hold him cut into her like knives. She couldn’t bear to look at him as the kind doctor carried her precious boy away from her.

She had cried that night. She cried from losing her baby, she cried from the physical pain, she had cried every time she showered and the hot water had released the pressure of her breasts that were aching to nourish her son. It was the only time she could really let herself cry, prison wasn’t exactly group therapy. The nurse held her hand, but she was a stranger. Her doctor was very kind, but there was nothing he could do to make things better.  The prison guard stood as a sentry.

There was no going home. It was only going back to a cell.

This time was so different.

She wasn’t cuffed down to the bed. The only cuffs in town belonged to her and her father.  
Her family and friends were waiting for her when she needed them.  This time it was KIllian holding her hand, not a nurse whose name she couldn’t remember. KIllian held her hand, let her hold his wrist, his hook, anything she needed to anchor herself. If she had needed a guard, it would have been to protect her.

Hope had been placed on her chest the minute she had been cleaned off.  Emma had been able to wrap her arms around her darling little newborn, overwhelmed by emotions.

She couldn't bear to look at Henry. She couldn’t keep her eyes off Hope.

And Killian. God, Killian.

Killian had cried when she had told him that she was pregnant. He had cried into his hand when they first heard the baby’s heartbeat. He had cried when he felt her first kick. He had cried when Hope was born. He had cried when he held his little girl in his arms.

In jail, Emma had had no previous prenatal care, she had been tested for drugs and put on prenatal vitamins she got in a cup every day.  While she got extra protein and calcium, her hunger was never sated. She could never get excited or plan anything. She didn’t even get to name him.

Killian had gone with her to every doctor visit, armed with a supportive arm and questions. He had talked to her growing stomach, he had happily indulged her every ridiculous craving. He had been endlessly patient with her mood swings. He had rubbed her swollen ankles and carried her up the stairs at night. He had researched childcare like a man possessed.  He had helped her every step of the way.

 Hope had come home to a cradle in her parents room. She had a room all her own with her name on the door and a darling little chandelier Killian and Snow had both lost their minds over. She had two parents and an older brother and a family to dote on her.

She hadn’t known Henry’s name until he showed up at her door at the age of ten.

Killian had whispered Hope’s name in her ear as she snuggled into his bare chest.

Hope’s name was now embroidered in a bright warm pink on her pretty baby blanket, so much like Emma’s.  Emma had gotten a bit overwhelmed when Granny gave it to her one morning, Emma had run her fingers through the incredibly soft yarn and a lump formed in her throat. She couldn’t speak, she just hugged Granny tightly. The normally gruff woman averted her eyes at that gesture.

She touched the blanket now and placed a kiss on top of her now sleeping baby’s head.

“Swan? You alright, love?”

Emma looked up to see Killian standing in the doorway watching the sweet scene.

She nodded through happy tears threatening to spill over.

“Never better.”

Chapter Text

Emma flipped the sandwich over in the pan and called her daughters who were in the living room to kitchen table. The girls came running and Emma smiled at the sight of their little dark heads and brilliant blue eyes. They were trailed by their golden retriever Sunny, who planted herself down on the cushion next to the table. Waiting patiently for inevitably dropped food.

Emma cut the sandwich in half and half each on the little plastic plates adorned with pictures of Disney’s Mulan. Emma smiled at the irony.

“Is Papa coming home today, Mama?" Hope asked brightly, taking a drink of her grape juice.

Emma’s heart twisted at the question. "We'll see baby." In addition to being her part time deputy, Killian was the Harbormaster of Storybrooke. The job was easy for him. It allowed him some authority, time near the water and a flexible schedule to spend time with their girls. Occasionally, the work took him to sea for a for a day or two. This time he had been gone for almost a week.

The small vessel he had to take wasn’t his Jolly, but he was meeting other workers at a nearby dock and the gorgeous pirate ship would raise far too many questions. Emma had secured it with protection spells, Hope and Haven had drawn pictures and decorated a frame with stickers for a family picture of them to keep in his little quarters. Henry had asked if having two ships made him Commodore Hook instead of Captain Hook. Killian had simply blushed at the question, before pulling Henry in to ruffle his hair.

Emma looked at her sweet daughters happily munching their toasted cheese and melon pieces happily. They were so cute and darling and perfect that she couldn’t resist snatching her phone and snapping a photo.

She typed out a text reading “Grilled cheese with the girls!" She attached the picture and sent it off to Killian.

This was the longest she and Killian had been apart in years . She missed him so damn much.

Haven asked for more juice and Emma obliged her. As she poured the purple liquid into Haven’s little cup and secured the lid, she started to get lost in thought.

Throughout her childhood, grilled cheese had been a constant in her life. No matter where she lived, grilled cheese always tasted the same. It always made her feel full, warm, and satisfied. Growing up, she had known hunger like an old friend. There were some days that the only meals Emma got was the free lunches at school. Hell, the promise of food was one of the things that kept her in school.

It was clear that Killian felt the same way. He was vigilant about keeping food in the house. He went shopping before he left and brought back enough frozen and packaged foods that if need be, Emma didn’t have to leave the house at all for several weeks.

Whenever Killian was looking through their fridge or pantry with a critical eye. Emma felt like she was seeing a peek into the ship’s captain who had spent centuries making sure his crew was well-fed for long voyages at sea. A part of her also was sure she was seeing the child who was orphaned and had been hungry for so long that he never wanted to be without food again.

The Jones daughters would never, ever know hunger like that.

Sunny’s ears perked and her tail began to wag.

The front door opened and Emma’s heart stuttered in her chest.

“Emma?” “Girls?” The accented voice that rang out was music to Emma’s ears.

“ Papa!”

The girls both jumped up and ran to hug him. Killian met them by crouching down and catching them in his arms, Sunny was prancing about, her tail wagging joyously
Emma just stared for a moment watching the sweet reunion unfold before her. Before she tackled him, joining the pile of giggles.
“Papa!” Haven spoke up, “Did you see a mermaid!?”

“Go finish your dinner and I’ll tell you about it before bedtime, aye?
They scampered off, Sunny trotting off behind them.

Killian pulled his wife into his arms again, breathing her in.

“I missed you, love.”

“I missed you too. God you must be exhausted.”
He did look tired. His bright eyes shone as they always did, but Emma could tell he was ready for a good night's sleep.

“Nothing that can’t be solved with warm bed.” He muttered and kissed her temple
“After a grilled cheese with my favorite girls.”

Chapter Text

If there was one thing Storybrooke loved. It was a party.

Parties, dances, formals, semi formals you name it!

There were the town parties, the school dances, the Snow Ball, Homecoming, Michaelmas, Courtwarming, Sadie Hawkins.

Some of them blended together. At least it seemed that way to Haven.

But this one, she was excited for. The Hallow’s Eve Masque.

If there was one day Haven Jones loved, It was Halloween.

She loved costumes and of course she loved scary movies and everything about Fall. She loved the Oak tree that literally everyone else in town was afraid of. Two years ago, she had photographed the orange leaves up close while Hope waited several feet away calling her crazy.

She had found the amazing dress in the basement of her family’s house. She has been looking for some spray paint for Collette, when she had tripped over a somewhat battered, cardboard dry-cleaners box. When Haven opened it, she has been met with a mess of black feathers. Upon further inspection that mess turned out to be a long black feather skirt. Haven’s jaw had dropped when she had seen it. The skirt was full, pouffy and reached the floor, made to be worn over a petticoat. The bodice was black and spaghetti strap. Definitely something from out of fairy tale land that her whole family was from.

She loved it.

She also loved not having to borrow another gown from Robyn or Hope. Not that any of them really minded trading gowns for special events.Hell, it could be really fun sometimes. Hope never minded if her sister snatched a sweater from her closet or if Hope grabbed a scarf on her way out the door.
But the girls’ styles were just so different. Haven loved bold, rich colors. Hope preferred softer pastels. A dress that was knee length for Colette would be quite short on willowy Robyn.

She stubbornly refused to acknowledge the other reason behind her choice. It was a quieter tenor that pricked at that back of her subconscious.

The dress reminded her of a feeling from a long time ago, faded by time.
Her father tanned from a day at sea sweeping her up in his arms and kissing her.

“There is my girl! ” He would murmur into her dark curls. “ My little Haven Raven.”

She shook her head a the tender memory. He hadn’t called her that in years, of course. She wasn’t a baby anymore.

Haven picked up the black bird mask that was sitting on her dresser.
Colette had made a nice sum making masks that she sold out off her father’s shop. Gold had been proud as a peacock over his daughter’s skill. While he smugly watched teens pop in and cash out for Colette’s works of art. Said masks were why Haven had been digging in the basement for spray paint in the first place.

When Haven saw the dress, she knew that it was perfect for the Masquerade. Colette had payed special attention to her best friend’s mask and refused any sort of payment for it.

Haven smoothed her hair, allowing herself a moment of vanity over the rich color and silky texture. She had removed her usual magical colored highlights, opting instead for her natural hair color. The shiny brunette locks served to further perfect her look. She pulled on the black satin gloves she had embellished with feathers and rhinestones to match her dress and other accessories.

The mask Colette had lovingly fashioned was perfectly balanced. She looked dark but still feminine. Wtth the black feather dress, some feathers tucked into her hair, and dramatic eye makeup, she looked very much like a bird.

She heard Belle’s accented voice downstairs, and she knew Colette would be in tow. Probably with Grandma, Grandpa and Neal as well. One would think that with as many silly little events that they held in their sleepy town, that their parents would eventually get tired of the routine, that they wouldn’t demand a million pictures. It wasn’t like they hadn’t ever seen the girls in fancy dresses before.

But it seemed that her parents and extended family were even more insistent at capturing magic of their everyday lives these days. Maybe it was because Haven was a junior now, and the high school memories would start to dwindle.

Maybe because Robyn and Hope were away at college now. She knew how much her parents missed Hope. Hope lived up to her name alright. She was the shining star of Storybrooke. She was beautiful and kind and strong and was top of the class and head of the dance team. She was the person you would really love to hate, except she was actually an amazing person.

“Haven?” Her mother’s voice called her. “Colette’s here!”

“Coming!”

Haven plucked up her mask and made her way to the front room.

Colette was in a lovely gold gown she had inherited from her mother. Like Haven she was wearing gold gloves. Colette’s were, no doubt to hide the ever present smudges of paint left over from Colette’s passion for the art form. Her gold and cream mask hid her delicate features.

Haven was suddenly nervous. She pulled her raven mask on and took a breath. She treaded lightly down the steps, she had opted for a soft pair of ballet flats that she had trimmed to match the dress, over a pair of heels. (She had carried many pairs of strappy heels off of the dance floor.)

Her father was the first to look up from where he was standing in the foyer. He was acutely aware of every creak and groan that occurred in the Jones house. He said he had “dad ears” and as someone who had tried and failed more than once to sneak out of the house, Haven could attest to that claim.

Dad looked like he had wind knocked out of him as he stared up at her.
“Swan.” He gasped. “Look.”

Emma turned away and followed his gaze with a gasp. “Haven, baby you look gorgeous! ”

Haven descended the stairs, feeling grateful for the mask to hide her blush at her family’s stares.

“Emma, Snow breathed. “I didn’t know you still had it.”

Haven glanced back and forth between the women. Emma picked up on her daughter's unease and reached for her.

“This was your grandmother’s wedding dress.” she explained.

“Wait, what?” Haven pulled her mask up from her face. “You got married in a black dress?”

“The Black Fairy changed it. To mess with us.” Emma said.

She ran her fingers gently through Haven’s dark hair, “You made it beautiful again.”

Emma blinked her tears back and Belle announced that it was time for pictures.

That night after Haven got home, her parents were waiting up for her. They were nestled together on the couch, Killian’s arm around Emma as they were caught up in a quiet conversation. The pair unfolded themselves when Haven said goodnight.

Her father kissed her temple, and a familiar emotion prickled at her throat as her Dad whispered his evening parting words.

“Good night, my little Haven Raven.”

Chapter Text

The Fox

(I don’t own OUAT. Haven Jones and Colette Gold are my OCs)

Haven sunk to the ground, her helplessness enveloping her finally. She barely felt the cold ground seeping into her jeans or the tree in her back. The tears blurring her vision, she finally allowed herself to feel everything she had been pushing away for the last two days.

Haven pulled her knees to her chest and buried her face in her arms.

Two days.

Two days since her best friend disappeared without a trace.

Right now, Haven was cursing her interest in forensic science. The most terrible situations were running through her brain like a hurricane.

Two days of fighting, worrying, and endlessly searching. Two days of Belle’s quiet library sanctuary being turned into a war room. Two days of Merry Men and Grandma Snow searching the woods. Two days of research and coffee and search parties and the same questions over and over again.

After pretending to agree with her Dad’s gentle but firm urge to get some sleep, She had finally stolen away with a shirt that Colette had left at her house. (Okay, her parents probably knew she’d snuck out, she couldn’t get much past those two.) She had cast yet another location spell.

Between her, Aunt Regina, Mom, and Rumple, they had all tried -and failed- to find her.

Haven had been so, so sure that this spell would find her best friend. So, she snuck away and cast it just beyond her family’s home, just far enough away from concerned parental eyes.

She poured the location spell over the soft, fashionably distressed fabric. It came to life and gently floated away with Haven chasing it down. The tee shirt just lead to the edge of the forest and fluttered helplessly to the ground. Haven plucked up the shirt and gripped it tightly, not letting the wind have it. She fisted the shirt, and clutched it to her chest, trying to lighten the pain that was blooming there.

She wanted to make up some excuse; she had done the spell wrong, the shirt had been in Haven’s room for too long, it no longer belonged to Colette. She sucked at magic. Anything.

But there was no denying it.

Colette was gone.

The tears flowed freely now, blurring her vision of the painted design on the delicate fabric. The sharp bite of cold air was freezing on her windburned cheeks.

Through her tears, she didn’t see the two icey eyes that were watching her.

 

Two days ago.

It was 5:00 A.M. and Colette Gold couldn’t sleep.

She sighed finally sitting up in her bed. She pushed her hair out of her face and took in her surroundings. Her room was already dark, with the black paint. With the heavy curtains closed, the sun wasn’t quite strong enough to shine through the edges of the windows. The only sound was the soft hum of her goldfish tank.

She stared into the darkness, trying to figure out her thoughts.

She had had the dream again.

It was what, the sixth time? The tenth? She couldn’t tell anymore.

It was always the same dream.

She was running. Always running through the forest, the ground damp under her feet, the trees stretching high overhead.

She knew that she was in the woods that surrounded Storybrooke, but it was just... different.

Somehow, in her dream, she was smaller, more lithe, and much faster than she could have really been going. Like she was some kind of spirit.

Colette definitely wasn’t a runner. She could fight with a kunai and ride a horse a little, but running wasn’t her strong point. Even if it were, she still couldn’t fly like she was in her dreams.

Colette sighed, she has been lying there for a while now, there was no point in staring at the ceiling and freaking out over a dream. There was no chance of going back to sleep. Even she could, she would have to be at school in a couple of hours.
Definitely a good time to do some painting.

Decision made, Colette made her way to her family’s basement for a fresh canvas. Her father, taking every chance to spoil his daughter, bought them in bulk for her. She had one in her closet, but something felt like it was calling her to the basement.

Colette must have been more tired than she thought, she swore her basement had never seemed so dark, as she padded softly in her thick socks. She reached for the basement light and flicked it, but the light wasn’t working.

A tiny prickle began to creep up Colette’s spine.

Something wasn’t right.

Colette lit a ball of light in her hand as a magic makeshift flashlight. A helpful spell that she and Haven had concocted that came in handy for emergencies or for finding something in the backstage of the dark school theatre.

Colette looked around carefully, looking for anything out of the ordinary. As she creeped into the basement, She felt a pull in her gut, like a gentle tug on an invisible string.

She looked up, and her eye was drawn to something she had never seen before.
It wasn’t anything special. Just a simple vase with a lid. It looked old. Colette picked it up and examined it.

A dark wisp of smoke curled forth from the container.

The smoke was like a snake, wrapping itself around her arm. To her horror, the smoke slithered into her fingernails.

Colette dropped the jar, and it shattered on the basement floor. She grasped her left arm. It didn’t hurt exactly, it felt an odd tingingling, like when you fell asleep on a limb and tried to move later.

On her left forearm a shape began to form before her eyes. It was a symbol. Colette squinted in the dim light, the symbol was familiar.

But before she could translate the symbol, before she could even shout, everything went dark.

 

###

Fear.

So much fear.

So many smells. Confusing, odd, frightening smells.

She smelled air!

Air moving meant freedom from this place!

She jumped up and through the small hole. Into cold, dark air.

She ran.

___________

Haven checked her phone again as she slide into her seat as the bell rang at Storybrook High School.

Where the hell was Colette? It was 7:05, Colette was never late.

Haven had barely made it to class on time. She had been waiting for Colette at their regular meeting spot, just outside the theatre. Ms. Patel gave her a slightly chagrined look, but she said nothing.
Haven would never live up to the perfect image of her older sister Hope, but she was smart as a whip, and got good grades.
She had statistics in the morning, so she was deep in a calculation when the classroom door opened. Her mother walked in with authority, and her Sheriff badge on her hip.

Emma gave her a look and spoke with a voice that brokered no argument.
“I am sorry to interrupt, but I am here for my daughter.”

Haven quickly gathered her book and tucked it into her bag as she stood, uncaring of the stares as exited with her mother.

Alone in the hall, her mother softened a little. When she was alone with her family, the town Sheriff and Savior became Emma Jones. the woman who made her daughters hot cocoa with cinnamon on Saturday nights. Her mom reached out to her, gently resting her hand on Haven’s arm.

“Haven, I need to tell you something.” Her tone was gentle, but sounded urgant.

Haven’s heart was already thumping, ready for a fight, but it stuttered in her chest at her mom’s next words.

“It’s Colette.” Emma said, “Colette is missing.”

 

###

Haven raised her head from her eyes. She was startled to see that she wasn’t alone.

Within arm’s reach was a small, red fox.

Slowly, as if it was afraid Haven would strike it, the fox stepped forward.

Haven’s grandparents had made sure she and her sister had been exposed to many animals growing up. Snow had classroom birds and Charming was a wildlife rehabilitator. Of course, she had grown up with Sunny and Dad’s fish. Haven knew she should chase it away, or poof away with magic or something, it could be rabid, a wild animal shouldn’t be acting this way. She should call Grandpa and tell him to come pick it up.

But something stopped her from doing any of those things.

As she watched, the fox crept close and touched her arm with its paw. The fox looked up and Haven locked eyes with the creature, seeing intelligence in it’s blue eyes.

Blue eyes?

Blue eyes?

Did foxes have blue eyes?

It couldn't be. There was no way.

“Colette?”

The word was barely audible on the cold wind.

The fox nodded once. It was impossible, but it was such a clear, unmistakably human gesture.

“Colette?” Haven breathed again. “Is it really you?”

The fox nodded again. Twice this time.

Haven gasped and on instinct her arms went around the animal, tears hitting her fur. Colette chirped with joy.

“We’ve been looking everywhere! How did this happen?” she clutched her friend gently but tightly. It all made sense now. The location spell had worked. It had led her to Colette, Haven just hadn’t seen the small animal hidden in the shrubs.

Haven sniffed, “Your dad will be able to fix this, I know it.”

Colette chirped in agreement. Her relief palpable, Haven kissed the fox on top of her head.

Suddenly a poof of familiar colored smoke enveloped the pair, when it cleared there was Colette Gold, whole and human.

##

“It was a Kitsune.” Colette’s quiet voice was sure.

Before the girls had walked back into the library, in order to take a minute and try to figure out what had happened. Haven had poofed her shivering friend from her pajamas and into a leggings and comfy sweater combo. Both her parents had hugged for about 20 minutes. Gold’s hand’s were shaking and her mother had openly sobbed.

Of course, Colette had figured it out as soon as she had got her bearings.

“Kitsune? What is that?” Belle asked, her arms still around her daughter.

Colette held out her left arm, showing her father the kanji tattoo now embedded into her skin.
Her father regarded the mark, with far more gentleness than most people would give Rumplestiltskin credit for.

“The Kitsune?” He peered curiously at the magical ink. “I thought they were but a mere myth.”

Something in Haven clicked and she went to the familiar shelf in the library.

Colette loved Japanese manga, next to the shelf of battered paperbacks, was a tomb that her friend had poured over many times in their youth. She pulled it from the shelf and brought it back to the group. Colette took the book and flipped to a familiar page.

There a yellowed but still beautiful painting on the page bearing a picture of a fox spirit with nine fluffy tails spread artfully like a peacock.

Gold studied the painting as he spoke aloud.. ‘This is ancient magic.” He ran a finger over the page, “It will take me some time to translate.”

“It mostly just talks about the lore.” Colette offered

Belle looked surprised, “You read Japanese?” She asked.

Colette shrugged. “I am better at hiragana, but yeah” I can get the gist out of most of it.”

“It appears that the kitsune chose you Colette.”

Now Colette looked nervous. “Chose me? What does that mean?”

“I believe, that within time, and a within a little practice, that you can harness the Kitsune’s power, and become the fox at will.”

“Seriously?!” Colette’s eyes widened with excitement. “I’m a werefox?”

“In a manner of speaking, yes.”

##

Later that night, Colette was alone in the embrace of her bedroom.
After everything that had happened over the last two days, Colette was exhausted. Mentally, physically, emotionally and magically drained. Her parents had gotten a whole lasagna from Grannys and brought it home so she could stuff herself without a lot of strange looks and awkward questions.
She felt safe her in her space that she had made her own. The familiar, black painted wall, with stark white trim, her carefully placed artwork and her furniture. Her white Christmas lights and her aquarium lights were the lights on and it gave a soft comforting light as Colette sat in her freshly laundered pajamas. She was still trying to comprehend the events of the day.
She ran her fingers over the Kanji tattoo on her inner left arm. Her mother hadn’t been particularly fond of that side effect, but Colette already found that she loved it.
She had been chosen by an ancient, powerful, sentient magic. It was humbling and empowering. It made her feel special.
Colette hadn’t spoken to Haven about how she had managed to free her from the kitsune form. They didn’t need to, Haven was Colette’s sister, if not by blood, by heart.

Haven could be guarded, even prickly at times, but she loved with all her heart.
A gentle knock sounded on the door before it cracked open, revealing her mother.
They had been walking a delicate balance her parents. They knew their daughter enjoyed her solitude. But after missing her for 2 days, they were having trouble keeping Colette out of their sight for too long.
“How are you feeling?” Belle asked gently.
“I’m okay, mom.” Colette run her thumb over her tattoo absentmindedly. She was still getting used to the beautiful mark. “Just been a long couple days.

“You should sleep, sweetheart.”

Belle kissed the top of her daughter’s head, and took her leave.

Her sleep that night was deep, and for the first time in a long time, her sleep was dreamless.