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By Milarqui

Romance / Action

Prologue - Before He Awakens

A/N: Honestly, I never thought I would be doing this, writing a fanfic about Once Upon A Time, mostly because I am still working on two Harry Potter fanfics (stupid writer's block) and an Alternative History called "The Legacy of the Glorious" (which you can read if you go to ). However, I tripped over one of those, and, well, I really liked the series (am waiting for Season 2 to be broadcasted here in Spain), so I guessed it was possible to do something. The one thing I hated the most was when Graham died, because I still believe he was Emma's True Love, and it was unfair for Emma to lose that so soon after finally starting to let him in.

I don't know Hook yet, he seems to be quite hilarious, but I don't think he is going to be as important to Emma as Graham was. Same goes to Neal. And I don't know why people believe that Regina and Emma would be together, the only thing they have in common is Henry. I'm an avowed Gremma/Huntswan supporter, as well as Snowing (Snow/Charming). Nothing else so far in terms of couples, but, well, we'll see.

The Disclaimer: I don't own this. Don't own Once Upon A Time, nor any of its characters: I just play with them. Which is a pity, because I would have tried to direct the series in other direction. The idea on itself is quite great, though, and I wish I had developed it before. If any characters in this story do not appear in the series, it's because they are mine.

Prologue – Before He Awakens

As the last of the four soldiers that attacked him drops dead, he lets his sword fall. The pain in his shoulder is too great to keep holding the heavy sword, and the injury in his abdomen makes it even harder to concentrate, especially when he is carrying a far more precious cargo with the uninjured arm.

His daughter, Emma. She has just been born. Tiny like all babies, and still with her eyes closed, but he already loves her more than nearly anything else in the world. Only Emma's mother, his wife, his true love, Snow White, can rival in his heart with her, and he hopes he has a big enough heart to keep them both in there, because he might burst if it isn't.

That's why the pain in his heart is greater than the one in his shoulder and abdomen. Because he only has a few minutes left before the Evil Queen's Dark Curse reaches them, and Emma is the one destined to become the savior of their world. But that's not the main reason why he is doing this. He is doing this to give his little girl the best chance at living, the one that neither him nor Snow will be able to.

With great effort, and fighting through the pain in his shoulder, his abdomen and his heart, he opens the door to the wardrobe that will take Emma to the world without magic, the world where everyone in the world is going, where she will live free of the curse until she is twenty-eight. Alone.

Putting her inside, he fights the tears as he thinks of all the things neither he nor Snow will be there to do. They will not see her grow up. They will not hear her first words. They will not see her give her first steps. They will not be able to watch for her as she has her first crush, so that he can tell her about how he met Snow for the first time, and the second, and how they fell in love and fought for that. They will not be there to teach her how to fight with a sword and to use a bow. He will not be there to threaten whomever Emma falls in love with with the most extreme of pains if he ever harms her, and Snow will not be there to hold him back. They will not be there to see how she becomes a strong, independent, beautiful woman like her mother.

They will not be there to love her. When she returns to their lives, she will be a full adult, and that is what pains so much. She will be their age, and she will not know about them.

As he closes the door, he knows he should say something. One last thing for the little girl his wife and him have loved so much ever since they discovered she was pregnant, and who neither of them will see for about three decades. Who will be lost in a world without magic, just like the world will be.

And now, he knows what to say. It is the thing Snow and him have said to each other so many times, that it is pretty much their sentence, the one they use to tell each other "I love you." It is only fitting that Emma knows this as well.

"Find us."

And before he can try to be a little more selfish, before he tries to open the door again and keep his baby girl in his arms for a few more seconds, he closes the door. The wardrobe flashes, and he knows Emma is safe. Only then do his tears start to drop. Rationally, he knows that it was the correct decision, that Emma had to be kept safe, lest she fall under the curse and thus be subjected to whatever horrible destiny the Evil Queen had prepared for her. But rationality is not of much use when it feels like your heart is getting ripped and teared in tiny pieces. It is like the moment when Snow lied to him and said she did not love him, it is painful, and horrible.

He feels himself fading, but it is not from the curse: it is his injuries. He has lost a lot of blood, and knows that he might die quite soon. He appreciates the irony now: the Dark Curse that he so hates, because it is taking him away from his wife, his daughter and his life, may be the only thing that can save him.

He doesn't fall, though, because he is taken in someone's arms, and carefully lowered to the floor. He knows who is it, even if he isn't looking. Snow. His beautiful, fiery, strong Snow, is holding him. And she is sobbing so hard, because, like him, she knows how near the end of this part of their lives is, and that soon they will be sent to something akin to a hell where they will be separated. He lies now on the floor, and Snow is lying on him, and he sees her tear-stricken face. He wants to clear those tears away, make her smile, make her happy even for a few more seconds, but he is losing his strength.

"She's safe, Snow," he manages to say. "Emma's safe. She'll find us."

"I know," she replies between sobs. "I know. But it still hurts. I don't know how I will spend twenty-eight years without either of you, to wait until both of us and Emma are together again."

He might have chuckled, but he contents himself with a grin. They hear footsteps coming from outside, but they do not care. The only important thing is the person they are next to.

"Remember, Snow, twenty-eight years is nothing when you have eternal love. I have faith."

The ground starts to rumble, and the wind to pick up. Regina's Dark Curse is now reaching their palace, and it is going to change everything. But now, Prince James "Charming" can only think of Snow White. Even as Regina herself comes in and tried to gloat about the fact that only she will have a happy ending now, they only see and hear each other.

"I'll find you in twenty-eight years, then, Princess Snow White," he whispers.

"Not if I find you first, Prince Charming."

She closes the distance, and both decide that the way to leave this world is by kissing their true love. So they do, and as they kiss, tears drop from both their eyes. The last thing they will be doing together for a long time. As the world rages around them, and then everything slowly darkens.

He feels himself being ripped of... something. Of his memories. Of his feelings. He tries to keep those, but it is impossible, the curse is too strong. So he takes refuge with the only thing he is sure the curse won't be able to take, his true love for Snow. It is the most powerful magic in the world, after all. He tries to bring with him his memories, but soon he realizes he doesn't have to do that, because, if the curse can be broken, then his memories are not going to be lost, but rather they will be placed behind a veil that will be destroyed when the curse finally dies.

He hopes so, at least.

The last thing he feels before losing consciousness – or dying, or being sent to the new world, he is not sure – is the weight of his beloved over him and the feel of her lips over his.

Find me, Snow. Find me.

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