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Sins of the Father

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Prologue

It's raining hard. The infant Jones is crying in her bassinet, seemingly aware of how tonight will end.

In abandonment.

"Shh, shh," young Killian says. "Don't cry, Madellaina! The sun will come out soon, mummy said so." He hesitates a moment, trying to remember exactly what his mother says about rainstorms. "After every storm the sun will smile, just like this." He grins wide at his sister, earning a high-pitched giggle from the babe.

The woman herself appears, kneeling down by her youngest son. "Every day is a good day to be alive, whether the sun's shining or not." She squeezes his shoulders and pecks his cheek. "My Killian, why don't you prepare for your adventure with papa?"

Killian's eyes twinkle at the thought. Brennan promised to bring Liam and himself to a nearby port's marketplace for business. The trip will take them a few days. He also said that he would teach them how to sail and fish! "Aye, mum! Too bad it's raining. I reckon the ship will be rocky tonight."

His mother hums in agreement and nods for him to go gather his things. Killian obliges, pinching his baby sister's pink, chubby cheeks as he goes.

Alastriona picks up Madellaina and soothes her. She cannot help but smile at her. She's so beautiful and innocent. One day she will make her family proud, just like her brothers will. The name Jones will stand for honor and prosperity.

Brennan comes into the room with a flustered look. He abruptly sits down and huffs, hands rubbing his face.

"Are you alright, darling?" Alastriona asks, taking a seat in the chair adjacent to her husband.

Madellaina coos, grabbing her mother's hair. He smiles at his daughter. "Never better, my love." His tone contradicts his last utterance. He decides to change the subject. "The lads are excited, aren't they? Should be a fine time."

Her heart sinks, knowing his change of subject was intentional. Recently, her husband has been distant. Ever since he has taken up a second job about a year ago, he has been acting odd. Brennan works at the docks at port and he recently became an apprentice to Mr. Flannigan, the town’s blacksmith. Alastriona thought the stress was bothering him since he would go to the tavern more often than usual, coming home drunk, to her horror. He says he is feeling stressed, as she thought. Maybe so, but coming home pissed and belligerent in front of their children?

"Brennan, you can tell me anything..." Alastriona reluctantly says, using her free hand to caress his.

"I've told you it's just stress, love. I think it'll be good for the lads to come with me. Some family time to relax, aye?"

"Yeah? Are you going to come home anew? No more frequent tavern visits?" She challenges him, lifting her eyebrow.

Brennan looked puzzled for a moment. "Oh, certainly! I've no need for that once I spend some time with my lads."

As if on cue, their oldest son walks in. "Mum, papa? Have you seen my cloak?"

Alastriona gives Brennan a look that reads "this conversation isn't over" as she diverts her attention to Liam. "Should be on the rack beneath mine, Liam. I just washed it this afternoon."

Liam senses the tension between his parents. Lately things have been so strained. His mum and papa may think he's too young to notice, but he is quite perceptive. He is 11 and nearly a man after all.

"Thanks, mum," he says, walking over to the rack and collecting the garment. "Will we be alright with the storm, papa?"

"Aye, Liam. Everything is fine," Brennan reassures him, standing from his chair. "Why don't you go check on Killian and we can start heading to the dock?"

Liam smiles in response and leaves to find his brother.

Alastriona lets out a heavy sigh. "Brennan, this conversation isn't over."

"Aye, love," he sighs, an uneasy look washing over his smile. "I'm going to help the lads."

“Brennan,” she warns with a stern tone. “I mean it. What is going on? Ever since you started helping Mr. Flannigan, you have been acting strange! Is the travelling too much, dear?

Perhaps these trips to Port Phasmatys is taking a toll. Speak with Mr. Flannigan. I am sure he is a reasonable man and understands that-”

“My love, it isn’t these trips. Business is good with the shop and the money is great, is it not? I will be fine. I will get better, more relaxed! I Promise,” Brennan responds as he walks over to his wife, kissing her softly on the lips. “I love you.”

Alastriona exhales. Maybe he is right. He will change for her and their children. “I love you, too.”

Her husband smiles a genuine smile. A smile she has not seen since Madellaina was born. “I’m going to prepare the lads, aye? We should be leaving soon.”

“Okay, but Brennan? Please be careful. It’s a bad storm.”

“I always am.”


 

Killian dragged his trunk by the front door, his insides glistening with excitement. His papa never took him on a business trip before! He has never been to any other ports or towns. Sure he has been on a ship, but only once, when Brennan was repairing the mast on one of the merchant ships while Killian was helping him with his tools. Thankfully, this ship will actually be moving on the sea! The storm may cause the vessel more movement to his liking, but it is apparently weather The Ocean’s Daughter can handle.

“My Killian, you behave, aye?” His mother says, embracing her youngest son with a kiss on his cheek. “Have fun, my love. Be safe for mummy.”

“Aye, mum! I will,” he smiles, breathing in her scent. “Papa says we are going to get you and the baby a present, but I won’t say what it is!”

Alastriona chuckles, brushing Killian’s long hair out of his eyes. “All I ask is for you to return home safe.”

Liam comes in with his own trunk, grunting in the process. “Alright I think I will last for the next few days!”

“Liam, you are going on a brief trip, not war!” Killian teases, giving the eldest boy a signature roll of the eyes.

“My Liam, just like your mum. Packing heavily,” Brennan quips from behind with his own previsions. “Alright lads, say goodbye to our ladies, alright?”

Alastriona kisses Liam’s cheek, telling him to set an example for his brother. The boy gladly obliged. She is so happy that her sons have a close relationship and that Liam was more than happy to look after his brother.

The Jones boys each said their goodbyes to Madellaina in succession and one final goodbye to the lady of the household.

Killian and Liam were quickly out the door. Brennan chuckles at the lads’ eagerness as he kisses his wife one final time. “I’ll come back a better man. For you, for all of us.”

Alastriona hums happily, caressing her husband’s cheek. “I can hardly wait.”

He smiles at that, turning with his trunk. Brennan stops abruptly and looks back at his wife one last time.

“Be careful, dear,” she whispers, her voice barely audible over the strumming of the raindrops on the windows. “Be the man I know you are.”

Brennan’s eyebrow raises in question. “And what kind of man is that?”

“A survivor.”


 

Pound.

Pound.

Pound.

Alastriona’s eyes burst open, her heart beating fast at the sudden banging at the front door.

The rain subsided, at least. Ironically, there was a growl of thunder that perfectly set the solemnness.

She peeks over at the crib and notices Madellaina was unfazed by the interruption.

Getting up from her bed, Alastriona anxiously made her way to the door, shrugging on her cloak in the process.

She feared something happened to her boys. To Brennan.

Maybe this was an animal?

An animal that can knock on doors? How preposterous!

With shaking hands and a deep breath, she opens the front door and her worst fears come to life.

The local constable.

A middle-aged, burly man with concerned features conveyed on his face stood in the doorway, the reason for his midnight visit clearly unpleasant.

“I beg your pardon, Mrs. Jones,” he says crisply, obviously doing this many times before.

Alastriona was ready to accept the death of her family. The storm must be strong on the waves. Her family swallowed by the dark waters. Her sons! Oh her poor sons! No chance to make names for themselves! And Brennan? Her Brennan! He was going to change! He was going to…

“Have you seen your husband, ma’am?”

Thoughts interrupted, she was sure she misheard the constable’s last utterance. Her husband is alive? “Wh-what?”

Her response to the constable’s query was awarded with an impatient huff. “Brennan Jones? He was expected to be arrested at Port Sarim, unbeknownst to him. He heard of the soldiers waiting for him, he fled.”

Alastriona blinked, her body in shock.

Arrested?

Soldiers?

“Mrs. Jones, do you know where he is?”

“I d-do not, Constable,” she responds meekly. “What were his crimes?”

The man retrieves a document from the satchel he was wearing, showing Alastriona the contents of the parchment. “He’s a thief and a disgraceful scoundrel. He stole blades from the Blacksmith he apprentices, amongst other things, and sold them to pirates in port.”

Tears welled up in her eyes at the harsh accusations that faced her husband. She cannot believe what she was hearing. Pirates? What the hell was Brennan thinking? Mr. Flannigan was an old, daft drunk, but he did not deserve to be taken advantage of! They were struggling, sure, but conducting business with pirates? That’s a serious crime! He can face the noose!

Perhaps that was the reason for the sweets Brennan bought for the children, the fine meat acquired from the neighboring market he conducted business in. Port Sarim, eh? He had told her the neighboring market was Port Phasmatys! What she knew about Port Sarim was that it was rumored to have just as big of a pirate presence as Tortuga! And pirates had lots of rewards for desperate men that catered to their needs.

Why would he expose their sons to pirates? Was he mad?

Was everything he told her a lie? Ever since he came home from the first tavern fight a year ago? He claimed business was fine, yes. But his behavior was strange! That’s why! Pirates. Bloody Pirates!

“Mrs. Jones I must warn you of the charges you may face if you are hiding this man’s location. Do you understand?”

“Aye, yes, but he told me he was going to his port of business. I thought it to be Phasmatys, sir.”

The constable’s demeanor became softer, clearly the man had sympathy for the woman. “Ma’am if you hear anything from him, please alert the authorities.”

That’s it? What about…

“What of my children? Killian and Liam. Where are they?”

“I’m afraid Mr. Jones left them behind on the ship. You see he was fleeing and traded your sons for servitude for a row boat to escape,” his look of sympathy changed to pity as he shared this news. “They are gone, Mrs. Jones. They are but servants to the ship’s captain. A hefty price would ensure their independence.”

Madellaina can sense her mother’s distress as she began wailing in the distance. The constable offers the woman a sad smile. “I am sorry. I wish you peace.”

And with that he was gone. Another person just gone in the night.

Almost instantaneously with the shut of the front door, the rain started up again.

Alastriona sinks onto the cold, hard floor. Back against the door, sobbing with her head in her lap. Gasping every other second for air in her state of despair, mind plagued with vicious and worried thoughts.

He left!

He lied to me…

That coward!

He’s a fugitive?

He left our boys to slavery?

He was going to bring them to Port Sarim?!

I can’t get them back.

I won’t ever see them again!

They need their family. How will they survive? They will starve!

I thought he loved me?

What will the village see me as?

How will Madellaina and I live?!

How will I support us?

This is not fecking happening!

She verbally expresses her anxiety. Her fears for her boys and her daughter.

"What am I going to do? What are they going to do?"

Chapter Text

Chapter One

Storybrooke, Present Day

Killian groans at the rain that was hindering his ability to sleep.

It’s been raining for four days in a row now, winter slowly creeping up on the people of Storybrooke.

Normally, an ordinary person would express their disdain for the gloomy weather and frigid temperatures, but not Killian Jones.

Why?

Well, he just got Emma Swan back from some twisted alternate universe from the Evil Queen’s wish. Emma told him all about her time there, but he was more affixed to the idea that “Regina” conjured him up to be an old, miserable, gawky, fat drunk. Rum doesn’t make you gray in the hair or fat, right?

Emma was currently curled up next to him, her hand made into a fist on his chest. His heart swelled at the sight. The love of his life in his arms, her fate not stealing her away from him.

Fate. Fate brought them together, did it not?

Fate has a sick sense of humor. He sacrifices his life, she goes to the Underworld and saves him, then she is fated to die. Can’t they live their lives in peace?

Killian sighs. He loves her with all of his soul. She made him a better man. A man that at one point in time existed, but was hidden under the misery and hate in his heart. He wants nothing more than to save her again and to live a happy and long life with her.

Before any of this crap started, just before Rumplestiltskin came back with the Queens of Darkness, Killian bought an engagement ring. It was way too early in their relationship, but it felt right. He knew that one day, in the near future, the time would come.

The man loved this woman since she hungrily kissed him in Neverland. There was no doubt in his mind that he wanted to marry her, join her family officially, and maybe (just maybe) have a family of their own. He longed for it. He hadn’t had a family in a long time. As their relationship progressed, he hasn’t found the right moment. He wants to get David’s blessing first and foremost.

Killian wants to be worthy of her. His guilt of his past sins still haunting him. Part of him still curses his father for bestowing him of his iniquities, like it was somewhat genetically passed down to him like his dark hair, but he can’t help but think of his mother. The woman who was kind, gentle, and stern. A woman who he is struggling to remember, cherishing every memory from his long life in his mind, wishing he can lock the ones of her up.

As if his thoughts were spoken aloud, Emma mumbles something. Her nose scrunching up a bit and Killian smiles at how adorable she is when she sleeps.

“Are you up?” She says softly, patting his chest.

“Aye, love,” he whispers, his thoughts making him vulnerable. “Good morning.”

Emma senses his anxiety. She adjusts herself so she could stare into his eyes. “Are you alright?” She offers him a reassuring smile. “I know what happened was worrisome for you and I’m scared too, but I know that I can change my fate. I’m stronger with my family and together, we can do this.”

Killian blinks. She was so brave, his Swan. “I still have yet to see you fail, Swan,” he says, kissing her forehead softly. “I will do anything to ensure your fate is what you want it to be.”

At that Emma hums, kissing Killian on the lips.

Noticing the rain, she sighs. “Can we just stay home all day? I kinda missed you…”

Killian chuckles, one eyebrow shooting up. “Oh? Well it just so happens that I missed you.”

“I know,” Emma teases with a smirk. “How about you show me how much?”

He happily obliges.


 

They only decide to start their day because of Emma’s growling stomach. Now, Killian was happily making her breakfast. She taught him how to use something called a waffle iron? A curious thing. He would have made her boiled mackerel with grapefruit, but Emma told him that was not an acceptable meal in the morning.

It was still raining, the water pounding down like an avalanche. Emma made her way into the kitchen in her robe, flopping down at her seat at the kitchen table.

“This weather is just dreadful. Did my impending doom suck the sun out of Storybrooke?” She jokes, but Killian tenses at her quip.

“Well, my mum always said, ‘every day is a good day to be alive, whether the sun's shining or not,’” he says nonchalantly, gathering the ingredients for the waffles.

She sat there absolutely stunned. He never spoke of his mom before…

“Your mother? You’ve never talked about her before,” Emma shifts herself in her chair, seriousness and concern instilled in her voice. “What was she like?”

If Killian Jones mentioned a small happy moment from his past, she was not going to let it go. He was always so bottled up about his beginnings, she rarely knew how he grew up before his father abandoned him and Liam. Emma started to wonder what happened to his mother.

Killian’s jaw clenches. “She was, well, just like your mum,” his voice began to quiver with raw emotion as he clasps the waffle iron shut, pushing the appropriate buttons to operate it. “Her name was Alastriona. She was everything to Liam and me. I don’t remember much because I was seven when I last saw her. Any good that was left in my soul was from her.”

Emma could feel her heart cracking into little pieces. She quickly jumps up on her feet to comfort him. “Killian, you know you can tell me anything. We can talk about her if you like. You never talk about your past and I would love to hear about the happy moments from your childhood.”

He turns toward her with a soft smile. “It’s alright, love. I was just doing some recollecting when you were gone. I, um, thought about the family I lost and how I wouldn’t be able to bear losing you.”

She blinks, feeling tears threatening to materialize in her eyes. “I’m not going anywhere without a fight. No one is going to take our future away from us. The Dark One Junior can kiss my ass.” Emma softly kisses his cheek, throwing her arms around him.

Killian’s humor comes back, his melancholy mood quickly evaporating, as he tsks. “Now Swan, the only person you should grant permission to do that is standing right here.” His eyebrow shoots up and he offers her a devilish grin, flirt mode activated. “A pirate never shares his booty, you know.”

Emma bursts out in a fit of laughter after swatting her pirate on the chest. “You’re such an idiot, but I love you.”

“I love you, too. More than you can ever imagine.”

“So when you’re ready to talk about it, I’m all ears,” she says, changing the subject. “I mean it. I know when you are trying to avoid something.”

Killian scratches behind his ear, his quirk obviously displaying his discomfort. Emma rewards him with an “I told you so” look.

“Hah! See! Come on, let’s talk about feelings,” Emma urges. “I like feelings once in a while.”

She grabs her boyfriend’s hand and leads him to their couch. Killian does not resist as he allows her to pull him.

He takes a deep breath, staring into Emma’s eyes with a soft, sad gaze. “Very well. I thought you were going to die. And that does things to a man. It changes the way he feels, the way he thinks about some things.” He takes her hand and intertwines their fingers. “So I thought about my darkest times: abandonment, death, loneliness…I just couldn’t bear to lose the one person in my life who makes me forget about who I was and what happened to me, and just loves me for who I am now.”

Emma nods for him to continue. This woman knew when he was holding back.

“I want to save you. I want a life with you, a happy one,” he all but whispers. “I want nothing more than you to be able to live your life.”

She takes in his words, a smile etching on her face. “I want that, too,” she responds with a matching decibel to his.

Killian kisses her. A kiss that is soft, pure, and romantic.

This moment is one he can live forever. A moment of love, understanding, and dedication.

He can only hope that he can find a way to make moments like these last until the end of time.

He can only hope that he can find a way to ensure that Emma Swan, his True Love, will live a long, happy life.

He will find a way.

They always find a way.


 

“Liam? Where’s papa?”

“He’s gone, Killian. He isn’t coming back.”

“Where are we? What about mum and Madellaina?”

“We have each other, brother. We shall meet again someday. Have hope.”

Killian’s eyes burst open. His breath quickens, unable to even comprehend where the hell he is or what the hell happened.

He’s home. In bed. Sleeping next to his True Love.

Or was anyway.

Now he’s gasping for air.

“Killian?” Emma awakens, quickly getting up and turning on her bedside lamp. “Are you alright? Did you have a nightmare?”

He blinks. His mind hasn’t caught up to his body yet.

“Killian? Babe, breathe!” Emma gently rubs his back, worry displayed in her eyes.

Killian coughs, his breathing slowing down. “I’m alright, love. Just a…bad dream.”

She gives him a look. “Babe, that’s not just a ‘bad dream’. Tell me what happened.”

“I, uh,” he begins, staring into Emma’s worried eyes. “I had a nightmare about a memory when my father abandoned Liam and me, but I don't remember it happening.”

“Why? There has to be a reason this is tormenting you. Maybe your mind made up a fake memory?”

Emma takes his hand and gives it a reassuring squeeze.

“I’ve been thinking about my mum, but for some reason I can’t remember her the year leading to my abandonment. And on top of that, I have no clue what happened to her. So I guess my mind is tormenting me.”

“I’m sure that’s normal. It was over a century ago…”

“That’s not it. Also, in my dream, I was asking about a Madellaina. I have no idea who that is. Why was I worried about not seeing her and not just my mum?”

Emma opens her mouth to respond, but then quickly closes it. What the hell is going on? Why now is Killian thinking about his mother and his past? Has her fucked up future messed him up?

“Killian, honey, I think you should talk to Archie about this tomorrow. Maybe he can psychoanalyze you or whatever. I’m worried about you. Is this because of what happened to me?”

His eyes are drenched with worry and confusion. And mostly exhaustion. “I don’t know, maybe?”

“Well, try to sleep, okay? Tomorrow we are going to figure this all out and try to find a correlation.”

Killian offers a weak smile. “Aye, love, tomorrow.”

“I love you.”

“I love you, too.”

Emma kisses him on his cheek and snuggles into his side.

Killian lays awake as his Swan is sleeping soundlessly. Maybe the reason he thought of his mum and this mysterious Madellaina is because, perhaps, they play a part in his quest to save Emma?

Well, it’s a start.

Tomorrow, he is going to find out what happened to his mother and who the hell this Madellaina is.

Not just for Emma, but for him too. Maybe he can finally get some closure about his family before he starts a new one.

This is his chance to become the man that is worthy of Emma’s hand, to face his past sins. Sins his father bestowed on him. Sins he would never want to bestow to his own children. Sins that deterred him from finding out the fate of his mother. Sins that will continue to eat him alive. Until now.

That Scottish lass, Merida, was right about one thing. Our fate lies within us, you only have to be brave enough to see it.

Now he is.

Chapter Text

Chapter Two

The Enchanted Forest, A long time ago

“What does that say, Erin?”

“Ca-cow?” The young girl wrinkles her nose, trying to muster her confidence. “Cow. It says cow!”

“That’s right!”

Madellaina smiles as she directed the miller’s daughter reading a storybook. She was one of the few females who had the ability to read, and she loved sharing the skill with others who weren’t as lucky.

Unfortunately, she did not have everyone’s blessing with her teaching.

“Blazes, Miss Jones! Women should not learn to read! Just what we need in this village is another science and arithmetic loon,” Farmer O’Brien calls from his cart.

“Oh Mr. O’Brien, that’s precisely why they should read. To challenge small-minded folk such as yourself,” she retorts, a smile of victory plastered on her face.

In all honesty, she wishes she could’ve told him to fuck off, but her mother already has a metaphorical target on her back raising a rambunctious, free spirited teenager.

“Erin, keep practicing and don’t worry what those men think. You have the right to think any way you want. I will see to that.”

Erin gave Madellaina a toothy smile. The little girl was missing her front two teeth. “Thank you, miss. I’m so happy to be able to be smart like you!”

“Aye, you’ll get there!”

Madellaina hugged her and ran off. She figures she has time before she has to go home for supper to practice her sword fighting in the yard. Another thing to solidify her reputation as the town pariah.

Most girls her age yearn for a husband and a happily ever after, but she wants her own ship to sail the seas and travel the world. She wants adventure. She craves it.

Madellaina grabs her sword and dummy from the shed and starts swinging.

The afternoon sun was shining ever so brightly, a warm yellow hue showcasing its stunning light over the town. Summer is here, that is certain. You don’t have to be a “science and arithmetic loon” to figure that out.

But how incredible the stars and sun look in her telescope she made herself! She can calculate just about anything celestial related, like gravity!

Madellaina practices sword fighting like it’s going out of style. She is the best in the village, most likely the world, as she is strategic and uses arithmetic and psychology to always top her foes.

One time, she challenged Rogerson Hackle, the weaver’s son, and beat him so bad he started to cry. It was wonderful.

The price of her skills are having no friends her age, especially females.

“What a damn sight,” a deep voice says in the distance. “You do know that a sword is not used in the presence of a woman?”

What the fuck?

She looks around to find the owner of the voice.

Miles Copper, the judge’s son. Dammit.

“Yeah? Then you should get going,” Madellaina chides, stabbing her dummy, who suddenly looks like Miles, in the gut. “Don’t you have better things to do than to bother me? Or do you want me to kick your arse?”

He feigns surprise, placing his hand over his chest. “Such foul language for a lady. Your poor mother doesn’t need all this trouble, you know.”

Yeah, she does know. Ever since her coward of a father abandoned her mother, life had been hard. Alastriona had to cook and bake for money to support herself and Madellaina. It still wasn’t enough, and men would throw themselves at Madellaina and attempt to court her, as they claimed they can financially support her mother and her.

She also knows that if she can muster enough research and respect from a university, she can get her and her mother the hell out of this primeval village…

Miles interrupts her thoughts. “How old are you, love? Nineteen? Shouldn’t you have been married off by now? I mean you are the most beautiful girl in the land.”

This conversation again. No man wants to marry an independent woman nor an educated one, but since she was blessed with her dark hair, chiseled features, and blue eyes she gets treated like she’s fine meat. And guess what? She doesn’t want to be fawned over. In fact, she rather be invisible.

“Well you know as your luck may have it, I am considering courting you,” he says matter-of-factly, his stance resembling a dog on its hind legs. “I can help you and your mother. Of course you would have to do housework and bear our children. No more of this science and sword fighting.”

Madellaina wants to vomit. Oh hang on, she just did.

“You foolish bitch!” Miles yells, yanking off his tainted coat and tossing it onto the ground. “Good luck being miserable and alone!”

And with that he was gone.

Madellaina wipes her mouth, attempting to clean her mess, and takes a deep breath.

What is she meant to do in her life?

Is she going to change opportunities for women in this land?

Become a hero? A world famous explorer? Scientist?

She has all the skills for it. Now she just needs the courage to follow her dreams.

There’s just something holding her back.


 

After that debacle with Miles, Madellaina was gathering ingredients for her mother’s stew.

Her basket was full and everything looked suitable to take home with her, but the evening sky was a sight to see.

Madellaina’s eyes widen as she runs to grab her telescope.

The stars tonight were astonishing, twinkling in the twilight. It was easy to mistake them for fairies gallivanting through the night, looking for a lost girl to turn into a princess.

She rolls her eyes at her comparison. Reaching around in her pocket, she gets her notebook as she sketches the stars. Noticing the moon’s waxing crescent, she sketches that too, just recently figuring out that the moon has phases.

Science was incredible.

Would her mother care if she was late tonight? Madellaina just wants to lay on her back and watch God’s creation while charting her discoveries.

Was it really that unbelievable for a woman to be fascinated by this? Maybe, just maybe, it was her destiny to know this. Her destiny to change the world.

Maybe.


 

“Mother? I have dinner!” Madellaina calls into the foyer, placing her basket on the table.

Silence.

“Mother?”

There was some rustling in her mother’s bedroom. “Sorry, dear. Yes, I’ll be right out,” she finally answers, voice barely audible from behind the closed door.

Madellaina starts to wash and chop vegetables as she waits for her mother.

“So, I heard about your day today from Mrs. Copper,” her mother says, sighing.

She stops chopping and turns to face her. “Mother, Miles is the biggest fuc-, um, jerk on the planet.”

“Madellaina, you know I want you to be happy, right?”

Oh, no.

“Yes…”

She smiles. “Good. I want you to do whatever you want to do. If you want to marry someone, go for it. If you don’t that’s okay, as long as you’re happy.”

“Thanks, mum.”

“But…”

There’s a “but.” There’s always a “but.”

“…please be friendlier to the other villagers, okay?”

Madellaina chuckles. “Sorry, he was asking for it. Truth be told, Farmer O’Brien and Miles both asked for more.”

“I know, my love,” Alastriona says, laughing along with her daughter. “How about we get dinner ready and discuss your day, hmm?”

“Sounds good to me. Say, you want to know what I learned about the moon?”


 

After dinner, Madellaina offered to clean up. She had to practically force her mother to head to bed after her long day of work.

After finishing her task, she decided to help her mum out some more. She went into their sitting area and decided to tidy up the desks and floor.

She grabs the nearest broom and starts sweeping. Her recent conversation with Miles creeps into her mind and she rolls her eyes in amusement.

Imagine doing this shit for the rest of your life. Damn.

She also cannot help but think that this is what her own mother does for a living. She never asked her what her dreams were. What she was meant to do. Sadly, after her husband left she wasn’t given much of a choice. She was tasked to raise her infant daughter. Alone.

Sometimes, Madellaina feels like a crutch to her mum. She can be so much more, that much is certain. And maybe one day, she will be.

She sweeps under the hutch to eliminate the dust bunnies, but retrieves a box instead.

She stops for a moment.

Clearly, if a box was hidden under the hutch, then it was meant to remain hidden.

Maybe it’s money? But her mother isn’t that daft to leave anything of value under her living room furniture.

Curiosity predictably getting the best of her, she picks up the box and opens it.

There were letters and drawings. Most likely from a child, but Madellaina doesn’t recognize the handwriting. She also doesn’t recognize the names on the drawings.

Killian on one and Liam on another.

Huh?

She studies the illustrations. Killian’s is of a ship while Liam’s is of a noble knight.

Who are they?

As she grabs a letter, she discovers that it is a note from her father. Nothing of importance other than his “love for her.”

She riffles through the entire box. She finds a portrait of a handsome man, presumably her father, a boy who looked around seven, and a boy who appeared to be almost a teenager, alongside her mother. But the part that confuses Madellaina the most is that she is in the photo. As an infant. Sitting on her mother’s lap.

She drops the box abruptly and starts hyperventilating, putting her hand on her forehead.

She tries to steady her breath.

Luckily, she dropped the box on the rug, which only let out a soft clank. She definitely did not want her mother to figure out what she had just discovered.

Were these boys her brothers?

She had brothers?

Where are they?

Madellaina was shocked beyond relief. What is she going to tell her mother?

Should she confront her? Ask where they are? Are they dead?

So. Many. Questions.

But for now, she piles everything back into the secluded box of mystery, kicks it back under the hutch, its original sanctuary, and tries to forget everything she just saw.

She can’t.


 

The rooster crows in the distance. Madellaina grumbles as she awakens.

Rubbing her eyes, she debates on whether she was dreaming about finding that box.

Well, she was cleaning, so that is highly likely…

But no, that was real. Apparently, Madellaina Jones has or had brothers.

She already hears her mother moving about in the kitchen. Most likely getting a start to her work day and preparing breakfast.

Madellaina would help her mother, but can she even face her right now?

Taking a deep breath, she decides it’d be best she get ready for the day herself.

Maybe she can run errands for her mother and study the tides today.

She hasn’t done that in a while. She misses staring out at the sea.

She’s gathering her supplies and satchel when her mother scares her out of her wits.

“Oh my stars!” She jumps, whirling around at the sound of her mother’s sudden emergence.

Alastriona laughs reluctantly. “Are you alright? I didn’t mean to sneak up on ya.”

She blinks at her mother. Her discomfort on optimum display. “I’m fine, mum. Just getting ready for today and you startled me. That’s all.”

“Well, okay. I’ve prepared breakfast. I’ll be going to market to sell some goods and I was wondering if you would like to go pick things up on my list while I do that?”

She can handle that. Maybe it’ll be a good distraction.

“Sure. I can do that,” Madellaina agrees, diverting her attention back to her satchel, shoving her notebook into it. “I’d be happy to.”

“Thank you, my love. We shall chat later. I’ve something to tell you when we return.”

Ominous. Maybe she knows that she knows?

Madellaina relaxes a tick. “Okay. I have something I want to talk about too. It can wait until then, so I’ll see ya.”

Alastriona kisses her daughter’s cheek. “Alright, dear. I’ll see you at dinner. Be safe, okay?”

She smiles at her mother’s gesture. “I always am.”


 

Shortly after her mother left for the market, Madellaina gathered everything she needed to get the things on her mother’s list: beef, milk, flour, a chicken, and a belt.

She could not wait to get this over with so she can have the rest of the afternoon free.

Madellaina detests the market. The reason is mostly because everyone in this village has a brain the size of a goat and are positively mundane.

One time, to make conversation while she was buying milk, she chatted with Louise Hearthwright, her former schoolmate, about a book she recently read. Of course, Louise did not know how to read and kept going on about her opinions of women and how reading is not necessary.

Madellaina mumbled something in another language under her breath. The word translated to ‘goat brain.’

Another time, Edwin Poole kept flirting with her while she was helping her mother sell crumpets. Honestly, calling a woman a ‘twinkling sapphire under the moonlight’ is asking for a punch in the face or a kick in the crotch.

Madellaina was this close to give him both.

This is what happens when you have no allies or a confidant to hide behind. Madellaina has no true friend or anyone who understands her but her mother. As a young woman, that’s kind of sad.

But she wasn’t sad. She loved her life despite her lack of friends and tiny family. Science, reading, sailing and sword fighting kept her sane.

What’s funny is that her mother would call her a pirate when she was younger. Sometimes, Madellaina actually envied pirates. They were free men. They got to sail wherever they wanted, take whatever they wanted, and just do whatever they wanted. She really wanted to go to a city or a big port town that was modernized to live to her potential.

Other women did not have this zealous desire. They didn’t think that they had any worth, just assuming they are only good for child bearing and tending the home.

There’s nothing wrong with that, but there was so much more they can do if they just had the courage to break free.

Leaving the cottage now, Madellaina followed the dirt path to the market.

The sky was blue as the waves, not a single cloud in the sky. The sun beamed brightly and the warmth kissed Madellaina’s cheeks.

There were a plethora of animals gallivanting through the forest. Bunnies, squirrels, and deer materialized as she continued her journey, painting a perfect summer scene.

A few miles from her destination, she saw a cart on the side of the road accompanied by an older man, cursing so much it made her blush.

Taking a deep breath and deciding to be a decent person, she walked over to the struggling traveler.

“Is everything okay, sir?”

The man, who has his ass in her face as he is trying to tinker with the wheel of the cart, huffs in response.

Madellaina rolls her eyes and tries again. “What can I do for you?”

The man emerges from his awkward position and calms down a smidge when he sees her. “Oh, Miss Jones. I’m alright, just a wheel got stuck.”

It was Mr. Flannigan, the blacksmith.

She raises an eyebrow. Male pride. Why can’t they just let a young woman help them?

“Looks like the reason your wheel is stuck is because of the weight of your bearings,” she says, pointing to the left side of the cart. “That side has about ten pounds more than the right. I suggest evening it out some.”

Mr. Flannigan blushes. She wasn’t sure if it was because she made him look like a fool or that he was a bit tipsy.

Perhaps a mixture of both?

Madellaina never really interacted with the man but she heard he had some issues in the drinking department. His wife died five years before Madellaina was born and he has spiraled out of control since. Apparently, he was now cleaning up his act. Mr. Flannigan’s business was doing much better and he’s without an apprentice, which is very impressive.

“Thank you, miss,” the blacksmith offers, tipping his hat. “I can’t believe I was that dumb.”

“It’s no trouble, Mr. Flannigan. It’s just simple science, that’s all.”

He stops and stares at her a moment. Madellaina thinks this is because of her science comment, like all villagers react when she speaks of the subject, but he was actually thinking of something else entirely.

“I could use someone like you to work for me in my shop. Someone who’s got brains,” he chuckles, wiping sweat from his forehead. “When can you start? I can pay you a generous amount.”

Now it was Madellaina’s turn to stare at him in disbelief. “Uh, well thank you for the offer! I just don’t have any experience in blacksmithing.”

Mr. Flannigan lets out a belly laugh. “Nonsense! You shall be my apprentice and I’ll teach ya! I can use a person who understands science like you do. I’ve heard my fair share of tales about your smarts.”

Money, a job, and a potential opportunity to relocate her mother to a bigger city?

Either she’s crazy, or this just might work…

“You know what? What the hell. I’m in,” Madellaina extends her hand to shake his sweaty one.

Mr. Flannigan smiles. “That’s a girl! This’ll be a great arrangement, mark my words!”

Madellaina grins back at him, her heart gracious for this opportunity. She has never heard of a female apprentice before…

“Mr. Flannigan, will the other villagers give you problems since I’m a woman? Will it be bad for your business?”

He extends a look that seemed to answer her question before he answered it. “I could give less of a damn, miss. You’re smart and you helped me when no one else would. I like ya and I’ll see ya at my shop first thing Monday morning.”

“Monday morning. Got it.”

Mr. Flannigan walks away, but abruptly stops and grabs a purse from his pocket. “For helping me and as a hiring bonus.”

Let’s just say the bonus was enough for ten fucking chickens.

Her eyes grew wide. “Oh, Mr. Flannigan. I couldn’t.”

He already ran off to his cart before she could hand him the money back, and in the distance he hollered, “I’ll see ya Monday! Bright and early!”

What the hell just happened?

Here she was wallowing in her self-pity and a man gives her a shit ton of money and a job.

Holy shit.

Madellaina shoves her bonus into her purse and proceeds to the market.

She hears the sounds of deals being made and deals being denied as well as children playing on the nearby hill.

She approaches the miller, a nice middle-aged fellow, and barters for the flour.

“G’day, Madellaina!” He greets with a grin. “How’ve ya been?”

She accepts her newly purchased flour and places it in her basket. “Quite well, thank you. How’s Marcy doing?”

“My darling wife is great! I’ll have to tell her you stopped by. She is so grateful you’ve been teaching Erin to read.”

“It’s no problem at all! Erin is doing very well and is the most interested in learning!”

The miller chortles. “That’s my Erin, alright! She loves to use that noggin o’ hers.”

Madellaina chuckles. “Do send her my regards. I’ll see her soon!”

“Will do, miss. Send my regards to Mrs. Jones!”

She would have loved to stay and chat more, but a woman with an infant in her arms was breathlessly in need of the miller’s assistance.

She gave the miller a small wave and left to retrieve the next thing on the list.

It wasn’t until she was buying two chickens when her good mood deteriorated.

Farmer O’Brien busted out laughing when he saw the money Madellaina offered.

“So it is true! I thought Flannigan was talking out of his drunken ass!” O’Brien’s laughter continues, making Madellaina extremely uncomfortable.

“E-excuse me?” She stutters. “What are you talking about?”

“I cannot believe that bastard hired a woman to apprentice his shop. He’s out of his darn mind!”

Madellaina slaps the money in his grimy hands and grabs her chickens. “He doesn’t need your approval. In fact, I can apprentice circles around any man, so good day to you.”

She storms away. Of course, that fucking farmer got the attention of other villagers.

There were whispers.

And more whispers.

And then, laughter.

Madellaina’s face turned bright red, her embarrassment bringing her on the verge of tears. Her reputation as a pariah may as well have come with a scarlet letter to plaster on her chest.

Why should she give a shit what everyone thought?

She doesn’t, but it still stings.

Fuck the rest of the list, she can only think of one place that can make her feel better and it was calling her name.

Madellaina runs into the direction of the ocean, when she finally gets there, she attempts to catch her breath before she sobs.

The ocean breeze was so comforting. It was almost like an angel was caressing her cheek.

As her tears fall, she just wanted to prove everyone wrong. She could be the best apprentice the village has ever seen and, one day, she will leave this shitty place.

She will see to that, even if it kills her.

Madellaina takes a deep breath.

She starts to wonder what her life would be like if she were just like everyone else. What if her father never left? What if she grew up with her alleged brothers? Would she be the same person?

The game of ‘what could have been’ is a futile, torturous mind paradox that will only leave the player mad.

She shakes off her woes, frustrations, and troubles and lets the sea breeze do its work.

The scent of the ocean tickles her nostrils and she’s in heaven. Madellaina wonders what it would feel like to sail as a free woman flying her own flag and captain her own ship.

Captain Jones has a nice ring to it…

For what feels like forever, she wades in the sunlight, tears evaporating from her cheeks.

Her mother never told her anything about her family, just that her father left them. If she was bold enough to tell her that, why would she withhold everything else?

Madellaina pulls out her notebook and records the tide, making a little sketch in correspondence.

She takes a couple more deep breaths of the sea air before she departs her oasis. Now’s a good time as any to find the answers to her questions.


 

Considering that it was still early to return home and that she did not finish her mother’s list, Madellaina decided to just suck it up and return to the market.

She storms in with a confident gait, headed straight for her destination.

She approaches the cobbler and his wife, nodding her head in salutation.

“Hello, Marvin,” she greets verbally. “May I see your selection of belts, please?”

Esther, the cobbler’s wife, eyes her with precaution. She does not present her wares to Madellaina right away, making it quite obvious that gossip spreads like wildfire in this town.

“I take it you have gathered your opinions of my position as the blacksmith’s apprentice,” Madellaina deadpans. “I appreciate your concern, but I do wish we can speed things up here. I can offer you one silver for the belt.”

She pushes her hair behind her ear, raising both eyebrows accompanied with a grin.

“Apologies, miss,” Marvin awkwardly apologies. “Esther, get the damn belts for Madellaina. And quit spewin’ shit. We got our own lives to worry about.”

Madellaina chuckles at that.

Esther finally presents the belts and Madellaina promptly selects one her mother would like. The woman abruptly leaves, huffing as she walked away like Madellaina was a nuisance to her afternoon.

“Thank you for your patronage, miss,” Marvin says, shaking her hand. “I actually think your apprenticeship is a good thing. Don’t listen to these small-minded folk. My wife gets caught up in all this gossip shit. It’s about damn time you do something that pleases you.”

Madellaina smiles in response to his declaration. “I appreciate that. Thank you.”

And with that, she leaves, proceeding to her next item of business.

As she continues her afternoon at the market, she kept receiving looks from everyone and she honestly did not care. She felt good, stronger even, but most importantly, free.

Free to make her own choices and her own fate. Free to choose her future.

And that was something no one in this village had the opportunity to do.


 

Her mother was still not home. And because of her tardiness, Madellaina started supper, gathering beef and vegetables.

It was well past nine o’clock when her mother finally returned home, face white as snow.

Madellaina internally panics, running over to her.

“Mum? Are you alright?” She asks. “Bloody hell, you’re pale!”

Madellaina rushes to get water for her before the woman gently grabs her arm.

“Tell me it isn’t true,” she all but whispers.

Initially, Madellaina had no inkling as to what her mother meant, but then she realized what it most likely was.

Shit.

“W-what do you mean?” She squeaks, worry instilled in her voice.

Her mother huffs impatiently as she paces the living area. “You and Mr. Flannigan. Madellaina Maris Jones tell me you are not associated with that man.”

Alastriona’s veins were popping out of her forehead. Madellaina has never seen her this angry before.

Why was she so against the idea of her new job?

“Oh. You mean my new apprenticeship? I am the first woman to ever have one,” Madellaina quips. “I am going to make us good money so we can get the hell out of here and live a better life!”

“I forbid it and that is final.”

What is she a child?

“What? You don’t want me to have a job and go for my dreams? Is that it now? Have you become one of them?” She challenges.

The older Jones woman slaps her forehead. “Bloody hell, girl! Mr. Flannigan is someone I do not want you to associate with!”

Rage fills Madellaina’s senses. “Well why the bloody hell not?!”

“Because…Because your father worked for him.”

There it is. Out in the open. A bucket of ice water poured over her head.

Her mother didn’t want her to take this opportunity because of her fucking father?

“M-my father?”

She never felt so small in her entire life.

“Yes. He worked for him briefly before he, um,” Alastriona pauses, the pain and sorrow too much. “Before he abandoned us.”

“So? I understand it brings back shitty memories, mum, but come on! I can’t work for a man because that bastard did?”

“Your father stole from him, Madellaina,” her mother admits. “He then sold the loot to pirates.”

What?

Madellaina’s mind was a whirlwind. So does Flannigan have it out for her? Or does he genuinely care about her? Dammit! Just when she thought she had a chance at her dreams…

“I’m worried that Mr. Flannigan wants revenge. Please just listen to me,” Alastriona pleads. “I just want you to be safe.”

Revenge? Over stolen goods over eighteen years ago?

“Mother, please! I can very well protect myself. I wouldn’t worry about his so called revenge.”

“Madellaina, that job isn’t going to do anything to benefit you! It has nothing to do with anything you want! Being the first woman? Really? That’s what’s important to you?”

“It is important to me!”

But she didn’t leave the conversation at that. She had to have the upper hand, the last word. She had to hurt her mother like she hurt her.

Before she could think twice about what she was doing, her feelings of anger and betrayal took over her consciousness.

“And you want to know what else is important to me? My bloody family! I want to make sure they are protected and happy. Just like you did with my brothers!” She sarcastically spits out the lethal, venomous blow. “Where the hell are they?!”

Killian and Liam.

Alastriona’s jaw dropped, forehead beating with sweat, as her breath quickened.

“How in the land did you know of them?” She finally says, surprisingly calm.

Her mother’s reaction takes her aback, giving her time to realize what the hell she just said.

Did I really just say that?

“I found a box under the hutch last night.”

Alastriona rubs her face, comforting herself for what seemed to be a painful reveal.

“When your father sold the stolen goods to those pirates? That was the time when he abandoned us along with Killian and Liam, your brothers,” she explains, a lonely tear dripping down her cheek. “Your father took them on a trip to a nearby port, but found out that soldiers were waiting there to arrest him. He then traded a way to escape for your brothers. They were owned by the captain of that ship.”

A tear drips down her own cheek as her mother finishes the tale.

“I’ve no clue what has become of them or where they went. I miss them terribly,” Alastriona sobs. “I didn’t want you to live with the burden. I know it was wrong, but I wanted you to live in the future, not the past.”

Madellaina nods several times before speaking. “Can you tell me what they were like?”

Her mother nods. “Killian was the youngest. He was clever, passionate, and witty. Liam was the oldest. He was wise, mature, and righteous.

Was. So final, so past tense.

“When you were just born, Killian and Liam would pick you flowers and argue who you loved more. I was looking forward for you all to grow up together, but alas that is moot.”

Madellaina is stunned. She forgets why she was angry just moments prior.

“I’m so sorry, mother,” she cries. “I had no idea. Please forgive me.”

Alastriona motions for her daughter to embrace her, she obliges.

“I know, my love. I always forgive you,” her mother soothes her, whispering. “I’m sorry as well. I let bad memories get in the way of your happiness. If you think this position is a stepping stone for you, then do it. You have my full support.”

Madellaina chuckles and smiles at her mother. This woman is incredible.

“Thank you, mum. You’re amazing.”

Alastriona hums and nods in agreement. “Aye, you’re quite right.”

She playfully rolls her eyes in response.

Then she remembers what her mother said this morning, that she had something to tell her.

“Mum? Didn’t you have something to tell me from earlier?”

Distracted from their familial embrace, Alastriona didn’t answer at first. “It’s no matter. It’s nothing, dear.”

The way she said her last utterance didn’t sound like nothing and Madellaina kept pushing.

“Come on! What is it?” She smiles, giving her mother support to come clean.

Her mother surrenders, taking a breath before facing her daughter. “I was talking to one of the fishermen at the docks, because he was thinking of selling his old fishing boat, and I made an offer for you.”

Madellaina is yet again stunned. Her mother, a woman who barely has any wealth to her name, made an offer to buy her a boat that she can sail, so she can be a step closer to living her dream. This woman truly loves and supports her.

“I don’t know what to say. How will we manage to get by? Boats aren’t cheap, mum.”

Her mother smiles at her, placing her dainty hands on her shoulders. “Don’t worry about it. I want you to have everything you need and a boat is one of those things.”

Madellaina’s tears from before threaten to sprinkle down her cheeks. “You really are the best.”

“I love you, my little pirate,” Alastriona winks. “I’d give you the world if I could.”

She is so blessed to have someone in her life that understands her, but more importantly, she has someone who will do anything for her. And if one thing matters to her mother, it is her children.

She has got to find out where her brothers are.

Her mother needs peace and more importantly a chance to see her sons again.

What happened to them? Surely they’re grown men now…

What became of them?

Are they together? Have their own families? Dead? Slaves?

So many possibilities and knowing her mother, it plagued her thoughts. A Sisyphean nightmare that tortures her every waking moment.

And Madellaina had no idea, no inkling that her mother had to live with this.

All she can think about is how different her brothers must be from those youthful boys illustrating their dreams for their mother to cherish, to now (hopefully) grown men.

She’s sure they’re handsome. Perhaps sharing their mother’s soft, blue hued eyes and dark locks.

Madellaina shakes her head at her thoughts.

She gives one more smile to her mother before she tells her that supper will be done soon.

That would be the last thing she says to Alastriona that night, the evening’s passionate conversation evaporated either woman’s ability to speak.

Madellaina clears the table, motioning for her mother to turn in for the night.

On top of this job she will start, her studies, and dreams, Madellaina now has another task on deck: to uncover the mystery of the Brothers Jones.

Chapter Text

Chapter Three

Storybrooke, Present Day

There was a large thud on a nearby table that interrupted Emma's thoughts.

"Here. A lot of books on darkness and prophecies," David huffs.

She groans.

Her father raises his eyebrow at her. "What's wrong, Emma?"

She points to the books on the table. "Guess."

David frowns, taking a seat next to her. "I know everything is crazy and scary right now, but we've been through this, life and death. We will win. We always fight for family and we never fail."

Emma nods, still displaying her nervousness.

He kisses the top of her head. "Anyway, where's Killian? He and Belle are quite the pair with books and researching."

"I sent him to see Archie this morning," she explains. "Something has been spooking him lately."

"I can see why," her father agrees. "You two have been through a lot."

"That would be an understatement."

David sighs.

"I think you should also pay him a visit. It'd be good for you."

Before she can answer, Snow, Zelena, and Regina come through the front door.

Regina has coffees in her hand and a box of doughnuts while Snow has Henry's book.

"Alright," Regina bellows, placing the coffee and doughnuts in between David and Emma. "What do we have so far?"

"What do we know of this Gideon?" Snow asks. "What does he want?"

David shrugs. "We have no idea. We are still waiting for Belle to get here."

Zelena looks around. "Where the hell is Mrs. Dark One, anyway? Did she not say ten sharp?"

"She did."

The group turns their attention to the door where Belle herself materialized.

"Well?" Regina urges. "Did you find out anything? Does Rumple know-"

"Gideon has been living with Rumple's mother in a different realm where time is different there."

Snow starts to pace the room. "Something tells me that Rumple's mother isn't a warm and caring grandmother…"

"She's the Black Fairy," the librarian reveals. "She is the epitome of all evil. She makes The Dark One look like The Blue Fairy."

"What does the epitome of all evil want with me?" Emma asks, already knowing the answer to her own question.

"I don't know. Gideon won't tell us," Belle sighs. "I'm hoping we can find something in these books."

Zelena rolls her eyes and cackles. "You do realize she wants the Savior dead so Emma can't stop whatever she has in mind, right?"

"Zelena's somewhat right," Regina reluctantly admits. "Emma is the only person powerful enough to stop her and Gideon is a pawn in her game."

"He has blind faith in her and not in his own mother," Belle cries, a tear falling down her face. "Rumple says she cannot get here unless a special portal is opened."

"Yeah but why is she trying to kill me now? Why not when I first got here?"

"Maybe she needed you to establish your Savior status? To save all the people you have saved?" Snow suggests.

"Or she needed someone to corrupt and Gideon is the perfect person since he is her grandson? To get to Rumple and to hurt him?" David offers.

"Enough theories. Time to read all that," Regina demands, pointing to the stack of books on the table. "I think prophecies would be a good thing to look up. I've got a hunch."


 

Killian pulls his jacket tighter to his taut body as he walks the path to Archie's office.

He's never done anything like this before. Killian hates asking for help, appearing vulnerable. All of his life as a pirate and even a naval officer, his superiority and pride were the most important attributes to display.

Now centuries later, here he is, seeing a cricket for help. In the Enchanted Forest, there weren't "therapists" who gave people advice or psychoanalyzed every choice they made, except there were doctors who titled a person insane and locked them up.

So what any person with anxiety or fears in the Enchanted Forest did was keep everything inside, not wanting to appear vulnerable or weak. When Killian lost his brother? Complete faux composure mixed with anger toward the king and the monarchy.

He opens the door to Archie's office and steps inside, the long hallway greeting him with warmth and the scent of pine. As he reaches Archie's door, he reluctantly knocks, waiting for the cricket's permission to enter.

"Come in," a voice calls from the other side.

Killian takes a deep breath, then enters the room, smiling at Archie. "Hello, Archie. Thanks for seeing me."

"Well when Emma called early this morning, she sounded concerned. And to be honest, I never expected to see you here."

"That makes two of us," he agrees.

Archie motions for him to take a seat. "So what has been troubling you, Killian?"

Killian plops down on the couch. "Well for starters, Emma is destined to die and after what happened to me, it's just…unfair."

Archie opens his mouth to respond, but the former pirate continues.

"And I've had an obscure dream about my mother and someone named Madellaina and I don't recall that memory. I was wondering if she had something to do with saving Emma."

The look on the former cricket's face suggests that he did not anticipate Killian's declaration. He ponders a bit before coming up with a general response.

"It's completely normal to react this way. Sometimes our mind gathers old memories and creates fiction."

"But it seemed…familiar," Killian protests. "It feels like a memory."

"It could seem that way due to the distress you've been under," the doctor says, concerned. "In order for us to find out what your dream means, we need to help you cope with Emma's situation."

Killian can feel angry tears threatening to fall as he shakes with rage.

"Cope? How am I supposed to cope? The love of my life is destined to die and I can't do anything to stop it!"

Archie attempts to calm him down, knowing what he is saying must be frustrating to his patient.

"Killian! Hey, it's okay. I'm only suggesting to understand how you feel so you can handle this in a healthy way. Now this does not mean to give up, I believe you can save her. You both always find a way."

"I know, I'm sorry," Killian sighs, rubbing his temples. "It's just, before all of this, when I came back, I wanted to-"

"Wanted to what?"

Killian lets out another sigh, reaching into his jacket pocket, pulling out the engagement ring he bought.

Archie's face lights up as he smiles and chuckles. "Wow! Captain Hook with a ring. Who would've thought?"

"The reason why I haven't proposed to her before her destiny nonsense, is because of David."

"David?" Archie inquires.

"Aye. I want his blessing first and foremost, but I don't think I'm the man he wants his daughter to be with."

"Killian, you have sacrificed your life for her and her family. Of course you would have his blessing!"

"I've also put them in danger…"

"That was then, not now. You've changed! You're listening to your conscience now."

"I suppose, but Emma deserves better than me," Killian huffs, twiddling the jewelry box in his hands. "I just want to be the man she deserves, but it's as the curse goes…"

"What curse?"

"Sins of the Father," he answers, placing the box back into his pocket.

"You can't truly believe that, can you?"

"Aye, how else can you explain my misdeeds? I've been tempted with darkness, like my father. Would I have an impulse to leave her? What if Emma and I have children one day? What would I do? Would I abandon them like my father did me? It's a family disease. I can't ever pass my darkness to them."

Silence came between the two men. The doctor takes in what Killian said and nods his head.

"I think I can understand what's bothering you."

"W-what?" Killian questions.

"I don't think the problem is entirely David or your father, but firstly, it's your insecurities. You've changed a lot, Killian. You're a hero. And secondly…"

Archie pauses, pushing his glasses further up his nose, clearly hesitating.

Killian catches on to his discomfort. "Secondly what?"

"Secondly I think you're afraid of the future. What that means is you worry about potential things like children and how you don't want them to face darkness like you have, so you talk yourself into delaying what you want by rationalizing your fears, and now that Emma faces this destiny, you regret not starting a future sooner."

"I suppose you have a point," Killian accepts, shaking his head. "I just want the best for her and I don't know if I can give her that."

"She seems pretty happy to me," the doctor retorts.

Killian sits in silence. He knows Archie is right, but he just feels like all of the pain she goes through is his fault. Their future together is nonexistent if he can't find a way to save her and it completely overwhelms him. He wants it all with her, but he still hasn't found an opportune moment to propose.

He takes a deep breath, swearing he can feel the ring burn in vain in his pocket, and finally looks Archie in the eyes.

"What should I do?" He finally says, his blue eyes tainted with sadness. "I feel lost."

"I think you should do what your heart wants," Archie responds nonchalantly. "Ask for David's blessing, propose to Emma, and save her like we all believe and know you can."

Killian can't remember a time where his heart wanted something that actually made him happy, unlike revenge and the suffering of his enemies.

In fact, he couldn't help but smile at the feeling of his heart slowly swelling with happiness.

He's going to ask David for his blessing to propose to his true love, something he never would have imagined doing all those years ago, instead depending on wenches for meaningless companionship.

He will save Emma and he will preserve their future together even if it kills him (again).

Killian nods his head, practically elated with happiness. "Aye. I will, Archie."

The doctor's face lights up. "That's it! Live your lives to the fullest."

He stands up from the couch, shaking Archie's hand in gratitude.

"I plan to do just that."


 

"If I have to read another bloody book or another bloody scroll, I will scream," Zelena complains, banging her head onto the table in boredom.

"Agreed," David sighs, massaging his temples.

"See? It's so bad, even Charming agrees with me!"

Regina slams another scroll onto a desk she is sitting at. "Can you just stop bitching for ten minutes? I think I was right about this fairy bitch."

This piques Snow's interest. "What is it, Regina? What did you find?"

"It's a prophecy."

Emma returns from the bathroom, looking a bit flustered. "What about a prophecy?"

Belle notices Emma and the lack of color on her face. "Emma? Are you okay?"

She looks over at the librarian and shakes her off with her hand, seemingly annoyed at her polite gesture. "I'm fine."

Regina waits for everyone's attention before she continues.

"The prophecy states that, and I quote, 'The Ultimate Savior has the power and destiny to destroy the epitome of all evil…"

"And?" Emma inquires, getting antsy about the lack of information flowing from the former Evil Queen.

"Well, I have to translate it," she retorts, pushing her raven hair behind her ear. "It's in freaking elvish, so it'll take me a few hours."

Emma groans in response.

"Emma? Why don't you go home and relax, okay?" Her mother suggests, rubbing her shoulders. "You seem a bit tired."

"We got it from here, honey. I'll cover your shift at the station," her father adds.

She sighs. Clearly, she is not going to win an argument with her parents. "Fine, I will."

"I'll call you when I translate this," Regina offers, already hard at work with a pen and pad filled with foreign letters and shapes. "Just get some rest and take a load off."

"Say hi to your pirate, Savior," Zelena mocks, shoving a doughnut into her mouth. "I'm sure he knows how to make you feel better."

David's face turns red at that.

"Zelena!" Regina scolds.

The woman with the emerald pendant snorts in response. "I'm just saying what we're all thinking."

"I'm going now," Emma announces, rolling her eyes.

"Sweetheart, please be careful and rest!" Snow singsongs.

"I will, mom."

And with that, she left the library.

Emma unlocks her yellow bug and starts to drive home.

Zelena was right. Killian always helps her feel better, and not in just the way she suggested. He is her confidante, someone who can make her feel like there were no troubles or worries. A true partner.

She truly hopes he's alright after his chat with Archie this morning.

He just seemed so out of it and truly scared.

Maybe he'll be comfortable enough to talk about it with her and they can just talk about their worries and make each other stronger.

Killian's dreams were truly worrying her. And maybe he can finally just accept the fact that he isn't the man he was and just let the past go.

But who is this Madellaina person he was speaking of and what about his mother? What ever happened to her?

Now turning onto her street, she can't remember a time she was this tired or stressed. She truly feels like shit and she hates it.

She wants her life back.


 

Enchanted Forest, A long time ago

Madellaina panted as she ran through the woods, hearing wolves howling in the distance and wind disrupting the leaves in the trees, which oddly gives her some sort of adrenaline.

Where are you?

She abruptly stops and looks around. She was just here moments ago.

I'm literally running in bloody circles!

The woman who told her where to find him said it was a few paces away from the large oak tree…

She tries to calm herself down a bit, not wanting to secede to her exhaustion.

How hard is it to find a tavern?!

Madellaina picks up her pace and travels down an unfamiliar dirt path.

Emerging with every step were cottages and storefronts, then finally, as if someone answered her prayers, a tavern.

He's in there.

She has an internal war with her emotions, feeling insecure.

Would he even talk to her?

Or what if he didn't care?

She shakes her head.

There's only one way to find out.

The tavern was called 'The Wolf's Howl', which was a very fitting title for a pub that seems to be in a vicinity where wolves are prominent.

Madellaina enters, the big wooden door making a large thud when it closed behind her.

The barkeep's head snapped in her direction, offering her a small smile, then went back to his work.

She carefully looks around the joint. There were barmaids aplenty, men she assumes are thieves or possibly pirates, and some peasants.

In other words, the place was a dump.

The barkeep must have noticed her snooping as he greeted her kindly.

"Good evening," Madellaina responds.

"Can I help you with anything, miss?"

She hesitates, her breathing quickening as she walks closer to the bar. "Um, I was looking for someone."

The man looks familiar and Madellaina's heart starts to thump wildly in her chest as she realizes this is the man she is looking for.

"Well, do you have a name?" He asks.

"Brennan Jones," she offers. "I believe that man to be you."

Brennan's kind and confident demeanor fades as worry takes over him.

"Who are you? What do you want?"

"I'm Madellaina," she admits. "Your daughter."

Her father's face turns white as he escorts her into the backroom behind the bar.

"How can this be? How did you find me?"

"I had some help from magical resources, nothing to be concerned about."

Brennan scratches behind his ear, a tell that seems to run in the family. "I can't believe you're here. You're so beautiful, just like your mother."

Anger flows through her at that.

"Don't," Madellaina snaps, voice dripping with venom. "Don't you dare talk about my mother."

Her father cowers, clearly taken aback by her tone. "I'm sorry, my child. I regret abandoning you all, I truly do, but I had to go."

"You coward! You could have been honest!" She cries, whole body shaking. "You stole and lied!"

A barmaid with attire that would suggest she is a nurse during the day, came by. "Everything okay, Brennan?"

He quickly dismisses her. "Everything's fine, Margaret."

She reluctantly accepts his harsh tone and leaves the two to proceed their quarrel.

Brennan puts his hands on his daughter's shoulders. "My dear, I deeply regret everything I have done. I would do anything to make it right and go back in time and fix everything, but I can't."

"She's gone because of you," Madellaina mutters.

"Who, love?"

"My mother. Your wife."

He seems taken aback by the news. "What do you mean by 'gone'"?

"She's dead!" She exclaims, pointing her finger in his face. "Because of the path you chose!"

Her father started to cry. Sad, sorrowful weeps that mimicked her own when she found her mother's lifeless body on that horrible morning.

"My poor Alastriona, my poor children," he sobs.

Madellaina was not expecting this in the slightest. She pictured her father to be a cruel man, living on the misery of the family he left behind, but he was the contrary. He's a broken man who regrets his mistakes and actions, ones he has bestowed on his children.

Brennan slowly walks closer to his daughter and attempts to hug her, which she eventually accepts.

"My darling Madellaina," he soothes, rubbing her back. "You've been through so much."

She finally lets her tears fall, broken sobs that alarm her father at first.

"I'm so lost. I'm all alone."

Brennan breaks the embrace to look in her eyes. "No you're not, love. You have me now."

Madellaina's breathing evens, despite more tears falling down her face. "You mean that?"

"Of course I do. I want to make things right. I want to atone my sins."

She's silent for a few moments, clearly trying to make a decision.

She can either just get to know her father and live an easy life of family and forgiveness, or she can avenge her mother's death and punish those who had wronged her…

The bottle that woman gave her felt like it was burning a hole into her pocket, her inner darkness seeping into her soul, anger clouding her thoughts.

Her father couldn't have changed. If he cared, he would have went to hell and back to search for his family. He never did.

And that makes her angry.

What path does she want to take?

It's because of him her mother is dead.

It's because of him Liam's dead.

And it's because of him Killian was a pirate, which ultimately killed him.

"And thanks to your sins, I've been cursed with them," Madellaina sardonically chuckles. "So has Killian, but it matters not since he and Liam are both dead."

Brennan gasps, clearly having nothing to say, so she continues.

"Funny how you didn't ask about them. It shows how little you actually care," she taunts, pacing around him in a circle like a cat attempting to catch a mouse. "I can't forgive you, not now."

Her father looks confused and a bit worried. "Then why are you here? What do you want?"

"I wanted to see you, to finally feast my eyes on you," Madellaina admits. "The man who ruined my life and my family. That's all you are to me."

"So that's it? You do not wish to be a family?"

"A part of me does, but I have so much I need to take care of. I need you in one place until you are of use to me."

Brennan panics slightly. "What on earth do you mean?"

"When I forgive you I'll wake you up because I no longer wish for you to suffer," she whispers, moving closer to her father and cupping his face.

He backs up slowly, only for Madellaina to follow him. "W-what?"

"Right now, father, I want you to suffer just like I did," his daughter jeers. "I don't forgive you now, so like I said, you're useless to me."

Madellaina reaches into her pocket and grabs the bottle.

"What are you?! What will you do to me?" Brennan demands, quickly trying to look for a way out.

"I am going to curse you like you cursed me," his daughter nonchalantly states, opening the contents of the bottle. "You will be doomed in eternal sleep where your body will be your tomb. You'll be in there with nothing but dreams formed of your own regrets."

She reaches for his hand and pricks his finger.

The foul smell of the curse is prominent in the air as her father falls to the ground.

"I must keep you where I can find you, where nothing can happen to you," she whispers, tears materializing in her eyes.

Madellaina kneels next to her father and softly kisses his forehead.

"I'm sorry."


 

Storybrooke, Present Day

Killian is standing in front of The Jolly Roger pacing back and forth.

He texted David a few hours ago to meet him here for a drink and the prince agreed, seemingly eager to retire his research for the day.

"If I didn't know any better, I'd say you had something to talk about."

Killian's head snaps in the direction of the voice, which belongs to David, and he chuckles.

"Aye. You can say that."

David snickers, walks over and pats his shoulder. "Are you nervous about drinking with me?"

Killian laughs at his quip, his nerves still getting the better of him.

"Well I was hoping we could have a chat about…something."

He starts walking up the gangplank of his ship, motioning David to follow him.

Killian walks up to the bow and pours two glasses of rum, remaining silent.

David accepts the glass appreciatively and clears his throat.

"I know this is about Emma."

Killian starts to feel more anxious at that.

How did he know? Did Archie tell him?

"Don't worry. We have everything under control," David continues, taking a sip of his drink. "Regina is still working hard on that translation and Snow is reading up on that prophecy."

He calms down a little.

"I'm glad, but understandably anxious."

David smiles at him. "I feel the same way. We have lots of work and planning to do to keep her safe."

Killian nods his head in agreement.

Silence comes between the two men before David speaks again.

"I just want to thank you, Killian," he adds.

"For what?"

"For loving my daughter and making her happy," David answers. "You sacrifice everything for her and I can't thank you enough for that."

Killian smiles and shakes his head. "She does the same for me. I can't imagine my life without her."

"There's something else, isn't there?" David prompts, raising a brow. "You've been updated about our progress all day by Snow and I'm almost positive something else has been on your mind."

He scratches behind his ear and clears his throat. "Well, now that you mention it, I wanted to ask you something."

David nods his head, waiting for Killian to speak.

"I feel as if I'm not good enough for her and I expect you to laugh in my face at my question," he admits, staring at the deck. "I have been wanting to have this conversation for some time."

"Killian, you're probably the only man who could ever be good enough for Emma," David assures, frowning a bit at the pirate's insecurity. "If this is a question of if you're good enough for Emma, then the answer is yes. You've changed."

Killian feels better at David's compliments, which helps him muster the courage to proceed.

"Thank you, David, but that's not exactly what I wanted to ask you…"

"Then what is it?"

"I want to ask for your blessing," Killian states, scratching behind his ear again.

David stares at him with his mouth slightly open. "My blessing for what?"

"Emma's hand in marriage."

There was an awkward silence before David starts to happily laugh and clap.

"Oh wow," David beams, clapping his hand on Killian's shoulders. "Of course you have my blessing!"

Killian beams back at the prince. "Thank you, mate."

"It's obviously up to Emma, but I know you two will be very happy together, son," he chuckles after winking at Killian.

"That will take some time to get used to, dad."

David shakes his head. "Now that that is settled, when and how are you going to ask her?"

"I'm not sure yet," Killian admits, clinking his half empty glass to David's. "Maybe tomorrow."

"I think that's a great idea. Emma has been out of sorts and stressed out," he agrees. "Plan a nice evening so she can have a day off she desperately needs."

"Tomorrow it is!"

"That's a pirate!" David pats his shoulder. "You both deserve this."

"I appreciate that, mate."

And with that, both men walked back onto the docks and went their separate ways.

Killian had an exciting evening to plan and an amazing woman to talk to.


 

Emma was lying down on the bed when she heard the door open.

"Hey, love," Killian greets, surprised, closing the door behind him. "What are you doing home so early? Are you alright?"

Emma sits up and smiles at him. "Yeah, I'm fine. My parents demanded that I go home and rest."

He smiles back at her and kisses the top of her head. "Do you need some tea?"

"No, Killian, I'm really okay," she laughs, getting up to face him. "How was your morning with Archie?"

"It went well. We had a nice talk and he helped me out a lot."

Not satisfied with that answer, she asks, "okay, about what?"

Killian sighs, scratching behind his ear. "Well, my fear of losing you and not being enough."

Emma's heart shattered at that. "Not enough? For me?"

"Aye."

"Killian, you're everything to me," she says, cupping his cheek. "Why do you still feel that way?"

Knowing that all of his insecurities are out in the open, he scratches behind his ear again. "I repeatedly put you and your family in danger."

"Killian, so do I…"

"You don't understand, Emma," Killian interjects, throwing his head back as he stares at the ceiling. "I've been a pirate the majority of my life where I've ruined many lives, and my actions still come back to haunt me."

She opens her mouth to speak, but sighs instead, hoping to get him to talk more.

It works.

"Recently, my brother came to Storybrooke and his anger towards me almost put Henry in grave danger," he continues, calming down just a little bit as he notices Emma's look of concern etched on her face. "I could never live with myself if something happens to him because of something horrible I did."

Emma takes his hand and hook. "Killian, what you did is done. All you can do now is atone for everything and you have been! My parents trust you, Belle is your friend now, and Henry looks up to you like you're his father. You dedicate your life to help my family and this town and I could never thank you enough for that."

"…like you're his father."

The words swirl in his mind, slap him in the heart. Was he ready to be considered that, though?

He wants that, obviously, but hearing the truth behind those words scare him.

Is he really the person who deserves to be a father in any way?

How can he be all of these things that he wants to be without something going wrong?

Is that what his own father thought? Was that why he left?

Killian's anxiety reaching its peak causes tears to materialize in his eyes.

Never in his life did he ever want to understand his father's rationalization for abandoning him.

The confidence he just had a few hours ago fades, and he tries to muster the courage to listen to what Archie said.

He exhales, telling himself repeatedly that he is not his father.

"I'm just scared that I'll be the man my father doomed me to be…"

"Killian, you are in charge of your own life," Emma calmly says, affectionately rubbing her fingers on his rings. "I know you would never leave me, I mean, you went back in time to save me and all the way to Camelot to bring me home."

She starts to cry, the idea of him leaving her becoming too much, as she buries her face in the crook of his neck.

"Emma, love, please," he soothes, blinking a tear of his own down his cheek. "Don't cry, my darling."

"I'm scared too," she softly admits.

"Of what, love?"

She lifts her head up to look him in the eyes. "Of reverting to my original self."

Killian hates himself at that moment.

He's too busy being anxious over his own insecurities and how he's going to save her, that he doesn't realize Emma, the serial runaway, has old wounds too.

He knew this, but sometimes he feels that he's all alone in the way he feels.

"I know you would never leave me," Killian says now, kissing the top of her head. "You went all the way to the underworld to rescue me. I don't know another soul who would have done that, to save me and bring me home."

Emma weakly smiles as she sniffles. "Looks like we both have some issues to work out, huh?"

"Aye, love," he agrees, wiping her tears with his thumb. "I'm trying my best to forgive myself and move on."

"Good," Emma approves, embracing him again. "Can you do me a favor?"

"Yes, love, I'd do anything for you."

She holds him tighter, swaying her hands on his back. "Not enough? Please know and never forget that you're my everything."

Killian's heart swells, silence overcoming him.

"I love you, truly," Emma declares, breaking the embrace to look him in his beautiful, blue eyes. "It pains me that you don't see it."

"I don't deserve you," he painfully states. "It's hard to believe that a wonderful lass like you could ever be with someone like me."

As much as she tries to fight it, Emma feels another tear fall down her face. "You deserve everything. I wish you could understand that it's okay to forgive yourself now, at this moment. It doesn't have to be a gradual process anymore."

The former pirate shakes his head. "I know, but I can't help but feel that I don't deserve a happy ending because of all of the lives I've destroyed."

Emma moves closer to him and kisses his lips. "You've saved so many lives, too. Remember that."

He nods, taking a big breath. "I'm trying, love."

Emma hums, leans in for another kiss, but her phone disrupts her.

She sighs and Killian chuckles as she peeks at the screen.

Regina.

Without explaining and hesitating, Emma answers the call.

"Hello? Regina? Did you find anything?"

"Yes, but I'm confused as hell," The former queen admits, frustration instilled in her voice. It's pretty obvious by her tone that she has been studying the scroll all day.

Emma rubs her hand over her eyes. "Confusing? How so?"

"Well the prophecy reads something that does not give a clue to the Black Fairy's motive at all," Regina reveals.

Killian gives Emma an eyebrow raise, she shrugs in response. "What do you mean? Are you sure it's right?"

"I've studied the freaking thing for six hours," she says flatly. "It's right."

"Okay, okay," Emma secedes, motioning for Killian to come closer so he could listen. "Just tell me, please."

Regina takes a deep breath. "The Ultimate Savior has the power and the destiny to destroy the epitome of all evil. Furthermore, she will restore hope into a world full of terror and destroy darkness for good. As long as she lives, she cannot be destroyed by darkness nor light."

Killian blinks, mouth opening and closing several times before he says something.

"What the devil does that mean? She can't kill Emma then?"

"Then why does she claim she can kill me if I can't be killed be darkness or light?" Emma demands as she paces the room. "This doesn't make any sense!"

Regina cackles. "Yeah, that's exactly what I said."

"Well then, what's the next step?" Killian asks, rubbing Emma's shoulders in an attempt to calm her down. "What the hell is she planning?"

"Well for starters, it ain't good," The queen shares. "Also, we are trying to figure out why and how she's so smug about it. In what way can she succeed if this is in her way?"

Emma groans. "We need to get this sorted, then."

"Tomorrow morning we will be chatting with Gold if you're interested."

She can hear a voice protest in the background on Regina's end.

"Is that my mom saying, 'let her relax?'" Emma asks, annoyance creeping into that question. "I'm fine. I just want this over with."

Killian saw this as a good opportunity to set up The Date with Emma.

"Darling, I'm sure they have it taken care of," he coaxes. "Why don't we spend all day together tomorrow? I'll make you breakfast and we can do whatever you'd like to before dinner."

She decides arguing with Killian and her mother is futile so she surrenders. "Okay, fine."

"Great," Killian smiles, kissing her cheek softly. "Everything will be fine, love."

Emma hums. "Okay, it's settled."

"Well, your mother is thrilled," Regina deadpans. "If anything happens, we will call you."

"Okay. Thank you, Regina."

"Take it easy," she says. "You and Killian both need it."

Emma hangs up and places her phone back into her pocket, placing her hands on Killian's chest.

"Thank you."

"For what, love?" He smiles, kissing the top of her head.

"For giving the Savior a day off," she laughs. "Wow. I actually can't believe it."

"Believe it, darling, because tomorrow will be worth living for."

Emma wraps her arms around him and kisses him.

She can't help but fall more in love with this man every day. He makes everything better.

Emma can hardly wait to see what he has planned, practically beaming like a six year old on Christmas morning.

And Killian was right, tomorrow is always worth living for, especially with her true love making her feel special and her family looking for ways to defeat her enemy.

If Emma is going to defeat the Black Fairy, she's going to need the support and love from her family, and she is so lucky she's got it.

Chapter Text

Chapter Four

Enchanted Forest, a Long Time Ago

Madellaina is tired. Very tired.

It wasn’t because she had incessant dreams about her mysterious brothers.

Well, it wasn’t the only reason…

Her mother just got her the boat she told her about two months ago, which is how long she has been apprenticing with Mr. Flannigan, and she has been working on its modifications and repairs nonstop.

Her predicament and droopy eyelids lead to this moment where Mr. Flannigan is attempting to divert her attention to him.

The only reason she perks up is because of his repetitive, pesky whistling he often does while working, but these are louder, as if Madellaina is a dog commanded to fetch a bone.

“Jones, are you there?” He chuckles from the furnace, seemingly amused, not annoyed in the slightest. “You have been out of it lately. Are you alright? I’m not working ya too hard am I?”

She blinks away her exhaustion, or at least tries to, as she smiles lazily. “I’m fine, just a bit tired from working on my boat after work.”

“You’re still working on that old thing? It must’ve been a doozy when ya got it.”

“That’s an understatement,” Madellaina yawns. “The masts were all torn and the deck has a cannonball-like hole port side, for starters.”

“Well if anyone could build anything, it’s you,” he chuckles again, wiping his damp brow with his hand. “But, do get some more rest. I need you to be concentrated on your work here, as we have a busy season upon us.”

Basically, the busy season for Mr. Flannigan and his shop is the annual plethora of orders from the King’s Navy. It’s very good for business, of course, to be the military’s number one supplier, but it did stress the older man out.

That’s why Madellaina got the job in the first place.

The navy desperately needs top notch, expertly crafted swords since the pirates currently terrorizing the seas have more impressive pieces.

She sighs as she internally curses herself for making her personal duties intertwine with work duties. “You’re right. I’m sorry. Tomorrow I’ll be sharp, promise.”

Mr. Flannigan smiles at her as he continues to smelt iron. “Alright sounds good to me, Jones. Why don’t you just take the rest of the afternoon to rest before tomorrow?”

Madellaina takes a breath, ready to refuse his offer, but the old blacksmith shook his head with that smile of his, prompting her to go.

“See you tomorrow, Madellaina!” He says now, chuckling yet again.

She rolls her eyes. There’s no point in arguing with him. “See you tomorrow, Mr. Flannigan.”

                               


 

Surprising even herself, Madellaina went home to rest instead of heading straight to the docks to tinker with her boat.

Her mother, as expected, was not home. It was still a little after noon, after all.

She puts her satchel down and kicks her boots off, sliding them under her bed.

Taking a deep breath, and hating herself for seceding to her fatigue, she lies down on her bed for a nap.

Although her eyes are heavy and she wants to sleep, her mind is restless.

Madellaina still could not find her brothers or any information as to where they ended up.

And dead ends only make her more frustrated.

Sure, Madellaina would love to meet her brothers, but if she was being honest, she was doing this mostly for her mother’s sake.

That poor woman lost everything in one night, has to live with the shame of her husband abandoning her, and had to raise a baby all alone.

There has got to be a more productive way she can look for them more efficiently, which is precisely why she is trying to fix her boat up as quickly as she can. It has been a couple of months since everything went down.

If she looks at the port where her father fled, maybe she can find some answers as to where her brothers ended up.

All of the different brainstorms and plans morph together into her perturbed mind, it eventually became too much for her half-conscious state, and she, finally, fell asleep.

                                   


 

Madellaina’s eyes burst open.

Her heart starts to beat abnormally fast.

She isn’t sure where she is…

Or what time of day it is, either…

Gathering her thoughts and slowing her heart rate down, she realizes it has to be a few hours after she came home.

Madellaina was not completely well-rested, but she decides that it is best to not waste a beautiful day.

She retrieves her boots from under her bed and grabs her cutlass and scimitar.

Today seems like a great day to take out her frustrations on her dummy in the yard.

Her confidence could use a boost, since she is the best swordsman in the village (if not the world), it would at least make her feel validated.

The sun was getting ready to set in a few hours, which was proven due to the sun’s annoying current position.

Madellaina squints, putting her hand over her eyes as she opens the backdoor. She goes to her dummy, moving it in the shade in the process, and starts to practice.

Every jab she takes, she honors each of them to her anxieties and frustrations.

One jab for Miles.

A second for the ignorant, primeval village people.

A third for her incompetence to find information on her brothers.

A fourth for her father.

A fifth to Farmer O’Brien.

A sixth to anyone who does not take her seriously.

A seventh to all of those who ridicule Mr. Flannigan for hiring her.

An eighth to…

Madellaina stops abruptly and frowns at her dummy, which was completely obliterated, and contemplates what to do.

First off, she didn’t think she was that agitated, but alas, here she is.

She still wishes to continue. After all, her form was improving since that last time she practiced.

Madellaina decides to take a trip to Farmer Rye’s barn (not O’Brien because she would rather shove a rusty fork in her eye) to get some hay and twine to reassemble her dummy.

She puts her sword in her scabbard, hurries inside to get her satchel, and then locks her door to head over to the farm.

The woods was the quickest shortcut, but most people avoided it due to highwaymen or other thieving scum. Also, dangerous animals like wolves could lurk, but fortunately it wasn’t wolf’s time, so Madellaina decides to take her chances.

She walks a fast pace, breathing calmly to the rhythm of the breeze.

Madellaina has pleasant memories of these woods. Every autumn the leaves would transform into picturesque tawny colors that trickle down from the trees. She used to always lie against a tree and read a book or doodle in her journal.

Her mother would also take her on nature walks and always point out different birds that inhabit the woods. Alastriona would bring stale bread or any scraps she had after work to feed them since their resources were a bit scarce after summer. It was their special mother-daughter thing that they did together when she was younger, admiring the fascinating colors and different sized beaks of the beautiful feathered creatures. The fat birds always made Madellaina giggle, but she still happily fed them.

Walking for at least ten minutes now, she could have sworn she heard leaves being disturbed in the distance, which usually meant someone was close by.

Madellaina was able to deduce that it was definitely a human and not an animal.

Now, she wasn’t the paranoid sort, mostly because she could defend herself rather well, but she was a bit concerned that someone could be following her.

She walks another few minutes and hears the rustling again. She instantly stops in her tracks.

Cutlass drawn, Madellaina looks around carefully.

A man with piercing blue eyes and dark hair catches up to her, walking a normal pace, but when he notices her with her weapon out, he stops and puts his hands up in surrender.

“Easy there, lass!” The man says, stopping dead in his tracks. “I’m with the King’s Navy. I’m not here to harm you.”

Breathing erratic, Madellaina inspects the stranger more closely. He looks somewhat familiar, like a friendly face you would be relieved to see if you were in any sort of trouble.

To confirm his identification, she notices that the man is cladded in a naval uniform.

She puts down her sword.

“I’m sorry,” she apologizes, putting her weapon back in its sheath. “I thought someone was following me.”

 “Nope, just me,” the officer chuckles, smiling genuinely at her. “I was kind of hoping you knew how to get out of these woods, though, because it does appear I am in need of directions. Is the blacksmith Flannigan anywhere near this vicinity?”

Madellaina blinks at the stranger, who was actually quite handsome. Has she ever seen him somewhere before?

“I’m sorry, but who exactly are you?” She musters out. “Mr. Flannigan isn’t ready with the King’s weaponry yet.”

“I’m the Lieutenant, lass,” He responds warmly, still smiling. “How are you up to date on Flannigan’s process? Do you know him and know where I can find him?”

“I work for him. I’m his apprentice,” Madellaina explains, twiddling her thumbs out of nervousness. “We should be done in a month with all of the equipment.”

To her surprise, the Lieutenant was unfazed by her job and didn’t seem to find her position strange.

“Oh, well I suppose I could relay this message to you, then.”

“What message?”

The Lieutenant rummages through his satchel for a letter and hands it over to her. “The King has requested fewer weapons than what he usually orders.”

Madellaina’s eyes grow wide. That was Flannigan’s revenue for the next few months. Why would the King want fewer weapons? Especially if rumors were to be trusted and war was brewing up amongst a greedy faraway kingdom, not to mention pirates were growing more confident and dangerous.

“Why the bloody hell would a navy request fewer weapons?” She says, annoyance instilled in her voice. “Are you going to use cakes and rum to win over your enemies?”

The Lieutenant seems uncomfortable as he scratches the back of his ear, looking down at his boots. “I haven’t a clue, lass. I’ve asked the same thing to myself. But, alas, he promises that he has a more effective weapon that he is keeping a secret for now.”

She frowns in confusion and frustration. “Alright, I’ll relay the message. But this’ll upset him.”

“I understand and I do apologize. From what I remember, Mr. Flannigan is a hard working fellow.”

“You know him?” Madellaina clarifies, stunned. “How?”

“I used to live in this village as a very young lad,” he reveals, expression suddenly growing solemn. “Quite a long story, but I’ve no recollection of most of the area. I’d appreciate directions back to the docks, if you’d be so kind.”

Madellaina nods, assuming correctly that he was not going to explain his childhood memories of the area, and gives him elaborate directions to where he needs to be.

“Thanks again, lass,” he appreciates. “It was a pleasure to meet you. Be safe out here.”

 She smiles, holding up the letter. “I’ll get this to him. It was nice meeting you, Lieutenant.”

She waves, smiling at him again, and turns away quickly to head to Rye’s farm.

Madellaina quickly walks down the dirt path to where she needs to be, her mind boggling.

Why would the King cancel the majority of his order? How on earth was she supposed to break the news to Flannigan?

More importantly, why was the Lieutenant still invading her thoughts? He was just a random stranger in the woods, ironically in the same woods as she and coincidentally needing to get to Flannigan.

This whole situation hurts her entire head.

All she needs to focus on currently is her dummy and breaking the bad news to Flannigan, but as she reaches the barn, she cannot get the evasive, vast blue eyes out of her brain.


 

Storybrooke, Present Day

Hand shaking, Emma picks up her father’s sword from the cold gravel, the wind whistling in her exposed ears.

Her attempts to retrieve the weapon are futile as her hand shakes more vehemently, causing her to drop it again.

“Savior, I wouldn’t even try to defeat me,” Gideon taunts venomously. “As you can see, a Sisyphean task.”

“No, I will defeat you!” She cries, desperately forcing her hand to stop. “I will protect my family and home from the darkness!”

The sound of footsteps, eager ones, fill Emma’s ears, counteracting the deafening wind.

“Emma! No!” David yells, running at her with full force with Killian and Henry not too far behind him.

“Mom!” Her son exclaims, the cold bothering him too as his teeth chatter.

But if any voice had a strong, loud decibel, it was Killian’s.

“Swan! Love, please! Let us help!”

Emma’s frigid face was infiltrated with hot tears, ruining her mascara in the process, but that was the least of her problems.

“No! Stay there! He’ll kill you!”

“Emma, please!” Killian begs, concern etched into his tone. “We can do this together!”

Gideon turns toward her family and snickers. “You’re right, savior, they should stay there.”

Emma frowns in confusion, which did not last very long, as she gasps in frustration at Gideon’s spell, making David, Killian and Henry immobilized.

“This battle is between you and me, Emma,” The Dark One’s son says, his black hood blowing off his head and down to his shoulders. “Your loved ones have a front row seat for your death.”

She growls angrily, finally getting her grip on her blade. “No!”

Emma and Gideon commence their battle, weapons flying, scratching each other’s iron surface instead of the wielder’s enemy’s flesh.

“Give it up! It’s your destiny!” Gideon seethes, swinging vigorously. “Savior’s don’t get happy endings.”

She responds to his move, with one she clearly inherited from her father, and yells in accordance with her momentum.

That move, although brilliant, gave Gideon an opening to exploit her weak footwork, as he kicks her to the ground.

Body panging in agony, cold pulsing through her veins, and heart beating fast, Emma knew she was bested.

All she could do now was watch him, smirk and all, plunge his weapon into her stomach.

“EMMA!” The two men, free of Gideon’s spell, shout in anguish.

“MOM!” Henry cries, tears streaming down his youthful face.

She hears those distressing yells as the sword sucks the life out of her, her time filled with the ones she loves now over, as her body is unwilling to give her more time in the world as she collapses.

Before Emma can surrender to death, she hears a poof, which would indicate Gideon fleeing, and the sounds of her father, true love, and son running towards her and grasping her lifeless body.

“Come back to me,” one voice, decibel barely over a whisper, begs now. “I need you.”

She tries to prolong her time, to assure the voice that she was okay, but as she succumbs to her fate, she knows that she is not.

She still tries, but is welcomed with darkness.

The Savior has been defeated.

Emma jolts awake with her breathing erratic and tears flooding her face.

She has no clue where she is and she isn’t sure if she had a hellish nightmare or if she was in a hopeless reality, but to her relief, someone sprang awake next to her.

After a few very deep breaths, now finally seemingly aware of her surroundings, she knows the person to be Killian.

It was just a dream.

“Bloody hell, Swan!” He gasps concerned. “Darling, what happened?”

Emma starts to cry again, bringing her hands to her eyes, but one hand starts to shake. “I had a terrible nightmare.”

Killian worriedly sighs, as he gently holds the possessed hand, bringing it to his lips to softly kiss it. “I thought your shakes stopped?”

“They did, but the nightmare…it was…”

“It was what?” He asks carefully after she trailed off, rubbing her back with sweet, soft strokes. “What did you see differently?”

Emma shook her head. “It wasn’t what I saw that was different, Killian, it was what I felt.”

“Well, what did you feel, darling?”

“Death.”

Killian’s eyes widen. “Death? You felt yourself die?”

“Yes, I felt the cold, the pain when I fell onto the ground, and the sword stabbing me,” she sniffles, wiping her eyes with her knuckles. “But the worst of it all was I heard your voice calling for me, saying that you needed me and I tried to respond, but all I saw then was darkness.”

A helpless tear slowly fell down his cheek. “Emma, we should tell the others so they can relay it to Gold and see if he has any explanation for your nightmare.”

“What if that’s exactly what happens during the Final Battle?” Emma panics, looking into Killian’s eyes for comfort. “What if it’s a vision since I heard and felt everything? And that could explain the return of my hand shaking?”

“You are not dying. Not while I’m alive,” he promises, kissing her forehead. “Now, I will call your parents and tell them so they can take care of it while you have your day off today.”

“I just need to figure this out,” she groans, covering her eyes with her hands. “For our future.”

“Emma, love, I planned a wonderful evening for us, you deserve this day off and that is final,” Killian declares, carefully removing her hands from her eyes so she can look at him. “You know I would do anything I can to save you. I love you, Emma, and the only way we can do this is if you trust me, which I know you do. You need one night of peace and you need to relax more.”

He smiles teasingly at her, hoping to soften the mood a little bit.

She knows he is right. She desperately needs to spend the day with her true love because who knows how many of those she will have left? And, she has been feeling so lethargic and panicky that it is physically making her sick. Emma Swan has never had panic attacks and now they are happening frequently. Just one day, one, is hopefully all she really needs to take her mind off her fate and destiny.

She just hopes that nothing terrible goes wrong today…

“How can I say no to you?” Emma chuckles in response. “Thank you.”

Killian grins and kisses her. It started sweet and soft, then got more passionate, as he put his hand firmly on her back.

“I love you, too,” she breathes along his lips.

“I know, but wait until you see what I have planned for us tonight,” he teases.

Emma smiles and laughs at him. “I can hardly wait.”

                                   


 

There was a light knock on the door. Regina abandons her coffee and newspaper to answer it.

When she opens it, Snow and Charming are standing on her stoop. She offers a half smile to them, but they look understandably flustered.

“What’s wrong?” Regina inquires, closing the ornate door behind the couple. “Did something happen to Emma?”

David sighs, rubbing his temples. “Killian texted me earlier today. He said that she had that dream again, only it was more intense.”

The former Evil Queen gave him a confused look. “More intense? How so?”

“He said that Emma felt like she was really there and her hand shook,” Snow answers, frowning. “I thought she had control over her shakes.”

“Well, if the dream felt real, that explains her hand shaking,” Regina hypothesizes, prompting Snow and David to sit down where she had coffees and breakfast waiting for them. “If I had to make another guess, her anxieties and panicking aren’t helping her mentality…Maybe her mind is intensely reacting to her feelings.”

“If only we knew exactly why she dreamt that and why her hand started to shake again,” David says, already settled in the comfortable chair, taking a sip of his coffee, then proceeded to put a little bit of sugar in it after he releases it from his lips. “We need Rumple to answer these questions. Shouldn’t he know more than us?”

Regina frowns. “He should.”

Snow clears her throat after taking her own sip of her coffee. “I just really hope we can save her. I always have hope, but this dream is really worrying me. Emma said she experienced the pain, heard the dialogue, and felt herself die!”

Regina again frowns, this time at Snow’s perpetual anxieties. “Well, we will find out when we go to Gold’s.”

Zelena abruptly opens the front door and walks into the dining room, plopping down into the plush seat next to Regina.

“Robin’s at Granny’s,” she announces. “What did I miss?”

“For starters?” Her sister prompts, Zelena nods. “Emma had an intense dream about the Final Battle and felt herself die.”

“Oh, bloody hell.”

“Yeah, that’s what I said,” David quips, again rubbing his temples.

“I wonder if Gold has a better theory than what I’m thinking of,” Zelena shares, pulling her emerald gloves off her dainty hands.

Snow, desperate to hear more theories to calm herself, gives the former Wicked Witch an eager look to continue.

She doesn’t get the hint until the former Princess asks, “What’s your theory?”

“I assume her anxieties are causing her mind to produce these intense dreams,” she says, expertly rewording Regina’s hypothesis. “It’s more intensifying due to her power as the Savior.”

“I said the same thing,” Regina tells her sister. “I’m not sure if it’s literal foreshadowing or if it’s what we think.”

The two sorceresses did not appease Snow’s worries so she just mumbles in response and sips more coffee.

David, noticing his wife’s discomfort, rubs her shoulders lovingly.

She seems to calm down a tick.

Instead of talking about Emma and her doom, Snow decides to change the subject and inquires about Robin. Zelena happily obliges, chatting about how the baby makes the cutest gurgling noises.

The group of four unlikely allies continue their discussion over breakfast Regina whipped up, mainly avoiding the topic of Emma and Rumple, hoping to save all of their questions and concerns for the Dark One himself. Speaking candidly about everyday life was not something the people of Storybrooke got the opportunity to do often, so it was a nice distraction from the mess they’re all in. And fortunately enough, Emma and Killian also have that opportunity today, to live one day normally.

Regina glances at the grandfather’s clock to confirm that it was time to pay Gold a visit.

After they all finished the mundane, ordinary task of cleaning the dishes and putting the leftover waffles and fruit away, did Prince Charming, Snow White, the Wicked Witch, and the Evil Queen head to Rumplestiltskin.

                       


 

Regina leads the group over to Mr. Gold’s shop, walking with fierce focus, stilettos clacking against the pavement.

The Charming’s are not too far behind her as they walk side-by-side, hand-in-hand.

Approaching the shop’s door, they eagerly rush inside, the cold winter air also being a factor for their abruptness.

“Gold?” Regina calls, impatience coating her voice. “Gold? We need to talk to you. It’s urgent.”

The group waits a few moments. Silence.

Zelena huffs. “Bloody hell, Dark One! Get your arse in here before I-”

“Before you what?” Rumple scoffs, slithering into the main room slowly like a snake surrounding its prey. “Kill me?”

Zelena’s face turns an unfamiliar shade of pink as she cowers. “About bloody time you show up.”

“Well it is my shop,” he retorts, leaning against one of the display cases housing a vintage Mickey Mouse phone. “I assume you are all here for a reason.”

“Yeah, that’s what ‘urgent’ means,” Regina snaps, rolling her eyes. “We have some important questions about a prophecy, your son and your mother.”

“And no deals,” David adds warningly.

Rumple feigns offense, placing his hand over his heart. “Since I want my son back and to see the Black Fairy dead, this one’s on the house.”

“Great, so tell us what you know,” Snow blurts out anxiously. “Regina, tell him what you translated.”

The former Evil Queen nods at Snow, lips pursed. “I had a hunch that there was more to Emma’s destiny and I believe I am right. I found a prophecy that said ‘the Ultimate Savior has the power and the destiny to destroy the epitome of all evil. Furthermore, she will restore hope into a world full of terror and destroy darkness for good. As long as she lives, she cannot be destroyed by darkness nor light.’”

Rumple’s face scrunches in concentration and confusion.

Zelena’s eyes vacillate from the Dark One and to her sister. The lack of answers from the former making her frustrated as she loudly sighs.

“I’m afraid I’m stumped,” he, surprisingly, modestly says. “The Black Fairy’s threats always have truth and if she has a way to defeat the Savior, she definitely does.”

“But if Emma can’t be destroyed by darkness or light, how can the Black Fairy defeat her?” David asks. “Doesn’t that mean she can’t be destroyed at all?”

“Well, Emma has the power and destiny to kill that Fairy Bitch so that makes her motive of killing Emma valid,” Zelena offers, running her hand through her long hair. “Unleashing Dark One Jr. must be the key of that loophole.”

“Unfortunately, the Witch is right,” The Dark One confirms. “Gideon has been brainwashed by my mother and since he is a clean slate, he can kill the Savior.”

Snow sadly exhales. “Why would Gideon kill her and not the Black Fairy? If she can find a way to kill my daughter then she must have a way to open a portal to get to Storybrooke.”

“My mother does not prefer to get her hands dirty. She’ll get here if she wants to get here, but only by manipulating my son, which is highly likely at this point, so we must be ready for her arrival.”

“Why show up if Gideon is supposed to kill Emma? Gloat?” David wonders aloud, voice trembling.

“Precisely,” Rumple nods. “She also wants to torture me, most likely.”

“Makes sense,” Regina says now, trying to piece together a plan in her head. “But we have another thing to be concerned about: Emma’s dream.”

“Dream?”

“She saw herself die again, but this time she felt and experienced every detail, like she was inserted into it,” Snow explains.

“A vision as powerful as that can mean that her anxieties are getting to her or that that is the future and it is coming very soon.”

Snow displays a pained expression at Rumple’s response as David embraces her, putting his arm around her shoulders.

“Well, I say we focus on getting Gideon on our side and making sure the Black Fairy does not get a one-way ticket to Storybrooke,” Regina declares, bringing rationalization and confidence back into the somber atmosphere of the room. “Gold, I think you should take care of your son and find out the bitch’s plans while we figure out ways to protect our town and the Savior.”

“Sounds like a good plan to me,” the Prince agrees. “Let us know what we are dealing with and if you find out anything else, please keep us in the loop.”

The Dark One just nods, taking in the disaster that could unfold if his mother comes to town.

“I suppose it’s back to guessing again on what’s going to happen next,” Zelena says, crossing her arms. “At least this visit wasn’t a complete waste of our time. Thanks, Dark One.”

“Just remember that if we can prevent the Black Fairy from arriving, we will be in good shape,” Rumple warns. “There’s no telling what else she would do once she’s here.”

And with that, he walks to the back room of the shop, leaving the group alone.

“Alright, then,” Regina bellows, clapping her hands together. “Let’s figure out our next move.”

                                     


 

Emma feels like a teenager getting ready for her senior prom.

She is so giddy, a feeling she hasn’t felt since her first date with Killian.

There’s something about this man that melts all of her troubles away, despite her latest crisis being her impending doom.

Emma carefully applies red lipstick on her luscious lips, which perfectly complements her stunning black dress and red heels.

She decides to apply a kitten eye with her mascara and to curl her hair, something she hasn’t really done in quite a while. If she was being completely honest with herself, getting all dressed up is giving her all sorts of joy.

Staring at the clock on the bathroom wall, she still had a good thirty minutes before Killian waited at their front door.

When he told her that he would pick her up for their night out, she was surprised. Killian said that tonight is special and he wanted to pick her up just like their first date. She thought it was incredibly sweet.

Emma always forgets how adorable he is. He is so sentimental, caring and tender when it came to their relationship.

She just feels hopeless and depressed when she thinks about her fate.

This night could be every night if she overcomes her doom and the light, excited flutter of her heart hopes that she can.

Emma takes a deep breath, hoping to set aside all of the plaguing thoughts in her head about her inevitable demise.

Tonight is about you and Killian and your love for each other. Nothing else.

She tries to convince herself and it works, albeit not much to her dismay, until she hears a soft knock on the front door.

The fears and worries evaporate as she opens the door, seeing Killian in his signature leather jacket holding a bountiful bouquet of red roses. His smile is just as wide as it was all those years ago on their first date.

And it wouldn’t be a date with Killian if he didn’t stand in front of her in awe.

Emma blushes a hue brighter than the roses and smiles wide as she moves in to kiss his cheek.

“Oh good, you’re not mad at me for being early,” he jokes, taking a relieved breath. “I was just so anxious to see you.”

Her self-coaching session for the evening must have gotten the best of her because she did not realize he was just under a half hour early.

“I was so anxious to see you too that I didn’t even notice,” she teases, her cheeks stinging from smiling too much.

Killian smiles back at her and enters the threshold to take Emma’s pea coat from the rack and puts it on her. “Alright, my love, let’s get moving.”

Emma giggles like a teenager. “Where are we going?”

“It’s a surprise!”

She gives him a look.

He counteracts her look with a goofy smile and pulls her hand as he leads her to the direction of the docks.

“Are we going to the docks?” Emma questions, a bit out of breath from the brisk jogging they were doing to go wherever Killian was leading them. “It’s got to be, like, 30 degrees!”

“So?”

“What do you mean ‘so’?”

“Let me worry about us freezing to death, because I can assure you, I’ve taken care of it.”

Emma laughs at loud and shakes her head. “And here I was thinking we would go to dinner.”

“Who says we aren’t?”

Killian stops running in front of The Jolly Roger and leads Emma over to the gangplank and idles.

“What?” She awkwardly says, blushing as he lovingly looks at her.

“Close your eyes and take my hand,” he excitedly instructs. “No peeking!”

Emma obliges as Killian carefully guides her across the gangplank.

Waiting for his instruction to open her eyes, she smells something amazing and, shockingly enough, she feels warm.

“Surprise!” he announces.

She audibly gasps in awe when she opens her eyes.

The ship looks unrecognizable with white Christmas lights and flowers with a table for two all set up with trays on it and an expensive looking bottle of red wine accompanied with two empty glasses. Soft jazz music was playing in the background and the smell of the food was deliciously pungent.

Not to mention, the cold air was magically replaced with warm air, causing Emma to pull off her coat.

Killian took her coat and put it on a rack that was set up near them.

“Zelena owed me so she put a barrier spell around the ship to keep the cold air out,” he explains, putting his arm around her waist, leading her over to the table. “Do you like it?”

Emma melts into him, putting her head on his shoulder. “I’m speechless. You really went all out.”

He kisses the top of her head. “Of course I did.”

Killian pulls out her chair and she sits down, taking in the ambiance and smell of the ship.

“What’s for dinner?” Emma inquires, rubbing her hands together. “I’m famished.”

“Well, other than me, I made us steaks,” he flirts, raising his eyebrow, winking at her. “I also have onion rings from Granny’s.”

She laughs and rolls her eyes, lifting the cover off the plate. “Well, both look delicious.”

Killian chuckles in response as he reaches over the table to place his hand over hers. “I want tonight to be as special as you are.”

“Well it’s perfect so far,” Emma gushes, cheeks settling in an adorable pink color. “For a moment there I forgot about the Black Fair—”

He hushes her soothingly, semi-frustrated at her casual mention of the predicament they’re in, and looks at her lovingly. “Darling, the whole point of tonight was to give you a lovely evening with no plaguing thoughts.”

She laughs again as she pokes her fork into one of her onion rings. “Now you sound like my mom.”

“Now that I have spent more time with the lass, the more sense she makes,” Killian jokes, attempting to lighten the mood (and his nerves).

As the awkwardness of that conversation faded away, the two of them got into normal topics, which was quite unheard of the last several months.

After each sip of wine, Killian felt the jewelry box in his pocket more and more. The object seemingly screaming at him to finally ask her the most life changing question.

He gulps the remainder of his glass and it goes through him like water (which is entirely why he prefers rum), as he silently curses himself for choosing such a fancy, but feeble libation.

Emma, the smart lass that she is, notices his fidgeting and excess sips. After finishing the story behind Henry’s hesitance to having his grandparents host weekly Taco Tuesday’s parties, she raises an eyebrow at him.

“Killian, are you okay?”

He lightheartedly chuckles at the story, forcing his body to calm down, while taking a much needed sip of water for his anxiety (at this moment, his heart was pounding harshly in his chest). “I’m just fine, love.”

She knows he’s lying as always, but he comes up with an excuse that she accepts.

“Zelena made it too bloody hot in here. I’m not used to it, that’s all.”

After the latest debacle of Killian’s unwavering nerves, and his inner turmoil featuring his insecurities, they went back to normalcy.

Emma switching the banter into flirtation again, asks him how he got the scar that was on his upper left thigh she randomly noticed last week during a…compromising position (if anyone ever notices the kitchen table being a little unbalanced, her embarrassment would never die down). Normally, she wouldn’t be interested or concerned in ordinary skin irregularities, but it was shaped like a heart. She shares her somewhat joking hypothesis that he was branded by a possessive ex-lover.

His eyes widen in mock offense, but he laughs so hard that his nerves calm down significantly. He decides to go the playful route with his response.

“I cannot confirm nor deny my irresistibleness to women and their understandable desire to brand my compelling upper thigh.”

“Oh come on, Killian!” Emma lovingly chides, smirking at him as she innocently runs her fingers up his arm. “I’ll do whatever you want.”

If he wasn’t sweating from his nerves, he was sweating in another uncomfortable way, swigging his water, trying not to break.

Killian winks at her, slowly and carefully moving his foot to her upper thigh and tracing her skin in the shape in question. “I meant what I said.”

She looks at him, her core wanting to explode with that teasing touch, and props her chin on her knuckles, adoringly blinking in excess like a toddler begging for her way.

He teasingly remains expressionless, seemingly enjoying this game and his upper hand in the situation.

Emma then adds a cute little pout to her lips, which made Killian decide to tell her that there was no sexy story like she implored, but how he had a growth there that a doctor on board during his navy stint removed for him.

Killian’s underwhelming confession cracks her up and she couldn’t stop laughing. She was so carefree and genuinely happy in this moment as tears well into her eyes. “A navy doctor made a freaking heart on your thigh? Did you ask him to do that so you’d get lucky up there?”

He turns a little red at her sudden accusation. “No! That’s just how it looks, I swear!”

Emma unconventionally snorts and sips her wine, her cheeks mimicking the color of the dark liquid.

A good hour has gone by and Emma and Killian had delved into many areas of conversation. Most topics were funny stories from their pasts or recollecting memories of their relationship. Emma revealed to Killian that she was relieved that he tantalized her in Neverland to kiss him because she was dying to do it anyway, the sexual tension eating at her (to his pleasant surprise).

Killian then told Emma that he let his guard down during their iconic sword fight at Lake Nostos because he was incredibly turned on by her natural fighting skills (to her pleasant surprise, which resulted in a fit of laughter that caused her to almost choke on her steak).

As they finish their meals, Killian notices that the moon was stunning in its current position.

Yes, you're lovely, with your smile so warm
And your cheeks so soft
There is nothing for me but to love you
And the way you look tonight

“Oh, I love this song!” Emma gasps excitedly, as she gets up and pulls Killian’s arm. “Come dance with me.”

He was delightedly stunned that she initiated first, as he knows that she generally feels awkward when dancing, but good food, laughs and wine seemingly put her in a confident mood.

The upbeat melody of the song had her dancing side to side as she prompted him to twirl her, blonde curls bouncing and face flush from smiling too much.

And that laugh that wrinkles your nose
It touches my foolish heart

Emma claps cheerfully as the joyful timber of the tune kept playing, reaching its end.

She hasn’t felt this cheerful or carefree in forever. She can’t even begin to thank the love of her life enough for this perfect distraction that could very well be everyday life once they defeat the darkness.

The very thought of you and I forget to do
The little ordinary things that everyone ought to do
I'm living in a kind of daydream
I'm happy as a king
And foolish though it may seem
To me that's everything

This song was more intimate and tender as Emma easily snuggles into the crook of his neck now, a familiar and safe place.

Killian exhales happily as they sway in the middle of the deck, the croon of the lilting baritone of Sinatra yet again filling the air, perfectly setting the romantic mood.

They were silent for a few moments, Killian paying attention to the smell of her hair and her rhythmic breathing.

The mere idea of you, the longing here for you
You'll never know how slow the moments go till I'm near to you
I see your face in every flower
Your eyes in stars above
It's just the thought of you
The very thought of you, my love

 He smiles softly as he hears the loving lyrics play, knowing that now was a good time as any to propose.

Emma hums sweetly on his neck, which sends tingles down his spine.

Killian can’t bring himself to retrieve the ring from his pocket. He just wants to hold her in this embrace for as long as he can.

In what feels like a heavenly eternity, she shifts her embrace and looks into his eyes.

It had to be you, it had to be you
I wandered around and finally found, that somebody who
Could make me be true

“I love you,” Emma breathes, a soft smile on her lips.

For nobody else gave me a thrill 
With all your faults, I love you still
It had to be you, wonderful you 
It had to be you

“I love you, too,” Killian responds back, eyes filled with adoration for her.

As they continue to sway to the music, he realizes that this song is the song he’s going to ask her to. Right now. The moment was perfect.

“Emma?” He gently prompts, gathering the courage to ask her the very important question.

“Hmm?” She hums in response, rubbing her hand up and down his back.

Killian slows down and looks into her eyes, taking her hands that were on his back gently in his. “Swan, I know that you and I face an uncertain future, but there's one thing that I want you to be certain of. I will always, always be by your side.”

Emma’s brow furrows with a tinge of confusion, but the mood of the music and their dancing clear her initial reaction to his declaration.

“We’ve been through so much together, went on so many adventures. You saved my soul, darling. Without you, I’d still be just a lost boy loathing myself and never finding joy in life.

“I want to spend the rest of my days loving you eternally and become an even better man for you and maybe one day a family of our own.

“So Emma Swan,” he says now, swiftly removing the jewelry box from his pocket as he kneels on one knee. “Will you marry me?”

Emma’s mouth drops open, speechless.

Killian starts to feel self-conscious and incredibly nervous, but that evaporates as his love beams in excitement with happy tears flooding her eyes.

“Yes, Killian,” she says happily, kissing him passionately as he jumps up to embrace her. “Yes, yes, yes.”

He lets out a dry chuckle, relieved a million times over, as he kisses her back.

Emma notices his pounding heart as they kissed. “Killian, were you nervous I would say no?”

He scratches behind his ear. “…Maybe.”

She smiles widely at him, softly pecking his lips. “The old Emma would be freaked out, but not anymore.”

“Well, good,” Killian says taking her left hand, almost forgetting to place the diamond ring he picked out on her finger. “It looks beautiful on you, Swan.”

“It’s beautiful and perfect,” she hums as she admires the ring, her smile as illuminating as the rock. “Thank you.”

“Just like you.”

“Oh, wow,” Emma rolls her eyes and giggles at her new fiancée. “You know, I can get used to that.”

“Oh you will,” he teases, winking at her. “You know, I can think of something we can do that entails me worshipping every inch of you.”

Her laugh elates him and he couldn’t help but join in.

“Remember when you carried me over to your quarters on our ‘Back to the Future’ adventure?” She asks now, suggestively as she winks at him.

“Darling, that wasn’t me, but I can see what you’re implying.”

“Oh shit, you’re right! Sorry,” Emma says, putting her hand to her mouth to muffle her giggles. “I’m sure you can be just as swift and sexy as he was.”

He lifts her with gusto, surprising her, and looks down at her smiling wide. “Damn right I can, my love.”

Their giggles fill the quiet night, the newly engaged couple not only enjoying the company of each other, but having the best night sleep they have had in years.

                             


 

Killian wakes up with Emma laying on his chest, lifting up the watch she gave him for Christmas on the nightstand to view the time.

It’s ten in the morning (he can’t remember the last time they slept in this late).

Last night was the best night of his life. He smiles to himself as he looks at the ring still residing on Emma’s left hand.

He can’t believe he is engaged to this amazing woman whom he believes he does not deserve.

At the very least, Killian hopes he can save her and give her the best life she could ever want with him.

He suddenly hears a vibration coming from the floor and realizes that it is his and Emma’s phones.

Killian carefully gets out of bed, attempting not to wake Emma, and reaches for his device.

There were a bunch of missed texts and calls from Snow and David. One text was regarding how last night went and the most recent one was asking where they were and to contact them as soon as possible so they can update about the recent trip with Gold.

He steps outside his quarters quietly so he could call David.

“Killian?” He answers, sounding relived. “Is everything okay? We were getting worried. How was last night?”

The Prince’s questions came out like rapid fire. He sounded more like his wife.

“Everything is fine, Dave,” Killian assures him. “We just lost track of time. She hasn’t slept this peaceful in months.”

Killian can hear David relax on the other end. “I’m glad to hear that. It’s just what she needed.”

Before he was going to agree, Snow bellows into the phone all excited. “Well, what happened? Are you engaged?!”

Killian chuckles to himself. He should’ve known to start out with that.

“David! They’re engaged! This is so exciting!” Snow continues, without hearing his response. “My gosh it’s been ages since I planned a wedding!”

“Snow he didn’t even say-”

“Yes, we are engaged,” Killian answers, a huge smile on his face. “I asked her last night after we had dinner.”

It was hard to hear David congratulate him due to Snow’s incessant giggles and cheers.

“I’m so happy for you two!” She exclaims, giggling loudly. “Congratulations!”

“Me too,” David says, finally getting a word in. “Can you both come meet us at the loft? We have some things to update you on. Regina and Zelena are already here.”

Killian agrees to the Prince’s request and lets him know that they will be there shortly, then ends the call with his future in-laws.

Just as he finishes the call, Emma wraps her arms around his middle from behind.

“Was that my parents?” Emma asks in his ear, laughing. “Is my mom freaking out already?”

“Aye, that she was,” he admits, turning around to kiss her. “Good morning, my love. Did you sleep well?”

“I haven’t slept that well in ages,” she shares. “What’s for breakfast? I’m starving.”

“I would say me, darling, but your parents want us to meet them at the loft.”

Emma sighs, looking deep into his blue eyes. “Okay. I guess our little ‘vacation’ is over.”

Her declaration breaks his heart into a million pieces. “No, darling, it’s just delayed for a little while.”

She seems content with his response as she heads back into his quarters to get ready to go to her parents’ loft to get her life back.

It was a more positive way to look at things.

Happiness that we seek in our lives takes time to appear, as if it is delayed. The problems are challenging obstacles to overcome, but the silver lining is there, and it is always a relief to know that there are people that will help you find it.

                   


 

Enchanted Forest, a Long Time Ago

Madellaina got her supplies she needs to repair her dummy and is now on her way back home. The quick trip took her way longer than she had anticipated.

She still could not get the Lieutenant out of her head. His blue eyes, similar to her own, were pierced into her memory. He seemed important, like a lost ghost.

It was just weird.

At this rate, her mother would most likely be home before her as she tiredly walks in the direction of the village.

All she really wants to do right now is to sit along a tree and watch the leaves blow in the distance, but she knows that she has to help her mother with supper.

It took Madellaina some time, but she finally reaches Town Square. She notices a group of men in a uniform similar to the Lieutenant’s and realizes that they must be in port for a few days for whatever reason.

She cannot recall the last time the King’s Navy was at port, or if it ever was for that matter.

She’s hoping there isn’t a problem that caused them to come…

Madellaina reaches her home, finally, and opens the door.

She hears voices in the kitchen. Her mother’s and a strange man’s voice.

“Hello?” Madellaina carefully calls out into the foyer. “Mum?”

“In here,” Alastriona responds, voice flat.

Confused, she walks into the kitchen and is surprised to see another man in a naval uniform, this one appearing to be a Captain.

As she takes a closer look, her mother looks like she has been crying, but there is no indication that she is upset.

“Is this her?” The man asks, voice quivering.

Madellaina freezes. Was this man her father?

No, he can’t be! He is far too young to be…

Maybe he is-

Her mother nods at the man. “Yes, this is your sister.”

Shock invades Madellaina’s body.

She found her brother without even doing anything…

The frustration and guilt she felt the last few months evaporate as she stares at this stranger.

A man with brown curly hair and blue eyes.

A man with a lovely smile, chuckling happily.

A man who has tears in his eyes, seemingly ecstatic to see her.

And all she can feel is shock. Her brother, at last, in the flesh.

Before the shock leaves her, she was confused. Didn’t she have two brothers?

“Madellaina, it’s you,” her brother says, approaching her and engrossing her in a reluctant hug (which she accepts). “I can’t believe it’s you. You’re so grown up.”

Her mother quickly notices her daughter’s awkwardness as she realizes she did not properly introduce them. “Madellaina, love, this is your brother, Liam.”

“Hi, Liam,” Madellaina greets, a tear of her own sliding down her cheek. “It’s nice to finally meet you.”

“Yes, lass, the pleasure is all mine,” Liam agrees, smiling down at her. “Killian? Get in here!”

Her heart pounds in relief knowing that her other brother was also here.

Her heart pounds even faster when she recognizes the man entering the backdoor.

It was the Lieutenant she saw earlier! She could hardly believe it. She was positively speechless.

“Hello again, lass,” he says, eyes also misty. “I’m Killian, It’s nice to finally, officially meet you.”

Madellaina’s mouth falls open. This is too much for her to handle.

“It’s you,” she stammers out. “The Lieutenant from the woods.”

Liam raises an eyebrow. His expression reads as if he is not surprised Killian ran into her.

“Aye, lass,” Killian chuckles, reaching in to hug his long lost sister. “I was relieving my boyhood in those woods.”

“Mum would always take us to admire nature,” Liam adds, smiling happily, nodding to their mother.

“I suppose you can say fate brought you two together, then,” Alastriona hypothesizes, placing her hand on Madellaina’s shoulder. “I’m so happy you are all together. It was well worth the delay.”

“Aye, me too,” Madellaina agrees, heart overflowing with happiness.

The smile on her mother’s face is more precious than a diamond. She hopes that that look never fades, if she can help it.

                         


 

Madellaina sits outside on the back stoop, feeling positively lively after a wonderful dinner with her family.

Her family.

She has to get used to that concept.

The backdoor opens, revealing Killian first, as he plops down next to her with Liam in tow, the latter grunting as he sits.

“I’d say you’re getting old, brother, but I’ll cut you some slack for fixing the rigging all by yourself,” Killian teases, patting his older brother on the back.

She smiles at her brothers’ banter, so natural and comedic.

“So, Madellaina,” Liam prompts, ignoring his brother’s jeer. “Tell me more about your studies. I find it fascinating that you’re into science and arithmetic.”

“Not to mention, Flannigan’s apprentice!” Killian adds.

Madellaina was a bit stunned at her brothers’ acceptance towards her unusual interests and job. They are so interested and proud. It was quite better than the contrasting reactions she received from the townsfolk and, at first, her mother: shame, disdain and ridicule.

She goes on and tells them about her journals and discoveries, her passion for the unknown, as well as her desire to explore the world and get a higher education.

Madellaina even tells them about her boat, something she is proud to call her project.

“You can sail?” Liam asks, pleasantly surprised.

“Aye, I can also swordfight,” she, uncharacteristically, meekly admits.

“Well you would have to demonstrate!” Killian requests, blue eyes full of persuasion. “Come on, show me what you got!”

He pulls out his sword from his hip, waiting for his sister to do the same.

Madellaina remains still on the stoop, cowering from the attention.

She wasn’t used to this at all. Normally, she would have people in her life either rejecting her skill or not care.

The Lieutenant does not back down, nodding at her encouragingly.

“Come on, little lass! It’ll be fun!” He persuades, swinging his blade around.

“Yeah, sis, kick his arse for me!” Her eldest brother chuckles, patting her on her back.

She smiles, giving in. “Alright, fine.”

Madellaina gets up and goes to retrieve her scimitar, but Liam stops her and hands her his own.

She smiles again, staring adoringly at the piece. She instantly recognizes Flannigan’s handiwork. This is definitely his blade.

“En garde!” Killian goadingly exclaims. 

Madellaina bursts into laughter as they scratch irons, and as a shock to herself, almost immediately disarms her brother.

“Good form!” He praises, grunting as he masterly moves his feet in an advantageous position.

She reads his movement right as she tumbles through his legs and jumps up, grabbing the weapon from his hand.

“Holy shite!” Liam cheers, standing up from his current position on the stoop. “You’re bloody brilliant with a blade! You beat his sorry arse!”

Killian laughs and lovingly pats Madellaina’s back. “Aye, that she did! I’d hate to see what she’d do to yours!”

The three of them uncontrollably laugh.

She never felt this way with anyone in her entire life and she can just thank whatever was watching out for her up there for giving her the best gift she could ever imagine: family.

And it was certainly worth the delay.

                                 


 

Killian and Liam ended up staying the night in their old rooms, to the delight of Madellaina and Alastriona. They would only be there for the one night due to a secret military trip the men have to take the next afternoon. It was like the four of them had been together for years with no indication of ever being separated.

Madellaina spoke with her brothers well beyond midnight, catching up and listening to them animatedly speak about their childhood memories and their stints in the navy.

To her surprise, Killian and Liam left out their father from any means of conversation. It’s not like he was always a coward, right?

She didn’t even mind it that much anyway. Maybe one day, after they are more comfortable around her, they would then share such precious, restricted memories.

It was a little after the rooster crowed, the sun slowly peering out from the sky, when Madellaina awoke.

She had to be at Flannigan’s soon and she didn’t really get much rest that she needed, but she did feel well rested. Perhaps being the happiest you have ever been will do that to you.

She throws her hair up in a bun, grabs her satchel, and quickly heads out to go to work.

“Madellaina,” a voice calls.

Madellaina looks behind her and notices that Killian was jogging from behind, catching up to her.

“Hey, Killian,” she greets with a sleepy smile. “Is everything alright?”

“Yes, lass, I just wanted to talk to you about a few things,” he says, sheepishly scratching the back of his ear.

She prompts her brother to continue and he does.

“I want to apologize for the predicament the King is putting you and Flannigan in. I’ve tried to figure out why, but Liam is keeping it tight-lipped until we set off on our voyage later today.”

“It’s fine. I’m sure we can figure something out.”

“And that’s also part of the reason why I insisted to the King that we should stop at the port so we could kindly hand deliver the letter to him. But obviously, my motives were selfish so Liam and I would finally have an excuse to come find you and mum.”

Madellaina smiles. She would have done the same thing.

“I’d figured as much. The port isn’t exactly near anything important.”

“I’m sorry it took this long for us to see you again. It was hard enough to be enslaved, but at least the universe gave us the opportunity to enlist in the navy and be free men,” Killian admits, clearly a bit uncomfortable at his vulnerability. “I’m going to spare you from those soddy details, lass. I’m happy that you and mum were able to move on. I know it wasn’t easy.”

She sadly nods. “Thank you, Killian.”

“Anytime, little lass. I hope, after today, we cross paths again soon,” he declares, patting her on her shoulder. “I sure hope you get to go to University and sail across the realms. You’re a special lass, Madellaina.”

Madellaina hugs her brother. No one, but her mother, has truly claimed that she was destined to do big things. It touched her heart that her brother expressed his belief in her. It was something she had lacked her entire life.

“Thank you, brother.”

Killian smiles in response and pats her shoulder again. “Anytime, lass. Don’t forget to head over to the docks later this afternoon for a proper goodbye!”

She can’t help but smile back at him, chuckling. “I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

           


 

Storybrooke, Present Day

“Let me see! Let me see!” Snow squeals as Emma and Killian walk through the front door.

Emma couldn’t help but blush. And it isn’t because she is embarrassed.

How many times in her life was she celebrated? A huge milestone in her life and she finally has family and friends to share it with.

The blush is of elatedness.

“Can you let her settle first?” Regina scolds, rolling her eyes. “She just walked through the damn door.”

“It’s okay,” Emma giggles, hugging her mother and parading her ring to her.

“Oh, Emma! It’s beautiful,” she says, holding her daughter’s hand toward the natural sunlight. “Nice work, Killian.”

Killian smiles at his future mother-in-law.

David pats him on the back. “Congratulations again. I know you two will be very happy.”

“Thanks, mate,” Killian says, smiling at Emma’s glowing face as she shows her ring to Regina and Zelena, both women enveloping her in a congratulatory hug.

Emma’s glow fades a bit when she asks about the group’s visit with Gold, which is essentially the reason why they are all at the loft in the first place.

“Well, it wasn’t a complete waste of time,” Zelena admits. “Gold said that he was going to persuade Gideon to be on our side.”

“Not to mention, nothing terrible won’t happen as long as the Black Fairy doesn’t get here,” Regina interjects.

Emma soaks in the new information. “What about my vision?”

“For now it’s just a dream, Emma,” David reassures, putting his arm around her shoulder. “Gold said your anxieties aren’t helping your mental state.”

“Perhaps you should go see Archie again, to ease your mind!” Snow suggests. “He helped you a lot when your dreams were more frequent.”

“Okay, I’ll reach out to him,” Emma says, not entirely feeling relieved. “Let’s just hope we can keep the Black Fairy out of here.”

“We will, love,” Killian proclaims, taking her hand and kissing it sweetly. “As long as we are all alive, we will defeat Gideon and the Black Fairy.”

He always makes her feel better.

“Okay. Well, what do we do now?”

                                   


 

Enchanted Forest, a Long Time Ago

Madellaina was surprised.

Flannigan took the news as well as anyone would in that situation.

He reassured her that they would be fine, that he had other clients that would keep his business afloat.

Part of Madellaina trusted that he was right. She was even confident to let go of her worry.

After a decent day at work, she is now making her way to the docks to bid farewell to her brothers as they depart on some “secret mission” for the King.

As she approaches the shore, the smell of the ocean tickles her senses.

There was nothing more calming than the sight, smell and sound of the sea.

The Navy ship, ‘The Jewel of the Realm’, was a marvel. Its sails were massive and the size of the deck left her awestruck.

Madellaina navigates through the crowd of nosy passerby to locate Killian and Liam. She sees the two of them near the gangplank, happily chatting away with each other.

“Hello, lass!” Liam greets her as she approaches, enveloping her in a hug. “It’s great to see you! You just missed mum.”

“Oh, that’s okay. I’ll see her at home,” she says, greeting and hugging Killian now.

“I’m sorry we have to leave already, lass,” Killian sighs, scratching behind his ear. “But, as soon as we take care of our duties, Liam and I will visit more frequently!”

Madellaina smiles. “I’d love that. Then you will have to tell me all about your adventures! Perhaps write me when you can.”

“It would be our honor,” Liam agrees, kissing the top of her head. “You are a magnificent, brilliant young lady, Madellaina. I’m thrilled we all finally have met. Look after mum and go after your ambitions.”

“It will be my honor,” she parrots, tears threatening to materialize in her eyes.

Killian smiles at his sister, hugging her one more time. “Take care, Madellaina. You’re going to take the realms by storm. You’re a legend in the making.”

She has no response but to smile in return, her heartwarming at the belief and confidence her brothers have in her. Something the world did not share.

“Thank you,” she musters out, holding both of their hands. “It means a lot that you believe in me.”

“Of course we do! As long as you share our genes, you’re destined for greatness!” Killian jokes.

“Oh, brother, don’t pressure the lass!” Liam reprimands teasingly.

The sound of someone clearing their throat disenchants the siblings from their conversation. It was the quartermaster.

“Sir?” he says apprehensively. “She’s all ready to set sail.”

“Aye,” Liam allows, nodding his head sadly. “Thanks, Bilby. We will be just another moment.”

The quartermaster nods and shuffles away, climbing the gangplank.

“Well, Madellaina, this is where we temporarily part ways.”

She sadly smiles at her eldest brother, embracing him one last time. “I love you, my brothers. I am so happy I finally met you.”

“Me too, lass,” Killian says, lovingly holding her head as they embraced. “See you soon!”

“I look forward to that.”

Killian and Liam both kiss the top of her head. They then reluctantly ascend the gangplank, each man continuously looking back at their young sister.

The Lieutenant and the Captain give her one last look and wave, then went over to prepare for departure.

Little did Madellaina know, that was the last time she would see her brothers together.

Little did she know, her brother Liam would perish to dreamshade due to the king’s cowardice.

Little did she know that the next time she saw Killian, they would both be broken beyond compare.

Little did she know, it would be over a century before she sees him again.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 5

Storybrooke, Present Day

“Killian, that’s wonderful news. Congratulations!”

He smiles at the man who was the closest thing he had to a father, a man who understood him so well, despite their short adventure together.

Killian is completely happy with the last few days. He and Emma were getting into a routine with a hint of normalcy and their group was making progress with pertinent information on the Black Fairy.

However, he cannot help but feel an anxiety eating at him. He’s still afraid to fail her and no matter how many times he knows that he would never let that happen, it’s a feeling that he can’t shake. A feeling his father probably had. A sin he hopes was not bestowed on him.

“Thanks, Nemo.”

The older captain frowns. “What’s bothering you? You seem tense.”

Killian sighs. “I just...I don’t know…I feel anxious.”

“Well that is completely understandable,” Nemo says, placing a hand on Killian’s shoulder. “When I was engaged to my wife, I was anxious too.”

Killian gives him a look encouraging him to continue.

“I was afraid that I wasn’t enough for her and I lived the first few months of a time that should have been the greatest and most carefree in a worried haze of anticipation that I was going to fail her in some way.”

“That’s what I feel,” the younger man admits, grimacing as his vulnerability is exposed. “She deserves the world and I’m not sure if I can give her that.”

Nemo accepts this as he walks over to his organ to collect a dusty box.

“I said the same thing,” he reveals, clutching the box. “I overcame my fear by giving her the best life I could, figuring out why she loved me. It should be natural to let that anxiety go and just live life, but as I tried to appease it, that was the reason I lost her. I went to search for a better life for our family and left her and my children alone, which led to their demise.”

Killian remains silent, jaw clenching.

Nemo opens the box and shows Killian a few trinkets and a portrait of himself and his wife. “I was like you before I met her, but she changed me like Emma has changed you. Don’t focus on worrying about giving her a life she deserves because she wouldn’t have chosen you if you weren’t capable of doing that.”

Killian nods. “I suppose you’re right.”

“Aye, I realize that now. I would do anything to go back and make things right,” he regrets, rubbing his thumb lovingly on the portrait. “And even though I can’t change the past, I can help and encourage you to not make the same mistake I did.”

“Thank you, Nemo,” Killian appreciates, sadly observing his friend’s keepsakes. “I’m slowly getting there.”

“It definitely takes time, Killian.”

“I had a similar conversation with Archie before I proposed,” he says, scratching behind his ear. “His advice was good and for a short time it worked for me, but he didn’t understand as much as you do which puts things in a different perspective.”

Nemo considers his next choice of words carefully as he warmly stares at Killian.

“I like to think of this as a second chance for me,” he admits, resulting in Killian giving him a curious look to clarify. “I failed my family and you all of those years ago and if I can’t bring them back, I can certainly guide you. So if you ever feel overwhelmed or defeated, I can assure you that I would be honored to guide you into the right direction.”

“Kind of like the Cricket, then? A conscience?” Killian jokes, chuckling at his old friend. “I can’t picture you with wings and a tiny umbrella.”

Nemo goodheartedly rolls his eyes. “No. Not a conscience, but as a friend.”

“Well, thank you, my friend. I am forever in your debt.”

The Captain of the Nautilus paternally smiles. “You don’t owe me a thing.”

Standing there in that moment, listening to a man he had wronged, Killian cannot believe that Nemo is willing to guide him. He refuses to believe that he deserves his help, that his soul is too tarnished, but if Emma has taught him anything, it would be that anyone can truly change, despite their past.

All of the terrible things he has done flash in his mind. The terror and pain he inflicted or witnessed still upsets him and if he could attempt to forgive himself again and to right those he wronged in some way, perhaps his current predicament could solve itself and he could be the man Emma deserves.

Slowly but surely, he is getting there. For the sake of his soul, he hopes that his actions didn’t affect as many people as he thinks.

                               


 The Enchanted Forest, a Long Time Ago

It was probably a little after midnight. The owls hooting in the distance, the wolves howling too. It seemed to be just an ordinary, peaceful evening.

It has been twelve weeks since her brothers sailed off on a secret naval mission. Surprisingly, time moved by quickly, to her satisfaction, as that only meant that it wouldn’t be too long until her family was reunited again.

Madellaina has had so much go right lately. Work was great due to Liam’s apparent insistence to the King to pay Flannigan for his unused services, which gave the shop a cushion, and the townsfolk were starting to accept her, asking her to help them with anything math or science related. Even O’Brien showed her some respect in the last few weeks, shocking her.

She supposed it was because of Killian and Liam’s recent visit, that they were high ranked officers of the Navy. They must feel as prideful as she did.

Alastriona was doing well with her business. She was baking as much as she can sell, to their relief, and they were able to come up with the funds to properly repair Madellaina’s boat.

Fortunately, Madellaina had the time to sail it around and she had never loved anything more. Sailing was her calling. She was a natural at it and someday, she hoped she can do it for a living.

Despite the ease she had been feeling, currently, she is struggling to fall asleep and she can’t help but feel that something is wrong.

Trying to shake the feeling away, she attempts to fall back asleep.

What must have been an hour or so later, she hears her mother bang on her door, opening it abruptly, startling her.

“Bloody hell!”  Madellaina exclaims, clutching her chest in an attempt to catch her breath.

Alastriona looks guilty, tears infiltrating her face. “I’m sorry, my love, but it’s urgent. We must go.”

She wasn’t sure if she heard her correctly. “Go? Now?”

“Yes. We must hurry.”

Not only is she still rattled, but she is extremely confused. “Mother, what happened? Why are we going? It’s the middle of the night!”

“Do you trust me?” Her mother asks, almost pleading.

“Yes, of course,” she reluctantly replies.

Alastriona nods, wiping a few stray tears from her cheeks. “Gather everything you need and meet me at your ship. I have plenty of provisions to last us a long journey. We need to leave this village.”

Madellaina starts to panic. “Why? Our life is here! Things were starting to get better! What about Liam and Kil-”

“Just trust me, Madellaina!” She cries, pulling the covers off of her daughter. “I’ll explain everything to you once we are far away from here, but for now, you have to trust me.”

“Tell me now!” Her daughter demands, angry tears streaming down her face. “I have a right to know why I’m leaving my life behind!”

“If I do, you won’t come with me,” Alastriona calmly admits. “Now, wipe your tears and calm down, my love. It’s time to go.”

Her mother turns around and leaves her in her room to gather her things.

Confusion, sadness, frustration, anger, and anxiety flash through Madellaina’s body.

What’s happening? What’s going on? Where are we going?

She wipes her tear-stricken face, takes a deep breath, and starts to pack.

Despite, the unknown, at least she has her mother.

                               


 

It is bone-chilling cold as Madellaina drags her belongings behind her up the docks.

It was depressing to see her home so bare, the one place she has ever known.

She can make out her mother’s silhouette in the dark by her ship.

She weakly smiles at her mother as she approaches. “Where to?”

“As far away as possible.”

Madellaina blinks, still unaware of the situation. “Mother, please tell me what’s going on.”

“I told you, Madellaina,” she says, sounding tired. “Get us as far away as possible, then we can talk.”

She sadly nods, turning to get her belongings aboard the ship.

Once everything was settled, they raised the anchor and set sail to the unknown.

If Madellaina had to do something she didn’t want to do, at least she was sailing. Sailing always helps her mind forget her woes, but this time, it wasn’t really doing much of that.

With a bunch of layers covering her cold body, it was almost sunrise, meaning they were a few hours into their journey.

Madellaina told her mother to go below deck and to get some rest, but she didn’t. Instead, she’s covered in blankets and restlessly staring into the ocean behind her on the poupe deck.

“Mum,” Madellaina calls now, steering the helm in the starboard direction, following the direction of her sextant in an attempt to locate land. “Can we have that talk now?”

Alastriona sighs, then makes her way over to the helm.

“What happened, mum?” Her daughter asks, offering her mother a warm, accepting smile. “Please. You can tell me anything.”

“Something terrible has happened and we had to flee before word spread in the village.”

Fear crosses Madellaina’s face. “What happened?”

“Your brothers went on that naval mission, but it didn’t go as planned.”

“What do you mean?”

Alastriona sadly sighs, trying her hardest not to lose it in front of her daughter. “Liam didn’t make it back.”

Madellaina stood there, eyes wide, stunned. “What do you mean? H-he’s dead?”

“I’m afraid so.”

Madellaina sobs, breathing erratic. “How can he die now? We just met! We were becoming a family again!”

Her mother hugs her, trying to calm her down. “I know my darling. I am so sorry.”

Mourning the loss of her brother, her rational thinking kicks back into gear. “Mum? What of Killian? Where is he?”

Alastriona remains silent, a look of torment on her face.

“Mum? What happened to him? Why are we fleeing? We should be waiting for him at home!”

Her mother shakes her head. “We can’t.”

“Why the bloody hell not? He needs us!”

“Dammit, Madellaina! Don’t you see? He’s the reason we are fleeing!”

The venomous blow. Madellaina can feel her heart stop. “W-what?”

“Killian and Liam were in a faraway land and Liam got hurt accidentally because of Killian,” Alastriona starts to explain, tears streaming down her face again. “He did the best he could to save him, but he couldn’t. When they buried him at sea, Killian blamed the King and…”

“And what?”

“He became Captain and took over the vessel as a…pirate.”

Madellaina softly gasps. “That cannot be true. Who told you that?”

“Does it matter? I heard it from an old classmate who works in the castle,” she reveals, shaking her head sadly. “It’s a matter of time before word spreads around the kingdom and we are shamed or executed for his crime.”

“Well Killian and I can defend us all. We must wait for him! What if he’s coming back to us?”

“Madellaina, he isn’t coming back. He won’t risk being captured,” her mother sadly admits. “This happened almost a month ago. He would’ve come and taken us with him if he wanted to. Instead, he abandoned us.”

“Killian would never do that, mum! I know him. He loves us!”

“I know, darling, but I’m afraid he took the easy way out like…”

Madellaina's eyebrow raises at her mother’s pause. “Like?”

“Like your father.”

                           


 Storybrooke, Present Day

 He ran as fast as he could, trying his hardest not to be seen by anyone.

It’s well after midnight, the moon the only source of light through the woods.

He was lucky enough to convince everyone to come see them, to try and get them to escape with him.

It was risky, but what was more important than being with the ones you care about most?

He will make it up to them, explain everything. They will understand.

He can see the cottage up ahead. Heart pounding, he runs faster to it.

Opening the door with force, he calls out.

There is no answer.

What he feared came to pass.

They were gone.

Killian jolts awake, an all too familiar panic rising in his chest.

Looking around, he realizes he fell asleep on the couch in his living room.

He must’ve dozed off after he came home from his chat with Nemo.

That explains how he got here, but what was that dream?

Killian can feel it. Like Emma said when she felt herself die, he felt his emotions, his worry for not finding his family in a cottage, the cottage he grew up in.

And he has no recollection of any of this ever happening.

Killian never wanted to return to the last place he was with his complete family. It was too painful.

If this were the case, why was he so eager to return to it? Who was he looking for?

Two dreams like this, about his past, were too coincidental.

Are these memories? Guilt?

He decides to go pay a visit to Belle and see what she knows about dreams.

Emma is with Archie this afternoon, which gives Killian some time to try and figure out this mystery while finding a way to save Emma.

He just hopes that his own dreams are a clue and not a distraction.

                           


 

Emma plops herself down on Archie’s couch with a grunt.

“I hear a congratulations are in order, Emma,” the therapist says, preparing tea for them. “I’m very happy for you both.”

“Thanks, Archie,” she replies, taking the scalding teacup from him. “I definitely wasn’t expecting it, considering what has been going on.”

“Well, that’s understandable. There has seldom been any quiet moments, but conflict should never take place of your happiness.”

“Yeah, if my ‘conflict’ was something ordinary people deal with, I’d agree.”

Dr. Hopper pauses for a moment and nods in agreement. “You’re right, Emma, but if you can keep protecting your home and family, you can do it again. We all believe in you.”

“I believe it, but it’s getting harder when we hit dead-end after dead-end,” Emma sighs, taking a precarious sip from her cup. “We are making progress, at least.”

“That’s good, then. You have a remarkable team in your corner on the frontlines and hundreds of us supporting you from the sidelines.”

She smiles at his metaphor. “I suppose you’re right.”

He returns the smile and then gets straight to business. “What has been bothering you lately, though? Mary Margaret was saying something about your dreams when I saw her today.”

Emma shifts uncomfortably in her seat. She’s gotten better at talking freely about her feelings, but today, she feels reverted.

Archie gives her a welcoming look to proceed.

“The dream I had felt like a vision, similar to the ones I had originally,” she reveals, taking a deep breath to calm her nerves. “This one, however, it felt like I was there. I felt myself die.

“Have you had this dream in the last few nights?”

“No, I haven’t. Actually, I’ve slept incredibly well the last few nights. I haven’t really been overthinking, which was nice.”

Archie nods, pushing his glasses up his nose. “I see. That’s good, then.”

“Meaning?”

“Meaning, your dream was triggered by anxiety,” he explains. “Your deepest fears and worries taint the mind at its most vulnerable state and produce nightmares.”

“Nightmare is an understatement,” Emma mutters, sighing again.

“That’s the psychological answer, of course, but if it’s anything magic related, then I’m sure it’s correlated with your anxiety.”

Emma nods and remains silent.

“That’s not all that was bothering, Emma,” Archie states matter-of-factly. “What else is on your mind?”

“It’s just, I don’t know, I feel that I’m being cheated on my own ‘happy ending’ after spending the last few years giving everyone else theirs,” she reluctantly admits, placing her face in her hands. “Now that I’m ready to take the next step with Killian, I’m destined to die. I feel like the universe is against me.”

“I would feel the same way. It doesn’t seem right that you can’t have your own moment of happiness.”

“And to make matters worse, Killian believes he doesn’t deserve happiness,” Emma says, trying her hardest not to cry. “He still thinks after everything he’s done to atone isn’t enough. He still believes he doesn’t deserve me, but in actuality, he has proven his worthiness the moment he turned his ship around to save Storybrooke all those years ago.”

He nods, taking in her response, hoping she will keep talking.

“I’ve talked to him about it, but he still says he has many things he is trying to forgive himself for. I don’t want him to feel guilty for things that were done by the old him. He’s changed,” she continues, a light tear streaming down her cheek. “If we get the opportunity to marry, I want it all, but I don’t want to see him discredit his goodness. It hurts me when he does that. I wish he could see that incredible man he has become.”

“Emma, how you feel, you should definitely talk to Killian about this,” Archie encourages. “Not only does he need to hear it from you, but he needs to keep being told that he is a hero, a changed man.”

She nods in agreement, mustering up a smile to stop her frustrated tears.

“He has spoken to me about how he feels,” he proceeds, giving Emma a warm look in an attempt to calm her. “He told me that he is still guilty of what his actions caused.”

She blinks for a moment, trying to figure out what to say next. “So he feels guilty about leaving his half-brother fatherless, for example, and thinks that he doesn’t deserve to have a new life because he took someone else’s away?”

“Precisely, more or less.”

“I don’t know what to do, Archie,” Emma admits. “How can I help him?”

“By understanding him,” he cryptically advises. “He has done many horrible things in his past life, things that happened because he lost sight of who he was. With you in his life, you are his remedy, but one he has to be willing to accept. Letting go of his hatred for himself is hard, but it’s something you can do together.”

She takes a deep breath, reeling in all of Dr. Hopper’s advice. “Okay. I think I can do that.”

“Good,” he says, smiling at her again. “You have to dig deep and find out which deeds he feels the most guilty about. From there, you can find ways he can atone in his own approved way, to make peace with what his actions did to other people.”

                                 


 A Faraway Realm, a Long Time Ago

They finally reached land a day later. The sun hasn’t risen yet and it somehow seems colder than what it has been before.

“What kingdom is this?” Alastriona wonders aloud, quietly disembarking the rowboat they took to the shoreline.

Madellaina looks around the desolate beach they discovered. “I haven’t a clue. I suppose we should head to the mainland to see.”

She hands her mother a torch she lit, shivering in the process.

“Here. Let’s quickly find someplace warm to stay and then we can figure out what to do next.”

“Sounds like a plan, love,” her mother says, pulling her coat closer to her thin frame. “I’ve all of our money with us. It should definitely hold us over for a while.”

Despite the frigid air, the beach was beautifully covered in snow as the snowflakes seem to sparkle as they fall.

Back home, it hasn’t been snowing, so Madellaina starts to wonder where the hell they ended up.

The two women walk in silence, trying to navigate the terrain.

“I’m sorry this had to happen, Madellaina,” Alastriona sighs, her voice bleak.

“You didn’t get Liam killed, become a pirate or abandon your family,” she nonchalantly responds with a shrug. “I never thought Killian would do that, let us down like father did.”

Her mother sadly takes a deep breath, the frosty air proven from her breath. “I know, my love, I didn’t think so either. Not in a million years, but it is as they say…”

Madellaina stops walking and looks at her mother. “What do they say?”

“Sins of the father are to be laid upon the children,” she responds. “It’s truly a cruel fate.”

The youngest Jones takes this in. A phrase that seems like a sentence, a damnation to a child, having no chance to escape from their father’s vices.

Her poor brother, succumbing to the fate.

She tries to tell herself that it wasn’t his fault, that he is a good man with a good heart.

She knows it’s true, if not anymore, at least not too long ago it was...

Madellaina cannot help but think if the saying was to be believed, then she surely wouldn’t be spared.

Now she has her whole adulthood to think if this will ever come to pass.

What a cruel fate, indeed.

                                 


 

Making progress in the search for shelter, Madellaina and Alastriona seem to have reached the main town.

The streets are quiet, not a soul around at this hour. The women walk by a tavern and what appears to be a bakery.

Madellaina decides to walk in another direction which leads to the town square.

In the center, there is a cobblestone sign with a name on it. She gasps in awe as she reads it.

“What does it say? It’s in another language!” Her mother frustratingly exclaims.

Madellaina gives her a look of hope. “We are in the Kingdom of Cordova. I’ve read about this in my studies! It’s apparently ruled by a beloved royal family with a growing economy for the poor.”

“Well, this seems like a perfect place to live, despite it being freezing cold,” Alastriona says, dramatically tugging her coat closer to her body. “Let’s find somewhere to stay fast.”

Madellaina nods in vehement agreement as they make their way, searching along the town square for a hint of an inn.

What seems like hours, the two women find themselves in what appears to be a park, which is donned in gorgeous willow trees and an undisturbed blanket of snow on the ground.

“Wow,” Madellaina exhales, in awe of the beauty that is before them. “This is incredible.”

“Aye,” Alastriona agrees, putting her arm around her daughter. “It looks just like the woods at home.”

Reveling in the silence and their old memories of their previous home, in the distance, there is a rustle of a bush.

Madellaina jumps cautiously, attempting to make out what caused the disturbance.

Nothing.

More silence.

She looks around again as her heart beats wildly in her chest, clearly uncomfortable in this new land.

A voice breaks her out of her trance, nearly scaring her to death.

“I beg your pardon,” the voice apologizes, noticing the nervous look on her face. “Are you two ladies alright? Have you shelter? It’s been a harsh winter this season to say the least.”

Madellaina stares at the stranger who materialized from the opposite direction.

He is a tall, handsome man around her mother’s age with posture that certainly implies he is a man of high status.

She drops her guard because of her deduction, hoping her mother would follow suit.

“I’m afraid we do not have a place to stay,” Alastriona admits, shivering a bit for good measure. “We just arrived from a faraway kingdom to start a new life.”

The man listens with interest and compassion. “Well, this is hardy an appropriate welcome into the Kingdom of Cordova! I’d be happy to provide shelter in my home. Please, follow me.”

“Oh, that’s too kind of you, but we hate to impose. If you can guide us in the direction of an inn…”

“Nonsense, m’lady! My family and I would be honored if you join us. We will happily help you get situated in our Cordova!”

Madellaina stands in silence eyeing her mother and the man. She finds herself enjoying this exchange.

“Thank you! We would greatly appreciate the assistance!” She complies, holding her hand to shake the stranger’s.

“Nicholas. Nice to meet you,” the man says, smiling widely at her.

Madellaina is about to introduce herself, but realizes something. If they are meaning to start new lives, they better have new identities in the new land in case they are exposed.

In her studies, she remembers a name that has always stuck out to her. It means ‘she who will rise again’ in the native, archaic language of Cordova and, honestly, no other name suits her better.

“Anastasia. My name is Anastasia.”

                                 


 Storybrooke, Present Day

Killian texted Belle earlier to ask if she was available to meet him to discuss an “urgent matter” and she luckily complied.

He is now halfway to the library, practically running, to see Belle so he can ask for her help and to find out what she has uncovered about the Black Fairy so far.

Killian is already drowning in self-loathing and if he has to feel guilty about something he doesn’t remember, that’ll just make things worse for a more crucial matter at hand: Emma’s destiny.

He truly hopes these dreams he’s having is some weird, made up scenario. But the way his mother was incorporated into his first dream he had, he wasn’t so sure he believed that.

As he reaches for the door handle, it bursts open revealing Regina.

“Oh, sorry, Hook,” Regina, uncharacteristically, apologizes.

“It’s alright, lass,” he says, offering a small, weak smile.

She notices his discomfort. “Everything okay?”

“Aye, just here to join the research party.”

Regina eyes him cautiously, clearly not believing his fib. “Alright, well, I’m going to get some food from Granny’s for us. Do you want anything?”

“I’m fine,” Killian replies quickly, eager to escape his uncomfortableness and get to Belle. “Thanks though.”

The former Evil Queen nods and leaves him, practically aware of what he was thinking and in that moment, Killian feels violated.

Entering the threshold of the library, he could hear eager page turning and pen strokes.

“Belle?” Killian calls out, hoping he isn’t interrupting a verge of a breakthrough for the bookworm.

 “In the back!” She responds.

He shuffles over to the back of the library, finding the brunette’s face deep in a large, rustic book.

“Hello, Belle,” Killian greets, smiling at her. “How’s it going here?”

She exhales, suggesting she is winded. “Fine, but I’m glad you’re here to help! Regina just went to get some lunch.”

He nods and sits down next to her.

“Is everything okay, Killian? You said you needed to speak about something urgent,” Belle prompts, closing her book. “Did something else happen to Emma?”

“No, she’s fine. This morning she went to see Archie.”

“Well, what is it? How can I help?”

Killian sighs, somewhat embarrassed at his vulnerability. “I had a dream earlier today that was similar in intensity to Emma’s. I felt extreme guilt about something that happened, but it felt like a memory. And yet, I remember none of it.”

She blinks, face scrunching in concentration. “That’s odd. Have you spoke to Emma? See what Archie told her about it. Maybe it is all stress related.”

 “I haven’t spoken to her yet…I was wondering what you know about dreams,” he inquires, rubbing his hand over his forehead. “I want to do some research about the origins of the kind Emma and I had and to look into someone from my first dream, but I don’t want to derail our priorities.”

“Well, this could all be connected. I wouldn’t worry about derailing anything,” Belle says, comfort instilled in her voice. “Who is it you need to research?”

“Well, for starters, in my first dream, my brother was talking about my mother and someone named Madellaina when we were enslaved,” Killian reveals. “But that conversation never happened and I don’t know who that person is.”

Belle concentrates briefly. “I know there are some books on dreams somewhere. Hopefully that can help.”

“Thank you, Belle,” he appreciates, heading toward the shelves to start searching. “I can look into that while you continue your own research.”

“I’m happy to report that our research is definitely coming along! I found out that the portal that could potentially bring over the Black Fairy can only be opened by two extreme magical beings. Rumple is going to speak with him and try to see what he is planning and why.”

Killian nods in approval. “Good work.”

She smiles, opening her book back up. “And if you find that your dreams are memories, maybe Rumple or the Blue Fairy could help.”

“Good idea,” he agrees, riffling through a book he found. “Thanks, lass.”

                                 


 

Not too long after Killian and Belle resumed researching, Regina came back to give Belle her lunch, then the Queen mentioned preparing protection spells with Zelena for the Black Fairy’s potential arrival and left for the day.

Killian is flipping through a book on Morpheus, the God of Dreams.

“Belle? What do you know of Morpheus?” He asks, brows furrowed in concentration.

“Well, for starters, I know he’s the God of Dreams,” she answers, pausing a bit to remember what else she knows of the being. “He can manipulate dreams and insert himself into them and could appear in any form. He was considered a messenger of the gods since he has the ability to communicate divine messages to mortals.”

Killian exhales, thinking that perhaps he found his answer.

“Do you think he is responsible for my dreams? That maybe he’s affiliated with the Black Fairy somehow?”

“That can’t be. Gods don’t associate themselves directly with mere mortals. Remember our time with Hades? I doubt any God would follow suit.”

“Perhaps, but is it possible that the Black Fairy or your son have that power?” Killian suggests, immediately hating himself for bringing her son up like that.

Belle only appearing a little stung by that, gives him an answer he didn’t expect.

“Maybe. Rumple is trying to track him down. I’m going to tell him to find out if that is even possible.”

“That’s what I’m afraid of. I don’t even know if it is real or not. I could very well have memories that were taken from me or given false ones to deter me from saving Emma,” he says, voice filled with anguish and frustration. “I just want to know what it means.”

“I know, Killian,” Belle soothes him, smiling softly in his direction. “We will get to the bottom of it.”

He nods, attempting to calm down. “You know what? Let me stop this and wait for what the Dark One says and just read up with you on the Black Fairy. That’s my priority right now.”

She smiles again at him, handing him a few books. “I haven’t riffled through these yet, but I am sure we can find some crucial information in them.”

“That’s what I’m hoping for.”

                           


 A Faraway Realm, a Long Time Ago

Trekking through the snow behind a friendly, hospitable stranger was not something Madellaina would have predicted tonight, but here they are.

When she introduced herself, she gave a false name and when it was her mother’s turn to offer her own pleasantry, Madellaina stepped in and introduced her as Alexandra, this kingdom’s variation of her mother’s name.

Madellaina had this feeling that Nicholas “liked” her mother. For starters, he will not shut up, babbling about to Alastriona. He also keeps looking at her, not too excessive, but just enough for Madellaina to notice. Her mother, of course, was oblivious.

Finally, he stops talking for a minute so Madellaina can figure out who this guy is.

“So, Nicholas, what were you doing out so late? It’s positively freezing!” She questions, seemingly curious as to why a man that seems to be high in status is running amuck in the late evening.

 Nicholas wasn’t taken aback by this inquiry, more like he expected it.

“Well, Anastasia, I was visiting my wife’s grave.”

She bites her tongue, mortified. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to-”

“It’s quite alright,” he politely interrupts, smiling at her. “I haven’t been able to sleep well since she passed, so I regularly visit her just to ease the pain.”

“Makes sense to me,” Madellaina says, smiling back at him.

If Liam had a grave, she would visit it nonstop, crying over their lost years and what could have been.

The group of three approach a large, ornate gate with the letter “R” engraved on it in gold.

There were two intimidating soldiers keeping watch.

“Greetings, Oleg and Mikhail, I have returned!” Nicholas greets the men. “This time with friends.”

“I can see that, sir,” one man says, carefully eyeing the two strange women accompanying their comrade. “May I ask who they are?”

“This is Anastasia and Alexandra. They come from a faraway kingdom searching for a new life in our lovely Cordova!” He shares with a comical grin. “I want to help them get settled and provide them a safe place to stay to get them acquainted with this land.”

“Yes, sir,” the other man says, opening the gates. “Have a good evening.”

“Thank you, gentlemen!”

Alastriona and Madellaina exchange curious glances.

“Excuse me, sir?” Alastriona whispers now, still seemingly in shock at what just happened. “You live…here?”

A few steps passed the gate reveal a huge castle estate.

Madellaina’s jaw dropped.

“Yes,” Nicholas answers, smiling at both women. “I am part of the royal family, the Romanov’s, where I am King of my land.”

“We are forever grateful for you hospitality, your highness,” Alastriona appreciates, bowing her head. “We won’t be long, just need the day to find out where to stay.”

“Nonsense! You can stay as long as you like. It will be my honor to assist you to find a suitable home and job here in my kingdom.”

“Thank you, your highness.”

His eyes seem to shimmer as he smiles at her. “Please, call me Nicholas.”

                               


 

It had to be a dream, a wish come true, a hallucination of some kind. None of this can be real.

Madellaina awakens in a strange bed with a canopy as vast as a rainforest’s with blood red drapes topped with a gold tassel.

Exhaling, she looks for her mother, slowly remembering the occurrences of last night.

After they reached the inside of the palace, Nicholas showed them to their rooms and said that they shall join his family for breakfast in the morning, then “their lives will promptly begin”.

Honestly, she couldn’t believe the kindness of this king. The one she knew of was the reason for her brothers’ demise, and it was hard for her to swallow.

What if she and her mother were pirates or outlaws? Why did he take a risk and bring them into his home? Where his family resides?

Nothing good seems to happen to the Jones Family and Madellaina tries not to think about what her mother said about her father’s sins bringing her down.

Maybe this was a sign things will get better now they aren’t the Jones’ anymore.

Alastriona was humming in the washroom, a room that was larger than their kitchen in their old home, with a huge smile on her face.

Madellaina couldn’t remember the last time her mother was this happy with no worries.

“Oh, good morning, my love!” Her mother greets, spraying perfume on her wrists (courtesy of their new friend). “I gather you slept well?”

“Very,” Madellaina agrees, looking around at the luxuries of the room. “This is really happening, huh?”

Alastriona nods her head happily. “Aye, it is! We are truly blessed. Finally fortune is favoring the brave.”

She smiles at her mother. “Aye, I suppose it is.”

                                   


 

The two women walk down the grandiose stair case to the parlor where Nicholas was waiting for them.

“Good morning, ladies!” He bellows, bowing to them. “I do hope my staff saw to it that you had a restful night.”

“They did, Nicholas,” Alastriona appreciates, cheeks pink. “We cannot thank you enough for your hospitality.”

Madellaina almost laughs at loud at her mother’s reaction. She seems just as smitten as he is.

“It’s my pleasure,” he says, his cheeks matching the pink hue of Alastriona’s. “Now, come meet my family.”

The three of them walk into a stunning, gothic looking dining room with an abundance of food atop the table.

There are three young girls and one boy around the large table, each sporting a welcoming smile.

Madellaina is not only impressed by their acceptance, but their restrain from not eating everything as soon as they sat. Their plates are bare, waiting for their father and guests to join them.

“May I introduce my daughters Olga, Tatiana, and Maria, and my son, Alexei.”

Alastriona curtsies and Madellaina follows suit.

 “My children, may I present you Lady Alexandra and Anastasia,” Nicholas introduces, daintily holding Alastriona’s hand, escorting her to her seat and pulling it out for her. “They have travelled from a faraway kingdom in search for a new life. We must show them just how hospitable and lovely Cordova is.”

The children nod in vehement agreement.

The girl who appears to be the eldest and closest to Madellaina’s age, Olga, stands up and curtsies. “A pleasure to meet you both.”

Nicholas claps his hands together. “Well, I’m sure you two are famished after that long journey. Dig in, everyone!”

Everyone around the table starts piling the sweet smelling food onto their plates, warm chatter filling the air.

Madellaina could not believe that it was this easy being accepted into this family in such a short time. Perhaps getting to know a new family would help ease the pain of losing her brothers and her father all those years ago.

                             


 

At breakfast, the children were interested in learning all about Alastriona and Madellaina’s journey and previous life.

It was easy for Madellaina to keep up the charade, but Alastriona almost called the newly appointed Anastasia “Madellaina” a few times throughout the discussions.

Olga took interest in Madellaina’s stories about science and sword fighting, practically begging her to teach her sometime.

Alastriona told the family about her baking business which resulted in Nicholas offering her a job as the Romanov’s head baker as well as a home here with the rest of the staff.

Talk about a dream job for her mother.

As Madellaina spoke passionately about her chartings, sailing, and arithmetic, Nicholas declared that she would join his children’s tutoring sessions specializing in swordsmanship (Nicholas deciding that it was about time they learned how to defend themselves), science, and sailing (a skill that he also deemed important).

She was happy to partake a role that she had utmost passion for.

Madellaina also learned that Olga is a year younger than she is and Tatiana, Maria, and Alexei are seventeen, fifteen, and nine respectively.

There was one awkward moment when Alexei declared that his mother would have liked Alastriona and how they would have been “best friends.”

Madellaina awkwardly smiled as he said this, looking at her mother to change the subject, but Alastriona sweetly looked at the boy and agreed with him.

Alexei also asked where Madellaina’s father was, another awkward conversation, and Alastriona simply said that he abandoned them long ago.

Nicholas quickly apologized for his son’s abruptness, but Alastriona didn’t seem to mind.

Olga, sitting adjacent to Madellaina, quietly sympathized about her never knowing her father.

Having a parent abandon you when you were a baby was seemingly much easier to Madellaina than having a parent die when you’re a teenager, but she still accepted the sympathy from Olga, apologizing for the loss of her mother.

After breakfast, Madellaina asked Nicholas if she could have assistance and port her ship where his navy fleet is and he, surprisingly, agreed.

Olga, upon hearing this, begged to join Madellaina, and she happily complied.

Things were working out nicely for Alastriona and Madellaina as they assimilate in a new kingdom and family.

Despite losing both of her brothers so harshly and having to start afresh, she deems herself lucky.

But a simple, royal life doesn’t keep Madellaina content for long. She wants more, to set out for her dreams.

Little does she know, her ambition will only leave her with guilt and an empty heart.

                               


 Storybrooke, Present Day

Rumplestiltskin wanders manically through the dark part of the woods in search for his son.

“Gideon!” He cries, circling around the area. “Where are you son? We must talk!”

After a few moments, The Dark One could sense his offspring’s presence.

He sees his son in the clearing by the creek, sitting atop a boulder.

“Quite lonely out here, isn’t it?”

Gideon whirls around, not at all surprised that his father found him.

“If you are here to try to interfere with my destiny, you can’t. This is my fate, not yours.”

“Son…”

“You can’t talk me out of it.”

Rumple takes a deep breath. Gideon is as stubborn as he.

“If I can teach you one thing, Gideon, fate is a tricky business. It still requires work and planning. The future? It’s not all it’s cut out to be.”

“So you don’t think I’m strong enough? Is that it?” Gideon seethes, abruptly standing up and walking away. “Wait until the Final Battle and I will prove you wrong!”

“Don’t you dare walk away from your father!” Rumple scolds, magically poofing his way in front of Gideon and placing his hand on his shoulder. “You have been alive for almost thirty years, while I have been alive for centuries. There are things a man learns.”

His son venomously stares at him. “Get your hands off of me, Dark One!”

Rumple stands in front of him stunned at his son’s outburst.

“You know, I have waited years for a moment like this when I could finally tell you, my own father, that I am better and stronger than you,” Gideon says, shoving his father’s hand off of his shoulder. “You think you know me, but you don’t.”

“Gideon, I know you have endured much pain in your childhood, just like me, but if you want to truly blame someone, blame me. It’s my own fault, isn’t it? I let the Blue Fairy take you and I, your own father, couldn’t protect you, my son, from the Black Fairy. I have to deal with that guilt every day!”

His son scoffs at him, turns around to sit back down on the boulder, eyes on the water.

“You know what? Do it!” Rumple provokes. “Hit me.”

Gideon turns to look at him, expressionless.

“Hit me!” He provokes again, lips snarling. “Hit me, son! If you cannot hit me, how the hell do you expect to kill the Savior? Let me help you!”

“I do not need your help,” Gideon snarls as his father lightly slaps his face in provocation. “I have everything planned out.”

“Everything, eh?” Rumple inquires, pacing around. “I presume it was you who gave the Captain those dreams.”

His son smiles eerily. “Impressed, father? But, those weren’t dreams.”

The Dark One stops pacing. “What the hell do you mean?”

“They’re memories,” Gideon explains, standing up to face Rumple in the eye. “My mother gave them to me from her dreamcatcher which had his memories she had a hand in taking, in order to use them against him so he could be distracted with his guilt and derail his concentration from saving his True Love.”

“She is not your mother.”

Ignoring this, Gideon proceeds. “You see, I do not need your help. The Black Fairy has all of the game pieces set so we can win. We have a secret weapon.”

“You do not need a wayward pirate to succeed, son,” Rumple states, hoping to get the answer he truly seeks: how, with the contradicting prophecy, does his son plan to kill Emma Swan?

“Oh? What then?”

Rumple impishly smiles at his son, believing he is about to school him. “The prophecy. She cannot be destroyed by darkness nor light.”

A few moments pass before Gideon cackles at his father.

“The prophecy? Oh, father! Wasn’t it you who just said that fate isn’t all that simple?”

“How do you plan to override a prophecy?” Rumple asks with extreme interest.

His son slithers over to him and whispers something into his ear.

The Dark One’s eyes widen with this crucial information.

A way to defeat her, the light.

It makes sense.

He should know better than to think prophecies are what they seem.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 6

Storybrooke, Present Day

The bell over the door of the shop rings as he opens it, causing her to come from the back office.

“Oh, Rumple!” Belle greets, placing her hand over her heart. “I wasn’t expecting you back so soon. Did you find our son?”

“I did,” he admits with a theatrical sigh. “I’m afraid it was futile. He revealed nothing.”

His wife groans. “Just when I thought we could make a big breakthrough.”

“There’s still time to get him to be good,” Rumple says, softly taking her hands. “I won’t give up on him. Just like you didn’t give up on me.”

 “You’re right. I have faith in him, like I always do in you,” Belle agrees, gently squeezing his hands. “I’ll text the others the news. We’ll just have to come up with a different plan. I’ll tell Killian to speak with Blue about his dream.”

She walks away into the direction of the back office, turning her head to smile reassuringly at him.

Rumple exhales, closing his eyes.

He has told her countless of lies, but this one, about their son nonetheless, is the betrayal that hurts the most.

This time, he isn’t hiding his own malfeasance, but if he told her what Gideon told him, it would be complicated.

Rumple is trying to give his son his best chance at survival, a chance to free him from his mother’s grasp.

If the heroes find out what the prophecy actually means, what Gideon actually told him, his son will more than likely be destroyed.

He needs more time to figure out a way to save his son and to end his mother.


 

A Faraway Realm, a Long Time Ago

She isn’t sure why she trusted an old, dusty book to lead her to a sorceress who apparently can help her get her revenge on the people responsible for her family’s death, but she is a desperate soul.

Ever since the Revolution, she had to yet again change her identity. She escaped Cordova on her ship to find a way to avenge for her family to avoid being killed herself. Finding a crew she could captain was no easy task, but luckily she was able to under the name Anya, which is just a shorter version of her royal alias. No one recognized her and she was good to sail to faraway realms, achieving her dreams.

She became hopeful when she heard whispers about a magical being that can help her predicament. Fortunately, she found the tale in the book with the exact instructions of how to conjure her.

Madellaina walks around a clearing, pondering for a moment.

It said that she has to recite the sorceress’ name a few times in order for her to materialize.

Madellaina exhales, eyes closed.

“Reul Dubh,” she calls into the night sky. “Show yourself. Appear!”

A few moments go by. The familiar sound of silence deafens her ears.

She repeats her words again, seemingly relieved that she failed once more.

Madellaina isn’t sure she wants to partner up with the darkest force in all the realms.

Figuring that she can find another way, she decides to give up and return to her ship.

She fearfully gasps when she turns around and sees the woman she originally wanted to speak to. The Black Fairy.

“Going so soon? We haven’t been properly introduced!” The Black Fairy says, maniacally giggling the words. “I’m here to make a deal with you.”

Madellaina stands there confused and a little intimidated. “What deal? What would you want with someone like me?”

The enchantress walks an uncomfortably close distance to her. “Darling, you are stronger than you know. Someone I can use.”

She chuckles, wagging her finger at her. “Aye, well, you see, I am not someone’s puppet. I work for me.”

“And a lovely job you’ve been doing. Terrorizing the lives of others to mend your own broken heart. Inspired,” the Black Fairy compliments, eyes glowing sadistically. “It’s exactly the person I need to help me with a favor. I’d be more than happy to give you what you want in return.”

“I don’t ‘terrorize’ people,” Madellaina seethes, shoving away from the twisted fairy. “I avenge for people who have been wronged and can’t do it themselves.”

“Yes, a glorified bounty hunter. I know, pirate.”

The last utterance from the Black Fairy stings the most.

“Don’t you dare call me a pirate.”

The enchantress cackles. “Oh, but you are, my dear! Complete with a ship, treasure, a crew and an endless desire for vengeance.”

Madellaina can feel a tear fall down her cheek. This fairy is messing with her mind. She isn’t what her brother became and what ultimately killed him.

“What do they call you again, darling?” She continues, breaking Madellaina out of her emotional trance. “It has a nice ring to it, but it’s escaping me.”

“The Avenger,” Madellaina snarls, jaw clenched.

“Ah, the Avenger! How heroic.”

She closes her eyes briefly to think about her dearly departed mother, whose first name, Alastriona, meant “to avenge, defend mankind.” What better way to honor her memory than to help those who couldn’t find peace from their pain? If Madellaina couldn’t figure out who killed her family, than she can live knowing she can help someone else who was also hopeless, defenseless.  

As morbid as it sounds, she has never seen herself as the enemy for terrorizing bad people. Maybe she is.

And maybe she is also kind of a pirate, something she never wanted to be. Pirates ruined her family.

Now that she thinks about it, and considering what the Black Fairy said, she can pinpoint similarities.

Perhaps she is a pirate. She succumbed to what her father and brother did. The curse of Sins of the Father catching up to her more quickly than she would have expected.

Her heart crushes softly in her chest as another tear falls down her face.

“Oh, dear Madellaina, or is it Anastasia? No, it’s Anya now isn’t it?” The Black Fairy says now, walking towards her again, wiping the lone tear on her cheek. “Please don’t despair. I am here to give you everything you desire. I know who killed your family.”

The last sentence is more of a whisper and Madellaina isn’t sure she heard it right.

“What?”

“I can tell you who killed your family, who caused the Revolution of your kingdom and bring you face to face to the person who destroyed your brother, Killian,” she reveals, smirking. “Now, I will give you this information, but I’m going to need your assistance with something in the future.”

Figuring she has nothing else to lose, she complies. “What do you need from me?”

“I’m glad you asked, darling. In a few centuries, the lightest being that will ever exist will be born and she has the power to destroy me and all darkness, but, however, the prophecy that states this can be overridden in a more convenient way. In the world she ends up in, she is the Ultimate Savior, a world which I cannot travel to unless I have someone like you help me.”

Madellaina takes this information in, blinking in confusion, hoping the fairy will continue.

“When the time comes, a destiny will threaten the Savior. She cannot have a happy ending. She is fated to die in the Final Battle,” The Black Fairy proceeds. “This fate will allow me to be reunited with someone I lost long ago and I can finally have my own happy ending. Now, Avenger, isn’t that what you do? Destroy those who take away happiness? Will you help me?”

Pondering over what to do, and confused as to how she will help her centuries from now, she shrugs.

“I can see you are at an impasse. Madellaina, I can give you eternal youth so you can help me, however, you will not be un-killable. To prove that I meant every word I said, I have a few other things for you,” The enchantress says as two vials appear in her hand by magic. “This first vial is a sleeping curse for your father. I will also tell you where he is. If you forgive him, you don’t need it and can live the rest of his days with him. If you don’t, you can curse him and wake him up with True Love’s Kiss when you do. In this deathlike sleep, he will not age or die.”

“What’s the other vial for?” Madellaina musters to ask, still stunned at the Black Fairy’s proposal.

“This vial is a memory potion. If you drink it, you will forget all memories of any specific person and that person will lose all memories of you. There’s only one way to reverse it. The person who salvages their soul and atones for their misdeeds will cause the other person to remember. The person with the change of heart, however, will not remember the other person unless their soul is also changed.”

“Why the bloody hell would I need something like that?” Madellaina inquires, annoyed that such a potion would be given to her.

The Black Fairy snickers at her. “For a rainy day, dear, you know, in case you need it.”

Madellaina takes the vials and places them in her satchel.

“So, Avenger, I assume we have ourselves a deal?”

“Aye, we do.”

The Black Fairy grins wide. “Excellent, now, first thing’s first.”

She waves her hand over Madellaina, causing her to tremble in fear.

“Fear not. That was to keep you young.”

Madellaina nods her head in appreciation, feeling a bit weird.

“Now, when the time comes, I will send you in the direction of the person who wronged your brother and the Savior you must help me destroy, but for now, your father is in the Enchanted Forest working as a barkeep.” The Black Fairy poofs a map into Madellaina’s hands. “The tavern he works at is in this map, a few paces away from the large oak tree.”

“And who killed my family?”

“Oh, straight to the point are we?” The epitome of all evil mocks. “All I know is his name and that he is almost as powerful as me: Rasputin.”

“What do you mean that he is ‘almost as powerful as you’? What aren’t you mentioning?”

“He is a wizard who hated the kingdom that wronged him. To my understanding, he was able to turn the whole kingdom against the royals and murder them, causing the Revolution.”

Madellaina stumbles back in shock. She finally knows the name. It was mostly magic that was to blame?

“Do what you will with that information. You have the two vials, the name of the man you needed, and your youth,” the Black Fairy says, smirking yet again. “I will come to you when the time is right with the man who destroyed your brother and ways to travel to that distant land to help me kill the Savior.”

“Thank you,” Madellaina appreciates, even though something deep down is regretting this decision.

The Black Fairy giggles sadistically again. “No, thank you, darling.”

And with that, all Madellaina saw left of the fairy was a heap of black smoke.


 

Storybrooke, Present Day

Killian, upon receiving a text from Belle that Rumple came empty handed, decided to pay a visit to the Blue Fairy.

He isn’t sure if she will have any idea what his dreams mean, but he is hopeful that something beneficial will come out of this trip to the convent.

It is close to seven in the evening, so the sky is completely dark, just like the evil threatening Storybrooke.

Killian heard from Emma earlier via text and she said she was fine. He told her that they can talk about how her visit with Archie went when he came home after taking care of some business, not wanting to worry her just yet.

Approaching the convent now, Killian climbs up the steps to the front door and gently knocks with his hook.

Blue opens the door almost instantaneously. “Hello, Killian. Belle told me I should be expecting you. Please, come in.”

He nods his head in thanks as he enters the warm building, shrugging his overcoat off and hanging it on the nearby rack.

“What is it you wish to speak about? The fairies and I have been preparing for the potential visit from the Black Fairy,” Blue explains, showing Killian to the sofa, inviting him to sit down with her. “Hopefully the information I shared with Belle and Regina this morning helps progress things.”

“Aye, we did make good progress today. Regina and Zelena were conjuring some protection spells today.”

“Good, good,” she approves, nodding her head in relief.

Killian clears his throat, scratching behind his ear as a result. “I want to know what your knowledge on dreams are. You see, I had a couple of dreams that were pretty intense and they felt like memories.”

Blue ponders for a moment. “I see. That is quite interesting. Usually, when that happens, it could very well be a memory. If it is, and someone pulled them from you, I’m afraid I can’t recover it without the magic in question. I would need something it is tethered to like the magic of the rock trolls or a dreamcatcher.”

He nods, jaw clenching. “Is there any way to decipher if I’ve been cursed by this magic? Why am I dreaming it now if these ‘memories’ were possibly taken from me?”

“Perhaps someone placed the dreams in your head,” Blue explains, eyes growing wide. “That is strong magic. The Dark One can definitely have that ability, maybe even his son.”

“As much as I would love to blame the Crocodile, I’m afraid it isn’t him,” Killian says, rubbing his hand along his chin. “Maybe it is Gideon trying to distract me from the task at hand, but I just wish I knew if the dreams were real or not.”

“It very well could be, Killian. He is the Dark One’s son and was raised by the Black Fairy. It would be wise to get Mr. Gold to figure out what he’s up to again in order to attempt to find the origins of the magic.”

“I’ll recommend that to Belle. Hopefully we can get to the bottom of this without losing progress.”

“Everything will be fine. I will try and see if there is a way for me to discover if this is a dream or a memory.”

“That would be great. Thank you, Blue,” Killian appreciates, rising from the couch to leave. “We will keep you updated if we discover anything about Gideon.”

“Of course, Killian,” she says as she walks over to the door to see him out, handing him his jacket from the rack. “Good luck.”

He smiles at the Blue Fairy and walks back out into the cold.

The walk home wasn’t too bad, luckily. He is just dreading to tell Emma about this other dream, but they recently agreed to not keep secrets anymore.

They will talk it out and figure out what to do. They always find a way to fix things.

Hopefully, Archie helped her as much as he helped him.

Breathing in the cold, winter air, he places his hand in his pocket and briskly walks home.

Finally reaching his abode, he stops to gather himself.

Noticing that the downstairs lights are on, he figures Emma is waiting for him on the couch, ready to talk about her day.

Killian could feel his heart beat faster, his anxiety reaching its peak, but he shakes it away. Despite dreading her reaction, he was ready to see Emma after a long day without her.

Just holding her in his arms will be enough for him to calm down and to forget that he potentially has memories of his past that can change the course of who he is.


 

Emma is patiently waiting on the couch with a mug of hot chocolate warming her hands (with cinnamon, of course) for Killian. She stares at the coffee table in front of her where the mug she prepared for him lies, steam trickling into the air.

He seemed a bit out of sorts when she texted him earlier, not disclosing what business he had to take care of, making Emma wonder what it was and why he didn’t tell her at the time.

All day she went through her head over and over again what she was going to say to him about her visit to Archie’s.

Emma has to dig deep and figure out what Killian feels the most guilty about and help him atone for that in his own way so he can make peace with what his actions did to other people (which is what Archie recommended).

“By understanding him. He has done many horrible things in his past life, things that happened because he lost sight of who he was. With you in his life, you are his remedy, but one he has to be willing to accept. Letting go of his hatred for himself is hard, but it’s something you can do together.”

She thinks about what Archie said earlier. Maybe the crux of the matter is that she doesn’t completely understand what he feels. Sure, she has done terrible things during her stint as the Dark One, but she hasn’t been a vindictive pirate for centuries. Emma knows this will take time, but maybe if she can get him to figure out what bothers him the most, it’s a start for his journey to self-love.

Sighing and staring at her feet, the noise of the front door opening startles her a little bit.

Killian shivers as he takes off his jacket and places it on the rack.

“Oh, you’re freezing!” Emma sympathizes, standing up to greet him. “Here, come sit down. I made use hot cocoa and the fireplace is nice and toasty.”

He smiles at her, kissing the top of her forehead. “Thank you, love. I trust you had a good day?”

Emma plops back down on the couch with Killian following suit. “Yeah, it was fine. I have a few things I want to talk about. Archie gave me good advice.”

“I have some things to report as well,” Killian reveals, nodding his head encouraging her. “You go first, love.”

She sighs as she internally tries to decide how she can start this small intervention.

“Killian, I know we had this conversation not too long ago, but I’m determined to help you. I know I can’t completely understand what you did or what happened, but I can talk through it with you. Whatever makes you feel the guiltiest, I can help you atone in any way you feel would be best,” Emma begins, lightly holding his hand, brushing her thumb along it. “Like I’ve said, you aren’t that man anymore. You need to make peace with it. And I know it’s hard, letting go of the hatred for yourself, but it’s something we can do together. I love you, Killian. That will never change.”

He blinks as he takes in what she said, painfully smiling at her.

Killian knows that this has been bothering her, that he is still guilty about everything he has done, and she is right. He needs to find ways to make peace with his sins and learn to love himself. If Regina has done that, he should too.

A few moments of silence go by and Killian can see Emma grimace, telling him that she thinks that she overstepped and upset him.

“You’re right, Emma,” he finally admits, scratching behind his ear. “I don’t want to feel guilty anymore.”

She smiles at him, relieved that she didn’t offend him. “I was hoping you’d say that. Look at what you’re doing with your kid brother, Liam. You are making up for the terrible mistakes that you have made. You just need to forgive yourself. Liam has.”

Killian nods, smiling back weakly. It was a start.

People he has wronged like Belle and Liam, his half-brother, have forgiven him. If his victims can make peace with it, Killian can too.

“I think I can let it go,” he exhales, gazing into Emma’s eyes with adoration. “Thank you for always believing in me.”

Emma kisses him in response, feeling so happy that he is taking the first step in forgiving himself. “Always.”

They get lost in the kiss. Emma ends up on his lap, cradling the back of his head.

Killian deepens the kiss, as Emma lays on her back, wanting this to be something more, and he complies.

Completely mesmerized by his fiancée with each taste, he remembers what he has to tell her. He cannot just let it go, since they agreed that they will always be honest with one another.

“Emma,” Killian says against her lips. “There is something I wanted to tell you about today.”

She whimpers in response, slowly coming out of her trance. “Oh, right. I’m sorry,” she chuckles, sitting up on the couch. “What is it? Is everything okay?”

“When I returned home after seeing Nemo today, I fell asleep and had an intense dream.”

Emma gives him an alarming look. “Intense? Was it like the first one you had or like mine?”

“Both,” he reveals, scratching behind his ear. “The dream was similar to my first one. It was about me running back to the home I grew up in to find my mother and someone else, who I have no recollection of, but they were gone. It wasn’t long after Liam died I think, but the strangest part about it is that it didn’t feel like a dream. It felt like I was really there, like how you said yours felt like, but it really seemed like a memory.”

She stares at him with her mouth open, clearly taken aback by this revelation.

“Do you think it was a memory?”

“Yes,” Killian painfully admits, eyes all sad. “It makes sense. I don’t remember what exactly happened to my mother or why I never tried to locate her, but if this was a memory, I felt guilty about what happened and I think I…”

He pauses, voice breaking. Emma carefully nods at him to continue.

“You what, Killian?”

“I think I abandoned them. After I became a pirate,” he claims, rubbing his hand through his face. “Just like my bloody father.”

“Killian, no. You are not like your father!” She reassures, a hurt expression on her face. “We can figure out what happened to her and who the other person is, but please don’t blame yourself.”

“What if I took my own memories? Maybe I couldn’t live with the burden,” Killian worryingly suggests as he stands up, pacing the living room. “It’s bad enough I’ve ruined countless of lives, why not add my own mother to the list.”

Emma rises from the couch and gently places her hands on his shoulders to soothe him. “Killian, babe, look at me,” she lovingly demands. “We will figure everything out. For now, it is just a dream, just like mine. Together, we will figure it all out. Okay?”

He takes a few deep breaths, calming himself. Emma is always right. They will find out what’s going on with their dreams. Maybe Blue was right and Gideon placed false ones in his head to upset him. He relays that information to Emma.

“Maybe! He probably wants you off-course and distracted,” she hypothesizes, cupping his jaw with her hands. “Blue will find that out for you, but in the meantime, let’s focus on atonement and moving on.”

“Aye, love. You’re right. I’ll wait for Blue to find out what’s going on and we can work on my redemption.”

“Okay, good,” Emma exhales, relieved. “I promise you we will find out what happened to your mother and prove to you that nothing was your fault.”

“Thank you, Emma.”

“Of course, Killian. If I found answers on my family, you deserve to have yours too before we start our own.”

Killian’s eyes widen at her last utterance. “You truly mean that? You wish to have a family of our own?”

Surprised at his shock and lack of self-confidence, she reassures him. “Yes, Killian. I want it all with you.”

“I do too, my love,” he dry chuckles, softly pecking her lips. “Damn, I love you.”

Emma giggles against his lips. “I love you, too.”

He smiles at her adorable laugh, suddenly realizing something he hadn’t really considered since his first dream.

“Swan, if it’s actually a memory, maybe it’s a message. Maybe my mother and this mysterious woman can help us save you from your fate.”

She considers this and decides that that suggestion isn’t completely farfetched.

“Maybe,” Emma ponders aloud, gazing into his eyes as she tries to come up with an explanation. “What if it’s your subconscious trying to tell you that if we find out what happened, then we can figure out how to defeat the Black Fairy! Maybe it isn’t a distraction after all!”

Killian loves how her mind works. “I do hope so. I’ll try and see if Belle can find anything in the literary form and check with the Blue Fairy again to see if she has any magic that can figure out the fate of my mother.”

“Sounds like a good plan to me,” she approves, kissing his cheek. “See? You can make things right. The past doesn’t matter anymore. What matters is the future. Our future.”

He nods his head lovingly at her. She is right again. The future is the only thing he can try to preserve.

Killian just hopes that this mysterious Madellaina from his dreams is someone he didn’t harm.


 

The Enchanted Forest, Before the First Dark Curse

Anger seeps into her veins as she glares at the newest piece to her puzzle.

A dagger.

It’s been well over a century since the demise of her family and her deal with the Black Fairy (who surprisingly kept her word).

Not only did Madellaina retain her youthful glow, but the enchantress finally told her who destroyed her brother Killian, and, shockingly, the man is still alive due to magic of his own.

She angrily storms to the tavern where her crew is enjoying the night off to find her first mate.

Spotting him in the corner drinking with two beautiful wenches trying to get his attention, she approaches him, shooing the women away in the process.

“I thought we had the night off, Captain,” he says, sipping his stein. “I do hope this is important.”

Ignoring his disrespectful comment, Madellaina slams the dagger onto the wooden table with great force, startling a few passerby.

“What the hell is that?”

“That is the dagger of the man who destroyed my brother, Dimitri,” she reveals as she caresses the weapon. “Do you recognize these initials?”

He looks up at her in annoyance at first. Only when he surveys the dagger do his eyes widen in fear. “You cannot be serious. You can’t go after him.”

“I bloody well can and will!” Madellaina seethes, pulling the dagger from the table. “I’m not afraid of this man and neither should you. After I plunge this dagger through his heart, part of my quest will be complete.”

“Anya, please think about this,” Dimitri pleads, running his hand through his long hair. “It’s too dangerous. This man is going after the Dark One and he has been in Neverland for centuries looking for ways to kill him! If he isn’t afraid of going after the darkest being, you can’t just swoop in, you need a concrete plan!”

She looks at him in disdain for using her first name rather than “Captain.” The disrespect is more noticeable when it is a female commanding a ship than a male. She should lash him for it.

But she won’t. She’s known Dimitri for a while now and she’s grown fond of him like a brother, but she can’t appear weak in front of her crew and enemies.

“Captain,” she viciously corrects, seemingly disregarding his warning. “Don’t be a coward, Dimitri. I know where his ship is. He isn’t known for subtlety.”

Captain, he’s the most cutthroat captain in all the realms!” She gives him another disdainful look, forcing him to retract his statement. “After you, of course.”

“Well, I think it’s about time to converse with this pirate. Think of it as a bounty! I’m sure many people want him dead for terrorizing their lives.”

“But we aren’t pirates! The crew will be terrified!” Dimitri protests, anxiously gulping down a large swig of his beer.

“If any of my men refuse, they can very well walk the lovely plank and pray that the mermaids take pity on their souls!”

Madellaina gets a few looks from other patrons, biting her lip in embarrassment by her own loudness, but at least she seems cutthroat like the pirate she’s going to run through.

To her knowledge, Dimitri is somewhat accurate. She has heard plenty of stories about this pirate and his feud with the Dark One. Sure, she is a little intimidated by his reputation, but at this point, she has nothing else to lose.

In response to the commotion, her quartermaster, Vlad, walks over. “Is everything okay, Captain?”

“Aye, everything is great! We have the biggest bounty yet: mine!” She reveals, grinning at Vlad and Dimitri comically.

“Well, that’s great! Whose funeral will we be attending?”

For good measure, Madellaina slams the dagger into the table again.

“Captain Hook.”


 

It only took a day to reach the port the notorious Captain Hook was anchored at.

Madellaina’s heart flutters as she stares at his ship, The Jolly Roger, which is the fastest ship in all the realms thanks to it being made from enchanted wood.

She discussed with her crew that they were to perform their typical duties aboard the ship, The Star of the Sea, and to not goof off when she kills the pirate captain.

Surprisingly, her crew was loyal and excited that she was finally able to get part of her revenge. Though, of course, she also promised them gold from Hook’s treasury.

Madellaina decides to wait for nightfall before embarking the gangplank to the pirate ship.

When she is successful, she hopes it can further validate her reputation as a strong and fearsome captain.


 

Madellaina, dressed in a wine-colored cloak, discreetly makes her way to the gangplank of The Jolly Roger.

She hides behind barrels of rum as she surveys the ship.

There is a man wearing a red-knit cap speaking with a tall bald man with a ridiculous earring. And from the looks of it, the man in the hat had to be the first mate she heard about.

Madellaina isn’t sure if Hook is there or not, but at least she can put on a spectacle for the crew.

Summoning the courage, she departs her hideaway and crosses the gangplank to board the ship.

“Ahoy, men!” She calls out, walking a slow, but commanding rhythm to the crux of the deck.

Swords were drawn from all around her, but the man in the red cap waves them off. “Fear not, men, this is the Captain’s guest of the evening.”

The way he said that made her shiver in disgust.

Who would want to spend the night with a murderous scoundrel?

“Afraid not, mate,” Madellaina admits, walking over to him. “I’m here to return this dagger to your Captain and gut him with it.”

The crew erupts in a fit of laughter.

“You, eh?” The bald man jeers. “A little lady like you couldn’t gut a chicken!”

The remarks from the men bring her back to the time she was in her village. Her first home. The misogynistic comments did not bother her then and certainly do not bother her now.

In fact, it motivates her.

Without thinking, she grabs the man’s arm and twists it, kicking him in the groin for good measure.

The man wasn’t laughing now as he collapses to the ground, crying in agony.

Madellaina eerily smiles at the group. “Anyone else want to try me? Show some respect for a captain!”

Some of the crewmembers disappear a safe distance away from her as she stares at the man cladded in the red-knit hat.

“I take it you have a name, sailor?” She inquires, eyebrow raised.

“William Smee,” he musters out. “What can I do for you, Captain?”

“Ah, thank you! Are you the first mate of this deplorable man?”

“I am, aye,” Smee reveals, seemingly intimated by her. “Why are you threatening our captain?”

Madellaina purses her lips together and makes a pop sound as she saunters around the deck. “He murdered my brother and I’m here to make him pay. Sorry it isn’t that juicy, mate.”

“Well, the Captain isn’t here. He went to the castle on business for the Queen earlier and is expected back later tonight.”

She had heard stories about this kingdom’s queen. Apparently, she is quite the sorceress and is known by her subjects as the Evil Queen. Luckily, she hasn’t crossed paths with her yet.

“That’s alright! I am a patient woman. I will wait for his arrival,” Madellaina says with a laugh, placing her hands on the railing, breathing in the ocean. “Please do carry on with your business. I don’t mind.”

The men look at her with caution and shrug, leaving the scene as they tend back to their work.

Two of the crewmembers helped the bald man down to their quarters to aid his injuries.

Smee, however, didn’t budge. He is staring at her with complete interest, taking in her features.

Perhaps he is trying to figure out who she is and who his captain could have possibly killed.

It matters not because in due time, the man who killed her brother will return and she will finally get one piece of her revenge.


 

It had to be about two hours or so that passed by before she heard whispering behind her.

Back still turned to the gangplank, she is facing the stunning view of the sea, the moon pouring a heavenly light over the waves.

Madellaina can hear Smee saying something about her and explain to someone why she is there.

It has to be Captain Hook.

This causes her to sadistically smile, not wanting to turn around until she is provoked.

“Captain,” Smee prompts, walking toward her. “This is Captain…uh…”

“Anya,” she finishes for him, back still turned.

“Captain Anya,” Hook bellows. Madellaina can feel him walk closer to her, causing the hair on the back of her neck to rise. “I’ve heard of you. You’re the Avenger! What do I owe the pleasure?”

Refusing to turn around in order to add to her taunting, she shrugs. “It’s always nice to leave an impression,” she says, running her fingers suggestively along the railing. “I’m here to return your dagger and rightfully plunge it into your heart.”

“Well, Anya, only a coward would have their back turned while they threaten me,” he hisses, clearly attempting to rattle her.

Madellaina exhales and rolls her eyes.

Turning around, she immediately goes into her confident stance, but something doesn’t seem right.

The pirate looks familiar, someone she has met before…

She stumbles backward as she recognizes him, grabbing the railing behind her for balance.

No, it can’t be.

Before her is the man who destroyed her brother and perhaps he did, alright.

The man facing her was none other than her brother, Killian Jones.


 

“Brother?” Madellaina manages to muster out. “H-how can this be?”

 The familiar hue of his eyes drip with confusion as he stares back at her.

“Mr. Smee, leave us,” he manages to say, jaw clenched, rubbing his chin.

The first mate complies, scurrying off the deck as quick as a rat to gather the rest of the men to go below deck.

“Madellaina? How are you alive?” Killian questions when everyone left. “It’s been centuries since I saw you last. I thought you were executed!”

She gasps at that. “Me? It matters not! What about you? How the hell are you alive? Mother told me you were killed after you abandoned us!”

His sister’s words hit him hard, practically feeling like he was laced with venom.

“Abandoned you? No, I came back for you, but you were gone! I thought you died because of me getting back at the king!” Killian explains, shaking his head in disbelief. “I blame myself every day for what happened!”

“So it was true then. Liam died because of the king’s cowardice and you became a merciless pirate!” Madellaina cries, angrily storming away from her brother. She can feel angry tears spill down her cheeks. “You are just like father! Ugh!”

“Madellaina, wait!” Her brother pleads, lightly grasping her arm to turn her around. “I’ll explain everything.”

“No need! I’ve heard about Captain Hook, all the evil things he’s done and he is not my brother!” She hisses, shoving his arm away. “That witch was right. She promised me that I would be face-to-face with the person who destroyed him and here you are!”

“What witch?”

Madellaina cackles at that question, annoyed that that was his response to her declaration.

“It matters not. Just forget I came,” she says, walking swiftly toward the gangplank. “Go serve the Evil Queen and terrorize innocent lives for treasure. I don’t care.”

But, she does care. She has never felt so betrayed in her life.

The angry, frustrated tears return, but this time they are accompanied with sobs.

How can her brother, the Lieutenant, become a merciless pirate? What happened to his sense of honor?

She is so enraged that she doesn’t even want to comprehend any of this. All she wants is to just forget this happened and find the person who killed her family.

 As she reluctantly walks away, he calls after her.

“You’ve heard the tall tales about me, love, but have you heard of anything else?” Killian begins in a pleading tone, voice emotionally quivering, hoping to convince his younger sister to stay. “The Dark One killed my love. In fact, he crushed her heart right in front of me on this very deck. And from that day forward, I have been seeking the weapon to destroy him, to get my revenge. So in order to do that, I went to Neverland, a place that kept me young so I can find the way to kill him. That’s why I am conversing with the Evil Queen. All I care about is killing the Dark One. I have nothing to live for, but now, with you, that can change.”

Madellaina turns around to face him, quickly wiping a tear from her cheek, giving him an unamused look.

Their father said something similar before she cursed him.

She decides to omit that she cursed him to her brother.

“It’s the truth. I swear it!” He exclaims, walking closer to her. “I’m so sorry, Madellaina. Truly.”

His sincere apology, given with tears materializing in his own eyes, triggers her as she sobs again.

“I know you’ve been through so much. I’ve heard about you, Avenger,” he says now, eyes all sad. “You avenge for others who can’t do it themselves because you lost your family.”

Madellaina looks down at her feet, silent.

“Did something happen to mother? Is that why you succumbed to a life filled with vengeance?”

She nods at him. “Aye. She was murdered in the kingdom we had to escape to because of you. Her and the family she married into. I loved them and I wasn’t there to protect them.”

Killian looks his sister in the eye with love and sympathy as he weeps. “This is all my fault. I’m so sorry, love. Our poor mother,” he sighs, carefully pulling in his sister into a hug. “Don’t blame yourself. I don’t want you to endure centuries of self-loathing like me.”

“I’ve never felt so alone. I always had her in my corner,” Madellaina declares, accepting his hug. It felt really good to have her brother in her arms again. “I’m sorry for what I said. I’m just so lost. I don’t blame you. Not anymore.”

“It’s alright, love. I’m sorry I was selfish like father. I would never abandon you. Like I said, I tried to search for you, but I failed and thought I was too late,” Killian reveals, pulling away from his sister to wipe a few of her stray tears. “I couldn’t live with myself knowing Liam died on my watch because of that bastard of a king. I should’ve never became a pirate in the first place.”

She nods in agreement, smiling weakly. “I can’t believe mother lied to me and said that you died. She probably didn’t want me to look for you.”

“Probably. And for her to tell you that, she had to be so disappointed in me, something I never wanted her to feel.”

“I’m sure if she could see me now she would think the same of me.”

Killian shakes his head. “No, love. Don’t say that. You are a remarkable woman.”

“Aye, so remarkable that I am spending lifetimes searching for the people who wronged me. I mean, I had to change my identity twice after escaping our village! After mother died in the kingdom’s revolution, there was a target for my head because I escaped. I could’ve just started over and lived my life, but nope.”

“Looks like we are both driven by vengeance.”

“Looks like we are,” Madellaina agrees, running her hand through her hair, sighing. “Knowing I have you by my side, maybe I can let it go. It’s what mother would have wanted.”

“Aye, I would like that. Come join my crew and we can sail the world together. I know that’s what you always wanted.”

“But what about your revenge? You would give that up?”

“Like you said, it is what mother would have wanted,” Killian repeats, smiling softly at her. “I’d do anything for you, Madellaina, even if it means letting go my thirst for vengeance. We can help each other move on, and even though it won’t be easy, we will be there for each other.”

Madellaina hugs Killian as she breathes a sigh of relief, knowing that she doesn’t need vengeance if she has her brother by her side.

Suddenly, a memory pierces through her thoughts, causing her to abruptly release her embrace.

She walks into their chamber now, her siblings already all dead. She has never seen so much blood. As she approaches the bed with wobbly legs, she can see her still alive.

She runs to her side, panicking.

“Mother! What has happened? Who did this?” She cries, grasping her mother’s body.

She coughs, voice all hoarse. “The Revolutionists. They took over the kingdom.”

She softly dives her head into her mother’s frail chest, sobbing. “This is all my fault! I could’ve protected all of you! I’m so sorry, mother.”

“Don’t be,” she says, smiling weakly. “You followed your dream. You are a special, independent lady that I love so much.”

“I love you, too. Please don’t leave me,” she pleads, putting pressure on her mother’s wound. “I need you.”

“I wish I didn’t have to, my love, but you have to go. They will come for you.”

“No! I won’t leave you here! I can save you and get you to a doctor!”

“It’s too late Madellaina, darling,” she admits, crying a few tears of her own, grimacing from the pain from the wound on her shoulder. “I will always watch over you, my love. Forever…”

Her mother breathes her last breath, leaving her body lifeless.

She cries loud, painful sobs. She can feel her head spin as nausea overcomes her.

Reluctantly getting up, she looks over at her step-father’s body and cries.

Every single last one of them are gone. Dead. Just a page in the kingdom’s history book.

The Romanovs are destroyed.

“I can’t,” Madellaina states, pacing around the deck, hands over her head, still reeling from the painful memory.

“What?” Killian asks, confused. “Are you alright? What happened?”

“I can’t join you!” She exclaims, slightly frustrated. “I-I have to get my revenge. I can’t just give up!”

“Love, yes you can! We don’t need vengeance if we have each other.”

Madellaina shakes her head, crying as she hands him his dagger. “I have to. And maybe, it’s for the best that you get to get yours too.”

“I don’t want you to make the same mistakes I did,” he says, voice quivering. “I want you to have a happy life and not regret this.”

“I’m sorry, Killian, but this is something I must do,” she declares, smiling weakly at him. “I love you.”

Madellaina slowly turns to leave him, but before she does, she kisses his tear-stricken cheek.

“Until we meet again, my sister. I hope you find what you’re looking for.”

She keeps walking away, trying her hardest to stay strong. She needs to do this. She came this far.

All her life she blamed her father and, for a time, Killian, but she has never really blamed herself.

She had the opportunity to start over with her father, to forgive him, but she couldn’t.

She had the chance to start a new life with her brother, but she didn’t.

She betrayed him. Her own brother.

She is addicted to vengeance, thirsty for the blood of the man who started the revolution.

She will stop at nothing until he was dead.

Walking away from her brother’s pleas is like daggers to her already broken heart.

Madellaina softly cries as she crosses the gangplank and runs to the direction of the woods behind the tavern.

Suddenly she remembers something.

The potion the Black Fairy gave her, the one that can wipe memories away…

Madellaina retrieves the bottle from her satchel.

Her heart is full of regret and guilt. She can’t let these feelings get in the way of her vengeance.

She doesn’t want to live with the reminder that she betrayed and abandoned her own brother, something she thought she would never do, but at least now he can get vengeance of his own without her distracting him.

Madellaina starts to feel nauseous from the betrayal and guilt as she starts to dry heave.

Uncapping the bottle, she stares at it.

If she atones, Killian will remember her.

If he atones, she will remember him.

When all is said and done and they get their revenge, they will both become better versions of themselves. She’s sure of it.

But little does she know, vengeance just leaves a gaping hole in your heart. The thirst for it never simmers and redemption is not sought after.

Sighing, eyes closed, Madellaina drinks the potion.

A few moments pass before its contents affect her.

She looks around her surroundings, confused.

“Why the hell am I in the bloody woods?” She asks aloud.

Grunting, she heads to her ship.

“Captain!” Dimitri calls as she crosses the gangplank. “Were you successful? Did you kill him?”

Madellaina blinks in confusion. She had no idea what he was talking about. “Um, afraid not. He was not there.”

“I’m sorry,” he sympathizes. “I know how much you wanted your revenge.”

Still confused, she raises an eyebrow. “Oh, don’t worry, Dimitri. My revenge is just beginning! Our hunt for Rasputin intensifies now. All of our time will be focused on that and nothing else in order to get our biggest bounty of them all. For we shall now be known as pirates, no longer serving for anyone else but ourselves!”

“Captain? Are you alright? You detest pirates, for one, and you are the Avenger! You help people get their revenge!”

“Aye, but now I realize it’s something we need to do in order to get what I want,” Madellaina admits, smiling sadistically at him. “Don’t worry, I will pay you all generously.”

“As you wish, Captain,” he reluctantly says, looking worried.

“So how ‘bout it, men!” She calls out to her crew. “We will look to destroy my bounty and search for treasure in all the realms. We take what we please so all the worlds will know what we are: pirates!”

The crew cheers enthusiastically as they chant her name.

This is what she always wanted.

She’s independent, free, and sailing.

What else did she have to live for?


 

The Dark Realm, Before the First Dark Curse

She was close. This close to lose her to that pirate.

The Black Fairy didn’t think the two Jones’ would abandon their quest for vengeance for one another, so she had to give one of them a push.

Thankfully, triggering Madellaina’s painful memory worked. It kept her on the path she needs her on.

She created a monster. Someone who should have no qualms in destroying the Savior when the time comes in about thirty years.

The Black Fairy was able to figure out that Killian Jones is fated to be the True Love of the Savior who is destined to break her dark curse once it’s casted.

She very well can’t have his sister remember him while she is helping her kill his love…

The memory potion worked and, for now, everything is according to plan.

The Black Fairy is confident the potion won’t wear off during the Final Battle. How could the world’s most vindictive pirate and the monster she created redeem themselves now? Vengeance controls them forever. Even if he has true love, surely the road to self-love would be difficult.

Especially for Madellaina. Rasputin should keep her busy for another decade or so.

Unfortunately for her, he isn’t real.

In fact, what the Black Fairy told her was a lie.

She killed her family. She knew that Madellaina would be useful to her and would be desperate. All the pain she endured validated her theory.

Now, the Black Fairy just has to wait for the time to come.

She will destroy light magic for good and finally get what she wants.

Chapter Text

Chapter 7

Storybrooke, Present Day

“How did you do it?”

Regina stares at him, confused. “Do what?”

Killian sighs, closing the book in front of him, rubbing his hand over his chin. “Learn to love and forgive yourself.”

She raises an eyebrow in surprise as she concentrates on him instead of her own book.

“Well, spending practically every moment of my life helping the people I wronged definitely helped,” the former Evil Queen reveals, pulling something from her blazer pocket. “But, also, this. Robin’s lucky feather.”

“What does his feather have to do with loving yourself?”

“Everything,” she nonchalantly says, caressing her prized possession from her dearly departed love. “If someone like Robin could love me and see the best in me, then I could learn to also see myself that way. Saving my family and friends, evolving into a hero, it was all I needed to move on from my evil past.”

Killian takes in her response. He can see her point. He has been doing the same    thing she has, but it’s hard for him to move on.

“What’s up with you, Hook? Have you not forgiven yourself?”

“Not as quickly as you, I’m afraid,” he admits, jaw clenching. “I just want to be the man Emma deserves. It’s hard to do that when my past keeps haunting me. I had centuries of sins and it’s hard to forgive myself if the things I did were detrimental to others, especially if I harmed my own mother.”

Regina understandingly nods.

Currently, they were looking into his past as they try to find information at the library about his mother and this Madellaina woman he had dreams about.

“Hook, you are good enough for Emma. You two need each other.”

Trying to lighten the mood, he laughs at her response. “So you approve of the two of us then, aye?”

She rolls her eyes. “Yeah, but just keep your PDA to a minimum. I intend for my lunch to remain where it is, thank you very much. I know Snow can’t look at pancakes the same ever again.”

Killian comically smiles at that. His mother-in-law-to-be walked in on Emma and him in a compromising situation while cooking breakfast.

She should know better than to walk into someone’s home unannounced without knocking…

“Anyway,” Regina says now, breaking him out of his thoughts. “All you have to do is understand how Emma sees you. Use her love to learn how to love and forgive yourself.”

He nods. And he hates to admit it, but he is impressed with her advice.

“Thanks, Regina. I’m working on it.”

“Good because I think I may have found something on your mother.”

“What is it?”

Regina frowns, deep in thought. “Well, that’s just the thing…the pages in this book were ripped out.”

“Ripped out?” Killian inquires, exasperated. “These books were buried in the library! How can anyone have known about them?”

“The last page is about your mother learning about your father abandoning you,” she reveals, offering a sympathetic look. “I’m sorry, Killian, but that’s all that is there.”

He sighs as his jaw clenches again. “May I?”

Regina nods as she hands him the book.

Upon glancing at it several times, he notices something.

“Regina, what is that? Is that what I think it is?”

“What do you mean?”

“That. Is that a bassinet?” Killian guesses, pointing to the illustration on the page. “There is something written on it, but I can’t make it out.”

She raises an eyebrow. “I see it now! It does look like a bassinet. How did I miss that?”

“Do you have a magnifying glass or magic to read the inscription?”

As he finishes his last sentence, Regina poofs a magnifying glass in her hand.

He mumbles his gratitude as he hovers the glass over the page.

“It can’t be.”

“What? What does it say?” Regina prods, concern etched in her voice.

“Madellaina.”

“What? Does that mean…”

Killian’s face turns pale as he continues to fixate on the image.

“She’s my sister.”

 


 

“Your sister? Are you positive?” Emma asks now, completely overwhelmed.

Shortly after his and Regina’s discovery, Killian called Emma, Zelena, David and Snow down to the library to report their findings.

“Aye, it says the name I’ve been dreaming about on the illustration,” Killian explains. “I don’t know how this is even possible. Someone must have taken my memories!”

“And don’t forget the pages,” Regina adds, scratching her head in confusion. “There are a bunch of pages missing after this one. My money’s on Dark One Junior.”  

“So everyone has a hidden, unknown sister around Storybrooke? Thought it was just you, sis,” Zelena jokes, rightfully getting dirty looks from the group. She grimaces as she softly apologizes.

“Why would Gideon want this hidden? Why take his memories and hide the truth?” Snow wonders as she slowly shakes her head. “This doesn’t make any sense.”

“Maybe Madellaina is a threat to him and the Black Fairy,” David suggests.

Killian sighs. “This was centuries ago, mate. I don’t even know what happened to her or my mother. If they are even still alive, then maybe we can track her with that globe?”

Regina’s eyes light up with wonder. “Guyliner has a point there! We can borrow that globe from Gold and see if any relatives of his are still alive and if they are, we can find them.”

“You think it could work? What if it’s just a dead-end? A ploy to get us distracted?” Emma worries as her face turns as white as her mother’s namesake.

Killian, noticing the change in hue in her face, begins to feel a heap of concern. “Emma, love, are you okay? You don’t look well.”

“Sit down, Emma,” David says, as he also notices her discomfort, pulling out a chair. “Killian, get her some water.”

“I’m fine! I’m just…worried,” Emma admits with an annoyed huff. “I haven’t been getting much sleep.”

“Go home and rest!” Her mother sweetly insists. “I’ll come with you and make you some chamomile tea, okay?”

She nods, knowing that her mother will not give up if she refused. “Fine. But, guys, please keep me in the loop.”

Killian walks over and kisses the top of her head. “We will, love. Now please go and get some rest.”

Emma nods as she rises from her seat to leave the library with her mother in tow.

“I thought she was feeling better?” Zelena says as she raises an eyebrow at Killian. “What’s wrong with her?”

“I don’t know, Zelena. I thought everything was improving,” Killian sighs as he buries his face in his hand. “We have been working a lot of things out, but I guess she just feels stressed about this bombshell.”

“She’s not the only one,” Regina agrees, exhaling. “I think we should do a bit more research and look for the missing pages before visiting Gold. He’s supposed to let us know what happens when he speaks to his son again.”

“Nothing good comes from trusting that man,” David comments.

Killian’s jaw clenches. He knows the prince is right. “Aye, but he’s the only chess piece we’ve got right now.”

 


 

If his son did not want to be found, he would have made it a hell of a lot more difficult to find him.

Rumple used his globe to track Gideon to his current location. Even without reliable blood magic, he would have searched the same place.

He sees his son immediately, back turned to him, perched on the well.

“You know, son, this well is very powerful.”

Gideon perks up, whirling around to face him. “Oh, I know, father. It seems this location has a lot of meaning to our family.”

Rumple takes in his son’s comment. The well is where he first brought magic to Storybrooke and where he married Belle years ago.

“I know and that’s why I figured I’d find you here.”

“Well, what do you want? I have nothing more to say to you,” Gideon retorts, turning away from him as he readjusts his seat on the edge of the well.

“I want to know the real reason you are planning to kill the Savior,” Rumple reveals nonchalantly. “And no half-truths. I know you have a real reason.”

“No half-truths? Isn’t manipulation the family business?”

“Don’t be foolish, son!” Rumple reprimands as he walks closer to Gideon. “I’m trying to help you. I did not tell anyone about the prophecy because I fear they will harm you. Now, tell me what you are planning so I can help you.”

His eyes sparkle in delight. “You’d help me kill the Savior?”

“No. I will help you with whatever you are trying to do. Clearly, you think killing Miss Swan is the solution, so what is it?”

“It’s her,” Gideon carefully responds, decibel of his voice barely above a whisper.

“Her?” Rumple repeats, a tinge of confusion instilled in his voice. “The Black Fairy?”

He slowly nods with caution as if the woman in question can see his every movement.

“What about her, son?”

“I want to destroy her, father. For what she did to my friends and to me.”

Rumple blinks. “And you think killing Miss Swan will help you do that?”

“If I kill her with that sword, Hrunting, then I will absorb her power,” Gideon explains, finally standing up and facing his father. “I will be the Savior and free my people from her. She will be defeated once and for all!”

“Son, you cannot possibly believe that that will make you a hero.”

“It will! I have hundreds counting on me to protect them!”

“Don’t be naïve! Killing someone as light as the Savior will darken your heart,” Rumple warns as he gently places his hands on his son’s shoulders. “Even if you think this will make you a hero, it will not. Taking a life, the life of a Savior, it is as dark as the Black Fairy.”

 “No! You just don’t think I could do it!” Gideon hisses in annoyance. “Well, you know the prophecy! I can defeat her!”

The Dark One shakes his head. “And how did you discover the answer to that prophecy?”

His silence is more than an answer for his father.

“Gideon, the last time we spoke, you were expressing your undying fealty to her and now you want to destroy her? Son, what are you trying to do?”

“I didn’t need or want your help. I wanted to fix everything on my own.”

“So, a fictitious fidelity to my sworn enemy would discourage me? And you are believing this prophecy she shared with you? You will be as dark as her!” Rumple foresees as he vehemently shakes his head. “She’s tricking you into doing her bidding. You can’t defeat her this way. She wants the Savior gone so she can do whatever unspeakable, heinous plan she has brewing in her deranged mind.”

Gideon clenches his jaw tightly and begins to seethe. “Then find another damn way to help me! I need the power of the Savior to prevail!”

Rumple frowns as he thinks. “The only way for the Black Fairy to leave her realm is through a portal with your sword.”

“I know that,” his son angrily spits out.

“Did you know that with the sword, you can destroy the portal so she can be stuck in her world forever?”

Gideon’s eyes widen as he nods at his father, prompting him to continue.

“Get Emma to help you and bury the hatchet,” Rumple suggests. “With your magic and the powers of the Savior, you should have enough to destroy her portal and to keep her trapped.”

“What about my friends? She’ll hurt them!”

“You can still transport over to that land and destroy her. And I promise you, son, I will find a way.”

His son reluctantly nods.

“I mean it,” Rumple says as he sincerely looks him in the eye. “You will destroy her and help your friends. You will be the hero you are meant to be.”

“And I don’t have to kill the Savior to do it,” Gideon finishes.

“Precisely.”

 


 

“Here, sweetheart,” Snow says now, handing her daughter a mug. “Some chamomile tea to calm you down.”

“Thanks.”

Emma is currently laying down on her bed, understandably frustrated at her predicament.

Sure, she felt lightheaded and somewhat nauseous earlier, but can anyone blame her? Her fiancée just discovered he has (or had) a sister and had his memories wiped (if it’s not a trick). To top it all off, her impending doom is still another enigma they need to overcome. But if she was being honest, she felt more annoyed than ever. Emma detests being sidelined.

“Are you feeling okay?” Her mother asks, placing a damp rag over her forehead with one hand and lighting a lavender-scented candle with the other. “I know you’re overwhelmed with all of this.”

Emma exhales, trying her best not to sound ungrateful. “I’m fine. I’m just shocked, that’s all.”

“I know you hate being benched, but you need a better way to deal with all of this.”

“You mean my impending demise, my fiancée’s self-loathing, and his family drama?” Emma frustratingly clarifies with a huff. “How can I possibly decompress after all of this? A spa day?”

“Actually, no, I think-”

“Mom, I know you mean well. The other day when Killian and I got engaged, it was very special. I haven’t felt that alive in such a long time,” Emma abruptly interrupts, rubbing her hand over the rag. “But, I cannot possibly do another impromptu day off until I can figure all of this out.”

“I think we should plan your wedding,” Snow finishes, unfazed by her daughter’s brazen interruption. “It will give you and everyone hope. Something the Black Fairy or Gideon cannot take from us.”

Emma actually considers this. With everything going on, she hasn’t even thought of her wedding, which, generally, is something a woman would instantaneously dream about after her beloved pops the question.

“You’re right.”

Snow blinks. “I am?”

“Yes,” Emma confirms, sitting up and removing the rag. “I think we should plan the wedding.”

“Oh, Emma!” Her mother squeals as she throws her arms around her. “I can’t wait to get started!”

“Woah! Slow down!”

“Sorry, but I’m so excited!”

Emma laughs, playfully rolling her eyes. “Look, we can still plan the wedding and focus on the Black Fairy. We need balance and if this is going to happen, we need to agree that I will not be sidelined again.”

“Agreed!” Snow eagerly responds. “Let me go get my binder at the loft!”

She furrows her eyebrows, eyeing her mother cautiously.

“You’re what?”

 


 

The Kingdom of Cordova, a Long Time Ago

“Mother, you are a vision in white!”

“You really think so, my dear?”

“I do! Don’t be so modest!”

Madellaina chuckles at her mother. It is her wedding day to King Nicholas.

It is hard to believe that just two years ago, they arrived in this kingdom. A lot has happened since then.

A few months after their arrival, Madellaina was keen on finding Killian after she got more confident in her sailing abilities, hoping she would be able to reunite their family. That dream died rather quickly as Alastriona discovered that Killian was captured and executed for his crimes.

Madellaina was depressed for weeks as she distracted herself with her studies. She finally got to attend a University, her lifelong dream, and made a name for herself with her discoveries.

She still felt empty, though, and just stayed at the palace, not exploring the realms as she once planned.

Madellaina still isn’t completely sure what she wants. Sure, she made a stand for women’s education and scientific discoveries, but she wasn’t sure what to do next.

That emptiness was partly quenched by spending a lot of her time tutoring her soon-to-be siblings and being with them as much as possible. Nicholas even let her assist with recruiting for the Royal Navy, something she thought her brothers would be proud of.

The Madellaina who knew nothing of her past and who struggled to earn the respect from her fellow townsfolk would be satisfied with these feats, but where does she go from here?

She told Nicholas that she wanted to captain the navy and he agreed (she even had the support from the current first-in-command who was due to retire in a few short months).

Madellaina had that going for her, at least. Something new, a brand new challenge.

She still couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something she was lacking, her zest for adventure still lingering in her mind.

She perpetually reminds herself that family and her studies were the most important things to her. She is getting an opportunity to lead a navy (despite heaving objections from her mother), which will lead to adventures across different kingdoms, but something that interests her, so she thinks, is freedom.

Freedom to live her own life.

Freedom to make her own decisions.

Freedom to go wherever she wanted.

A clean slate.

That would mean having to sacrifice what she built.

Her new family.

If she listens to this calling of hers, does she really want adventure or does she want to be alone?

She fears that, deep down, she wants the latter.

Shaking the thoughts from her mind, she smiles widely at her blushing mother.

Madellaina has never seen her so happy.

The kingdom was throwing a grandiose celebration following the ceremony and it is everything Alastriona dreamed of.

At least one of the Jones women is getting exactly what she wants.

A knock on the door interrupts their smiling fest.

It is Daria, Alastriona’s new handmaiden.

“It’s time, milady,” she meekly announces as she approaches, handing over the bouquet.

The whole wedding was the definition of pure, elated happiness.

Madellaina wondered if love was ever in the cards for her, weirdly jealous of the way Nicholas looks at her mother.

And that day, how blissful it was, was the last time the kingdom was at peace.

It was also the last day Madellaina had truly smiled.

 


 

The Kingdom of Cordova, a Long Time Ago, a Few Months Later

As white as snow there it is, lying lifeless in the corner, just like the rest of her family was that night.

Madellaina carefully picks up her mother’s wedding dress as tears materialize in her eyes.

It was as if her mother wore this just moments ago, which wasn’t really a reach. The wedding was only two months prior.

She is squatting in her former home, temporarily, while she is searching for ways to conduct her revenge. It has been a month since the Revolution and the death of her family.

She wasn’t sure why she decided to go back. After what happened, she fled on her ship to avoid capture, trying to sail to realms she always wanted to visit, but she felt nothing. She will not feel again until she can avenge her family’s death.

Surprisingly, the Revolutionists boarded the place up, took some valuables, but not much. Allegedly, the leader of the brigade thought the Romanov fortune was “tainted monarch wealth” and he left it in its original setting to rot (surprisingly disposing of the remains of her family. Lord knows what became of them). The group even had soldiers placed around the grounds to prosecute any looters who tried to touch the supposed cursed belongings of the departed royals.

After a couple weeks since that night, the soldiers were gone. No one dared to set place in something dubbed haunted or a place where the new leaders forbade anyone to ever enter.

The kingdom was piss poor. The livelihood of the people consisted of two dozen total strangers living in two small rooms. There was no order, only anarchy.

Madellaina remembers walking around the town square, in a disguise, hearing a man mutter a rhyme to himself:

The skies are gray, the walls have ears
And he who argues disappears

Upon hearing that, she shuddered. No freedom to speak your mind, to challenge your leaders. It was a world she wanted no part of, even though that meant leaving her memory of her family behind.

She just wishes she knew who was responsible.

Madellaina now looks at the limp gown, clutching it close to her heart.

She sobs, her breathing erratic, as her lip quivers in agony.

“I’m so sorry, mum,” she whispers to the empty room, her voice echoing in the vacuous space as if proving to her that she was truly alone.

It was all her fault. She wasn’t there to protect them.

There was never any indication that would imply that there would be a revolution. The subjects loved the Romanovs. They were a selfless, charitable family well before Madellaina and her mother arrived and only became more loved when the two of them joined the clan.

Not only does she blame herself for not being there, but she blames herself for not seeing this coming. But no one saw it coming. It was like an abrupt switch flipped off in a group of people, who then formed an angry mob, which surprisingly overpowered the royal guards.

Nothing made sense. It was almost like it was a dark force that manipulated them.

Madellaina places the dress down gently on the ground. She didn’t need this. The ghost of her mother, probably disappointed in her, even though her last words were the contrary. She didn’t need a reminder that she failed, a reminder that no matter what she does, she will never be whole.

A rattle and a sharp voice letting out a curse startles her from her self-loathing.

It came from the parlor downstairs. She knows that echo from anywhere.

Hand on the hilt of her sword, she slowly makes her way down the stairs to get a visual.

No one dared to step into the palace. What changed?

“Goddammit, Vlad!” A strikingly attractive man reprimands an older man. “We can’t keep doing this. If the Revolutionists catch us, we’re dead!”

“Dimitri, I’m simply going to gather some of the treasures. What’s the matter? We need the gold to get our travel papers and get the hell out of here!”

“It’s just, well, ever since Clara, I don’t want to take any more chances.”

Vlad sighs. “Boy, you can’t blame yourself for what happened. You did all you could.”

“I wasn’t there for her! I could have protected her!”

The older man frowns sympathetically.

“Look, it’s fine. Get whatever you need, then we can get out of here and make a new start for ourselves. Do our work again,” Dimitri concedes.

“This will be good not only for business, but for you, Dimitri. You can move on.”

The young man just scoffs, exhaling.

Madellaina is so enchanted by this exchange that she accidentally causes one of the paintings on the wall behind her to move as she bumps into it, caught off guard that someone is just as guilty as her about losing someone.

Dimitri pounces immediately after hearing the clatter, cocking a gun.

“Who’s there?”

“Show yourself!” Vlad adds gruffly.

Madellaina internally curses to herself, contemplating her options.

Maybe the men can tell her who killed her family? But she’s going to have to have yet another new identity…

Madellaina carefully comes out of her hiding spot and sassily smiles.

“Hello, gentlemen,” she comically greets. “What brings you here?”

Dimitri lowers his gun slowly, seemingly captivated by her. “Who are you?”

Madellaina blinks and recovers brilliantly as she uses a shorter version of her royal name. “I’m Anya.”

“What are you doing here, Anya? The Revolutionists closed down this place,” Vlad responds, eyeing her cautiously.

“I can ask the same of you,” she retorts, rolling her eyes. “Whatever. If you must know, I am trying to get revenge on the people who killed my family and this place was empty, so I crashed here.”

The men look at each other.

“I’m Dimitri and this is Vlad-”

Dimitri opens his mouth to say something else, but then closes it. His eyes widen.

Madellaina raises an eyebrow as she follows his gaze.

The Royal Wedding Portrait.

Fuck.

Pictured are the King and new Queen, her step-siblings, and herself, smiling widely. She had forgotten all about that portrait. The happiness long gone, now just a memory.

“So the rumors are true!” He finally says, cheerfulness instilled in his voice. “The Grand Duchess Anastasia escaped and here she is!”

She stammers a bit before responding, trying her best to keep her cool. “What the bloody hell are you talking about? I’m no duchess. I’m just a person trying to avenge my family on whichever Revolutionist murdered them.”

“The painting, it’s uncanny!” Vlad now realizes as he steps forward to get a better look at her face. “Those striking blue eyes!”

“Look, I don’t have time for this!” Madellaina seethes, placing her hands on her hips. “Do either one of you know who killed them? It might lead me to whomever killed my family.”

Dimitri looks insulted. He rolls his eyes and laughs eerily.

“Do you take us for fools, Anya?”

“Yes,” she dryly answers.

He chuckles, but recovers. “I know you’re the duchess. You can play dumb all you want. What other reason do you have?”

She remains silent.

“Why come back here at all and risk your life? There’s a reward for your capture.”

His follow-up question was asked with concern rather than curiosity.

Come to think of it, she thought she saw a Wanted poster with her name on it in the nearby tavern…

“You have our word, milady,” Vlad promises as he unnecessarily bows. “If you help us with something.”

“Are you bloody blackmailing me?” She reprimands him as she walks closer. “You have no idea who you are dealing with.”

Dimitri senses an opportunity opening. “Alright, then Vlad and I will bring you over to the Revolutionists and get our reward money. Let’s see how tough you are.”

Madellaina gives him a murderous, venomous glare. “What do you want?”

“Well it just so happens that we need to get out of here unseen and I think you have a ship that can transport us to a realm far from here.”

She raises an eyebrow. “Aye, that I do.”

“Splendid!” Vlad chirps, clapping his pudgy hands together. “We are finally getting out of here!”

“Fine. We leave at dawn,” Madellaina says, reluctantly agreeing. “On one condition.”

Both men stare at her curiously.

“You are going to be on my crew. You two are going to help me find out who killed my family and kill them. I need my revenge. In return, we will travel to all the realms and gather the most lucrative treasures the worlds have to offer us.”

Dmitri scoffs. “So we are pirates?”

She grits her teeth angrily. “No. We aren’t stealing anything. People will give the treasures to us willingly.”

“What? How do you suppose?” Vlad inquires, wiping sweat from his brow.

“Oh, we are going to be bounty hunters and help those who cannot get their own vengeance by doing it for them.”

The men are shocked by this.

“Those are my terms,” Madellaina declares. “We can even avenge your Clara.”

Dimitri’s eye widen as he freezes at the sound of the name.

“How did you-?”

She smirks, finally getting the upper hand.

“Deal.”

“Wonderful. Meet me at the docks and we shall begin our journeys together.”

She turns away, practically skipping up the stairs.

Body buzzing with excitement, she heads back to the closet and picks up the dress.

She will finally get her revenge with the help of these men.

She will help others get their own revenge (and get rich by doing it too).

She will travel the realms at her leisure.

She will be truly free!

Moments ago, she wanted nothing to do with the last thing that embodied her mother’s happiness, but now, knowing that she is a step closer to justice, she happily folds it and places it on her hip.

Every time she will look at the gown, she will be reminded what her purpose is.

Happiness.

Even if it means to go down a dark path to finally get it.

 


 

Madellaina anxiously waits for her two new crewmembers to arrive. As dawn breaks, she silently prays that she will not be spotted.

It wasn’t easy to dock her ship here, especially in this new government, but Madellaina used her wiles to persuade the harbormaster. It also helped to throw in some treasures she picked up from her travels. Discretion is what she needed.

As she has a few moments to think about her next move, she is utterly shocked that she even decided to blindly trust these men. Sure, they somewhat blackmailed her, but would she actually get anything out of this ordeal? Will these men actually help her pass the time as she finds out who murdered her family and ruined her home?

That remains to be seen.

She breathes a sigh of relief when she sees the two men carefully scurrying to the gangplank.

“Gentlemen,” Madellaina greets gruffly.

Dimitri looks up at The Star of the Sea exasperated. “I’m impressed. I suppose we should call you ‘Captain’.”

“Yes, I suppose you should.”

 


 

Aboard The Star of the Sea, a Long Time Ago, a Few Years Later

Her crew was hard at work, all abuzz about travelling to an even further realm to explore.

Madellaina isn’t sure how she became this successful, but she didn’t dare to question her luck.

A few weeks after she recruited Dimitri and Vlad, they recruited a crew to assist with her venture. It was like she had her own little army to help her and watch her back.

A few months prior, the Black Fairy made a deal with Madellaina and she happily accepted. She finally had a name of the man (who happens to be a magical being of some kind) who killed her family! The crew was doing their best to locate him directly.

Madellaina tries to convince herself that the only reason she went to renegotiate her deal with the Black Fairy a few days ago was because she needed Dimitri and Vlad to always watch her back, not even daring to think that she might possibly have feelings for Dimitri.

Another term she came up with was in addition to her youth, she asked for Vlad and Dimitri’s too. Madellaina anticipated resistance from the magical fiend, but she was more than happy to oblige. She even said that loyal associates like that can be useful for her upcoming task in the years to come.

And how did Madellaina possibly break this news to them? She nonchalantly told them that she had enough doses from the mythical Fountain of Youth for the three of them, and before they could even ask any questions about it, she mentioned that a pirate from the Caribbean destroyed its properties and they could not revisit it to take further advantage.

Luckily, they were appeased.

Now, Madellaina is standing at the bow of the ship, taking in the sun setting before her.

“Well, who knew that Captain Anya was a sucker for a sunset?”

She turns around to see Dimitri and gives him an uncharacteristic timid smile.

“If you tell anyone, I’ll kill you,” she jokes, playfully punching him in the arm.

“Ah, ah, ah,” he scolds, wagging his finger playfully. “I have eternal youth, remember?”

“True, but that doesn’t mean you’re un-killable.”

“Let me win one argument, Anya.”

She laughs. “Hell no.”

Dimitri chuckles as he shakes his head.

“So what brings you here? Did you need my approval on anything?” She inquires as she unconsciously hopes that he just wants to chat with her.

“No,” he admits sheepishly. “I actually just wanted to watch the sunset. You being here, I guess, is a fun surprise.”

Madellaina purses her lips in a firm line. “I always watched the sunset with my mother when I was little. It reminds me of her.”

Dimitri chuckles again.

“What’s so funny?” She demands, a bit insulted.

“Nothing. It’s just-” He trails off, looking down at the railing he was leaning against.

“It’s just what?”

“I proposed to Clara during a sunset much like this one. I like to think that I can feel her presence. I know it’s crazy.”

Madellaina blinks. He never shared anything personal with her. And, come to think of it, she never shared anything that personal with him, either. They were a lot alike. “I don’t think it’s crazy. Why else would I be standing here taking in the scenery?”

“Good point.”

“Can I ask you something?” she asks, slowly turning her head to look at him. He nods. “I promised you that I would help you avenge for Clara and you never took me up on it. Why?”

He looks back at her, his hazel eyes all sad. “There is nothing to avenge. It was my fault she died.”

Madellaina says nothing as she silently prods him to continue.

Dimitri sighs.

“It was a few months before our wedding and I was doing a job with Vlad. We were, uh, extorting one of the Revolutionists,” he reveals, his emotions quivering. “Before you judge me, you have no idea what it was like living on the streets with those men plotting to overthrow the crown. They made sure everyone was ‘equal’ and stole everything families had. Vlad and I tried our hardest to take them down, but we failed. It was pretty much the only selfless, valiant thing we had ever done.”

She understandingly nods. “Thank you.”

He tersely nods before he continues. “Clara was proud of me for trying to be a better, honest man, to look out for the little guy, but we were way in over our heads. One of the Revolutionists discovered what we were doing and decided that the only way to stop me was to take away the one thing I ever cared about.”

Madellaina softly places her hand on top of his as his voices cracks.

“Clara was working at a soup kitchen that day. It’s what I loved most about her. She was always helping someone else even though we were just as unfortunate as them. Anyway, the Revolutionist found her and shot her dead. I was too late and I could have protected her.”

Dimitri quietly sobs.

“I’m so sorry, Dimitri,” she sympathizes, rubbing her hand on his shoulder. “I didn’t know.”

“It’s alright, Anya,” he says, wiping a tear from his cheek. “When we met, I wanted nothing more than to avenge her and retaliate, but I could never kill an innocent person like his own wife. He took away my future from me, but at least he was executed for going rogue.”

“So you and Vlad have been on the run ever since? The Revolutionists were after you both for extortion?”

“Yes. I like to think that Clara gave us a miracle. The rumored escape of the Grand Duchess Anastasia comes back for revenge and saves us.”

“Perhaps she did,” Madellaina agrees, wiping a few of her own tears away. “Thank you for sharing that with me. I never knew that we were that much alike.”

“We are, aren’t we?” Dimitri jokes, trying to lighten the mood between them. “I’m trying my best to move on and forgive myself. And what we are doing, helping others, it makes me feel honored to be your first mate and also help you get justice for your family.”

“I couldn’t have pulled this off without you,” she admits as she longingly looks into his misty eyes.

He smiles at her compliment, the sexual tension between them peaking.

Dimitri slowly moves in to kiss her, eyes closed, but before their lips meet, Vlad startles them and kills the moment.

“Captain!” The older man bellows.

Madellaina and Dimitri jolt awake from their romantic entrance.

“My apologies. Was I interrupting anything?”

“No, not at all,” she recovers, secretly hoping that he didn’t catch her at her vulnerable state. “What’s going on?”

“I’m happy to report we have smooth seas ahead and we should be at port tomorrow afternoon, as planned.”

“Brilliant. Thank you, Vlad.”

He nods. “Of course. You have a great evening. I am off to the helm.”

Madellaina smiles and steps back, accidentally stepping on Dimitri’s foot, causing him to yelp.

“Oh, sorry!” She apologizes, uncontrollably laughing as he hops on his good foot. “Come on! I didn’t hurt you that bad! Men are such babies.”

“And to think we were finally having a moment,” he says as he gives his afflicted foot a final rub before placing it back down. “You know, I will never understand why you wear heeled boots.”

Instead of giving him a reason, she just winks. “Good night, Dimitri.”

“Yeah, yeah, Good night.”

She giddily smiles as she turns her back to him, heading to her quarters.

Madellaina never felt this way before and she wasn’t sure what it was.

Could she be possibly falling in love with him?

Shaking her head at her inner turmoil, she can only think of doing what she knows best: hiding and burying her feelings deep into her soul.

 


 

Storybrooke, Present Day

Killian nervously paces in the library, waiting for Belle.

Belle texted him about an hour ago, after he updated her on their earlier findings, to tell him that she was going to get an update from Rumple, who apparently spoke to Gideon again, and then relay the information to the Blue Fairy.

Needless to say, the suspense was killing him.

In the meantime, Killian attempted to find information on his apparent sister, Madellaina, but there was nothing on her. There was mention of a warrant for her and his mother’s arrest for conspiracy. He later discovered that the conspiracy was that the two women were allegedly aiding his pirating (which he knew to be false). Killian silently prays that they escaped execution.

Before he begins to blame himself any further, Belle rushes into the library out of breath.

“Is everything alright, love?” He asks as he hurries to her. “What happened?”

“It was Gideon,” she blurts out, shaking her head sadly. “He did all of this.”

“Slow down, Belle. What did he do?”

Belle gives him a sympathetic look. “My son put those memories in your head. And Rumple said that they are real memories.”

Killian stumbles backward slightly, the news surprising him.

How can he not remember anything? What happened?

“I’m so sorry, Killian!” She apologizes, pacing the room herself. “When I asked Rumple what our son told him, he admitted to me that during the first time they spoke, Gideon told him that he placed those memories back into your head to derail your concentration. The Black Fairy had them imbued in a dreamcatcher!”

“How did she have my memories in a dreamcatcher? She must have the rest of them! I need them back!”

Belle tries to calm him down, to no avail. “We will get to the bottom of this. Now we have Rumple coming up with a plan to get all of your memories back, which is the least he can do to help me after he lied about his first conversation with Gideon.”

“I’m sorry he lied,” Killian says, giving her a friendly hug. “I’m glad he’s finally doing the right thing.”

“Me too, and I’m still upset with him, but he said he wanted to protect our son. He was ashamed of what he had done.”

Killian sighs, rubbing his hand over his face. “Did Blue have better news?”

“Well, I’m not sure if you would think this is better, but she did have news.”

He gives her an encouraging nod to continue and she complies.

“Blue tested a strand of your hair and confirmed that the magic that was used on you was a memory potion that someone else took over thirty years ago and it affected the both of you. The memories taken from you were put in a dreamcatcher by the Black Fairy so she can do whatever malicious plan she has.”

“Wait, what? Affected the both of us? Who would want to take my memories thirty years ago?!”

“I don’t know,” Belle admits as she tries to comfort him again. “Whoever it was doesn’t have any recollection either.”

Killian gives a frustrated huff. “Does Blue have a way to find out? What if this person has all of the answers! What if-”

She raises an eyebrow, confused at his silence. “What? Killian, what’s wrong?”

“What if the person who took my memories was my sister?”

“Your sister?” Belle inquires pensively. “You mean Madellaina? The name you saw in the illustration?”

“Well maybe I did abandon her when I became a pirate and she never forgave me and rather have no memory.”

“Don’t say that, Killian! Maybe it’s the other way around.”

“How can you say that? Look at me! You know my past! I ruined her life!”

“Well, if it was her, how was she alive thirty years ago?” Belle retorts, catching Killian off-guard.

“I don’t know!” He anguishly cries. “I just feel that it was her and that she is still out there somewhere.”

“Then there’s one thing you should know about this memory potion.”

Killian couldn’t take this anymore. “What?”

“If you seek your own redemption, the person who was on the other end of the potion will remember you and if the other person seeks their own redemption, you will remember the other person,” Belle reveals. “It seems pretty specific to me and Blue suspects that the Black Fairy had something to do with it. So if your memories have not returned, it isn’t your fault.”

His eye widen. “She must have done something to keep her alive. To get back at me!”

“Killian-”

“No, listen! She kept my sister alive for whatever dark plan she has and gave her that potion to keep us apart! She’s trying to get me to revert so I can’t remember her, so maybe when I do, Madellaina will wake up and save us!”

Belle looks both convinced and confused. “What are you saying? Madellaina is the key to defeating the Black Fairy?”

“I don’t know, maybe! I just have to continue to forgive myself and maybe she will come to Storybrooke and tell us what she knows.”

She smirks at yet another breakthrough. “Looks like that witch messed with the wrong siblings.”

 


 

Emma is flipping through her mother’s thick wedding binder. She can’t believe how many details there are in weddings: flowers, dresses, cake, and even table cloths. Needless to say, she is a bit overwhelmed.

She was planning on telling Killian about her and her mother’s wedding chatter when he comes home. His reaction to this sudden plan might scare him, and that possibility is giving her anxiety.

Emma takes a deep breath and reprimands herself for thinking that he would be scared. He is the one who proposed to her, after all.

After all of this time, she can’t shake the thought and fear of abandonment, even though she knew that Killian would never leave her.

She understands how hard it is for him to let go of his hatred for himself now. She’s pretty much doing the same thing with her own fears.

Her cell phone breaks her out of her thoughts and she peers at the screen. It’s a text from Killian.

Hey, love. Belle and I found out more today. Meet us at the loft in twenty?

Emma’s heart pounds in her chest. What did they find out? Hopefully it was good news.

As she responds, there’s a firm knock on her front door.

Confused as to who it might be, she feeds her curiosity and opens the door.

“Gold?” She musters out, surprised. “Is everything okay?”

He omits pleasantries and forces himself into the house.

“I’m afraid I need your help with something, something I know that will take some convincing for you to help with.”

“Okay…”

As she trails off, Gideon walks in behind him.

“What the hell is he doing here?” Emma demands, crossing her arms protectively over her chest. “Come to finish the job?”

“I’m here to apologize,” Gideon admits, sincerely holding out his hand. “I just want to defeat the Black Fairy to protect my friends back in her land.”

Emma skeptically glares at Rumple, blatantly ignoring his peace offering. “You believe this? How stupid do you think I am?”

“It’s true, Miss Swan,” he says, placing a hand on his son’s shoulder. “Gideon thought that the only way to defeat the Black Fairy was to kill you and absorb your power. I told him that she tricked him and there is another way to stop her.”

“I’m listening.”

“The two of you have enough power combined to break the portal from that sword, Hrunting,” Rumple explains as he conjures the weapon in question. “Then, I can figure out a way to kill her and help Gideon protect his people.”

“So she will be trapped? And we can get to her and stop her?” Emma asks hopefully.

“Yes. She will be bonded to her realm forever.”

“What do I need to do?”

“You and Gideon must go to the Sorcerer’s mansion and use the sword to destroy the portal. It will take a lot of concentration, but you will be able to complete the task.”

“Then what? We win? She can’t kill me?”

“She will be banished in her realm, so yes, she cannot kill you.”

Emma sighs, not sure what to do.

If she succeeds, her future, her family and her friends are safe. She can finally live her life! No more villains and prophecies.

She shakes Gideon’s hand. “I’m in.”

 


 

Emma and Gideon arrive at the mansion, sword in hand.

Emma had one request before they left: only she gets to carry the sword that was destined to kill her.

She still doesn’t completely trust him and she hopes that that will change after they destroy the portal.

She sent a quick text to Killian to tell him that she will come to the loft after the portal is destroyed. Assuming he would suggest for her to not go, she was surprised to see that he only told her to be careful.

Gideon holds the ornate door open for her and they both step inside the grand foyer.

“Well? How do we do it?” Emma asks as they enter the room the portal to Arendelle was in when she said goodbye to Elsa, Anna and Kristoff.

“We both must hold the sword together,” he reveals, raising an eyebrow at her cautiousness.

“Can you blame me? You’re not exactly trustworthy. How do I know you aren’t messing with me?”

“You don’t,” Gideon nonchalantly says, challenging her. “Look, once we get through this, my father will help me. You can move on with your life and get married to your pirate.”

Emma still has a feeling that something isn’t right, but how can she not at least try and destroy the portal of her new nemesis?

She reluctantly secedes and lowers the sword so they can begin the spell.

The two of them close their eyes and concentrate. Before Emma can ask if they had done it, the red stone shines bright and shoots out magic, causing them to jump and drop it.

“What the hell was that?” Emma demands as the sword continues to angrily glow.

Gideon panics as he looks around. “It must be a protection spell she put on it! To make sure no one destroys the portal!”

“What? Now what?”

“Duck!”

“Duck?”

Her confusion is evaporated as she sees a figure shooting fire at them.

Emma spews her own light magic at the figure, trying to see what exactly is attacking them.

Gideon takes cover behind an old sofa and motions for Emma to join him.

She scurries over to his hiding spot, breathing heavily.

“Gideon, what is that thing?”

“A pyrefiend.”

Emma raises her eyebrow. “What the hell is a pyrefiend?!”

“A magical being that is made of fire and has powerful magic.”

“Well, how do we destroy it? Water?” She retorts.

Gideon thinks for a moment before responding. “No, but it is susceptible to some spells. Pyrefiends are from the Dark Realm where she lives and I used to train my magic on them.”

“Okay, then what spells should we do?”

As she asks her question, their hiding spot engulfs into flames.

“Emma, run!” Gideon orders as he tries to fend off the monster.

Panicking, she tries to help Gideon as she seeks refuge, but the pyrefiend shoots fire at her feet. “Dammit!”

“Hold on!” He grunts as he is using all of his energy on his attack spell.

The pyrefiend growls a high pitched shriek as it surrounds Emma with a ring of fire.

“Gideon! What do I do?!” She cries, getting light-headed from the smoke, attempting to douse the fire.

“I’m trying! Just hang on!”

“Try harder!”

Emma falls to the ground in the ring, her eyes slowly closing, the heat and smoke invading her lungs.

“Help me,” she coughs, ready to give up.

Gideon, finally, fatally blasts the pyrefiend to ash, causing the ring of fire to disappear.

He runs over to her. “Emma? Wake up!”

 A few moments go by and she is still unresponsive. Gideon continues to shake her. “Emma?”

Emma finally wakes up, hacking her brains out. “What happened?”

“We did it! The pyrefiend is gone and the portal is closed!”

“I thought we both had to close it?” She mumbles weakly. “How did you do it by yourself?”

We did. Defeating the pyrefiend ensured that. I guess the Black Fairy inserted a failsafe in case anyone tried to trap her,” Gideon explains, lending his hand to slowly help Emma up. “But little does she know, we defeated it!”

Emma takes a deep breath, coughing in the process. “We did it. It’s over.”

“Thank you, Emma. I’m one step closer to defeating her,” he appreciates, handing her Hrunting. “Here, take the sword. I don’t need it anymore.”

She nods at him, accepting the blade. “Thank you, Gideon. Good luck.”

He smiles at her as she turns to leave.

When she’s gone, Gideon takes a deep breath as he surveys the damage to the room.

“My, my. You made quite a mess of things,” a voice behind him chastises.

He turns around and sees her. “Hello, mother.”

“My son, you were clever for a moment, weren’t you?” The Black Fairy mocks as she circles around him. “Almost trapped me in our home, but you forget who is in charge.”

A tear falls down Gideon’s cheek as she reveals a velvet black cinch and reaches inside of it to show him his heart.

“I am the playmaker! Not you. How dare you disobey me?”

“I’m sorry, mother. Truly.”

The Black Fairy purses her lips, giving him a beguiling smile. “You were lucky she almost died. It gave me just enough magic for a portal. Now, stop resisting me. We both know you cannot win. This was your proof.”

“I am a hero! I will resist you!” Gideon angrily cries. “You will fail!”

The Black Fairy teasingly shakes her head. “So naïve, my son. When will you ever learn that I always win? And don’t think that you will not be punished for revealing my secret weapon and that his memories are real! How dare you defy me? At least you were smart enough to destroy the pages in the book.”

“I did what I had to do.”

“I worked so hard to keep this girl hidden from the world! I had to take the memories of his and her crew! Do you know how hard that is? I am making the effort to succeed! To give you everything you want!”

“You don’t care about me. You only care about your power.”

The Black Fairy squeezes his heart and he winces in pain, clutching his chest. “You will not pull a little stunt like that ever again. The ending of this little story will remain the same, but the destination will be slightly different. Now, I will summon her and she will finish the job for me. All you need to do is to behave and be my pet.”

Before he can attempt to resist, she speaks to his heart, her lips grazing it.

“I command you to obey me and help me kill the savior. No more of this heroic nonsense.”

“Yes, mother,” Gideon responds emotionlessly.

She smiles and breathes a sigh of relief. “That’s my boy.”

 


 

After Dr. Whale gave Emma a clean bill of health, she returns home where her family is anxiously waiting for her.

She barely twists the knob when Killian engulfs her in a light hug, bombarding her with questions.

“I’m fine. Whale said I just need to rest.”

“What the hell were you thinking?” Regina demands, placing her hands on her hips. “You could’ve gotten yourself killed! Zelena and I could’ve provided backup.”

“Emma can handle herself, Regina!” Killian retorts as he motions for Emma to sit on the sofa.

“We were so worried,” Snow adds, slowly sitting next to her daughter with David in tow.

“It was worth it. I destroyed the portal. We can live our lives,” Emma says as she rubs her eyes in exhaustion. “It’s over. We won.”

Zelena raises an eyebrow. “It’s seems rather easy. Doesn’t it?”

“Are we sure we can trust Rumple and Gideon?” David asks, as he gets up to get Emma a glass of water.

“Well, Gold made it abundantly clear that he wants to destroy his mother,” Regina ensures with a shrug.

“What about this Madellaina? If she’s still out there, how do we find her?” Snow questions, brows furrowed.

“Then we make that our next mission,” David declares, causing Zelena to roll her eyes, as he hands his daughter the glass. “Because that’s what we do. We find each other.”

Killian nods his thanks to him, taking a sip from his own glass of water. “Thanks, mate. I’ll text Belle and see if she can get us that globe Gold has.”

“If today taught me anything, life is short,” Emma says, carefully standing up, to her mother’s dismay, to walk over to her fiancée to take his arm. “I think we should plan our wedding.”

Killian’s eyes widen in delight. “I think that’s a lovely idea, my love.”

“Me too!” Snow squeals. “I told you so.”

Emma jokingly rolls her eyes at her mother’s wink. “I’m ready to finally live my life.”

“We can start looking for venues! Oh, and dresses!”

Regina groans. “Here she goes.”

“Snow, let’s give them a few days to recover and then we can start all the planning,” David recommends, laughing at Regina’s annoyance.

“It’s about time something good happens in Storybrooke,” Zelena uncharacteristically says. “We can finally be happy.”

Emma smiles at that and kisses Killian.

“Don’t make me take that back!” Zelena jokes.

“Come on you guys!” Henry scolds, looking away.

The group laughs. For the first time in forever, there was no panic, no danger. The people of Storybrooke can finally live Happily Ever After.

Unbeknownst to them, though, this was only a brief calm before the storm.

 


 

Aboard The Star of the Sea, Present Day

She didn’t think it would happen so soon, but then again, it’s been several centuries.

Madellaina is at the helm of the Star of the Sea now, Vlad behind her using his sextant.

The Black Fairy sent her a message with a magic bean to transport to some world called Storybrooke. She also said that she will explain the mission once she got there.

Madellaina isn’t sure what awaits for her when she arrives at this new land, but she couldn’t help but shake a bad feeling. She figures it is a warning from whatever is left of her soul and ignores it.

She can’t help but think that helping the Black Fairy with this quest will finally give her the chance to avenge her family’s death.

Even though she had to endure centuries of pain and anguish, not to mention the antagonizing process of gaining respect from a new crew every few decades, it will be worth it when she gets to fulfill her thirst for vengeance.

Dimitri disrupts her thoughts as he approaches the helm, clearing his throat.

“Are you okay, Anya?”

“Why wouldn’t I be?” She responds, caressing the bean in her hand.

Dimitri gives Vlad a look and the older man leaves, giving the two privacy.

“You know I’m with you, no matter what, right?”

“Yes, but-”

“And I’ve known you for over a century, so I know when something is bothering you.”

Madellaina sighs before giving in. She hates when he’s right.

“I’m scared.”

Dimitri’s eyes widen in surprise. “You? Scared?”

She rolls her eyes. “Yes, I’m scared! People get scared, you know.”

“Alright, so you’re scared. What of?”

“I’ve been envisioning this moment, this quest for a long time and now that it’s here…I don’t know. What will come next? Will I get my revenge? And then what? I just live a life of emptiness? What happens if it isn’t everything I hoped?”

“It will be everything you hoped,” he reassures her, placing a hand on her shoulder.

“Okay, then, what if it is? What then?”

“Well, that’s the good part, I suppose. You get to find a new dream.”

Dream.

She never thought of it that way.

She did dream of avenging her family, but that was pretty much it.

She didn’t have any other dreams other than traveling with her crew to new places.

Now, after she is successful, she needs to consider what she wants to do with her life. Is she ready to let the anger go?

“Thank you,” Madellaina finally says, laying her head on his shoulder. “You always know what to say.”

Dimitri chuckles. “It’s been a pleasure serving you.”

“No, I mean it. Thank you. For everything.”

He looks into her eyes and Madellaina can swear she sees his eyes twinkling with longing.

“Anya I-”

“Yes?”

“I-I think we should get going,” Dimitri finishes, slightly disappointing Madellaina with his choice of words. She was hoping he would profess what she felt deep, deep down. “Your future awaits.”

She nods, trying to hide her apparent disappointment.

Why did she feel this way about him? He mostly drives her crazy and he always complains! But, he’s also funny and surprisingly sensitive…He always knows what to say…

Madellaina’s heart hammers in her chest and she shakes her head, trying to escape those feelings. It somewhat works. For now, anyway.

She throws the magic bean into the waves as a large, green portal opens, making a deafening swooshing sound.

Vlad and Dimitri start barking orders at the crew while she concentrates at the helm.

It was the moment of truth.

A journey to her future.

 


 

The ship is docked, the cloaking spell provided in the message was cast, and now she awaits the first step in her quest.

The Black Fairy appears on the dock as Madellaina disembarks.

“So. I’m here. Now what?”

“Lay low. Try to assimilate,” The Black Fairy orders, eerily smiling at her. “They recently had refugees from another land come so you can easily pass as them.”

“That’s it? When do we get started so I can finally get my bloody revenge?” Madellaina seethes, growing impatient as she silently hopes she hasn’t been placed in a trap.

“Patience, Anya,” she scolds, teasingly shaking her head. “I will let you know when it is time to strike. They need to think they won.”

“They? Who’s they?”

“The people in this town you will get to trust you. The people who will do everything in their power to stop us.”

“Alright. Just let me know what to do about the Savior,” Madellaina says, ready to complete her final bounty before she gets to complete her own.

“Don’t worry. The fun is almost ready to begin.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 8

 

Storybrooke, Present Day

 

Complete bliss.

 

That’s what Emma felt when she awoke early Saturday morning.

 

She no longer has to stress about death or magic, just what wedding dress she was going to wear on her wedding day.

 

She can finally live her life and not have to keep looking over her shoulder. The Back Fairy was trapped and Gideon was reunited with his parents. Everything was perfect.

 

Emma made plans with her parents to scope out potential wedding venues and other wedding related hoopla in the afternoon. To her surprise, Henry wanted to come with them and offer his insight.

 

Currently, her eyes reluctantly flutter open, silently hoping that the last few days of events were not a dream.

 

She turns her head to see her fiancee sleeping peacefully (a rarity since she came back from the Wish Realm) with his chest slowly rising and falling in a healthy rhythm.

 

As if he can read her perturbed mind, he softly groans, causing Emma to giggle at how adorable he looks.

 

His hair is mussed over his blue eyes as he moves to sleep face down on his pillow.

 

“Ten more minutes,” he mutters, the pillow muffling his voice, which is thick with sleep.

 

Emma giggles again. “Since when are you not up at first light?”

 

“Since today.”

 

She playfully nudges him with her foot as she moves closer, his body satisfyingly warm.

 

Emma can see a portion of his lips curve into a smile, the pillow obstructing the other half. She can’t help but smile back.

 

“So, you would rather sleep this morning?” She asks innocently, trying to get a playful banter initiated. “That’s a good idea since we have to spend the whole day with my parents.”

 

Killian’s eyes abruptly open as he turns to face her with a smirk.

 

Before Emma can tease him, he buries his face in the most sensitive spot in the crook of her neck and incessantly kisses it.

 

“Killian!” She cries, unable to suppress her laughter. “That tickles!”

 

He hums in response as he stops, getting up to look at her. “That’s what you get for waking up early.”

 

“You’re that tired?” Emma teases, rolling her eyes playfully at his smirk. “You know my mom is going to wear us out and-”

 

“I’m never that tired, darling,” Killian interjects, eyebrow sexily raised, mocking offense.

 

“Then prove it.”

 

“You minx,” he growls as he hungrily captures her lips with his.

 

“And you love me for it,” she mumbles with a smile against his lips.

 

“That I do.”

 


 

Emma is shrugging on her coat as Henry gallops down the stairs.

 

“You ready, mom?” He asks as he ties his favorite scarf around his neck. “Today’s a pretty big day.”

 

Normally, commitment would freak her out and push her back, but after the Underworld, the Wish Realm, and the prophecy, she was ready to face her future and spend it with her true love.

 

“More than ready,” Emma replies as she straightens his scarf for him. “Thanks for coming along. We can sure use a mediator.”

 

“No problem. Anything is better than working on my history paper.”

 

She playfully punches his arm. “That better be done by tomorrow night! Let Killian read through it.”

 

“Is it because I’m historic or because I’m a good writer?” Killian inquires as he descends down the stairs. “Not sure if I should be offended or not.”

 

Henry laughs and Emma rolls her eyes.

 

“The latter, Killian. You know I’m terrible with the school stuff.”

 

He chuckles as he saunters over to her, giving her a peck on the cheek.

 

“Are you ready to go, my future bride?”

 

“You guys,” Henry groans, cheeks turning pink. “If you’re going to be like this all day then I will stay and write my paper.”

 

Emma laughs, ignoring her son’s typical teenage behavior. “Ready as I’ll ever be.”

 


 

“Chartreuse or yellow for the ribbons?” Her mother asks all serious. “They’re both so different .”

 

Emma blinks, waiting for her mom to joke about how the ribbons to accompany the eggshell white seat covers are exactly the same color.

 

She never did.

 

Emma, Killian, Snow, David and Henry were all standing in the loft with a bunch of wedding paraphernalia spread out along the kitchen table and couch. The living space of the Charming’s currently looks like an entire issue of Brides. Emma had no idea how serious planning a wedding was. She always felt that it should be about the person you love and not an overwhelming shindig. She was getting major My Big Fat Greek Wedding vibes.

 

“I could go for some Chartreuse right now,” Killian quips, silently cursing himself for forgetting his flask.

 

Emma lightly kicks the back of his shin. “What do you think, mom? Either one is nice.”

 

“Nice? No, no. Nice is not something you put out for a wedding,” Snow says, mildly getting worked up, as she caresses the contrasting ribbons. “It has to be perfect.”

 

“Actually, the lavender is perfect! Don’t you agree, Killian?”

 

“Aye. That’s the color on your baby blanket, so it is perfect.”

 

Snow frowns. “Her baby blanket is purple…”

 

“That’s what he meant!” David defends.

 

“Lavender will look perfect!” Snow declares in agreement, tossing the forgotten yellow hued ribbons aside. “According to the magazine, yellow is so last year.”

 

Emma attempts to lightheartedly smile. She knows her mother means well. She did miss every milestone in her life. It is understandable that she wants everything to be perfect, but she can’t help but think that her mother is turning into a ‘Momzilla’.

 

“How about the food?” Henry asks, face buried in his comic book. “Is Granny going to cater?”

 

“Well, Granny will be one of our guests, but she does have a great team to cater!” Snow answers with a big smile. “But next we should talk about our flower arrangements! Then, I made appointments at a few potential venues.”

 

Emma could see Killian anxiously clench his jaw so she creeps up on her toes to whisper in his ear.

 

“So elopement?”

 

He chuckles. “Sounds good to me.”

 


 

The Kingdom of Cordova, a Long Time Ago

 

“What do you think? This one or the first one?”

 

Madellaina peruses the two dresses in question. Side by side, right to left.

 

“They look exactly the same to me, Olga.”

 

“The same? They are so different! This is chartreuse and this is yellow !” Olga huffs, throwing the gowns on her bed.

 

“Well, they’re both ugly. Why not the green one instead?” Madellaina suggests, stifling a laugh. She always loved to tease her step-sister.

 

“You mean the olive colored one?”

 

“Whatever! Any other color that does not remind me of urine.”

 

Olga grimaces and throws a pillow at her. “You are so gross. Has noble life fail to teach you proper etiquette?”

 

“Apparently, so,” Madellaina agrees with a sarcastic smile.

 

“Look, tonight is important! It’s our biggest ball since the wedding and father has invited some dignified nobility! I can meet my future husband!”

 

“That is what this meticulousness is all about? You finding a rich guy?”

 

Olga sighs. “A gentleman , Anastasia! It is important to think about the future!”

 

“A future should not revolve around a man! What about adventure and furthering your education?” Madellaina argues as she starts to pace the ornate bedroom. “Just because we are women does not mean we are submissive. You can do whatever the hell you want, Olga.”

 

“Why are you like this? This is what I want! Just because I want a family of my own someday does not mean I am giving away my ambitions!”

 

Madellaina shakes her head. “It sure seems like you are. Objectifying yourself so the highest bidder can claim you. If you’re lucky, he won’t be an overweight man older than your father.”

 

Olga blinks, feeling like she has been slapped. “Anastasia, what is really going on? This isn’t you.”

 

“It is me. I’m full of demons and turmoil.”

 

“No, it isn’t.”

 

Madellaina sighs as a rare tear falls down her cheek.

 

Olga takes a deep breath and motions for the two of them to sit on the satin chaise.

 

“You can tell me anything, sestra .”

 

“I need to go,” she admits, voice omitting emotion.

 

Olga raises an eyebrow. “Go? What do you mean?”

 

Madellaina doesn’t answer, she just stares at her.

 

“What do you mean, Anastasia?” She repeats, eyes brimming with tears as the realization hits. “Where do you need to go?”

 

“I need to be free. I want to explore the world. I feel like I’m trapped in a cage.”

 

Olga is silent as she takes this in.

 

“I have everything I could ever want, but it isn’t enough for me. I love my family, I love my higher education and I love that I am starting to captain the navy, but I want to have the freedom to explore the realms. I need time to figure out what I’m meant to do and who I’m meant to be.”

 

“I’m not enough for you? How can you say that?” Olga cries dramatically, burying her face in her hands.

 

“I didn’t say that, Olga. You know that isn’t what I meant,” Madellaina says, sadness instilled in her voice. “I need to do this and I need your support.”

 

“I don’t like this one bit, Anastasia, but I want you to be happy,” she reveals as she stands up, smoothing out her dress. “I hope you find what you’re looking for.”

 

Madellaina stands up and looks her step-sister in the eyes, engulfing her in a hug. “Thank you.”

 


 

It was hard to say goodbye to her new family. It was harder to say goodbye to her mother.

 

It was even harder to lie to them.

 

What were goodbyes to Madellaina were just overly emotional talks with each family member that had no idea what its true meaning was. She was truly giving up this beautiful, wonderful life she found.

 

She deeply fears that she never wants to be happy, that she must always seek something, never settling down. Did that make her ambitious? Zealous? Selfish?

 

Madellaina folds a parchment with a formal letter to her family and places it in her mother’s bedroom, knowing well enough that she will not be reading it until after the ball.

 

A ball she is supposed to attend.

 

Her mother was so excited to host another marvelous event. She truly was a natural at being royalty.

 

Madellaina exhales in the dark of her room, tossing her belongings out the window so she can begin her journey of self-discovery.

 

Olga sobs quietly at the sight. “Please send me letters, sestra . I can’t wait to hear everything.”

 

She smiles at her step-sister who is wearing the olive dress that brings out her complexion and eyes. “I will.”

 

“I love you. Don’t be too long,” Olga says as she squeezes her tight. “Don’t worry about father and your mother. They will understand.”

 

“I love you, too. All of you.”

 

With that, she nods her head and begins to descend from her window and to go start living her life.

 

As she carefully maneuvers herself to the ground, she looks up at Olga. She looks different, like a grownup noble woman. The life she deserves to lead.

 

Madellaina waves and looks upon her step-sister one last time.

 

As she gathers her things, she wipes her tears and trots along the path to the docks.

 

Her ship is there, standing strong on the still water, the smell of the sea heavenly.

 

“No turning back,” she murmurs to herself.

 

“Anastasia, wait!” A voice calls from behind her.

 

She stops dead in her tracks as her heart hammers violently in her chest.

 

“Nicholas? How did you? Wha-what are you doing here?”

 

He must have seen the letter...

 

“I don’t know what you’re looking for, my dear, but I understand. I have done this once in my life and I think it is important for you to grow,” Nicholas says as he hugs her one last time. “I want you to take The Star of the Sea. At least I will know that you will be with an old friend.”

 

“I couldn’t possibly…”

 

“Nonsense, Anastasia. You have become a daughter to me and I wish you nothing but happiness.”

 

Madellaina stares at him in awe. “You aren’t mad? I’m practically abandoning this family and the navy. I want to serve, I swear! I just…I need time.”

 

“You will be abandoning yourself if you don’t go. Trust me. You will see life differently once you find your true self. Your family and the navy will be here waiting.”

 

“Thank you, father ,” she whispers, unable to muster the strength to dictate the words. “I love you.”

 

“I love you, too, my Anastasia. Go, live your dream.”

 

As she nods her head in gratitude, her tears keep her cheeks warm in the cold night, she embarks her new ship.

 

The darkest night, she notices. Winter is truly upon the kingdom.

 

What she didn’t realize is that the solstice wasn’t the only reason for the darkness.

 

 


 

It was a couple hours after her talk with her step-father now. She was attempting to get acquainted with her new ship and setting a heading to figure out where she wanted to go first.

 

Madellaina also started to feel nostalgic and recollected her favorite memories.

 

She taught Alexei to spar not too far from the docks and showed Maria and Tatiana how to raise a sail as Olga fanned herself and watched with interest in the shade on that hot summer day.

 

Was she really going to leave love and family behind?

 

As her thoughts got deeper, that is when she heard it.

 

A faint sound that didn’t snap her to attention until it was incessant.

 

The dark sky was smothered with gas and filtered red.

 

Madellaina raises an eyebrow, encouraging herself that it was the fireworks.

 

But those weren’t fireworks. It looked like damnation.

 

At least it didn’t look like that until she heard it.

 

Boom! Boom. Boom!

 

She trembles with fear, eyes wide with terror.

 

And if she listens closely, she can swear she hears screams.

 


 

Madellaina is running toward the palace, her adrenaline pumping hard.

 

She lets out a gasp when she sees her home engulfed in flames.

 

“Mother!” She cries as she runs around the palace, seeking refuge in a tree to at least find out what is happening.

 

Madellaina sees soldiers donning an emblem she has never seen before with assault rifles opening fire through the tall windows of the ballroom.

 

She places her hand to her mouth as she sobs, viewing the destruction of hundreds of people.

 

Down with the Romanovs! Hail the Revolutionists! We are equal!”

 

Madellaina hears the chants through the glass along with shots and screams.

 

“No!” She wails, muffling her cries with her hand. “What can I do?”

 

As she says this, the window is smashed in a few places, allowing her to somewhat listen to a conversation.

 

“The loyalists are gone, sir,” a tall soldier says to a general. “We released our newest comrades.”

 

“Very good, comrade Leo. I trust we have eliminated the tyrants? Are all of them accounted for?”

 

“All of the pure Romanovs are down, including the tsarina. We do not have a location for her daughter, Anastasia.”

 

The general huffs in anger. “I would say we failed, but Anastasia isn’t pure Romanov. Wherever she is, she will be suffering anyway.”

 

“But if we find her, sir? What do we do?”

 

“Kill her.”

 


 

Madellaina wakes up from a haze. Has this all been a dream?

 

She wanted to run to her step-sisters’ room and giggle about a joke she heard from one of the naval officers she was enlisting or smell the muffins the servants would make in the morning.

 

But she couldn’t do that.

 

She can feel her head and body ache as she jumps down from the tree she was hiding in. She must have passed out in shock.

 

All Madellaina can hear now is silence. It was eerie and deafening.

 

The smoke still pungent and destruction apparent, she creeps to the window she was originally looking into.

 

Madellaina places her hand to her mouth as she sees hundreds of noblefolk dead, some she actually can recognize.

 

Was it true? Were the Romanovs dead?

 

Not caring if the soldiers were still there, she runs into the opening of the window and navigates in the darkness to the staircase.

 

Her heart is beating so loudly that it frightened her.

 

Madellaina reaches her step-brother’s room and knocks the door off its hinges.

 

She drops to her knees as she sees the sight no one should see.

 

Madellaina wails into her hands, dipping her head to her knees as she sobs.

 

Alexei did not deserve this. He was just a boy.

 

She shakes with despair, stumbling as she tries to get up.

 

Her siblings were all dead. Olga’s olive dress was disheveled in a bloodied mess, on the contrary to a few hours ago where it was beautifully outlining her stunning features.

 

Her family was placed in their beds, somewhat mockingly, as if it were a funeral.

 

The last room she visited was one she dreaded the most. To her surprise, she was still alive. Despite the regret, at least she got to say goodbye to the woman she loved most.

 


 

Storybrooke, Present Day

 

Emma is currently trying her best not to lose her cool with her mother. They are now at the florist, Game of Thorns, talking about which arrangements would look the most beautiful on the tables. It has been two hours and that has been the only thing Snow is still vacillating on. Emma is a little worried about the flowers for the wedding arch and her bouquet…

 

As miserable as she is right now, she gives all of the credit to her fiancée whose mood is concealed by his expressionless face, as his eyes water and his nose sniffles due to the abundance of flowers.

 

Emma slides over to him unnoticed as her mother chats with Moe, and kisses his cheek. “Thank you.”

 

He sniffles. “For what, love?”

 

“For being a patient fiancee while my mother goes wedding crazy.”

 

Killian smiles. “Darling, I’d do anything for you. You know, you can make it up to me at home with a nice steamy bath to clear up my allergies.”

 

She swats his chest lightly as she laughs. “Not here, behave!”

 

He mocks offense, kissing the top of her head. “Fine, fine. I’ll be good.”

 

Emma notices Henry perusing the roses behind them, his face scrunched in concentration. She decides to leave him to it and not embarrass him. Her son was probably thinking of giving one to his girlfriend, Violet.

 

“I think that would be perfect for the centerpieces, Moe!” Snow chirps as she cradles a vase of peonies and roses. “What do you think, Emma?”

 

“I think they’re perfect, mom!” She responds, knowing full well that if she utters anything but the word ‘perfect’ her mom would continue to weigh her floral options.

 

David sucks in a breath and sighs in relief.

 

“Wonderful! Now, we must come up with a perfect bouquet!”

 

Snow’s cheeks match the color of the perfect peonies as she excitedly chatters away with Moe as they walk toward the back of the shop.

 

Killian’s eyes slightly widen in horror. Emma reaches out for his hand and gives it an appreciative squeeze.

 

“Don’t you think we should save the bouquet talk for when I have my dress?” Emma carefully asks. “I wanted to talk about our location.”

 

Snow’s smile falters a bit as she considers this. “You are absolutely right! We will hold those arrangements and we will come back for the bouquet and finishing touches!”

 

David pats Moe on the back in thanks as they finally get out of the shop.

 

Emma slips her arm through Killian’s as they walk, the temperature outside abnormally warmer than usual, with the sun shining above them.

 

Her mother balances her binder on her hip with a pensive look on her face.

 

“Think we can discuss this with lunch at Granny’s?” Henry inquires, breaking the silence. “I’m starving.”

 

“That sounds perfect, Henry!” David agrees as he places his arm around his grandson. “Let’s head over.”

 

“Okay! Then we can discuss our venues!” Snow trills as she walks in rhythm with Henry and David. “Then we can head to our appointments!”

 

Emma stifles a groan as her family led the way to Granny’s Diner.

 


 

The only thing that truly matters to Killian is Emma’s happiness.

 

If he needs to have his eyes all swollen from the florist or listen to his soon to be mother-in-law squabble over the tablecloths, so be it. As long as it makes his true love happy.

 

They are all sitting in their typical booth in the back. Snow was scanning her binder after the group gave their orders to Ruby, who was back in Storybrooke, to everyone’s pleasant surprise.

 

“Now,” Snow begins, lightly pointing to the binder. “I was thinking we can rent out City Hall for your reception!”

 

Killian gives Emma a look, wondering if she will stand up to her mother.

 

“Actually, we were thinking of getting married on The Jolly Roger ,” Emma reveals as she places her hand lightly over Killian’s. “It’s not only beautiful, it represents our love for each other. When he gave up the ship for me, that’s when I fell in love with him.”

 

David smiles at her, giving a nod of his approval. He takes a nervous sip of his water as he awaits for his wife’s response.

 

“Oh,” she replies, a bit of sadness instilled in her voice.

 

Killian notices the awkwardness arising within the group. “Well, I think during sunset would be beautiful, don’t you think so, Swan?”

 

Emma nods happily in agreement. “It would be just like a Fairytale Ending.”

 

“Don’t you think we should look somewhere else just in case?” Snow suggests as she fidgets with her wedding ring.

 

Killian raises an eyebrow as he feels Emma’s mood sour.

 

“Mom? Can I talk to you outside for a minute?” Emma asks with a deep breath.

 

“Certainly, sweetheart!” Her mother chirps, unaware of the agitation brewing in her daughter.

 

As the two ladies get up and head for the door, Henry clicks his tongue. “Hopefully that goes over well.”

 

Killian nods as David grimaces.

 

Ruby comes over and tops off their drinks with a smile.

 

“I hear congratulations are in order, Captain,” she says as she places some lemon wedges on the table. “I know you two will be very happy.”

 

“Thank you, Ruby,” Killian appreciates. “We truly will be.”

 

Ruby smiles again. She notices the two vacant seats and slightly frowns. “I know Snow can be a lot, but remember she’s missed out on almost everything. Let her down gently.”

 

He nods at Ruby’s admittance as he silently prays that Emma isn’t letting her frustrations out too rashly at her mother.

 


 

Emma takes a deep breath as she looks into her mother’s loving eyes.

 

“What is it, Emma? Is everything alright?” Her mother asks with a slight frown.

 

“Actually, no. It isn’t,” Emma admits with a sigh. “Look, I know you missed a lot with me and I get that you want everything to be perfect, but…”

 

Snow blinks, waiting for her daughter to continue.

 

“But, I, we , don’t need perfect. We need our family and friends to watch as we proclaim our love for each other. I don’t want you to stress over this. This should be the easiest thing in the world.”

 

Her mother’s lip quivers a bit, her mouth opening and closing.

 

“I’m sorry,” she finally says.

 

“You’re sorry? For wanting me to have the perfect wedding? You don’t need to be,” Emma assures as she takes her hands. “I appreciate everything you are doing, but we just need the basics. I know if Killian hangs around that florist again he will never stop sneezing.”

 

Snow laughs at that. “Yeah, well, I guess I was a little bit of a Momzilla, huh?”

 

“A little?” Emma jokes with a laugh. “The binder was a bit much.”

 

“I will reduce it to a folder for your wedding,” her mother promises with a compromising smile. “I’m sorry for not listening to what you and Killian wanted and diving into this.”

 

She smiles and hugs her mom. “I know and I forgive you.”

 

“I’m just so happy that you are getting married. When you first got here, that was something that you were vehemently against,” Snow says as she wipes a stray tear from her cheek. “You have grown into a remarkable woman. You truly opened your heart to true love and I have never been happier for you.”

 

Emma smiles again, wiping a tear of her own. “Thanks, mom.”

 


 

Killian’s head perks up as he sees Emma and Snow return.

 

“Is everything okay?” He asks with concern etched into his voice.

 

“Yes,” Snow responds with a grin. “I’m sorry for being overbearing, Killian. I’m just so happy for the two of you. I just got carried away.”

 

“No apologies needed, lass. We appreciate the sentiment.”

 

David exhales in relief. “Thank goodness everything is back to normal. Wedding talk has me going a bit crazy.”

 

“You and me both, gramps,” Henry agrees, taking a sip from his soda.

 

“It shouldn’t be too complicated from now on,” Emma reassures her father. “We just need to finish up a few important details.”

 

“Dress shopping!” Snow squeals, only to apologize instantly for her outburst.

 

Emma laughs. “Yes, dress shopping.”

 


 

Emma.

 

That is the savior’s name. It seems familiar, somewhat important.

 

Madellaina shakes that feeling and sighs.

 

Something about this whole ordeal didn’t feel right. Was she really going to help eliminate someone who is known as a savior? Was she being manipulated by the Black Fairy? When she is finished, will she get what she is promised?

 

She always thought that when the day finally came for this mission, she would be fine with no qualms. Alas, she was highly motivated and miserable and she still is, but it feels different, wrong even.

 

Is she really okay with murdering someone for a seemingly evil sorceress for her personal gain?

 

Madellaina sighs again.

 

Currently, she is sitting on the edge of the dock, feet dangling above the calm water. It wasn’t too cold outside, despite the season.

 

The sea always calms her when she’s anxious.

 

“Are you okay, Anya?”

 

She snaps her head at the voice and weakly smiles. “I’m fine, Dimitri.”

 

“Well, you don’t look fine,” he says as he sits next to her, grunting as he does so.

 

They sit in silence for a few moments before Dimitri clears his throat.

 

“Are you going to tell me what’s bothering you or do I have to guess?”

 

“I’m not so sure about this mission,” she reveals, voice barely above a whisper. “What if this is a mistake?”

 

“Why the sudden change of heart? She promised you revenge and she gave us eternal youth.”

 

“I know, but something doesn’t feel right. We are set to take out a savior. A savior! Only a monster would want that.”

 

Dimitri exhales. “You didn’t question any of this before, Anya…”

 

“That’s because I was blinded by my own ambitions!”

 

He takes her hands. “Look, do the mission and follow her directions. We go assimilate and meet these people she wants us to entangle with. If we discover they are good people and are not threatening, then we stop.”

 

Madellaina’s mouth opens and closes a few times before she answers. “We stop,” she repeats into the sea.

 

“That’s right. I am here for you,” Dmitri reassures. “Just tell me when.”

 

A tear rolls down her cheek. Her anxiety and second-guessing becoming too much.

 

She turns her head to look at Dimitri’s profile. He is gorgeous with brilliantly chiseled cheekbones and the most stunning green eyes an emerald would envy.

 

Madellaina wasn’t sure how it happened, but she brings her face closer to his and kisses him. It was short and sweet as her lips brush his. There was a brief moment of hesitation before he started to kiss her back.

 

She pulls away and snaps back into attention, awakening from the spell his handsomeness and her hidden feelings put her under.

 

“I’m sorry,” she apologizes, internally cursing herself. “I, um, I’m just really confused right now.”

 

Dimitri looks a little hurt before he cloaks his pain with a chuckle. “It’s okay. At least you didn’t step on my foot.”

 

Madellaina laughs at him, shaking her head. “Will you ever let that go?”

 

“Never.”

 

His smile melts her worries away, if even for a moment.

 

Would it be so wrong to fall for him? Could he be enough for her?

 

As she buries those thoughts deep into her heart, she reminds herself of her mission at hand: to make friends of these citizens and wait for the perfect time to strike.

 

Dimitri stands up and smiles at her. “Well, I’ll leave you to it. You can now continue to brood in peace.”

 

Madellaina rolls her eyes and sticks her tongue out at him.

 

Her childish defensive mechanism draws a chuckle out of him as he walks back to the ship.

 

Back turned to his captain, he softly touches his lips with half a smile.

 

The ocean breeze was the only thing to hear his whisper of the three small words he may never have the courage to say to her.

 


 

“I love you.”

 

Emma smiles at him before she crosses the threshold. Just hearing those three small words make her heart blissfully flip. “I love you, too.”

 

Killian waves with his hook as she closes the door.

 

Emma was off to look at wedding gowns for a few hours while Killian was going to go to Gold’s shop to use the globe to find out his sister’s fate.

 

If he is being honest with himself, he is terrified to find an answer. If she is still alive, she could have cursed them both. Why would she do that? Was it all his fault?

 

But, if she is dead and lived her natural life, it was also his fault. He wasn’t there for her. He can never apologize now.

 

Killian lets out a small grunt of anxiety as he pulls out his phone to send a quick text to Belle.

 

The walk to Gold’s shop didn’t feel as long as it usually is in thanks to his plaguing thoughts.

 

As Killian opens the door, the bell rings happily above, announcing his arrival.

 

“Hey, Killian,” Belle greets from behind the counter. “Rumple will be here soon to get the globe from his safe.”

 

He nods in appreciation.

 

“So, how’s your son doing?” He asks, starting conversation that has nothing to do with his current plight.

 

She smiles. “He is doing better. He’s been helping the refugees from the Land of Untold Stories!”

 

Killian returns her smile. It is nice to hear that the man who tried to kill his fiancee is paying it forward to people in need.

 

A few moments of awkward silence roll by which causes him to revert to his original mood.

 

His friend notices his sour mood and frowns. “Are you alright?”

 

“I’m just anxious about what we could find out today. I don’t know which scenario I would prefer,” Killian admits, scratching behind his ear. “With the Black Fairy trapped, maybe I can just move on and redeem myself. We can finally live in peace.”

 

Belle encouragingly nods. “Definitely. I hope the globe gives you the answer that can you can come to peace with.”

 

As they smile at each other for a few moments, Rumple comes through the backdoor.

 

“Are you ready, Captain?” He asks without greeting his lifetime nemesis.

 

“Aye.”

 

Rumple places his thumb on the lock of the safe. After the door clicks, he waves his hand in front of it, which exposes the air to a purple haze.

 

He stumbles back in shock. Killian and Belle hurry over to him.

 

“Rumple? What’s wrong?” Belle inquires with her dainty hands on his shoulders. “Are you alright?”

 

Killian, knowing that the Dark One is never fazed, knows something is up. “Gold, where’s the globe?”

 

“Sh-sh-she…” He begins, shaking his head ardently.

 

“She? Who’s she?” Belle politely demands.

 

The fear in the Dark One’s eyes causes Killian’s stomach to churn. He should have known better than to think this whole ordeal with prophecies and magic would be easy.

 

“The Black Fairy. She took it.”

 


 

 The group, minus Henry, meets up at the Loft.

 

Killian didn’t even know how to break the news to his fiancee after they had a wonderful, blissful few days. Everything was practically back to normal, but that’s what she wanted them to think.

 

When Emma kissed his cheek and smiled at everyone, she could tell that something was wrong. As he broke the news, she never looked or felt so defeated.

 

“I should’ve known,” she says now, a tear threatening to materialize down her cheek. “This is it.”

 

“Not if I can bloody help it,” Killian reassures as he wraps his arm around her sagging shoulders. “We can do this.”

 

“How do you even know it was her? What if it was Gideon?” David asks with concern etched into his features, his blue eyes dripping with worry.

 

“It’s her,” Rumple responds flatly.

 

“How can that be if Emma and your son destroyed her portal?” Zelena retorts with her hands on her hips. “Unless, your son played us for fools.”

 

“When Emma explained what happened, the portal would’ve been destroyed. She must have found another way in…”

 

“The Black Fairy might be after Gideon!” Belle cries in worry.

 

“What kind of magic was holding the safe?” Regina questions with piqued curiosity and concern, disregarding Belle’s outburst.

 

“My mortal tear. If someone knew me during that stint of my life, then they can open the safe. The Captain clearly didn’t, so my mother is the only other thing that can.”

 

“How did you even get a tear from your mortal self?” Snow wonders as she scrunches her face in confusion.

 

“Some old cloaks had my desperate tears in them, but that’s hardly what is important here,” Rumple says with a sigh. “My mother wants to take over this town and kill the Savior. Us using the globe must thwart her plans, so we must keep digging on this Madellaina. She must be a key to this somehow.”

 

Emma lovingly rubs Killian’s back in support as she notices his grimace.

 

“Extreme measures must be taken now,” Zelena announces as she heads for the door. “I’m going to alert the fairies and work on some heavy duty magic.”

 

“Sounds like a good idea,” Regina agrees, following her sister out. “We will take care of that while you all keep digging.”

 

“I will find the Black Fairy and see what she wants from me and my son,” Rumple shares as he slams the safe door shut. “No one steals from me.”

 

The room grows eerily quiet as Regina and Zelena go with Rumple in tow.

 

Emma slowly exhales. “I guess we hold off on our wedding again. Just when we thought things were back to normal…”

 

“One fairy isn’t going to stop your wedding, Emma,” Snow reassures her with her vintage determined smile. “We will defeat her.”

 

“I sure hope so. We don’t have much time left. She is here and ready to get what she wants.”

 

It was now hard to believe that they all had a few days of bliss and happiness. No villains or magic threatening their existence.

 

Emma is now more determined than ever to destroy the epitome of all evil to ensure what she was originally tasked to do, even if it killed her.

 


 

The Black Fairy caresses the globe with a cackle. Thankfully, she remembered to take it, otherwise her secret weapon could have been exposed.

 

The heroes will now be desperate for help and that is where her lovely Madellaina comes in.

 

Earn their trust, darling. They are at a loss now that they know I am here. Help them and report to me what they discover or say. We will be at such an advantage, that you will get your revenge in no time.

 

She smiles at her instruction to Madellaina. That poor girl was too blinded by revenge to see what was in front of her: a trap.

 

The Black Fairy sure knows how to recognize a desperate soul.