DISCLAIMER: ONCE UPON A TIME AND IT'S CHARACTERS DO NOT BELONG TO ME. THEY ARE THE PROPERTY OF KITIS / HOWORWITZ AND ABC. I AM MERELY BORROWING THEM FOR A LITTLE WHILE.

A/N- I have no idea what is going to be in store for the OUAT fandom come September. There are a hundred thousand different ways that this story could end, but this is the way that I would do it. I had wanted to do this week by week leading up to the premiere, but I just don't have the stamina to create such an unending story that isn't my own… still last night I had a dream which brought all my ideas together and I thought it prudent to write them all done. I know that some will say that it may be darker than what the writers and ABC may allow, but I feel like it suits the direction that they are going in. So, here you have my idea of how the Dark Swan arc is going to end, as well as snippet of ideas of what could happen in between. I hope you enjoy, and if you do, please take the time to review.

Once Upon A Time Season 5

The Swan's Sacrifice

Morgan Le Fey's dark magic was seeping into every pore of Storybrooke. If something was not done soon, then everything that she had fought for so long would be lost. Emma looked to her parent. They had tried so hard to find Merlin, even travelling to the realm of Camelot by way of the Jolly Roger, but they had found only a ruined kingdom with a broken Mordred on the throne. Arthur, they had said, had sailed to Avalon, yet another unnamed realm on the other side of the portal. Lancelot was well and truly dead, killed by Cora decades before, and Guinevere was a prisoner in her own mind at Mordred's side.

"Well?" Morgan taunted as she strode towards the band of heroes and Emma. "What are you to do? I have the power here. Storybrooke and this entire world will be mine."

Emma gripped the dagger in her hand, it's shiny metal engraved with her name. She hadn't thought about the consequences of binding the darkness to the dagger, all she had thought about was saving Regina. She had made the sacrifice out of love and a need to do the right thing, though it broke her own heart to see her parents and Killian so hurt by her choice. Emma remembered with acute clarity the moments after that, she had landed back on the street seemingly fine, but quite aware of the wary looks that she had received from everyone. She had assured those present that she was fine, that sacrificing herself out of love had caused her to gain the upper hand on the darkness. David and Mary Margaret had seemed relieved at first, as was Killian. Regina seemed to be the only one who knew the allure of the darkness and when Henry had come running down the street, after hearing the commotion from Granny's, she had kept her son back.

"Mom?" Henry had called out. "What did you do?"

Emma at that point had already bent down to pick up the dagger. That had caused everyone to draw back, but even though she had felt the siren call of the power, she was determined to not become the entity of evil that Gold had become. She handed the dagger to Henry, and upon seeing her name, he understood.

"I want you to keep this safe for me," she said, knowing that Henry, above all people would not give into whatever tricks she might end up using in the future. "Until we can figure out a way to reverse this, you need to keep it secret. You need to keep it safe. Do you understand?"

Henry had nodded and for months he had kept it secret. When the search for Merlin had failed, they began researching new methods to free Emma from the dagger without inflicting the darkness upon anyone else. Gold, newly awakened from his enchanted sleep had done his best to help, but without the darkness, his vast knowledge of magic was seemingly gone. Belle hadn't minded that, she had her true love back, and they had begun their marriage anew.

At a loose end, the band of heroes had turned to Zelena. Now nearing the end of her pregnancy, the wicked witch had just grinned with delight at the thought of someone with the potential to destroy Regina's happy ending. Emma had told the redhead in no uncertain terms that there was no way that she would hurt her family.

"You say that Swan," Zelena had hissed through the bars. "But I know what it is like to fight against your nature and fail. The green spread across my skin like a blight I couldn't control, and mark my words, the darkness will seep into your soul and there will be nothing that you can do to stop it."

Emma hadn't wanted to believe the witch, but she knew the words to be true. As each day past, she found it harder and harder to control the dark tendencies that would pop up in her mind. It was like a battle was being raged inside her heart and while the light had the upper hand for a while; the darkness was beginning to grow. Emma had begun to try and use tricks to get the dagger back. Henry wouldn't say where it was, just like he wouldn't use his new fangled powers as Author to rewrite the darkness out of Emma. She admired her son for his strength of character, instead of fixing everything with a flick of the pen, he just patiently watched and recorded, though she could see the toll that it was taking on Henry.

Determined to end the battle for her soul, Emma, under the influence of the darkness, had gone to her parents, and Killian and tried to woo them into finding it for her. Everyone stayed strong, making Emma's darkness more and more irritated.

When Morgan Le Fay had come through in the wake of the Jolly Roger's adventures, the darkness inside of her recognized the threat to it's power and was determined to ensure that if anyone was going to be in charge of Storybrooke, it was going to be the Dark Swan.

"Well?" Morgan taunted once more. "Do your worst Dark One."

Emma gripped the dagger in her hand. Henry had relinquished it when it became clear that Morgan was a bigger threat then Emma ever could be. With the power of the darkness coursing through her, Emma unleashed everything that she could at containing, not killing, the evil that had bested Merlin. It was a fierce battle, one that had her family shielding their eyes, and ducking for cover. Emma and Morgan were evenly matched, until Morgan made the mistake of going after Killian. Killian who had stood by Emma's side throughout the whole ordeal, he who had shown her every day that his love would not diminish, he who had sworn that he would stay by her side no matter what.

Emma watched the dark bolt of energy head towards the man who loved her and while she deflected it easily, the act caused something within her to snap. She lunged at Morgan and killed her. That proved to be a fatal error, because the darkness began to encompass her hand and spread.

"No!" Mary Margaret cried as she ran towards her daughter. "Emma, you have to fight it."

"I'm trying," she answered in a panicked tone. "But this isn't like before."

"You're strong," David reassured her, watching as the darkness crept up her arm. "You can do this."

"Mom!?" Henry exclaimed running over. As soon as he saw what was happening, he pulled out his magic pen, renewed by the fact that there must always be an Author.

"No," Emma stated. "Don't."

"But I can fix this," he insisted.

"Don't be like Isaac," she said. "He abused the power. Don't be like him."

"But…" Henry had tear in his eyes. "I can't lose you Mom."

"I know," she said, tears springing to her own. "But I don't think we have a choice."

"Emma," Regina said as she joined the group. "You have fought off the darkness before, you can do so again."

"But I gave into it," Emma pointed out as it stretched up past her elbow. "Once you give in, there is no going back."

"Yes there is," Regina insisted, taking Robin's hand for strength. "Look at me. I never thought that I could be anything other than the Evil Queen but I was wrong. It is all about the choices we make, so make a choice. Fight."

Emma's eyes were wide with fear and panic. She looked as the family and friends that she had discovered, the family and friends that she thought she would never have. She knew what she could do to them if she let the darkness of the dagger take over her completely. She would never be able to live with herself if she allowed that darkness to hurt them, just like she wouldn't let Morgan hurt them. She tightened the grip on the dagger in her left hand and raised it.

"No!" Killian cried as he came running forward. Emma looked at him and knew that her love was aware of what she was going to do. He had said once that he knew her better then Emma knew herself, and she could see it in his eyes that he knew what she was about to do now. "Don't you dare!"

"Killian," she cried. "I'm sorry. But there isn't another way."

"Please," he begged. "Don't leave me…"

"Leave you?" Mary Margaret asked in confusion, but then she too realized what Emma was about to do. "Emma, you can't."

"There isn't another way," she said, taking a step back from everyone. "I love you all," she said earnestly, making eye contact with each and everyone of them. "And I am sorry."

Before anyone could stop her, Emma plunged the dagger into her own heart. The powers of the dark one could only be transferred to another soul through the dagger, and Emma hoped that by sacrificing herself, the darkness would be bound to the dagger. It was a risk, but one that she had to take and more than that; Emma knew that dying was a much better alternative than destroying the people she loved.

She collapsed to the ground in pain, and as the life began to drain out of her, she could feel the darkness being pulled into the dagger. It was working; her sacrifice wasn't going to be in vain. Killian fell beside her and gathered her up into his arms.

"Emma," he cried, not believing that she had just done that. "Why?"

"It… it was the only way," she whispered, finding herself growing weaker by the minute. "I'm… sorry."

"Dammit Swan." Killian shook his head. He had known all along that he never could have a happy ending. He had known that somewhere along the lines Emma would destroy him. He knew that she thought that she was saving him, saving everyone, but the truth of the matter was he had become a hero again because of her. He had wanted to be a better man because of her. Without Emma, Killian didn't know what he would be capable of.

"Promise me," she begged, her face pale.

"Anything love."

"Take care of Henry."

Killian looked up at the boy who was clinging onto Regina. The boy had gone through so much, and he knew that he would not let Henry down. "I promise."

A faint smile appeared on Emma's face. Her eyes frantically sought out her parents. "D-don't blame yourself," she told them. "Everything h-happens for a reason."

"Oh Emma," Mary Margaret cried. "We're sorry."

Emma nodded her head. "I know." Her body jerked and she grabbed onto Killian's coat. "Killian…."

"Yes love?" he asked, tears in his eyes.

"I love you."

Killian placed his forehead to Emma's "I love you too."

She gave a final shudder and he felt her go limp in his arms. He heard the anguished cries of Mary Margaret, David and Henry and they echoed the anguish of his own heart. He looked at her body and saw the horrid dagger protruding from her chest. In a fit of rage he pulled it from her, and noticed that no name was etched upon it. He could feel the darkness emanating from it however and knew that Emma's sacrifice had worked. The darkness was well and truly contained within the dagger because it could not compete with a sacrifice born from the purest of intentions— the will to save all that were loved.

Killian tossed the dagger aside and then looked down at Emma. With her eyes closed, she looked as though she could be only sleeping. Killian knew better, but he preferred to think of her that way because it hurt his heart less then the reality of the situation. "Oh Emma," he said with a wavering voice as he brushed a stray bit of blonde hair out of her face. "I will always love you."

With a broken sob, Killian leaned down and kissed Emma once more on the lips. He poured every ounce of his heart into it, and as he did so, he could feel the ripple of power that burst from them. A movement in his arms made him move back in surprise and when he looked down at Emma's body he could see the blood on her shirt retreating, as though it was being pulled back into her body. His eyes went to her face and he watched in utter amazement as her pale skin returned to it's pink hue, and with a breathless gasp, Emma opened her eyes and sat up.

"What?" Emma asked looking from her hands to her chest before finally settling on Killian. There was confusion in her eyes, not because she couldn't believe that she was alive, but because she could not believe that Killian's kiss had brought her back. Everything that Emma had ever learnt about magic said that only the kiss of true love could reverse what had just happened to her.

"You," she breathed as she scrambled to her feet. "You're my…"

Killian stood up. "I'm your... you're my…"

"Of course," Henry said. "True Love's Kiss can do anything."

They could not take their eyes off one another. Both had believed that the truest of loves had always been beyond them. They had both believed that they were not worthy to be gifted with such a thing. Both had loved, and lost in the past and because of that, thought that they would never find it. But as Killian took her hand, Emma realized that while she had loved before, no man had ever fought for her the way that Killian had and Killian in turn realized that no woman had ever made him want to be better the way that Emma did.

"Love I—"

Emma cut him of by throwing her arms around his neck and kissing him. Killian returned the kiss with equal fervour and when they finally did pull apart, Emma just clung onto him.

"Thank you," she whispered as she snaked her hand up into his hair.

"Always love," he whispered back, holding her a little tighter. "Always."

Emma pulled back and smiled a true smile at him. Then, she went to her family and hugged them all. The darkness of Morgan was defeated, and the darkness of the dagger was contained. They had fought the battle and won. Emma looked down at the dagger and wondered what they were going to do with it.

"I will take that," Mother Superior said as she approached the group. With a wave of her wand the dagger disappeared. "Rest assured, that the dagger of the Dark One is safe. It's evil will not harm anyone ever again… you have done us all a great service Emma. You really are the saviour of us all."

"Well I say that this is a cause for celebration. Drinks everyone?"

"I could go for a drink right now," David said with a laugh.

"Can I have one?" Henry asked.

"No way kid," Emma said with a smile. "When you're older maybe."

"Okay," Henry said with a smile. "Sounds good to me."

With Killian on one side, her son on the other, and her family all around, Emma led the way to Granny's Diner. For the first time in her life she was really and truly happy and she knew that no matter what, those she loved would always be there for her.

END

A/N2- Yes, I know that the Apprentice says that the darkness in the dagger must be tethered to a human soul, but that does not take into account self sacrifice and true love. I speculate, that had Rumple let go of the power when Belle kissed him in the Enchanted Forest the darkness would have been destroyed forever. In this story, Emma's self sacrifice binds the darkness to the dagger itself because of the paradox- he who kills the dark one with the dagger becomes the dark one- Emma bound the dagger to herself, and then killed her self rather than let it take her over. That is what allows her to become free.