Don't ask why this chapter took two years to write—I have absolutely no good reasons or justifications. But I am satisfied with it.
But I am back and this will be one of the stories I will continue to update until it is finish. This and two other stories (Behavior Report and Fatum Erratur) are my currently active stories that I will be focusing my attention on. I have three or four other stories that I have on hiatus until further notice.
A new character will be introduced to the OUAT and will be Hermione's love interest.
The young woman shot up in the hospital bed, her dark hair draping around her shoulders. Shocking pools of teal stared unfocused for a second before they cleared and she looked around the room, taking everything in with laser-like focus. Her breaths came out labored and the loud beep-ing of the monitor propelled Killian into action.
"Calm down, lass." He began to reach for her when he jerked back and put his hands back down at his side.
The young woman kept eye contact with the man closest to her but continued to move her hands around the bed.
"What are you looking for?" Emma asked, but made no move to come closer.
Flinching, the young woman's eyes shot to Emma and froze. Wide teal eyes shot shocked Emma as though she was struck by lightning.
"Where am I?" Her voice was hoarse, Emma noted, almost as though she had been screaming a lot. That thought did nothing to soothe Emma's anxiety.
"You're in the hospital." Killian replied, arms still have out-reached.
Emma barely restrained herself from rolling her eyes. "Storybrooke, Maine. And judging from your accent, you're a long way from home. Britain?"
"Scotland." Both Killian and the young woman answered.
The girl looked between both of the strangers in the room, not sure why they were looking at her the way they were, but then shook her head, dark curls flying in different directions.
"Look, I really need to be going." She began to fuss with the wires she was connected to and moving the sheet off of her lower half.
"I don't think so lass, you're not in good form ta' be going anywhere." Killian reached out to stop her movements. The young woman's hand shot out to his wrist, stopping his movements. The tight grasp made Killian look up and make eye contact with her.
Fear and anger were the easiest to read from her eyes.
"You don't understand," her voice was tight.
"No, honey, you don't understand." Emma sighed and sat in the chair next to the bed. "Wherever you came from, it wasn't a pleasant place. I know a thing or two what it's like to be on the run. But, you're safe here." Emma flinched and closed her eyes. "Well, safer here. Look, this is really hard to say, and you're not going to believe me. It will sound crazy-I know! And it's long and complicated, but-"
"You're our daughter." Killian choked out, unable to wait for Emma's patient but staggering explanation.
Emma rolled her eyes.
"What?" the chuckle that left her mouth was winded. "I-I'm not-excuse me?! Is this some kind of elaborate Deatheater hoax? You can't honestly believe I'd fall for that, do you?" She laughed incredulously. "Not that I'd expect you guys to have much of an IQ, but you could've at least made a better attempt of finding Muggles who look like me."
Killian confusedly looked at Emma, but Emma had a strange look on her face as she gazed at the young woman.
"So what was it this time, huh? Polyjuice? No, you geniuses aren't the patient type, or intellectual. Oh, I know, the Imperious? You boys don't really mix it up much, do you?"
"Deatheaters? Muggles...wait, what is your name?" Emma questioned her.
Hermione scoffed, "I don't know, you tell me, mom."
Emma narrowed her eyes and looked at Killian, "Is this even possible?"
Killain raised his eyebrows and looked between the two women in front of him."Uh, Swan I'm goin' ta need a bit more information. I'm a bit lost here."
"Come on, don't tell me you don't know? Smart girl, curly hair, fighting Deatheaters?" Emma looked at him expectedly, and after receiving a blank expression she remembered. "Right, wrong timeline."
The young woman's eyes went wide at that word.
"Wrong timeline? Where's Harry? Draco?" She started to get out of the bed again, furiously searching the room and mumbling to herself. "Voldemort couldn't have gotten access to a Time turner, they were all destroyed. Unless that Old Coot lied about how many he had or were created."
"...Hermione?" Emma tested the name, hesitantly.
Hermione's head jerked to the blonde woman and gasped. Hermione reached out a hand and slowly backed towards the door. Emma's light green eyes followed the movement and adjusted her stance.
"Who are you?" Hermione demanded.
"This isn't what you think it is. We are Muggles-well, sort of. But we're not from your world. Like I said, we have a lot to talk about, and it'll be a big pill to swallow. But you have to trust us. We don't work for Volde...shit! What was his name again?" Emma turned to Killian as though waiting for a response from him. He only shrugged, eyes wildly bouncing between her and his daughter.
Hermione took that small distraction and without thinking yanked the hospital door open and ran down the hallway. Her back and legs ached but she continued to run, past doors and people in scrubs and lab coats. Idly she thought about how intricate this illusion was, but her eyes followed the signs to the main lobby.
She heard shouts behind her and quickly looked back to see the blonde woman and dark-haired man chasing her, when she bumped into a hard body.
"Oof." Her breath was knocked out of her momentarily.
Strong hands caught her just before she could hit the ground. She looked up into kind eyes on a strong face. His eyes swept over her and he looked at her confused and with a very small amount of amusement.
"How..?" he began, but she quickly jerked out of his hold.
"David! Is that-?" A small, dark-haired woman beside him looked at her in surprise.
Slightly tanned arms circled her torso once more, but she couldn't break out this time. It was the blonde woman's voice in her ear.
"Relax, okay. We're not going to hurt you. Look around okay, and slow your breathing."
Hermione admittedly found her voice soothing and began to look at the faces staring at her. She was in the middle of a very small lobby. A receptionist to her right stared at her blankly before going back to typing on her computer. A thin boy stood next to the older man with blonde hair and gentle blue eyes. The boy couldn't have been older than 17 or 18. The smaller woman on the left, with the dark hair and shocked look, had her hands covering her mouth, and her eyes were tearing up.
The dark-haired man who was in her room earlier slowly walked to her and smoothed down her hair, a firm, but very gentle, set of hands cupped her cheeks. "It's okay, lass. You're in good hands. Nobody is ever going to hurt you again. I promise."
Something about the way he said it, or maybe it was the look in his eyes, made her truly stop. She felt her heart gallop in her chest at the warmth that radiated within her at the words. The arms that were restraining her loosened carefully, testing if she was going to try and slip away again.
Hermione felt herself nodding, still very focused on her breathing and the intense set of blue eyes from her...father? Or at the very least, the man claiming to be her father.
Hermione didn't really know what to think. Upon waking up, the sterilized surroundings and smell of strong chemicals made her assume she was in a muggle hospital, but she was nowhere near one when she was running around in the Forbidden Forest.
Last thing she recalled was hiding in a small pond to escape death eaters, and that it was much deeper than she had realized. Maybe magically enhanced.
Draco and Harry never would've thought to bring her to a muggle hospital if she were hurt. They'd either attempt to heal her themselves, using their small Arsenal of healing spells and potions they'd learned over the past year of travels, or they'd wait until she awoke to heal herself.
Her second thought, after coming to the realisation that she was not alone, was that it was all an illusion, and the death eaters were trying to lure her into a false sense of security by making her think she was in a muggle hospital. But they were either incredibly dimwitted and not able to come up with a good enough explanation for why she was there, or these muggles were actually muggles who believed the story they were telling her.
And to be completely honest with herself, she's not exactly sure which of the alternatives she was hoping for right now.
The man stepped away and let the blonde woman slip in front of her. She held out her hand, "Now, let's try this again." she said softly, giving her a small frown.
Hermione hesitated before putting her hand in Emma's. "Somewhere public."
"The park!" Henry suggested. Hermione' eyes shot to his brown ones and nodded.
"The park sounds good," she agreed.
"Like I said," everyone turned to the blank voice of the receptionist, forgetting she was there, "freakies."
Emma's glare went unnoticed by her.
"What are you thinking?" David whispered to Killian, as they watched Emma and Hermione-Morgan?-sit on the swings and talk. Henry stood beside them leaning on the pole, next to Mary Margaret.
They couldn't hear the conversation from where they were sitting on the benches, but Emma was doing most of the talking, with Henry and Mary Margaret chiming in every now and again. Hermione's face was hidden by her curls as she stared at the ground, eyes far away, simply taking in all the words.
"What do you mean?" Killian asked.
David gave him a look, "With this development? You, Emma, and Henry just settled in. We just found out about the other storybook before this happened."
"...I don't. I-" he cleared his throat. "I'm happy?" He turned to David with a lost look. "I mean, I am happy. I am. I have a daughter, right? I have a family. I mean I already had a family! With Emma and Henry. And all of you. But-"
"Henry was already in the picture before you met Emma. He came in the package with Emma. Now…"
"...now I also have...a...my daughter. With Emma."
"Are you...regretting this-"
Killian's face quickly turned to David, anger written clearly across his face. "How could you say that?! Of course, I'm not regretting finding her. She's my daughter. I love her. I've dreamed about having a family, before I met Emma, but accepted the fact it was no longer a possibility for me. And then I meet her, and she already has one, and she somehow found a way to fit me into it. She gave me everything I never thought I could have.
"But what if this isn't what she wants? Huh? I know she loves Henry, and wouldn't give him up if the world was burning. But she carried him within her and accepted he was going to be born. He found her years later and she's fallen in love with him all over again. She's been raising him for years now. But Morgan-Hermione...She's only had days to think about this. What if this is too much for her? I don't want her to pull away from me. I-I really, really want this David. But this seems too good to be true.
He swallowed harshly, forcing back the slight acrid taste of vomit that was making it's way up his throat. "What if she is taken from us? Or she decides she doesn't want to get to know us? What if I can't protect her and she gets hurt? What-"
David put his hands on Killian's shoulders "Breath, Killian. Okay. It's okay to want something. And it's okay to be afraid to want something. You think you're the only father who's felt this before? Usually it happens when you find out your wife is pregnant, but your situation is a little different." David laughed.
Killian shook David's hands off his shoulder, annoyed, "How could you laugh at a time like this, mate?"
"I've had a lot of experience with weird, these last few years," David added dryly.
KIllian conceded to the point and bowed his head. "David," he began in a very low voice, "I'm not a good man. I've done...very bad things. Sometimes, I think about still doing those things, and only the thought of Emma and Henry has stopped me. I make a lot of mistakes. What have I done to deserve something this good?"
David thought about this for a minute, searching Killian's eyes. "You're not a bad man, Killian. You have done bad things and you have made bad decisions, but you are a good man. Do you think I would have let you be around this family, if I thought you were a bad man?"
Killian conceded to that point.
"So stop thinking you're not good enough for Emma, Henry, and Morgan. You are. And whether you deserve them or not, you have them, so you don't get a choice." David's face was hard. He continued, "This won't be easy. Not for you and Emma, not for our family, but all you need to worry about is making it easier for Morgan. She seems," David smiles tenderly, "...tough."
Killian snorted. "Like me leather."
David chuckled at the comparison, "Sure. But you're not doing this alone. You have me, Mary Margaret, Regina, Robin, Henry, and a slew of other people standing behind you." David patted him on the back. "I think we can handle one teenaged girl."
Killian remembered what Emma said to him at the hospital and smirked, "Famous last words, mate."
Hermione looked up at them, eyes slightly bewildered, "And that's the abridged version?"
"Oh yeah, A lot has happened in the last six years. Don't even get us started on the family tree, that's really wacky." Emma deadpanned.
"Couldn't be any worse than Sirius'." Hermione shrugged.
"Who's that?" Henry asked.
Emma turned to him surprised, "Don't tell me you've never read those books, kid. The HP novels are legendary. Considering how much you love stories, I'm surprised you've never read them."
"HP?" Henry echoed.
Emma rolled her eyes. "Harry Potter. Those books were huge when I was coming up, and they were in the theaters not too long ago. You've never even heard of them."
Hermione-Morgan-was a mess of nerves. She never had much of a family other than Harry and Draco. Her parents barely had time for her before they learned she was a witch. And afterwards...well, they weren't too keen on spending time with the family anomaly. These people seemed kind, if a little overbearing, but she felt comforted by the fact that they were trying too hard to get her to like them. They were very attentive and were sharing a lot about their family and the last several years of their life.
She was inclined to believe in their fairytale book/alternate dimension theory because growing up in the Wizarding World prepared her to be surprised by very little. And although she felt her mind constantly drifting to the thousands of questions contemplating the effect her disappearance from her world has left on Harry, Draco, and the war, the idea that there was a book out there that was published about her life and adventures took over the forefront of her mind.
"Books? Movies?" Hermione choked out.
Emma smiled at her reaction. Hermione Granger was her daughter. She looked slightly different from the novels she read growing up, but the fact that the girl she pretended to be when she was younger whenever she could sneak into a library and read the series, was her daughter was trippy.
"They are international best sellers."
Hermione scoffed and frowned. "Yes, because reading about child soldiers and children being murdered because of their blood status sounds fascinating."
Emma made eye contact with Mary Margaret and Henry, unsure of what to say. Their faces reflected their own panic.
Hermione stood up, suddenly angered once more. She crossed her arms. "Why would someone write about that as a children's novel? What pleasure would people receive from reading about kids being forced to fight in a war they didn't start?"
Emma stood up and approached with arms raised out, gently caressing the air in front of her, seemingly afraid to actually touch her. "Resilience, perseverance, strength, bravery. That's just to name a few. Look, in this world, you're all just made up characters from a daydream of some British woman. But your characters have influenced the life of millions, maybe billions of individuals."
Hermione threw her hands up. "Why?!"
"Because you won." Emma said softly.
And those seemed to be the magic words (pun not intended-sorta). Hermione visibly deflated, the air leaving her body instantly, and her face wiped of rage.
"We...won? The war? How-what did-who did we-we won?" Hermione stuttered.
Emma nodded, finally reaching out and taking her hand. "You won."
Hermione nodded, mouth opening to form words she couldn't voice.
"Everything alright, Swan?" Killian's melodic Irish tilt broke Hermione's stupor.
She looked at the man from the hospital with the intense blue eyes. He stared at her the way fathers on the telly did their children-the way her own father never looked at her-with love. And he didn't even know her. But there it was-love-written as plain as day. She turned to Emma Swan, her mother, and saw the same, albeit she saw more hesitance in her eyes.
It was intimidating, to say the least. These people...her family...they seemed to love her already but, could she ever come to love them the same way. She still had so many questions and-
"Where am I going to live?! I don't have any money." Hermione patted the torn jean pocket that had snagged on a branch when she dived in a bush to escape a deatheater a week ago.
She heard a snort. The younger boy, Henry she thinks, stepped up to her with a large smile. "You're family, Morgan. You're living with us."
"Hermione, please." She stressed. "I can't-I don't think I can take responding to a new name-"
He cut her off with a blasé wave of the hand. "Hermione it is, then. You're staying with me, mom, and Killian. We have that extra room, so it's perfect. Hope you like the color green."
Hermione felt herself smiling at the boy who was apparently her older (younger?) brother. He was like a breath of fresh air; an infinitely shining sun. His bright spirit was infectious and she couldn't help the instant calmness spreading across her form.
"That's actually my favorite color. Harry and Draco's house colors went better with my coloring than the maroon I was stuck with."
Emma narrowed her eyes. "Harry was sorted into Slytherin?"
"Of course," Hermione laughed, a little confused. "Where else would he have been sorted?"
Emma had a feeling Hermione's world wasn't quite the same as the books she grew up reading.
"So…" The former Queen of the Enchanted Forest strolled through the vast gardens of vibrant hues of red, blue, orange, and magenta flowers varying in sizes, shapes, and species. She had a tight hold on her guest's arm, like she was afraid she would disappear at any moment. "Want to tell me how complicated everything got?" She prompted.
Regina deflated, eyes turning sad. But the former queen was patient. Snow knew that Daniel's passing was harder on Regina than she initially let on, and held an inkling this had a lot to do with why she ultimately decided to leave all those years ago.
"I didn't mean to be away so long." Regina decided to say.
Snow took this to mean she didn't regret leaving, she only regret not coming back a bit sooner.
Snow sighed. "Why didn't you just talk to me?"
Regina snorted. "How could I? And darken your own 'happily ever after'? No thank you." She scoffed. Regina shook her head, dark wavy strands came loose from her braid. "You and Charming had a perfect life here with Emma—"
"—and Daniel's death was my own tragedy I had to overcome."
Snow paused abruptly and turned to her friend. She gripped both of Regina's hands firmly, slightly sneaking them in the intensity of her words, "We loved Daniel too. We may not have lost him in the same way, but we grieved him with you. He was family just as much as you were." She loosened her grip. "I understand needing distance, Regina, I do. But I need you to understand that we lost Daniel, and then we lost you, a couple years later. That was two people we had to mourn in a short span of time."
Regina's eyes stung at the declaration. Leave it to Snow White to make her blabber like an infant with her overly emotional proclamations. She chuckled. "Well I apologize for hurting all of you, but I had to do what was best for me at the time."
Snow nodded her head firmly. They continued to walk once more. "Understandable." And then she brightened. "So what have you been doing since. You look amazing! Dabbling in youth potions?" She joked lightly.
Seriously, Regina looked even younger than Snow White, despite the fact that Snow was 11 years her junior. In fact, she looked just a bit older than Emma.
Maybe raising one child and one grandchild was harder on her body than she realized, Snow huffed internally, subconsciously touching the aged lines barely visible around her eyes.
"Well, I spent a year simply traveling, and then I met a fairy, of all people in a bar. She too was mourning someone, and told me about a place, where people could go to escape. It's called Neverland," She whispered, almost afraid to speak of the magical island. "When you're there, you don't age, and you don't realize how much time has passed. I hadn't noticed that I had been gone for about 12 years until I ran into Tink again and she shook me out of my self-imposed isolation."
Regina laughed to herself, remembering just how fierce Tink was in getting her to snap out of her misery. She was on the most beautiful island with all the magic at her fingertips, and yet she spent the last decade depressed and barely functioning. That was no way to live a life. And Tink told her as much.
"So Tink told me that while I was mourning a love who was always meant to only be in my life for a short while, I was missing out on my one true soulmate."
Snow gasped dramatically. Regina rolled her eyes.
"Yes, yes, I know. It's all rather over the top isn't it." Regina shook her head at her fanciful friend. "I was a bit skeptical at first, but I let her show me him."
Snow giggled and squeezed her friend's arm. "Ooh. Is he handsome? Smart? Does he have magic too?!" Snow found herself giggling like a schoolgirl, gossiping about crushes.
Regina rolled her eyes again at her friend's behavior. "Yes, yes, I should think so. I married him after all."
Snow gasped again and jumped up and down. "You did. Oh my—I bet the wedding was just—" she suddenly turned to her friend and poked her side, frowning, completely offended now. "How could you not invite me to your wedding? You came to mine."
Regina chortled. "Well, first of all, it happened rather suddenly. It wasn't much of a wedding. He's a Merry Men, you see."
Snow nodded, completely understanding what she meant. As Queen, before Emma took the throne, she had heard all about the Merry Men and their many adventures around the forest villages. Red had shared how handsome many of the foresters were, strong, chiseled, and hairy. Red certainly had a type.
David wasn't convinced in their so-called agenda of thievery for the sake of the good of the majority, but Snow reminded him that not everyone lived a privileged life like they had. As fair as a ruler as they had always tried to be, it was difficult for everyone to be in the same station in life, financially. Classes were a necessary part of the kingdom, which meant that, unfortunately, some people had to lead a more frugal lifestyle, pinching coins and whatnot.
"What's his name?" Snow remembered to ask.
Regina indulged her giddiness. "Robin."
Snow giggled once more. "Regina and Robin," she sang slightly.
Regina scoffed and shook her arm slightly. "If you can't act your age Snow…" she warned.
Snow sighed pitifully. "Okay, okay. Sorry. I promise to be more sophisticated while you regale me with the tale of how you met your one true love." She said in a far more dignified tone, which on her, just sounded ridiculous.
Regina rolled her eyes once more, knowing this was the best she was going to get from her giggly friend with the heart—and mind—of a child.
"Anyway," Regina continued, "it was a very simple affair. Nothing was fancy or anything like the wedding you threw for me and Daniel. It was quiet, simple, and really just me, Robin, and a few of his closest woodsmen."
"That sounds so romantic." Snow sighed dreamily.
Regina shrugged lightly. "It was perfect for us. Very intimate."
Snow smirked. "I bet."
Regina felt her cheeks burn a bit. "I forget how pervy you were."
Snow sniffed. "I have no idea what you mean."
"I blame that red cape-wearing girl you spend so much time with."
"Of course you would."
"But Robin and I only lived a quiet life together for a few short months before we met our little wild boy." Regina smiled softly, at the mention of this person.
Snow recognized this as the smile of a mother discussing her child. Snow gaped at her companion. They were once again approaching the doors to the castle, and she could see her family, sans Princess Morgan standing next to another man she didn't recognize. She assumed by his wardrobe he was Robin, judging by the dark greens and brown vest, satchel, bow, arrows, and britches. A typical woodsmen outfit.
Regina turned to Snow, eyes sparkling she imagined. "We hadn't really talked about children before we found his small body huddled in the arms of a dying ape. One of the Merry Men, Jonah, grew up without hearing and speaks the silent language of hands. The ape knew it and was able to only sign a few words before dying. She told us she found him alone and that his name was Tarzan."
Regina turned at hearing the wind slightly whistle before ducking instinctually.
Snow gasped as a small tanned blur came flying over Regina's head, and she heard a garbled yelp as he flipped off the vine he swung from and landed gracefully in front of a gaping Morgan.
Regina grinned in adoration, used to the display of recklessness. "He's a bit of a handful, but he's our little handful."
Snow watched as the small boy crouched in front of Morgan, warily observing her. She couldn't help the itch she felt to drag Morgan away from the child with scant clothing and untamed hair, that looked to be loc-ing together.
Regina watched in awe as Tarzan stood on his legs, something he was incredibly self conscious about doing unless he was only with her and Robin. He had a cautious hand out to Morgan before suddenly grasping it and sniffing a few times, provoking small giggles to exit the tiny girl.
Morgan seemed enamored with the strange boy with golden skin and crazy hair. He was dirty, like he spent all day outside and his parents never made him take a bath. She was instantly jealous.
"I'm Morgan. What's your name?" She watched the boy suddenly meet her eyes, and reach to her throat, like he had never heard anyone speak before.
He pointed to his chest with his knuckles. "Me, Tarzan."
Morgan tittered in the high-pitched sounds only she could make sound cute, and copied his mannerisms. "Me, Morgan." She grabbed his hand and yanked him to her. "Let's go play and you can show me how to swing from the tree like you just did. I'll be a real pirate then."
She didn't wait for a response as she forcefully tugged him in the direction of the tallest tree in the garden she could find.
Tarzan was bewildered by the strange small figure, but he found himself less anxious to be rid of her presence. It was unsettling how much he found pleased with the feeling of his rough hands encased in her dainty and callus-free grasp.
Tarzan is our mystery OC character! He was never written or recreated in OUAT so I am glad that I have free reign to do with his storyline as I please. An older version of Tarzan would be Jason Mamoa, so feel free to cast whomever you please as his younger counterpart.
We haven't yet met Storybrooke's version of Tarzan yet, but he will show up sooner or later since I am writing him in the OUAT universe as an OC. Also this story has been outlined for the most part so there really shouldn't be any more excuses for why I don't update at least every other month or so. *fingers crossed*