A/N: Hello, here with a new Holiday/Christmas story for Once Upon a Time. This idea came to me, well, kind of out of a desire to write some Glass Believer, but I wanted to put a different twist, so I decided why not combine my desire to write a Christmas story with one of my favorite pairings, and then I decided again, well I need to put a different twist to that idea so here this was born. Now there's more to it than it appears, but I'm keeping some things under wraps, pun well maybe intended maybe not. I do not own Once Upon a time, belongs to Adam and Eddy and ABC, just playing in the sandbox. All I own is my plot idea. Angst warning ahead, but I hope you enjoy this opening.


Prologue:Christmas Lights Gone Dim

December 1: Two years ago.

The house was ablaze. The first thing that Quaid Sommers notices is the tree in the living room, decked out and full of presents. One of these looks clearly like a dollhouse, but it is already losing its structure: a little girl, probably not much older than his neighbor's little girl, but still young enough that it would be magic when she unwrapped it. A neighbor had called the fire department saying Lauren and Abigail Mills were inside, and to please save them. Mr. Mills had been called into work, and it was just a few weeks till Christmas. He and his team had gone as soon as they could, and they had never seen a blaze so tall, but holiday spirits and all, they just had to put this out. They just had to.

And they did. They did, but it was already too late.

"Call time of death…"

Quaid feels like he is hearing from underwater.

"What's going on?! What happened?" Mr. Mills comes home just in time to see the hordes of fire trucks and the ambulance and the whole team of firefighters and EMTs, but due to the crowd, he cannot see the stretchers or the blankets covering the two forms, his wife and baby girl. "Where's Abbi, Lauren?!" He cranes his neck, and then finally, he sees, and his legs begin to shake.

"Sir," Quaid steps over to the man, seeing the realization dawn before anyone can explain. "Mr. Mills, I'm so sorry. We did everything we could."

The man's collapse to the ground could be blamed on ice coating the path, but Quaid knew better. He broke his own professional code when he crouched down and pulled the man into an embrace.

Lauren Mills had passed away at just 30 years old. Little Abbi Mills had been just seven. The cause of the blaze? Faulty wiring on Christmas lights. Its effect? Felt by every single person on the scene that day, but for no one more deeply than Henry Mills.


A/N: So there's the prologue. Next, we jump forward in time.