Stories focused on the family and the friendly relationships of the cast. Plot-focused stories or light day-in-the-life stories. Pretty much anything that isn't focused on romance.Once Upon A Time Abridged by daesgatling
Synopsis: When Belle boarded the Jolly Roger Archie was in no condition to alert her of his presence, thus leaving him at the mercy of Hook for several more days until he was finally rescued. Now Archie is in a world of darkness does her best to help him. (Canon divergence from 2x11 The Outsider and onwards)
Synopsis: It all starts when Henry figures out who Gold is and tells him that Belle is alive. That sets the ball in motion and soon the curse is breaking left and right. None of this, however, means that Emma is at all obligated to believe that there is a curse.
Comments: In the author's own words: "This is based on me wondering just how long Emma can refuse to believe in the curse. I have a great deal of faith in her in this regard."
Synopsis: Mary Margaret Swan doesn't age, talks to birds, and bakes pies that make people do what she wants. She wins Awesomest Mother of the Year, like, hands down, every time. / Or, Geppetto finishes the chest on time, and Life happens.
Synopsis: Home. The word is given new meaning for five-year-old Emma when she's dropped off with her new foster parent. (AU, obvi)
Comments: The story is very good, capturing Emma's spirit at age five and then eighteen, right after getting pregnant with Henry after she becomes adopted by David Nolan from Storybrooke, changing several things around and sparking encounters with other important people, such as Mary Margaret Blanchard (whom David falls in love with as soon as he sees her for the first time both times). The little Continuity Nods, both to the series and in-story, make things especially hilarious and heartwarming.
Synopsis: Rumpelstiltskin makes a deal to hide Princess Aurora from Maleficent for sixteen years. He was a father once, and finds himself thrust into the role once more, in and out of Storybrooke. Eventual Rumbelle.
Comments: A very good fanfic depicting Daddy!Rumpelstiltskin rather interestingly. There is some Rumbelle, but it's not the focus of the story. The focus is on the relationship between Rumple and Aurora, or Brier Rose
Synopsis: Snow White makes a deal to have Rumpelstiltskin raise Emma while they are under the curse.
Comments: Really good fic that shows what Emma's life would be like if she had people who loved her. It's very long at 458,510 words but it's so well thought out that it's completely worth the reading time.
Synopsis: The women of Storybrooke are disappearing and the people are living in terror when Hope appears in the form of two traveling brothers with a secret almost as big as the town's. Sam and Dean Winchester join Emma Swan in the search for the missing women.
Comments: This is a very well-done crossover. The way it's written, you think this was an episode of Supernatural, but there's also enough to make you think it's an episode of Once Upon a Time as well. Also, the fairy tale that it's tied to (namely Fitcher's Bird) is certainly unexpected.
Synopsis: Henry Mills needs help convincing his new-found mother, Emma Swan, to believe in magic so she can break Storybrooke's curse. Could Dean and Sam Winchester be just the help he needs to get Emma to believe? Or will they also need some convincing? Dean's dealt with a lot of things - demons, angels, witches, werewolfs - but magic may be a bit out of his belief system.
Comments: This crossover is more of a "follow the plot but add in some twists" sort of story, set right before The Stranger in Once Upon a Time, but during Season 5 of Supernatural. It also sets the land without magic in the supernatural world, meaning that there's some interesting write-around for how a show called "supernatural" is still a place that has no magic. It's told mostly as a straight adaptation of the last days of the curse, only with the winchesters among them to change how the events work. (for one, emma never tries kidnapping henry due to dean talking her out of it) However, the story also begins to incorporate more of supernatural once they break the curse, changing the tone and flow of events from canon. Its emotions are genuine, and though it does include shipping the winchesters with Emma and Ruby, it's still an enjoyable read for fans of either series. The Author even says there are plans to continue the fic all the way up until the present of Once while continuing with the Supernatural seasons as they go.
Synopsis: When an Evil Queen's curse reaches the small kingdom of Arendelle, two sisters find themselves transported to a different world, completely unaware of the life and magic they left behind.
Comments: While only at four chapters at time of recommendation, I'm finding myself wanting more. It feels very much as if the characters from Frozen have been brought into Storybrooke, and their "curse" is very much what you would expect. It's amazing this fic hasn't received as much attention as it deserves. Go read it. Now.
Synopsis: Henry discovers a girl in a basement of the hospital that sends Mr. Gold's world reeling. He's lived without her for so long, and now she's alive. Alive, despite what he'd been told. Now what will happen as he tries to win her back?
Synopsis: "When the Ogre Wars threaten to sweep all kingdoms away, Rumpelstiltskin feels the pull of blood on the Dark One's dagger." An AU where five years after Rumplestiltskin isn't called upon to save a kingdom, his dagger has found its way into hands far less safe than his sons'.
Comments: A heart-breaking study of loss, grief and regret.
Synopsis: Belle/Rumplestiltskin with due attention to characterization and world building. Belle is the daughter of a minor nobleman with a life at home that does not end when she goes with Rumplestiltskin. Rumplestiltskin is simultaneously the ancient, eldritch, inhuman Dark One and the lonely and uncertain sheepfarmer's son who picked up Zoso's dagger because he was desperate. The POV is tight third person, exclusively Belle. The plot is AU, based on the premise, What if Rumplestiltskin's price for helping Sir Maurice had been Belle's hand in marriage? The canon supporting characters and the O Cs are well rounded and active, instead of the usual plot stasis that sets in when a romance is the main focus of a fanfic. And the erotic passages are numerous, poignantly written, and smokin' hot.
Synopsis: AU; here, 'fairy tale land' is merely a product of Henry's imagination during a difficult time.
Comments: If you're going to read just one Swan Queen fic, make it this one. It's a well-written, poignant, and sometimes uncomfortable look at the extremely dysfunctional relationship between Emma and Regina in an alternate Storybrooke, where they have to work for their happy ending and there's no Fairy Tale Land or magic to help them.
Synopsis: AU; the curse is cast by Maleficent, not Regina, and its intended targets are Aurora and her true love.
Comments: A neat little AU which brings a post-curse Mulan to Storybrooke as a former soldier with memory issues, where everyone's roles are a little different from what we know. Alternates between Storybrooke as the characters start to notice their collective memory loss, and flashbacks to Fairy Tale Land which explore how Mulan grows to love Aurora and vice versa, as well as the strong friendship between Mulan and Phillip.
Comments: This story begins a bit slowly, but it soon builds up to an intense tale of how things could have been in different circumstances. The similarities to what happened in the series' past and, yet, the different things that take place, as well as the little jokes that reference the series, make this fanfic a delicious thing to read about. The development of the main couple, Charming/Snow, is carried out very well, with things not being perfect as there are arguments and obstacles, making their love more real and passionate. The other characters in the story only improve things by making sure that there are more things than just Charming and Snow, and the backstory is quite well worked on.
Synopsis: (that in your grave i lie)Milah lives in a book hidden in the back of Hook's wardrobe that he hasn't opened in three hundred years.
Hook/Milah and Captain Swan (Hook/Emma)
Comments: A respectful look at both relationships in a moment of intimacy that, if not for the technicalities of the canon Neverland timeline, would fit right in as a missing moment. The piece is sweetly in-character, with the fun banter and the quiet seriousness. It's delicate and very much in the tone of the show, featuring the experience hope and coming to terms.
Synopsis: Zombie apocalypse modern AU, first meeting and family, Emma character piece and point of view. Excerpt:
"And anyway," he goes on in a lighter albeit forced voice, "do you really want to die without even knowing my name? I grant that hygiene has fallen somewhat among my priorities, but even so "
She rolls her eyes.
Captain Swan (Hook/Emma)
Comments: The AU transplant works well, using the humanity the show grounds its characters in. The romance is also grounded as such, so that you can see its beginnings here, within the connection over loss and the search for family. Like her other fic mentioned above, it has the show's tone of hope in bleakness, particularly by integrating one of the canonical examples of that in its own way.
Synopsis: A Season 2 AU where Regina gets dragged kicking and screaming onto the path to redemption and Emma gets dragged kicking and screaming onto the path of superhero and Snow watches with bated breath.
Comments: Gripping plot, wonderful characterisation, terrifying villains,and a realistically done redemption story. At times, hilarious and heartwarming. Other times, gutwrenching and horrifying. Even if you don't read Swan Queen fics, this one is worth it.
Synopsis: Season 3, set during the lost year in the Enchanted Forest (currently has gone AU). Summary: Regina lets the wounds on her arm fester. She leaves them be, night after night, staring at them, dark eyes empty, breath easy, and she could be sleeping, if she weren't in so much pain. But henry is gone, her baby, and the pain will never go away. Infection is no laughing matter, and when Roland witnesses her fall to her fever, it's his father he runs too.
Comments: The chapters alternate between Robin's and Regina's point of view. It's absolutely heartbreaking and lovely, with a compelling plot and spectacular characterization, and a number of unexpected twists. Fair warning: it features PTSD and abuse. One of the best fics I've ever read; I find myself checking for updates several times a day.