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A Once Upon a Time alternate universe fanfiction. When Cora casts the curse, everyone suffers. Regina is married to the prince she never wanted. Gold tries to hide his affair with the librarian from Cora. Mary Margaret is drowning in debt, and Emma finds herself stuck in a dangerous town where no one is safe from the Evil Queen. This Storybrooke and its story are darker than the one you know.

Found on ff.net and AO3.

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Tropes

  • Abusive Parents: Cora of course. She's also an abusive grandparent to Henry, who was adopted by David and Regina Nolan.
  • Adaptational Badass: Prospero was one of the previous Dark Ones.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Regina manages to run away with Daniel, so she never blames Snow White for his death. In fact, she considers Snow her little sister and does everything she can to stop Cora.
  • Adaptational Villainy: In-universe. Cora's curse turns some people who were good in the Enchanted Forest into totally jerkasses; like kindhearted Princess Abigail becoming Ms Cole, a tyrant who enjoys making Mary Margaret miserable.
  • Adult Fear: Cora sends Hook to burn down the library. Henry, Lacey and Lacey's daughter Renee were inside and barely made it out alive.
    • Snow's first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage.
    • In the Enchanted Forest, the fairies tried to kidnapped Belle's daughter because her father was the Dark One. Later, child services try to take her away on trumped up charges of neglect.
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  • The Alcoholic: Mary Margaret is now a recovering alcoholic.
  • Arranged Marriage: Cora makes Regina and David's cursed personas a married couple. They're not in love with each but they are friends. Eventually they agree to an amicable divorce so David can pursue Mary Margaret.
  • Awful Truth: August confesses his role in separating Emma from Neal and getting her sent to jail. Understandably, she's absolutely furious.
  • Big Sister Instinct: Regina has this for Snow.
  • Black Widow: Cora kills both her husbands, Prince Henry and King Leopold.
  • Butt-Monkey: Mary Margaret's Storybrooke backstory. She lost her whole family, was an alcoholic, has mountains of debt left by her late father, and is being stalked by Jefferson. When a new debt appears out of nowhere at Cora's whim, she's nearly forced into what is essentially prostitution, but Gold buys her debt to keep that from happening.
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  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Cora is almost pathological in her utter incapability in keeping promises or making good on a deal, usually forcing others to take An Offer You Can't Refuse via threatening their loved ones and keeping them as her slaves regardless of whatever payment she owes them. The only time she ever kept her side of the bargain was when she agreed to not harm Gold's family (be it her, her minions or her slaves) and free Baelfire in exchange for his dagger, and even then he had to force her to sign a magically binding contract as insurance.
  • Cool Big Sis: Regina to Snow White.
  • Darker and Edgier: The curse is now tailored by Cora and she's a lot more twisted than her daughter.
  • Death Faked for You: The day the curse was cast, Regina lied to Cora saying that Snow lost her baby, Emma. As a result Cora never anticipated the Savior coming to Storybrooke.
  • Domestic Abuse: During the curse, Cora takes her own twisted kink for power in the form of an incredibly abusive, one-sided sexual relationship with Mr. Gold that leaves him covering in bruises, burn marks and bleeding wounds. Even when he regains his memories, he is forced to go along with it due to the curse and was unable to use a “please” for fear of making her suspicious. She returns to using him like this after the curse is broken when she manages to make him give her the dagger and forcing him into her service.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male/Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: Averted. Cora manipulated the curse so she could have some control over Gold without needing the dagger and her treatment of him is pretty horrific. When Gold ends up in the hospital, Dr. Whale takes the signs of abuse very seriously.
  • The Dragon: Hook/Cyril is Cora's right hand man.
    • Later that honor goes to Zelena
  • Dutiful Daughter: Played straight with Zelena. Subverted with Regina, who's only "dutiful" when Cora twists her arm.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Since Cora takes the moniker "the Evil Queen", Regina is known as "the Dark Princess". She doesn't like it at all.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Maleficent was this close to killing Cora as soon as the curse broke, unhappy that A) she was separated from her daughter, and B) her cursed persona was a tyrannical brothel owner that kept sex slaves that makes them Work Off the Debt for the rest of their lives.
  • The Fagin: The trope namer himself has Ava/Greta and Nicholas/Hansel doing his dirty work.
  • For Want of a Nail: Cora takes over Regina's canon role: marrying Leopold, becoming the Evil Queen, and casting the Dark Curse.
    • Also, Rumpelstiltskin marries Belle back in the Enchanted Forest and they have a daughter.
    • Several people who didn't come over in the original curse did in Cora's, like Robin Hood/Errol Forrester and Will Scarlet/Francis Scadlock.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Cora, now both the Evil Queen and the Queen of Hearts
  • Happily Married: Regina and Daniel elope but are only happy until Cora finds them.
    • Rumpelstiltskin/Gold and Belle/Lacey.
  • Henpecked Husband: Invoked. Cora used magic to keep King Leopold complaisant and oblivious to her true colors.
    • She does the same to David. Under the curse he's spineless and subservient to Regina, not that she's happy about it.
    • Downplayed in the case of Belle/Lacey and Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold. Whenever Gold actively helps the protagonists of his own volition (like paying off Mary Margaret’s loans or loaning their forest cottage for the escaped escorts), it is usually at the request of his wife, leading some characters like Cora thinking that he is this.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Rumpelstiltskin gives himself up to Cora to save Neal.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Regina in the Enchanted Forest, due to being forced to do her mother's bidding against her will. Those who remember the Enchanted Forest, like the Mother Superior/Blue Fairy, still think she's evil and a threat to the Savior.
  • Hospital Hottie: Zelena/Chloe Zephyr is now a nurse working under Dr. Whale.
  • I Have Your Husband: Instead of killing Daniel, Cora holds him in the dungeons, threatening to kill him if Regina doesn't obey her. In Storybrooke she threatens Will's life to control Anastasia.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: When the Sheriff of Nottingham comes to Rumpelstiltskin to make another deal - asking to have Robin Hood killed and Maid Marian made his wife - Rumpelstiltskin refuses on moral principles. When the Sheriff tries haggling for some kind of deal - in the process making it clear that he does not care whether Maid Marian consents, nor does he care about the fate of their child - Rumpelstiltskin decides to take payment for “wasting his time” and curse him with Not Right in the Bed. Safe to say he deserved it, no question.
  • Malicious Slander: At Cora's urging, Francis Scadlock/Will Scarlet writes a scathing article about Mary Margaret, calling her a homewrecker (even though Regina is more than happy about her relationship with David) and insinuating that she murdered her father.
  • Mama Bear: Regina to Henry, Snow, and Emma.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Cora, as expected.
  • Meet Cute: Regina meets Errol/Robin Hood after saving his son from getting hit by a car.
  • The Mole: August is forced to work for Cora because she has his father, but he's also working for the Blue Fairy, but he doesn't agree with either of them.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Hook didn't mind burning the library until he realized that there were people inside. Fortunately, everyone got out alive.
    • August feels horrible about sending Emma to jail, even more so after learning that she was pregnant and had to give Henry up for adoption.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Thanks to Cora's manipulation, Moe French/Sir Maurice and Tony Rose/Sir Gaston beat Rumpelstiltskin almost to death because they believe he's been abusing and exploiting Lacey. His condition is so bad, Belle brings magic to Storybrooke so he can use it to heal himself.
  • The Oldest Profession/Sex Slave: The Very Merry Escort girls, including Mirabella/Tinkerbell and Victoria/Anastasia, are sold to Madam Merryweather, usually to cover debts, always against their will. Mary Margaret would have suffered this fate if not for Belle and Gold's intervention.
  • Overprotective Dad: Deconstructed. Moe's insistence on protecting Lacey when she doesn't need him to damages their relationship because it means he doesn't take her choices and opinions seriously.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Regina and Prince Charming.
  • Police are Useless: Due to a mix of the curse working its magic, Cora’s wide collection of hearts and good old fashioned incompetence, Emma Swan as sheriff seems to be the only competent member of Storybrooke’s police force.
  • Reality Warper: Cora has more control over the curse than Regina did in canon. She can move time, but very slowly, alter cursed people's memories, make places, objects, and situations appear and disappear on a whim. For example, when she promotes Zelena to dragon, Cora gives her a new fancy house and everyone still under the curse thinks she's lived there the entire time.
  • Secret Relationship: Rumpelstiltskin and Belle, both in the Storybrooke and the Enchanted Forest. This extends to hiding their daughter's existence as well.
  • Shipper on Deck: When Regina notices that Mary Margaret and David are getting closer, she gives her blessing.
  • Shipping Torpedo: Cora doesn't like Emma being with Graham, so she makes Graham crash his car into a restaurant, paralyzing him from the waist down.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: Cora hates Snow White, Emma, and Henry mainly for being Queen Eva's offspring.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: Lacey after getting her memories back.
  • Slimeball: Keith Law/the Sheriff of Nottingham drinks on the job, sexually harassing every marginally attractive woman in sight, and is an all-around Jerkass to everyone.
  • Slut-Shaming: Lacey gets scorn from her father for having a child out of wedlock (although technically her daughter was born in a happy marriage in the Enchanted Forest). After the library is burned, she moves in with Gold as his maid and everyone assumes she's his kept woman. Taken to Adult Fear-inducing levels when child services come to take away her daughter on the grounds that Lacey's supposed lifestyle makes her an unsuitable mother.
  • Spared By Adaptation: Graham isn't killed, but he is left paralyzed.
  • Stalker with a Crush: In Storybrooke, Jefferson is Mary Margaret's possessive ex-boyfriend who refuses to take "no" for an answer.
  • Torture Is Ineffective: In heavy contrast to Cora’s propensity to needlessly inflict suffering on people, Jafar thinks it is much better to gain legitimate allies through trust rather than threats. He manages to get on Jefferson’s good side, telling him that Cora knows the hero’s plans to banish her to Neverland in advance, pointing out that Cora’s enslavement towards both the Dark One and the Jabberwock is reckless and that he wants Jefferson’s help in escaping to another realm when it inevitably backfires on her. He even tells Jefferson that he is supposed to be torturing him for information instead of having the lovely chat they have then.
  • True Love's Kiss: In a platonic form of this trope, this is how Emma saves Henry from the curse Cora placed on him, by kissing him on the forehead. By extension, this also breaks the curse on Storybrooke.
  • The Victim Must Be Confused: In the Enchanted Forest, Maurice thinks that Belle was enchanted into thinking that she loves Rumpelstiltskin and refuses to actually listen to her. In Storybrooke, this carries over in his counterpart Moe French by thinking that Mr Gold is abusing her after she and her daughter had moved in with him after the library burns down. No matter how often she contradicts him, Moe refuses to believe it and eventually tries to beat Gold to death with Tony's help.
  • Villain Ball: Cora prefers to control people by collecting the hearts of their loved ones, instead of ripping their own hearts out and controlling them directly.
  • Well Done Daughter Gal: Zelena is desperate to please Cora, her birth mother.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Blue Fairy. Unfortunately she's also misinformed about several things, thus making things worse.
  • Wicked Step Mother: This time around Cora is Snow White's wicked step-mother, while Regina is her Cool Big Sis.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Cora attempts for 10 year old Henry to be killed, with 3 year old Renee French also in the crosshairs. Thankfully she doesn't succeed.
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