Emma Swan is a main protagonist in Once Upon a Time. She is the roleplay character of PixieHollowGirl5.
Emma's parents, Snow White and Prince Charming, are inhabitants of a world called the Enchanted Forest. On the day they marry, the Evil Queen interrupts the ceremony to announce she will destroy the happiness of everyone in the land. Months later, Snow White is heavily pregnant expecting her first child, but worries about what the Evil Queen promised. She convinces Prince Charming to let her see a man who can see the future called Rumplestiltskin. As payment for his services, Rumplestiltskin asks for their child's name, which Snow White later gives as Emma. Rumplestiltskin prophesies the Evil Queen will cast a dreadful dark curse no one can escape, but if their child is saved, she will come back for them on her twenty-eighth birthday. The Blue Fairy strikes a deal with the wood carver Geppetto to make a magic wardrobe for transportation to another world, but he wants his own son, Pinocchio, to be saved as well.
Though the wardrobe can protect two people, the Blue Fairy is forced to lie and say only one can be saved. They prepare to send a pregnant Snow White through the wardrobe, she gives birth to Emma on the day the curse is cast. Geppetto disregards the word of the Blue Fairy and sends Pinocchio into the wardrobe anyway. Left little choice, Emma's parents agree she must go to this other world. Emma safety arrives in the land without magic and is picked up by Pinocchio. He goes into a diner claiming to have found her along the highway. They are placed in a foster home together, but Pinocchio abandons her later on.
Decades later, Emma works as a bail bonds person in Boston. She pursues a fugitive named Ryan on her birthday. After turning him into the authorities, she heads back to her flat and lights a cupcake for her twenty-eighth birthday. As she wishes on the candle not to be alone on her birthday, a boy, Henry, shows up claiming to be the son that she gave up for adoption ten years ago. She panics and retreats into the bathroom, but returns to threaten Henry with a police call, but he promises to give them the excuse that she kidnapped him. She warns about her superpower to detect any lie, which leads Henry to plead for her to come home with him to Storybrooke, Maine. During the car ride home, he explains about the Dark Curse that caused all fairytale characters to be trapped. He claims every single story in his book is true and even she is in it, but Emma is still skeptical. Upon reaching town, Henry refuses to give out his address, so she gets it from the boy's therapist, Archie Hopper. She hears more strange allegations from Henry that Archie is Jiminy Cricket and everyone in town is from the Enchanted Forest. After bringing him home, Henry's adoptive mother, Regina invites her in for apple cider. Emma reassures Regina that she won't be a problem, especially since the father doesn't know Henry exists. Emma makes a passing comment on Henry's claims about fairy tales, though Regina has no knowledge of any of that. As Emma departs from the house, she sees Henry peering at her from his bedroom window. On her drive out of town, she notices he left his book on the car seat, and her . When she looks back up, a stray wolf on the road causes her to swerve the car, hit the town marker and fall unconscious.
She wakes up in a jail cell, and in the next cell to hers is the town drunk, Leroy while a mechanic, Marco, is fixing a sink in the room. The sheriff, Graham, arrives to unlock Leroy's cell and allow him to go. Emma alleges a wolf in the middle of the road distracted her, though he bets she was drunk on Regina's apple cider. Storming into the sheriff's office, Regina reports Henry has run away again. After some snooping, Emma questions Mary Margaret Blanchard, Henry's teacher, because he previously used her credit card to make a payment on a birth mother tracking site.
When they are alone, Mary Margaret suggests checking Henry's castle playground where he usually frequents. At the playground, Emma returns Henry's book to him as he laments in disappointment over the lack of change since bringing her back. He requests her to stay in town for a week to prove he's right about the curse. When he claims his life sucks, Emma explains her own sob story of being abandoned many times. Henry insists she wasn't discarded and came through from another world. After dropping him off again, Emma shares with Regina the coincidence of how she and Henry met. Regina, however, wants Emma to have nothing further to do with Henry, who she has no legal right to. Despite that Regina says she loves Henry, Emma is not convinced. She takes Henry's advice and checks into an inn for a week. By chance, she meets the town rent collector, Mr. Gold, there.
The next morning, Emma receives apples from Regina for her trip back to Boston. She asserts that Regina telling her to leave is just encouraging her to stay, particularly to make sure Henry is okay. Regina insists she has things under control, clarifying that Henry is in therapy and warns Emma not to underestimate her power. Emma doesn't take Regina seriously and goes the town diner. She nearly eats one of Regina's apples when the waitress, Ruby, gives her a hot chocolate and says it's from an admirer. She mistakenly believes it's Graham and walks over to reject his offering. From another table booth, Henry announces that he sent it and invites her to walk him to school. On the way there, Emma attempts to eat the apple again, but Henry believes it's poisonous and throws it away. He wants to investigate the curse afflicting Storybrooke. Emma, still skeptical, plays along with him. Henry suggests they adopt the code name "Operation Cobra" to keep the Evil Queen off their trail. Puzzled, Emma is given storybook pictures of what Henry claims is herself as an infant. At the school grounds, Mary Margaret brings up Henry's fairytale theory to Emma. She is shocked that Henry thinks Mary Margaret is Snow White, which would make the schoolteacher her mother, but when asked what her own counterpart is, Emma says she isn't in the book.
Emma visits Henry's therapist, Archie Hopper. They talk about Henry's fascination with fairytales and he urges she must never use the word "crazy" as it could damage the boy. Archie discloses that the fairytales are Henry's way of coping with personal problems such as his difficult relationship with Regina. Concerned for the boy's wellbeing, Archie hands over Henry's file to her. Returning to the guest room, Emma looks over the file when Graham shows up to arrest her for stealing a file from Archie's office, though she pieces together that Regina is framing her. She is brought to the station for mug shots, but Mary Margaret arrives to bail her out. Once freed, Emma buys a chainsaw and cuts through the branches of Regina's apple tree. Satisfied with Regina's livid reaction, she attests that a shoddy arrest is not going to scare her off and tells the mayor to watch out. Despite the warning, Emma is quickly evicted from the inn due to the mayor's last minute reminder of a "no-felons policy".
Next, her car is booted just as Regina calls to arrange a meeting with her. In person, Regina apologies for her actions due to being afraid Emma is going to take Henry away. Emma's only concern is making sure Henry is fine since he seems so troubled. On further prompting, she talks about how his imagination mixes reality and fantasy, which is "crazy". Henry is extremely hurt at overhearing her words and runs off. Again, Emma realizes too late that Regina purposely made her look bad. In the meantime, Emma goes to Mary Margaret's apartment to pay her back for the bail money.
Mary Margaret offers to be a listening ear to her problems and counsels her against leaving town because she needs to protect Henry. Deciding to make things right, Emma bursts into Archie's office. She hastily accepts Archie's apology for what happened earlier and talks to Henry. She reasons it's a lot to ask anyone to believe in a curse that, crazily, may be true. From that, Emma regains Henry's trust by telling him she told Regina what was necessary to throw her off their trail as they work to break the curse. To prove her point, she takes the storybook pictures and burns them in the fireplace so Regina will never find out. With his faith restored, Henry happily runs to hug Emma.
Out of a place to stay, Emma begins sleeping in her car while looking for open rooms in the town newspaper. By chance, Mary Margaret offers Emma a spare room in her apartment. Emma turns her down citing she is not the roommate type. The next day, at the playground, Henry claims to have found Emma's father and shows her a photo of Prince Charming in the story book. Due to his persistence about the matter, she helps convince Mary Margaret to read to a comatose patient, John Doe, who Henry stubbornly believes is Prince Charming. Emma hopes with Mary Margaret's help, Henry will eventually see fairytales are not real. The following morning, Mary Margaret gushes to Emma and Henry about John Doe grabbed her hand. Emma follows them to the hospital and discovers John Doe has disappeared from his room.
She finds it strange the mayor is getting herself involved in the case, though Regina gives a recollection of how she found John Doe on the side of the road and became his emergency contact. Despite that Regina pushes her to stay out of the situation, Emma ignores her advice and she, along with Mary Margaret and Graham, look over security tapes in the hospital from last night, which show John Doe getting up and walking out the back exit into the forest. In the woods, Graham tracks John Doe's trail until it goes cold. Mary Margaret wonders if Emma's job as bonds bails person is good for finding people.
Emma states it is viable in cities and relates how she got into the job from unsuccessfully searching for her birth parents. Abruptly, Henry leaps out to reveal knowledge about where John Doe is because he's looking for Mary Margaret. Emma wants to take Henry home, but Graham interrupts to show them John Doe's bloody hospital bracelet. They find John Doe passed out in the water near the Toll Bridge. While Graham calls an ambulance, Mary Margaret gives John Doe mouth to mouth resuscitation. Back at the hospital, John Doe's wife, Kathryn Nolan, rushes to reunite with her husband, whose real name is David Nolan. Emma finds it suspicious Kathryn didn't discover her husband's whereabouts until now, but lets it slide. That night, Emma changes her mind and moves into Mary Margaret's apartment.