Still Small Voice Part 2
Emma Swan was not happy.
She was not happy at all…
In fact, if it weren’t for Henry and his insistence that his fairytale theory was real, she would be willing to admit that she was royally pissed!
Dr. Archibald Hopper was a coward!
A two faced, hypocritical coward!
First he tells her not to take away Henry’s fantasy idea that the town was actually a smokescreen for some fairytale kingdom,
And then he decides to do that very thing by telling Henry he was psychotic and delusional?!
Oh HECK No!
After she had dropped Henry off at the Mayor’s office, she decided she would go straight up to the doctor’s office and give him what for,
Just as she had done with Brian…
Hmm… that’d gone well…
Going up to his office door, she pounded on it yelling his name.
“Archie…!” she growled.
No answer…. Why did she get the feeling that the coward was ignoring her?
“ARCHIE!” She pounded louder, to no avail. Finally, she threw open the door, not caring about Archie’s eye roll of disapproval.
“What did you do?!” she yelled.
“You told me not to take his fantasy away!”
“You told me that would devastate him!”
Archie shrugged. “Well, if the therapy stops working than you suggest something else…” he said weakly.
Emma wasn’t buying it. As far as she knew, Archie was the best thing that could ever happen to Henry.
“Was it her?” Emma asked, remembering having seen Regina speak rather forcefully to Archie the previous night.
“Did she threaten you?” Archie stood up defiantly.
That’s it! No more of this!
“I really don’t need to defend my professional decisions to you, okay?” he snapped, feeling his blood boil…
“What could be strong enough to drown out your own conscience?!”
That stung. Emma wanted to take the words back, but it was too late.
She thought she saw the good doctor’s eyes turn a shade of green for a moment...
It kinda scared her…
“Ms. Swan, as sorry as I am about Henry I really must ask you to…”
Just then, Emma’s phone rang.
“Hello Madame Mayor, Nice work"
"Are you with him?" Regina asked, sounding annoyed.
Still annoyed with Archie, Emma rolled her eyes.
"Yes I’m with Dr. Hopper, you left your fingerprints all over him when you…”
Regina must have answered in the negative, because the next words out of Emma’s mouth were.
“I dropped Henry off at your office an hour ago”
“I don’t know where he is…” Emma looked at Archie who had gone suddenly ashen.
Henry you didn’t…
“Oh… I do” He was scared...really scared. Henry's disappearance was all his fault!
If anything happened to the boy...
Emma hung up the phone as Archie grabbed Pongo’s leash, and somehow magically grabbed his umbrella and clipped the dog’s leash in one foul swoop.
“C’mon boy” Archie muttered, ushering Emma out of the door before he locked it.
This was all his fault…
It can’t be! That’s impossible! He’s a…
Yes, thought the pup, placing a paw on the man’s picture carrying Red, whose stomach was heavy with child.
But he was a man first
Henry was incredulous. How on earth was he going to convince Archie of this?!
As he thought about it some more, Henry scratched Juniper behind the ears.
Her back paw started to thump.
“Gotcha” Henry chuckled.
Sorry, what was that? She thought, looking up into his eyes.
As they both entered the dark cavern, Henry was lamenting that Juniper was a werewolf let alone a girl.
If she’d have been a boy, then perhaps Regina wouldn’t be so against having a dog around.
Then again, the boy thought, looking down at the grey pup, from what Juniper had told him about her parents and Regina’s part in their separation, she’d probably be none the happier to mark all over the place.
As if sensing his thoughts, the puppy wagged her tail and yipped, whimpering as she slid on her back and fell.
“C’mon” Henry grinned. He picked her up and walked toward the mine boulders, turning his flashlight toward something shiny… like glass.
All of a sudden the walls of the mine started to rumble and shake. Henry dropped the glass and started at the rock wall for a second.
This couldn’t be good.
Run! She barked.
As my biped and the small female walked around the crumbly mountain, I knew they were looking for the small biped Henry.
I sniffed, and barked, hoping he could hear me, then sniffed again.
What? What was this? A wolf cub?
I barked louder.
Wolf cubs could be dangerous…. And yet…. I sniffed near the entrance to the mountain and smelled bacon…
The scent made my mouth water, but I was also confused.
The wolf cub ate bacon…?
Then it hit me, my biped, Archie… his mate… er… soon to be mate.
Ruby…. I'd sniffed her before. She was a she-wolf.
This was her cub?!
I barked and barked and barked again.
Then I smelled something sweet.
Yuk. I hate chocolate!
“Whatcha got there Pongo?” Archie asked, going towards the dog.
“I don’t think he’s here!” Emma yelled.
You might consider more sensible shoes…
The therapist wiggled his head.
Pongo looked at Archie. Where had that come from?!
Archie looked startled at the dog, obviously spooked he could read the Dalmatian's mind.
Pongo whined, trying to get Arhcie's attention, who turned away, not wanting to address the issue.
Archie turned his attention back to Emma.
“Yes he is… these candy bars… he had these with him”
The earth shook again. “Henry!” Archie yelled as he ducked inside, just as the rocks were tumbling again.
“Henry, it’s not safe!” Archie tumbled in just as the rocks behind him closed up the crevice.
“ARCHIE! HENRY!” Emma shrieked.
Now what was she supposed to do?
Archie stood up and finding a match in his pocket, he lit it.
He looked back at the opening, wondering briefly if he’d ever see Ruby again.
Not while you’re stuck in here…
Archie decided to look around for Henry, just as the boy came up to him with a flashlight.
A small dog was behind him panting.
“Archie! You’re here to help me!” Henry said excitedly.
He and Juniper had just made a discovery, but he couldn’t finish it without help.
“Henry no, listen...we have got to get out of here… it’s not safe”
“But I’m still looking…”
“Henry, listen to me! I’m frightened for you!”
“Why, cause you don’t believe me?!”
Archie had to keep a hold on his temper.
In the light of the flashlight, Archie looked terrifying.
Juniper took a step back.
“No!" the psychologist hissed.
"We’re stuck in an abandoned mine and there is no way out!”
“You’re still against me” Henry said again, noticing the expression on the doctor's face.
Archie by this time wanted to throttle the kid.
“You’ll see, you’ll see!” Henry ran further into the cave, the little dog rushing after him, barking.
“Henry! Henry, come back!” Archie yelled.
Archie, having the sense of responsibility, yet unsure about the situation, decided to go after him.
Marco rushed into the Diner, adamant he needed to find Ms. Ruby and quick!
“Belladonna… you must come quickly…the mines”
Ruby stopped taking the customer’s order and brought Marco over to one side.
“What’s wrong?” she asked, eyeing Mr. Bracings, who was keeping a sharp eye on her and the door. Mr. Gold had just walked in.
Ruby noticed Bracings shiver before turning back to Marco.
“The mines… last night… Henry is gone, and I cannot find Archie anywhere…”
Ruby’s blood ran cold. “Marco” she said as calmly as she could. “Henry had a little girl with him… she looked like me, but with glasses and a school uniform”
Marco nodded in understanding. “Si… she was not with him, I think, but…”
Ruby waited, holding her breath. “Earlier I see little grey puppy run out toward mines… she looks like wolf”
At the word wolf, Roger dropped his tea cup, shattering it to smithereens. Rushing out the door, he bumped into Gold.
“Hey… hey, what’s the hurry?”
Roger tore himself away from Gold’s iron grip and glared at Gold hatefully.
Anyone who noticed the two would have thought they looked like identical twins, save the obvious style difference.
Gold looked tailored, dressed like a king, whereas Bracings looked more like a beggar.
Roger then rushed outside limping, untied his horse, and leapt on, riding towards the mines.
Gold stared after the stranger, a queer smile on his face.
Archie Hopper, Henry Mills, and the young pup sat on the floor of the elevator after an unsuccessful try of cranking the carriage to the top.
Then Archie covered Henry and the puppy after what seemed an explosion rattled the elevator back to where they started.
Now they were stuck on the floor of the elevator wondering if anyone was missing them by now…
Juniper was bored, so she gently gnawed on Archie’s finger as he and Henry spoke.
“I was wondering if it's normal to hear voices in my head" Archie shook his head. "I thought I could hear Pongo."
He chuckled at the idea, brushing it off.
Juniper looked up at her step-father, nearly choking on his finger.
"You mean, you could talk to him?" Henry asked excitedly.
Was Juniper right about Archie being a wolf?
“N-no…Ouch!” the ‘puppy’ growled, sauntering off at a displeased Henry.
“But I do remember hearing something strange, like a wolf growling" Archie said, getting out his handkerchief and glaring at the pup, who was panting.
“He’s not a very friendly pup is he?”
That does it! Henry scurried to gather Juniper into his arms, before she could charge the Cricket.
"The puppy is a girl" Henry said quickly, trying to keep Juniper from squirming.
“Oh” said Archie, his ears turning red. Oops.
“Cut it out! I’m telling your mom!” The pup froze. Ha!
Juniper glared and nipped him.
“Ouch! Hey! That hurt!” Henry protested. He dropped her and she landed on the floor of the elevator on her feet, but not before a certain therapist grabbed her by the scruff of her neck and picked her up.
“No! bad girl!” the puppy whimpered and yipped.
Ruby gasped as she heard a little girl's voice, who sounded like Juniper.
“Juniper… I think she’s in trouble!” Marco nodded.
“Si- si- let us go!” the two rushed out, not leaving time for Granny to protest.
“Where do we go?” Ruby asked.
Marco thought for a minute. “The tow shop… Billy Goats he might have a tow truck we can borrow, eh?”
Ruby nodded. That sounded right.
She felt responsible for the little girl, and felt bad for yelling at her earlier.
Granny had explained that somehow, Lord knew why, Juniper seemed to look up to Ruby as a mother figure.
Thinking back to earlier when watching Juniper had stirred a longing for children inside her, Ruby made up her mind that if she was going to be a role model for Juniper, she had some changes to make and quick.
Ruby would have sworn she heard Juniper’s cry for help and wondered how she could hear her.
A fierce fire of protectiveness rushed over Ruby at that moment. She was going to find Juniper one way or another; and nothing or nobody was gonna hurt her.
Those who did would suffer the wrath of Ruby Elizabeth Lucas!
Juniper was so scared at that moment she couldn’t hold it anymore.
Henry’s eyes got as big as dinner plates when he saw a familiar trail of yellow head straight for Archie’s pants leg.
“Hey! That’s gross!” Archie moved her out of the way too late, and got splashed.
The puppy finished, and crawled and hid behind Henry, crying.
Henry, for his part, tried not to glare at Archie in indignation. He didn’t want to listen to reason? Served him right to get peed on!
Henry reached behind him for Juniper who nudged his hand with her snout.
I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to!
She was dry now and so he picked her up, holding her close.
She continued to whimper and cry, and it took Henry a little while to calm her down.
Archie looked at the little pup, feeling bad for acting so harshly.
He hadn’t meant to scare her or hurt her, he was just responsible for Henry…
“I’ll let you in on a little secret.” Henry said, kissing Juniper’s head, scratching her behind the ears.
Is it okay if I tell him? He thought.
Yes. Thank you she whimpered as she licked his cheek.
Henry could see why Juniper was scared of Archie. In the dim light, his glasses made him look like he was downright mean.
Archie stared at them both, still kind of frustrated at the whole situation. Why hadn’t he listened to Emma and Pastor Valleyson?
“What’s the secret?” he asked curiously.
“Well, it’s about the story of Little Red Riding Hood…”
Henry suddenly stroked the right side of the puppy’s head, and a strange thing happened.
A wheezing breath, then…
The phrase seeing is believing couldn’t have been more startling for Archie at that moment.
In the dim flashlight, he saw a little girl with long black curly hair, porcelain fair skin and amber eyes, dressed in a school uniform.
Juniper kept her head down, blushing in embarrassment.
She was so sleepy…
Henry held on to her as she closed her eyes, summarizing her parents’ tale.
“Red Riding Hood, married Peter Wolf and they had Juniper.”
At the mention of Ruby’s former boyfriend, Archie’s hackles rose.
“R-really” he coughed.
“Yeah… then Peter suddenly died in a hunting accident… killed by a”
Juniper ribbed him. Not yet. She thought.
“a bear…I think” Henry said, too quickly.
Archie wasn’t so sure. In the dim light he could’ve sworn the little girl nudged Henry.
“Anyway, to make a long story short, Red Riding Hood met up with her mother…and then her mom died when Red tried to protect Snow White.”
Archie remembered the consequences for not listening to the boy, so he let Henry continue.
Where did Archie come in to all this.?
As if reading his thoughts, Henry grinned.
“She was rescued from the ravenous pack by a mysterious red wolf, who protected her from the pack and killed their leader”
Something in Archie stirred slightly… a faint feeling of… triumph?
“What happened next?” he asked.
“Not sure” Henry smiled. “The book was kinda fuzzy on the details”
A snort came from Henry’s side, immediately causing Archie to become suspicious.
He had a feeling Henry and this little girl knew more than they were willing to admit.
Then again, he did try to tell me before, that I was Jiminy Cricket and I didn’t listen. Archie thought to himself...
Henry sighed, not knowing what else to say.
He stood up stepping away from Juniper since somehow she had changed back into a puppy, turning his flashlight upwards, not seeing anything.
“I’m really, really, really sorry” he said.
“I just wanted to find proof” he sat down again
Archie smirked. “It’s ok… I’m sorry too. I don’t think you’re crazy and I never should have said the things I did”
“Then… why did you?” Henry asked.
Not wanting to place all of the blame on Regina even if it was her fault, Archie decided that it would be best to speak from his heart.
“I just think that you have a very strong mother who has a clear idea of the path that she wants you to be on, and when you step away from that, she get’s scared.”
Henry nodded, now understanding the adults’ perspectives on why they ‘didn’t’ believe him.
“But it’s also natural for you to want to think the things that you want to think… Anyway I didn’t mean those things I said and I never should have said em”
And you said them because… his inner voice told him, making him feel small and pitiful.
“I guess I’m just not a very good person…”
Juniper’s head raised, not believing her ears. That was impossible!
“I’m not the man I want to be” he whispered.
Suddenly the crate shook. Archie and Henry looked at each other with concern.
From up above, Emma gave instructions to Ruby to gun the tow truck. They had found an air shaft, but didn’t know where it led.
Ruby gunned the motor, eager to get all three out. Juniper, Henry, and she gulped, Archie.
She may have been mad at him earlier, but that was nothing compared to his being in danger!
Once the grate was removed, Regina looked down the hole.
“So, now what?”
Down in the elevator, Henry and Archie were silent.
It was Henry and Juniper who were bickering back and forth.
I have to tell him! Henry thought. He deserves to know!
You can’t! If you do, he’ll be in more danger than you could ever hope to get him out of! Juniper's tone was pleading.
Yes she wanted Jiminy Cricket's help more than anything, but there was no telling what her brother's captor would do if Juniper disobeyed.
Is this about Archie knowing who he is, or about your brother…? It was a pointed question, but it stung like a dagger to the wolf pup's heart.
Archie turned as the puppy let out a wail. She started whimpering all over again, and it tugged at his heart strings.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
Juniper, obeying her instincts rushed to her papa, who picked her up in his arms, scratching underneath her chin.
“Hey, now… what’s wrong?” he smiled at her, kissing her head, nuzzling her head with his nose.
“Her brother” Henry said. “She has a little brother… she’s not sure where he is”
Archie raised an eyebrow. “Is that so?”
Juniper groaned, and nuzzled Archie’s sweater. She fell asleep again in Archie’s arms, feeling better than she had all day.
“I think she likes me” Archie smiled.
Henry smiled thinking along those same lines.
“I think you can be him”
Archie looked at the boy in surprise.
“I think you can be a good person… I mean, you’re Jiminy Cricket”
“Henry…Henry! Jiminy Cricket was a Cricket…a conscience! I hardly think that’s me!”
Juniper was nodding. Go ahead.
Henry shook his head. No, let him sit a while and think.
“Yea, but before that he was a guy, who took a while to find out the right thing to do”
“That kind of sounds like me” Archie mused.
“And now it’s harder for you, because of the curse” henry said.
Archie nodded. He was starting to understand.
“To listen to what’s inside of you… to be… who you wanna be”
Archie nodded. To listen to what’s inside of me...
Archie stared at Henry. How could a little boy have so much faith?
He was an inspiration…
But before they could get out of here, Archie still had one more question…
“Let me ask you again… why do you think it’s so important that your fairytale theory is true?”
“I dunno” Henry shrugged. Juniper had fallen back asleep.
Archie handed Henry a piece of chocolate.
“Give it a shot” he said.
“Well…” Henry said. “This can’t be all there is”
Archie chuckled. “I understand”
Beside him, Juniper was barking in her sleep, and moving her paws as if running.
“Aoooo” Henry and Archie laughed.
Archie hesitantly petted her, her fur softer than the first time.
Then she whimpered.
“Shhh… it’s ok” Archie whispered.
Papa Juniper whimpered
Henry looked around the elevator. He was starting to get hungry…
“…I was looking for proof… but I didn’t find anything”
“Well that’s not true” Archie said. “I was lost when you found me, right?”
Henry got really excited.
“You mean; you remember?”
Not wanting to dash the boy’s hopes, Archie shook his head. “No, I don’t remember… but I do remember the kind of person I want to be”
True Love’s Kiss Henry heard Juniper’s voice in his head. He snickered.
Yeah that’s what got them into this mess.
Juniper laughed again, then looked up and turned her head.
Archie, seeing her, turned and looked up. A bright light being beamed down…
“A rescue” Archie murmured.
Henry picked Juniper up and put her in his backpack, placing the backpack on his back…
Finally, they were going to get out!