Things were not going well in Emma Swan’s world. Three hours ago she had been about to devour a vanilla cupcake with cream cheese icing and a blue star candle.
Blue was her favorite color.
But anyway, she had been about to devour her lone treat, by herself, thanks to a guy who bailed on her date when she was about to bail his butt to jail.
Then…the trouble started.
And trouble came in the form of a ten year old, brown haired boy named Henry.
Henry's totally unexpected arrival just had to open the smelly can of worms that reminded her that her family didn’t exist, the one guy she thought to be somewhat decent left her stranded in jail…pregnant!
As if that weren’t bad enough, Emma had to put up with Henry lying to her (she didn’t’ do well with liars) and him trying to weasel his way into her life by insisting that she had to come home with him.
And why, pray tell did he need her so desperately to come home with him to a town named clearly out of a storybook?
The answer was just that…a story book.
An ancient filled tome that she was sure had been written by one of those creepy tribes from eons ago…
How right she was, in a way…
So what did Henry’s pleas and manipulations have to do with Emma Swan?
He insisted that she was the woman who would save the town…or the kingdom, to be exact… and rid the world of evil for good, once and for all!
Of course it didn’t help that her identity in the whole charade was that of a newborn baby…
With that, she was bound and determined to get Henry back to his rightful parents, so she could get back to Boston for more important things…
Like bailbonds person things…
Here we go!
Emma and Henry arrived in Storybrooke, Maine... finally.
Emma sighed, looked at her mischievous son… he had so much of Neal in him, it was scary.
“Alright, kid… where’m I taking you?”
Henry looked at her out of the corner of his eye. If she wanted to play hard to get, fine… two could play that game!
“24th Not-Telling-You Street” he grinned at his birth mother’s exasperated look.
Emma almost growled at him.
“Kid! Come on! Your parents are gonna be worried sick! Where the heck am I taking you?”
Henry still refused to tell her; this was her destiny! She was here! And she wasn’t leaving- not if he could help it…
Out of the corner of his eye, he watched her sigh, place her hand on her forehead and rub twice.
Hehehe I could do this all night! Henry grinned to himself, then realized, she could easily throw him out of the car and scram… then what would he do?
“Come on, Emma! At least hear me out! Let me give you the gist of it, then you can make your decision… deal?”
Emma pouted. “Fine… just because you’re…you” Henry smiled… a crack in the shell… that was a start, at least for now.
Juniper hid and watched as an unfamiliar vehicle parked at the side of the road. She watched as a tall, fair maiden in strange attire got out of the strange looking yellow carriage.
Who was she? Why was she here? And further, what was she doing with Henry Mills, the Queen’s- er Mayor’s son?
Emma pulled over and got out, thankful for the chance to stretch her legs. Looking around the town, she noticed that the town clock was frozen.
“Hey...Henry… what’s up with the clock?”
“Mm? Oh yeah I almost forgot” Emma looked at him.
He smiled his boyish smile, explaining that according to the book, the Evil Queen sent everyone to Storybrooke and trapped them, frozen in time.
“Wellll… if they’re not frozen anymore, then why don't they just leave?”
Henry warned that bad things happen when they try.
Emma nodded and cocked a curious eyebrow at the tall redhead approaching them with a Dalmatian.
Juniper was beginning to think that hiding like this was a waste of time, when she gasped as he came near….
It’s him! It’s him! It has to be!
She had not seen her beloved stepfather in so long, but she knew that proud stride, that charming smile, those beautiful blue eyes...
No wonder her mother had fallen in love with him.
Juniper wanted nothing more than to run and jump into the man’s arms, and take him back with her, to tell him everything, especially that her brother's life depended on his helping her- but then she froze.
That was what their captor wanted her to do.
Juniper looked down at the vial in her hand.
What was to stop her from using it on herself? True, she was too young for courtship, but what could she do?
…she could trade herself for the young lady, with no one the wiser…
Greater love have no more than this… that one lay down his life for his friends….
Where had she heard that before? It was true. The young lady in the portrait and the man approaching her may not know who she is, but she knew them… she’d be willing to do anything for them… and for Jimmy…
Juniper whimpered again, not knowing what to do. She was praying silently as her Mama had taught her to do, then gasped as a dog, who happened to be Dr. Archibald Hopper’s dog, Pongo, barked.
Archie looked in the direction of Pongo’s sudden interest.
He saw nothing but a mailbox on the other side of the street.
Archie pulled at Pongo's leash and shushed him…
“Hey Archie” Henry greeted, suddenly feeling a knot in the pit of his stomach… he was in a heap of trouble.
“Hey, Henry… where’ve you been all day? You missed your session”
Emma looked at the redhead, noticing he was dressed in a tweed suit, grey coat, red scarf and had an umbrella. He looked like a Psychologist.
Emma cocked an eyebrow. And looked from Henry, to the doctor, and back to Henry. Her son was seeing a shrink? Why?
“Heh, yeah…I uh went on a fieldtrip” Archie raised an eyebrow, but never his voice, and shook his head.
“Mhmm… and who’s this?” Henry did a double take. He couldn’t get out of this one no matter how hard he tried.
“S-she’s a friend of Mary Margaret's! From out of town!” In Henry’s mind that was the truth; once Emma was reunited with her mother, they’d be home free- well, almost.
Archie shook his head as he stooped to Henry’s level.
“Henry, what did I tell you about lying? It’s never a good idea to give in to one’s dark side.”
Juniper sat watching the exchange from her spot with a grin.
Ah… he had such beautiful eyes… Juniper sighed
Archie glanced at Emma, a natural smile gracing his features.
He was never good with women, but he’d try… for Ruby's sake he thought to himself.
Juniper frowned as she saw her hero in the guiles of another woman…
The little girl’s amber eyes flashed gold and she growled.
Henry, who wished to be anywhere but speaking with his ever honorable Psychologist at the moment, gasped.
What was that? He thought. Whatever it is, I gotta check it out!
Archie turned his head suddenly alert to the noise. It sounded like a puppy growling...
For some odd reason, he felt his stomach flip.
Pongo barked again, and Juniper grinned mischievously. She giggled a high pitched slightly maniacal giggle…
From across the street, the pastor Abel Valleyson and his wife Marie looked at each other… what in the world?
“Yeah, well…I gotta go… my mom is gonna freak” Henry said, stepping slowly away from both adults.
I already am Emma thought, definitely weirded out by the shrink, and whatever had made that noise…
“Ok, I think I’ll take Henry home now… any idea where he lives, Mister?” she wasn't sure what was up with this guy, but she'd have to keep on her guard.
“Oh yeah…it’s down the road and to your left… the Mayor’s mansion… you can’t miss it.” Archie stood up, chuckling a little, his ears turning red.
Watching him, Juniper frowned.
Wait a moment, why is he sounding slightly flustered around this girl…? She is not my mother…
Emma nodded her thanks, and Archie raised his umbrella in farewell.
Juniper watched forlornly and tried not to whimper as the doctor walked away.
“So, your shrink is a fairy tale character in your book…” Emma deadpanned.
“They all are!” Henry insisted, still wondering what had made that noise. Emma smiled, nodding her head, opening the car door as Henry made his way to the passenger’s side.
“Ok, I’ll play… who's he supposed to be?”
“Jiminy Cricket!” Henry exclaimed in confidence, knowing he knew it was the truth.
Juniper gasped as her keen ears caught on to Henry’s last remark.
This boy knows! He knows the truth!
Juniper wanted to reveal herself, make everything known- but that would take time and very careful planning.
Jimmy’s life depended on her being careful and not taking any unnecessary risks…
Juniper would try and meet with Henry soon, and then conduct herself with poise and finesse, making her mother and father proud.
Until then, where could she stay for the night?
As Roger Bracings exited Granny’s Diner, he was careful to keep his scarlet and gold cloak close around him.
Across the street he saw a yellow car drive up and a young boy and woman step out.
As they bantered, Dr. Hopper strolled over with his dog, Pongo.
Roger grinned, his skin turning color by lights of the street. He’d best be off back to the farm- Until…
Bracings gasped. There, in the shadows was a small girl with long dark hair…
Surely he was looking at the visage of his little girl!
But no… that did not make sense… Ruby was all grown up now. Too grown up for his liking
Roger thought back to his younger years. Back to Ruby when she was a wee little thing, and his beloved, Belle.
Sadly he remembered Belle's death, and then helping console his daughter Ruby also known to most as Red when she had lost her True Love.
So who was this child who resembled Ruby so?
Then he remembered. The child was his granddaughter…
As Roger looked on, he felt the girl's aggitation as he watched her, sensing her loneliness, fear, and trouble…
He grinned. Dare he assist? He was family after all…
If what he suspected from her emotions was true, he would enjoy at least a small morsel, of revenge!
Juniper hadn’t looked where she was going and nearly bumped into the legs of a man on a wagon.
Looking up to ask for pardon, the little girl gasped. Roger grinned and placed a finger to his lips…
Out of fear, her amber eyes, so like his own, flashed gold.
Hehehe Like mother like daughter…
His voice slightly garbled, due to nearly thirty years of keeping silent, he made a motion with his hands to calm her.
“No harm done, dear one” he murmured. Juniper nodded, knowing she could trust him. He helped her into the wagon.
“Now, what is the matter, child?” Juniper hesitated.
Roger took off his hood. His skin was undoubtedly changed, brown hair stringy and long around his ears.
“Do you know who I am, sweetheart?”
For God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power and love and self-control.
Hearing this, the girl smiled, placing a hand to the man’s cheek.
“You-my-grandpa” she signed with her hands.
She had nothing to fear. This man was her grandfather, and he could help.
Roger giggled. “That’s right, dearie”
Juniper laughed. She was safe. Her grandpa was funny.
Before he addressed her, Roger closed his eyes.
Twenty eight years ago he ended up in an alley near Storybrooke Trinity Church, and was taken in by the pastor Abel Valleyson, and his wife Marie.
They had an infant son, and Marie’s adopted mother Teresa lived with them; they didn’t have much, but they had taken him in for a week.
Marie ha faithfully cared for him and his injuries, and Teresa kept him nourished with food that was like manna from Heaven.
When he had been able to get back on his feet, Abel had helped him to find a job with a farmer on the outskirts of town, Arthur Hoggit.
“I don’t know how I’ll ever repay you” Roger said, his speech garbled.
Abel smiled, his green eyes twinkling. “There’s no need for repayment, Roger…”
The way Abel said his name, caused Roger’s blood to run cold. He knew… but how?
The young man shook his head, his blond bangs getting in the way. Marie had recently given him a haircut, per Teresa’s suggestion, but he was still trying to get used to it.
“Never mind that, my friend. Just know that no matter what you’ve done, who you’ve harmed… God still loves you… there is nothing you could or couldn’t do that would ever change that.”
Roger shook his head. “B-but…” his eyes misty, he shuddered at the many wrongs… too many to count…
“God knows all of that” Abel said softly, his eyes tender.
“And still…? My wife, my son…” Abel nodded.
Sinking to his knees, Roger’s wails grew, his heart broken.
Teresa prayed silently.
Marie looked at Abel, as she held their son, Connor, worried for their new friend. Abel imperceptibly shook his head. Marie breathed a sigh of relief. That was something to be thankful for, at least…
Abel watched his wife in awe… his love for her growing with each passing second.
Dear sweet Marie, coming alongside Roger, her husband Abel on Roger’s other side, whispered in another language…
“Let it go… Let him take it…Not only does he seek to forgive, but he seeks you!” her warm brown eyes shimmered with tears.
He never told anyone, but he’d seen the light… Hers, Abel’s Teresa’s all of them…
They had the love of God in them.
And now… so did he.
Jesus I ask this in your wondrous name. Not by the work of my hands, in evil deed, but by your sovereign hand… use me to help my grandchild, in any and every way. Take this from her, I pray… In Jesus’ Name… Amen
There was a peace in Roger’s heart… he took it as a sign… he could use his gift, for good…
“Now, close your eyes, count to five, and whisper your papa’s name three times, pet”
Juniper nodded, confused.
She did as he asked, his large hands around her tiny ones, both her hands and the small vial beginning to shimmer.
Roger smiled. –what a blessing it was to have run into her…
Where was the Little One? Reading into her thoughts, Roger scowled, her hands restored, and the vial, gone.
He would dispose of it later- it was fatal to any human. Thank God he found her.
As the girl opened her eyes and yawned, Roger kissed her head.
“And now, dearie…it’s off to bed with you…”
"If you want to sleep your way across the Eastern Seaboard that's your problem. Don't let me and my health problems get in the way of your catching an incurable disease!"
Granny continued to bark and bicker, complaining that Ruby was never around long enough to learn something.
"If you'd just sit still a minute and stop worrying about who's gonna be your next conquest, i might be able to teach you a thing or two about something more worthwhile!"
Ruby rolled her eyes as she moved the curtain back.
Mr. Gold had already stopped by to collect the rent, and had actually said hello to the newcomer, Emma Swan, go figure.
Now what did he want?
Granny gulped at hearing a knock at the door.
Gold had come back? What did he want?
Roger held Juniper’s hand, waiting patiently as they waited for Granny or Ruby to come to the door.
Standing nearby out of sight while Demetrius Gold left the B & B, Roger could have sworn that the weather dropped ten below zero.
Before Gold had entered the B & B, Roger’s ears perked up on Granny chastising Ruby for being out late again.
Roger shuddered as he remembered Peter Mutt’s funeral.
Peter was a lad who had lived too dangerously on the wild side… not the type of boy Roger would ever envision for any girl, let alone his own daughter.
It was a month after Roger had had his life changing encounter with the Valleysons’.
Peter had passed away a month later, and Roger was devastated. Could he have talked to the boy? Could he have reached him somehow?
Peter had overdosed on Meth and other drugs one night, pushing past the limits of his inner turmoil.
Roger was saddened, not only for Peter’s sake, though there was nothing to be done, now, but Roger was more so worried for Ruby.
She hadn’t been the same since. Though Granny was quick to assume that Ruby was a ‘flight risk’, Roger knew differently. Ruby was more apt to go to some wild party or make out with a boy than sleep with him.
It was the way she grieved… she had honestly believed that Peter was her True Love, when sadly, he wasn’t.
She had expressed to Roger a week after the funeral that if Peter were really her true love, why would he go off and die like that and leave her alone? Had she really caused him that much pain?
"He was just a man…" Roger had said softly, wanting to give the girl some comfort.
"We’re all just human, and when times get hard, sometimes it’s hard to imagine that someone sees our pain…"
Ruby had looked at him, tears staining her mascara making it run. She didn’t care.
"Doesn’t anybody see me?…see my pain, I mean? It hurts! Why can’t it stop hurting so much?"
"Because you have to let it go, dear” Roger said softly, thinking back to what Abel Valleyson’s wife Marie had told him.
“Let it go, and give it to God. He sees your pain, and he wants to heal it” Ruby looked at him, her green eyes cloudy, contemplating his words.
“It won’t bring Peter back” she sniffled.
“No, but it will help… you feel tight and wound up, and you’re longing to be free and relaxed.”
Ruby snorted. “I thought it was just hormones”
Roger tittered. “I don’t mean just physically, sweetheart… and it won’t vanish overnight. Give Him your time, and prayer, and thought… He’ll answer when He's ready”
Though Roger knew the reality of Peter’s death wasn’t from an injectable powder or tablet, he knew Ruby’s pain was real.
When the "accident" happened, Ruby had lost more than just the love of her life, but also her True Love… the man she had truly bonded and connected with…
She had lost her family, her little ones…
Though, she was about to get a huge surprise…
Mischievously, Roger grinned. How close would Granny truly be to a heart attack if she learned that she was to house Peter’s daughter for the night?
“Not funny.” Abel said, unseen. Marie touched his arm, giving the passing man a sympathetic look.
“We know it’s not funny” she murmured, her accent light and melodic.
“Perhaps counseling would be a fitting option…” she looked up at him out of the corner of her eye and smiled.
Abel turned, his green eyes drinking in the beauty of his wife.
Slowly the pastor grinned.
What had occurred in the dark more than fifty years ago, would soon come to light…