Chapter 1: Fairytale World: I wonder, I wonder
'Now don't go too far Jiminy' His mother said as he wandered off.
'Remember we need you for today's show and steal.' His father replied. Jiminy sighed and adjusted his glasses, he was a grown man. He thought as he headed off for a walk to clear his head. He liked the sound of the forest, nothing compared with the sound of the crickets in the summer beneath the starry night sky but the sound of the forest was wonderful, it was quiet and yet it wasn't. Leaves crunched beneath his feet which he found simply carried him, no direction from his brain needed.
'Now be careful young one, remember what we've told you.' Rainy said.
'I know, don't speak to any strangers, not that we get any around here and be back by sunset.' Aurora replied.
'The forest is a dangerous place at night.' Aurora mimicked her aunt as she said the same words she had since she was old enough to go out on her own. Ever since she was young, they'd always told her the same thing about the forest, they'd always told her not to talk to strangers and not to go passed the forest outskirts. She knew they were just being protective, over protective. Her existence felt a little lonely though. Aside from the animals within the woods she didn't have anyone. She'd never seen her mother and father and the only other people she had contact with had been the village children when they wandered too far into the woods and even then she was too shy to say hello. Now she was older, a young woman and her Aunts worried about her even more, they forbid her from talking to any strange men and women who came into the woods.
She left the small cottage with its many coloured smokes billowing from the chimney, (she suspected her Aunts were witches but never said as such) and headed into the forest. Aurora still couldn't fully understand why they constantly warned her and never allowed her the freedom she felt she deserved. She loved them of course she did. They had raised her after all but Aurora never felt at home.
She wandered through the forest and was quickly joined by the small fox who had taken to following her around. She bent down and tickled behind his ear. She had tucked a book under her arm but didn't know whether she would read it. Maybe instead she'd just imagine, she'd imagine she was a princess like in her stories and that there was a prince waiting somewhere for her, ready to battle a dragon. Aurora began to hum to herself and she danced and twirled and imagined a ball. Like those she had heard about, dancing with someone. Anyone, even if they weren't her prince. She'd just like to dance and wear a pretty ball gown once. Once she'd just like someone to notice her.
Aurora hadn't noticed the figure dancing on the edge of the tree's watching her though.
Jiminy heard a soft humming, almost singing but not words, it was soft and melodic and pleasing to the ears. Almost unconsciously he moved towards the sound. He moved closer and could hear the crunching of leaves underfoot.
'And then the men offer their hands to the women. Like so and the women take their hands.' The young woman said. Jiminy wondered who it was she was talking to and climbed a tree quietly, moving silently up its branches, to get a better view. It was relatively easy considering the fact he'd had to scrabble around all his life to help his parents steal whatever they could.
A young woman was dancing around the forest floor. A fox sat watching her almost obediently. Her long light brown hair was whipped round as she twisted and turned. Her feet gliding across the forest floor and not seeming to trip her up, Jiminy moved around the trees following her. He smiled, he was trying to pluck up the courage to say hello, but words seemed to fail him. He watched her a little longer before she sat down beside a tree and the fox trotted over to lie next to her.
'And then they all live happily ever after.' He watched her bring her knees up to her chest, scratch the small fox behind the ear and look up to the sky as she said it; as though waiting for a miracle to happen.
Jiminy thought about stepping out then, introducing himself to her. He couldn't though he was too frightened, why would a girl like her want to talk to a shy thing like him. His mother always said he was too quiet, too odd, a coward. No girl would want to marry him so it was best he stayed where he was, with his mother and father.
Jiminy moved a little and put a hand on the wrong branch it snapped loudly, the crack echoing into the forest like a gunshot.
Aurora jumped up her head whipping around from side to side trying to locate the noise, chest rising and falling with panic.
'Hello?' she asked into the silence. There was no reply. Jiminy moved back against the tree so she didn't see him.
'Hello?' She asked again. There was no reply again and Aurora felt uneasy. 'Go. Go!' she said to the small fox, who looked around the forest as she did. Aurora had an odd prickling sensation along the back of her neck. She had never been taught how to fight, she panicked. The branch from the tree fell to the forest floor with a crash and Aurora didn't wait around to find out what it was.
Jiminy waited a moment before he clambered down. He wiped his brow and pushed his glasses up his nose looking out in the direction Aurora hand run off too. He felt downcast, he had scared her away, his mother was right. He was never going to be a prince charming, or a hero. He was destined to be a thief and a liar all his life. Then he noticed it the book on the floor, it was hand written with a fabric cover, drawings of dragons and fairies littered the inside. Jiminy held it in his hands for a moment and vowed to return it tomorrow.
'Where have you been?' His mother scolded when he returned looking a little downcast. He hid the book behind his back out of sight of his parents wandering hands.
'Why so glum when there's,' his father pulled a coin from behind his ear and made it disappear. 'magic in the air.' He smiled at his son.
'You better put a smile on your face if we're going to earn anything tonight.' She pinched his cheek and smiled. Jiminy sighed and put a fake smile onto his face.
Chapter 2: Real World: Deep Into The Darkness
Archie Hopper walked Pongo through the town every day once in the morning, once in the evening and then in between patient's if he could manage it. He loved Pongo as much as one could love a dog, he was loyal and Archie, despite being a psychiatrist and knowing that he should be a little more sceptical on these matters thoroughly believed that Pongo knew when he (Archie) was happy, when he was sad, when he was angry or amused. A small part of Archie believed that Pongo understood a lot more than just fetch and sit.
Archie was trying to do up his coat buttons when Pongo tugged a little on his lead.
'Pongo!' Archie chastised him as his finger caught the button and it came lose in his hand, he dropped it accidentally. He sighed, he'd have to leave it open.
'You might need this.' A voice said.
'Henry!' Archie beamed at him. 'And why, aren't we at school yet mister.' Archie tutted at him.
'Hey I still have twenty minutes yet.' Henry replied giving Pongo a loving scratch.
'So you do! But you better run along, you don't want to be late.' Archie urged him. Henry passed him the button and then set off at a half run to school. Archie looked at the button in his hand for a minute, it needed fixing, this was his favourite coat. He knew exactly where to take it. The Red, Blue and Green Costume Shop would probably be open, and would probably be happy for the business. Although it did meant facing Rose, Sunny and Faline, the three old women who owned the shop and were somewhat known for their eccentric nature. Archie sighed and looked at Pongo for a moment.
'This is all your fault you know!' He said to him. Before setting off towards the shop he grimaced as he opened the door to the costume shop. It smelt of old clothes, musty and there was something else there, was it glue? Probably from the back, the three sisters made and sold costumes and clothing. They ran a small clothing repair line from the back of the shop too and it was the place most people in Storybrooke went for repairs.
'Dr Hopper!' Rose cried running over to him as he came into the shop.
'How are you?' Sunny said.
'What can we do you for?' Faline, added.
'Oh you haven't left Pongo outside have you!' Sunny said as she linked his free arm and they steered him towards the counter. Archie wriggled free from them and shrugged off his coat.
'I was wondering if you could fix this for me?' He asked pushing the glasses up his face a little and hunting in his pocket for the lost button. 'In fact all the buttons could do with a little touch up.'
'Be done by the end of the day.' The three women beamed at him and Archie began to feel a little uncomfortable.
'Yes, well, I'll come back later then.' He said to them.
'Don't forget your ticket!' Rose cried she passed it him holding onto his hand a little too long. When he was free he turned to leave and looked out of the window to see a young lady showering Pongo with affection. She had light brown hair which was pulled loosely back into a pony. She jumped a little when she heard the door open and looked up at him.
'Sorry.' She mumbled stepping back from Pongo, now he could see her face she didn't look so happy, there was something about her that seemed inherently sad. The sparkle in her eyes when she had first looked up faded within a few moments. It didn't surprise Archie he often had this effect on women.
'Not at all, I'm sure Pongo enjoyed the attention.' He smiled at her but she avoided his eyes.
'Rory dear come on these clothes won't stitch themselves.' Sunny said putting an arm around the girls shoulder and directing her inside. 'Sorry about her, she's a little, y'know.' Sunny said to Archie. Archie watched for a moment as the girl sat in the corner away from her Aunts who were chatting animatedly. She sighed deeply and gazed out of the window for a moment before returning to her work. Archie frowned a little. Before deciding it was time to go and return Pongo home before heading for his first appointment.
She'd gotten all the way to the edge of town one time and realised she had no money and nowhere to go and simply turned around and gone home. Tonight was one of those nights where the emptiness just seem to envelope her as she felt something she couldn't quite put her finger on and she searched inside herself for answers that weren't there or simply refused to come.
She sat on that bench like she always did just watching the stars. She sat watching them for hours digging around inside her own head looking for the source of her pain; where this feeling of despair came from. She had no need to feel it, she had not lost something. She lived a comfortable life with her Aunts and she had a comfortable job with them. She couldn't complain really, she shouldn't. Yet she couldn't get happy. It didn't help that she rarely ever slept, which was why she was out here so late at night. On her own on the bench, she could sit here all night if she wanted and no one would bother her.
Sleep seemed to evade her constantly. She barely ever slept more than three solid hours a night and most nights she barely got that. It was no wonder she felt despair when she hadn't slept properly in forever. She'd tried lotions and potions of all different varieties. She'd tried exercise and relaxation techniques. Nothing worked though.
The only thing that seemed to lift her spirits were the animals and they were few and far between within the town. She couldn't explain why but they gave her a feeling of home that filled a void within her. Rory had dissected her mind on this bench countless times, yet it always came back to this. She had this feeling inside her that she needed to get home, but she was home wasn't she?
Among some of her wilder theories Rory had wondered if her Aunts had lied to her about everything, perhaps they weren't even her Aunts. It wasn't like there was any family resemblance.
Rory liked this time of night because no one was around and she didn't have to answer awkward questions. Generally she stayed away from the townsfolk, especially Granny's, apart from very early morning, when there was no one in there. She just didn't want to bring anyone down, because being around people made her feel lonelier then she already felt so she preferred to fade into the background.
Rory put her head in her hands, she couldn't even cry, people who were sad should cry. She had nothing to be sad about though. Pull yourself together. She said. She looked up at the stars and took comfort that there was a whole universe of other beings out there and she couldn't be the only one feeling like this and that it had to get better at some point, didn't it?
She let out a small laugh and smiled remembering how happy Pongo had been when she had been paying him attention. About the only thing that would be glad of her attention. Still it was something that made a little ball of warmth appear in her chest and it was some small dose of happiness she could cling onto and she would cling onto it.
She stood up and headed back to the house, her Aunts would be snoring away when she got in, just as they always were. Every time she took a step and began to feel sad she thought of Pongo wagging his tail and smiled a little inside. A dog wasn't going to cure her but this feeling was a lot nicer then the dull ache or numb emptiness which usually sat in her chest.
Chapter 3: Fairytale World: I Know There's Someone Somewhere...
'Come on Jiminy.' His mother hissed nudging him hard in the back to step forward into the crowd and distract various wealthy members as his mother or father stole their money or various belongings of worth. He sighed before he moved out into the crowd.
'May I say what a wonderful neckerchief that is sir!' He smiled at a distinguished looking gentlemen, the man looked him up and down and then sniffed.
'For what is life, without a little magic.' His father chimed, from the front of the crowd, they made appreciative noises and Jiminy tried to get the man's attention again but he ignored him.
'Well hello there.' His mother stepped in front of him. 'I'm sorry is my son bothering you?' she asked and she scratched at her chest with her nails drawing his attention to her bosom.
'Not at all ma'am' The stranger replied and bowed to Jiminy's mother who scowled at him and linked the gentlemen's arm. Jiminy shuddered a little wondering what exactly she would do to steal whatever wealth he had. Jiminy shook his head and wandered a little away from the crowd towards the trailer. He pulled out a small bag he'd hidden which contained the book he'd found. He looked to his parents for a moment and decided he wasn't going to be missed. Jiminy hopped down from the trailer and sat on the grassy earth leaning his head against the hard wood. He adjusted his glasses and ran his hands over the brown fabric of the book cover. His fingers traced the indent of the letters.
Jiminy opened it carefully like it was a treasure to be held dear. He didn't read just yet, his eyes swept over the pages which were light and ancient, the book was well read and beautiful watercolour pictures littered its insides. Pictures of dancing women and princes slaying dragons, the very stories he had heard around campfires countless times as a child. He smiled, when he reached the story that had clearly been most read. It wasn't, he found, the tale of a beautiful princess and handsome prince but instead the humble tale of a knight who left behind his town to fight in a war. On returning the knight found his town overtaken by an evil lord. The knight had to then defeat the evil lord in order to save his town and his childhood sweetheart.
Jiminy smiled. This wasn't his book though. He closed it and let his fingers run along the letters again. He'd take it back, it wasn't his and he wasn't going to steal it. For once he was going to return something to its rightful owner. Jiminy held it in his hands for a moment and listened to the sound of the crickets in the field playing a happy melody.
She realised her book was missing that night. When she had gone to reach for it and realised it wasn't there, she felt a little downcast. Of the few things she had the book was her favourite. It fed her imagination. It, like the forest had a magic about it that had nothing to do with spells or deals.
'Oh Perdy, it must be around here somewhere.' She sighed kicking leaves out of the way and looking under logs for the book. Jiminy had it in his hands, he clutched it to his chest and hid behind the tree, he suddenly felt very nervous.
'It must be Perdy! Who would want an old book such as that?' She asked the fox who simply stared at her for a moment before starting to sniff around. She sighed loudly and dropped down in between the roots of the large tree. She played with her fingers for a moment before she spoke.
'Well I guess if we can't read them, we'll have to try and remember. Or make up our own?' She looked at the fox and pushed herself to standing again. Jiminy watched her noticing her feet were bare on the forest floor. He watched as her light brown hair fell around her bare shoulders and he wondered whether her hair would feel soft between his fingers, which lazily brushed the edges of the book still in his hands.
'Maybe someday I could have my own story someday. There must be someone out there for me, even that old lot have each other, but then I guess I do have you.' She smiled and leant down to stroke the fox.
Now, step out now! Jiminy's brain was saying to him, screaming at him. He looked around the side of the tree again peering at Aurora who was walking around in a dreamy haze watching the skies as she did. His courage failed him. A girl, any girl wouldn't want to talk to him and he didn't want to scare her away again.
'I know there's someone, somewhere, Perdy.' Aurora began again. 'Someone, who's sure to find me soon! You see after the rain goes there are rainbows and I'll find my rainbow soon enough.' She leant down and scratched the foxes head again unaware of the man watching her.
'Soon it won't be just pretend Perdy, soon a happy ending. You'll come with me of course.' She gestured to the fox.
'Love, can you hear me, if you're near me. Sing your song, sure and strong and soon.' She almost sung these last lines, her voice soft and melodic, charming.
Jiminy's heart seemed to sink a little, love can you hear me. She had sung that, did she already have a love? Not that it mattered anyway. A pretty girl in the woods could never love a man like him; a man who wanted to do the right thing but was too cowardly. Who couldn't escape his parents. Jiminy wasn't a knight like in the stories. Jiminy was Jiminy, tied to his parents for as long as they lived. He sighed, he should simply hand her the book back and leave. She was still humming having resumed looking for it and Jiminy felt his heart a flutter at the soft noise.
He stepped out from behind the tree but she didn't notice him at first and he was struggling to find something to say, he couldn't just stand there and thrust the book at her. When working for his parents words came easy, they didn't fail him so why did they now?
'You have a very lovely wonderful.' He said suddenly. 'I mean you have a wonderful lovely, I mean a lovely voice.' He stumbled over his word and sighed shaking his head.
Aurora looked up startled, eyes a little wide with fear and shock that someone else had found her. She remained silent and Perdy the fox hid behind her long skirt.
'It's lovely.' He mumbled.
'I'm not supposed to talk to strangers.' She said watching him caution and intrigue flitted across her face.
'Is this what you're looking for?' He asked her, he held the book out and she looked at him still a little wide eyed. 'I found it, yesterday.' He added, leaving out the fact he had been watching her.
'And you brought it back.' Her voice was barely a whisper and she held out a shaky hand to take the book from him. She held it to her like it was precious cargo.
'Jiminy.' He said holding out a hand for her to shake and smiling, he adjusted his glasses again a little nervously.
'Thank you, but I'm not supposed to talk to strangers.' She nodded and backed off a little.
'Unfortunately that’s my job, somewhat, not something I want to do. I'd like to be…'
'I'm sorry, I have to go.' Aurora cut him off.
'Oh.' Jiminy replied a little downcast.
'I have to go. I'm not allowed to talk to strangers.' Aurora repeated. She turned and ran head first into the forest calling a thank you behind her. When she'd run far enough she leant against a tree breathing deeply and feeling confused.
Jiminy, that had been his name. Jiminy he had been nice, kind enough to bring her book back, to make the effort too. Everything about him had been lovely and she sighed against the tree pulling the book closer to her like it was some life support. A part of her, the part that had her heart beating faster then she had ever felt it beat before, wanted her to go back. What her aunts didn't know couldn't hurt them. She could have stayed and spoken to him. Maybe he would have had some great stories to tell her. Aurora couldn't go back now could she? He'd have gone anyway.
'Come on Perdy.' She sighed and looked down at the fox, who simply trotted off into the forest ahead of her.
Jiminy stood there for a moment, not knowing exactly what to say. She couldn't talk to strangers? That was odd, somewhat understandable though if enforced by her parents. She was beautiful, smaller than him with dark bluish eyes that seemed to have a sparkle to them. He watched the space where she had been stood for a moment. She hadn't shown him distaste had she? The look on her face was not like the look on his mother's face when he mentioned wanting to change. He wondered for a moment had she not been forbidden from speaking to strangers would she have stayed and talked with him a while?
No, probably not. Women like that didn't want to stay and talk to Jiminy because Jiminy wasn't worthy of their company. He wished he was, he wanted to make himself so but feared he never would. Yet he told himself that he would return to the forest again tomorrow in the hope of seeing her.
A/N: When Aurora is talking to Perdy and she starts on about 'Soon a happy ending.' these are lyrics from a song from the Thumbelina movie which I just changed a little. So I didn't actually create that. It does have significance though but for later on. So what do we think of the story so far?
Chapter 4: Real World: It's Always Darkest Before Dawn.
Archie woke up half asleep but in need of something to drink, his mouth was dryer than a desert and it was something that couldn't be ignored. He looked at the clock on his nightstand and groaned groping for his glasses, it was almost 5am. He got up and went to fetch himself a glass of water and on his return from the bathroom he found Pongo wasn't on the end of his bed. He looked around and noticed he wasn't in the bed which sat on the floor either. This was odd Pongo almost always slept in his room, unless there was something genuinely wrong. Archie headed downstairs wondering if the dog had slipped down to sleep on the couch.
'Pongo.' He said softly into the darkness. He flicked the lights on and called the dog again, he was nowhere to be found though. He hunted around in his spotted companions usual hiding places but he was missing. He knew he'd locked the doors properly front and back so he couldn't have gotten out that way. Archie felt a little worried, why would Pongo leave anyway? He'd hardly ever raised his voice to the dog since he was a puppy.
Archie felt a draft and turned around to find the dining room's curtains blowing a little. He pushed them aside to find the window open, Pongo could have easily slipped out of the window had it been open just a little. He groaned loudly bringing his hand to his forehead, now he was going to have to get dressed and go out looking for him. Panic began to flicker into his thoughts. There weren't many people out and about at this time but what if Pongo got onto the road? What if tonight was the night a lorry decided to pass through town? What if he got himself lost in the woods? Archie breathed deeply to calm himself and went to dress quickly.
She was more than a little surprised when a wet nose pressed at her hands which were resting on her knees. She looked up to find the Dalmatian from earlier.
'Couldn't sleep either huh?' She asked him feeling the dense fog that sat in her chest lift a little. She felt at ease, like she could talk. 'You should go on home.' She said to him giving his head a friendly pat. She looked away from the dog and he put his head in her lap, large brown eyes watching her. It was almost like he could sense there was something wrong with her.
'Won't someone be worried about you boy?' She asked him. The dog whined at her and adjusted his placing, she stroked his head and scratch behind his ears and he stopped. She wanted to take him back to his owner but she had no idea where he lived. She knew where Doctor Hopper's office was, of course she did but where he lived, no. It was too early for him to be up or at the office. She sat there for a moment longer she didn't want to leave this spot. She wasn't warm but for the first time in a while she felt comfortable and though she knew she should be leaving to at least attempt to find Pongo's home, she didn't want to move.
'You reckon there's something more than us out there Pongo?' she asked the dog who sat next to her, still and quiet. He let out a bark suddenly in the night which startled her. 'Shh.' She said a little desperately. 'Don't wake everyone up!'
'Pongo!' Archie cried. 'Pongo, here boy!' Pongo barked loudly but didn't move from where he sat next to Rory.
'There you are boy!' Archie cried and Rory jumped up in an effort to show she wasn't holding Pongo hostage or anything of the sort. 'What are you playing at running off like that?' Archie cried sitting on the bench and ruffling Pongo's ears and face lovingly. He let relief wash over him before he looked up at Rory who stood watching them a little awkwardly.
'Oh, hello, I didn't think anyone would be out this late at night.' He said as he spotted Rory.
'I, I, I erm, I was going to bring him by the office, I just I didn't think anyone would be there and I don't know where you live.' She said nervously wringing her hands out. Pongo's face left Archie's grasp and he trotted over to Rory sniffing at her hands and giving them a friendly lick, his tail wagging. She pulled her hands away still wringing them out and looked away from him as he adjusted his glasses.
'It seems he's taken quite the shine to you.' Archie laughed. 'Thank you for keeping him company.' Archie clicked his tongue at
Pongo and he returned to his owner's side.
'I, I, well I have to go.' She said backing away from him seeming a little frightened. 'Please don't tell my aunts you saw me out here, too many questions. Please.' She pleaded a little and began to scurry off. Pongo barked at Archie who frowned at the dog, he stood up and ran after her a little.
'Are you ok?' He asked catching up with her quickly Pongo on his heels.
'Yes, yes I'm fine.' Rory said, it was a response she'd practiced all too much and it had been a lie, it had always been a lie because she had been walking around with this thick fog sat over her chest for as long as she could remember. Yet now stood here presented with Doctor Hopper and his faithful dog, she felt it lift. She felt it clear a little. Like when the sun comes through the clouds on a dark day. They were only little rays but it was an odd sensation.
Archie watched her curiously, her expression was doing odd things, flitting from the despair and panic she had worn to curiosity, recognition and then she let out a sigh and a small smile before she looked up at him and Pongo again.
'Yes, yes I am.' She said again. 'Thank you.' She added. She looked at him curiously again. A smile creeping at the corners of her mouth but it never quite fully formed. 'Please don't tell my aunts you saw me.' She said panic seeming to set back in.
'I won't.' Archie said as she scuttled off up the street. Pongo wagged his tail happily and trotted off ahead of Archie in the opposite direction back towards the house. Archie watched him for a moment and shook his head. His thoughts wandered to just what his dog had been playing at but then he shook his head feeling ridiculous. Coincidence was a funny thing.
The longer Archie thought about her, the more curious he became and the more he thought about her life within the town so far, or what he knew of it. In his half-awake state he found his brain flitted curiously over things such as how she would react to being given a bunch of flowers. Or whether enabling her to become a little more at one with the town would benefit her. He thought about her nervous smile, that had been cute, it had lifted her whole demeanour a little. Archie shook his head, he was tired and his brain was doing funny things to him.
She stood stirring the cocoa for a moment and thought about how Pongo had sat with her. It was nice to have something happy to see her, something that she didn't feel like she was a burden to. She found that with the small, bright lights dancing inside her chest came the notion that the world seemed just a tiny bit brighter. Rory yawned loudly and again and when she climbed into bed, her head hit the pillow and she fell asleep. That night she had two whole hours of deep uninterrupted sleep.
If you enjoyed please review and lemme know what you think =)
Chapter 5: Fairytale World: Wanderin' Free Wish I Could Be.
Jiminy didn't want to go back to the campsite, he didn't want to have to answer questions about where he'd been. He didn't want to blush in front of his mother and her to start asking questions or making assumptions like she had done when he'd met the serving girl from the castle.
He wandered around the forest for a while, thinking about the girl. He could try to find her if he wanted. No! a voice inside of him said. He was simply letting his feet carry him forward when he stopped as he heard the rustling noise just ahead of him; a small family of rabbits, enjoying their lunch by the looks of things. Jiminy took a step forward and they scurried off a little. He stood for a moment watching them, something else he was going to frighten away. He was so tired of doing the wrong thing when all he wanted to do was the right thing.
'You have to crouch down.' A small voice said from behind him. 'If you want to pet them, you're a bit intimidating if you're stood up. I mean not you, you're not intimidating you're lovely, but tall, scares them.' Aurora said stepping out from behind a tree. She blushed furiously wishing she hadn't said he was lovely.
Now it was Jiminy's turn to stare, he watched her as she stepped forward.
'Watch.' She smiled at him and he felt his heart flutter a little. She walked a little away from him looking for something on the forest floor and then came back. She knelt down into the blanket of dead leaves that littered the forest floor and he watched as she held out her hands which contained green leaves and a few flowers. He watched as she wiggled a little closer to the animals, this time they didn't shrink away but one small brave rabbit hopped towards her. It sniffed a little at her hands and when she lowered them the rabbit put its paws on her hands and reached for the grass. After a moment she reached out a hand and the small rabbit let her stroke it.
Jiminy looked around surely this would have been perfect hunting ground for a fox, then he spotted her, she was sat by the tree Aurora had come out from behind, obediently waiting for her friend to return.
'Gently.' Aurora said gesturing for him to kneel beside her in the earth. Jiminy did and she handed him some of the grass from in her skirt for him to feed them with. One of the larger rabbits bounded over to him and began like his counterpart eating from his hands. Jiminy smiled at Aurora. He hadn't smiled like that in a while and a part of him suddenly felt freedom flutter across his heart.
'See, they just need to know you're not going to hurt them.' She said and added more grass to his hands. She stood up and shook out her skirt. Removing the bits of stray grass from it, she walked a little away and beckoned Perdy forward.
'I, I thought you weren't allowed to talk to strangers.' Jiminy stood up and startled all the remaining rabbits, he looked a little downcast but when he turned around Aurora was smiling at him.
'Well,' she said crossing her hands behind her back a little nervously. 'Technically you're not a stranger, you brought my book back,' she swallowed hard and swayed on the spot. 'And I've seen you more than once and I know your name.' She smiled and swayed again not meeting his eyes.
Aurora couldn't believe what she was doing. Her Aunts had forbidden her from talking to strangers and yet nothing had happened when she had spoken to one. Aurora had never disobeyed them before not really and yet now, now she was doing exactly what they asked her not to. Jiminy seemed nice though, Jiminy seemed more than nice. She liked the way he shifted his glasses on his face and the way his mouth made a small o when she said he was no longer a stranger.
'Well, well I suppose not.' Jiminy said. 'Jiminy.' He said holding out a hand for her to shake.
'Aurora.' She smiled and took his hand. The shake lasted a little too long and they both looked away from each other sheepishly
'I, I erm, I liked the one about the knight.' Jiminy said wringing his hands out nervously. 'Your book.' He added to Aurora's confused expression. 'I hope you don't mind, I took a look.'
'Why would I mind? You did bring it back to me after all.' She replied her back to him as she wandered away from him a little. He followed her.
'Where do you...'
'How come you're not allowed…' After a moments silence they both spoke at the same time. Both blushed and looked away again.
'Ladies first.' Jiminy said and she turned to face him before she spoke as though searching his face for something.
'What are you doing this far out in the forest, I mean, nobody ever comes out here.' She asked moving on the spot again and not meeting his eyes. It wasn't confidence she felt but a little excitement, no one had actually stayed long enough to talk to her before. She'd seen people when she was a child and encountered a few brutish soldiers now and again, whose intentions were a little less than noble, which had meant she'd had to fight or run. But no one as sweet as this had made it this far, not someone who would return her book anyway. A smile crossed her face again when she thought about that. No she wasn't confident at all. She was sure that soon he was going to get bored of her. Aurora knew nothing of the world outside the forest, nothing aside from her stories and bits and pieces about the forest.
'I, well, my parents, I mean. I just wanted a little, a little freedom.' Jiminy said adjusting his glasses, he ran his hands through his hair.
'Now that I can understand.' Aurora slumped down into a tree stump again.
'You? You have the whole forest!' Jiminy said.
'Doesn't mean I'm free.' Aurora said she brought her knees up to her chest and watched as Jiminy sat down against a tree close by.
'Why not?' Jiminy asked her.
'It doesn't matter.' Aurora stood up and walked away from him. 'I shouldn't even be here.' She called.
'It matters if it makes you unhappy.' Jiminy said and Aurora stopped in her tracks.
'It doesn't.' She said flatly.
'If it doesn't make you unhappy then why do you look so sad?' Jiminy asked her. He didn't like that. He didn't like how down cast she looked when she didn't think anyone was watching her properly. He liked her smile, the way her eyes sparkled and her cheeks flushed nervously.
'Where do you live? The nearest village is at least two hours walk.' Aurora asked him changing the subject.
'We, erm, we don’t live in the village. We, well, we travel around a lot.' Jiminy pushed his glasses up his face again and Aurora smiled at this, it was cute. She flushed a little at the thought. He didn't look much like he could be a prince but there was a possibility he could be a humble knight. She smiled again.
'That sounds exciting, the freedom to travel around and see the world outside!' Aurora moved closer to him intrigued and a little excited.
'No, it's not like that.' Jiminy shook his head. 'I, they don't, they're not good people. It's not, but they're my parents. I have to!' He wasn't making much sense and he knew it. He didn't want to frighten her away though. How could he tell her that his job was stealing from people? That he did exactly as his parents asked of him because the courage to escape them failed him. Just like the courage to tell her what he was, was failing him now. He liked her smile though. He wanted to see more of it. There was something more though, he wanted to be the reason behind it. He had never been the reason behind anyone's smile before, apart from when he stole for his parents. Then it was for all the wrong reasons though.
He felt somehow free with her. He knew that she was just as trapped as he was. His parents would stay on the site for a while.
That thought made him happy, with three villages in the surrounding area to take their pick from they could easily make a killing, two weeks stay would have them fat and wealthy in no time at all.
Jiminy would come back here again. Whether Aurora were here or not, if there was a chance she'd come here then he'd come back to try and see her again.
'Which, Which story is your favourite?' Jiminy asked her referring to the book.
'Oh, I don't, well,' She breathed deeply. 'I like them all and I know my favourite should probably be one about Princes saving princesses from dragons or slaying evil witches but I really like the one about the knight.' Aurora rubbed her hands together. 'He's just an ordinary man trying to do the right thing.' She smiled up at him.
Chapter 6: Real World: I Like To Keep My Issues Drawn
A week had passed since Rory had encountered Archie on the bench, she hadn't spoken to him since but every time he passed her he nodded or said Hello. It made her smile, it made the ache over her heart dull a little and she didn't feel so trapped anymore. She had even taken to leaving the shop and going for a walk, she didn't speak to anyone, but a part of her, a part that was buried quite deep wanted to see Archie again and have him more than simply say hello.
Archie just couldn't pluck up the courage to ask her to go for a walk with him sometime. She'd never agree to it anyway and the small smile she gave him as he said hello to her was probably more to Pongo than him. People like Rory often enjoyed the company of animals a little more than people.
Rory was wandering along, not paying attention when she spotted Archie and Pongo across the street. She was too busy watching them when she stepped out onto the road.
'HEY!' Emma cried loudly pulling her back, Pongo barked on the opposite side of the road and tugged at the lead. Archie looked over to see Emma pull Rory out of the way of a speeding car.
'Hey, you wanna wake up a little! Pay attention to the road sometime.' Emma joked and Rory flushed as she said it.
'Are you ok? I saw what happened.' Archie asked crossing the road. Pongo stuck his nose in Rory's hand and she could feel her cheeks starting to burn.
'I'm fine. Sorry, I'm fine, thank you. I need to get back.' She stammered refusing to make eye contact with either of them afraid they might see exactly what she was thinking, exactly who she had been thinking about that had nearly got her run over. She half hoped. It was a very small hope, something she didn't think she had ever felt before. That he might ask her to dinner sometime.
'Ok.' Emma said sticking her hands in her back pockets as Rory ran off up the street. 'What's her problem?'
'Rory is somewhat, well she's not very good at socialising. She's a little…' Archie trailed off watching Rory.
'Oh, well ok then.' Emma looked a little bemused but smiled noticing Archie's gaze.
'Yes, well patients to see.' Archie nodded to Emma and walked off Pongo trotting along ahead of him.
'Do you know who that was?' Henry asked suddenly appearing at her side. 'Hey Archie.' He shouted to The Doctor as he walked away.
'I don't know Alice in wonderland?' Emma joked. Henry shook his head at her. 'Who do you think she is?'
'Sleeping Beauty.' Henry replied. Emma raised her eyebrows at him.
'I don't know if you've noticed but she's not sleeping.' Emma said to him.
'Exactly!' Henry replied opening the door to Granny's and sitting down at the booth closest to the door.
'Wait you think she's Sleeping Beauty because she's not asleep, you know that sounds…' Emma paused.
'Crazy, you can say it.' Henry rolled his eyes at her. 'She lives with her three aunts, who don't like her talking to strangers and staying out late. She never sleeps. Well that's what I heard…' Henry quietened down as Ruby came over to take their order.
'Are you talking about Rory?' she asked.
'Yeah Emma just saved her life.' Henry chimed looking at Emma proudly.
'No, I didn't not really.' Emma shook her head.
'It's a shame really. She doesn't come out into town much. I guess it has a lot to do with her aunts though.' Ruby replied and stalked off to get their drinks.
'That doesn't make her Sleeping Beauty Henry. Who's the evil witch then? The dragon?' Emma replied to the little boy's excited look.
'No but she is, trust me and beside the stories are a little different.' Henry said quietly leaning in.
'I have a feeling you're going to tell me whether I like it or not.' Emma watched him curiously.
'How much do you know?' Henry asked her.
'When Sleeping Beauty was a kid she's carted off into the woods to live with three fairies. Then she meets the prince. Then she hurts her finger, falls asleep for a thousand years until the prince rescues her, right?' Emma asked him.
'Half-right, Sleeping Beauty's parents had to send her away to save her. When she was staying with the fairies though, she fell in love with someone who wasn't the prince. He was a, a travelling man or something. So she wished she could fall asleep…'
'Until true love's kiss broke the spell…' Emma rolled her eyes at Henry.
'Exactly and we can help her!' Henry said.
'How?' Emma asked him now a little curious.
'What if waking her up, doesn't mean, waking her up?' Henry whispered to her. 'For as long as I've known her she's been sad, and I've never seen her out on the street so much.'
'So you think if we find her true love she'll be happy?' Emma whispered. 'And she'll 'wake up'.'
'Exactly! I knew you'd understand.' Henry smiled and drank down some of his soda.
'Why do you wanna help her?' Emma asked him.
'Because she needs it.' Henry shrugged. 'And the hero's always help people out.' He smiled.
'And we're the hero's?' Emma watched him.
'Well, you're the hero, I'm more the sidekick.' Henry whispered.
'What can we do for you today?' Sunny smiled at him.
'Oh, well, would you believe it. I tore my favourite shirt at the office, I was wondering if…' Archie began. He peered around the shop looking for any sign of Rory.
'No garment too big or too small!' Rose chimed.
'No garment is trouble at all!' Sunny finished.
'This will be no trouble. We'll have it done by tomorrow for you, Doctor Hopper.' Faline nodded to him. He noticed Rory was stood on a ladder organizing some pieces of costume jewellery on a shelf. He managed to wander over as her Aunts busied themselves.
'Hello.' He said, he noticed it startled her a little.
'Is there something you need?' She asked.
'I, just wondered if you were ok? After this morning?' He asked looking up at her.
'What, oh, that was nothing. I just lost my head a little.' She replied.
'Rory dear have you finished that case yet, I need your help!' Faline called from the back of the shop. Archie watched her as she descended the small step ladder and when she stumbled he caught her arm to steady her. Rory looked up at him for a moment, another dent in the fog.
'Thank you.' She smiled at him. She watched him for a moment, there was so much more to him than just the Doctor she knew it, somewhere deep inside.
'RORY!' Her aunts cried in unison from the back.
'Sorry.' She muttered, she shook her head out and a few stray hairs fell out of place around her face. She made to scurry into the back of the shop and looked back for a moment.
'You have a nice smile you know, you should show it off more.' Archie said suddenly. Rory stopped and swallowed, she looked back for a moment a smile crossing her face.
'RORY, will you get in here!' Faline cried again sticking her head out of the back door. 'Sorry Doctor Hopper, didn't realise you were still here, come on Rory I'm sure Doctor Hopper has lots to do.'
'Oh, yes, patients to see.' He nodded to Faline and left the shop rather clumsily.
'Come on Pongo.' Archie smiled down at the dog.
'Now dear. Your aunts and I think that it's about time you started to socialise a bit more.' Faline began as Rory helped pull some bits and pieces of fabric down.
'You are a young lady after all.' Sunny added.
'So we thought that maybe…' Rose began.
'I'm fine as I am.' Rory replied. 'I don't need to go out. Happy see.' She set a fake smile on her face, which turned into a real one when she remembered Archie's words.
'No you're not!' Sunny chided.
'Moping around here all day.' Rose cried.
'And don't think that we buy your sleeping routine.' Faline wagged a finger at her. 'You have a date.'
'I have a what?' Rory asked.
'A date, with Mr Robins, tomorrow night.' Faline said seriously.
'Are you serious?' Rory breathed deeply annoyed her brow creasing. 'I'm a grown woman.' Faline scowled at her niece and walked out into the shop away from her. Sunny followed giving her a knowing nod and only Rose remained.
'She's just worried about you dear. She thinks it will help and probably feels like she's helping. We all miss that smile Mon coccinelle peu.' She beamed at her niece and kissed her on the forehead. Rose had always been her favourite aunt, she was a little softer than the others a little more reluctant to try and enforce things.
'Just talk to her, you know what it's like to be alone right?' Henry said.
'Oh yeah what do you want me to do? Go up to her Hi, sorry we don't know each other but Henry thinks you're sleeping beauty and I'm here to help.' Emma sighed and sat back in her chair. She'd never been good at the whole friendship thing. Becoming friends with Mary Margaret had been a big enough step in itself, just asking someone though, actively trying to be friends with them, that made her edgy and nervous and feel weird.
'Hey that could work!' Henry cried.
'Oh come on Henry.' Emma crossed her arms and sat back in the seat.
'Please. If she finds her prince it might help with the curse!'
'Ok, ok I'll try.' Emma said holding her hands up in defeat. 'This is gunna be awkward.' She sighed.
'Ok we'll meet back here after school and you can report back.' Henry beamed finished his drink and pulled his backpack on before running off to school.
Emma groaned loudly in her seat, this was not going to be easy, it was going to be awkward and she'd probably look stupid. She was thinking about asking Mary Margaret for help when she appeared.
'Oh that doesn't look good.' She said sitting down opposite her. Emma sighed. 'Henry?' she asked her.
'Kid wants me to go and talk to some woman.' Emma said sitting up and tapping her fingers on the side. Mary looked at her curiously.
'Some girl named Rory. Henry thinks she's Sleeping Beauty.' Emma sighed. 'I'm bad enough at making friends as it is never mind forcing it.' She groaned loudly. Mary nodded in recognition and understanding. 'You know her?' Emma asked.
'No, I don't think anyone really does though. She's kind of quiet and I don't think I've ever really seen her at town meetings and what not, in fact I don't think I've ever really seen her out and about. Unless it's with her aunts.' Mary replied. 'What does Henry think you can do?'
'I dunno, but I told him I'd help so I guess I gotta try right?' Emma frowned.
'Hi.' Emma said hands in back pockets she approached the counter a little wearily.
'Can I help you?' Rory asked her timidly.
'Yeah, well I heard that you can fix pretty much anything in here, clothes wise I mean.' Emma added. 'I kind a made a mess of this, but I really can't afford to be shopping at the moment.' She added.
Rory took the plastic bag off Emma and pulled out a white shirt covered in all manner of stains, wine, chocolate or was that mud?
'Erm, yeah, it should be ok. I have some stuff in the back, just give me a minute.' Rory said and Emma was surprised by how quiet she actually seemed. It wasn't quiet though, not like Mary Margaret and it wasn't a nervousness either. There was something there though, something stopping her from just smiling properly. She was sad about something.
'So how long have you lived in Storybrooke?' Emma asked her examining some of the costumes on the hangers. Huge blue and purple ball gowns sat near each other on a rail and Emma scrunched her face up at them. They were obviously for a play or pantomime.
'As long as I can remember.' Rory replied. 'This will only take a couple of minutes or so.' She was saying it so Emma knew she wouldn't have to wait in the shop with her long. They stood in silence for a minute and Emma simply examined some of the various bits and pieces littered throughout the busy shop.
'And you've always lived with your aunts?' Emma asked pulling a huge green necklace off the side and examining it a look of distaste on her face, surely nobody in town actually wore this stuff other than for a fancy dress parties?
'Yeah, I never knew my parents.' Rory replied. 'Here we go.' She smiled and handed Emma back the shirt, it was warm and clean.
'Thanks!' Emma said a little impressed with how little time that had taken.
'Just erm, don't tell my aunts how quick that was.' Rory replied.
'Are you ok?' Emma asked her.
'Yeah, I'm fine.' Rory said looking at her a little confused.
'I can tell when people are lying. It's kind of my talent.' Emma added. She looked at Rory with pity in her eyes and it made Rory feel uncomfortable, this was why she didn't go out much, this was exactly why she stayed away from other people because they either asked questions, somewhat worrying about her or she ended up bringing the mood down. She was bad news.
'Henry says you don't go out in town much. That must be lonely being hold up out here all the time.' Emma said sympathetically.
'No, actually no it's not.' Rory said a little firmly and Emma knew she'd touched a nerve because yes, yes it was lonely being on your own all the time. Emma knew that, no matter how much you put a face on sometimes it just hits you.
'Look, Rory I know it's not my place but if you're trapped. I mean if your aunts are keeping you here.' Emma began, she could sense her discomfort and loneliness and it was a natural reaction, a natural conclusion to leap to. Especially seen as the only time she seemed to be out was with her aunts.
'What? No, no of course not!' Rory said in annoyance. 'Look Miss Swan I don't know what people have told you, about me.' Rory paused and swallowed, she closed her eyes and Emma could see they sparkled a little in the dim light of the shop, because it did hurt, because she was lonely but she'd been lonely for a very long time and trapped.
'Or my aunts but it's not like that.'
'Look Rory I know how lonely it can get when you put up barriers to keep people out.' Emma said sensing the tension and feeling she had overstepped the mark.
'Miss Swan, with all due respect you don't know anything about me. I am not good for people to be around.' Rory replied tears threatening to fall down her cheeks. 'Now, if you wouldn't mind, it's lunch time. I need to close up!' Rory held the door open and gestured for her to leave.
'Rory, I was jus-'
'Miss Swan please leave the shop is now closed.' Rory said annoyed. Emma almost fell out onto the street.
'Oh, Emma hello. Rory I was just wondering if my shirt was ready?' Archie asked.
'I'm sorry Doctor Hopper we're closed for lunch, please come back later and I'm sure my aunts will have it ready.' Rory said holding back tears.
'Are you ok?' He asked her a little concerned.
'Yes. Please come back later for your shirt.' She said and she pushed the door closed annoyed at them both. There was a soft knock on the door but she ignored it turned the sign to closed and walked off towards the back of the shop. She slunk down against the wall and found the tears just washed over her. She couldn't even really understand why she was crying, she hadn't cried in so long. Then again she hadn't felt anything in a while and now she was confused because part of her wanted to shut the world out and remain the way she was drifting, alone. Then this new part of her recognised something she wanted to be a part of, people she wanted to talk too but she hadn't spoken to anyone in so long she didn't know where to start and she didn't think anyone would want her around anyway. She felt jealous of the clusters of people walking passed the shop and then she felt bad. Then it made her realise just how lonely and trapped she had become and it hurt even more.
Rory sighed and wiped away her tears. She was feeling so many things and after feeling only numb for so long it was confusing and upsetting, she wanted to let these new feelings overtake her but part of her was clinging onto the dense grey fog like it was the only thing protecting her.
I know someone has pulled me up on my dialogue thing and I'm sorry about that because no ones ever mentioned it before. I am trying though.. as they say old habits die hard but I have been looking at how to write it properly and I assure you I am trying =)
Chapter 7: Fairytale World: Once We Watched A Lazy World Go By
'She's been spending and awful lot of time in the woods lately.' Flora said watching Aurora getting ready from the kitchen.
'No more than usual.' Merryweather smiled.
'Let the girl be, she'll be home soon enough.' Fawna said looking up from her cleaning for a moment.
Aurora hummed merrily as she tied a scarf around her head, letting her hair fall around her shoulders the way Jiminy liked. She didn't really know how many days had passed since she had met him. She only knew that the world was a little brighter and she was no longer alone.
'What, nothing,' he put the bits and pieces in his hand into his pocket. 'I was wondering if perhaps the gold thread, this time, just this once, could I have it.' Jiminy asked cautiously.
His mother let out a loud laugh and his father came to see what the fuss was, she found it all hilarious.
'Jiminy, Jiminy jus-' she breathed a moment, putting a hand on her waist. 'Jiminy just asked me if he could have the gold thread.' She let out another laugh.
'What would you want with gold thread?' His father asked him. 'Is there something you're not telling us Jiminy?'
'No, no.' he said fidgeting, 'I was going to use it on one of the dolls.'
'Now why would we put it to waste on one of those?' His mother asked him.
'I-it was just an idea, it doesn't matter.'
'I think you should leave the ideas to us my boy.' His father replied with a toothy grin. Jiminy sighed and nodded. He had been making something for Aurora, something small. Jiminy had been going back to the forest as much as he could, seeking her out when she wasn't in their usual spot. Jiminy knew something had changed inside him, his heart beat a little faster and he felt free when he was around her. He wouldn't admit it yet but Jiminy was falling in love with her, he couldn't admit it to himself because he was sure despite everything that she couldn't care for him in that way. He was a common thief like his parents, dishonest. Aurora deserved so much more. Yet he couldn't just stay away from her.
Jiminy knew exactly what he wanted to do with Aurora today, he wanted to do something he knew would make her extremely happy.
Aurora saw him pacing the forest floor waiting for her and smiled. Feeling excited and perhaps a little flushed. She enjoyed his company more than anyone she had ever met before. A thought had been playing in her mind the night before; perhaps she was falling in love with him. She squashed it though.
'Hi!' Jiminy beamed when he saw her and she was suddenly very conscious of her hair around her shoulders. She'd worn it that way because he had said he liked it.
'Hi,' she said a little nervously, even though she had seen him so much over the past few days she still felt nervous when she first saw him. Heart beating a little too fast, cheeks flushing and her palms a little hotter than usual. It took a moment before she relaxed a moment before they settled into a routine. The past few days had been spent with Aurora showing him a lot of the forest, her favourite spots and how to gain the affections of the animals. Jiminy telling stories (without the help from the puppets) or Aurora from her book.
'I, I, well, I have a surprise for you.' He said after a moment, they had set off at a slow pace and the urge to interlink their fingers was there for them both but neither acted on it, nervous and unsure of how the other would react. When Aurora had grabbed his hand and pulled him towards the stream a few days earlier he'd blushed furiously as his whole body had seemed to tingle in anticipation and she had seemed to not even notice exactly what effect she was having on him.
'A surprise?' She asked as Jiminy dug around in his pockets for something. She looked at him curiously and felt her heart flutter a moment.
'I, well, I made it, I thought you might like it.' He handed it to her a little roughly, pushing it into her hands and not meeting her eyes.
Aurora took the small piece of string in her hands and examined it. It was just a piece of string. It appeared to be twine and hanging from it were several tiny wooden charms; a cricket, a ladybird, a book and a tree. Aurora was silently turning it over in her hands, taken aback by his generosity and the effort he had gone to.
'I knew it was a bad idea.' Jiminy sighed, his back still to her. 'I just, well, I thought it was a, I thought it-' he knew it, he knew as soon as he had put his hand into his pocket that it wasn't a good idea to give it her. It looked like too much effort had gone into it, it was silly and explaining the things on it would show how much thought he had put into it. He knew she'd think he was silly.
Aurora turned it over in her hands, her fingers tracing he grooves of the tiny wooden trinkets and her heart skipping a beat.
'Oh Jiminy, it's beautiful.' She breathed. She looked up at him for a moment and then threw her arms around his neck giving him a hug. Realising what she was doing she flushed a little and pulled away from him turning her attention back to the bracelet.
'Y-you really think so?' He asked looking around and wondering about her expression she was staring at it.
'Nobody's ever. Here, help me put it on.' She smiled and held it out to him and then her wrist. 'I can't believe you made this.'
'I wanted gold thread but I couldn't get any and well, there was supposed to be a fox but I'm not very good. I thought you'd like the ladybug though, you said you liked them.' He said his fingers fumbling over the twine as he tried to tie it.
'No, no it's perfect as it is!' She cried.
'I, I have another surprise for you.' Jiminy said spurred on by her happiness at the bracelet.
'Jiminy,' she sighed and shook her head. 'I don't have anything to give you in return.' She looked a little downcast.
'I don't want anything.' Except to see you smile he added inside his own head. There was no escaping it, he enjoyed her smile he liked it a lot and he liked the way she sounded when she laughed and the little giggle she did when he fell over a tree root.
'Come on, we don't want to miss the show.' He said and started walking off into the forest. She didn't let up all the way there asking him where they were going and what on earth they were doing. She also reminded him she wasn't supposed to go outside the forest boundaries. Then again she was already breaking the rules.
Jiminy stopped when they got to the forests edge and she could see a small gathering of people a short way away. Jiminy couldn't go into the crowd either, he couldn't risk his parents seeing him but he had come up with a way to show her what he wanted without them seeing.
A circus had come to town a few days before and his parents had been making a killing with all the extra people it was bringing to them. They'd conned so many people out of things they owned or loved within the past few days. Jiminy just wanted to show Aurora the show the dancers were putting on, a tale about the woodlands. A dance of sorts about a butterfly coming into being and other bugs trying to prevent it, it was supposed to be a tale like those she read in her books and he could imagine her enjoying it.
'We need to climb.' He smiled at her. It had only taken him so long to bring her because he was trying to find the perfect spot where she could see everything and he had. A huge tree with a thick base, where it branched out there was a space just big enough for them both to sit in comfortably and be able to see the show. Jiminy easily climbed up and then held out a hand to help her up which Aurora took without even thinking about it.
'I thought you'd like to see the show, it has dancing in it.' Jiminy beamed as they stood for a moment and he pointed to where a man in a top hat was stood introducing the show to the crowd, they could just hear it.
Jiminy sat back into the small cleared area. It seemed he had overestimated the space they actually had and he was about to wriggle to the side in an attempt to make more room. Expecting her to sit next him, but she frowned at the lack of room and before he could move she sat in front of him in between his legs. So her head was resting on his chest. She wasn't flush against him yet and sat forward a little watching the opening of the show.
It was so easy and felt so right and normal that Aurora didn't see anything wrong with how they were sat. Jiminy was embarrassed though blushing furiously behind her at how close she was. Even though it felt right, because it did he was fighting the urge to put his hands around her waist and remained tense as she leaned forward watching as the dancing commenced.
She was enthralled and thoroughly enjoying it and when she leaned back against him half way through the show, lazily interlinking her fingers with his it seemed like the most normal thing in the world. The most perfect thing in the world and Jiminy felt the embarrassment ebb away, because as much as he was trying to fight it and come up with a million reasons this was wrong, he'd never felt happier or more honest.
'What happened?' Aurora sat up suddenly as the dancer playing the caterpillar fell to the floor and other dancers moved around her. She looked at him a little desperately and then back to the stage.
'Watch.' Jiminy said leaning up and smiling at her reaction. At how enthralled in the story she had become, it was something so endearing. Even when he was simply telling her stories about his day she listened to every last detail.
Aurora relaxed again as the butterfly began to emerge from within the other dancers and began to take the stage as her own. She wriggled a little and Jiminy blushed furiously, grateful she couldn't see his face. Aurora wasn't even thinking about what she was doing, it was almost second nature. She was too enthralled in the show to actually be thinking about what she was doing as she rested her head on his chest and brought his hands around her waist, feeling sleepy and slowly beginning to drift off to the sound of music and Jiminy's heartbeat.
Chapter 8: Real World: Talk Myself In Talk Myself Out
Archie sat in the office after dinner just wondering about Rory, about what had got her so upset. He'd thought she was making progress, if that's what it could be called. Heaven knows he couldn't help calling it that. It was hard not to analyse people when it was your job, it was hard to try not to work everyone out, most of the time it was curiosity or the ridiculous compulsion to help people he had. Archie didn't simply want to help her though, Archie wanted to get to know her.
With others in the town he wanted to help, he really did. It was only a small town so naturally most people knew one another but he didn't in all honesty have a burning need to get to know them all on a friendship based level. On a level that was anything but professional or civil. There was no one he really felt like that about; he and Marco for example had been friends for years and frequently had dinner together or went for drinks every once in a while. Someone like him and Leroy though, maybe because Leroy was the town drunk, but he'd never felt anything close to wanting friendship, simply a need to help him. Rory was different though, he wanted to know about her, he wanted to hear about her favourite films and books or what she liked to do on a warm summer's day.
Pongo was scratching at the door again and Archie realised he didn't have any patients for the next hour; a walk might be in order. It would clear his thoughts a little, even if at that moment he was hoping that the walk would mean bumping into Rory.
Rory didn't know who she was kidding, she was scared, not scared, terrified of stepping out of the normality her life had become she just wasn't about to admit it.
She was reading on the bench in the park when she felt a wet nose prodding at her hand again. She didn't need to look down to know who it belonged to but she did anyway.
'Go home Pongo.' She said a little angrily. The dog didn't move, 'Go on! Go home!' she tried to shoo him away and went back to her book. Pongo didn't move, instead he put his head on the book so she couldn't read.
'I thought you were supposed to be a good dog, obedient? Why are you off your lead again huh?' Pongo only moved his head closer in reply looking up at her. Then he lifted his head and bounded off towards Archie who chided him lightly and then looked curiously to where Pongo had been a moment a go.
Archie walked over and sat down on the other end of the bench, he wasn't entirely sure of what he was going to accomplish but he sat down anyway.
Rory put her hands on the book and sighed, what was the point in trying to read. Her mind hadn't been focused on it anyway. She closed it slowly and ran her hand along the frayed edges. They sat in silence for a moment and Rory knew exactly what she wanted to say but she was struggling, it was better if she didn't surely?
'I'm sorry, about before.' She said taking a deep breath before she spoke, she looked at him for a moment but he was looking out, sitting forward ever ready to listen. 'I just,' she sighed and stopped.
'W-would you like to talk about it?' Archie asked. He regretted his tone instantly too clinical.
'I don't need a psychiatrist.' She said pointedly. She was playing with her middle finger, had there been a ring on it he was sure she would have been fiddling with that.
'Perhaps a friend then?' Archie asked her.
'I don't have any.' Rory replied.
'Oh I wouldn't say that.' Archie smiled a petted Pongo on the head who stuck his tongue out and licked at his master's hand. The gesture said Pongo was her friend but didn't outwardly say Archie was. Subtext said Archie was though or would like to be at very least. Rory sighed and blinked slowly. This was a bad idea. This was a very bad idea, terrible in fact. She was silent for a moment as she searched for the right words but a smile crossed her face.
'You know it's funny, I can't ever remember being happy, ever, not once in my whole life.' She stopped for a moment. 'It's hard to explain. Everything has always just been numb. Grey, I never even really cared about friends or anything like that because I was just so numb all the time and then things started to change. I don't know why but they did. When she came in this morning and just asked me if I was ok. I don't even know where to begin.' She put her head in her hands shaking it lightly.
Archie watched her curiously, he wanted to reach out and put a hand on hers, reassuringly but he didn't. There was no way he would feel comfortable doing that, he was too shy and he had no idea how she'd react.
'Before I was so, indifferent to everything that happened around me, just drifting and then something changed and suddenly I find myself wanting to go into Granny's, sit down and try to make some friends. Then there's this part of me that says it's a stupid idea, because I'll just be disappointed and whatever I'm feeling now, well disappointment would be worse. Now I'm jealous of people.' She gestured to a group of friends that passed them. 'I've never been jealous of anyone. I don't know how to react anymore and I don't like it. I'd rather go back to being numb.' She sighed and sat back slipping her hands under her thighs and rocking on them a little before removing them and fiddling with her jeans.
'Change is a, it's a difficult thing. It can be somewhat scary too, stepping into the unknown.' Archie pushed his glasses up his nose a little and looked at her.
'This is happiness though! Same rules don't apply do they! Sorry, I don't mean to ramble.' She looked up at him sheepishly.
'No, no I think it's good that you're even out here. I don't think happiness has any rules, surely happiness is better than feeling numb?' Archie added and watched her a little. Pongo put his head in her hands again and she sighed and stroked his head. Even now as she sat here, she could feel it in her chest she was happy, she was feeling happy and yet something was telling her she should guard herself. She shouldn't let herself feel it.
'I'm terrified of feeling anything.' She said quietly after a moment.
'I-I think after someone has, well after they've built up a wall. To protect themselves, it's. Well it's difficult to break down. Y-you just have to find the right people, to help you do it.' Archie kept his eyes on her as she tilted her head and he knew his words had resonated with her. He looked away quickly feeling his cheeks go a little warmer as she looked at him.
'I don't even know where to begin.' She stroked Pongo's head a little absent minded.
'Well, I think you're off to a good start. Maybe the next step would be apologising to Emma though.' He reached for Pongo's head and when his hand accidentally touched hers they pulled away quickly embarrassed.
'Sorry. I-I should be going, I have appointments to keep.' he said and Rory noticed the rosy tint to his cheeks and smiled. She liked that, it was sweet, the small stammer between some of his words, the soft tones to his voice. It was like he was soothing her very soul and yet as she sat on the bench she felt the world was a little brighter and she found herself watching Archie and wondering if it was him who had caused the change. She squashed this thought though, it couldn't be. He stood up and turned back before he made to leave. He looked at her for a moment and tilted his head as though thinking of the right words to say.
'Pongo and I usually take a walk around 6oclock after my last appointment. If you'd like to join us?' Pongo barked in appreciation and Rory looked up at him a little surprised. Archie had surprised himself but when he'd sat next to her he'd found himself feeling a little braver.
'Oh, well, I-' she began.
'I don't think Pongo will take no for an answer.' Archie interjected shooting her a smile.
'Well, if Pongo insists.' Rory replied feeling a sudden confidence blooming in her chest she smiled up at him and then gave Pongo a friendly scratch. She bid Archie farewell and decided that she would go and apologise to Emma.
'Hey I'm not looking for round two.' She said shaking her head.
'Neither am I,' Rory smiled, brimming with confidence and feeling happy after her encounter with Archie. 'I'm really, really sorry about this morning. I didn't mean to over react, I jus-'
'Hey you don't need to explain an apology is enough.' Emma replied.
'No, I should, I've just, things have been changing for me and I just, I feel like I've been asleep for a very long time and I'm starting to wake up. Oh god that sounded awful.' Rory put her head in her hands.
'Oh I know that feeling.' Emma smiled. Mary Margaret suddenly came in and she gave her a wave.
'I should be going, I just wanted to apologise.' Rory smiled as Mary Margaret approached the table.
'Don't go on my accord.' Mary said to her.
'I have things I should be doing.' She smiled at the pair of them and left Granny's heading to the shop heart a little lighter and the world seeming a little brighter.
'I have never seen her in here, especially not this time of day.' Mary said a little wide eyed and shooting Emma a smile. 'I see your mission went well?'
'Don't, she was just apologising for throwing me out of the shop.' Emma replied.
'Well I didn't want to let Pongo down.' She smiled a little bashfully at him and leant down to say hello to Pongo. Her hair was still tied up clipped at the back of her head but the way a few strands fell around her face looked lovely.
To start it was a little awkward, the conversation a little stoppered. Rory was nervous and if he was honest so was Archie. Rory didn't want to say the wrong thing but soon enough they were happily chit chatting about life in Storybrooke about idea's, favourite animals and inevitably Pongo and Archie was about to tell her the story of how he had come to find Pongo when Rory realised the time and despite wanting desperately to stay she didn't want her aunts asking too many questions. She promised him she was ready to hear it though, as soon as they could go for another walk.
'I think I know who her prince charming is.' Henry positively beamed at Emma and gestured to Archie and Rory who were strolling along the street Pongo wagging his tail happily in front of them.
'You think Archie is her prince charming?' Emma looked down at him curiously. 'I thought Archie was Jiminy Cricket?'
'He is, but before he was Jiminy Cricket he was a man who travelled around a lot.' Henry looked at Emma expecting her to know what he was talking about. 'And Sleeping Beauty fell in love with a travelling man.' Henry watched them and Emma gave him a nudge.
'Stop staring.' She chided softly.
'We should help them.' Henry said.
'I don't think they need it.' Emma replied. Henry was still looking at them though.
'Yeah, they do.' He smiled to Emma and walked off ahead of her as Archie and Rory said an awkward goodbye to one another.
Rory got dressed up to appease her aunts. She was wearing a bottle green dress that looked like it had come straight out of the 50's. Her hair was half up half down and over one shoulder because Faline and Sunny couldn't decide which looked best. They made her up and shipped her out, she felt a little like a rag doll at the end of whole ordeal. She didn't even feel like she looked that nice. Rose had given her a sympathetic look as she left.
'Henry, I don't think that this is a good idea!' Emma hissed at him as he hid up the side of Granny's awaiting who they knew they had to distract.
'Relax, all we have to do is tell him she's sick.' Henry smiled.
'Henry, we shouldn't be messing in people's love lives.' Emma grimaced.
'Quick he's coming!' Henry cried and pushed Emma out in front of Mr Robins.
'Miss Swan right?' He said as she stumbled in front of him shooting the alleyway an unimpressed glance. Henry stepped out. 'Hi Henry!'
'Yes, are you Mr Robins?' Emma asked.
'Yes, can I help you? I've just got somewhere to be.' Mr Robins said watching them, trying to glance into the diner.
'You were supposed to be meeting Miss Bell weren't you?' Henry asked and Emma tried to shush him. 'She's gone home, she said she felt sick.' Henry blurted out and Emma watched him a frown appearing on her face.
'Oh, ok, no matter.' Mr Robins said looking a little down hearted, he glanced towards Granny's and then turned on his heel and left.
'I can't believe you just did that! We shouldn't be doing this kid!' Emma cried in annoyance but Henry pulled her back into the alley as Archie came around the corner and entered the diner. When he was in and sat in a booth Henry pulled Emma along to where they could see the diner but couldn't be seen.
'Now we wait.' Henry said. Henry watched as Granny passed Archie the note he'd left and saw him sigh and shrug. Emma was shaking her head. This wasn't going to work surely, it couldn't it was a ridiculous idea.
Archie noticed Rory sat in the corner on her own, she looked very pretty. A little too dressed up for Granny's, unless she was on a date. His heart sank a little. He sighed and watched her a moment, she checked her watch a little nervously and fidgeted seeming to feel uncomfortable. Henry and Emma were supposed to be meeting him something to do with Operation Cobra but it transpired they had left him a note something to do with Regina kicking up a fuss. Rory sighed again and Archie decided to turn this to his advantage.
'Rory?' he said a little nervously, mocking surprise to see her.
'Hi!' Rory couldn't hide the smile on her face when she saw it was Archie.
'I see you're being a little braver.' He said referring to their earlier conversation.
'What, oh, this no.' Rory smiled inwardly when he sat down in the seat opposite her. 'My aunts set me up on a date.' She grimaced.
'Oh,' Archie's face fell. 'Oh, sorry I'll jus-'
'No, Archie, stay please. In all honesty I think he came in saw me and left.' She joked.
'Oh, no, no I don't think that, maybe, maybe he just got sick.' Archie replied.
'I think my explanation is more likely. Besides, I'm more than a little relieved.' She sighed and traced the edge of her cup with her fingers. 'I didn't want to go on a date anyway, my aunts set it up and wouldn't leave me alone.' She added.
'I'm sure they're just trying to help.' Archie said softly.
'Are you not meeting anyone?' Rory asked him, she liked when he smiled, he had a nice smile. She liked the way he was playing with his thumbs not seeming to know quite what to do with his hands as they rested on the table.
'N-no I was supposed to be meeting Henry and Emma but it seems there's been some trouble.' Archie replied. Rory bit her lip and closed her eyes feeling like she was about to step into the deep end of a pool. Archie watched her curiously somewhat enjoying the expression on her face.
'Maybe,' she breathed, 'maybe we could get another coffee and you could finish telling me about how you found Pongo.' She smiled at him as his mouth made a small 'o' and suddenly she realised what it might have implied. 'No, no Archie I don't mean, I just meant-' she panicked a little.
'W-what are you having?' Archie asked suddenly feeling a little less nervous and a little braver then he had before. Rory smiled at him and he felt his heart give a little jolt.
'See I told you!' Henry said to Emma, they waited a good ten minutes on the opposite side of the street watching Archie and Rory laughing with one another.
'That doesn't mean they're in love kid.' Emma sighed.
'Not yet.' Henry simply replied.
Chapter 9: Fairytale World: My Heart Has Wings and I Can Fly
Jiminy didn't think he'd ever felt more conflicted on the one hand he felt so unbelievably happy and on the other he knew it should come to an end it had to. Aurora had fallen asleep with her head on his chest and his arms around her waist and he could smell something sweet in her hair. The urge to kiss the top of her head was so strong and yet still so forbidden. The show had finished and the circus had moved onto other acts. Jiminy had no idea how long they'd been sat like this because he didn't care.
Aurora stirred softly, she felt home, for the first time in her life she felt she was where she was supposed to be, no yearning to escape, no burning desire to run away and look for more exciting pastures. She felt home, she felt whole. She could feel the tingles of passion setting in as she realised her hand was still interlinked with his.
'What time is it?' She asked sitting up and stretching a little, Jiminy shifted a little uncomfortably and felt a little embarrassed at the contact her wriggling caused.
'Early afternoon, I can't get to my pocket watch at the moment.' He smiled she pulled herself up and stretched, yawning a little as she did. They climbed down the tree easily, a little stiff from the hours spent up there. They landed on the forest floor with a soft thud. Perdy greeted them apparently she had tucked herself away at the base of the tree. Aurora greeted her kneeling down and then picking up the fox.
'Sorry Perdy.' She smiled to her and kissed the fox's head whirling her around in a dancing motion.
'What now?' she beamed at Jiminy.
'Uhm, I'm not sure, what do you want to do?' He asked her.
'Anything.' Aurora replied and there was so much more than just the word there because she wanted to say as long as I'm with you but she resisted. They walked for a while, talking animatedly about the show, about how much fun it must be to be a part of, how Aurora was a little sad that she had missed the rest of the show and Jiminy agreed he'd take her back again if she wanted.
Jiminy stopped suddenly where he was, feeling brave, braver then he'd ever felt and at the same time scared but it was now or never. He had to tell her how he felt no matter how difficult it was, he had to tell her because if he didn't the feeling was going to explode out of him sooner or later.
'A-Aurora, I have someth-' he turned to talk to her but his sentence was interrupted by a scream. She'd walked on ahead of him. Jiminy ran forward scared of what the screaming might mean.
'Give us your gold or we won't let you pass!' A gruff looking man growled a hand on her neck.
'Get off me!' Aurora retorted trying to fight back.
'l-let her go!' Jiminy cried from a short distance away. The men stopped and looked at him for a moment, three men dressed all in black with swords at their hilts.
'L-let her go.' One of the guards imitated him and let out a laugh. 'You got something to pay for the pretty lady with?' he asked stroking her face. Aurora struggled against him.
'We don't, we don't have anything.' Jiminy replied his eyes hit the floor and he couldn't look up, he was a coward and he'd never had to fight before.
'We then I'm sure the pretty lady can give us something worthwhile to pay for your passage.' The second man grunted and he ran a hand over Aurora's neck and breasts. Aurora's blood ran cold at the thought. She'd had to fight off men before but never three, never this big. Her eyes were wide with fear as the man holding her licked a stripe up the side of her face.
'Don't you touch her!' Jiminy said suddenly digging deep inside himself, he'd never had to fight for anything in his life but seeing the fear on Aurora's face ignited something inside him that told him he would fight to the very end for her. That he would die for her were it needed. He strode toward the man not entirely sure what he was doing.
The third man laughed loud and gruff into the surrounding forest. Aurora's eyes closed slowly and a tear rolled down her cheek as the first man tightened his grip on her neck and the fact her chest was rising and falling fast seemed to be pleasing them all the more.
'We don't have any gold.' Aurora said quietly again fear evident in her voice.
'Maybe it's not gold we want anymore.' The third man said a little hungrily. Jiminy took another step forward and the guard hit him hard in the face so he fell to the floor. Aurora screamed loudly.
'NO! Stop, ok!' She screamed. Jiminy was up on his feet again though shaking his head and wiping blood from his nose. 'Go,' she nodded to him. 'I'm not worth it.' There were tears rolling down her face, she was trying to protect him. The men mocked her and then shoved her a little roughly and this angered Jiminy all the more. He looked around and saw Perdy skulking around biding her time, he hoped if he nodded she'd understand what he meant and she did. He knew that the fox was smart and as the guard turned back round he punched him as hard as he could. It wasn't that effective and hurt Jiminy's hand more than it did the guards face but it distracted him long enough for the small fox to bound over and snap its jaw between his legs. Jiminy pulled the man's sword from its place as he fell to the floor in agony. Perdy let go and ran to bite at the ankles of the man who was holding Aurora, he flung Aurora to the floor as he attempted to kill the little fox.
'You think you can take me boy?' The man growled at Jiminy. 'You think you can win this fight, I'll kill you and then take her anyway.'
'No, you won't.' Aurora said suddenly from behind him, she hit the man hard over the head with a rock and watched him fall to the ground unconscious.
'Come on!' Jiminy grabbed her hand and threw the sword to the floor tearing off into the forest, Perdy bounded along ahead of them and they could hear the men shouting loudly as they somewhat regained their composure and made to chase them.
They ran for a short while before Jiminy stopped for a moment panting. He leant forward resting his hands on his thighs and suddenly Aurora threw her hands around his neck and hugged him tightly, tighter then she had before. Her chest was still heaving from running and she nuzzled her nose against his shoulder.
'You saved my life.' She breathed, Jiminy didn't know quite what to do with his hands but he rested them on her back and gave her a gentle squeeze. 'You saved me.' She said pulling away a little and looking up at him, she was still a little breathless.
'Of course I did.' Jiminy said meeting her eyes, his hand found its way into her hair his thumb brushing her cheek lightly. 'Aurora I, I n-' he began but they were interrupted by the sound of the men shouting again.
'Come on, I know where we can hide.' Aurora said taking his hand and tugging lightly as he remained staring at the place where she had been, the words he wanted to say on the tip of his tongue.
She took him to a secluded spot near the river that she'd shown him once before but the men were still following, she pulled him up over the rocks and behind the waterfall into a cavern. Aurora pulled her cloak off as they made their way through so it wouldn't get as wet as the rest of her things, which while not soaked were damp from the spray of the waterfall.
'We should be safe in here.' She breathed and sat down. Aurora's hand drifted to her wrist and her fingers found the bracelet in the dim light of the cave, she smiled and turned to face him more than ready to tell him exactly how she felt.
'Jiminy I- I need to tell you something.' She said facing away from him and looking at the fuzzy landscape beyond the waterfall. She bit down on her lip hard not knowing how to start not wanting to see his reaction. 'I, well,' she paused and took a breath, 'I never felt at home or free or anything like that until you came along. Until you came along I never thought I could be this happy.' She paused a moment and Jiminy waited with baited breath as she turned to look at him.
He watched her and a sudden realisation hit him. She looked so beautiful against the waterfall and the light that was coming from it, her hair was slightly damp but lay around her shoulders and her eyes were watering a little. She deserved so much more than him. She deserved a prince, a knight in shining armour. She deserved everything that she read about in her storybooks. She didn't deserve a petty thief. A man with good intentions which he never filled, it was breaking his heart to realise that he could never be good enough for her, even if she did make him feel like he was. Aurora made him feel free, she made him feel brave, made him want to escape his life. She made him want to change and strive to be a better man, to escape his parents and run away with her. She made him feel he could do anything he wanted, even fly.
'Aurora what is it?' he asked taking her hand trying to reassure her offer some comfort.
'Do you really not know?' She asked him because she didn't want to say it and the fear of rejection welled inside her and she didn't think she'd be able to take the heartbreak if he said he didn't feel the same.
'Know what, what is it? Are you hurt?' he asked cupping her cheek with his hand and letting his thumb brush away the tear, her hair felt soft and tickled the back of his hand a little but he never pulled it away.
'No, no Jiminy I'm, I mean,' she sighed and shut her eyes. 'I'm in love with you.'
She waited for his reply and cracked open an eye a little as his hand dropped from her face and he stepped back a moment.
'Oh, oh no, no Aurora, you can't, not with me. I'm not a good person.' Jiminy stammered.
'I knew, I knew you couldn't love me.' She nodded and choked out.
'Oh no, Aurora no,' Jiminy was back in front of her in a heartbeat his hand on her face again. 'I've been in love with since the second day I saw you, which is why we can't do this.' Jiminy put his forehead to hers and shook it gently, his own eyes were teary.
'You love me?' She asked a little scared.
'Of course, which is exactly why we can't do this, you deserve so much better. You deserve a prince.' He said walking away from her and hanging his head in shame. 'You deserve a good, decent and honest man.'
Jiminy paused for a moment.
'I haven't been entirely honest with you.' He said and Aurora's face turned from panic to confused, 'My parents are con artists, thieves and I-I- well I've been helping them all my life, I'm not better than them, a crook and a coward. I'm sorry.'
'Jiminy, I don't understand, has this been? But I have nothing.' Aurora was confused, she had nothing to give him. She didn't own anything he could steal.
'No, no but don't you see I can't escape them. They won't let me leave.' Jiminy replied. Aurora was looking at him confused, had he just told her he loved her? He had hadn't he? Why was he saying they couldn't be together then? She didn't understand.
Aurora stood up and Jiminy watched her unsure of what she was about to do but she crossed the cave to him put her hands on the side of his face and kissed him deeply. Jiminy didn't resist because he couldn't a hand instinctively landed on her waist and he squeezed slightly, pulling her closer. As her lips moved over his he knew he couldn't leave her, because that kiss ignited something that had lay dormant for so long. He pulled her closer in an effort to drown out the little voice inside his head that was telling him all the reasons he didn't deserve her, every bad thing he had ever done. Every lie he had ever told, he was trying to drown out the voice that told him he didn't deserve to be happy, but he did, surely he deserved a little happiness. His life after all, for everything he had done wrong he had never been happy and he had tried to stop it.
'I love you.' He said into the kiss and he felt her grip on him tighten and she smiled beneath him.
'I love you to.' She said breaking the kiss, she wrapped her arms around his waist and rested her head on his chest.
'Aurora.' Jiminy began again and she put a finger to his lips.
'Don't you dare! You have more than proved yourself a knight today.' She smiled and then kissed him again, a little gentler this time and yet somehow meaning more. She returned her head to his chest and he wrapped his arms around her protectively. Maybe he did deserve her after all.
Jiminy had never felt freer in all his life, more at home, more at peace then he did now. He felt happiness spread through him and he felt a better man already. He felt for the first time truly like an honest man, like a good man.
Chapter 10: Real World: Let The Stormy Clouds Chase
'Did you find out?' Henry beamed at Emma. 'The stuff for operation field mouse.'
'Operation field mouse, really?' Emma asked him, the kid was like a dog with a bone and it didn't seem like there was anything she could do to stop him interfering with Archie and Rory. Henry had convinced himself that they were supposed to be together and there was no telling him otherwise.
'Well I couldn't call it operation insect that might be too easy to work out.' Henry rolled his eyes at her as they sat in Granny's.
'Oh. Henry I don't think this is a good idea, if two people are meant to be together th-' Emma began but stopped as Ruby came over with their drinks.
'No, no, no that wasn't A Study in Pink!' Rory said as she came through the door to Granny's with Archie. They'd been walking Pongo again and Henry practically beamed at Emma, after their impromptu dinner date Archie and Rory had been seen out together several times, they were nothing but friends of course, friends who liked to walk through town almost every evening together but still just friends.
'I'm pretty sure it is.' Archie retorted.
'No, it's, it's erm, oh god I'm so bad with names.' Rory said putting her hands to her face. 'It's, The Adventure of The Red Headed League!' she smiled at him and her eyes travelled up to his hair and she supressed a giggle.
'W-what exactly are you laughing at?' He asked supressing the grin on his own face.
'Nothing, anyway it's the one with the useless clerical work he has to do.' Rory said picking up the warm mug of cocoa in her hand.
'Hey Archie!' Henry cried as Archie and Rory turned to try and find a booth to sit in, it was a little chilly outside and the cocoa was nice and warming. Granny's was a little busier than usual.
'Henry!' Emma hissed. Rory gave Emma a small nod, but she still seemed nervous.
'Hi, Henry.' Archie replied. 'Oh, Rory, this is Henry. He is a patient of mine. Henry this is Rory.'
'Hi.' Rory raised her hand nervously at him.
'Hi!' Henry smiled at her and seemed to study her for a moment. 'Did you know Archie's favourite film is Singing in the Rain?' Henry blurted out and Emma stared at him wide eyed and a little open mouthed, she looked from Archie's flushed cheeks to the small smile that crossed Rory's face and felt the pang of awkwardness and embarrassment they both felt.
'No, I didn't know that.' Rory replied quietly.
'Y-y-yes well, I think perhaps we should be moving along. I'll see you later Henry.' Archie said his cheeks rosy and feeling thoroughly embarrassed, Singing in the Rain wasn't exactly the manliest of films.
'Is that really your favourite film?' Rory asked as they slid into a booth and she took a sip of her cocoa, she checked her watch conscious of the fact she had to be back at the shop soon.
'Unfortunately.' He grimaced.
'Why unfortunately? If it's your favourite film you should be happy about it.' Rory smiled at him. 'It's also a very good choice.'
Archie felt his cheeks go even redder and he lifted his eyes from the mug of cocoa to watch Rory who was looking around Granny's.
'Mine, mine's Ghostbusters.' She sighed and shook her head then took another drink of her cocoa a smirk crossing her face.
'See, they just need a little help.' Henry said to Emma.
'Oh kid come on, I think you've done enough now.' Emma sighed.
'Hmmm, not yet.' Henry replied.
'Hey, Marco said you were busy but I thought afterward you might want something to eat, so, well I brought you something. What was up with Henry?' She asked putting the small bag filled with food on the side and then looking at him for the first time. He was crying, Archie was crying and he looked so torn and fragile sat in the chair his head in his hands.
'Oh, my god Archie what is it?' She asked him, almost on instinct she walked over and sat in front of him taking his hands in hers trying to comfort him. 'What happened?' She asked him again.
Archie shrugged her off and sniffed, 'I-I-I told him the truth. I had to, what other option was there.'
'Told who the truth? Archie?' Rory replied watching him he stood up pacing, running his hands through his hair.
'I had to, he's delusional. He'll end up getting himself locked up.' Archie replied.
'Archie you're not making any sense? Rory looked from the door and back to Archie and made a small o with her mouth. 'Archie tell me you didn't,' she sighed, 'tell me you're not the reason he was that upset.'
'W-when one cure doesn't work you change tactics.' Archie said more to himself then to Rory who watched him intently, not fully believing what she was hearing that the man she knew, the man she had gotten to know over the past few weeks could be so cruel.
'Please tell me you didn't just tell a little boy that he'll get locked up for believing in magic.' Rory sighed deeply and looked at him mouth a little agape. He looked up at her and away quickly. She was looking at him like he was the most despicable of human beings but there was something more there, disappointment. He was disappointed in himself of course he was and he knew he had done wrong but the way she was looking at him hurt a hell of a lot more.
'I-I-I did what was for the best.' Archie replied.
'He's a kid Archie!' she cried.
'I do not have to defend my professional decisions to someone who, who knows nothing about the profession.' Archie replied. Rory scoffed at him a little, he chanced a glance at her and the look on her face hurt.
'I may not know anything about the profession but I know he's just a kid. You don't jus-' Archie cut her off.
'Forgive me Rory if I-I-I don't take professional advice from someone who, who works in a costume shop.' Ouch Rory thought to herself. He was being defensive he knew it and he hoped she knew it. She looked him up and down disappointment still etched on her face.
'I may only work in a shop, but I still know right from wrong.' Rory said a little angrily.
'I did my best' he mumbled, eyes trained on the floor.
'Well, I hope you have a fun time convincing yourself of that because you sure aren't convincing anybody else.' Then she was gone, she disappeared slamming the door as she left and 20 minutes later Emma was banging on his door for exactly the same reasons.
Rory felt horrible, the way she'd looked at him, the way he'd looked when she had left the office. He'd been so torn and she hadn't even been nice to him. Archie had taken her from a broken empty shell walking around in a grey mist and helped her. He had brought her out of herself a little. He had encouraged her to converse with people. He had even introduced her to a few. He had made her a better person and it hurt that she might lose him. She wondered if there was something else there, another feeling perhaps but she shook her head, she couldn't afford to think of that.
Then he emerged and she almost cried, almost, she managed to hold them back and she danced on the edge of the crater watching everyone gather around him and shake his hand.
'I think there is someone who wants to see you.' Marco whispered to Archie and nodded in the direction of Rory who was stood away from the crowd just watching and waiting for the opportune moment to speak to him. 'She's been here all day.' Marco gave him a nod as Rory began to make her way over to them.
'Archie, I'm sorry, about before. I never should have, I mean you were right. I don't know about these things.' She said her voice shaking a little. She wanted to hug him but wondered if it would be inappropriate.
'No, no Rory, I'm sorry. You were right.' Archie replied adrenaline still pumping around his system. He looked to her and felt worried for a moment, wondering if something within their growing friendship had broken because of what had happened.
'I'm glad you're ok.' I can't lose you she added mentally and then swallowed hard so the words couldn't escape her lips. Archie tilted his head to look at her, she was playing with her hands and looking down, she seemed to have retreated somewhat. He looked at her for a long moment and wondered how he would have felt, had it been her down the mine. Worried he'd never see her again more than worried he would be terrified.
Marco looked between the two of them and smiled inwardly, it was nice to see Archie look so happy all the time. It was nice to see his friend feeling good about himself. Marco smiled at how wonderful they were together and yet neither of them seemed to realise what was staring them in the face.
'Thank you.' Regina said suddenly from the side of them and Rory looked up at him for a moment.
'I'll see you later.' She said wanting to reach out and touch his hand but resisting.
As he made to sit down there was a knock at the door and Pongo suddenly jumped up barking at the front door and wagging his tail happily, Archie groaned a little. He wasn't really in the mood for visitors he ached all over and was still filthy. He opened the door slowly more than ready to turn whoever was behind it away.
Rory was stood there. He couldn't turn her away. She smiled at him and held up the brown paper bag in her hand and wiggled a DVD at him; Singing in the Rain.
'I thought you might nee-.' She paused blushing a little and feeling silly 'Sorry this was a stupid idea.' She watched him.
'No, no, come in.' He opened the door wider and Pongo sniffed her excitedly.
'I just thought after today you might need, cheering up.' He watched a concerned and somewhat curious expression cross her face as though she was wondering if that was the right word. 'I have all the basic essentials; favourite film, popcorn, ice cream, chocolate, alcohol.' She smiled at him.
'You should clean that up you know.' She gestured to his head and he touched it lightly the blood was almost dry and a little sticky. He hadn't let the doctor take a look at him, he was almost certain he had no concussion.
'Well, I-I was just about to clean up.' Archie said. Pongo wagged his tail and sniffed happily at Rory's hands.
'Oh, I didn't even think, sorry I'll leave you to it, just make sure you put the ice cream in the freezer.' She picked up her bag she'd put down on the table and made to leave.
'No. Stay, please. I could use some human conversation.' He let out a small chuckle.
'If you're sure.' Rory replied.
'Yes, yes I am.' Archie replied confidently and he took her bag off her and then made to take her coat and scarf. 'I'll just go and clean up, make yourself at home.' Archie beamed at her. Rory nodded and turned her attention to the things she'd brought with her and Pongo as Archie disappeared upstairs for a shower.
Rory shut her eyes and couldn't supress the smile on her face, feeling unbelievably happy but not being able to pinpoint why. Rory looked around the kitchen and the living room she'd been in here twice before and roughly remembered where things were.
When Archie was showered and dressed again he headed back downstairs and could hear her talking to Pongo. He smiled.
'I know boy, he scared me too. I don't know what I'd do without him either.' He heard Pongo whine appreciatively and then she spoke again. 'Now which do you think he'd prefer, Chunky Monkey or Half baked.' Pongo barked loudly. 'Half Baked it is then.
Archie was unable to supress the smile as he entered the living room and made his way to the kitchen, he watched her flitting about for a moment and thought about how perfect she looked in his kitchen and a thought entered his head, almost a half daydream. He watched himself go over and slip his hands around her waist as she made whatever it was she was making.
Archie pulled himself from the thought and blushed as a sudden realisation hit him. He was now very aware of how much he actually liked Rory, how happy he felt when he was around her. How much he enjoyed making her smile even at his own expense. Now the film viewing took on a whole different meaning because now Archie was hyper aware of how close their hands were at certain moments, he was well aware of how close she was to him when she patched up the cut on his head. She didn't feel it though, she couldn't. He was Archie and well he was sure there were better specimens in the town.