Fiction Friday: The Titanic

I thought I’d do something a little different today and give you one of my very first public historical fictions ever. I knew early on that I wanted to be an author. As I’ve mentioned many times before, I started out writing New Kid on the Block “fan fictions” back in high school with my best friend, Dawn Taylor. For our senior project in school we illustrated and wrote a children’s book together. I was supposed to be the illustrator, since art was where my project originated from, and the writing was Dawn’s for her English class. But we both ended up writing the book (and I still did the drawing too).

As I continued into college, writing became my first and foremost priority over art (my original major). I never was an English major though, I studied history and usually had anywhere from 3 to 5 or more papers a week to write. I never tired of constantly writing and continued to write my side fictional stories for fun too. When it came time to write my history senior thesis, a 50-page heavily researched historic paper, the professor, a wonderful man named Dr. John Leopold, asked what I wanted to write. He mentored everyone this way at the beginning and then it was up to us to finish the work on our own time. I remember our conversation quite vividly. I was wishy-washy about what non-fictional subject I wanted to tackle. I suggested the 1920s, or something in Ireland, or maybe something on the Titanic.

He stopped me and said, that the Titanic was an interesting topic, but what was my approach on finding out something new about the Titanic that hadn’t been done before? (that was one of the instructions for the project, we had to research and find out something new about our subject).

I did mention that there was a lot of research on the first class and the lowest class of passengers, but it was the middle class that was often forgotten.

It was Dr. Leopold’s turn to hmm and haw, and finally he said to me, “You write fiction, don’t you Miss LaPlant?”

To this day, I don’t know how he knew that, but I said, “Yes.”

He, in turn, said, “I will let you write a historical fiction on your topic, if you back it up with your allotted amount of research.”

I flipped out! I was SO excited and at one point, later on in the semester, I asked if it could be more than 50 pages. I was told a big fat no on that one, because it would force me to keep within the requirements like a true author would in the job world. Like I said, he was an awesome professor. He knew what he was molding me for, and I’m so grateful for his guidance.

Fast forward to the end of the year, and we, not only had our papers evaluated by the students, but by the team of professors in the history department. I had students coming up to me in the bathroom saying they cried during my paper and thought it was so good, but I still wasn’t sure how the professors would like it. What if I were graded poorly since it was fiction? What if they thought I took the easy way out?

I worried and shook like a leaf in a rain storm the day Dr. Leopold handed out the final evaluation to all the students in my class. Like a good teacher he handed them face down so other students wouldn’t see the grades and let the individual person turn it over when they were ready. He then added that he only gave out one A. And as he stood at my desk with my paper in hand, he stared down at me and said, “Congratulations Miss LaPlant,” and set my paper face up with the A on the very top. Everyone clapped and to this day, it will go down as one of my favorite moments in my life.

So, without further ado, I’d like to share this short story with you. Mind you, I wrote this when I was 21 years old and didn’t have the knowledge of true formatting and proper fictional writing like I do now. But please – enjoy!

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Fan Fiction Friday – A Star is Born – Perhaps

This very short story came to me after watching the performance of Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga on the Academy Awards this past Sunday. Everyone in the media has been speculating whether or not these two actors were indeed a couple, but when I watched them sing… I didn’t see Bradley and Lady; I saw Jack and Ally from A Star is Born. From there I wondered, if this was part of the movie, how would it actually play out.

At the piano, Ally sat in front of an audience of celebrities dressed to the nines. It was the Oscars –The Academy Awards—a place she never thought she’d ever be, with a song she sold to a movie called A Star is Born…a song she and Jack wrote together at the beginning.  She’d worked hard to be here; she’d been through the best and worst times of her life to make it to this moment.

Jack—oh Jack, you’d love to see me here, she thought, taking a breath and placing her fingers against the cold ivory keys.

No, no he wouldn’t, she heard in the back of her mind. He was a drunk who ate prescription medicine like tic tacs. He had jealous fits of rage whenever she was on stage, living in the spotlight like he used to in his heyday. It was what killed him, leaving her alone and shattered.

Ally shook away the devil and angel whispering in her ears and focused on the lead-up to her vocals.

A hand touched her shoulder. She looked away from the mic.

“Jack?” she said aloud, it came out in a breathy rush into the microphone.

He sat next to her on the piano bench.

Awe-struck, Ally moved over.

“Sing.” He spoke into her ear, kissing her diamond-studded lobe.

LGBC2Ally closed her eyes and sang their song from the depths of her heart, feeling him so near to her. His arm drifted behind her, caressing her lower back before settling on the crook of her waist. She leaned into his cheek, the rasp of stubble was familiar and warm. Her belly fluttered at the touch.LGBC

He sang harmony, blending his notes with hers effortlessly. Her breath was in her chest, her thoughts no longer on the song, but on him… only him.

The last notes—power notes—came deep from her soul erupting from her voice box with every bit of angst she’d held inside since the moment Jack died. She sang for him… she sang for herself… she sang for the love they could no longer share.

She opened her eyes as the tune trailed to an end. The cushion beside her was empty. The seat was cold. He was there, but not really—and not ever again.

A tear as fat as the diamond around her neck, fell to her cheek. “I love you, Jack,” she said.

The audience stood, applauded and as Ally scanned the crowd, many were drying their eyes. Why are they crying? Had they seen him too? Perhaps they did… perhaps they did.

lady-gaga-ill-never-love-again

Fan Fiction Friday: The Underworld – Milah’s Story

In the same light as the Rapunzel story I posted back in August, I’m fixing some of the plot mistakes, holes, or just bad story writing we were subjected to in Once Upon A Time. Yes, it’s my favorite show but there are flaws. Today, in particular always bothered– not having Killian and Milah meet in the Underworld. Killian/Captain Hook spent over a century avenging Milah’s death and in the last moments he never got to see her again and she was banished into the River of Lost Souls. None of that was right, in my opinion, so I fixed it.
As always, a lot of the dialogue was taken straight from the show – which I DO NOT OWN.

The Underworld: Milah’s Story

Red sun shone dimly through the curtain in Milah’s room; the alarm ringing out a moment later. It always happened that way. Purgatory, The Underworld… whatever one called it, constantly stripped one of the small joys of daily life away little by little, like sleeping for that extra minute in the morning.

Climbing from bed, the dirt floor under her feet was cold and gritty, uncomfortably lodging between her toes. That only meant one thing, it rained last night; not enough to flood the place, but just a bit softening the sturdy ground even inside. One of those drawbacks of being forced to live in the woods and not in the town setting nearby which compared to the year it was on the living earth, 2016.

Awful, vivid memories bombarded her all too well of the life she lived up there. She dwelled in the same rotting hovel, with the same dreary walls, and the same bleak outlook for the future. At least he wasn’t around. Rumpelstiltskin. Her cowardly ex-husband. The man who killed her. Hades was a cruel god, making her free from Rumple’s clutch, but still trapped. The least he could’ve done was to give her a view of the ocean like she had on the Jolly Roger for nearly a decade, but no. Hades took pride in keeping her miserable, as if he sided with that dark imp ex-husband of hers. All Milah ever wanted was peace from him and the life Rumple had sidled her with… was that too much to ask?

Tying her long, wavy hair in a thick ponytail, she dressed for work. She’d shower when she got to the bus company, for there they actually had hot, running water and a clean floor. Looking around the room, she sighed. None of the items inside were hers, even after living here for over one hundred years. Her world was forever incomplete and unsatisfying. She had no one and nothing. Those days when she was alive seemed like a dream, rather than a real life that had truly existed, especially those days she took her freedom and sailed away from Rumple.

“Killian,” she let herself say softly aloud, sitting at her small table, boiling water for breakfast.

Not often did she allowed herself to think about him and their time at sea together. It hurt too much to remember those gorgeous days full of sun, adventure, and yes, love. When she thought of Captain Killian Jones, though, Baelfire—her young son—crept into her mind alongside the roguish pirate. His precious little face, dirty with the day’s dust and whatever he ate from the forest, berries and the like; big brown eyes always greeted her smiling. He had no idea of the hell she’d gone through with his father, dealing with his whining and lack of help, which eventually led to Rumple weaseling into a deal where they couldn’t have any more children together.

Baelfire also never knew how torn she’d felt every single day she sailed the seas without him with the right man by her side. Killian would’ve been the perfect stepfather to him, so strong and bold, unafraid of authority. He might have been a pirate, but he wasn’t thieving scum. Rumple and his slimy, cowardly ways of getting out the right thing to do was crummier than a devious pirate any day.

She used to dream of Bae running toward her, searching for her, but no matter how loud she’d yell or how close she’d make it to him, they never could reach each other. More than dozens of times had she woken up in Killian’s arms screaming and crying for her little Baelfire.

“We’ll go back for him,” Killian would say. “We’ll take him in the night. No one will know.”

“But what if he hates me? What if that spineless, little man has poisoned him against me?”

Killian would kiss her forehead and guide her back to the warmth of his chest. “Shh, love. Let’s not think about that. Sleep now. We’ll make a better plan later.”

*

The day they finally had returned to Middle Mist, she and Killian had split up hoping Rumple would hear of the pirate’s arrival and head for the docks, so Milah could make her way to Baelfire. Their plan had worked, Rumple was gone, but so was Bae; the hovel was empty. The same dirty home she lived in now in the damned Underworld.

From the fire, Milah pulled her now hot kettle and mixed the steaming water with the packaged oats she’d bought the day before. The grains, water, and powdered milk coagulated together making a thick gruel in her bowl. She pushed it around the ceramic into a ball and choked down the bite, and contemplated the same things she mulled over every single day: where was Baelfire? How can she make amends with him? How can she get out of this place? Then again, she deserved her fate. She abandoned her child and came back for him too late. Had he gone to the Ogre’s War? Or was he dead from some kind of plague? He was a curious child, often getting into trouble when he should’ve been careful. Hell, maybe he’d he smartened up and left his wretched father too. Whatever the outcome of his life, Milah never knew it, never saw him in the Underworld… and probably never would. Her Bae was either lost to the fire or free to the light, or somewhere in this purgatory, hidden from her.

Frustrated like she always was, she stood and tossed her bowl in the basin, oatmeal and spoon included. She had to go. Slipping on her on her coat and scarf, she stepped outside and immediately was overcome by a heavy oppression weighing down the air. Oh no, she thought, that magical force only happened when the worst of the worst joined the realm, and lately that’s happened far too often. But this feeling was different; it was as if doom settled a heavy cloak of lead across her shoulders. She shivered, turned, and locked the door.

*

An hour later, after arriving at work and leading the school children to their bus, she found the source of the oppression. Standing there across the street, dressed in a debonair suit and long wool coat was Rumpelstiltskin – and not the one she knew, cowardly and pathetic. No, this man was dark, frightful, and cunning – a version of that slimy creature he’d become the day she was killed. Strength—her mental strength—had to be resolute when dealing with this Rumple.

She set her jaw in a hard, crossing the street, leaving the children. “What do you want?”

As slick and sly as those conniving businessmen who’ve been through the realm from time to time, he replied, “I have an opportunity for you to go on a romantic adventure to save the man you once loved.”

Add delusional to that list of qualities, she thought, and sneered. “You?”

Rumple grinned. “I’m talking about Killian Jones.”

No, she gasped to herself. Killian couldn’t be dead. If he’d lasted this long alive with the waters of Neverland running through his veins, then something dreadful must’ve happened to end his previous life. She swallowed the hard lump in her throat. “Killian? He’s here?”

Rumple’s left brow twitched toward his hairline. “He’s receiving some special attention from Hades. I need to retrieve him.”

Too many thoughts ran through her mind. If Killian was here, maybe Baelfire was finally here as well. And if that was so, then this was her chance to leave. She could see Killian one more time and apologize to Bae like she had wanted to for over a century. Her whole world was about to change and yet that heavy cloak felt no less lead-like. It was fear… fear of change. “I-I’m supposed to watch the kids,” she blurted out, not knowing how else to get out of his proposition.

“Well, they’re dead anyway,” he retorted, not allowing her to back away. “It’s quite simple really. Can you stand helping me, if it allows you to save him?”

Milah glared. He was still pathetic. “Fine. What do I have to do?”

Gesturing a path in front of him, Rumple said, “Follow me and I’ll explain. We’ll be meeting the third member of our party in just a moment.”

Third party? For Killian? The captain she once knew didn’t have many friends, especially not anyone who’d risk rescuing him from the Lord of Death. Killian Jones was a commanding pirate above deck and a quiet lover below with her. Only then would he reflect on a brother and mother he’d lost in the past, but that was it. Perhaps it was one of them searching for him. No, that couldn’t be it. They would’ve sought him out before now.

“Did he find another love?” she had to ask. Another woman who loved him like she once did could be the answer. Her heart clenched at the thought.

“You really think he held a flame for you all this time?” Rumple taunted.

“Of course not. I’ve been dead for over a century. I’d hope he’d found someone to love him.”

Rumple gave a long, slow eye roll in reply. “How heart-warming. Well, my dear, Milah, your wish has come true, for he has and wait ‘til you meet her.”

Sweeping his arm, Rumple motioned toward a woman walking their way. Blonde, beautiful, and quite young, she was not what Milah was expecting to be the newest love in Killian’s life. “Her?”

Rumple’s lips spread into a cad grin. “Yes, her. Come, let me introduce you.”

The woman stopped in front of him, familiar with Rumple as well, but showed no signs of recognition of Milah. Had this woman never heard of her? That seemed unusual. If she were Killian’s love, wouldn’t he have mentioned her in one way or another, Milah wondered.

“Miss Swan, there’s someone I’d like you to meet,” Rumple said to the blonde. “This is Milah, my ex-wife… and Hook’s ex also. She’s also Baelfire’s mother, of course.” Milah’s felt her eyes twitch the more the woman’s jaw slacked open with each of Rumple’s details.

One look at Rumple and Milah saw the smug joy he was getting at humiliating not just the woman but her as well. Her eyes were wide and embarrassed even. But why? Milah had no clue.

Rumple faced her, continuing. “Emma knew him as Neal. They had a torrid affair, which resulted in a scandalous teenage pregnancy… in prison.”

Oh. That’s why.

“Yeah, well—,” Emma began, but Milah had had enough.

It was one thing to be in love with Killian but Baelfire. Her innocent, sweet, darling Baelfire tarnished by a woman young enough to be her three times great-granddaughter. “So you’ve been with my former lover and my son? Is that right?”

Emma’s stunned expression was enough to gain her a touch of sympathy. To Milah, it was obvious she’d never put the relations together. “Huh?” she uttered.

Barging back into the conversation, Rumple and his controlled grin, lavishing in both of their degradation, said, “I’m sure we’re all going to laugh ourselves sick about this one day. I suggest you follow me before this gets even more awkward.”

Awkward was an understatement; one could cut the stagnant air between them with a dull sword. Despite the feeling, both Milah and Emma fell into line behind a sniggering Rumple.

They arrived at a large, blue house outside of the downtown area in relative silence. It wasn’t until they reached a white picket fence did Emma reveal that this was, in fact, her house. “The way in is here? So, the gates of hell are in my house?”

“As was the stone of Excalibur. Let’s just say the pirate has a knack for real estate, targeting hidden value,” Rumple quipped.

Doing her best not to allow jealousy to consume her, Milah chose to be the bigger person. Instead, she doted on the fact that Killian had found a lifetime kind of love with this Emma, especially since she picked up that he had bought the house for her. Milah couldn’t get him to leave his ship, nor did she ever try. She loved the sea as much as he did. But for this woman, he’d left his boat for a house on a plot of land. Yes, that was a lifetime love if she’d ever seen one.

Inside, they paused.

“Basement door?” Emma asked, before a latched portal under a narrow staircase.

“Basement door,” Rumple repeated in reply.

Emma opened the door and reached into the empty space in front of her. A burst of magic repelled her touch immediately. “It’s a barrier alright.” She nodded toward Milah. “So what is she going to do?”

“Joining hands will be fine,” Rumple said, and reached for Milah’s hand.

Frightened and unsure of what was beyond this barrier, Milah took his small, cold hand.

He squeezed. “You first. I can extend the aura around us, making the living undetected.”

“Are you sure this will work?”

Rumple cocked an eyebrow of disdain. “Do you doubt the Dark One’s magic?”

“No,” Milah said, defiantly. “I doubt the word of a coward that he’s actually here to find, not fight, a man he couldn’t defeat over a hundred years ago.”

“The pirate and I have had our differences, but this isn’t one of them. We get him, and I get to go home to the wife I love and cherish, so let’s go.”

Emma stretched her arm taking Rumple’s opposite hand. “I’m willing to trust him this time, if you are?” she asked Milah. “I’ll protect you. I promise. You have my word.”

Kind green eyes stared into hers. This woman was a stranger to Milah, but she trusted her far more than she did her ex-husband. Milah nodded. “Thank you,” she said, and started for the door descending into the bowels of the Underworld.

“The spell’s gone,” Rumple announced when they could go no further below. “We’ll be able to pass through on our own now. Thank you, Milah. You can go back to protecting the dead children.”

Without so much as a good-bye, Milah was finished with him and turned on her heel to leave.

“Hang on,” Emma said, halting her. “Milah, we couldn’t have gotten this far without you. Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” She didn’t know what else to say to this woman. The one who took her place as a companion both of her loves – maternal and romantic.

“And there’s something you should know,” Emma continued. “Your son, Neal – Baelfire, when I was on my way down here on the river, I had a sort of vision of him. He talked to me.”

“Baelfire?” Milah delighted at his name. “What did he say?” she asked, her eyes filling with tears. After all these years, finally she had word of her son.

A quick glance at the man who sired that son, she saw a sneer across his face, as if angered at the thought that Emma hadn’t bothered to share this with him before now.

Emma shot a glare in his direction, she too sensing his disdain. “I owe you nothing for what you did,” she snarled, then faced Milah once again. “He said, he’d moved on and that he was happy. Whatever he had to resolve… he did it.”

Pride threatened to burst her unbeating heart. “Thank you,” Milah gushed. “Thank you so much.” Emma owed her nothing—nothing at all, yet she’d given her the best gift she could’ve ever received. Her beautiful son had moved on without unresolved hate toward her. A weight like that of a two-ton boulder left her shoulder. Tears spilled onto her cheeks. She was free. Free to leave and finally join him, her Baelfire. She could feel it.

Not yet, Milah decided, studying the determination on Emma’s face.

“I hear water this way,” she said.

“That would be the River of Lost Souls,” Milah supplied for her. “We can take it to where Hades will have Killian,” she slipped in there.

“I’m sorry, we can take it?” Rumple interrupted. “If you think we can get the pirate back, I doubt he’ll swap the blonde for the dead woman.”

“You might be The Dark One, but you are still an idiot, Rumple,” Milah insulted, rolling her eyes. Put in his place, she turned to Emma. “I have my reasons. Let me come with you.”

A smile bloomed on the young woman’s face. “Okay.”

*

The boat ride was a silent one, three people on their own mission toward the man who linked them all—Killian Jones. When Milah said she had her reasons, she meant it. Emma had told her she would protect her from Rumple’s tricks, but who would save Emma? She was needed for Killian, and since the doorway to Olympus wasn’t opened the moment Emma granted Milah’s reprieve for Baelfire, she knew then what the last bit of duty she had to fulfill—deliver love to Killian. She couldn’t physically give him the love they once shared, but she could bring him the love he was destined to have. She owed him for giving her exactly that when all her hope was lost while she was alive.

“Here,” Emma said, gliding the boat into a narrow slip. “This is it. He’s down here. I can feel it.” She hopped onto solid ground, wasting not a moment for the boat to stop, and Milah smiled. Emma loved her Killian even more than her own safety on an unsteady boat floating atop a poisoned river. Seeing her so determined, Milah remained in the boat, staring down the devious man she once called husband.

And like she suspected, Rumple called after Emma. “I’m not leaving the boat. It’s too valuable, especially if I’m to get to Belle by nightfall. You’re quite capable of getting the pirate on your own, I’m sure.”

A sickening feeling in Milah’s gut clenched tighter than it had the moment she first saw Rumple across the street an hour ago. No, she did not trust him at all. “If he’s not moving, I’m not either.” As much as she’d love to set eyes on the man she once loved so much, he was no longer hers. “If Rumple tries anything, I’ll give a shout.”

Dragging his eyes to the cavern’s ceiling, Rumple added, “And don’t even think of using magic. Hades would notice anything this close to his home base.”

Emma nodded and took off in a run through the archway that read ABANDON ALL HOPE YE WHO ENTER.

“I was serious, you know?” Rumple said turning slowly around to face her.

“I beg your pardon?”

“The pirate doesn’t love you anymore. He gave up the idea of you, the moment he met her.” He tipped his head in the direction of Emma’s path. “So if he’s your unfinished business, then you’re stuck here.”

A scowl set on her face. “Killian was never my unfinished business. It was Baelfire.”

“I’m not buying it,” he chuckled. “If it were, then why didn’t you disappear after Miss Swan gave you his news?”

Rolling her eyes, she gave into his persistence. “I could have. I felt the absolution of guilt leave me, but I stayed on because I don’t trust you with Emma.”

“Me? Not the pirate?”

He was hopeless. “No! For the last damn time, I have nothing left of Killian in my heart. What is there, is a debt of gratitude for the freedom he gave me. Without him, I was stuck in a hellish future with you. So what I’m here for is to give him what he deserves… a chance with Emma. And I will protect that with all my being.”

“As well you should, as cunning a minion of mine that he is.” Hades’ voice echoed in the hollowed cave.

“EMM—” A surge of magic and Milah was struck dumb and frozen. Rumple was taken—gone from her sight in a flash of blue. The water flowed, the boat bobbed; the bats, high above, flapped their wings leaping from crevice to crevice, still she couldn’t move—not even blink. Where were they? Rumple and Hades she meant. Hell or Emma and Killian.

Fear settled in her core, when suddenly she felt her muscles loosen and Rumple reappeared. Milah leapt to the stone dock. “What was that?”

“Nothing you need worry about.” He smirked and raised his hand, cupping it and rotating it sideways as if he were going to encircle those long fingers around her neck.

“What are you doing?”

He moved closer.

“Rumple.”

Bargaining was useless.

“EMMA!” she finally yelled.

Rumple’s magical grasp, clutched Milah’s neck, cutting off the air from entering her lungs. She scratched at the invisible grip, beating on the force holding her breathless. Her vision darkened, the pressure built in her head.

“Stop!” Emma’s voice bounced off the cave’s walls, followed by a whoosh of hot air. Rumple’s magic countered by hers.

Milah fell to the stone floor with a thud. She sucked in precious air, as her vision slowly returned in the shape of a man she’d only seen in her dreams.

“Milah, are you all right, love?” his deep, velvety voice asked.

She blinked and reached up, touching the bloodied face of her Killian. He was here, in front of her—beaten, but handsome nonetheless. “Killian,” she whispered.

“Aye, love. It’s good to see you again.” He smiled. Tears fell from her eyes.

From behind him, she heard Rumple continuing his fight with Emma. “Stay out of this, Miss Swan. This is between me and Milah.”

“Emma?” Milah questioned to Killian.

“She’s got this, don’t worry.”

“I’m not. She’s strong, just like you. She’s perfect for you,” Milah had to say it. Despite the two magical beings going against each other, none of this situation looked promising for her. Rumple was too powerful, especially with Hades on his side, something Emma knew nothing about. Milah had to say her piece now. “I loved you Killian, back then… but she loves you now and forever.”

He nodded tightly, overcome by the acknowledgement. His one good eye, glossing over with the sheen of an unshed tear. “I know.”

“I won’t let you hurt her,” Emma shouted to Rumple, an undeniable strength behind her voice.

Helping Milah to stand, Killian locked his arm around her waist. “And neither will I.”

“Well, isn’t this a happy reunion?” Rumple was surrounded. His angry face red and lined with the dark creases of a caged animal. “And one that will never continue.”

He spun and shot a whip of magic into Milah’s chest. She flew from Killian’s grasp, rushed backward in a crashing hit.

“No!” Killian shouted, scrambling and reaching for her with the tips of his fingers.

She struggled to keep hold. “It’s okay. Go. Get out of here,” she said and let go, with the image of Killian running to Emma’s side as she hit the water.

From the moment she sank into the river, lost souls enveloped her, taking her lower and deeper into the water. Despite wanting to panic, a calm took her over. After centuries of guilt for Baelfire and longing to see Killian one last time, she was finally free. Peace warmed her. No fear filled her. She trusted the peace inside.

A light suddenly came over her the further she sank, and what was below her feet became a swirling vortex of rushing water. What was happening?

Caught in the whirlpool, she was sucked through to the other side. She was dry over here, her clothes were the ones she was buried in; her hair in rich spirals, cascading down her shoulders over her white peasant dress. Looking to her feet, they were bare as she watched the muddy bottom of the river dissolve into a field of grass.

Lifting her head, she found herself in the middle of a field on a bright, and warm summer’s day. Wheat surrounded her and not too far in the distance between two towering cliffs, was the ocean, crashing blue waves and all.

“Mama?” A rich man’s voice came from her left.

Milah spun toward the sound, finding a tall and handsome, brown eyed man, complete with a cropped beard, and white, toothy smile. She knew those eyes; knew that smile. “Baelfire?”

He nodded. “Yep, it’s me. I heard you. I saw your selfless deed. I asked Zeus to save you.”

“Oh Bae,” she gushed, and threw her arms around her son’s neck. “I love you.”

“I love you too, Mama,” he replied with glee.

Milah leaned back, cupping his face in her hands. “Forgive me for leaving you when you were so young and helpless.”

Gathering her hands in his, he kissed them both. “Mama, I forgave you a long time ago.”

And he had, she felt the peace, felt the love exuding from him. From a lifetime of death without him, she finally had what she’d always wanted: a world without Rumple, and a love in her life she could trust and share for the rest of eternity.

Fan Fiction Friday: Silly Traditions

Submitted by Christina Gist

Town legend says on Halloween, if you carve the initials of your crush into a pumpkin and leave it on the pedestrian bridge in the park, if it’s meant to be, the pumpkin will mysteriously disappear by morning. Killian does the carving. Emma makes sure he believes the legend is true, and steals away the ES pumpkin she watched him leave there.
PS: this is based on an alternative universe with the Once Upon a Time characters.

Emma laughed as she watched Killian struggle to carry his pumpkin purchase across town. It wasn’t a huge pumpkin, but it was large enough that carrying it home was a rather awkward feat.

“Are you really going to give in to that ridiculous tradition?” she asked.

They’d already carved their own pumpkins for tonight’s festivities, (something they did every year since they’d met back in middle school.) so this was an extra that he’d tacked onto his list of things to do before Halloween was over. “You know that’s just a silly legend, right?”

Killian chuckled. “Legends come from somewhere, Swan.”

“Yeah,” she rolled her eyes. “They’re fun things to tell the kids. There’s no real magic about it, Killian. I thought you were twenty five… not twelve.”

“You’ll see,” he told her, as they walked up to his house. He set the pumpkin on the front porch, then pulled her into a bear hug.

Emma hated it when he did that. It always reminded her of what she could never have. Truth be told, she’d tried the whole pumpkin thing when she was about fourteen. (Not that she’d ever admit it to anyone.)  It was a local legend, that you were to carve your crush’s initials into the pumpkin, then leave it on the pedestrian bridge in the park on Halloween. If it disappeared by morning, it was meant to be.

Her KJ pumpkin had sat untouched.

Now, he was probably going to be equally heartbroken, when his MG pumpkin suffered the same fate.

Killian was head over heels for Milah Gold back in high school, and just three months ago, she’d returned to Storybrooke after her divorce. Emma couldn’t help but notice all the extra time her friend had been spending with Milah since her return, and now, he was carving a pumpkin for her.

It hurt on so many different levels.

“I’ll see you around, Swan.”

“Yeah,” she gave him one last squeeze before pulling away, and making the trek to her own home, three doors down. Ready for the first wave of trick or treaters to bombard the street.

She was sitting on her own porch just a few hours later, the last costumed child long since packed up, and taken home, when she saw him come out of his house, pumpkin in his arms. He loaded it in the back of his truck, then looked over at her house. He gave her a sheepish smile, followed by a wave, almost as if he wasn’t expecting to see her there.

He wasn’t gone long, and upon his return, he quickly made his way over to her place. “You look excited,” she said.

“Perhaps a bit nervous,” he commented. “Should I go out first thing tomorrow, or wait until a little later in the morning?”

Her heart stung a little, but she smiled anyway, “I doubt you’ll get any sleep. You’d better go at sunrise.”

“Would you like to come with me?” he asked.

How could she say no? He looked so happy. She had to be there for her best friend. After all, he’d dealt with all her disastrous relationships. The least she could do was help him find his true love. “Sure.”

His grin was a mile wide when he thanked her. After a quick goodbye, he took off towards his house.

Then, her heart dropped. What if the pumpkin was still there tomorrow morning? He’d be crushed!

Not wanting to see her friend’s morning ruined, she decided giving him a little something to believe in was better than the alternative. She waited until all his lights were out, then made her way down to the park.

There was only one, lone pumpkin on the bridge, and Emma thanked her lucky stars that fate hadn’t decided to have her looking through a sea of them. She took a quick glance to make sure no one was watching, then approached the pumpkin with the big ES initialed on it.

Wait. ES?

Her heart skipped a beat as she stared dumbly at the pumpkin, lit up with a little electronic tea light. This was impossible…Killian Jones was her best friend, and had absolutely zero interest in anything more. He was in love with Milah…right? But clearly, the initials said “ES.” Maybe Edith Smith from the post office? She was cute, sweet, and adored by everyone. Why wouldn’t Killian fancy her?

Deciding she really didn’t have much time (or heart) to mull it over, Emma grabbed the pumpkin, and made her way home.

“Swan!” Killian pounded on her door the next morning -bright and early- as promised. Emma made her way to the incessant knocking, and glanced at the pumpkin, sitting proudly on the kitchen table. She wanted to smile, to believe that the ES was truly for her, but there was a sinking feeling in her stomach that it was probably meant for someone else. Plenty of people had those initials.

“Come on, Swan!” Killian shouted again. Emma sighed, and greeted him at the door.

“Morning,” she smiled, hoping it looked genuine.

“I got you coffee, love,” he held up a large tumbler. “I’m afraid it isn’t that pumpkin spice you seem to enjoy. My coffee maker isn’t exactly fancy.”

“Thank you.” She took the tumbler, and for the first time since last night, she began to feel at ease.

Unfortunately, that feeling didn’t last long. When they reached the bridge in the park, and Killian noticed his pumpkin was gone, he wasn’t able to contain his excitement. “I told you!” he exclaimed, running over to the spot where he’d placed the pumpkin. “I told you there was always something to the legend, didn’t I?” He looked over at her, and frowned, “what’s wrong?”

Emma hadn’t realized she’d started crying. Quickly, she wiped her tears away, and shook her head. “Nothing. I’m happy for you, Killian,” she said and started crying again when he rushed back to her. The part of her that wanted to congratulate him was silenced by the part of her that was ridiculously in love with him.

“Don’t cry,” he said as he pulled her into a hug. “I’m sure it isn’t that terrible.”

“What the hell are you talking about?” she asked, a little laugh escaping through her soft sobs.

“I mean, we’ve known each other for most of our lives,” he said, still not making much sense. “Nothing has to change-”

“Killian,” she interrupted. “One of us has no idea what you’re trying to get at.” His efforts at comforting her were only making things worse. What did he mean ‘nothing had to change?’ Everything was going to change!

“The pumpkin.” He let go of her, and pointed to the empty spot. She frowned, remembering the strange initials, and realizing all over again that she was probably losing her best friend to some girl named Edith Smith. Now he was trying to assure Emma that they could still be friends even though he’d found his true love. Killian looked back at her, and started talking again, “I left the pumpkin, and it’s gone…and…” He frowned when he noticed she was anything but happy. “Emma-”

“I’m happy for you,” she lied. Edith was damn lucky.

“Bloody hell,” Killian laughed. “You’ve no idea who’s initials I carved…and you’re upset because…you think it’s someone else.”

“What?”

“Don’t you know, Emma?” He hugged her again, and held her so tight, she thought she might not ever catch her breath. “It’s you.”

“ES?” she guessed, hoping it didn’t give away the fact that she was the pumpkin thief.

“Emma Swan,” he confirmed.

“But…I saw you hanging out with Milah-”

“Milah started working at the restaurant that my office manages,” he said. “So, yes, I see her quite a bit, but it’s strictly business. Like I said, I carved ES into that pumpkin.”

“Not Edith Smith?”

“Dammit, Emma.” He was laughing, so his words didn’t have any bite. “I’ve been in love with you since the day we met.”

“But,” she sniffled, “when I carved my pumpkin… it never disappeared.” She told him about how much faith she’d placed in the legend when she was fourteen. Old enough to know better, young enough to still have hope.

“That’s why you believed this tradition to be silly.”

She nodded, and he held her even tighter.

“Emma… if I’d have known, I would have grabbed that pumpkin the second you placed it.”

She froze, and pulled away. “What do you mean?”

“I mean,” he smiled. “That you aren’t as sneaky as you think you are, deputy. I knew you’d be curious if I mentioned my plans, and I knew if I really laid it on thick, that you’d steal my pumpkin just to make me happy.”

“That’s a complicated way to tell someone you like them,” she said.

“Aye,” he shrugged. “But… we’ve been friends for so long, and I wasn’t quite sure… so I figured if you didn’t feel the same way, I could claim the ES stood for Edith Smith.”

Emma wasn’t sure what to say. For years, she could only think about how much she wished Killian would share her feelings, and now, he was basically telling her they’d both been idiots the entire time. “Do…” her voice cracked as she tried to find it. “…do you think…”

“It’s meant to be?” he asked.

“Yeah.” Her answer was barely above a whisper. What if things didn’t work out, and she lost the one person she loved more than anything?

“I think you worry too much,” he said.

“So… now what?”

“Perhaps we can just take it a day at a time?” He looked down at his shoes. “I mean… if… that’s what you want…”

Emma tried not to giggle when he scratched nervously behind his ear. It was adorable how shy he could get sometimes. Even now, when they were both confessing their feelings for one another, he was unsure. “I think that sounds perfect.”

She couldn’t help but smile when he gave her the same sheepish grin he’d given her the night before. He shuffled his feet a bit, and chuckled. “I suppose we could start with breakfast?”

“How about we start with something I’ve been wanting to do for years?”

It didn’t take him long to figure it out. That morning they shared their first kiss, and when they exchanged their vows the next autumn, neither questioned whether or not it was meant to be.

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As always, if you have a fan fiction you’d like to submit, please visit my CONTACT ME page and send me a note. It doesn’t matter what group you fan over, just send them over. 

And just because I love these characters, here’s a little insight into the world of Jennifer Morrison, Colin O’Donoghue and pumpkins.

Fanfiction Friday: What You Did

A ONCE UPON A TIME FANFICTION – The Fixer Upper Series

I love my favorite show, Once Upon a Time, but like any show that’s had a long run and several writers in collaboration, plot lines get lost or forgotten or messed up. Or sometimes, the creators think they are doing something amazing to the storyline and it ends up failing miserably (ahem – Robin Hood’s death). Well, I’d like to try and fix those. This is going to be the first of those types of stories.
This story is set during season seven with Old Wish Hook (but younger and less fat), and Lady Tremaine (aka Rapunzel). The writers made the mistake in the second episode of season seven with Lady Tremaine saying to Old Hook, “After what you did to me, Captain, you’re lucky you have eyes left to see anything at all.” But in a few episodes later we see that it wasn’t Rapunzel who Hook did “something” to, but a glamoured version of Mother Gothel. Rapunzel wasn’t even there, she didn’t know about what had happened. So… I fixed it. Enjoy!
PS. If there is a storyline you want fixed, please send your ideas my way. Yes, Robin Hood’s death will be one of those.

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WHAT YOU DID

“Another tankard!” Rapunzel slammed down her stein wretchedly drunk in the local tavern. She didn’t care how drunk she became, nothing in her life mattered. Her husband had taken off after his new wife, her oldest daughter was comatosed, and all she had left was a whiny teenager, and an ugly stepdaughter on her hands. Drinking away her problems seemed like the only solution.

A stein appeared before her and she raised it in salute to the air. At least she wasn’t in that damn tower growing her hair as long as a mile anymore. She chugged the ale in one long drag.

“Careful there, love. Ale will make you sicker than a mangy dog,” a deep, gravelly voice said to her left. She spun around, a bit dizzied, to find a salt and pepper haired man with eyes the shade of the ocean at dawn, wallowing in his own drink.

He tipped it to her and took a sip. “Now rum, on the other hand… rum is smooth… and delicious. Mmm.”

Finishing the cup, the man stood and moved two seats next to her. At this proximity she noticed he was missing a hand and had a hook in its place, matching that with the earring in his ear and long black, leather coat he wore, she guessed he was a pirate.

“Another round and add one for the lady,” he said tapping his small silver cup.

Lovely, she thought, a drunk pirate needed a wench for the night, let me add that to my list of pitiful mistakes I’ve made. She guzzled the shot the moment it was set in front of her.

When she dropped it to the bar, she found those piercing eyes stunned and the pirate left holding a full drink, as if waiting to clink her cup before they partook. “All right,” he said, “so it’s like that.”

He clinked her empty cup, then drank half his rum. “Killian Jones, at your service, ma’am.”

“Rapunzel Tremaine, pleasure, Captain. I presume its Captain. You don’t look like a deckhand.”

He downed the rest of his rum, licking his lips as he swallowed. “Indeed I am not, but nor am I a Captain any longer. A Captain requires a ship, and mine hasn’t been seen for a decade at least,” he said tapping his cup again and holding two fingers up for the barkeep.

“Oh? I sense a story there. Does it have to do with that?” Rapunzel motioned toward his hooked hand.

Killian raised his hardware. “This? No. That was another foe. I’m afraid the story of Captain Hook is far more bleak than losing a hand to a crazed husband who didn’t like how I stole his wife.”

“Ooh, how dangerous. Perhaps I’d enjoy hearing that story instead.” This time she raised her cup first, waiting for him to join her; the spirits deadening any judgement she had about enticing a man of the sea.

He tapped hers and together they sank the shot. “Aye, that is a more fascinating story.” He moved closer. “Shall I retell the epic tale or merely show you how women would rather run away with me instead of staying married to a cowardly man?” He met her eyes, peering through long, thick lashes of black. “Where’s your husband, madam?”

Rapunzel’s indignation set in. Some random pirate—even a former one—didn’t need to know about her miserable life. She folded her hands on the bar refusing when the barkeep asked if she wanted another.

“You know nothing of my life,” she said to Killian, the moment the barkeep walked away.

Puckering his lips in thought, Killian stroked his bearded chin. “Oh, I don’t? Let’s see if I’m right. He’s run off with another, leaving you with a house full of children?”

Protesting, Rapunzel stood from her stool.  Killian held up a finger. “Ah let me finish. It wasn’t his fault. You hold part of the blame by not being around as much as you should. You feel guilt, not anger toward him, resentment of how your role as wife was the reason why your marriage failed.”

Slowly, she turned toward him, surprised by his accuracy. “That’s impossible to guess that much of someone you’ve never met.”

Bushy eyebrows wiggled in her direction. “I am perceptive, madam. You wear no ring, yet there’s an indentation from where one was for quite some time. Your dress is in style, made of silk, cotton, and lace no less, but your hands are calloused from hard work…” He tapped his nose.  “Cleaning or servitude perchance?”

Rapunzel grinned a wry smile, he was perceptive. “And how about the part where I’m guilt ridden for his disappearance?”

Killian scooted closer and leaned into her ear. His breathy whisper tickled her skin. “Because you’re drinking with me.”

His lips came next, moist and plump, taking her earlobe into his mouth. “Stay with me tonight and together we’ll chase away those demons of guilt and anger we both hold too close to our hearts.”

Stomach trembling with ten years of unrequited lust, she faced him. Her nose close enough to smell the sweet and strong rum on his breath. It fed her salacious appetite. “Tell me your guilt and anger first, if it’s not for the hand you’re missing.”

Killian’s long fingers brushed a blonde strand from her forehead. “I was used once; betrayed by a woman who bore my child for the sole reason of entrapping her. She then took drastic measure to keep me from ever seeing my daughter again. I harbor enough guilt and anger to suck this tavern dry of every ounce of spirits it owns, and still it wouldn’t rid me of the angst I have inside.”

Seeing the plaguing hurt in his eyes, Rapunzel slipped her hand into hers. He did know her pain. “Come with me and let’s rid ourselves of agony together

* * *

To her cottage she took Killian. Closing the door behind her, she didn’t bother with the lanterns before lunging for him, hands tearing each layer of clothes from his body. Coat, vest, shirt gone; leaving him in only leather-clad trousers by the time they reached her bedroom.

His own nimble fingers unlaced her bodice and skirts in record time. She stood in her corset and shift before him in the milky moonlight shining through the window.

“Turn around, love,” Killian commanded soft and huskily.

Heart pounding, she did and felt the cool of his steel hook sliding fluidly through the ties of her corset. It fell into a pile at her feet. Killian circled his hand around her waist, spreading his palm flat on her stomach, tucking her close into his body.

She sank into him, his lips dotting precious kisses along the side of her neck. “So beautiful, just as I remembered,” he slurred.

Perhaps he was thinking of another; confused and bewildered by the rum. She didn’t care, not now, for he wouldn’t be the only one filling her thought while she bed this mere stranger. Her Marcus was a fine lover and despite his leaving, she craved him.

Rapunzel turned in Killian’s arms and ran her fingers through the coarse, smattering of silver and black hair across his chest. Heaven, she thought, and decidedly changed her mind about fantasizing of Marcus. Killian was a beautiful man under that rugged pirate exterior.

Then to further surprise her he grinned and deftly unsnapped his hook from its leather cuff around his wrist. “I don’t need to be hurting the lady tonight, unless that’s something you’re into?” He cocked a wary brow.

Practically panting, Rapunzel took the metal hook and dropped it to the table behind him. “We’ll see where this leads first.”

Killian growled and covered her mouth with his; lips, teeth, tongue took charge of hers, kissing, sucking, tasting her mouth unlike any other man had ever before. It spurred her wild, clawing at his chest, his back, dragging him into the curve of her body.

She felt him then, at her lower belly, hard, strong, and solid. “Mmm,” she moaned and pushed the leather from his hips to the floor.  Taking hold of him—stroking and pumping him, drawing an animalistic grunt from his throat. Her head spun with alcohol and lust hearing him. He had to take her now, or she might die from lack of touch.

Grabbing handfuls of her shift, Killian lifted the linen over her head, tossing it somewhere behind her. Then, without warning, he scooped her up, and lay her on the bed, filling her with his swollen length. Rapunzel bit back the need to scream at the sensuous pounding, eliciting every repressed urge she held for the last ten years. She wanted to curse, to cry, to yell and fight for every minute she spent locked away from her family; watching her husband be a husband to another wife. None of it was fair.

She squeezed her eyes shut only to feel Killian rise to his forearms above her. “Don’t do that, love,” he said, brushing a thumb across her eyelashes. “Don’t hold back. Let go. Take it out on me.” He punctuated each sentence with a thrust, reminding her she wasn’t alone.

She held him still, locking her leg around his. “But what about you?”

“What about me?” he turned away sad eyes.

“You’re holding back too.” She could see it in the heavy lines on his face, and suddenly realized he wasn’t as drunk as she thought, nor nearly as drunk as she was. What had he said a moment ago? So beautiful, just as I remembered. He wasn’t angry like her, but in turmoil.

Wriggling from him, she drew the quilt up to her shoulders. “What did you mean by I’m as beautiful as you remembered?”

Slowly, he moved away, sitting up and covering his lap with the same quilt. A weighted breath lifted his shoulders. “You lived in a tower trapped by an evil witch, did you not?”

Rapunzel’s mouth fell open. “H-h-how did you know that?”

“I know because I’ve bedded you before, but it wasn’t really you. That very same witch disguised herself as you to trick me. But I had to know you were real… I had to recreate…” his voice drifted, guilt-ridden and melancholy. No matter the emotion, it didn’t change the fact that now she was the one being used.

Rapunzel crossed her arms under her breasts. “Recreate what?” she uttered slowly, in a tone she’d never heard come from her mouth before.

Killian shook his head. “Recreate the horrid memory I have of my daughter’s conception. “

“And you thought this was the way to go about it?” she snapped.

Confidently, he met her eye. “Aye, because you are at least, the actual woman I was with, not the sorceress glamoured to be you.”

“That is a stupid reason. She took my image to entice you. She stole it! Get out of my bed! Get out of my house!”

Doing as he was commanded, Killian Jones left adding clothes and hardware to his body with every step. “I’m sorry,” he said pausing at the door. “I’m very sorry. ‘Tis not my normal nature to degrade women… especially not one as beautiful as you.”

Still angered, Rapunzel could think of only one thing to say, but took a long look at the pitiful man and held her tongue of the expletive. “I don’t forgive you, but I will give you a word of wisdom: if you want to change the memories surrounding your daughter, then change them now. Stop drinking, stop preying on the innocent, stop feeling sorry for yourself and become a better man.”

Killian nodded once. “Aye, milady. Thank you… for everything.”

* * *

Many Years Later

“Well, I had heard you were in this realm and I had to see for me’self.”

Rapunzel heard the all too familiar voice of a man she’d not seen in at least a decade, but never forgot for a moment, Killian Jones… Captain Hook.

She turned, her eyes settling on the most startling of views. Her once virile, dark and silvery pirate was fat, old, bushy, and gray. A shadow of the man he once was. He sauntered into the room with a jovial grin pasted on his face.

Rapunzel raised a brow, halting him in his path. “After what you did to me, Captain, you’re lucky you have eyes left to see anything at all. Now tell me what you want before I give you a second hook, Hook?”

“Well,” he sniggered. “You’re not going to hurt me. Not when I can help you with a problem like Henry Mills.”

Henry Mills, the one who charmed her pathetic, rebellious step-daughter Ella, then thwarted her plan of marrying her actual daughter, Drizella off to the prince of the realm. Rapunzel’s interests were piqued.

“I can make him go home and we both get what we want.”

“And what is it you want?” she asked with caution.

“A woman…”

“Oh,” she groaned. No, he hadn’t changed at all. Still the same old – and now more disgusting – pirate she once knew.

“… named Emma Swan,” he finished.

She had to put a stop to this once and for all. “What makes you think Emma Swan would possibly love you, when no one else will?”

“Because she’s already fallen in love with another Captain Hook from another realm. And that Captain Hook is dying of thirst tied under a cart in a filthy alley.”

Hook held up a vile of this other man’s blood. “Now I’ve managed to get a little bit of fresh blood before I left him and I want you to make me like him.”

“You forget, I don’t wield magic. The witch who disguised herself as me did. Go find her instead.” Rapunzel spun around returning to her interrupted task.

Gently, his touch guided her back around. She found herself centimeters from his face, and picked up the scent of salt water, honey, and citrus. No decay or alcohol laden breath at all. He may have let himself go around the midsection, but he’d taken her advice and quit drinking. She looked into his eyes, still blue as the ocean, still filled with sorrow and took pity on him. “And what will you do with this woman? Force her into bed like you did to me?”

He puckered his lips, frowned, and tapped her nose. “As I recall, you were the one who invited me into your bed, not the other way around.”

She rolled her eyes. “Fine, the details are hazy. Answer my question. What will do with Emma Swan?”

“I’ll be her husband, and she my wife. There are tales she is the savior and perhaps in time I will finally be reunited with my daughter.”

That was all she needed to hear. He had changed and was fighting for his daughter as hard as he was when she first met him.

From her garter she pulled a magic wand she’d pilfered from an old hag trying to change Ella’s fate and held it aloft. “I did recently acquire this little number from a fairy godmother.”

Hook looked longing at the device.

“Bad luck for her. Good luck for me…” she taunted, “… and you.”

Those sad, old eyes of his perked up. He grinned wildly.

This captain who could’ve easily ruined her, he didn’t know it, but he was the only glimmer of light in her miserable life. What he did was wrong, but it was also a night she never forgot. The man strengthened her resolve and forced herself never to be a victim ever again. After him, she never allowed herself to be weak or reliant on a man. His dastardly deeds changing her for the better. “You have a deal,” Rapunzel said gratefully.

Opening the vile of blood with his teeth, Hook spat the cork across the room. She tapped the edge of the bottle. Blood magically curled its way around the old pirate, grafting to him, transforming him into a man far younger than even she was expecting. He breathed a sigh of relief, then caught onto her staring at his stunning form.

He cocked a brow in her direction. Rapunzel cleared her throat, hiding her smile by turning her gaze away.

“Care to take a ride before I become a married man?” he crooned.

It was tempting, but Rapunzel refused. “No. You promised me Henry Mills gone and that’s all I want now.”

Stalking forward, he circled her waist. “As the lady wishes. Thank you. You won’t be disappointed.”

“I better not be,” she said then softly felt his lips meld with hers. She wanted to sink into him just like they had in the moonlight of her bedroom, but refrained. She wasn’t that woman anymore.

“You won’t,” he said. “I promise, I will do what I can to help you in the future now that I have a few more years on me.”

He kissed her quick again and left as fast as he’d arrived.

Rapunzel sighed, and sat in the nearest chair, hoping what he said was true, for if he didn’t… alone she would be for the rest of her life.

The actual scene from Once Upon a Time Season 7 Episode 2 first aired in September 2017
I do not own any of the actual Once Upon a Time dialogue. I merely used it to make the story fit. Nor do I own any of the characters listed in this story.

Once Upon a Time Fanfiction…Sort of: Netflix and Connect

Before I begin the story, let me give you a little background. Rose Reynolds, who played Alice/Tilly on season 7 of Once Upon a Time, told this quirky little story on her Instagram about how she was “borrowing” a Netflix account from a person named Jon, and wondered out loud what Jon must think of her all of a sudden finding Buffy the Vampire Slayer on his Recently Watched list. I thought this was the cutest story ever and wanted to expand upon it. Then a fellow fan and friend of mine, Amber Wallen, wanted to see if anyone else wanted to gift Miss Reynolds with a creative birthday present. I jumped on it and said, I have an idea for a story, let me put it together. I did. Amber mailed the package. Rose opened it live on Instagram – my story included, and then personally wrote me a very sweet message the day after: img_8482

Today, I am proud to present to you, a Rose Reynolds’ inspired story:

 

Netflix and Connect

 

Entering her hotel suite, Rose emptied her several suitcases into the drawers and closet, settling in to the place she’d call home for the next few months. She finished the task and flopped on the bed; she’d traveled from England to Los Angeles and finally Vancouver in the last two days. Tired didn’t begin to describe how exhausted she truly was. Thank God I’ve finally stopped moving, she thought, letting her bones and muscles sink into the bed as best they could. She still felt the vibrations and sensations of the vehicles she’d been in over the last 48 hours, though, which nauseated her. She needed something to ground her and take her focus off the motion sickness.

Patting her hands across the bed, she felt for the remote control she’d tossed out of her way when setting her one suitcase on the chest of drawers near the telly. She found it and rolled on to her side watching the screen. Click. Power on. Click. Bring up the guide. Click. Click. Click; down the list of shows airing. Rose frowned. Nothing was on. What was an actress—someone who lived for the intensity of drama, the thrill of suspense, and belly laugh of comedy — supposed to do?

Sighing, she exited the guide; the screen giving way to black followed by icons for Amazon, Hulu, Vudu, and Netflix. Damn, why did she have to be a budding actress whose paychecks didn’t get any higher than four digits long? If she was, she could afford subscriptions to various movie apps. Hmm, she could call her family to see if either one would let her borrow their account information. Then again, asking would come with guilt for not calling except for when she needed something from her mum and sister, and a lecture from her brother about how she should’ve invested her paychecks when she had a regular job doing a revival of Twelfth Night last year. Yeah, it wasn’t worth it. There was always the chance she could guess their passwords… It wasn’t exactly honest of her, but hey, they were family after all, so Rose clicked the Netflix icon.

As the logo faded, two squares popped in front of her: Add account, and Jon. Jon? Who could this be? Perhaps he was the guest who slept in the room before she did. Her imaginative mind took a right turn down hyper mode, filling her head with maybes. Maybe he was a fellow actor or filmmaker. Maybe an executive or some well-toned athlete. Maybe she was meant to find his name on her screen.

The pad of her thumb hovered over the enter button on Jon’s square. Wait a second, she paused, was this stealing? Could be, but really wasn’t it his fault for not logging out of his account?

Rose made up her mind and pressed the button. Up came a flood of movies and television from 12 Angry Men to Stranger Things, and, oh my God, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Yessss!!!

Climbing from the bed, Rose wrapped her long blonde locks in a bun, changed into jammies, switched from contacts to glasses, and darted right back under the covers for a good ol’ fashioned binge watch of Buffy, Xander, Willow, Spike, and Angel.

* * *

An alarm rang out, waking Rose with a start. When had she fallen asleep? She had to set the remote control down before turning the clock off. It came to her then that she’d left off on episode three, the one where Buffy tried out for cheerleading and met the woman who’d switched bodies with her own daughter. It was one of her favorites and she selected Netflix again to finish the episode.

Oddly enough, Buffy wasn’t the first show in the most recently played list on the app. A movie entitled Hackers was.

“Odd?” she said to no one. Was this one of Jon’s recently watched movies or was it a message in disguise?

Rose gasped at the thought, despite clicking on Buffy while she dressed for her first day on her latest project, Hollywood’s newest version of Alice in Wonderland.

Unable to shake the idea of the movie title being a message by the end of the episode, Rose decided to leave Jon a message all her own and found a movie in the search bar entitled, Thanks for Sharing.

 

* * *

Costume fittings, hair and makeup tests, and script readings filled her day, but not once did Rose forget the message on Netflix. Jon was somewhere thinking some random person had hijacked his account. Yet he didn’t sign off or change the password – which would have been Rose’s first instinct if the same had happened to her. No, he merely left Hackers there instead. He was playing with her. She giggled at the thought.

“Care to share with the rest of us,” one cheeky co-star said, raising an eyebrow at her interruption.

She cleared her throat. “No, sorry. Go on.”

Good naturedly, the actor playing her father shook his head as the cast returned to their reading.

Seven p.m. rolled around and an anxious Rose ran to the lift, hoping for a response from her mystery man. Sure enough, as soon as she pulled up Netflix, there it was; a television show called Who Do You Think You Are?

Though it still had a tinge of accusation to it, Rose was determined to make this man smile as much as she had from the moment she found the first title. She found two movies to answer his question and ask one of her own. She played Roses Are Red and a foreign film from 1963 asking, Where Are You From, Johnny? Perfection.

Giddy, Rose ordered dinner and waited for another movie title to take the top spot, and in less than an hour up popped San Andreas, followed by Where Are You?

A knock on the door interrupted her search under the Vs, and Rose backed away from the telly, opening the door for the stunningly beautiful, tall and dark-haired co-star of hers that was staying down the hall. “Hey, Alli, come on in,” she said absently.

“And hello to you too. Did you have dinner?” Alli asked. Rose heard the door close behind her, but barely acknowledged while slowly typing out the word Vancouver.

“What are you doing?” Alli questioned, since Rose had yet to respond.

“It’s a game really,” she finally answered, giving her attention to her new friend. “I borrowed this guy’s account and he found out. We’re talking through the titles.”

Alli’s mouth fell agape. “And you don’t think this is dangerous?” She was far more well-known of an actor than Rose was, having the titular lead in her own show for several years. So, her outlook on fans and people outside their industry was jaded by those who’d taken advantage of her public image.

Rose rolled her eyes. “What can he do, Al? He’s all the way in California and is chatting with me though a movie-viewing account. I doubt there’s much trouble he could get into.”

“I’m just saying, be careful. I don’t want to see you cat fished or worse, hurt. There are creepers all over. The evening news is full of them.”

Taking her hand, Rose squeezed. “Don’t worry. I’m not stupid. It’s just fun. If it gets weird, all I have to do is log off.”

Rose smiled at her. “What do you Yanks say, it’s not my first rodeo? I’ve got this.”

Alli sighed. “Okay. Well, I better not see some weirdo scaling the outside of the building one day.”

Rose laughed. “Hey, you and me both. Now go. I need to find some movie with Vancouver in the title.”

Backing out of the room, Alli halted at the door. “Try Vancouver: No Fixed Address. A friend of mine worked on it. It’s a documentary. See if they have it.”

They did and Rose entered it, watching the first few minutes of the show she’d like to finish later, about less than fortunate souls on the streets of her new city, ensuring it would show up on the recently watched list.

Another few minutes later and two movies moved her new title aside: I Was There and Last Holiday. Rose thrilled for the next clue, and the next; night after night, week after weeks, and so on until a month had passed. Every day, Jon left a movie title or two for Rose when she returned from set at the end of the night. Sometimes they were as simple as the movie Jobs, where Jon supplied The Producers, informing her of what he did for a living.

“Yes!” she’d exclaimed, joyous they shared a similar career path.

That night she sent him a reply of The Actor and Disney’s Alice in Wonderland.

 

* * *

 

The mystery was fun and surprisingly deep considering they never spoke, (luckily, there were movie and television title with great questions), until one day after a particularly rough day on set—heavy winds and rain, and grumpy, cold co-stars—did Rose see the titles: Coming Soon, followed by Dying 2 Meet U.

Panic set into her bones. He wants to meet me? Part of her loved the idea of meeting the man behind the account, while the other side of her brain reiterated Alli’s words of warning: Be careful. You don’t know this guy. He could be a creeper. It was time to call her mum.

“Rosie, darling? Are you all right? What’s happening?” she frantically answered.

Eek! It was well past midnight. “Sorry Mum, forgot to calculate the time difference. Nothing’s wrong. Go back to sleep.”

Rose could hear the rustling of blankets, the creak of her old bed, and pads of footsteps over the line. “No, no, it’s fine. If you’ve called, there must be a reason no matter how small it is.”

“Thanks Mum,” she said and told her the whole store of Netflix, Jon, and the movie titles.

By the end, Mum was tittering with delight. “How extraordinarily romantic!”

“Romantic? Mum? He could be a creeper.”

“He could, or he could be the one your soul has been searching for. You’ll never know ‘til you find out.”

That didn’t help. “So what do I do?” Despite her mum’s romantic notion, confusion was still in the forefront of Rose’s mind.

“You said he was a producer, right?”

“Yes.”

“So invite him to your studio. There’s security there, tons of people, and nowhere near your living space.”

Rose shrugged, nodding to herself. It was a good plan, she had to admit, but one thing still plagued her. “But a romance though? Mum, you really think there could be one or were you teasing me?”

Her mother’s smile could be heard from the thousands of miles between them. “I’m not saying anything.”

That meant “yes” in mother-speak, leaving Rose shaking her head.

“Keep me posted, will you?” Mum asked, a touch of laughter coming through her voice.

“I will. Night, Mum.”

“Goodnight Rose.”

Picking up the remote, Rose found the title Yes Man.

Jon responded with: O’ Brother, Where Art Thou?

Rose entered: The Bridge and Inside the Actor’s Studio, hoping it was close enough to her studio’s name.

Moments later came, You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger. He was telling her what he looked like, and oh how she liked dark haired men. Give him rich brown eyes, or ocean blue ones, and she’d be a happy girl.

She replied, Legally Blonde, and on a whim clicked on Can’t Hardly Wait.

It was the truth, and the butterflies in her tummy further confirmed how exciting an adventure this had been. She truly couldn’t wait to see what tomorrow brought. And no sooner did the word tomorrow cross her mind, did the title, See You in the Morning, flash on the screen.

 

* * *

 

“Rose?” one of the security guards’ asked after a scene in which she was dressed in full costume—a white peasant top, patchwork blue skirt, and matching embroidered corset. “There’s someone in the main lobby asking for you.”

A zip of electricity zinged up her spine. Jon. He was here. Somehow, she managed to keep her cool and nodded to the guard. “Thank you. Be right there.”

Taking a deep breath, she asked permission for a break and took off for the studio’s main offices. Through the glass wall of the lobby, she saw a figure facing the desk, not the door. She slowed her pace, smoothing her skirt, taking the moment to collect her thoughts. Don’t make a big deal out of this. He’s just a guy. You borrowed his Netflix account. That is all, she told herself, then reached out for the door.

Slowly she opened the heavy portal; the man dressed in a gray suit turned toward the sound of the hinges chirping once, and then did a double take as she walked through. His eyes, as light brown as his skin, ticked a little in recognition. Rose couldn’t help but smile, and bit her lip doing her best not to grin like a fool. “Jon?” she asked, her voice wavered.

The man stepped forward, holding out a single red rose toward her. “You must be Rose.”

He was handsome in a baby-faced sort of way, round cheeks and nose; sweet, twinkling eyes, and close-cropped black hair atop his head. Not exactly what she was picturing when she’d conjured him up in her mind, but she didn’t care. She knew him, that’s what mattered, and accepted the flower from him, giving it a sniff. “I am. Thank you.”

“I’d know you anywhere,” he said, much like she was thinking. “Are you hungry?”

“Hungry?” she questioned. “Yeah, I suppose I could eat.”

Jon held out his hand. “Then I’d love to treat to you lunch and really get to know you… movie titles aside.”

She stared at his hand, wide, firm, solid, and in front of her. He was virtually a stranger still, yet nothing held her back from curling her fingers around his palm. Whether he was an acquaintance, a friend, or more, this is where it started: Netflix and a hand hold. She squeezed taking hold of him. “I’d really like that too.”

 

* * *

ONE MONTH LATER

 

Jon’s movie business in Vancouver ended, sending him back to the Los Angeles area. Rose had to stay for her production, but remained in bliss as she settled into her suite. She and Jon had spent every day together from the moment they met, meeting her friends and co-stars, having meals, laughing, talking—eager to learn all they could about each other — until those first inklings of friendship turned to more. The day he leaned in and kissed her, sparks flew like romance novels talked of, lighting her eyes and sending tears of joy streaming down her cheeks. Jon parted from her when he felt the tears, using his sleeve to dry her face, and asked, “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing,” she’d said, but she knew exactly what it was touching her soul.

Jon touched his forehead to hers. “I think I know.”

“You do?”

He nodded. “Yeah. I think we both know we have found someone we were supposed to find.”

Rose burst out crying, for that was exactly what she was thinking. She smiled at the remembrance of that day that took place only 72 hours ago. She wanted to say those three little words then, but chickened out from fear of rejection and knowing he’d be leaving soon. So instead, she spent those last days enjoying her love without opening her heart that last little bit. But now, as she sat in her lonely room, she wished she had said it.

Ah well, can’t change the past, she thought, and picked up the remote control hoping the telly would give her the company she needed during her quiet dinner. She turned on Netflix, smiling at Jon’s name staring back at her, and clicked on it. Then she saw it… she gasped… right there on the recently played list, the words she’d wished she said in the title of a sappy little Gerard Butler, Hillary Swank movie: P.S. I Love You.

Her Jon loved her and there was nothing else to do but to search and change the list’s first movie to I Love You Too.

 

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If you would like to submit a fan fiction story to be featured on my blog for FanFiction Fridays, click the left hand side of the site here and send me a note. I’ll read it and give you an answer.

 

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Once Upon a Time Fanfiction: To Free Dopey

Last season premiere of  Once Upon a Time the dear dwarf Dopey, a personal favorite of mine, was cursed by becoming a tree as soon as he crossed the town line. He was mentioned a few times, but never freed. Since that season ended, and there was no resolving of Dopey’s limbed and leafed fate, I thought I’d set him free myself. This was written on June 24, 2016. Enjoy my Oncer fans–Enjoy.

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TO FREE DOPEY

Knock knock knock…

What was that? Emma questioned, waking from a sound sleep. She turned toward her bedside reading 6:22 on the clock. Who the hell would be coming over this early, she thought and detangled herself from her slumbering pirate.

Knock knock knock…ding ding…

 Slipping on a robe, she shouted, “Coming!”

Killian stirred. “What’s wrong, love?”

“Someone’s at the door. I’ll be right back.”

He grumbled something incoherent, and rolled over, as Emma dashed down the stairs to the front door. The knocks came again, but this time she was there to greet whoever was on the other side. “What is so impor—“

She stopped herself, lowering her eyes to a small child at her feet. She was a tiny girl, maybe three-foot tall, but age-wise looked to be about six or seven years old with big brown eyes, and a thick, bouncy dark curls. She’d never seen her before at any of the town gatherings or even at Henry’s school. “Hello there. Who are you?” she asked.

“I’m Avia, and I need you to save my papa.”

Emma knelt to the little girl’s height. “Who’s your father? Is he hurt?”

Avia shook her head from side to side. “No. You cursed him.”

Taken aback, Emma gasped. “I did? When?” Sure, she was the Dark One not but six weeks ago, but she thought she’d corrected most of the mistakes she created. She certainly didn’t remember cursing anyone.

The little girl sniffed. “You did. Mama, said you did. My papa was chosen to cross the town border and he was turned into a tree.”

Oh. That curse. A cold hand of guilt settled on Emma’s shoulders. She didn’t know someone actually tried to leave and got caught. No one told her. Awful didn’t begin to explain how she felt about what she’d done. Reaching out to Avia, she soothed her with a light caress to her upper arms. “It’s going to be okay. I’ll help him right now. Where’s your mother?”

Avia pointed toward the woods.

“Does she know you’re here?”

“No. She told me not to bother you. She said you might be evil.”

“Oh no, sweetie. I’m not evil. That part is all gone.” Emma stood and gathered Avia’s hand. “Come on in. I’ll get dressed and we’ll go to your mother first before freeing your father.”

Feeding Avia some toast and jam, Emma left her in the kitchen watching cartoons while she dressed. Killian had woken while she was with the child and was now fully clothed, snapping on his hook. “I heard. I’ll go with you,” he said, kissing her forehead.

“Thanks. I’ll be right down. Don’t scare her with that, okay?”

“Impossible. Children love me,” he said all too cocky for the early morning, and left Emma to dress.

Moments later, they were trekking through the woods until they came upon a small hovel hidden deep in the dense Maine foliage. “Is this your home?” Emma asked Avia.

Her head bobbed in place with a huge grin growing on her face. “Mama!” she called out and immediately a tiny woman, as round as can be with flushed, rosy cheeks and long auburn curls swept up in a ponytail, shuffled outside.

“Avia! Where have you been? I’ve been worr—“ she paused, seeing Emma and Killian behind her daughter. “Get inside, now, daughter.” Fright etched the lines of her face.

“We mean no harm. The darkness has left us both. Please, we want to help. Avia came to me telling me your husband was trapped,” Emma explained, holding up her hands, showing the frightened woman she was unarmed.

“She did?”

Emma nodded. “I didn’t know. And I’d like to help.”

Slowly, the woman’s face softened. Tears glistened her eyes. “Thank you.”

 

The woman, who introduced herself as Wren, led them to the town’s line where a small tree grew right in the middle of the road. The branches were drooping, and leaves hanging low and curling in the hot summer sun. There was no water source, no nourishment feeding into the trunk from its roots lodged in asphalt and not rich soil beneath. What had she done? The man was dying, neglected, and abandoned here to die, and it was all her fault.

Sniffing back the sorrow for the poor person, who neither his wife or daughter mentioned who he was, Emma stood back from the orange line painted on the ground and aimed her hands high, concentrating on her inner magic. She closed her eyes, letting the magic flow through her, gaining charge until it filled her from the tips of her toes to her shaking fingers. Then in one powerful shot, she let go, breaking the curse from the town line. Crystals dissolved mid-air, sending the invisible barrier fluttering to the ground. With a wave of her hands to the left, she blasted the left over bits of the curse far away, where it would dissipate into the sky.

The tree shimmered and lit up the area around them in a bright yellow light. Leaves fell to the ground, branches circled inward, and little by little the trunk peeled away, revealing the shape of a man. A small man. A dwarf? Emma’s jaw unhinged. “Dopey?”

Wren and Avia were at his side the moment Dopey was once again in human form. He stretched his limbs and cocked his neck from side to side before a smile split his face in two. His wife kissed him, and he kissed her with all the exuberance they could show one another.

Killian slipped his hand around Emma’s waist, leaning into her ear. “Dwarves have wives?”

“I guess so,” Emma said, just as surprised as he was.

Dopey scooped Avia up in his arms, squeezing her with all his might. “Papa, Emma freed you.”

He set the little girl down and skipped his way over to Emma, slipping his beanie off his head to kiss her cheek. His way of saying, thank you. Emma, in turn, felt her face flush and giggled.

Dopey stood up straight, once again picked up his daughter, and reached for Wren’s hand, but not before he held one finger against his lips.

Emma took this to mean, keep his family a secret, and she nodded, drawing an invisible zipper across her lips.

Dopey smiled, and with his family surrounding him, they walked into the woods as happy as can be.

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In dedication to actor Jeffrey Kaiser and his adorable, lovable, and excellent portrayal of Dopey.