SELFLESS, BRAVE, AND TRUE

He was desperate, so desperate to get out of this terrible situation alive. So, when Captain Hook said, "I've always wanted to dissect a cricket," after asking Archie for the Dark One's weaknesses, he found himself begging.

"No! Wait, wait, please!" He gulped for breaths as the Captain's hook moved toward his forehead.

"Ah, that's more like it. Now tell me, cricket, what is his weakness?" Thoroughly terrified, he almost talked. He almost jeopardized Mr. Gold's life as well as Belle's.

"I can't tell you," he said dragging up all of his inner strength. He was going to take a page out of Pinocchio's book and be selfless as well as brave. He was a conscious, and he couldn't live with himself if he betrayed anyone. Even though he didn't have that long to live anyway. He would not betray his morals just to live a while longer.

"Well then, cricket, I guess we'll start the live dissection." An evil grin spread across Killian's face as he slowly made a cut in Archie's cheek and drew blood down toward his chin. He enjoyed the psychiatrist's attempt to jerk away, which only made his injury worse.

Fear and self-preservation tried to convince Archie to tell his captor what he wanted, and make the pain stop. But, he kept repeating the life lessons over and over again in his head; the ones the Blue Fairy had meant for a young boy. Be selfless, brave and true. Selfless, brave, and true.

Somehow, the words stopped him from giving in, even as the torture grew more intense. Cuts covered his body, and his wrists were rubbed raw from his attempts to get as far away as possible from the pirate and his hook. Belle's name fought to be spoken, for it was the one thing that could stop the pain.

"Well, cricket, maybe I'll have to try something a bit more extreme," the Captain said, leaving the room to go get a new tool. While he was gone, Archie knew he should be trying to escape, but he had already found that to be futile. Instead, he closed his eyes, and tried to calm down. He needed to get into the proper mindset, so he could resist the questioning for longer.

Right when he had convinced himself that he could control his emotions, Captain Hook strode back in, carrying a hammer. "If you want to be able to walk out of here, I suggest you start talking, mate," he said, eyes dancing dangerously, indicating he was more than willing to follow through with the threat.

"His weakness," Archie started, but then he forced the name back into his throat. "No, no, I won't tell you."

He closed his eyes and tried to calm his erratic breathing, which spiked when his captor said, "Suit yourself, mate." The hammer swung down and connected with his left shin. He heard a cracking sound a split second before he screamed in agony. Before he could stop the sound, his right shin was hit as well, and the two screams melded into one.

"Captain," a voice said, and Hook looked up from where he was about to give the cricket another chance to answer before he went to even greater lengths. Cora was standing there, and he was a little annoyed with her for interrupting an interrogation session that was going so splendidly.

"Can't it wait, I'm kind of in the middle of an interrogation," he said, gesturing toward Archie, who would have slumped all the way to the ground in the ropes around his arms weren't holding him up.

"No, we don't need him at the moment. I discovered another one of Rumpelstiltskin's weaknesses, just by snooping around in the town. He's in love, with a young woman. Belle, I believe her name is."

Hook grinned, glad he could use something against the crocodile. "Well, it looks like we'll continue this later, cricket," he threatened, before replacing the gag over Archie's mouth and leaving him in the dark.

The psychiatrist was proud of his inner strength, but wondered what the point was, when the enemies had gotten what they needed anyway. Maybe he should have told them. It would have been less painful that way. Feeling hopeless, like none of the injuries he'd sustained was worth it, he tried to get some shut-eye before his captor returned to make his life a living hell.

He heard the door to the room open, and he cringed. Hook was back already. They didn't need Archie for any more information, so the likelihood was that the Captain would kill him. Archie hoped his death would be swift, but somehow, he didn't think that would be the case.

"Archie?" a voice asked in shock. A voice he recognized. His eyes flew open, relief flashing across his face as he realized it wasn't one of his captors; it was Belle. She grabbed a knife and jumped down, pulling down his gag before starting with the rope digging into his wrists. She had no idea how he was alive, but decided all of her questions about that could wait until they were in a safer environment.

"Can you stand?" she asked him gently as she worked away at the ropes, trying to cut him free without causing further pain.

"No," he admitted. "I don't think so. My legs are broken."

"Can you try?" she asked as she cut the ropes away from his last wrist, and he was free from his bonds.

"I can try," he said hesitantly. It would hurt like crazy, but it was also the fastest way off of the ship. Weighing his options, he figured attempting to leave now was his best bet.

Belle tried to support as much of his weight as she could. He stood, shakily. He winced with every small step he took, biting his lip to keep from crying out in pain. Archie didn't want Belle to realize how much agony he was in. However, it took quite a while to get Archie up into the room.

"I thought you were here for this," Hook said, leaning against the doorway nonchalantly, holding the shawl Belle had been looking for in the first place. "Not for the cricket."

Archie had tensed the second he'd heard the voice, and it took all of his will power not to shake in fear. Belle, on the other hand, stood up, and lunged for the gun she'd left on one of the other benches while she was rescuing the psychiatrist. Unfortunately, Hook was faster, and he had the gun pointed at her before she'd even touched it.

"Oh, dear Belle, you should have stuck with your books. Real life can get so messy," he taunted, before cocking the gun and pointing it at her.

"I'm not afraid of you," she informed him. "And I'm not leaving without Archie or the shawl."

"Well, then it's a good thing you won't be leaving for a while," he said in a threatening tone. "Come on, head toward the prison." The gun pointed at Belle's head left little room for argument, so she obeyed, walking past Archie and toward the prison he'd been kept in.

Unfortunately for Hook, he made the terrible decision to ignore his injured prisoner. "Move!" Archie yelled as he grabbed his captor's leg and pulled. Belle side stepped and the pirate tumbled past her into Archie's prison.

Belle was helping the psychiatrist to his feet and up the stairs faster than she'd thought possible, just barely remembering to snag the shawl she'd gone there to retrieve in the first place. Ignoring the pain every step caused, Archie let her lead him toward safety.

Once they were on deck, however, Hook appeared out of nowhere. His sudden arrival caused Belle to let Archie slip somewhat. The sudden shock, jolt of pain, and blood loss all combined to force the psychiatrist into a state of unconsciousness.

The next thing he knew, Archie was waking up in the hospital, surrounded by beeping machines. He sat up, and groaned slightly as the movement caused several of the cuts he'd received to ache. "Archie!" someone yelled, and the next thing he knew, Henry was embracing him in a huge hug. Archie wrapped his arms around the crying boy.

"It's alright, Henry. I'm going to be okay." Henry nodded and finally let go of him. As soon as he did, Archie was embraced in another hug, this time by Geppetto.

"I'm so glad you're not dead," the carpenter told his friend, and Archie pulled back, confused.

"Why would I be dead?"

That's when Emma came forward, explaining how it had seemed like Regina had killed him, and they'd actually already held a funeral for him. At the end of her explanation, David was no longer able to keep Pongo back. He hadn't wanted the dog to hurt Archie, but now, he had no say in the matter. Soon, Pongo was up on the hospital bed, wagging his tail and licking Archie's face.

He laughed, and tried to calm his dog down. In the effort to get Pongo off the bed, the dog stepped on his shin. He let out a slight hiss of pain, when it occurred to him that it should have been a lot worse than that.

Archie looked down at his legs, realizing that they were no longer broken. "What, how ?" he started to ask, and this time Belle started to explain, which brought all the attention onto herself and Rumpelstiltskin.

"Rumple healed your legs," Belle told him.

"Thank you," the patient muttered, but he couldn't help but feel worried about what price the Dark One would want from him.

Gold, comprehending the worry Archie was feeling and the cause, spoke up. "You don't owe me anything, dearie, taking on the pirate is enough of a price for you to pay." Archie could tell Gold didn't mean that last part, but when Belle hugged him, he realized the ulterior motive the Dark One had in helping him for so little a cost.

"So, why did Hook and Cora do this to you?" Emma asked him, after letting Henry and Geppetto talk with their friend for a little while. Belle and Rumple, who'd been about to leave, waited. They wanted to know what Hook and Cora were up to as well, and Dr. Hopper might know something they didn't.

Archie's face grew instantly dark as he was forced to think of his time aboard the ship. "They wanted to know Rumpelstiltskin's weaknesses. I refused to tell them. Not like that mattered in the end. They found out about Belle anyway, just by watching him." He didn't say the last thing that he was thinking; he'd gone through all that pain for nothing except a feeling of doing the right thing, which was a hollow reward for his efforts. All that torture, all that pain, had been for nothing.

"Thank you." Archie looked up, and saw that it was Gold who'd said that. The man's eyes spoke volumes, filling in the rest of his feelings that he had no intention of verbalizing. Rumpelstiltskin was impressed with his resilience, and grateful that he had felt Belle was worth protecting. He'd managed to do something very difficult, and even if the result was the same as if he'd told, it really wasn't. Archie had proved his strength and loyalty, and stayed true to his beliefs. No one could ever take that away from him.

Then, Rumpelstiltskin and Belle turned to go, leaving Archie with a feeling of pride in himself. Sure, the enemy had figured out about Belle, but not from him. He'd been selfless, brave, and true to himself, and that was just as important as the outcome. What was on the inside counted just as much as what was on the outside.

As everyone started to talk around him, and Henry and Geppetto told him how happy they were that he was safe, Archie thought everyone should live by the motto Blue had told Pinocchio. Be selfless, brave and true. Because, for every situation life threw his way, following that motto would make him proud of himself, no matter what the outcome was.

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