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The Heart Won't Lie, Part 24
Continuing Tales

The Heart Won't Lie

A Once Upon a Time Story
by Eyes Like Dawn

Part 24 of 25

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First Truths

Mr. Gold had barely taken one hand off Belle the whole time they had been at the hospital after the wrecked van fiasco. He held to her almost as if she would become intangible and fade from his grip like some mysterious mist if he let her go.

Dr. Whale, the little stooge under Regina, had been less than pleased and thoroughly surprised to see Belle walking into his clinic; battered, bruised, her blood matting her clothes and flecking her body, but alive. He had probably thought she might come through the morgue entrance with a toe tag.

Despite Whale's grumbling persistence on getting Anna to stay over night for keener observation, Gold would have none of it, just in case Regina had another trick up her conniving sleeve to do away with his love.

Ah Regina, Gold couldn't help but let a devious smile cross his lips as he remembered catching a glance of her at the scene of the wreck. He could still see the shock and lividness dancing in the stark lines of her pale face. Her eyes held flecks of blistering cold white fury that reminded one of a raging blizzard as Gold had appeared with Belle in tow.

He paused at the forest fringe for a moment with his love, an arm around her gored body, making sure Regina saw quite clearly that despite her plots and schemes, Belle's heart still beat strong and steady. It was almost a defiant gesture that said: See, you didn't crush me, she's here and alive, and I have more now than you ever will.

Just by the hatred practically reeking off the Madame Mayor, Mr. Gold wouldn't have been surprised if she started shrieking in rage like the pompous snapping harpy she truly was.

Now back home, he wasted no time in making sure Belle knew just how much he meant to her and how devastated he would have been if he could not have held her again. That night, Mr. Gold cherished Belle like he never had before. All through the hours of darkness he emptied his soul out to her making sure nothing was left un-said, or shown, about his eternal love for.

Belle sighed pleasantly as she laid her head against his slowly moving chest, her hand lying over his drumming heart. He wrapped an arm around her nestling comfortably besides her and wishing the night to never end with his Belle.

"I thought there was no magic in this world." The russet haired beauty commented as her finger absently traced tiny swirls on Rum's chest.

Gold shifted slightly so that he could see her partially by the light that emanated from outside. Her face glowed luminescent in the moon light, like some dreamy vision become reality. "So did I, but there seems to be one person left that wasn't stripped of it."

"Emma." Belle concluded immediately. It made sense if everything that Henry said was true that Miss Swann was the curse breaker.

Frowning slightly, Gold nodded once. He truly didn't want to be speaking of the sheriff right now, in their bed, but they hadn't spoken at all about the…death. Even now at the trepid thought his heart clenched in agony as he remember holding her limp corpse on the bed of forest greenery.

She seemed to read his horrid troubling thoughts that tramped through his mind, as if he had spoken the words aloud. Planting a gentle kiss of assurance over his heart, the beauty combed her fingers through his hair in a way letting him know that everything was alright.

"Yes." He finally replied at length after letting the lingering sensation of her lips upon his chest subside. "I believe she may contain the last magic's of our world. The most powerful magic's ever wielded."

"Enough to break this curse?" She asked gently; hope flitting the edge of her voice. The thought of being back in their rightful place with her Rum, and all as it should be seemed like a fanciful, but obtainable dream that she wished for with all her heart.

He only responded with a slow unsure nod that gave no promises on her words. He never liked to say things he was never completely certain about.

A loving silence resumed for a few minutes as they simply enjoyed one another's warm company and the quiet sounds of thier breathing in the still of the room as they thought of what they could have lost that day had it not been for Emma Swann.

Very suddenly, Belle shifted completely now directly on top of the beast of Storybrooke. Her features danced with a tantalizing mix of seriousness and mischief as she peered down at her Rum. She twirled a strand of his hair around her finger, a sly smile dancing upon her lips. "I have one last question then we may move on to more…pleasant ventures once more."

"Oh?" He arched his brow as his hand smoothed up her back, his thumb following the course of her spine till he reached her shoulder blades. "Ask away, Dearie."

"What was the price?" She asked, the seriousness now fully at the head.

He smiled teasingly at her before he playfully nipped at her throat with a series of soft kisses. "A price?" He echoed coyly, feigning misunderstanding.

"All magic, if memory serves, comes with a price." She whispered huskily in his ear completely at the mercy of his lips caressing the hollow of her throat and his thumb making small circles against her shoulder blade.

Belle heard him chuckle as he kissed her again; she could almost feel his smile on his lips as they pressed to her throat. "How do you know that?"

"Because I was a price, Rumpelstiltskin." She replied, just a trifle impatiently. His aversion to telling her was sparking her infamous curiosity almost into an inferno that matched the sensation his of kisses. Regrettably she pulled away slightly from his wanting clutches searching his eyes for answers.

His price or prices rather,had been a heavy one. Most of the bargain he was eagerly willing to pay and others parts not so much. "I am bound to fight for Miss Swann when she asks for my aid, no matter how I might disagree. What ever she asks of me from now on, I'm obliged to do it." There seemed to be a bit of bitterness there, at that part of the bargain. Belle knew to that Mr. Gold and taking orders never went well hand in hand at all.

"For how long?" The beauty inquired curiously.

"Until she relives me of that part of the bargain." He replied tonelessly, as if the words left a bad taste in his mouth.

Cocking her head slightly to the left, she pursed his lips a trifle as if measuring the look in Gold's glimmering onyx eyes. There was something else, she could read it plainly as it dance through his gaze. "Is that all of the deal that was made?"

He frowned then, a large almost black downturn that reminded Belle so much of the Rum of old that it slightly made her heart flutter. "No it isn't, but I'm afraid I can't tell you the rest."

A part of her desired to know what the rest of the magic had asked of him, but just by the look wallowing in his midnight orbs she couldn't form the words to ask.

"Now, if your curiosity as been assuaged, Miss French…" He let the rest go unsaid as he kissed her tenderly once more-urgently. He didn't want there to be anymore discussion of deals or magic's or curse breakers. Right now, for the rest of the night, he wanted to forget everything but Belle, alive and warm in his arms.

~8~8~

Morning came, hazy and humid. Garish black clouds that promised rain hovered above the town ominously like gray mountains as those out and about took the humidity and wet stoically as they went to and fro about their business.

Belle watched the drab world outside through the washed window panes of the kitchen; her finger holding back a bit of blue curtain to peer outwards. A sigh crossed her lips as she stirred a cup of slightly cool tea absently. Despite now being back with her love, alive and safe, she couldn't help but feel like a failure. In a few days, a week would be up and Rum would legally lose half his properties. While in the dark, Regina would hold everything after he had traded all for her sake to come to her rescue.

It made the beauty feel like an utter failure knowing she had accomplished nothing to save Gold's assets and in turn give 'Operation Cobra' a fighting chance. Even though Rum still had plenty to live comfortably for the rest of his life, and then some, it still would make going up against Regina nigh impossible with no power in his grasp for him to wield.

"Something wrong, Belle?" Gold asked as he limped into the kitchen. For the first time it appeared since she had became free of her horrid prison, that he wasn't wearing a neat suit, ready for business and deals, but still had his night clothes on.

The sight made her want to flinch, but she fought the urge. Because of her he had now lost everything with no where to go and nothing to do.

She shrugged trying to keep the feeling of overwhelming failure away but couldn't. "Because of me, you've lost everything, and I never even got to attempt to save anything."

"None of this is your fault." He rebuffed quickly. His lips turned into a sneer as he shook his head. "Regina's tricks are to blame here; asking you to do the impossible."

"But it wasn't impossible." Belle protested her voice catching as she turned away unable to look at him; ashamed that because of her it was gone. "All I had to do was go to that institution."

Closing the distance between them, Gold eyes shimmered with alarm and comfort for his Belle. He tenderly placed his hand under her chin, bringing her head back to face him. "You can't."

"Not now." She sighed running her fingers through her chestnut curls, fighting back tears. "I could barely do it when you didn't know and now that you do, and what you did, and the magic-"

"I mean you literally can't go." He interrupted as he grabbed one of her hands letting the gentle warmth of his palm run through her. For all the months they'd been together, the wealthy business man had never thought to bring mention to the fact that they were practically stuck here.

After a while one didn't even think about it, especially when they owned more than half the town and there were miles and miles of entangling lush forest separating them from any big city or another county for that matter. "The curse also halts us from leaving the town, with devastating affect as you recall." He finished.

Belle blinked owlishly at him in confusion as her mind worked out the scheme. Her jaw tightened in anger, as her eyes narrowed hatefully. "So it didn't matter. No matter what we tried Regina still wins."

"It certainly does seem that way." Gold sighed and nodded in accordance to Belle. He should have been angry, furious even, but he found that with Belle at his side it wasn't as tragic as it would have felt without her. She made material things seem as dust, worthless and gone without regret.

As she turned back to the window, he wrapped his arms around her shoulders watching the world move with her in silence. They would find some way to defeat her, even if it was the-

"Rumpelstiltskin, we're idiots! That's it!" Belle blurted suddenly in excitement, shattering Gold's train of thought.

Rum furrowed his brow shaking his head slightly in confusion as he backed away so she could turn about. "What is?"

"The answer to defeating Regina!" The beauty slapped a hand to her forehead, merely blinking as if she had uncovered some mystery laying at her feet. "The way to beat her has been in front of us all along! I…I mean the people here can't leave Storybrooke, and last I checked there's no institution in this town." For the months she'd been out, Belle had seen no place even closely resembling an insane asylum. And if what Rum said was correct about them not being able to leave…

"Which means she was lying all along." Gold concluded, almost stunned, how could they have missed such information! It was so surprisingly stupid he felt like cursing himself for not even considering such a thought. He truly hadn't even considered the thought, which made him feel even more foolish than her already was beginning to feel. From the first time he saw her no focus was on where she had been; only that she was here.

Smirking widely at his love, an idea so very much like what he would have thought of in the old world bloomed to his head. "How dare you call yourself a failure my dear Belle? I believe you just solved one of our problems."

~8~8~

To say Regina Mills was angry to see that bug Annabelle come walking out the dark woods, with her little love Rumpelstiltskin would have been a gross understatement of her fury.

Angry would have been the nicest way to put it; seething, boiling, churning, frothing fury that galled the very marrow of her bones into ash would have been much closer to what she was feeling. Once, just once, she wished she still wielded magic to burn that defiant smirk off Gold's face with a flick of her wrist. Somehow, someway he had managed to save his little servant girl.

Even the mere thought still sent shoots of anger reeling through her body that rippled like thunder about her lithe form. She attempted to console herself that while she might not have ruined Gold's only love she still possessed his riches. That should have been enough, but it wasn't; she desired to see him utterly crushed and crawling through life with no way to balm his heart. She wanted to smile as he limped through the town with nothing but a gaping hole where his soul used to be and watch him slowly be ground into the dust of Storybrooke.

Regina cursed the names of Gold and French as she stood in her study, nursing the anger like a slow fire. Henry was at school and would be late at 'studying', but in all reality gone to see his maternal mother in the park to work on whatever little conspiracy he was plotting in his ten year old head. Work had been modesty light today at the mayor's office, leaving the Madame Mayor with only a few files of paper work she'd already signed up and put away, and now had an empty schedule.

Mr. Gold packet rested on her desk, but that little moment of victory had come and gone.

It was times like this she felt most alone, most filled with hatred as she watched the town, stuck in a curses time, pass by. They were content even here and yet she remained lonely and incomplete. She was staring to truly regret killing Graham; they would have had a field day on a day like this. But then again, that thorn, Emma, had ruined her little pet as well.

Pouring a small glass of brandy she had stashed in her office the Madame Mayor swirled the brown liquor absently before taking a sip. The sting of the hard alcohol steeled her as he gushed down her throat, taking just a bit of her edge off.

For a moment she stared at the faded brown paper around the glass, pondering if she should simply forgo the cup and swig it from the bottle till she felt the anger and emptiness inside of her dissipate. But it wouldn't be enough; no amount of spirits could make her feel whole.

"A bit early to be hitting the bottle isn't it, your majesty?" A voice stated in mock happiness from the door.

Twirling about Regina's black eyes narrowed at the sight of two figures that slid into her study. What where they doing here, traipsing into her office like they owned the place! She knew to ask Gold how he had gotten in would be agonizingly redundant; Regina truly believed he had a key to every lock in the town.

Instead, the Madame Mayor grinned thinly as if she'd been expecting them for an appointment or other, and proffered her hand to the solid white couch in her comfortable study. "Rumpel, what a pleasant surprise. I see you brought your little slave girl…Belle?" She furrowed her brow mockingly in thought, saying the name as if it kept slipping her mind.

Gold let the venomous words slide as he let a slight chuckle pass his lips; there was a cold malicious confidence in his eyes that hadn't been there since Regina had taunted him behind the cell bars at the police station.

"Trust me; this surprise is less than pleasant for you, of course." Gold replied as he limped over to the decanter to help himself to a glass full of the Mayors excellent spirits. "Now, I'll be the first to admit, you played your hand brilliantly, your majesty." He took a sip of the fiery liquor, savoring the taste, and the panic that was thickly veiled behind Regina's cool demeanor. "I was so surprised to find that Belle was still alive, I never gave any thought to where she could have been. Thanks to your final act of trying to bring me down, overkill, if you ask me personally; you gave us the answer to our problem."

"Really?" Regina perched a brow upward before crossing her arms testily. "And what straws are you desperately trying to grab for now?"

The business man nodded slightly, a large grin that reminded Regina so much of the Rumpelstiltskin of old she was practically waiting to hear his obnoxious little giggle that usually followed. "The curse, your majesty put in place prevents us from leaving. So where was she all this time I wonder?"

Clever Gold, Regina sneered at him, her fingers tightening against the glass in her grip. Masking her anger the Madame Mayor snorted in derision, rolling her eyes. "And exactly where would this place-"

"Boiler room, third hall, all the way back to the left. There's another complete room equipped with office and cells." He filled in immediately, his smile widening.

The sudden urge to throw her drink, glass and all, at Mr. Gold filled Regina as her temper rose. So he finally figured out a part of the puzzle that she hadn't been able to entirely cover up. "What does it matter, you can't prove anything; you're still a fool Rumpel."

"He can't, but I can." Belle piped up making Regina turn to her.

The woman hadn't said a word since she'd entered, but now just looking at her cobalt eyes flickering with anger at the woman who had imprisoned her, Regina knew her scheme was about to be stopped dead in it tracks.

"A five by five off white padded room, glazed glass, and a twin sized bed that was chained to the floor, and a little place in the padding that could be folded over where I wrote little things to keep me sane. I can name everything wrote there as well." Belle finished an almost devious smile playing across her face.

Behind the Madame Mayor, Gold breathed a mirthless little chuckle, shaking his head in pity. "And if that's not enough, Emma Swann is currently at the hospital investigating an anonymous call. I'm sure another will have her down in the boiler room in oh about ten minutes."

The room lay silent for a few hearts racing minutes as business man and Mayor faced one another eye to eye. He had her, Regina knew, he wasn't the only one who hadn't given thought to where Belle had been imprisoned. After no questions had been raised about how she had appeared, the crafty witch had only had the nurse and aid that lived down there killed off.

She was currently working to cover her traces of a place ever being in the boiler room, but there hadn't been any rush and the work was only half done. More than enough to accuse her of foul play and possibly put some serious pressure on her, more than likely spearheaded by the unrelenting sheriff.

Despite her planning and ingenious moves he had still managed to somehow best her! In her head she could almost imagine a laid out chess board and him making the final move in check-mate to take her king.

"What. Do. You. Want." She snarled out lowly, every word pointed and filled with hatred like poisonous darts.

Skillfully, Gold flicked his cane to the mayor's large desk, dragging the hefty envelope towards himself. "I'll be taking this." He stated, pushing it back into his suit pocket, a wide grin on his face. "You will also convince our good friend the judge to…adjust his ruling. And lastly…" He let the final request lay unsaid for a moment as if waiting for it to take full affect before it passed his lips. "Say it."

To any other person that requested would have drawn a blank into their minds, but fortunately Regina wasn't just another person. She knew instantly what he was referring to.

Her lips formed into a tight grimace as she all but snarled at him, looking rather beastly in front of the beast of Storybrooke. Anything but that, she'd rather admit everything to all of Storybrooke instead of doing what he'd just asked her. If he'd punched her right in the face it wouldn't be as horrid. This time there was a sharp crack as the glass in her hand shattered in her iron grip sending little shards and spirits on her pin stripe suit.

Looking at her as if nothing of the sort had happened, Gold continued to smirk maliciously at her. "Go on, you majesty, I'm waiting."

There were another few minutes of agonizing silence as she glared daggers at the beast of Storybrooke. "You win." She snarled from clenched teeth, her whole body quivering in sheer unadulterated fury. "You win, now get out!"

"Very well." He nodded once as if the woman in front of him didn't look like she was about to implode as he grabbed Belle's hand. As beauty and the beast walked out of the office, Gold spared one glance back, his smile so familiar for a moment Regina swore she saw gray gold flesh glimmer on his face.

He gave her a small mocking bow that made her feel anything but regal. "Pleasure, your majesty." He barked in a laugh before departing.

As the door closed behind the pair, a furious screech from the study and the crash of glass being thrown up-side a wall echoed about them. At the noise, Gold entwined his fingers into his loves, and kissed her softly on temple, as they strolled hand and hand out of the mayor's office.

The Heart Won't Lie

A Once Upon a Time Story
by Eyes Like Dawn

Part 24 of 25

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