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Storybrooke\'s Tale of Beauty and the Beast, Part 16
Continuing Tales

Storybrooke's Tale of Beauty and the Beast

A Once Upon a Time Story
by Teddy's Twin

Part 16 of 37

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Storybrooke's Tale of Beauty and the Beast

~: Mr. Gold :~

He didn't look at Emma, feeling the sound crash in his ears. No, no, not now, not when he'd just gotten her back. No… He clung to Belle by her arms, keeping her real, keeping her there. She searched his face for understanding.

"What the hell are you doing?" Emma demanded again, slamming the door behind her.

"Please," Belle said, his lovely, little Belle, trying to step around him, but he only wanted to keep her there, trying to ignore the law officer. He wouldn't let her go. She still peered over his shoulder, pleading with a raging Emma, "Please don't be mad Emma, its true love-."

"True love? You told her that this was true love-?" Emma yelled in disgust. That had been the wrong thing to say. He hunched his shoulders, as though it could shield Belle from this.

"But it is!" Belle told her furtively. He could see that little crease in her forehead that appeared when she was upset, wanted to smooth it away-

Emma's voice was sharp, full of contained fury, "You haven't told her yet-."

"Don't," he hacked, a harsh begging noise, "Don't, please."

"- Have you?" she finished vehemently.

Belle looked up into his face, again, searching. She wanted to know what was terrifying him so, he could feel it in her gaze, but he could not meet her eyes, for fear they would betray him. She placed a hand against his cheek.

"What'd he make you do?" Emma hissed.

"He didn't make me do anything," Belle snapped, her eyes flashing dangerously. No, he closed his eyes in pain. That had also been the wrong thing to say. The demented fiend, swooping in and running off with her innocence- no, that was not how it had happened.

Emma sounded repulsed, "You sick-." She cut herself off.

"We had a deal!" he howled at her.

"Yeah but I didn't think I'd find you guys actually doing anything – " she stopped herself from continuing that thought, her tone ended with a gag. No, don't. Don't think that about his Belle-

"What deal?" Belle wanted to know, trying to find his eyes. He would not let her.

"I have five more days-," he said, clinging to Belle's arms still, to keep her from leaving, to keep Emma from tearing her away.

"You think that I'm going to let you have five days alone at this cabin with her you can forget it!" Emma shouted. No. No this could not be happening. He would not touch her again. He would not touch her again. He let go of Belle, about to promise-.

"Five days until what?" Belle questioned, whispering to him, her fingers tracing along his jaw line, trying to coax him into words. Why did her curiosity always ruin everything? Everything- just like before in the past when she'd kissed him, curious to know if they were truly in love, and he had done so wrong. So wrong. "Five days until what?" her voice was louder.

Too loud. Emma heard. "Until he tells you -."

"Don't!" he bellowed, his voice a mixture of dread and agony.

" – That he put your father in the hospital."

No.

No no, no.

"What?" Belle whispered, her gasp of a word that slashed his soul. He looked up into those cerulean eyes that were normally so bright, so alive, but all he saw was horror, confusion twisting in them. No.

"Mr. Gold was charged for battery, leaving your father Moe French with internal bleeding and breaking several bones. All just because he stole." It was though Emma was reading it out of the newspaper, telling the exact details. She sounded like the police officer making the charges.

He stole our tea cup, he wanted to say as she slowly stepped back from him. I thought it was gone; it was all of you that I had left. I needed it back.

"But, why?" she asked him, her eyes full of betrayal.

"Your father owed some money to Mr. Gold," Emma was explaining, the venomous tone acid in his ears, "So he took his van. Left him with nothing. So your father reacted, and took some stuff from Mr. Gold's house by breaking and entering."

He took the tea cup. He took the tea cup. He glanced over her shoulder at the mug on the kitchen table that she had just broken, unable to look into her face, to see the betrayal any longer. He had taken the tea cup, and her Majesty had told him that her father had done unspeakable things to her. It wasn't his fault. It wasn't his fault.

"Mr. Gold, as far as I can tell, dragged him up here to this cabin and began beating him to death until I found him. In the act."

How she relished in it. How she must have enjoyed the horrified look on Belle's face, who stepped away from him, covering her mouth with her small beautiful fingers. He had lost her again. Lost her again. There was nothing he could do.

"No, Belle, I-," he tried, stepping forward, shaking, his hand outstretched. He had to explain, had to let her know, but the way her eyes met his with that anguished question he could do nothing, nothing to tell.

Emma was there, in between them. He saw her face for the first time that night, full of self righteous passion, "I think you'd better go."

His despair turned to burning rage as he gazed into Emma's face. "You think you're justified, Ms. Swan, but you know nothing, nothing of what happened that night!"

"I think we know enough," Emma stepped back, putting her arm around Belle, whose mouth was still covered by those delicate hands.

The tears of joy that had clung to Belle's eyelashes were gone, replaced by misery. Harsh, real misery. No bliss- nothing but truth and grief.

She had just kissed a monster.

No.

His last look of Belle, her face full of torment and betrayal. He had caused her this anguish. It was his fault. It always had been his fault. "I'm sorry," he whispered, his voice thick with regret.

He didn't remember leaving, he didn't remember stumbling down the dark path after Henry, the little prince long gone by now. He didn't remember stumbling into a tree, but he remembered furrowing his nails into the rough bark before pushing himself further, further as though the distance could do anything. No. It could do nothing. This would resound in his soul forever.

The knife in his soul was so much worse than any jagged edged dagger. It kept twisting it's way deeper into his chest, piercing parts of him he hadn't known existed. All hope, all desire- He found himself clawing at it, as though he could rip an actual knife out and toss it away. It harrowed up his soul, wracked him with torment. He howled bitterly into the night, more monster than man, the sound turning into a choking sob.

He had lost her. He was doomed to remain a beast for all time.

Sooner or later he tread on asphalt instead of dirt, his cane no longer sticking into the ground. Mangled, wretched, he found himself walking towards a destination. A destination he needed to reach. Reach before anything happened. Before anything could happen to her.

~: Emma :~

The girl did not cry, which surprised her. She remained flat, no emotion on her pretty face, staring out the window without her seat belt on. Emma let it slide, for now, because the car ride was far too thick with deeper emotions than Emma knew how to handle. To be honest Emma didn't even dare open her mouth. It scared her how stone cold this girl was being.

As soon as Mr. Gold had left, Isabelle had coolly asked if they could go visit her father. Emma hadn't been able to refuse. The drive through the dark was too haunting for Emma's liking, she decided. She turned on the stereo system in her car, a familiar CD in the disc player.

Blaring into life, the female voice sung, "When I grow up I'll be stable! When I grow up I'll turn the tables-." Emma switched the song. Not appropriate for this girl.

"What was that?"

Emma turned to Isabelle at the tone of terror in her voice, whose back was pressed against the seat, staring at the speaker as a new song came to life, wide eyed and nervous.

"Sorry, I listen to music loud," Emma turned down the volume, her voice apologetic. When she listened to music that was.

The melody, a guitar, strummed to them as Isabelle edged her way back into comfort. Emma left it.

"I don't want you to give it all up, and leave your own life collecting dust."

Isabelle started again when it started speaking, listening intently.

"And I don't want you to feel sorry for me. You never gave us a chance to be.

And I don't need you to be by my side and tell me that everything's alright,

I just want you to tell me the truth. You know I'd do that for you."

Isabelle's mouth was a line, and she was looking pointedly out of the window again.

"So why are you running away?

Why are you running away?

Cause I did enough to show you that I was willing to give and sacrifice-."

Emma flipped the song. Enough of that. There was already enough depression going around. She didn't need Hoobastank making it worse.

"You know the bed feels warmer sleepin' here alone."

Ah, good song. Emma sat back with a confident smile spreading across her face.

"You know I dream in color, and do the things I want.

You think you got the best of me, you had the last laugh

I bet you think that everything good is gone

Think you left me broken down, think I'll come runnin' back

Baby you don't know me cause you're dead wrong

"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, stand a little taller!" Emma joined in. Singing along, she wouldn't have noticed anything else but Kelly Clarkson's lyrics and the road in front of her if she hadn't glimpsed the girl's face when she flipped her hair back dramatically.

Isabelle was staring at her.

"What?" Hadn't the girl heard of singing along before?

"It's nothing…"

The song wasn't as good after that. Emma turned off the music, grumbling inwardly. She couldn't help but feel guilty, and she hated it. She didn't need to feel guilty. Mr. Gold did.

~: Mr. Gold :~

He found himself at Regina's house, pounding on the door until he heard Regina's clicking heels.

She opened it without checking, or else surely she would not have opened it at all, "Do you know what time it is-?" her voice stopped at the sight of him, fear in her black eyes. He must have looked a sight, covered in filth and looking more bedraggled than she'd ever seen him.

Good. He had her attention.

She tried to slam it closed, but he yelled, "You will listen to me, please."

Gritting her teeth, she opened the door a little wider. "What?"

"You will stay away from Belle- you won't have anything to do with her-," why now could he not remember his full proof web of words he'd made for this occasion, "Please."

"She found out her father, did she?" Regina smiled. Her Majesty's wicked smiles often sent people quivering with terror. For him, it was quivering with rage. Loathing- this woman had separated himself from Belle for decades. Precious time he could have used, could have cherished. Now he had no time. She motioned for him to follow her inside. "I was wondering when that would happen. And now you're not going to be able to be around to protect her."

"Stay away from her," he snarled, stopping at the entrance to her living room.

"How about we make a deal?" she smiled, her voice mocking, leaning towards him, "If you stay away from your precious Belle," she simpered, and he clenched his jaw, "I will not allow harm to come to her by any action of mine," she paced away, letting him think over it, though she knew that he was hers. He would say yes of course. He could in no other way convince Her Majesty to not search for a loop hole in his words.

"And when I mean stay away, I mean walk across the sidewalk when she's coming your way," she stepped back towards him, holding a glass of wine she must have put down earlier, her voice sounding lethal, "when she comes into your shop, tell her that it's closed and that customers aren't allowed in, when you see her at the grocery store you leave it. When she calls you don't answer." She stopped dead in front of him, staring at his face, a predatory smirk at the edge of her purpled mouth, "If she comes to your door begging to fall back into your arms again, you tell her no. Do you understand?" her eyes flashed, malevolent.

To never see her face again, to never see her smile, to never hear her laugh. He had lived with it once before. For Belle's life he could do it again. Would do it again. "Will you keep your word?"

She had him. She had him exactly where she wanted him. A cat with a rat in it's paws.

"I promise I will not be the first to break this treaty," she grinned, sitting down, leaning back against her white couch. "It suits me very well," she crossed her legs, looking up at him expectantly.

"Then yes," he agreed, bowing his head, "You have yourself a deal. And you will keep it, please," he added, glaring down at the malicious Queen, who took a sip of her wine.

"Done."

~: Emma :~

"Look, I know you work tomorrow, but I seriously don't know what to do," Emma whispered furtively into her cell.

"You shouldn't have told her. It wasn't your business," Mary Margret scolded tiredly from her phone.

"He was kissing her- who knew what else an experience man like Mr. Gold could do that poor girl," Emma answered, looking in to see Isabelle patting her father's sleeping face, holding his hand in one of hers. She turned away from the scene. It was private. "You've seen her. She's like the most innocent thing on the planet. What was I supposed to do?"

"I don't know," Mary Margret sighed into the phone. "I'll meet you up there, ok?"

"Yeah, but hurry," Emma told her, watching the nurse walk towards them nervously. It had been a bit hard to sneak Isabelle in to see her father after hours, but as the town sheriff, and convincing people that no, she wasn't the convict from the pictures that now hung on every sign, door and window throughout the town.

"You big baby." Mary Margret hung up.

This was more of a mess than she had bargained for. She had expected Isabelle to be angry, angry and weepy and loud. But this? She had turned to a statuette, a lifeless doll almost as she continued to look down at her father with little to no emotion on her face. It was eerie, and painful, and all Emma could feel was guilt. Feeling guilty made her even more frustrated however. It wasn't her fault. She hadn't hurt her. It had been Mr. Gold that hadn't told her the truth. And if he'd hurt her in some way, the man was going to rot in jail.

~: Mr. Gold :~

It was a risk.

He shouldn't have done it.

He ghosted through the door to find the house empty, but her things were still there. He took moments, precious moments, inhaling her scent, feeling a scrap of bedding, and lay on top of the open fairy tale book on the bedside table his most prized possession, with his scrawled note.

Thievery overtook him when he saw the mug on the counter still. Chipped, still unwhole. He snatched it up greedily, and then, took one last look around his cabin.

Only that afternoon she had sat at that table. Only mere hours before she had kissed him there against the wall. Had forgiven him.

It was amazing what could change in minutes.

He was gone, wind in the night, this time taking his car with him.

~: Isabelle :~

You cannot feel anything. You cannot feel anything.

"So just, you know, gather up your stuff and we can head down," Emma's words meant nothing. She wanted nothing. She wanted only to leave this place.

"We'll get you home," Mary Margret's words were false. She had no home now.

No, she could feel nothing. Nothing. She convinced herself. If she felt anything, everything would break through. If she didn't think she didn't feel.

She obeyed Emma, walking mechanically into her room. She straightened the bedding out, pushing it neatly into flatness. He could not come home to a messy house, now, could he? No! She stopped the fissure before it snapped. She would not remember. She had no memories. She picked up scattered clothing and began to fold without thinking.

The books…

The books were everywhere, so many of them, all picked out by hand-

"No," she whispered to herself. She would hold firm-

And then she saw it. The tea cup.

It sat there on her open fairy tale book, the chip still in the rim.

He had kept their tea cup. He had kept it all this time, even in this cruel world, he had kept their tea cup.

Her fingers laced around it, tears forming in her eyes as she felt her wall crack. But from the tea cup fell a note. She bent, picked it up automatically. In his spiked handwriting, it read, So you'll always have a way to look back, and remember me.

She began to shake, reading and rereading the words until her hand shook too much and her eyes were too blurred to read. The tears spilled, and the crack in her wall burst open.

~: Mary Margret :~

"What's taking so long?" Emma's arms were crossed, a sure sign of her discomfort.

Mary Margret kept herself from snapping at her, "Just let her take her time."

"The man beat up her father. She should be angry. She should be throwing things, and breaking stuff. Something," Emma's tone was exaggerated, irritated.

"She isn't you, Emma," Mary Margret reminded her.

"I know that," Emma tapped her foot against the floor, "I would have wanted someone to tell me."

Mary Margret huffed impatiently, "You shouldn't have -."

An intense cry split the cabin. Emma ran forward, but Mary Margret stopped her, her face furrowing in sadness. The cry turned into heaving wails, and Emma stopped struggling to get rid of her grasp, understanding.

"She's crying?" Emma asked in shock.

"Wouldn't you?"

"No," Emma flinched when she heard the shriek.

Mary Margret glared at her, before moving forward, leaving Emma behind her. She stepped through the door, to find Isabelle curled up on the bed, around a chipped tea cup, her expression so heart breaking Mary Margret couldn't find it in herself to say anything. She made her way towards the bed, and sat on the very edge by her head.

Mary Margret listened to the anger in her tears, the rage, the sorrow, and wished she could do more than just sit there and listen. Mary Margret knew though that being alone would not be the best thing for her. So she sat, and felt, rather than heard, when Emma leaned against the door.

As her wails turned into shuddering gasps, Mary Margret began to soothe the hair back from Isabelle's head, keeping the tear soaked strands out of her face. She couldn't tell her that it would be alright, because it never would. Not ever. So she just listened as Isabelle's breathing soothed, and waited until she fell into deep sleep, looking pointedly at Emma, who stared at the floor shame-faced.

"We're staying here tonight," Mary Margret whispered.

"I call the couch. There is no way I'm sleeping in Mr. Gold's bed," Emma said, trying to lighten the mood a little.

Mary Margret turned her head from her friend. "I don't think either of us will get much sleep tonight."

She didn't know when Emma left, or when she herself drifted off to sleep, but it was full of unpleasant dreams of weeping girls and broken tea cups.

Storybrooke's Tale of Beauty and the Beast

A Once Upon a Time Story
by Teddy's Twin

Part 16 of 37

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