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Storybrooke\'s Tale of Beauty and the Beast, Part 30
Continuing Tales

Storybrooke's Tale of Beauty and the Beast

A Once Upon a Time Story
by Teddy's Twin

Part 30 of 37

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Storybrooke's Tale of Beauty and the Beast

~: Belle :~

Her papa was bleeding- out there, on the road- bleeding, bleeding, and she was stuck in here looking desperately, oh so desperately for the dagger, the gunshot still ringing in her ears. It was nowhere, nowhere to be found. Rumpelstiltskin had never told her about it. The only reason she knew of it was because of Henry's book. She had never given it much thought- but finding it now would be impossible- this was Rumpelstiltskin. If he didn't want it found, it wouldn't be found, no matter… no matter how hard she…

Her hands stopped frantically searching his study, which she'd basically ripped apart, to let herself shake. She shook as the fear, the anger overpowered her resolve not to cry, as hot tears poured down her cheeks.

She grabbed her middle, supporting herself up one handed on the desk of his study.

The whole room smelled of him, and of old books. Her two favorite smells in the world, and all she could do was soak them in, and cry.

He didn't love her.

But he did.

But he didn't truly love her.

He loved her.

It still wasn't true. He was still too much in love with his power.

No. No, he loved her, and that was enough. He could keep his magic. How much he loved her now was enough. It was enough.

It wasn't true love.

It would be enough. She would let it be enough.

He doesn't love you.

He does! She felt herself shouting at that inward doubt, felt herself sob hoarsely as she pushed away from the desk, and felt something digging into her hand that she had been clutching tightly. It was the handle to their tea cup.

He smashed the tea cup.

A lie.

You're lying to yourself.

She shook her head, grabbing it with both of her hands, Just- just go away!

"Go away"? I am you!

No… no… she felt herself stumbled, toppling over, arms wrapped around herself as she sobbed. She was lying to herself. She was lying, and she had believed, oh she had believed that he loved her. He did love her. He had taken care of her from the moment he had known she was alive. He loved her. He had shown it in so many ways… how could it be possible that he didn't love her, truly? Was his power more to him then her?

But how could I have broken the curse? She wanted to know.

There was no reply to that.

How could I have broken the first part of the curse if he didn't truly love her?

I always said love it layered. Maybe…, maybe true love is layered too?

How can true love be layered?

There was a shout outside the house. Belle's ears perked up, and she looked to the door as another muffled yell was heard- where they hurting her papa to make her-?

There was a gunshot.

Belle was down the stairs of the house before she could begin to breathe, the sound filtering out of her ears as though she were underwater. The front door was already open from where she'd broken in. And before her, down the lawn, she saw Ava, and little Nicholas- Ava wielding a large, metal shovel, and edging near a backing away Regina. Belle saw the man who had shot her father passed out on the asphalt, gun feet away from him.

"Go away!" Ava was yelling at the Mayor, who had her hands up in surrender.

Belle watched as Nicholas went to help her papa to his feet. He swayed where he stood, clutching his wounded arm. Belle didn't rush to his side though. Hiking up her ridiculous dress, she ran straight to Ava.

"Put the weapon down," Regina was telling Ava slowly. "Or I'm going to have to-."

"Give me the shovel, Ava," Belle said fiercely, holding out a hand for it. Ava gave it to her when she recognized Belle. Belle held it in shaking hands. She'd only ever hated one person.

Regina's eyes narrowed. "Don't you even-."

Belle whacked the Evil Queen hard enough to send her slamming into the car, and she tumbled onto the curb. Belle wished she had aimed better, realizing too late that she hadn't hit her in the head. The groan of agony that escaped the Queen's lips was enough to realize they had limited time.

"Run!" Belle spun on them, throwing down the shovel to turn and flee. Her father and Nicholas were already hobbling away down the street. "No!" she shouted at them. "No, in the house!" They turned to look at her in stunned surprise as she all but tossed Ava onto the grass. Her papa limped around, using little Nicholas as a crutch. Belle moved swiftly to their side as Ava yelled at her brother to hurry up. Behind Belle she heard the Queen stir.

She took Nicholas's place, pushing him up the lawn to the house, before shouldering her father's weight as they stepped onto Rumpelstiltskin's grass. His property. They would be safe there. Both children were on the house's front porch, yelling at them to hurry up as her father moved at a maddeningly slow pace. She felt his hot blood on her side, soaking into her golden dress. She could only hope that there wasn't enough of it leaving him that he could die. The weapon, that gun, had been so much scarier in real life in comparison to television's version of it. She hoped she never had to encounter it again.

"She's moving!" Ava shrieked as they reached the stairs.

Belle knew she had to buy her father more time. If the Evil Queen started using magic there was no hope for them. "Go, Papa-," she told him as he grasped the stair rail with his good arm. "Nicholas- call the police! Call Emma-!" The little boy nodded solemn before sprinting to retrieve the inside telephone.

"Belle, wait!" her father ordered as she let go of him, grabbing at her frailly.

She pushed away from him, and spun around, hurrying down the lawn, stumbling over the ridiculous dress as she saw the Evil Queen dragging herself to the distance between herself and the unconscious Black Knight. Belle stooped to pick up the shovel in a swift movement, not breaking stride. If she had to finish off-

The Evil Queen flipped on her back, pointing something at Belle. Belle stopped midstride, stumbling back as an evil smile flashed across her antagonist's face.

A blast shred through Belle- her leg exploded in pain.

With a cry Belle fell backwards, the impact of the ground waking her from blackness that threatened to take over as her head spun.

~: Rumpelstiltskin :~

Fury ripped through him, awakening him.

Around him he heard glass windows shattering, heard yells of terror.

He was lithe, on his feet before he was even a second conscious, sheer energy pulsing through him, into the atmosphere around him.

Something had happened-

They had drugged him, knocked him out. Broken the tea cup.

Dr. Whale was there before him, struggling to undo the lock on the door, looking back frantically as Rumpelstiltskin's eyes narrowed as he focused on him. Instantly he was between the doctor and the door, a cruel smile on his face. The doctor shrieked, stumbling backwards, away from him, stepping on broken glass and slipping.

This pathetic excuse for a human being had set his plans back. The curse might lose its potential to be broken because of this idiot. He would have to wait ages while little baby Emma figured out that she was the key to unlock the curse, while he would have to wait to make Belle's wishes to come true because there was no way in any of the seven hells he was raising children in this forsaken world- this meat sack was going to feel all of his unadulterated wrath.

Rumpelstiltskin advanced, slowly, menacingly, energy still pulsing in waves around him, "I remember promising someone the next time I whacked you with my cane, you would die." Rumpelstiltskin raised a hand, his face darkening, "And I intend to keep that promise."

Threads were beginning to attach to him, now that he was awake. Wishes at this time, after he'd been sedated by this ingrate? He made an annoyed noise-

And then he felt a new wish, a one from a- RUMPELSTILTSKIN! PLEASE!

Belle- what had awoken him- he remembered the desperate cry-

Belle!

He was gone in an instant, and there she was, in front of him, being hauled to her feet by her Majesty- red staining her golden dress. Red- her bright blue eyes lighting up at the sight of him, but her beautiful face was marred with agony. He looked to see Regina, baring her teeth at him in a grin.

Before he could crack open his lips they were gone, in a whirl of black and purple smoke, leaving him standing in the street, emptied handed and thwarted. With a roar of rage the ground split, fissures in the earth that broke apart the road- the ground rumbled underneath him, and he heard screams from the direction of his house. He turned and saw Hansel, Gretel, and Belle's father tottering down the way- but he had stumbled, fallen.

In a flash he was standing over Moe French, hauling him up by the collar of his now ruined suit. "What happened?"

The man was in shock, spluttering incoherently. He didn't have time for this. He didn't have time for a baffled man who could barely string two words together. He raised his hand-.

"Mr. Gold! He was shot!" It was the little girl, little Gretel, running to his side to defend Mr. French. "Isabelle told us we'd be safe in your house so- that's why we broke in- well actually she broke in-."

He didn't care for details. He shoved his face back into Moe's. "What does the Queen want with Belle?" he demanded. "Answer me!"

"Y-y-ou broke a deal with the Mayor," Moe fumbled out. "I don't know about any Queen-."

No, no no! Rumpelstiltskin threw the man back down on the ground, stalking away. This could not be happening right now. In an instant his mind searched for Belle- for her wishes, for her pleas-

There she was, amid the forest in a grove, panting-

Belle

Rumpelstiltskin- don't- don't come. His lovely, little Belle had always been clever- hadn't even asked what was going on with the telecommunication link he'd forged. It was hard to keep up- concentration was everything. To share a mind was to share all thoughts, and to keep up a conversation under such circumstances.

And his lovely little Belle had always been self sacrificing.

He was before her, striding towards her –

"Take another step and I'll shoot." His eyes rounded on the Queen, peering at her through the gloom of the trees. Opened his mouth, "Say a word, and it's the same."

He spoke anyways, "Don't-."

A bang shattered his sentence. Belle's scream of pain as fresh blood pooled around her hand where she clutched her wound- renewed tears running down her face- her wishes in his head that the agony would stop – please make it end!

Sheer energy slammed outwards- hit an invisible barrier assuredly created by the Queen with a faint purple sizzle- the energy pushed through the grove, tearing trees out by their roots, crashing down as the earth split open around the barrier, not entering it, a fork of lightning down from the sky, aiming where the Queen stood, and the barrier blocked it – blocked it all. The cracking sound of electricity splitting the air was deafening- and for all his magic he couldn't save her, couldn't do a thing. He wanted to roar, but he didn't dare utter a sound, not if it hurt her. He shouldn't have come. He was killing her- she was lying there, on the ground, and he could not lift a finger to help her. He had always been the pain, and she the healing- but when the healing was in pain what could the pain do but make it worse?

"Now do I have your attention, Rumple?" the Queen asked, raising an eyebrow as she cocked the gun again. Rumpelstiltskin narrowed his seething eyes at her, but didn't dare do anything else, remaining entirely motionless as the Queen smiled, "You will retrieve your dagger, and you will bring it back to me, within twenty minutes, unless, of course, you want your precious little Belle to die."

"Don't- don't do it-," Belle gasped and Rumpelstiltskin's eyes immediately snapped to her face. She arched her neck to look at him from where she lay on the forest floor, her bright eyes focused on him. But they weren't bright with exquisite joy anymore- they were bright with torment. "Don't give it to her Rumpel—stil-."

Regina overrode her, stepping closer to her, loaded gun always pointed at her, so that Rumpelstiltskin's heart stuck in his throat, and he almost allowed himself to lurch forward in fear, "Think of it as your gift to me, as your new master." She smiled at him, and he felt himself loathing her more than anything- the dagger. With that dagger, she could make him do anything. Anything. He would slaughter everyone in Storybrooke with his bare hands if she ordered him to- he would kill Belle if she commanded it. But if he did not bring it back to the Queen, she would kill Belle anyways. Why did Belle have to be the one to die? Why her, why the sunlight?

"No!" Belle exclaimed, disrupting his silent war, a war where no one could win.

Regina kicked her in the stomach, not particularly hard, but enough that Belle cried out, crumpling into herself to gasp. Rumpelstiltskin clamped his hands into fists, locking his muscles to keep himself from retaliating, but the earth still shook underneath his feet.

"I would hurry if I were you Rumple. You only have 19 minutes left on the clock," Regina grinned, her finger curling around the trigger. Rumpelstiltskin looked at Belle's curled form on the ground the way she took deep slow breathes. He couldn't see her face, only her bare shoulders, only the curve of her slender neck, the tumble of brown curls. "And if you want any hope of her living, you'd better hurry," the Queen's words pierced him. He stared at her as one of her sickening smiles crossed her face, "I think she's going to bleed to death before your 19 minutes are up."

He was gone in an instant.

~: Emma :~

Emma tapped her foot in annoyance as she waited for Mary Margret, David, August and most importantly Henry to emerge from whatever meeting was taking place down that dumb corridor. She had been asked to leave. It was truly obnoxious.

Her phone rang. She'd been lucky enough to have been holding her purse. She normally loathed purses but, how else was she supposed to carry her phone? It wouldn't look good wedged into her bra.

"Hello, this is Sheriff Swan," she answered irately.

The little voice on the other end was frantic, "Emma! Emma- He was shot- and then she shot Isabelle- and she told us to call you, and we didn't save her! She saved our dad but we couldn't save - but Emma, he's not looking good- he's pale-."

"Whoa whoa, slow down there-," Emma turned from the party to face the corridor, "Nicholas?" she guessed, remembering Michael Tillman's kid, "Who was shot?"

"Isabelle and her dad!" Nicholas answered, his voice shrill.

"Do you know who shot them?" Emma asked calmly. She had to keep him talking. He sounded like he was going into shock.

"The Mayor lady- the one who wanted us to go to foster care," Nicholas told her.

Regina- shot? Isabelle and Moe? She swallowed that, and inquired as coolly as she could, "Alright, where are you now?"

"We're at Mr. Gold's house. Isabelle said it'd be safe here," he sounded like he was gulping air. She could picture both his little hands on the phone, clutching it to his ear.

"Is Isabelle talking?" Emma wanted to know, looking for her leather jacket- she'd left it somewhere near this corner.

"No- the Mayor took her away!" Nicholas was sounding hysterical again.

"Alright, it's ok. I'm coming," if she could find her blasted jacket, "How about Mr. French?"

"He's talking- not very much though." Regina had Isabelle, but she didn't have Moe. Good to know. The question was, where would that witch take her?

Hang the jacket. She would run around in this stupid dress and freeze to death, "Ok, I'm going to call the hospital and have an ambulance pick up -," she stopped short, gasping as Mr. Gold's face, enraged and terrifying, was suddenly in hers.

"You're coming with me, dearie," he said silkily, pressing the off button on her phone.

Emma recovered, "What the-!"

Mr. Gold interrupted her, grabbing her by the arms and looking over her shoulder, "Where are their Majesties?" There was something seriously off, despite his mask of calm, there was a storm raging in his features nothing could hide. Emma could tell if someone was lying.

He hadn't been there two seconds ago, "How did you just-?"

"I don't have time to explain to your weak little mind, now," he snarled, all façade of regular self gone, "Tell me where they are!"

Emma pushed away, waving a hand between them, "I'm not going to tell you anything-."

"Rumpelstiltskin!" it was Henry, rushing up from behind her.

"What happened?" Mary Margret came out, holding her dress so elegantly that Emma wondered if she'd been classically trained.

"I need you to distract her," Mr. Gold told them.

"Distract who?" Emma wanted to know angrily. She was sick of these stupid codes, and since when had Mr. Gold responded to Rumpelstiltskin?

"Where is she?" Mary Margret asked fiercely, with a confidence Emma had never seen, but she had always known Mary Margret had in her.

"Here." He poked each of their foreheads, Henry's, Mary Margret's, David's, and August's, saving Emma's for last. Emma saw an image she'd never seen before just as his finger made contact. A grove- Regina with a gun- and then she saw directions- in the blink of an eye she knew exactly where Regina was with that gun. And if she'd shot Isabelle, Emma finally would have an excuse to put her behind bars permanently. That made her smile, even if it was a vindictive.

"She wants the dagger, doesn't she?" Henry asked urgently, startling Mr. Gold. "You can't let her have it!"

He latched onto Emma again, "Emma," he said, his dark, swirling eyes serious and utterly terrifying, "I need you to get past your insignificant quandaries and step up now," his voice was thick with emotion, "You have to kill her- You do."

Emma still didn't know who they were talking about, "Kill who?"

"Regina," he answered, and he didn't leave her a moment to let her balk, "She's going to take something from me, and along with that will go my will. If you want your precious little world to survive, you'll kill her." What kind of thing would make anybody do something like that? Drugs? Mr. Gold was a drug addict? Now that she thought of it, it was plausible.

"Why don't I just kill you now?" she wanted to know, her eyes narrowing, liking the thought of killing him almost as much as she liked the thought of killing Regina, "Stop you from hurting anybody?"

He detached himself from her, bending his head away, "She'll kill her-."

"She's got Belle?" Henry shouted, and grabbed onto Emma, "We have to go!" he yelled, tugging at her.

It took Emma two seconds to remember that Regina did indeed have Isabelle. That Nicholas Tillman had called to tell her – It was true.

"Alright-," Emma said, shaking Henry off, and looked back to Mr. Gold, "You get somewhere safe, alright? I'll handle this."

His laugh was enough to chill the entire hall. He looked at her again, his eyes half crazed as he smiled at her crookedly, "'You'll handle this?'" he sneered, "You don't even believe in your own tale, Ms. Swan. You expect me to leave this all in your pathetic, noble hands?"

And with that he was gone.

Gone.

Not as in walked away, not as in exited stage left. He disappeared. Vanished right from view without so much as a puff of smoke.

"He- he just-!" Emma pointed to where Mr. Gold had been like a split second ago.

"Right, we know," August told her in a soothing voice, wrapping her leather jacket around her, an arm looping behind her and pushing her towards the exit.

~: Regina the Evil Queen :~

The girl hadn't been lying when she'd called herself brave all those years ago. She wasn't whining, or groveling, pleading with her to let her go. She never had before, but this was different. She had never actually caused the girl this kind of physical harm before, hadn't wanted to really. She saw no point in harming the girl, didn't really have time for it. That and Belle had needed her in perfect condition so that Rumpelstiltskin would follow her willingly, and in good faith. Well, now, good faith meant nothing if she had his dagger. He couldn't rebel with that in her clutches.

"The question is," Regina said aloud, tapping the gun against her cheek, "Why are you still hoping he won't give me his dagger? He doesn't love you, you know."

"He- loves me," the little creature made an effort to turn her face to stare up, her eyes shining with not only tears, but with- was there still determined hope in that glare? Regina felt like shooting her again just because the child had the nerve to look at her like that. She satisfied herself by kicking her instead.

The corresponding choking groan was enough to placate her. Regina fell back into counting the moments until Rumple's return. It had been 8 minutes. A lot of time it was taking for someone who could teleport places immediately. It was of no consequence. His Belle was bleeding to death as it was, and it wasn't like she was going to allow Belle to live after she got the dagger. Love was his downfall. He was just new pet to leash.

"He loves me more than you- know," the girl was speaking again, though it was costing her energy. The impudence-.

Regina crouched down next to her, picking her head up by her hair. The girl winced in pain. "He's going to kill you, you know," Regina told her, a sweet mixture of malice in her voice, "He's going to be the one to carve out your heart, with that little handle that you clutch so dearly. He's going to give your heart to me on a silver platter, and pitch your head up on a pike in front of his house. You're going to be dead, and it's going to be because of him."

"No," the girl spat, "It's going to be- because of you. You're going- to tell him to kill me- once you have the dagger."

"What? No fleeting hope that you're terrified face will stop him?" while Regina was taunting she was also surprised. That's what she had suspected, was that this pathetic thing would hope for Rumpelstiltskin to fight the dagger's will. It was a false hope of course.

"No," she answered simply, though breathlessly, looking at the ground with a set face, "The curse on him is all encompassing," the thing was sounding like a fish out of water, "- He w-will be forced to do as you say. I know the parameters of his curse," her eyes flicked to meet Regina's again, "But it- will be you- that killed me."

Regina raised her eyebrows, "So you've already accepted that no matter what happens tonight, that you're going to die?"

"Yes," Belle smiled bravely, "And he won't- he won't come with his dagger."

"Why? Because you've been wishing it?" Regina simpered falsely, "Don't forget, dearie, I know him too."

Belle looked her straight in the eye, "No, you don't."

Regina snarled at that, shoving her head down and ground it into the dirt, before standing again to search the now tarnished forest around her as the first drop of rain sizzled on the barrier.

Where was he? She thought viciously, looking into the tree line. Why wasn't he there yet?

Storybrooke's Tale of Beauty and the Beast

A Once Upon a Time Story
by Teddy's Twin

Part 30 of 37

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