Continuing Tales

The Heart Won't Lie

A Once Upon a Time Story
by Eyes Like Dawn

Part 23 of 25

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First Truths

The rumbling noises of Mr. Gold's black luxury car zooming down the scenic roads of Storybrooke sounded almost like the dulled roar of a wounded beast as it raced down the narrow streets. It left only trails of leaves swirling in the air and the splash of puddles in his frantic wake as if on the trail of some prey. The world passed by unnoticed in blurs of greens and browns as his soul focus rested only on one thing- find Belle.

His leather gloved hands rapped against the steering wheel irritably as he sped like a demon out of hell to get to the county borders. He should have known Regina would do some thing like this by letting the unwitting savagery of the curse activate against anyone who dare try and leave, keeping her hands free of any blood stains. Such had always been her way of course.

In his rearview mirror a flash of blue suddenly appeared glinting off the glass warningly. Flicking his gaze only slightly, he cursed his luck to see the sheriff's cruiser nipping at his bumper. He dare look down momentarily to the dash to find that his speedometer read him going close to 95 and even now the long red meter was still slowly cascading upwards.

Cursing silently under his breath, he gave a brief shake of his head. Of course people would notice a jet black detailed luxury car racing down the streets like it was the middle of an Indy 500 race and make reports in. He was being vagrantly careless, but didn't care. All he cared about was finding Belle safe and sound.

With a grimace he merely gripped the wheel tighter in determination as the sirens blared behind him. Sheriff Swann would just have to wait until he came to the county line, then she could drabble off any sort of charges for his reckless driving.


As he neared the very limits of the enchanted town, Mr. Gold knew something was wrong, and that something wasn't the sheriff still tailing his vehicle like an avid hunting hound.

Breaking to a jerking halt, he fumbled for his cane and all but kicked open the door, leaving the keys to the expensive car still swinging in the ignition forgotten.

"What on earth do you think you're doing, Gold?" Emma yelled furiously as she leapt out of the cruiser and charged in is direction, her eyes blazing in unbridled wrath. One hand rested on the cold steel cuffs while the other fingered the halter of her gun that she was fighting with all her power not to take out on him and pistol whip him a few times.

He had just led her through a thirty minute chase through town, going at speeds that she had only seen on police television shows. It was a wonder he hadn't wrecked and crashed his car into smithereens all over the pavement!

For a moment she thought he might be drunk, or tipsy, but his midnight eyes were sharp and alert without a bit of haziness to them.

Gold limped a few steps into the middle of the street, his eyes darting all about the landscape seeming to pay no mind to the angered sheriff that was quickly closing the distance between them; her cuffs now out and waiting to snatch him in their cold grip.

"Belle!" He cried out towards the verdant forest lands that surrounded them on either side of the deserted long highway.

A surreal lonely echo was the only think that replied to his desperate call as the forest remained silent as a graveyard.

Emma gaped at Gold's seemingly unconcerned attitude that he was about to get arrested yet again. This was a serious offense, all of which she had on her police dash cam as evidence. "You should be trying to come up with a decent excuse about why you were racing like a mad man instead of yelling at the trees." The blonde growled as she moved in to grip one of Gold's arms and slap the cuffs on him.

Emma shouldn't have been surprised when she heard the sharp click, or felt the press of cold steel against her forehead, but she was. For a moment her anger had pressed away all thoughts that he might be armed. She didn't really expect people to carry guns around with them in a quaint practically crime free town of Storybrooke. It had happened so smoothly and quick like the gun had only magically appeared in his hand from nowhere.

Gold's gun rested against her ivory skin threateningly, the barrel at a point blank range that for all of Emma's escape tricks would not be able to save her from.

He watched as her features quickly turned to alarm and the cold method for survival he knew was only unleashed when she found herself in dire straights. The cuffs dropped from her hands to the asphalt, as her hands slowly rose to the air in a surrendering gesture.

Emma swallowed tremulously as she tired to force her nerves to steady and speak calmly to Mr. Gold. "Alright, just take it easy. I'm not reaching for my gun or anything else." She assured him, daring to meet his gaze to her own. There was a determination in his eyes, along with a terror that seemed to be lurking just under his calm surface.

"Miss Swann I have no intention of harming you. You may fully arrest me under all charges you deem fit and place me in the most secure lock up this drab town possesses, after…" His voice trailed off slightly, almost in a gnawing worry as he relieved her of her weapons.

Emma did her best to keep him talking, her mind whirling at his words and trying to find a way out of the situation she now found herself thrown in. "After…?" She echoed him, trying to prod him back into speech for more clues as to why the most powerful man in town had suddenly pulled a gun on her.

"After I find her." He dead panned mechanically, as he motioned with a slight tilt of his head to the cuffs. "Annabelle's in danger, and you're going to help me, Miss Swann."

Could it be? Emma could very nearly hear a catch in his throat as he breathed the words. He, the most infamous, hated man in Storybrooke seemed almost in tears as he stood in the middle of the lone highway with a gun towards the former bail bondswoman.

"I don't really have a choice now; do I?" Emma spat calmly, though her eyes never left the finger that inched over the trigger.

"Afraid not, but I give you my word I will surrender myself fully into your hands after we search." Gold assured her. "Now pick up the cuffs." He ordered gently, his eyes daring to scan the forestry briefly.

Bending down slowly, Emma dare take her eyes of the weapon and look towards the suddenly changed Mr. Gold. He was desperate, that much was obvious, and Emma knew from experience just how far desperation could take a person.

Wordlessly she snapped one of the steel bracelets around her wrist, and turned completely around as he motioned her to do.

For some one who held a loaded gun at the sheriff, his actions seemed thought out and calm as he cuffed her hands behind her back securely, but not uncomfortable.

Without warning another spine tingling click echoed from the gun as he slowly let it drop from being aimed at her head. She felt another object, the end of his cane she supposed; prod her slightly in the back goading her forward.

"I'm truly sorry about all of this, Miss Swann." Gold commented grimly as he forced her to walk ahead.

Daring to look back, Emma saw that he indeed was keeping her at cane's length, much to clever to let her get close, and his gun casually in his grip. She glowered at him hatefully nearly growling. "Not as sorry as you will be when I get these cuffs off."

"I have no doubt about that." He replied with a thin worried frown as they began their trek down the narrow strip of winding deserted roadway. "No doubt."

"Any clue what we're-" Her words ground to a halt as she stopped in her tracks in shock of the scene just over the small rise they had scaled.

Just a few feet away was the ever cheerful Storybrooke county sign; painted with the state flower and bird looking as uninteresting as usual. To her left the asphalt was tattooed with black streaks of tire marks that swerved in dizzying patterns and beyond that the shrubbery and lush verdant blooming was crushed and crunched in what looked like some thing had plowed through through taking small saplings and greenery down in its chaotic path. Even further than that, Emma saw billows of ugly gray smoke churning thickly from a white upturned van that looked like it had crashed and bumped against many trees on its hazardous tumble down; far away from the road.

As she took the scene in, partially in shock at such a catastrophic mangled manner in which the van was now molded, Mr. Gold limped up beside her, a petrified gasp escaping his thin lips.

"No…" He muttered in a deadened whisper that sent streaks of shivers to slide up Emma's spine. "No!" This time he roared as he fumbled his was down the treacherous dip to the wreck below leaving the cuffed sheriff behind.

Emma followed awkwardly, being that her hands were still securely cuffed as she raced down to the carnage of the wreck.

There was an acrid stench of burning tires and gasoline that wafted through the air as business man and sheriff approached the accident. The windshield had been shattered and flecks of glass that reflected the sun were stained in vibrant crimson that stood out upon the green carpet of the forest floor.

To Emma it looked like nothing could have survived such a crash that had total mangled the van to shreds.

"Belle!" Gold shouted again, this time the name clawed out of his throat in a ragged cry.

His eyes searched the carnage before him looking for any trace of her, and praying to any deity in this world this wasn't the van she'd been in and she could have been spared.

He was about to call her name again when he spotted a bit of cloth from the far corner of his vision. No, heaven above no. His heart lurched inside his body as he turned to face the area where a bit of white clothing was peaking out from under a large wad of the wreckage.

He wanted to run away from the sight of the fabric, but instead his feet went forward, almost as if he held no control over his body. A jagged scream was on the tip of his tongue, but it refused to come out, nothing refused to work like he wanted to.

As he drew closer, his heart beat quickened to where he could hear the blood pumping and crashing in his ears. And then he turned the corner. He felt his knees go weak, and his hands tremble… it wasn't her, thank heaven it wasn't her.

"Gold, have you found anything?" Emma asked as she finally caught up with him. Her current captivity was the least of her worries as she scanned the accident. The blonde came to a halt beside him as she looked at the poor soul skewered to the huge moss covered oak before her.

It was a man, thickly built, and looked like he could, and had, held his own in a couple of brawls. His short black hair was matted with his blood and brains that dripped from the end of his tresses. Flecks of bone and flesh were scattered all about and his neck was twisted in an inhuman direction. He was wearing a white uniform from the Storybrooke hospital with the logo of the place on his now bloodied clothes.

Emma flushed and grimaced at the gory scene, hoping the man hadn't suffered too much before meeting such a horrid end.

"It's not her." Gold finally breathe out heavily as if he had been holding his breath. There was a chance she would still be alive.

Shifting slightly, the blonde haired sheriff turned to him almost helplessly. "Look, Gold, I know you want to find Anna but this is a serious accident. I need to be released and do my job. This little incident of you putting a gun to my head and cuffing me can wait until we get medics and search dogs out here." She stated hoping her calm logic, and hopefully honest demeanor would convince him.

"Not until we find her." He growled in his panic, his grip tightening on his gun.

"Okay, okay." Emma replied swiftly, not wanting to push him. "But I can be of more use if I wasn't cuffed up. You wouldn't have to keep an eye on me and look for Anna." She reasoned.

His eyes flashed unsurely at her logical words, the desperation deepening as his eyes still searched the fatal scene. He was wasting time bandying words with Miss Swann, but she was correct; splitting up would be faster. If only he trusted her.

"I have your word you won't try to detain me." Gold asked warily, almost expectantly. "And you will help me find her?"

Emma nodded once tremulously as she turned her back to him. "I promise I'll do all I can to find her right now."

The blonde tactfully kept a sigh out of her voice, and she felt the leather gloves fumbled about her wrists as Gold worked the lock to the cuffs with the key. The familiar snap-click of the steel sounded out, just as the cuffs loosened from about her.

At that moment, Emma should have pounced like a ravenous panther, trying to disarm him or aim for the bad knee of his to take him down and subdue him. She should have incapacitated him and lunged to the cuffs to drag him back to county. No one would blame her if she did after he had put a loaded gun to her head.

Oddly enough, against all reasoning, against all sound judgment, Emma stood there for one tense breathless moment before offering Gold a small nod. Her lips thinned into a distrustful frown, her eyes slowly scanning the vast woodland as she rubbed her wrists. "Okay, we search then I drag you to county where I will throw every book I can find against you at court."

"Fair enough." Mr. Gold replied off handed, the brief moment seemingly already forgotten to be replaced with his ever shifting worry.

Shaking her head slightly at her strange sense of trust she found blooming for Gold, Emma reattached the cuffs to her belt, before staring up at the leafy boughs that spread a dense canopy over the greenery of the woods.

As the two man searched continued, Gold wasn't sure exactly what he was feeling inside his soul that swirled so tremulously. Was it relief that he hadn't found Belle yet, and perhaps she had escaped this fate, or fear that she might be found in worse condition than the orderly speared to the tree with his brains splattered across the ground.

What if this was just another one of Regina's tricks and she had sent him on a wild goose chase just to toy with his mind? But no, that letter had been too real, to Belle for Regina to play her hand at mockery. That still left the question; however, where was Belle. After an hour of searching a large part of him, in a huge wave of relief was begging to think that she was even here at a-

"Gold!" Emma all but screamed her name, making his contemplations grind to a deadened halt.

There was something there entwined in her voice when she called his name. Even though it was from afar he could tell she had found something.

His leg screamed in pain as he ran towards the direction of Emma voice, each step harder than the last as his knee began to spasm and cramp for the heavy over use.

"Don't let it be." He whispered pleadingly under his breath as he swatted and crashed through the shrubbery.

However, this time his prayers were not answered. As he finally broke through a few low hanging boughs of leaves he was met with the sight that sent his heart collapsing. Belle was laying on the lush forest floor, unmoving, the glossy sheen of her blood reflecting from a large sharp jutting rock…

It took all of his strength and will just to near Belle's limp body as Emma sprang up from her kneeling position. "I couldn't find a pulse. I'm going back to my cruiser to call for back up." She stated before sprinting away back to the road.

If Gold even heard her it never showed, as he merely stood over Belle, blinking dumbly as if his mind had stopped working. Belle, his Belle.

He dropped to his knees, by her side looking at the loss of blood that had paled her skin almost to corpse like hue. His trembling fingers brushed a few blood matted tendrils of hair from her face lovingly as if it really mattered. But it did matter, she mattered more than any one he had ever known.

He stared at the tips of his fingers almost aghast at the warmth of her blood painted them. For the very first time in his life, he didn't know what to do, how to react or even the next move to make. He felt as if the world has litterally been pulled from under him and he was falling with nothing to grab.

His now crimson fingers moved to the throat to feel for something, anything, the faintest hint or flutter of life, but like her skin it was cold and lifeless. He felt a hard knot form in the base of his throat as he realized there was not even the chance of life. She didn't deserve to die. Not here, like an animal in the forest, her life so carelessly tossed away for want of being brave.

"No…" He finally choked out in a whisper. This was no lie from an evil queen, no night mare in which he would never awaken and no tale or story of tragic loss. It was real this time, so horribly, horribly real.

Putting his arm under her limp form he held her close, to his trembling body his face buried against her blood matted hair. "No." He stammered louder this time, hugging her closer. "I can't let her go. I love her…"

If there was any magic in this world, any magic left in this husk he called a body he tried to call to it like it were some living person before him and appeal to it like the desperate man he was. "Please, any deal, any price anything you want! I'll give my very soul if that is the bargain. I would gladly trade places with her if you bring her back. Please, just let her live!"

His tears flowed freely intertwining in her hair and mingling with her blood as he sobbed and pleaded. Even the very first time he had learned of her false death it hadn't hurt as much as this. It hadn't felt like his heart was being speared and skewered, it hadn't felt like grief would never mend for as long as he lived, and even when he died he would be akin to some wailing specter mourning over his loss love for all of eternity.

And then he felt it. It brushed his skin like cool waters lapping at his body sending a tingle shooting through every fiber of his flesh. It tugged about him uncomfortably like an article of clothing not worn in ages. It swirled about him like the winds of a hurricane that whisked through his body. It tasted like a bitter sweet wine that danced upon his tongue. It was a feeling he had long ago knew, a feeling he had been master wielder of.

It was magic.

Not the kind he had wielded; it wasn't dark and venomous and vile. This was a magic that was pure and bright and banished all darkness away in its luminescent glow; much like Belle.

He couldn't see it like he could in the old world, but he could feel it just the same as it had been like silk running in-between his fingers. If he closed his eyes he could imagine its golden stream wafting through the air as it worked the impossible. Most surprisingly, he could feel as if the magic was emanating like a pulse from where Emma Swann had left. In fact he could almost feel a trail that was leading directly from the Sheriff of Storybrooke as if she were now the sole master of magic. She was a special one indeed.

An image suddenly cascaded into his vision, blinding him with a sharp brilliance that let him know the price of such powerful magic as brining Belle back from the brink of death.

He was momentarily recovering from such a stun when he felt blood slick fingers grab his wrist. The sudden feel of another hand on him made Gold's heart jump into his throat in sheer happiness and all consuming terror. Had it truly happened?

As his vision cleared, he found sky blue eyes that were wet with tears staring into his midnight black. The magic had answered and given him what he had so desperately pleaded for.

Belle had been enshrouded in darkness that felt tangible as she floated through it like some onyx sea. There was no pain, no fear, simply floating numbly through out time and eternity. She could hear her heart thumping, even though with every beat she could distinctly hear it slow to a fluttering pitter pat. It would halt all together soon.

Then the blackness alleviated to a world, she had known long ago. She was tumbling from a ladder and he had caught her in his arms; the spring sun glinting off his gray-gold flesh as he smiled nervously at her. Another memory took its place that had him spinning at his old wheel absently. He was trying to look as if he was lost in the hypnotic turn of the wooden wheel as he usually was, but Belle knew better. He was watching her, trying to figure her out or un-lock the curious new puzzle that beat in his heart.

As she watched the special little moments as his caretaker, Belle couldn't help but smile warmly at the images. Figures he would be the last person she thought of; her love, her Rum.

And then it all faded back to black leaving her blinded once more. Something warm tingled about her body as she drifted aimlessly. A gold stream suddenly began to wrap about her body, the tendrils of shining brilliance that reminded her so much of Gold's spun straw that she tired to feel it, but it only danced through her hand.

She felt her spirit began to be pulled back to her body, her senses began to fade back in like she was coming up from under water. Wet, warmth, exhaustion all came back to her and the feel of another's body against her own brought her back into the living world.

Her breath slipped back into her body, her heart hammered at its normal tempo, and even the wound that was supposed to be in her head had closed neatly. Her eyes fluttered open to see an all too familiar expensive black suit. The wafting scent of his cologne filled her nose to mingle with the fresh smells of the forest.

She moved slightly, gripping a wrist as her eyes searched to look upon her rescuer's face just to be certain that this was real. Her eyes met his in a lock, and she knew then what had happened.

He searched her eyes warily almost unbelievingly; she could barely believe it herself. Both wanted to speak, but each simply stared at one another in shock and happiness that was growing like a coming storm so very nearly about to be unleashed.

"Gold!" A hard female voice barked out, ruining the silent moment.

It was Emma, come back looking for him and behind her a veritable host of people who had come to investigate the crash, and those who came to be spectators of the tragic accident. The volunteers that had come spread out into the tangle of the forest, leaving the three the only ones about for a few moments.

Swann's once hard accusing look faded as she had to do a double take at the now up and blinking Anna. It couldn't be, after she hadn't felt a pulse. The woman, as she had seen before leaving was clinically dead. She could have been mistaken, but then again Emma rarely double guessed herself.

"You…I…why…" Emma stammered, not un-happy to see the woman alive, just confused.

Rising slowly, Mr. Gold help the bloody Anna up to her feet, a smile like Emma had never seen beaming on his face, adding almost a golden glow to it. "I staunched the blood and did some CPR. It wasn't as bad as it looked" Gold lied pathetically, as if on the edge of telling Emma the truth.

But then again, would Miss Swann really believed he had struck a bargain with 'magic' to bring Belle back to the realm of the living?

Seeing that Belle was steady on her feet, Gold kissed her once, passionately as if he had never kissed her in his life, caring not if the iron taste of her blood and his tears mingled into the soft cares of her lips. She was alive! Oh how he desired to laugh and cry and yell in joy all at the same time, but tactfully kept his composure.

Clearing his throat he turned to Emma, and proffered both his wrists in her direction. "Well Miss Swann, we've come to the end of my part of the deal. I assume you'd like to drag me to county now."

He wasn't too worried about Belle's safety at present. True, she would be going to the hospital, but with all this attention, Regina wouldn't dare try to pull something, plus he would make sure Miss Swann stayed on top of Belle's care.

The Sheriff glared at him incredulously, as she crossed her arms, a brow quirking at his joyous demeanor that seemed to make him not care he was in a world of trouble. Even though she couldn't prove it, she knew something had happened, something incredible that she couldn't pin point.

"Given all of…this." Emma flourished her hand behind her to the volunteer crews dealing with the accident. "I'll arrest you later." She spat. "The last thing I need is to fill out more paperwork than the mountain I already have waiting for me."

She wasn't going to arrest him at all; Gold knew instantly watching just a hint of softness flash in her eyes before disappearing. She must have known why Belle was so important to him, and why he had done what he did.

He nodded once as he put an arm around Belle to help her to the ambulance. "Thank you, Miss Swann." He looked back to Belle lovingly his eyes shimmering with happiness. It was because of this woman, Belle was still alive now. Magic flowed through the blonde, it resided in her like some lurking predator waiting to be unleashed. Emma Swann, for all her seemingly down to earth demeanor, had no idea what she had done or what magic she held inside her.

"Thank you." He echoed again, almost reverently before he and his love made their way to the medics.

He had Belle back, his wish had been granted thanks to the magic dwelling in Miss Swann that had heard his plea. Now, he knew, he would have to begin to pay the large debt he now owed; for all magic, good or ill, did come with a price...

The Heart Won't Lie

A Once Upon a Time Story
by Eyes Like Dawn

Part 23 of 25

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