Continuing Tales

Storybrooke's Tale of Beauty and the Beast

A Once Upon a Time Story
by Teddy's Twin

Part 10 of 37

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Storybrooke's Tale of Beauty and the Beast

~: Emma :~

Emma chomped down vindictively on a doughnut. As a police officer she felt she was entitled to the occasional doughnut, and as a very tired, very grouchy, very sleepless police officer driving up at five in the morning to see a criminal creeping over his- whatever Isabelle was to him- she felt entitled to the glazed, dipped in chocolate with éclair filling and sprinkles on top doughnut.

She had grabbed gear. She had grabbed spare clothes. She had even grabbed provisions. Now all she needed to do was figure out how to get Mr. Gold out of there so she could talk to the girl, that is, assuming she would be awake today. Isabelle French was a potential danger that she had released out into the open and now she wasn't so comfortable with the idea of her as she had been last night after they had found Henry.

She didn't want this girl back in the Mayor's clutches, though. She was obviously important in that respect. She didn't know what to do though. If the girl really turned out to be crazy she would have to return her to the basement, no matter how much she disliked it. She could petition for a new, well known institution in the city, could possibly check up on its records, but honestly, if Dr. Hopper thought that she was, well, crazy, then…

Emma munched through the doughnut's core, some filling spilling onto her shirt. Cursing under her breath, she wiped it off, swerving into the middle of the road. No, she wasn't the best driver on little sleep, but thankfully no one in their right mind was up at 5 AM on a Saturday driving around.

Emma adamantly wished she was in her right mind.

She had gone the back way to the cabin last night, but today she was going to drive straight up to it. She wasn't about to go hiking up that hill balancing breakfast, clothes, and the research that she had done on the Doctor from Boston. Who had turned out did not exist. It made her think that Regina was just making up Isabelle French's life sentence to a psychiatric ward. What did this girl know that no one else did? Was it enough dirt to get Regina off of her throne as Mayor?

She seriously hoped so.

~: Isabelle :~

"This is amazing," she said, flipping the silver lever on and off. "And you say all water comes this way these days? No wells?"

Henry chortled, "No, there aren't any wells anymore. I mean, there's a Wishing Well down in the park, but people don't really use it."

"A Wishing Well?" Isabelle wondered if it really worked. She would have to visit and try it out. She looked over at Mr. Gold and smiled. She liked the man, as he sat, watching her with his cane. She couldn't help but wonder where she had seen his face before. She liked the way his eyes danced mischievously, their dark depths full of tricks and twists so topsy turvey she would surely never discover all of them without getting lost.

"Yeah," Henry was saying and went on explaining the Wishing Well.

Henry had been the one that had scared her and Mr. Gold by breaking into this quaint, small cottage. No, the word is cabin, here. Henry had called it a cabin and it belonged to Mr. Gold, who had offered to let her stay until she wanted to leave. Mr. Gold had given him quite a fright with that machine of his. Isabelle had asked what it did that scared him so badly, but all Henry had said was that when you pulled the trigger, it killed people. It was some magic she had not yet learned about, just like the rest of this cabin. There were switches to the overhead lights, no candles, just automatic light that came from light bulbs. Also, the dishes were amazingly crafted, as was the odd, almost wooden box Henry had poured food out of. Cereal, he had called it.

It had been too sweet for her liking, but she had eaten it to be polite.

Henry looked like he hadn't slept much that night, and he said he would have to go soon, before "Emma" came up. Emma was his mother, his real mother, not the Evil Queen, the woman he lived with. And also, they had to be quiet when they spoke because Miss Blanchard and David were sleeping on the couch and on the floor.

"Look, I have to go," Henry said hastily, glancing at his watch, "But will you be here tomorrow?"

Isabelle looked at Mr. Gold, his eyes still following her movements. It was a familiar sensation to her. She knew somewhere it should have bothered her, but it didn't. "Will I be here tomorrow?"

He gestured broadly to her. "That's up to you, my dear."

She smiled, half curtseying at him, which was odd in breeches and a tunic, but worked nonetheless, and told Henry honestly, "I'll be here tomorrow."

Henry's and Mr. Gold's smiles were infectious.

"Henry," Mr. Gold said, standing awkwardly, supporting himself heavily on his cane, "A word?" He looked to her, as though to ask if she were alright by herself, which she told him silently that she was. She had a lot of sorting out in her brain to do, and she had hidden her fear from the boy because he had shown her such kindness so far. He'd helped her get out of bed, had walked with her over to the kitchen table, had even begun telling her about his favorite book that he wanted her to read sometime.

Mr. Gold followed Henry out, and she looked after them, leaning over the sink to peer through the window into the back of the house, which faded steadily into woodland. She watched Mr. Gold speak to the boy, and when he glanced back at the cabin she turned away, and started on cleaning the dishes, pulling up the silver lever to start the water. It was so convenient.

How come she didn't remember anything? She knew she should- there were gaps, holes, in places that should not have had holes. It was frightening, and frustrating. She couldn't explain it, like missing puzzle pieces or missing chess men. She remembered her father, a man she had loved with all her heart, but she could not remember much else about her past. She remembered having an arranged marriage, but somehow it had not come to pass. Somehow she had gotten herself locked up, first in a dank, stone room, with chains and little to nothing to eat and then in the white walled, padded room, with three meals a day and small tablets that she was forced to take, along with needles and things that made her forget even more. She couldn't remember the transition, but she remembered she had been so much more depressed in the stone room. Both places had similar faces though. The ogre looked more like a man when she had been in the white walled room. She had lost count of days, years, lost in thoughts and half out of her mind. She hadn't been able to think clearly for so long each breath she took revitalized her, kept her mind fresh and working.

And, to her joy, some memories had already started to come back. She remembered that she had had a necklace that her father had given her. It was missing now. She remembered that she was fond of roses, and that her mother had died when she was young. But- the missing pieces would not form. She made a face of distaste, and looked out the window again at the boy and the man.

It felt like both of them knew her, that they both had answers to give her. She couldn't help but smile as the boy grinned. She only hoped they would fill in the blanks soon. It was awfully frustrating not knowing what was going on.

There was a noise at the front door. Isabelle jumped, spinning on the spot as who had to be David, because of his short raven hair went for the door.

Mr. Gold had shown such fear at the noise at the back door before- was there reason for it? She wanted to tell the raven haired person not to answer the door, but it was too late. With a stretch and a half yawn, the door was open.

A blonde stepped through, heavily laden and wearing breeches just like Isabelle was.

Isabelle looked back to see Henry disappearing through the woods down a path, and Mr. Gold making for the back door.

"It's early." Isabelle blinked in surprise, turning to face the situation behind her. The person she had assumed was David spoke in a high pitched soprano, a sound that Isabelle was sure could not be a man's. She took a closer look at the ebony haired person.

"No, it's late," the blonde barked sarcastically.

"Someone's grumpy," the raven haired person stretched, and Isabelle knew she could not be a man. Such short hair, also wearing breeches. Did all girls wear breeches? What was this world like now? "Got out of the wrong side of the bed?"

"Didn't get into bed," the blonde admitted.

"I thought so. What kept you up?" the ebony haired girl wondered through a yawn.

"Turns out this Doctor guy doesn't exist-." The blonde stopped short at the sight of Isabelle. Isabelle faced her in return, taking her in just as the blonde did. "You're awake," she said.

~: Mr. Gold :~

"What's this about Mr. Gold?" Henry asked, rotating around to face him. The child had a shrewd face. Mr. Gold narrowed his eyes. The little prince had figured it out at last. Belle had given him away. She was his weakness, always had and always would be. "Because if this has anything to do with a deal I -."

"It is a deal, for you, Your Highness," Mr. Gold smiled, cutting across him. Henry's eyes widened at the title. It was always better to butter up the royalty, and it revealed that Henry had confirmed two suspicions in one go. Mr. Gold was Rumpelstiltskin, and Mr. Gold remembered. Remembered too keenly, he thought painfully, "One that you're not going to want to pass up."

"I'm listening," Henry stared up at him, folding his arms across his chest, a cunning face amid so many that weren't.

"I shall give you proof," he felt himself playing back into his old role, a sly peering through his eyes, a flick of his hand.

"Evidence of what?" Henry demanded.

He should have known the boy would be on his guard. He had a whole book of fairytales depicting how indirect and slippery Rumpelstiltskin could be.

"That the curse does exist," Mr. Gold said with a smirk.

Henry grinned broadly. "I know." He was still delighted to hear someone agree with him though, Mr. Gold could tell. "So what's the catch?"

"Not a catch," Mr. Gold grinned, "But a price. If," he added, the familiar leer in his voice, "you promise not to tell her about the Other place, then I promise to give you proof."

The prince looked scandalized, "What- why can't I?"

"She needs to remember on her own." Yes, she needs to remember in her own way, in her own time. He didn't know what the curse would do to her if she were told outright. He couldn't have her slipping into a coma, like this prince's grandfather. And, she didn't know… didn't know that it was all his fault yet… Anything, to see her face smile.

"That doesn't make any sense." He was annoyed. Mr. Gold could see Henry thinking over what this possibly could do for Mr. Gold. His ten year old mind was cut short by Mr. Gold's stipulation.

"It's a deal, Your Highness. Take it or leave it." He didn't need to explain himself to the boy. He pretended to be examining his nails- oh making deals with children had always been something of a delight to him.

The little prince was still deciding, but wanted to hear the offer, "So what proof can you give me?"

Mr. Gold grinned broadly. "My words aren't proof enough?" he said, touching his chest with a flourish.

"Nope," he shook his head, staring up at him eagerly.

He looked at the boy, "I only have one thing to prove to you that the curse is real."

"And?" Henry stepped closer. "What is it?" Mr. Gold had him just where he wanted them.

"I," he waved his hand until he was half bowing at him, "have the puppets from the tale of Jiminy Cricket." They were almost inconsequential to him, hanging up in his pawn shop. It was something the boy could have easily figured out if he'd had his eyes open. Mr. Gold was losing nothing, and Henry was giving everything. Just the way he liked it.

Henry's eyes went round. "You do? –." He paused, and then narrowed his eyes up at him, "That's not all, is it? You wouldn't have bothered saying it was the only thing if that were true."

Mr. Gold eyed the boy with new found respect. The boy had brains despite his lineage. Maybe from the father's side?

"I don't want to see the dolls," Henry shrugged, looking at the ground, playing casual. The prince was new to the game, but he was going to be a good player, Mr. Gold decided. Mr. Gold wanted him to play on his side, if he could manage it.

"What do you want to see?" he gestured graciously. Appeasing royalty had once been his entire life, he thought with a smirk. He was sure he could appease this little prince, even if he no longer had magic at his finger tips. He had evidence of most stories in the pawn shop. He was sure he could scrounge up something. Something of Henry's grandmother's or grandfather's perhaps?

The boy seemed overconfident as he scrutinized Mr. Gold's face. "The tea cup."

Mr. Gold's airs retreated immediately into himself, his face twisting into a grimace. Curse that storybook. It obviously had too much information. "What tea cup?"

"Belle's tea cup," Henry told him. As if Mr. Gold of all people needed that clarification. "You still have it, don't you?"

Not for your greedy little eyes. "Sadly it was lost."

"No it wasn't," Henry spoke unabashed.

"You're not seeing it." No, he was not going to see it. Not after his adoptive mother had gotten him into trouble with the law over it. Conniving family, he gritted his teeth, taking him off guard like that.

"Fine," Henry sounded carefree, slipping his little hands into his pockets. "I forgot my cereal anyways." He made towards the door of the cabin, where Mr. Gold saw Belle standing in the window. No, something in him said. Her face was enough to persuade him. His weakness…

Too good a player already, Mr. Gold thought viciously. "Alright, Your Highness, you get your wish."

"Excellent," Henry turned back to him, triumph written all over his features. Oh yes, a good player. The smug look continued as he asked, "How do I know you're not tricking me?"

"All I want is for her to remember- remember on her own," Mr. Gold said, falling back into his Storybrooke character, the anger and teasing falling back into himself, resting both of his hands on his cane as he looked into the tree line.

"But why? How do I know you just don't want to keep the curse intact? The Evil Queen made you a good deal," Henry pointed out. Ah, true. But she had also lied. Lied and hid someone that wasn't hers.

"Yes, that she did," Mr. Gold acknowledged, still searching the horizon, "but that was before I knew she was alive."

"Well, then we have a deal," Henry offered his hand, and then withdrew it before Mr. Gold could take it. "Wait." Wait for what? What more did the kid want? He was getting his bloody proof. "I need to see the proof before the end of the next 48 hours."

Ah, the kid was still good, not too greedy as to forget what he was agreeing to. There went his loophole. "Wise, Your Highness, to set a time limit." It was no matter. He would think of another one.

"I know who I'm dealing with," Henry eyed him cautiously, but his expression was still smug.

"And never forget it, Your Highness."

They shook hands.

"She'll forgive you, you know," Henry told Mr. Gold as he made to go. Mr. Gold paused, not turning back, but listening. "She'll forgive you when she remembers. She's braver than you are, Rumpelstiltskin." Mr. Gold started at the name, an echo from a lifetime ago. "She'll be brave enough to try to kiss you again."

Mr. Gold was saved from his reply by the sound of a car rumbling up to the house. He turned back to see Henry running for the path. The sun was barely even up.

Mr. Gold walked back up to the cabin, thinking over his and Henry's conversation. She'll be brave enough to try to kiss you again…

Storybrooke's Tale of Beauty and the Beast

A Once Upon a Time Story
by Teddy's Twin

Part 10 of 37

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