Continuing Tales

Storybrooke's Tale of Beauty and the Beast

A Once Upon a Time Story
by Teddy's Twin

Part 11 of 37

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Storybrooke's Tale of Beauty and the Beast

~: Archie :~

"Thanks for coming with me," the Sheriff said a little grudgingly, her eyes on the road.

"Of course," he said, though really he felt like he hadn't had much choice when she'd basically slung him into her car, telling him to bring his "psychologist stuff." He had an office full of "psychologist stuff." That's why he had an office. However, arguing with the town sheriff never had done anyone any good, and honestly, he was curious. "Does this have something to do with Henry?"

"What?" she asked a little distracted.

He clutched his umbrella, "I heard he was abducted last night by a dangerous criminal. I'm glad you were able to find him."

"Dangerous criminal?" the Sheriff barked. "Really?"

Archie tried to explain, "It's what the Mayor said-."

"Yeah, I'm sure it's what the Mayor said," she sniffed, and then said, "No. I'm not worried about Henry right now. It's the girl that he was with-."

"The abductor?" Archie was intrigued, and at the same time nervous. This was serious stuff.

"No, she didn't abduct anyone," the Sheriff said sharply, "She just escaped from a psychiatric ward I didn't know about." She turned off the highway onto a smaller road, going just as fast. Apparently there were perks to being the only cop around.

"A psychiatric ward? Here, in Storybrooke?" he was confused. He'd never heard about it, and as the town's psychiatrist, he of all people had a right to know about a whole ward full of people.

"Yup," she smiled a little grimly, "I'm glad no one else seems to know about it either."

"What is her name?" Archie asked curiously.

"Isabelle French," she answered, a little fondness in her voice, handing him a very beat up and abused manila folder, which he took gingerly, "I just want to get her checked out, you know? Because so far it seems like she was locked up for no reason."

"Isabelle French-," he mused, looking inside at the folder. It said that she was on several very serious medications, "but isn't she dead?" he looked away from his reading material. He remembered her father coming in to him a few times, asking for help with his depression after she had passed. He had even gone to her graveside with him… he couldn't remember the details though. He brushed it away. There were a lot of people with a lot of problems in his life. He couldn't remember them all no matter how he wished he could. He would just look up Moe French's file when he returned from- from wherever they were going.

"Yeah, that's what everyone wants to believe," the Sheriff nodded, swerving along the winding roads up the side of the hill.

"You're starting to sound like Henry," Archie grinned at her, but when she glanced back with a glower he looked hastily away. He cleared his throat, "So, how come you think she was locked up for no reason?"

"Because the Doctor I read in her file doesn't exist. I ran a background check on him last night," she said, pointing to the folder, "That, and Regina seems pretty pissed that she's escaped."

"Yeah, she was having everyone put up flyers with the abductor's," he hesitated, correcting himself, "I mean, Isabelle's face on it." The picture in the file and the picture on the posters were the same. The same mouth in a grim line, the same dead look in the eye. She looked believably hazardous, but if she was that drugged up, he couldn't blame her at all, "But if she isn't dangerous-."

"And she's not-," the Sheriff supplied, "she's a small thing, looks like she would catch and release a spider before she would kill it." She shuddered, "I hate spiders."

"Interesting," he said, beginning to peruse the folder again. Again, the medications seemed severe for what she had apparently done. It said that she was a threat to her own life, that she would kill herself, and cut herself. He would check her wrists to find proof of that. It said that she would fly into fits of rage, but… nothing seemed to warrant this kind of lock down, like the Sheriff had said. Well, he would have to see for himself. That and… a faked death? Was that even real? It sounded so conspiratorial, like Henry had made it up and his birth mom was playing along with it. He would get to the bottom of it soon enough.

"We're here," the Sheriff shoved her foot to the brake and they made a sudden stop.

Archie looked up from his reading to view the sight before him. "Mr. Gold's cabin?"

"It's a long story." The Sheriff didn't sound pleased at all as she got out of the car. Archie followed suit, grabbing his brief case and umbrella as he did so.

Mary Margret Blanchard answered the door. "Emma," she smiled in greeting. "Dr. Hopper, how are you?"

"Call me Archie," he smiled at the school teacher.

"Hey," David Nolan came up behind her, grinning.

Archie blinked in surprise. Away together in a cabin? Wasn't there already enough scandal about them going around, with Kathryn having disappeared? He realized, scolding himself that he had no room to judge, and that if they were happy, then what could he say?

He followed the Sheriff into the room, and saw Mr. Gold sitting there with his cane. Archie made a face. He had never particularly liked Mr. Gold, but it had been inexplicable. He just seemed to cause a lot of stress and trouble for a lot of people in town. Now he wondered what Mr. Gold was doing amid all this mess.

"Where is she?" the Sheriff asked, glancing at Mr. Gold.

"She's taking a shower. She just turned off the water a minute ago. Emma you wouldn't believe it, she didn't know how to work a shower. It was darling!" Mary Margret giggled, passing David to follow Emma. "I just stuck her in there and she came out a moment later just saying that she didn't understand."

"Dr. Hopper," David Nolan shook his hand, distracting Archie from overhearing their conversation.

"Mr. Nolan," Archie said congenially. "We were supposed to meet a while ago."

"Call me David," he let go, "And yeah, but, I didn't think it'd really help all that much, with my amnesia and all. I mean what can you do?" David shrugged, smiling. Archie nodded his acceptance.

"It's alright. Just let me know if you have any trouble with it," Archie told him, wishing he could help. But he was right; amnesia was a hard one to fix- that was more for the medical men than him.

David agreed, "Of course."

A door opened. Mr. Gold stood respectfully as a wet headed girl stepped into the room, patting down her hair with a towel. She smiled kindly at Mr. Gold, and looked in on the scene before her. "Oh, Emma, you're back," her voice was pleasant, accented. "Can I get you something to eat?" She looked to see Archie, her blue eyes landing on him. He knew then that she wasn't dangerous, or even risky. She was determined, at most, but- he stopped himself from jumping to conclusions. He would need to test her first. She could be deceiving them. "Hello," she smiled, stepping forward, offering a polite hand with a smile. He took her hand, noting that there were no scars on her arms or wrists.

"Hi, I'm Doctor Archie Hopper," he supplied. She was beautiful, there was no doubt about it.

She looked at him with an appraising eye, "So, Doctor Archie Hopper, do you want to stay for lunch?"

"Of course," he smiled. "But I would like to ask you a few questions first," he said, looking at the Sheriff, who nodded encouragingly, "Is there a room we can use?"

"Do you mind if we speak outside?" she inquired, looking through the kitchen window, "It's such pretty day."

Archie paused, caught off guard by the request. "Um, certainly," he nodded his approval. Her answering smile was enough to alleviate him of all quandaries. He decided then that she sounded too honest for there to be a lie. He had never known why, but he could always tell the good ones from the bad.

She led him out of the back door, looking back at Mr. Gold as she went, smiling rather fondly at him. Archie frowned at that, closing the door behind them. How did Mr. Gold fit into all of this? It was something that was obviously going to bother him for the rest of the day.

When she sat on the ground opposite a tree stump, he sat on the tree stump. She was fiddling was the grass in her hands, looking happily at the sky as he pulled out a few papers from his briefcase, trying to keep the light breeze from tugging them away. He looked back at the cabin to see Mr. Gold standing at the kitchen window, watching them. Archie frowned at that, but sighed it away when he knew there was nothing to do about it and he let the long process of asking her questions begin.

~: Mary Margret :~

It was dusk when she and David went to the grocery store. They had driven Dr. Hopper back to his home, promising to get him when they returned the next day. He had been excited, talking about Isabelle passionately, a new challenge in his career. No, he didn't think that she was crazy, but she was so unaware of all of society's more modern concepts, like cars, and electricity. It was all so fascinating to him. Archie could not wait for further study, and as he said, he wasn't quite finished with the diagnosis yet.

She and David had laughed once the psychiatrist had gotten out of the car and they had rumbled away together in the old yellow beetle. "Do you want me to drop you off at your place?" Mary Margret asked David as they drove around Storybrooke.

"No," David shook his head. Mary Margret chanced a sideways glance. "If it's alright I think I'd rather go back up there."

"Isabelle's not dangerous," Mary Margret teased.

"I know," David acknowledged. "But Mr. Gold is."

Mary Margret understood what he meant, immediately touched by his gallantry. She continued on with their conversation, trying to act casual, "Well, then I guess we'd better stop by the grocery store and pick up some more food together then."

He smiled at the word together. "And then we can swing by my place so I can grab us a couple of sleeping bags, one for Emma, too."

"And a change of clothes," she grinned at him.

He looked at her, "Do I smell that bad?"

"No, just you haven't changed in almost two days now, and you are muddy," she stated openly, trying not to offend him, "I just thought you would want- I guess you can stay-." She hadn't meant to offend him. She glanced over at him. His smile was kind. He had been kidding. She shook her head and laughed.

At the grocery store she and David had split up, for society's sake. She grabbed a basket and went to find fresh produce and some fruit. He grabbed a cart and went to the frozen food section. They met in the middle, between the canned goods and the bakery, and smiled quietly to one another as they walked in opposite directions. Mary Margret rather liked this game they played, sometimes at the diner, sometimes just walking around Storybrooke. They were just two people in a small town, who happened to be in love.

"Good evening," a voice startled her from her reverie. She blinked her green eyes around to see Sydney Glass taking his hat off to her. She smiled at him cordially.

"Mr. Glass," she said in greeting. Once she had thought that Mr. Glass was the Mayor's pet, but since helping Emma with what they had believed was a scandal, she couldn't help trusting him. "How are you?"

"I'm doing well, Miss Blanchard, very well," he meandered towards her along the aisle. They looked at the soup options, Mary Margret deciding which soup would Isabelle like best, when Mr. Glass spoke up again, "Did you hear about yesterday's scandal?"

"What scandal?" she queried, half interested, half sure that David was watching her from the end of the thin row of food. She was worried it would have to do more with Kathryn.

"Didn't you hear?" he was astonished, "Henry was kidnapped- by a criminal who apparently escaped a prison."

It was her turn to be shocked, but not by what he was thinking. Isabelle was being portrayed as a criminal? "Really?" Mary Margret's eyes narrowed. The Mayor's lies were all over this. She wondered who else was being fed them. Probably the whole town, at this rate, especially if this gossip was flying around. Poor Isabelle French when she came back into town. There would be more scandal about her than there was about Mary Margret and David.

"Oh, but don't worry," Sydney spoke up, startling her, assuring. "The Sheriff got Henry back safe." He thought that she had been nervous about Henry.

"Oh, good," Mary Margret nodded distractedly, redirecting her attention to the shelves of soup, "How about the – uh, criminal?"

The once famous reporter bowed his head, "No, she wasn't able to find her." He added, "But I'm sure the Sheriff will have her in cuffs before anything else bad happens." He looked around then, as though to make sure no one was listening. "As a friend to the Sheriff, I thought you could help me out a little."

"You're friends with her too," Mary Margret eyed him with a small smile. She didn't know if she liked where this was going.

"We're- allies," Mr. Glass weighed out, tilting his head back on forth as though to show the scale. "But since you live with her, I was wondering-."

"Maybe you can ask her yourself," Mary Margret suggested politely, shifting her shopping basket to her other arm.

"I just was wondering if you had any, I don't know, inside scoops," he continued, as though she hadn't spoken. "Its been, hard, working for the paper lately. Ever since Regina- I mean," he stopped himself, editing, "Ever since I've been, well, more or less out of favor…"

"I really don't know anything about it," Mary Margret told him, trying hard not to feel terribly guilty. The poor man looked so distraught. "I'll ask Emma to give you a call."

He caught her arm as she tried to leave. She turned back at him, surprised, and blinked in shock at the firm, disapproving look on his face. She tried to tug away but his grip was determined. "Mr. Glass?" His eyes looked so dark as they stared her down. She began to panic.

"Let her go," David's voice came up behind her.

Immediately the panic dissipated, and she realized as Sydney Glass let her arm go it had been a silly emotion. Sydney Glass was someone she had known for years. She read his articles in the newspaper all the time. He wouldn't hurt her.

David shielded her from view, leading her to the checkout stand. She found herself still rattled, and felt ashamed at the ridiculous notion. "Are you alright?" he asked under his breath as they stood in line behind a couple of people.

"I'm fine," she said, and cursed as her voice shook. How come this had scared her so badly?

David wasn't fooled, but he said nothing as they waited impatiently, David swaying where he stood, craning around to see if Sydney Glass was looking after them. He wasn't though. He was talking on his cell phone.

David paid for the food items before she could even find her wallet in her purse, and took the shopping bags in one hand, and wrapped an arm around her with the other, heading out of the store into the twilight sky. She leaned against him appreciatively. Ever since David had come he had felt right, even when he'd felt wrong, if that made any sense. In her sub conscious, ever since Henry had suggested it, thinking about them as a pair was something that she had just accepted. She couldn't imagine it any other way, she decided as he opened the door for her.

"Want me to drive?" he asked, his voice full of concern as she sat in the driver's seat.

"No, but, thank you," she smiled appreciatively at him as he closed the car door gently after her.

As he walked around the car and she put the key in the ignition, she wondered, what would she do without him now?

~: Isabelle :~

It had been late afternoon when Doctor Archie Hopper left, taking both Mary Margret and David with them. After he had asked her all of those questions she had felt tired, but not as tired as Emma, who had passed out around mid afternoon, her legs half dangling off of the sofa.

Mary Margret had kindly made lunch, peanut butter and jelly spread on oddly sliced bread. However, after several years of eating mushed meals chewing on anything was a miracle to her. Mary Margret had said she would be back up later with more food, because Emma had only brought that one loaf of bread and those jars of peanut butter and jelly spread to satisfy them. Isabelle could hardly wait to see what other wonders arrived in that horseless carriage.

It was all disorienting, the food, the odd glass, non glass jars, the electric ice box, the odd greeting with a handshake, something that she had never witnessed, but had decided to perform when she had seen David and Doctor Archie Hopper greet in that fashion through the small crack in the door. She had been nervous at the concept of a new comer, so she had watched, and had determined that Doctor Archie Hopper was a kind man. She hadn't quite been so willing to answer all of his rather odd questions, but she had, if it meant that the woman in black would no longer come looking for her.

It had been wonderful to be outside however. The wind, the chill, the smells. Her feet had hurt, yes, but she still rubbed her toes in the soil, the lush grass tickling her. It was all so new, so magical, this feeling. This freedom.

She was sitting now across from Mr. Gold, tired. He was fiddling with his hands. He didn't seem to sit well, sit still that was, but he insisted on sitting, on staying when the others had asked if he wanted to go to the town with them. He never said much of anything, she decided, also, only when it suited him, but when he said anything, she listened. She liked the lilt in his voice, the slight warm accent there, familiar and enchanting.

She spoke to him again, "Mr. Gold, do you have another name?"

He seemed startled by that question. Her other questions hadn't really amused him. She asked if he had a job back in the town. When he'd replied yes she had had to pry further. She had asked if he knew of her father, and when he grudgingly replied yes, she had demanded answers. He was evasive, telling her that yes he was alive; but that he thought that she was dead. The whole town had thought that she had died years ago- it all made sense now, why her father had never tried to save her, why the woman in black had ever been her only visitor. Something else had bothered her in the stone cell, but, she could not remember.

"I do have another name," he stated plainly, amiably.

"What is it?" she wondered, leaning in and resting her elbow on the table, her chin in her hand.

Pain etched across his face, as it did when she asked some questions. Her questions on horseless carriages, automobiles, had had little effect on him, as had the questions about girls in breeches and slicing their hair short like a boy, about fake glass, or plastic as she was supposed to call it. Ones that pained him were ones that pertained to her father, or questions about how she knew him. He never answered the latter, even when she had tried to weasel it out from him.

"I promise I won't laugh," she vowed. He said nothing still, and she thought to herself, twisting her mouth ruefully, "Well, would you tell me if I guessed it?"

He looked at her in pleasant surprise. "I will tell you if you guess it right."

She grinned at that, and spouted out names. To all of them he told her no, or shook his head. She made an exasperated face after he said, "No, and you already asked me that one."

"Well, maybe I'll start to make lists. Have you pen and paper?" she queried.

"Not handy, no," he said, leaning back in his chair.

She sighed, leaning on her hand again, and started off afresh, "Well, how about Umberto or Klaus?"

"Umberto?" he scoffed, "Do I look like an Umberto?"

"Well, I'm running out of options," she pointed out frustrated.

"But Umberto?" his eyes danced. She blinked in realization. He was teasing her. She smiled at that.

"Yes, why not?" she played along, "Umberto Gold."

"Oh please spare me the agony, my dear," he said, clutching his heart as though it were paining him, "I don't need any more of that."

"Obviously you aren't teased enough. We'll have to toughen you up," she said determinedly, taking on the challenge, and then continued on her quest. "Leopold? Oswald? Wilfred?"

"No to all," he groaned, making a pained face.

"Wilfred Gold? I can see it," she tried to keep herself from giggling.

"Please, no more," he smiled widely. "I think Oswald is my limit for today." She had made him smile. It was a start at least.

"Can I start anew tomorrow then?" she asked, intrigued by this new game, "They'll be better next time, I promise."

"Better than Umberto and Oswald, I hope," he stared at her, and stopped. She studied his eyes, their dark depths as he studied hers. His face was so familiar… like he had been in her dreams…

"Your skin is different," she said, curiously, and paused, sitting up straight.

His eyes widened, "What did you say?"

"Your skin…," she about repeated, and then stopped herself. What was she saying? "I'm not sure. I'm sorry, I don't know why I said that," she shook her head, standing up, away from the table. A passing memory. It was so frustrating not being able to remember. She looked out over the sink through the window into the twilight. "I must seem very strange to you," she whispered to the window.

"Don't flatter yourself, my dear," he ridiculed, "Strange things in this town happen all the time."

She considered that, thinking of the town as she had run through it with little Henry. She remembered something about last night, something that had caught her off guard, had made her remember momentarily… "Why did you call me Belle?" she asked him, turning pointedly to him.

He stiffened in his seat, shifting back, "I don't recall-."

But he did recall. She could tell that he recalled. She reminded him anyways, "Last night you saw me in the street. You called me Belle."

"It's your name," he shrugged, trying to pretend as though it weren't important. It was important though. She knew it was.

"Everyone else is calling me Isabelle," she reminded him, "That is my name, isn't it?" For some reason she didn't feel so sure, touching a hand to her head.

"An abbreviation," he said reluctantly, "That is all. I could call you Isabelle from now on if you like."

"No," she faced the window again, watching day fade to night, hand supporting her as she leaned over the sink, trying to take the weight off of her aching feet, "I like that you call me Belle. You never have called me Isabelle." Even though she didn't know why, she knew it was true. She sighed. How odd to hear such words come out of her own mouth.

She went and sat back at the table, restless. "I don't know why, Mr. Gold, but I feel like I've known you…" he was gazing at her as though she were crazy. She had had enough of that for a lifetime. "You knew me too, I know you did. Else you wouldn't have come up with a nickname for me."

She thought she had him there, but he smiled at her, impish almost. "We're barely even friends, my dear. How could I have come up with a nickname for you?"

"Maybe we weren't friends though," Isabelle invented, "Maybe we were enemies."

"Maybe," he grinned mischievously, but it didn't reach his eyes. "On one occasion you even threatened to take my power."

A clue! She was getting more out of him now. "Arch nemeses then?" Isabelle wondered, leaning towards him across the table, "Did we duel?"

"You read too much," he teased, sitting back in his chair.

"There!" she exclaimed, standing and pointing at him, a spasm of pain distracting her as her feet stung sharply.

"What?" he looked down at his chest as though she'd poked him, examining it for a mark.

"You know that I love to read," she accused, her eyes narrow but her smile wide. She'd caught him in the act. He would have to tell her now.

"It's obvious," he said dryly, rolling his eyes.

"How so?" she posed.

"There's an ink smudge on your nose," he leaned forward, examining her face, and she felt herself blush at the intent stare, "And I'm positive it's from having it in a book."

"I haven't read a single thing since I've been here," she promptly informed him, before sitting back down, feeling as though he'd defeated her this round. At this rate he was never going to tell her. She reminisced about reading, saying aloud, "I haven't read anything in years."

Anger flashed dangerously across his face, but it wasn't at her. She'd seen him angry at her… He was livid though, and then, look of agony, before he bent his head away from her. "We'll have to remedy that, won't we?" he sounded tortured almost. She couldn't bear it. She didn't know what to say, was about to reach over and touch his shoulder.

There was a knock at the door, interrupting her memory. Isabelle stood gently, gingerly on her feet, and answered it.

Mary Margret entered, holding large brown paper bags, David just behind her, "We're back!" she smiled as she came in.

"Welcome," Isabelle half curtseyed as she closed the door behind them, "How was your journey?" She was more curious about what was in the brown paper bags that Mary Margret was placing on the table. Food stuffs, Isabelle realized.

"We ran into Sydney Glass," David said, sounding somewhat bitter, putting his load down as well.

"Hmm?" Emma, blurry eyed and looking still exhausted, sat up at the commotion. "What did he want?"

"To talk to you I think," Mary Margret stared at the task in front of her, taking things out of the paper bag. Isabelle wondered if she was alright, and began to help. She had already learned where most of the things went in the house, through curiosity and examination. She found herself placing odd cartons of milk into the ice box, along with eggs and an orange looking elixir. She looked to Mr. Gold when she wasn't certain, pointing at wherever she thought that things went. He would give a brief nod, and continue listening as David retold what had happened at the grocery store.

"Weird, he didn't call me. He has my number," Emma decided, checking a small metallic and glass device. Isabelle's curiosity was peaked, looking over Emma's shoulder. Emma looked at her in a "What are you doing?" way, but Isabelle paid little heed. If she was going to figure out how all this new magic worked she was going to have to do some exploration. "It's a cell phone. You probably haven't seen one of these."

"What does it do?" Isabelle wondered aloud.

"It lets you talk to other people when they're far away," Emma looked to Mary Margret and David as though she needed their approval.

"Here," David said, pulling out his own device. It was different from Emma's. "I'll demonstrate."

Isabelle went immediately over to David to see what he was doing. There were numbers on his phone, and not so much glass. He pushed in numbers, and put the device to his ear.

A noise in the room startled her. Mary Margret pulled a third device from her own pocket, smiling at David, and put the device to her ear as the music stopped. "Hello?" she said with a grin. David handed Isabelle the phone, which she put to her ear.

"Hello?" she spoke into it. She felt odd.

"Hi Isabelle." Isabelle heard both Mary Margret through the device as well as in the room.

"Amazing! How far can you speak to one another with it?" she looked at them each in turn, all of them with smiles on their faces.

"As far as we want," Mary Margret answered, and Isabelle was delighted to hear the voice in her ear again.

"So, if I go in here," Isabelle walked to her bedroom door, and closed it behind her. She heard the others in the room laugh mutedly, but Mary Margret's laugh was right in her ear. Isabelle opened the door, "Magic!" she exclaimed. "How does it work?"

As Mary Margret got to work on the dinner, David explained about things in space, a place above the sky, caught signals that were given out by cell phones, bouncing them back to earth to the person who wanted to hear them. All the while Isabelle watched Mary Margret work closely. The stove top was of particular interest to her. It got heat the same way the ice box stayed cold- electricity. Electricity seemed to be the magic of this new place.

Isabelle had long since decided that this was indeed a different place. Outside she had seen no trace of fairies, or any other creatures really besides possibly a deer. There were so many different things about this place, and her first clue should have been the difference between the stone room and the white walled room, but how was it possible that all these things were different and yet her father was still in it according to Mr. Gold? It was confusing to her. She wished she had answers.

Dinner was pleasant. Mary Margret and David were so much in love she was fond of watching them both as they glanced, smiling secretly. Love always had been another mystery to be uncovered she thought, and she thought the pair were doing this quite beautifully. Mr. Gold didn't say much, but she had expected that. What she didn't understand was Emma and her glowers she shot Mr. Gold. Well, maybe they were rivals of some sort? But they didn't seem to hate each other so terribly much, and they both seemingly wanted to help her.

It was her turn to watch Mr. Gold, since he did not watch her at all through dinner. She liked the sharpness of his nose, she decided, and wondered yet again why his skin seemed different, how his eyes used to be a different shade, more ghostly green than dark wells. And then to her fury she would try desperately to remember where on Earth she had seen him. She saw him flicker glances at her through the corner of his eye, but that was it. He seemed to not notice her. Isabelle decided that it was Emma, glowering at him all the time. She wondered why Emma's presence set him more on guard, and why he set her more on guard.

Isabelle retired when both Mary Margret and Emma insisted. Her eyelids were drooping as she attempted to do the dishes, and her mind was exhausted from trying to work out the kinks in her brain. Her body was going limp too. Moving so much in these last two days had been wonderful, but her muscles were weak from disuse. She barely remembered changing into night things, and slipping into bed. What she did remember was Mr. Gold shutting the door softly, an intent look on his face. She smiled at him, as though assuring him, though she didn't know what for.

She curled up with the luxurious pillows, there were two, and began to dream easily, letting her conscious mind slip away.

She woke suddenly to a noise outside the house. She would have let it drop if it had not happened again. She wondered sleepily if it was Henry trying to get into the cabin. She smiled, slipping off of the bed, her feet burning more keenly than they had the day before as she stepped quietly out of her bedroom.

Emma was nowhere to be seen. Mary Margret and David were asleep in odd bags on the floor of the living room, facing one another as they slept. She would have to ask what those odd bags were when the hour wasn't so late.

Mr. Gold was sleeping too, his head back against the wall, just outside of her door. She wanted to touch his face, but withdrew the urge and simply continued on to the back door to see if there was someone there. Just then a short rattling came to the front door.

Maybe Henry had already tried to get in the back, but had found that Mr. Gold had dead bolted it this time, and was trying to get in through the front. She shook her head at the silly impatient boy. It wasn't even close to dawn yet, she thought as she undid the dead bolt and withdrew the chain.

She opened the door, expecting to see Henry's smiling face.

No one was there.

Had Henry run to try the back door again? She peered around, stepping outside, hearing the door creak as it half closed behind her. She winced as the creak grew louder. She didn't want to wake anyone up.

"Henry?" she whispered into the night, tip toeing to peer around the cabin.

"Not exactly," answered a voice behind her. A voice she knew. A voice that sent fear shooting through her, crippling her. She stumbled forward, feebly trying to escape just as her knees gave way.

The cackle behind her made her press her hands over her ears. "No," she breathed, closing her eyes, dread filling her gut.

Storybrooke's Tale of Beauty and the Beast

A Once Upon a Time Story
by Teddy's Twin

Part 11 of 37

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