Continuing Tales

Storybrooke's Tale of Beauty and the Beast

A Once Upon a Time Story
by Teddy's Twin

Part 12 of 37

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Storybrooke's Tale of Beauty and the Beast

~: Emma :~

Her face was steely enough that both David and Mary Margret had decided simultaneously that they would go on a walk, since they weren't tired. They couldn't really feign sleep at seven in the evening. At the same time. It didn't matter. The less the merrier. If this conversation was going to be merry at all.

Mr. Gold was shutting the door to Isabelle's room. Emma was waiting, folded arms and a scowl ready and waiting for him as he turned around.

As he spotted her, he rolled his eyes. That only made her more furious.

"You're a creep, you know that?" she accused.

He continued past her and went for the sink, pushing up his sleeves and leaving his cane resting against the cabinets, "You're one to talk, Sheriff Swan."

She blinked in confusion. He turned on the tap and started where Isabelle had left off. "What?" her voice turned metallic again, "I don't go following people around half my age."

Mr. Gold looked over his shoulder, "Then what is Henry?"

"He's my son! Isabelle is- I don't know what she is to you, but I know for sure that she isn't your daughter," she yelled furiously, sparks flying. He was baiting her, she realized, trying to get her off topic. It took her a split second to remember why she had started this conversation, feeling malicious she persisted, "She has one of those already. You put him in the hospital, remember?"

"I do recall that vaguely, yes," he was facing the sink, so she couldn't read his expression. "I think I spent a night or two in jail for it."

She ignored his last bit of flippancy, and pushed further, "You have to tell her."

"And I will."

She made to retaliate, "Or I- you what?" She realized half a moment too late that he had responded with the answer she wanted- well, not the answer she wanted but the answer that she hadn't expected. The right answer.

"I will tell her that I put her father in the hospital," he clarified for her, picking up the sponge Isabelle had put down, and began scrubbing away at dishes, leaning on his good leg. "I have to."

"Yes, but-," she stuttered, trying to make sense. He had agreed. He had agreed without a fight. It didn't make sense. In her mind she had seen him refusing, and saying that he wasn't going to ruin this. Whatever "this" was, she thought furiously, so when he said, "I will" it left her floundering. "But- but- why?"

"I do not plan on keeping secrets this time, Ms. Swan," his voice sounded thick and muted over the sound of the water running. He poured on more soap.

"'This time'?" she repeated. What was that supposed to mean?

He disregarded her question, starting on a fresh pan, "However, I will do it in my own time."

There. She found the steeled anger again that had been doused with surprise a moment ago, "You and your own time can -."

"Won't you at least grant me this?" he turned, shouting at her, shocking her into silence. His voice was ragged and he was breathing heavily. When she said nothing, he bent his head, "I will tell her within the week."

He faced his task again, his back rigid, and his arms moved more mechanically. Within a week. Within a week? What was going on? How come he was being so compliant?

"You're telling her? But why?" she wondered aloud.

"Is that any of your concern, Ms. Swan?" No, it wasn't, but the muffled fury there was enough to want to start it up again. She opened her mouth, but he spoke, his tone miserable, "Now if you please, leave me in peace."

All of her pent up aggression, the extra wall she'd built just for this fight were wasted. Entirely wasted. All she wanted now was to pick a fight. "Well, fine." Maybe she would take a drive. Maybe she would break another toaster. She wouldn't buy Mr. Gold a new one.

Destroying the man's appliances wouldn't do anything. She would drive.

She slammed the door on her way out, realizing a split second later that the noise had probably woken Isabelle. A twinge of guilt now added to her temper as she stalked into the night, her keys rattling.

~: Mr. Gold :~

It was nearing midnight. Mary Margret and David had eventually come back and all had fallen asleep. Emma was still missing, probably still venting her rage on her poor automobile. He had enjoyed ruining her fun. She was a fighter, who was in need of a good fight. If she'd wait around a bit her Majesty was sure to have one. He didn't mind her absence though. He did not need her interrupting his thoughts… thoughts she herself had given him.

The lovely Sheriff had given him a dead line.

It was well enough. He needed it.

If he didn't tell her soon, there were chances that she would remember. She was remembering so much already. It was painful, and yet blissful at the same time, to have her so near. He hadn't expected that. He hadn't expected it to be so convoluted. Of course, he hadn't really expected it at all. She had been dead… And now? Her life was so precious to him now. Worth more than all the gold in his vaults at Dark Castle, more than the worth of all the souls he had corrupted.

It was all for not. She would leave… She would leave him because there was no way he could make her stay. He had nothing to offer, nothing to persuade her with.

When she remembered, she would hate him. It would be much more excruciating when she did if it were on her terms, left because she would remember that he was a coward, a liar, a monster. Nothing had changed in Storybrooke except now he had no magic. He was as malicious as ever, more so, ever since she had left… had gone…

He was in love with her. He always had been. He could not bear thinking about it. He could not bear even imagining her departure once more due to their past memories. He would tell her how he tortured her father, send her away quickly… Before the pain grew…

Again, he was taking the coward's way out. He was always the coward. She would not be brave enough to kiss him again when she remembered how cowardly he truly was. She would loathe him. If he told her soon about her father than she would leave. It would be easier. Easier for him. His terms. His time. His place. Less pain…

Every moment was a moment that everything could come flooding back to her. Every second she was with him was something else she put together. Her mind worked so quickly. She was learning about refrigerators and cell phones in the amount of time it had taken him to figure out how to flip on a switch to light his house.

But every moment was a fresh opportunity to capture her expressions, remind himself of the illumination that lit the room when she smiled, breathe in her light. Her conversation, the way she spoke, everything was a new instant to drink in. He basked in her warmth. She was as curious as ever, as prying as ever, trying to make him say things that he did not wish to say, which, like before, had worked. She walked around to help when her feet were still healing. She smiled at him, smiled, when he did not deserve it. When she was with him he couldn't bear to even begin telling her, couldn't imagine bringing that look of desolation on her face. He did not know how he would do this.

He was a coward.

He laid his head back against the wall, exhausted. He hadn't slept in too long, but the constant war had kept him awake, tense, irrational and angry. Now it was ceasing. He had a deadline. He would keep it.

Belle would be gone from him in a week. He shut his eyes from the wracking torment that the sentence brought him, but the agony was internal, tearing at him.

At least she would be alive. He would speak with her Majesty before she concocted any of her ridiculous plans, tell her to keep away from Belle always. And then she,… Belle would be safe, with her father, farther away from him as she could manage. He might see her in the streets sometimes… and that was enough, if it meant her happiness. He was going to let her go… he had to…

She'd be gone forever. She wouldn't come back this time. It would be his fault…

All his fault.

~: Henry :~

Henry peddled for all his worth.

The Evil Queen had left the house at two in the morning. He knew it meant nothing good. He had to make sure that Belle was safe, that Rumpelstiltskin knew what was coming. Henry was sure the Evil Queen was coming for her.

He'd booby trapped her door, placing one of his few toys in front of her room after she had "gone to bed." She had kicked it when she was trying to creep out. He woke up, had heard her leave, and seen the car drive away out of his window, tugging on a jacket and a pair of shoes before he bolted for the door. She had a car. All he had was his red bicycle that he had gotten as a bribe from the Evil Queen. He would just have to make the most of it.

Besides, he was sure that she wasn't going on her own. She had called someone on her way out to the drive way. His disadvantage was that he didn't know who it was, but at least she would be picking someone up. It would take more time.

He saw the path that led up to the cabin. He felt hope rising in his chest at how far he'd come in only fifteen minutes, but knew he would have to run from there. He tossed his bike to the side, bursting into a run towards the tree line. His P.E. teacher would be proud, he thought as he panted through the dark trees, pulling the flashlight from his pocket and turning it on. But he didn't have time to think about his P.E. teacher now. He concentrated on getting up there as fast as he could. Belle's life could be in danger, and if that was true, then the curse itself would never be broken. Henry had a theory about how to break the curse. True love's kiss can break any curse, he remembered from the story with a smile.

He sprinted up the dark path, hoping with all his might that he wasn't too late.

~: Mr. Gold :~

Mr. Gold heard the door open with its familiar creak. Groggily out of the corner of his mind he knew that the sound was wrong, but he couldn't make himself remember why. He rocked his head back and forth on the wall when the creak happened again, groaning slightly. He always had been a light sleeper. He let it go, falling back into his dreamless sleep.

A sharp, piercing scream jolted him aware, cut too short.

Immediately he looked to Belle's door.

It was ajar.

Leaping to his feet, Mr. Gold cursed his lame leg, cursed the war that had caused it, cursed her Majesty for letting it exist in this world, for now as he tried to run to her his knee would not function. He almost fell over, grasping the table to keep him upright, before making for the door.

"Regina!" he shouted, slamming the door all the way open.

The car was peeling away- Belle was struggling around, giving a henchman a bruised jaw as she whacked her tied fists into his face, a rag covering her mouth. She looked back at him through the window-

"No," he breathed in horror.

Headlights flooded into view. A yellow bug swerved into view, blocking the escape route of the sleek black car, parking sideways.

Emma – the white knight – had come at the opportune moment, stopping her Majesty dead before she crashed.

Belle took the chance, flinging the car door open, falling out of it, landing the mud from yesterday's rain, the minion scrambling after her as she slipped again trying to get up. Mr. Gold rushed forward, hand outstretched.

"Let her go!" he demanded, half running to get closer, "Please!"

Regina, who was sitting in the driver's seat, obviously heard. He saw her hunch her shoulders. He could picture her mouth tightening. The henchman was dragging her upright, Belle landed a well aimed kick on her captive's jaw, and the man retaliated. He made to hurl his fist into her head, letting her fall back down. She covered her head with her hands-

"Don't you dare," Rumpelstiltskin snarled, stopping, and he felt magic spark at his fingertips, staying the henchman's hand and wrenching his arm backwards, pitching him ten feet from her. More shocked that the henchman, Mr. Gold felt the magic fade as quickly as it had flown through him. He heard Regina gasp, saw the look of unadulterated bewilderment in Belle's wide blue eyes.

"Regina, leave, now, please," Mr. Gold managed to be more specific through his terror, controlling his voice into a growl. "Take your accomplice with you."

She paused, trying to fight what she had been told to do, when she finally broke under the compulsion. "Get in the car," Regina's voice was venomous.

"What?" the idiot frowned, had regained his footing, and had been waiting for his next move. Now he was looking at Regina in complete shock.

"Just do it," she spat impatiently. "Now!"

The minion did as he was told, stalking over to the car. Well trained minion, he acknowledged heatedly.

"Wait!" Mr. Gold barked, and the man stopped in his tracks. He looked to Belle, who was still inching her way to kneeling. "Help her up."

"What?" the idiot was incredulous, staring at him in utter disbelief, eyes flashing.

"Help her up, please," his voice was full of fury, his own eyes ablaze.

"Do as he says," Regina ordered, her hands tightening into claws around the steering wheel.

The henchman helped Belle to her feet, roughly by an arm. She pulled away from him instantly, tearing off the rag that bound her mouth, tossing it to the ground at his feet, running immediately to Mr. Gold's side.

He caught her up in his arms, stumbling a step backwards at the force of her impact, pain jabbing in his leg, but she was there, in his arms, gasping her panic into his throat. He pulled her closer, stroking her hair, too quickly to be calming her, but more for his own reassurance that she was truly there. He still stared at her Majesty who was watching him with pure loathing through the rear view mirror.

"Now," his voice shook, a hard mixture of rage and relief, "You will take your minion and get off of my property, and you will stay off of my property." The last word sliced through the air, a last word to an incantation, "Please."

"Wait a second," Emma shouted, from her car, finally managing to have rolled down the passenger's side window, "What's going on?"

"What's happened?" Mary Margret stood in the doorway, David at her heels. Too late, but they wouldn't have been useful in this situation anyways. He had it under control now. Regina shouldn't have come herself. He had irrefutable power over her in this world as long as she was in ear shot.

"Let them go, Ms. Swan," he pacified, "They've done enough damage for one night."

Belle had started to cry silently, he realized, as the henchman shut the car door after he got in, shaking with it. He only clung to her tighter, hearing Her Majesty put the car into gear and waited as Emma pulled away from the middle of the road, letting them pass. Regina's tires squealing on the gravel, they were gone from sight into the black night.

"Dearest they're gone now," he whispered, but she only clutched his button up shirt. He felt the tears hot on his skin as they spilled off of her face. "They're gone."

Her crying became earnest then, struggling to get the bindings off of her wrists. Her hands shook too much. He stayed them, helping her undo the thin cords until she was free. They fell at their feet, and her free arms wrapped around him. He could only hold her, whispering softly in her ear of better times, of times of streaming sunlight and large libraries, of cleaning castles and tea times. He spoke unthinkingly, the words flowing freely as she nuzzled closer to his neck.

"What just happened?" Emma's voice commanded everyone's attention. "Did Regina just get away from an assault charge?"

"They were kidnapping her," Mary Margret whispered, awfulness lacing her voice. "Oh, Isabelle-," she paused, "I think we need to get her inside," Mary Margret said, concern taking over.

Mr. Gold nodded silently, and ushered for Mary Margret to lead the way.

"I'm going to pick you up," he told her then, and he felt her responding nod. He swung her into his arms, the pain in his leg enough to make him stagger slightly, but, she was lighter than she had been, if the decades hadn't completely faded his memory, which they hadn't. Emma made to take her, but he merely walked past her. He hobbled to the door, one foot in front of the other, and set her down gently on the couch. Mary Margret was instantly there, pulling a blanket over Belle as Mr. Gold drew up a chair besides her

"Here," Emma handed Belle a fast food restaurant cup with a lid and a straw, "Drink this."

Belle looked at the thing in confusion, before Mr. Gold pulled the lid off and handed it to her. She took a sip, and spat it back into the cup, choking. Mr. Gold looked furiously at Emma, who explained, "It's just Dr. Pepper- she needs some sugar in her system. Hurry up, drink it."

Belle swallowed her first gulp of soda with a shudder. And then continued, everyone watching her finish off the last swig.

"Can't believe she's never had soda before," Emma muttered under her breathe, moving to put the glass in the sink as Mary Margret put a few pillows behind Belle to prop her up.

"They- they were coming to get me- the woman in black- she- she exists in both places too- I had forgotten… how does she exist in both places? And the man, the Black Knight- he- he- him too," her words were jumbling together, and Mary Margret cooed at her to calm down.

He rocked back on his feet. Both places- the ache was keener than he would have believed. She was remembering that there were two places, not just the one. She remembered the Black Knight, the henchman- he should have remembered who he was too, he just hadn't cared.

"How did you get her to let her go like that?" David asked in Mr. Gold disbelief, standing behind Mary Margret. "I didn't think Regina listened to anyone, you didn't even have your gun- how did you do it?"

"It's a simple matter of wording," Mr. Gold said, his voice brittle, oh, and not to mention that I have a contract with her. "It's amazing what the power of a little word will do." What he couldn't believe was the magic- the magic had come back to him, channeled its way through him, like in the past. He looked at his hand again in disbelief, clenching and unclenching it.

Someone burst through the open front door, Mr. Gold tensing, standing abruptly as a voice declared, "Regina is coming!"

It was Henry, panting, sweat pouring off of his brow with his brown hair sticking to it. Mr. Gold relaxed, a little irritated at his own paranoia. He had just ordered her off his property. She could not rightly enough come back now.



Mary Margret and Emma both spoke simultaneously in surprise.

"We have, to get, her safe," Henry told them through his inhaling.

"You're a little late, Paul Revere," Mr. Gold snorted at the boy.

Storybrooke's Tale of Beauty and the Beast

A Once Upon a Time Story
by Teddy's Twin

Part 12 of 37

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