Continuing Tales

Storybrooke's Tale of Beauty and the Beast

A Once Upon a Time Story
by Teddy's Twin

Part 18 of 37

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Storybrooke's Tale of Beauty and the Beast

~: Mary Margret :~

The bell for class to end was about to ring, and Mary Margret's life would be over. The Mayor would blame her for her son's absence, and Mary Margret would have nothing but her apartment and her roommates left in her life. Maybe David…

Where was Henry? He'd been gone for nineteen minutes! The kid was cutting it really close. The kids were getting their coats on to leave, lining up at the door-

Henry burst through it, his wet shoes skidding against the floors to a stop.

All the kids stared at his half drowned state, but he skipped right up to Mary Margret and grinned. "I think I can fix it!"

Mary Margret beamed back, "I'm just glad you made it back here safe. Cutting it a little close, don't you think?"

"Well, yeah," he grinned wryly.

Overhead the bell rang. The kids all filed out of the classroom in a jumble, Jill pushing Jack almost all the way over. "Have a good weekend, everyone!" she called out. One of her students waved but the little hand was gone before she could identify whose it was. Henry grabbed her attention again.

"Can I come over later?" Henry asked, looking up at her urgently, "I gotta see Isabelle."

"Henry, I don't know if that's such a good idea," Mary Margret said, looking down at him and patting his head. "You could get grounded again."

"Nah, the Evil Queen is pl-."

Mary Margret cut him off. "Who, Henry?" she corrected.

Henry sighed, and fixed the sentence, "Regina is going to start planning the Spring Queen Ball tonight with the committee."

Mary Margret nodded. She'd forgotten about the Charity Ball, held every March 21, the first day of Spring. "So you're safe for a little while."

"Yep!" Henry nodded encouragingly as she got the picture.

The kid was good. "Alright, then, hurry, scoot! Your mom is going to be waiting for you!" she said, ushering him out of the classroom with fervor.

"See you later Miss Blanchard!" he yelled, before disappearing into the hallway.

Mary Margret covered her small smile, shaking her head. Oh she was totally going to lose her job one of these days. Totally.

~: Moe :~

"Is everything alright, Mr. French?" the nurse asked as she walked in.

Moe French hurriedly hid the piece of scrap paper under himself. "O-oh, yes, I'm fine."

She looked at him, her eyebrows coming together in concern, "You're looking a little pale. Are you sure?"

"I'm positive. Don't worry about me," he smiled falsely at her as she refilled his water glass.

"Are you excited to leave tomorrow?" the nurse asked kindly.

"Yes," he nodded, and added in his mind, More than you know.

"Well, you know the drill. Ring if you need anything," the nurse told him as she left.

Moe nodded after her, before scrambling to reread the note again.

It was another one. They'd been appearing almost every night. The first one that had appeared at his side on Tuesday morning when he'd awaken read,

Dearest Papa,

I know they've told you I was dead, but I'm not. It will be a shock for you, I'm sure, but if you can find it in your heart to see me again on Saturday I will be waiting for you at home.



The next one had read,


I'm glad to see that you're mending, that all seems to be going well. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help you along. Oh Papa, I've missed you so much. Please don't let anyone know that I've come back. I'm trying not to cause a fuss, and I'm sure you've seen my picture in the Daily Mirror. However, you've got to believe me when I say I'm alive and I cannot wait to see your awake face again. I love you dearly.



Of course he hadn't told anyone. He didn't need them to think that he was getting mysterious notes from his own dead daughter and throw him downstairs in the asylum where she had been, so he had stayed quiet. Would stay quiet, at least until he saw her again.

Dear Papa,

I came again to see you last night, and you looked exhausted. I hope you're doing well. I love you dearly, and I will see you again tomorrow, awake this time. I'm sure you have a lot of questions, and I'll try to answer them as best as I can.



He loved to see her handwriting again. She'd loved to spell out words on a page as a child, spilling the ink bottle over by accident over his important papers once. He'd scolded her for that – wait, when had he had an ink bottle? It must have been water color painting stuff. That was much more plausible. His little girl had liked to draw.

"Mr. French?" the nurse popped back in. "The phone is for you."

Mr. French groaned. It was going to be the bank again. He was overdue on so many loans he was going to have to file bankruptcy for sure… what was he going to do then? He'd already sold his home, and moved into the tiny top most apartment in a complex near Granny's Diner this year. He'd sold his car. He'd done everything he could think of. He'd even pawned his wife's necklace, the only jewel they'd owned.

He picked up the bed side phone, an old corded contraption, and spoke into it. "Hello?"

"Hello Mr. French."

"Who is this?" he asked guardedly.

"This is just a notification, telling you that the apartment complex you live at has changed owners."

~: Mary Margret :~

Mary Margret trudged up the stairs to her apartment. That last half hour of class had been far too stressful for her liking. She got to her door, reaching tiredly for her key.

She stopped fiddling with her keys when she heard the music. It was louder, angrier than normal. The last times Mary Margret had come home it had been to Howard Jones and the Sound of Music soundtrack. It seemed like Isabelle had finally found Emma's music stash.

Mary Margret came in to find Isabelle painting on the walls again. She wore a beat up t-shirt and some painters pants Emma had donated to the cause, which Isabelle had to roll up several times. Isabelle was even shorter than Mary Margret, which was odd to her sometimes. They were just going to have to get the girl some heels.

"Welcome home," Isabelle told her with a smile. It wasn't a real smile, but it was at least a smile. It was something that she hadn't been able to do until yesterday. A step forward. Isabelle leaned over and turned the volume down on the music, gingerly using two clean fingers. The rest of them were covered in paint.

"Hi, Isabelle," Mary Margret walked in. The apartment was cleaner than it ever really had been. The floors shown, fresh paint was doing the atmosphere wonders, and the awful paint smell was smothered with baked goods and foods. "Did we run out of flour again?"

"No, not yet," Isabelle smiled abashed as Mary Margret picked up a cookie. "One of these days you all are going to have to let me out of here, so I can go to that grocery store you were speaking of."

"We're working on it," Mary Margret promised. "And then I'm taking you shopping. I think you'd like your own wardrobe." Though I'm not quite sure how this is going to work with my budget, but at least I can do this for her. And with Emma chipping in for rent it's been so easy to save. I just won't change my oil for another month.

"The phone rang three times today," Isabelle informed her, turning back to her work. Mary Margret smiled, looking over to the messages. At least one of those had to be David.

The first one was about the Charity Ball that was coming up, and how they were encouraging everyone to attend. Mary Margret sighed, and clicked to the next message.

"Hi, Mary Margret, it's David. I was wondering if I could stop by tonight-." Mary Margret grinned broadly and giggled. "Just to say hi. I just – I just need to see you. I haven't been able to talk to you for two days, and I don't know about you but – well, I guess I'll see you tonight?"

"Of course!" Mary Margret burst before she remembered that it was just a recording. She looked over to see Isabelle grinning knowingly at her. The next message clicked on with a beep.

"Hi, Ms. Mary Margret Blanchard, this is just a notification, telling you that the apartment complex you live in has changed owners -."

Emma barged into the room. "I am so sick of these stupid flyers!"

Mary Margret put the phone against her shoulder to listen. "What flyers?"

"These flyers!" Emma held up the picture of a very sick Isabelle with the words, "WANTED" over it. "I've been pulling them down all day! Madam Mayor reposts them every night I swear!"

"Did you get a hold of the newspaper? About Isabelle's true identity?" Mary Margret had helped Emma construct it late Tuesday night about Isabelle's acquittal as a criminal and that she was a harmless girl who had been falsely accused of being mentally insane. They'd given it to Sydney to see if he could get it in the paper.

"Yeah, and they printed it. In the middle of the newspaper," growled Emma, mashing up the "WANTED" poster and throwing it in the trash can, "I told him I wanted it front page!"

"It is in the newspaper," Mary Margret shrugged, trying to lift her spirits, "At least they took out the "Wanted" ads."

"Yeah, I guess," Emma slumped into a chair. She noticed Isabelle painting in the corner. "Hi Isabelle."

"Hi Emma," she acknowledged her with a small smile, "You're back early today."

"I know. Haven't seen you in a while. Good music choice," Emma nodded in appreciation. Isabelle smiled wider. "The Eagles."

"It's yours- I hope you don't mind," Isabelle bit her lip in realization.

"No not at all," Emma told her, "You're welcome to all my music, though we're going to have to teach you about iPods sooner or later."

"iPods?" Isabelle perked up at the thought of something new.

"Don't, Emma, I'm already having enough trouble teaching her about the television," Mary Margret pretended to be overwhelmed, but the facial expression broke into a grin.

"I like to watch the television, but I don't care to hear it," Isabelle said, pointing her brush to the corner where the team of NCIS ran with guns facing the ground.

"And she's already finished half of the Harry Potter series," Mary Margret gestured to the blue cover that read, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on the table in front of Emma.

"I don't like this one," Isabelle made a face at the book. "He's really mean."

Emma whistled, "You've been busy."

"Just catching up," Isabelle smiled, turning back to her painting.

"If I could get as much done as you do in a day, Isabelle," Mary Margret shook her head in envy, finally pulling off her scarf. "David's coming over," Mary Margret looked coyly over at Emma, who rolled her eyes.

"Great, just what I need on my night off," Emma complained, kicking her feet onto the table.

"Hey, just for a bit," Mary Margret said, sitting down next to Emma.

"Ruby said she was going to call. She wants to have a girls night," Emma smirked.

"We can't bring her over here," Mary Margret half whispered.

"I know," Emma grimaced.

"I'll just tell her that I'm busy. With David," Mary Margret bit her lip. She didn't like lying to anyone, especially her friends.

"Oh such a lie. Not like you'll be waiting for the door bell to ring all night," Emma said, a knowing look on her face. Emma knew he so well already.

Mary Margret narrowed her eyes at Emma. "You know what? We should order out." At least then she wouldn't be waiting next to the door or glancing at it every five seconds.

"Order out?" Isabelle asked.

"Pizza? Chinese?" Mary Margret tried the crowd. When no one said anything, she decided, to heck with it, "You know what, let's just get it all."

"What?" Emma blinked in surprise.

"Sure why not?" Mary Margret stood up to get the phone book. "That way we'll have left overs."

"We already have left overs," Emma grimaced, gesturing at the kitchen, where every available surface was stacked with all sorts and kinds of cookies, cakes, brownies, dessert bars and breads in the book, not to mention the delicate pastries and fudges that Isabelle had created in the last two days, "We have so many left overs we could have a bake sale."

Mary Margret cocked her head, "Actually, that'd be a good idea," and smiled conspiratorially with Emma.

"Can we start watching that movie that you like so much?" Isabelle said, recalling something, "The, um, the chick flick? Right? Chick flick? He's Just Not That into You, isn't that the one?"

"Ugh, no chick flicks," Emma groaned, pulling her feet off the table, "Let's watch something with action." Her hands made fists as she went over to their rather limited movie collection.

"Chick flicks have action," Mary Margret protested, "Well, a different kind of action," Mary Margret smiled mischievously when Emma threw her a pointed glance.

Emma rolled her eyes exasperatedly.

"What kind of action?" Isabelle said, cocking her head, knowing she'd missed the joke.

Both Mary Margret and Emma laughed.

~: Henry :~

Of course the Evil Queen would host the committee's first get together at her house. It left Henry trapped upstairs. He scowled from the top of the stairs, watching the Evil Queen welcome them all in.

Stupid fancy ball that everyone in Storybrooke had to attend. Nobody liked to go anyways. The Mayor was always crowned Queen. It just got boring.

How was he going to get out of the house? He'd already been caught trying to sneak down the stairs twice, and his excuses had been that he was hungry. Now he was supposed to remain upstairs until she said otherwise.

Rapunzel had had the same problem. She'd been stuck upstairs in a tower and had been unable to get down. That was until she used her hair. He didn't have that much hair. He sighed, frowning.

But he did have something else. And his tower wasn't quite as tall to climb down from.

~: Mary Margret :~

Pizza had come at 6, Chinese had come at 6:37, but still David hadn't come. Mary Margret glanced at the clock. It was past 8 already.

They had started a movie, a comedy/drama, which Emma had immediately declared as a chick flick, though it had sent her right to sleep. Isabelle on the other hand was watching Marilyn Hotchkiss' Ballroom Dancing and Charm School with immense interest, and had declared twice now that she wanted to learn to dance, still trying to get the hang of chopsticks. The movie was almost over, thankfully. The man was trying to get in touch with Lisa or something-

Emma was passed out on the couch next to Mary Margret. She'd had a hard week. She'd been campaigning for Isabelle's true nature to be reinstalled, plus her own work and then looking out for Henry whenever she could. With all the drama over the weekend, she was due for a break. She needed a deputy, or something. Who would do though?

And she had thought Henry would be here by now. The poor boy had seemed so desperate at school. Maybe he'd been caught in the act. Maybe the Mayor was grounding him again. She grounded that kid too much, and spoiled him in all the wrong ways. Mary Margret didn't like it. Maybe that was unfair though. Mary Margret didn't particularly like the Mayor, so she was already biased.

A knock came at the door. Mary Margret leapt up and hurried to the door.

David smiled at her as she opened it.

"Hi," she smiled brightly back.

"Hi," he breathed.

They laughed quietly, and Mary Margret shut the door behind her as she stepped into the hall.

He kissed her.

They hadn't kissed in so long now, hadn't kissed since they'd fought, and she relished in it. She felt so alive when he kissed her, as though she was asleep unless he was touching her, drugged and cursed and everything else felt so wrong in the world. He felt so right though.

"Um, Miss Blanchard?"

Mary Margret broke away gasping. "H-Henry-!"

"I'm sorry to interrupt, I just need to get past you really quick," the poor boy was blushing profusely.

"Of course- I'm sorry- that you had to- here- I'll let you pass-."

Mary Margret stumbled forward, pulling the door open awkward as Henry edged in quickly. Mary Margret closed the door, closing her eyes in embarrassment.

"Um," David stared her wide eyed.

She rested her head on the door, "That was my student."

He nodded slowly, "That was your student."

"He just saw me-," she bit her lip.

"He just saw us-," he corrected.

"Yeah-," They laughed quietly together.

"Sorry about that," she whispered.

"Don't be," he assured.

~: Belle :~

She'd started calling herself that again. Belle. It was her real name, after all.

And ever since she'd realized that there was a reason she couldn't remember anything about this world was because she'd never lived in this world, she'd done everything to immerse herself in it. She'd read the newspaper, watched the news on television, watched movies, though she was particularly liking the movie she was watching now. There were different countries, different languages to learn, and the words in her own language that had changed- she had so much to do, so much to see, and after 28 years locked away in an asylum, she wanted her mind functioning on the highest level she could make it.

For now she was trying to figure out how to use these two sticks to pick up oddly flavored noodles and vegetables and watch this dancing movie. It was truly making her want to take up dancing. She wished she were dancing with the main actor at that moment… or more precisely, have gone to visit him at his bakery...

She had abandoned her chopsticks and was curling up with a pillow, blushing, when the door opened.

A moment ago Mary Margret had stepped out, with David Belle assumed. She smiled when she heard the door shut again.

"Isabelle," a boy's voice said.

Belle turned around in her seat, "Henry!" she felt herself blush to her roots.

"We've gotta talk," Henry's voice sounded urgent, but he did a double take at the screen, "What are you watching?"

~: Mr. Gold :~

He had closed up shop a while ago, but he was still walking around. His knee was still throbbing uncontrollably after the rain of earlier. Thankfully the weather had cleared up, and he was able to walk at all. He wanted to exercise it a bit. And the pain kept his mind off of her.

He winced as he overstepped, and regained balance.

Pain was necessary. It was all he could allow himself to feel.

He ground his teeth together to emphasize that fact.

Would she listen if he spoke to her? Would she just listen? He didn't know. He wouldn't blame her if she didn't. He had so many things he wanted to say to her.

A quailing thought shot through his mind. He could never speak to her again.

Well, that wasn't strictly true.

He was betting on Emma and little Henry breaking the curse. It was prophesied. He wasn't one to go against prophecy. So whenever they got around to doing so, and her Majesty was gone, banished, killed, slain, strewn about on the streets in all her gory glory, well then he felt he could speak to Belle then. If Emma and Henry got around to it, that was. It was already taking long enough for them to get back the rightful king and queen, let alone the rest of the members of the Enchanted Forest.

He began to walk quickly, impossibly impatient with the entire situation.

He couldn't be thinking about her. He couldn't be thinking about this. He had things to do. He had to get those bills paid, and find a legal way to do it without letting them know. So far there was no way to do it.

~: Belle :~

"It's really cool that you remember," grinned Henry, "and it's really cool you can make the best sugar cookies in the world." He took a bite out of one just to prove his point.

"Don't eat too many," Belle told him, tilting her head to look at him, "I don't want you getting sick."

"I won't," he promised. "Now, why I came-."

"Do you want a glass of milk?" Belle asked, hurrying to retrieve a glass from the drying rack.

The movie was over now. It was rolling through credits.

"You're trying to distract me," his small voice was annoyed.

Belle bit her lip, drawing the milk from the refrigerator. "I am."


"Because I don't want to talk about why you came," she said, her back still facing him.

"But Isabelle," Henry tried, "You've gotta try!"

"Henry, it's just not meant to be," Belle put the milk back in the fridge, "Love doesn't always last forever."

"But yours does! It has to!" Henry exclaimed, pounded the table lightly.

"Says who?" Belle turned to him finally, putting her hand on her hip.

"Says me," Henry made a determined face. Belle felt her heart pang, sorrow tightening around it like a vice. It was too much to bear again. No, she couldn't have there be a third time, and have him spurn her again, or ruin it in some way.

"He put my papa in the hospital Henry," she shook her head. It was unforgivable.

"He didn't mean to, I'm sure of it," Henry was making up excuses for him. She tightened her mouth.

"How do you know?" she gave him the glass of milk.

"I don't," Henry said, but rallied, "But neither do you."

Belle shook her head. "I don't know if I can face him."

"You're bored in here, Isabelle. You've read like half of the book case already and listened to almost all of Emma's and Mary Margret's CDs. They're keeping you cooped up here. Rumpelstiltskin wouldn't do that-."

"He did do that," Belle jabbed at him. "He did, remember?"

"Belle," Henry said, "You're the bravest heroine in the whole book. I know Snow White was a thief for a while, but she didn't choose that life, and then she chose to forget Prince Charming. Cinderella made a clumsy deal and it hurt her in the end. Jiminy Cricket, Hansel and Gretel, all of them. You're the only one that chose to do anything, and you chose to do it because you were brave and selfless. You were brave enough to fall in love with the biggest villain of them all," Belle turned away at that, "And you learned that he wasn't the biggest villain, but the loneliest man. You can still save him Belle."

She felt the tears form fresh in her eyes. She was shaking. "Henry, I-."

"Be brave again, Belle. You can save him. You have to prove he's on our side," Henry smiled at her as she turned back to him.

How could one little boy know her so well?

"Alright," Belle said, her voice quivering, "but-."

"But?" Henry's face fell.

"You have to show me that book first," she told him, her smile wide, feeling real for the first time in days.

Henry pulled his back pack off with a grin. "Deal."

Storybrooke's Tale of Beauty and the Beast

A Once Upon a Time Story
by Teddy's Twin

Part 18 of 37

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