Continuing Tales

Storybrooke's Tale of Beauty and the Beast

A Once Upon a Time Story
by Teddy's Twin

Part 25 of 37

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Storybrooke's Tale of Beauty and the Beast

~: Belle :~

He was hiding something from her.

She slowly gathered books with author's names that started with BEs in her arms. It was early. The library had barely opened 10 minutes ago, and she was tired, so tired again, her brain was beginning to function properly finally on this exhausting Thursday morning. But she had promised last night that she would help Mary Margret's cause during her lunch break, so she wouldn't be sleeping through it this time. It also meant that she wouldn't see Rumpelstiltskin either.

He hid a lot of things from her, but, he was hiding something big from her. Setting plans in motion? What did it mean?

She walked across the library slowly, heading towards the fiction section.

Why did it hurt, was the real question? Just because she was his true love did not mean the infamous Rumpelstiltskin was going to tell her everything. She shouldn't be so worried about it, she shouldn't let it hurt her so much. She wished- no. She had to stop wishing so much. He could feel her wishes…

Why didn't she want to share her wishes with him? She always had shared her wishes with him. Was it because he wasn't sharing with her?

She placed the books on the shelves rhythmically, trying to keep herself from dwelling. She was just so tired, and she didn't understand. She kept nothing from him. She told him everything he wanted to know.

But love was layered. She'd said so herself. He was layered. She loved that about him. If he wasn't layered, she wouldn't care for him the way she did. She made a rueful face. She was acting like a child, withholding wishes from him.

Let him have his secrets. She could discover them if she wished.

I wish to know what you're planning, Rumpelstiltskin, she smiled up at the ceiling. And I wish that this wish will come true.

She could feel his smile watching her, and, picked up her pace. She had a lot to do today.

~: David :~

The door opened to the animal shelter. He looked up from what he was doing at the receptionist's desk, paste still dripping from his hands, to find Henry escorting Belle through the door. He smiled.

"Hey, you guys here to help?" David asked cheerfully. And did he need help. This whole project was completely wasted on him.

"Help with what?" Henry asked curiously, walking up to the desk to peer at whatever he was doing.

"Well, I'm helping put together hand outs for Mary Margret's election," he motioned to the colorful paper stacks before him, with suckers attached to them. Ruby's words echoed in his head, "Our sneak attack for the kids at school to impress their moms. They get sugar, their parents get propaganda. Everyone wins!" "Didn't Ruby send you?"

"No actually," Belle said, smiling guiltily as she admired his handiwork, "Um, we came because we wanted your tool box."

"Oh, ok," David was a little disappointed. He'd hoped for a little help with this, but he could definitely get them his toolbox, "It's in the back of my truck, just across the street."

"Thank you David!" Belle beamed.

"Hey David, we can come help you later," Henry said, looking up at him with dark brown eyes, "Or I can at least. Belle has to work." He jerked his thumb over his shoulder at her, and she smiled apologetically. That girl smiled too much.

"I'd like that Kid," he grinned at Henry.

Henry raised his eyebrows, "You called me Kid."

"Yeah, Emma calls you Kid," David shrugged, and then wondered, "Is that bad?"

"No, it's awesome!" Henry exclaimed with a broad grin, and then looked back at Belle, who was leaning against the exit. "See you David!"

"See ya, Kid," he watched them leave. There was something he really liked about Henry. If he ever had a son he'd want him to be like Henry.

~: Henry :~

"Why-," Whack. "Isn't this-." Whack! "Working?" WHACK!

The hammer fell from his hands, and immediately Belle was there looking to see if there was even a scratch in the wood. There wasn't. She leaned against the impenetrable door of woe, and sighed to the ceiling, "I don't know."

"Magic?" Henry said.

"Definitely," Belle agreed, and Henry exhaled in frustration. They'd been trying to pry open the door for about thirty minutes. They'd started off trying to pick the lock, which Belle was surprisingly good at. "I tried to escape various times. You learn a few things." Then they had tried to lever it open after the lock clicked open and it still wouldn't budge. They took out the hinge pins. It was obviously glued shut to the frame. Finally, when the pry bar hadn't worked, Belle had said "I'll buy them a new door-," and began to smash it with the hammer. That hadn't worked either. There wasn't even a scratch on the door when she'd gotten through with it, so Henry had demanded a turn. Nothing worked. The door was magic. "I have to be at the diner in 12 minutes. We'd better clean this mess up."

"Ok," Henry sighed, stooping to pick up the tools they'd used- well, misused in the hammer's case. Belle did the same, looking defeated, and yet, intrigued- exactly like he felt, though he had to ask. "And he won't-?"

"No," Belle said frankly.

"Are you sure?" Henry wanted to know.

She smiled a little, putting the last tool in the box, "I'm positive."

"I wonder why he won't help us," Henry said lightly, standing up and dusting his jeans off.

"He does what he wants," Belle said while lifting the heavy toolbox off the ground, and Henry wondered why she sounded a little sad. He didn't ask though.

Henry didn't know if that was true or not. He knew that Rumpelstiltskin would do anything for her. Anything, so it surprised him that he wasn't telling her what was going on. But maybe- maybe he couldn't tell her. "Do you think it's because it's his curse, and telling us is kind of like- I don't know, cheating?"

"Cheating?" Belle wondered, hefting the box higher.

"Yeah- so if he told us how to break the curse, it wouldn't work?" Henry thought out loud.

Belle perked up at that, "That- makes sense. But do you really think the clock tower has something to do with this?"

Henry bobbed his head, "Yup. Don't you?" He grinned.

"After all of this- yes," She matched his expression conspiratorially as they walked down the stairs together. "Are you sure you can carry this back to the animal shelter?" she held the clattering box a little higher.

"Yep! I'm gonna go hang out with my grandpa!" he said excitedly as they reached the entrance to the library. He took the box from her in both arms, and man was it heavy.

"You have fun, alright?" she told him as she held open the door for him to go.

"I will!" he yelled over his shoulder as he walked along the street, and almost fell over off the curb.

"Be careful!" she called after him.

She was starting to sound like Emma, and Regina and Miss Blanchard- didn't he already have a few too many mothers?

~: Archie :~

There was a knock at his door. It could only be one person. Who else would schedule an appointment this early in the morning? She had been good about scheduling, but she was working two jobs now.

"Come in!" he called, looking over his file for her as she entered timidly. She always entered timidly. His room was rather small, and the blinds were often closed. He'd already determined that she was afraid of enclosed spaces, though she put on a tough face for it.

"Good morning," he greeted her with a smile, leaning back in his chair.

"Good morning Archie," her smile was kind as she sat in a chair.

"How are you feeling?" he wondered, though from the dark circles under her eyes she looked exhausted.

"I'm good. A little tired," she confessed.

"It is seven thirty in the morning," he smiled, "I know you have work at the library around eight, so we'll keep this session short, alright?"

"Thanks," she looked up at him. "For getting up this early. It's really kind of you."

He shrugged that off, "How are things at home with your dad?"

"They're great," her face was joyous in an instant, "He's at work, and I'm at work, so we really haven't seen each other much this week," the last part he heard a twinge of sadness.

"How do you feel about that?" he wanted to know.

She looked up at him, her eyes amused, "You ask that question a lot."

"It's a standard issue question," he agreed, and then continued, "Well, how do you feel about it?"

"I miss him," she nodded, looking away from him again, into her hands, "It's hard, but I did live without him for so long, it's different, coming back to live with him."

He wondered if she didn't like moving back in with him, "Do you feel stuck there?"

"No, not at all," she grinned. Her grins were so easy, it was startling, especially from someone who should be depressed, dark with doubt. She had spent several long years isolated in what was basically a prison. Of course, the drugs would pass the time, make it harder to count, but still. She was so bright still. He wondered how she kept it, how she kept her light. "I really enjoy living with my father," she continued, "He's so happy to have me back."

"I can imagine," Archie tilted his head, before moving on to the next question, "Is he pressuring you, into these jobs so soon?"

She didn't like his line of questioning today, he could sense it as she answered the question, "No, no, I just enjoy working."

"You look a little exhausted," he pointed out.

She bobbed her head, "It was a lot harder than I expected, but we need the money. Everything in this world revolves around money."

"In this world?" he questioned.

"Just a figure of speech," she assured him.

"So have you remembered anything at all?" he wanted to know.

"No, not exactly," but he could tell she was lying.

He pressed further, "Explain what you mean by not exactly."

Her gaze flickered, "I have memories – um." And then he saw her look up at him with a spark, "Memories of this life that I didn't live, of things that I know didn't happen. It's confusing."

That was something odd. "Memories of a life you didn't live?" he repeated. For some reason they hit home more than they should have. Memories of a life he hadn't lived… he knew it meant something- he shook it off.

"Yes," and she was smiling, as though she had recognized that he understood- no but he hadn't understood, "like someone planted them in my head. Do you know what I mean?"

"Actually…" he did. He knew- he felt one of his migraines coming on. He pressed his hand to his head, covering an eye as the pain began to swell. "Isabelle, I'm sorry, but I think I've come down with something," he half smiled at her, removing his glasses, "Do you mind if we post pone-?"

"No, of course not-," she sounded so concerned as she stood up, as though to get a better look at him, "is there anything I can get you?"

"No, no, I just, need some medicine. I'll call you to reschedule," he promised, motioning to the door as he scrambled through his desk drawers looking for the prescription Dr. Whale gave him for his headaches.

"Alright…," she obviously wasn't comfortable leaving him in pain, but she went to the door. "Archie?" she paused, and he looked up, "Remember."

"Remember what?" he asked, feeling his mind begin to split. He tried not to sound too harsh, but he was afraid it didn't come out that way.

She looked away, "I know it's painful, especially to do it on your own," she gave him a sympathetic look, and then a confident one. "But remember."

He watched her slip through the door, shook his head after her, before she popped back in, "Oh- or maybe drink caffeine!"


"It helped me a bit," she smiled at him again, before shutting the door behind her.

Maybe he had been a little quick to sign her off as not insane, he thought in jest, before finally finding his pills. He took two of them, and swallowed. He read the label as he waited for the pain to start to subside, which might've been hours from then.

Do not consume with caffeine.

~: Emma :~

Passing out flyers was tedious, especially two days in a row and during a Friday afternoon, but at least they all took them. She was pretty sure it was because it had something to do with her being Sheriff, or maybe it was her scowl when she told them to take the flyer. Whatever it was, she used it to her advantage.

Isabelle was next to her, handing out flyers more cheerfully. Isabelle was the one source of positive in this mess. She only had thirty more minutes until her lunch break was over, but heck, it was better than nothing. It meant that was thirty more minutes to stay away from Ruby, who had turned the diner into an all out campaign office and was demanding her people to be present when they were available.

There was a lull in the passing crowds, well, if you could say that Storybrooke had crowds, and Isabelle handed Emma a drink.

"Thanks," she muttered before taking a swallow. They stood there like that for a while, watching a couple cars go by. All Emma could be thankful for was that one, Isabelle was not as chatty as Ashley or Ruby, and two, that her cop car was parked just in front of her, so if she saw Ruby or Ashley run up, she could explain that someone at the station needed her help. For now, though, she thought she should probably talk to Isabelle. She started up on a topic offhand, "So, Isabelle, how are your meetings with Archie going?"

"They're good. Nothing too exciting to report, Sheriff," she smiled teasingly, and then continued in a more gentle tone of voice, "Archie is a nice man. He seems to want to do everything good- he just doesn't have enough time."

"That's true," Emma nodded, and then blinked, cup half way to her mouth before she rotated around to face Isabelle again, "Do you –?" she stopped herself. What was she thinking?

"Do I what?" Isabelle cocked her head, looking confused.

"Do you – I don't know do you like him, or whatever?" Emma shook her head, wondering why on earth she was asking that. This was none of her business.

"Like Archie? Yes, he's a nice man. I think anyone would like him if they got to know him," Isabelle nodded serenely.

Emma rolled her eyes, "No no, I mean, like like him." Did she, Emma Swan, just say that out loud? She sounded like an eighth grade girl! She'd never sounded like an eighth grade girl, even in eighth grade! Ruby and Ashley were going to her head.

Isabelle still looked uncertain, "Um, I'm not sure that I follow."

"You know," Emma said, tilting her head back and forth, trying to find a way to explain, "Do you think that you could, I don't know date or whatever?"


Was Isabelle playing innocent, or did she really not know? "Ugh, do you like the man or don't you?" Emma said, annoyed. She hated it when people beat around the bush.

"Yes, I've already said-," she was sounding frustrated now too.

"No," Emma cut her off, slicing the air with her free hand, "as more than a friend?"

"Doctor Archie Hopper?" Isabelle's eyebrows shot up, and she looked surprised at the mere suggestion, "No, I don't love him, if that's what you're asking."

"Oh…," Emma took another gulp of her drink, "do you think you could love him, then?"

"No, not in that way that you're meaning," Isabelle shook her head, ducking away with a small smile across her face.

"Right," Emma swallowed the rest of her drink, feeling thoroughly childish, "Sorry, I didn't mean to pry."

"No, no, it's fine," Isabelle grinned broadly, withholding a laugh that threatened to burst.

"What's so funny?" Emma demanded. It hadn't been that ridiculous to guess. She thought it was possible, and as long as she was over whatever she had done with Mr. Gold…

"Nothing, nothing," she said, with an amused look at the sky.

Mr. Gold. He hadn't been anywhere near Isabelle, or so she thought. She wondered if Isabelle had remembered by now, if Archie's therapy was working at all. Four times a week seemed kinda steep to her still, but if it got the truth out. So, she decided to ask another question, "So, did you remember how you know Mr. Gold yet?"

"Oh! That," Isabelle looked away, rather obviously, "Um, no, no I didn't."

Even if Emma couldn't tell a liar from an honest person, she would have been able to detect Isabelle's inability to lie from a mile off, "You're lying," Emma stated dryly, leaning against the cop car and folding one of her arms, the other still holding the cup.

"Yes I am," Isabelle sighed, sitting on the hood of the car.

"How much of your memory did you get back?" Emma asked her, a little annoyed that Isabelle had lied to her, but at least she had been honest about it when she pressed further.

"All of it," she admitted, and Emma blinked in surprise. All of it? Then how come she was still asking questions about how things worked? "And I didn't even have to start drinking caffeine!" Isabelle brightened, looking to Emma, "That's what triggered remembering at first you know - At least, that's what I think it was, because caffeine is supposed to stimulate your brain, or boost your energy levels… I can't remember which, I read too much too quickly, does that ever happen to you?" she wondered, peering at Emma.

Emma had had no idea that the girl could babble. She was obviously trying to do so, though. She was trying to get Emma sidetracked. Emma didn't know what caffeine had to do with memory gain, but she wasn't about to be led astray. She fixed on Isabelle's gaze, "And when were you going to tell me?"

"The minute that I thought that you would believe me," Isabelle said without missing a beat.

Emma frowned, "And when is that?" she pressed.

Isabelle shrugged delicately, "But I promise to tell you then."

"Are you still mad?" Emma wanted to know.

Isabelle tilted her head, puzzled, "Mad about what?"

Emma grimaced, "About- about what I told you about? You know, like a week ago was it now?" Had it really been a weak? It felt like ages.

"About- my father?" Isabelle finished, looking downcast, gathering her hair on one side of her head, "No, I'm not angry. I don't hold grudges- well, that's a lie. I hold one grudge, and I'm sure I'll never get over it." Her eyes were darker than Emma had ever seen them. She must have still been angry at Mr. Gold. If the girl could only hold one grudge, then that was a perfect one to hold. He had beat up her father and strung her along.

"Good," Emma stated her approval.

Isabelle looked surprised, "That's good?"

"Sure, it's healthy," Emma shrugged, putting the empty cup on the top of the car, "He did beat up your dad after all."

Isabelle looked shocked, "I don't hold a grudge against-."

"Hey Emma!" the cry stopped Isabelle short.

Oh heaven please have mercy, it was Ruby.

Emma put on a calm face, and said, "What's up?"

"We need help with a permit for hanging the poster," Ruby looked upset.

"What poster?" Emma had no clue what Ruby was talking about.

Ruby screwed up her red mouth, annoyed, "Well, we were hanging it, and then Regina rolled around, and said that that wasn't permitted-."

Emma cut her off, "Wait, so Regina knows?"

"Yup," Ruby nodded slowly, her face a mixture of annoyed anxiety.

Emma threw her head backwards, "Regina knows," and then Emma started swearing profusely under her breath, stalking away from the car. She needed to walk it off. Isabelle slid off the car to follow, but Ruby shook her head, following Emma herself as she continued her cussing. Regina would be so friggin' pissed when she got a hold of Mary Margret.

"Hey, not around my kids," said Michael Tillman, herding his two children Ava and Nicholas away from Emma, who had stopped in the middle of the sidewalk.

"They should be in school anyways," Emma reminded him, turning back to scowl at the garage man.

Michael seemed to be in a bad mood today too, "I'm taking them out for ice cream. Sue me," he called over his shoulder.

She shook her head after him, watching Isabelle hand one of the children a flyer.

"So, about that permit-," Ruby reminded her.

"Dad that's her! That's the lady you told us to watch out for!" It was Nicholas, yelling, catching Emma's attention.

"What-?" Ruby half said, looking around.

Emma turned just in time to see Michael Tillman punch Isabelle, who had been trying to calm down a pointing Nicholas, in the face hard enough to knock her to the ground. Ruby screamed as flyers flew everywhere.

Emma flew at the garage mechanic, had him pinned to the ground before the paper could settle. "You shut your mouth!" Emma shouted at him, her vision still red. "You're under arrest, and you have the right to remain silent or I will use your words against you in the court of law!" He picked the wrong day to mess with one of her friends.

"But she's that kidnapper that was in the paper-," Michael tried to defend himself.

"She is not a kidnapper, and she never was!" Emma yelled over his complaining, dragging him to his feet.

"She was going to take Nicholas!" he bellowed.

She slammed him into the side of the cop car so hard the car rattled. "You shut your mouth, Mr. Tillman, or I'll shut it for you," her voice was dangerously thin.

"Dad- Emma please don't!" Ava cried from behind them.

"He didn't mean it!" Nicholas protested, moving into her line of sight. "Don't separate us again!"

"Please!" Ava added, her tone begging.

Ah the kids. "Your dad just hit my friend, Ava. I'm going to take him to jail now, and you and Nicholas can stay with me for the night." Well they needed to learn that hitting wasn't the answer. What a better way to teach them than to lock their father away for pointlessly hitting a defenseless girl. She opened the door to the back seat, a hand still on Michael's collar.

"But he was just trying to protect us-," Ava disputed, tears in her eyes.

"Well he should have thought of that before hitting Isabelle," Emma said, shoving Mr. Tillman roughly into the car.

"I'll be back by tonight," he promised.

Fat chance. She slammed the door after him. She turned back to see Ruby tending to Isabelle, who was getting to her feet.

"You ok?" Emma commanded Isabelle's attention.

"I'm fine," Isabelle smiled, and there was blood on her teeth.

She felt like punching Michael Tillman herself.

She inhaled deeply, her hands fists, "I'm taking him down to the station. Ruby will you get her to the hospital?"

Ruby nodded, "Sure-."

"Wait!" Isabelle said, stumbling forward, out of Ruby's grasp. "Wait- I don't press charges."

"What?" snapped Emma, turning to glare at her.

Isabelle's gaze was steady. Already Emma could see swelling on her cheekbone. "I said I don't press any charges."

Emma stepped closer, seething, "Isabelle, do you even know what that means?"

"Of course I do- it means he gets to go free," she went to open the door to let Michael Tillman out.

Emma shut it again forcefully. "He's going down to the station."

"But what about his children?" Isabelle wanted to know, gesturing to them.

He should have thought about his children before punching random strangers, "They'll be fine," she said curtly.

"Emma, please- let him go," Isabelle said earnestly.

"Oh please don't tell me you're one of those turn-the-other-cheek girls. I really hated those religious people," Emma groaned in growing annoyance, jutting her jaw forward.

Isabelle's eyes narrowed, "I'm not religious. I just don't want him to go to jail," she sounded argumentative, the first time Emma had seen her that way.

"He committed an offense. I have to go get his prints, and mark him down as a criminal," Emma said truthfully, jabbing her finger at the glass where Michael was.

"Emma, I drop the charges," Isabelle repeated, "Please don't take him in. He was just looking out for his kids. I've been in the media. People think I'm a kidnapper- please, let him go. It's not his fault."

"It's entirely his fault!" she shouted, feeling her argument waning.

"Let him go, Emma, let him go," she told her, her voice gentle, a bit of blood seeping out of her cut lip.

"You have got to be friggin' kidding me," Emma snarled, opening the door, and pulling the man out of the car and flipping him around. She undid the cuffs, and shoved him away from her. She'd made friends with one of the freaks that didn't believe in justice but in world peace. What was her life coming to?

"Thank you Emma!" Ava exclaimed, wrapping her arms around her dad in glee.

Nicholas joined in, "Thank you Emma!"

"Don't thank me," Emma spat, "Thank her." She pointed at Isabelle, who stood firm, tall, straight. World peace Emma's- she exhaled slowly, "I'm taking a drive." She stalked around the cop car, leaving Isabelle to Ruby's care, and looked up the road as she made to get in the car.

What was Mr. Gold doing there, across the street? People had stopped to see what had happened, but were beginning to disperse. Why was he still there, looking on, looking murderous? He was such a creep. He'd better not step a foot near Isabelle. The poor girl didn't need any more harassment.

He spotted Emma watching him, and with a click of his cane, he was walking away towards his shop.

"Creep," she murmured, getting into her car gracelessly and turned on the car with a rev.

~: Belle :~

She watched Emma drive away, and felt herself dizzying. Her head spun.

"Careful, there," Ruby said cautiously, propping her up.

"I'm fine," Belle assured her with a smile, steadying her knees so that they wouldn't wobble. She looked across the street. Where had he gone? He'd been there a moment ago. She needed him right now- and behind her she felt his ghost hands on her back. He would be there to hold her up, the hands told her.

"Um," the man was stepping up to her, and she couldn't help but flinch. The invisible hands gripped her shoulders, and she stumbled away from him. "No- oh, I'm sorry- no." He put his hands up, his eyes ashamed, "I just wanted to apologize. For-."

Belle shook her head, but Ruby stepped forward, venom laced in her voice, "Mr. Tillman, you -."

"No, - um," Belle stopped Ruby, putting a hand on her arm, and looked at the man, "Mr. Tillman, it's alright."

"I-," he was looking for words in his empty hands, "hit you- You should have-."

Belle smiled, "You were just protecting your children. I, understand."

"You shouldn't have to- I am truly sorry-," he hung his head, letting his hands drop.

She grasped one of his hands, the contact making him look up. He stared into her eyes, and she tried to tell him fervently that she was fine, "I promise it's alright." She let go of his hand.

He looked away, before hanging his head, "Thank you."

"Yes!" the little girl leapt forward, and hugged Belle around the middle, "Thank you!"

The little boy followed his sister's example, holding onto her, burying his head there, "You saved our dad-."

"I-," Belle looked up to their dad, and he looked just as surprised as she felt.

"Thank you!" they chorused, looking up at her, the boy with tears in his eyes.

She could only stare at them with affection, understanding why a father would go to such lengths to protect them. They were absolutely darling. She hugged them back, and smiled.

"We- should get going now-," Mr. Tillman coughed to get the kids' attention. They looked back at him, and then let go of Belle, the boy the last, and she ruffled his hair before he went to join his sister's side. Mr. Tillman seemed hesitant, "But- um, what's your name?"

"It's Isabelle," she said simply, "Isabelle French."

Mr. Tillman nodded, "-Isabelle- thank you, for, not pressing charges…" his sentence trailed off.

"Do you want to come get ice cream with us?" the boy asked excitedly.

"Maybe some other time," she smiled encouragingly at him. She didn't really know where to get ice cream, but she assumed it was at a store.

Mr. Tillman looked at her pointedly, "It would be the least I could do."

"Well, I've never had ice cream before," Belle smiled apologetically, shrugging. The ghost hands were at her back again, tickling along her neck, coaxing her.

"What?" the boy was shocked.

"You have to come with us," the girl said.

"But- I," Belle looked back to Ruby for help.

Ruby, who had been standing on the sidelines with a sassy look on her face, said, "I think a punch in the face equivocates something along the lines of an ice cream cone," her voice dripping with dislike and sarcasm, "Or like 100 ice cream cones."

Belle bit her lip, "Ruby-." She gestured to the flyers.

Ruby shook her head, "Don't worry-," Ruby shrugged, "other people can hand out flyers," she stooped to pick up the scattered flyers, "Oh! Get some ice on that." She pointed to Belle's face as the boy's hand took hers, shortly followed by the girl's.

"Ice?" she asked Ruby over her shoulder as both children led her away down the street.

"I'm Ava," said the girl.

"And I'm Nicholas!" the boy piped up.

Belle couldn't help but smile as they walked down the street, "It's nice to meet you Ava and Nicholas."

~: Regina :~

That pathetic little ghost of a girl was running against her for Spring Queen?

Did she have any idea what she was doing?

Regina stormed into her house, slamming the door behind her, hearing the window panes rattle. She pivoted around, nostrils flaring at the banner that they had been posting in the middle of town, Mary Margret Blanchard for Spring Queen. It was happening all over again. Snow White was going to be the fairest of them all once more. She shrieked her wordless outrage.

No, she fumed. Not here, not this time.

She'd made Snow White nothing, nothing in this world, but a timid school teacher who was too afraid to even have a proper affair with her true love because she was worried about what others thought, and here she was, contending for her crown? She couldn't even remember her own true name.

It was supposed to be Regina's happy ending, her winning everything she wanted to win without question or problem. Ever since Emma had showed up- Emma.

Her eyes narrowed.

Emma was the real problem. Emma was ruining everything, everything she had built, had created. It was all toppling down on her bit by bit, Emma the one commanding the onslaught against her prefect place she'd worked so hard to form, to make sure that she was not the only one who was left empty inside. Emma was giving them hope. Emma could take her precious hope and – but no.

She couldn't take Emma down on her own. She needed something, something good. She needed help, from a person who was not likely to give her any help at this point, she remembered, clenching her hands into fists until her nails dug into her skin. This was where her once perfect bargaining chip would have come into place. And now? Now she was off limits. What she needed was clear. She just didn't know how to get him.

She needed Rumpelstiltskin.

Storybrooke's Tale of Beauty and the Beast

A Once Upon a Time Story
by Teddy's Twin

Part 25 of 37

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