Continuing Tales

Storybrooke's Tale of Beauty and the Beast

A Once Upon a Time Story
by Teddy's Twin

Part 31 of 37

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Storybrooke's Tale of Beauty and the Beast

~: Emma :~

"Why can't I drive?" Emma demanded from the passenger's seat as her bug sped down the road. They'd left the ball only moments ago, and they were already more than halfway to their destination, if the map in Emma's head was anything to go by. If it was. Was is even real? She wasn't sure, she'd never even been to this place before and here she was being forced to sit shotgun while the town stranger bulleted his way down the road.

August glanced at her sideways from his position in the driver's seat, keeping both hands firmly on the wheel, "Because you're freaking out right now."

Emma was furious, "There's a potential murderer on the loose and you're not letting me drive."

There was a hand on her shoulder, "Calm down, Emma, it's ok," Mary Margret told her.

"I am calm! Look at me be calm!" Emma motioned to herself angrily, "Regina turns out to be a murdering bi- witch," editing for Henry at a time like this took concentration, "and I can't even drive over to lock her up in my own car!" It was true. This was her case. She was supposed to go and find Regina in the woods within the next ten minutes, and then she was supposed to kill her, according to Mr. Gold. Which of course she wouldn't do. Being an officer of the law didn't allow you to kill somebody. Mr. Gold should know that, being a lawyer and all. "And will somebody please tell me how Mr. Gold just disappeared like that because -."

"It was magic, Emma," Henry inserted. Henry sat in between Mary Margret and David in the back. Emma hadn't wanted him to go, but when he'd insisted, and put up a fuss, wasting time that they didn't have they had let him come. They didn't have time to argue. Isabelle could be dying.

"Magic isn't real!" Emma shouted at him. It wasn't. It wasn't. It couldn't be because it wasn't.

David spoke up darkly, "Magic is very real, and very powerful."

This was ridiculous. Everyone had just decided to jump on Henry's bandwagon now and accept reality as a fairy tale? They were all as mad as a hatter! "And now you're going to tell me that true love's kiss is the answer to everyone's problems."

"It is!" Henry beamed.

"Everyone," August told them, his voice a growl, "It's hard enough driving this little car without everyone yelling."

"I can drive," Emma offered again.

August glowered out of the windshield as rain drops began to pelt against it, frustrated, "We're almost there it would be pointless."

"You're going too slow," And he was. It was a snail's pace compared to how fast she would be going if she had the chance.

"Emma," David said sharply.

He sounded like he was scolding a child. What right did he have? She turned around in her seat to glare at him, "What?"

Mary Margret put a hand on his arm, "Don't scold her, she doesn't even know."

This little war council or whatever they'd had in the back room? Yeah, she was sick of it, all the encoded whatever it was. She couldn't stand it, "I don't know what?" Everyone stared at her, except for August, sitting in stunned silence at her outrage. When no one said a word, she inhaled sharply and started fumbling with her seat belt, "You know what? That's it! Let me out of this car!"

"Emma!" it was August who shouted, grabbing at her hands and forcing her fingers to stop. She looked up at him, but he was still watching the road, "Focus! You're solving a case. Your friend has been shot. We're out to find her. Stop thinking about everything else- you're helping a friend."

Emma sat back in her seat, and August released her hands. She watched the world blur in the rain outside, and felt the chill of reality trickling down her spine like the droplets of water from the car.

"Don't worry Emma," Henry told her. "You can save her."

"You will save everyone," Mary Margret sounded so reverent.

~: Belle :~

Don't come, Rumpelstiltskin, I wish that you wouldn't come.

I wish that you won't come.

I wish that you won't come.

I wish that you won't come.

I wish…

She was losing train of thought. Everything seemed painted in broad, grayscale strokes around her.

She had to escape.

If she escaped Rumpelstiltskin wouldn't come back to succumb. He couldn't give her the dagger. If he did- she had said she was willing to let him kill her. She just didn't know if – if… he would ever recover from it. Killing her. Killing anyone.

The image in her head- Rumpelstiltskin swathed in a dark cloak, hooded, blood dripping from his dagger and a smile slipping over his face, a twisted, cruel smile with blood seeping from it. A demon- where the evil had taken a hold, the roots growing and flourishing from the depths of darkness until he was tangled in it, too thickly woven into the trunk to be separated from it. He would be lost forever.

No- his soul- he would lose his soul- and she didn't know if she could bare that thought. She had to make sure he never lost sight- his soul was too precious to her.

She pushed herself up on her elbows and began to drag herself away. Pain tore up her side, like her skin was splitting in two and she collapsed with a gasp, wrapping her arm around her wound. As she pulled it away, found it covered with blood. Her blood. She grimaced.

If she was going to die it was not going to die aiding the Queen's evil.

Swallowing, she made to pull herself away again.

A foot pressed into her back, a spike driving into her spine, pressing her into the dirt.

Regina's voice came from overhead, "Move and die."

Belle moved.

A gunshot pierced the air, and Belle felt the heat of the bullet on her face as it buried itself in the ground next to her. Belle smiled arrogantly, "You're not going to kill me," Belle coughed a laugh, "You're going to wait for him to come."

"Try me."

Belle tried.

Her true logic was if she was already dead, Rumpelstiltskin wouldn't come. His soul would remain.

Another bullet lodged in the soil.

"You're going- to run out- of bullets," Belle informed her breathily after the third time.

She could hear Regina's scowl, "Fine. You go ahead. Make a run for it. I won't stop you."

Belle was surprised, didn't really pick up on the sarcasm coherently, and asked, "The barrier going to shock me?" She was thinking of the rain drops sizzling against the barrier.

"No, actually, it lets living things through it," the Queen told her, removing her foot from Belle's back. "So you have a free pass. Go ahead. Run," she bent to sneer, "Run away and never return."

Belle gritted her teeth, and found herself struggling to breathe, let alone move. Her side was still throbbing too violently, but if she kept Regina talking, maybe she could distract her enough so she wouldn't notice… "Why- aren't you using magic?" Magic to kill her, magic to stop her. Why had she used bullets when she could maim almost as easily with magic if she wished.

"It wastes energy I'm going to need," Regina said dismissively.

Belle snickered vindictively, "Out- of practice?"

That obviously offended her. "Not as rusty as Rumple. Honestly that lightning bolt was rather pathetic. He is quite an old sorcerer. Couldn't you have gone with someone who wasn't old enough to be your father?"

Belle smiled at that. In the realm of the Enchanted Forest he was much older than that, "He terrifies you," she informed her. "You wouldn't want his dagger if he didn't."

"Well, one can always use a faithful slave," the Queen was dismissive again. But Belle knew better. Belle pulled herself a bit forward.

"He was always- the stronger of the two of you," Belle dug her fingers into the ground as she tried to drag herself away, and gave up as she screamed soundlessly as the wound in her leg was enough to stop her. She had to pant to finish her thought, turning her head to stare up with one eye at the Queen out of the corner of her eye, "You're- never- going to beat him. Face it-, Regina, you're still just- second best."

The Queen seemed to consider this for a moment. "You're right. His power does exceed my own. But not for long," and Belle watched the sickening smile slip over her face. "He'll soon be under my thumb, and you, my dear, will be under the ground. Remember, I run this town." She stepped around Belle to get a good look at her from the front, "Honestly, I'm surprised you're still conscious. I would have thought you would be dead by now. It has been twelve minutes, and that hole in you is pretty fatal."

"I'm- more stubborn-, than I, look," Belle laughed into the ground.

To think, her last conversation in the world would be with the one person she hated.

She had to stop a moment, to concentrate on breathing.

To concentrate on wishing.

I wish that you won't come.

I wish that you won't come.

She felt herself fading fast. Now that she thought about it, she wanted to fade. She needed to fade. She should be dead already. If she were dead, it meant that Rumpelstiltskin wouldn't give up his dagger to the Queen. Being dead would be easier- much easier…


She was still so selfishly clinging to the hope that she would see his face one last time. Hear his voice, the lilt, when he spoke, see that mysterious spark in his dark eyes- it was all she wanted, all she wish-


I wish that you won't come.

I wish that you won't come.

I wish- I wish that- I wish…

~: James :~

Running had always been his strong suit. However, the clothing he had been wearing was not conducive to it. He had stripped himself of the overcoat and tie as they had run into the woods, though he wasn't as bad off as his Snow, who was having a time of it in her ball gown. Emma had merely torn off the bottom half of her dress with a knife. Snow's material was too thick, and they didn't have the time.

"This way," he motioned to the side, where the directions in his head pointed. He band of troops followed as they jogged their way down a slope, Henry stumbling at his side, Emma and the others not far behind.

Just as he started to climb again, he heard Snow yell.

James stopped dead to look back as Snow made to get up from where she'd tripped. Made to go back-

Snow looked up at him, a leaf in her now short hair. "Go ahead!" Snow yelled at him through the rain, "Take Emma and go!" she restated when he started back anyways, and August helped her to her feet.

James nodded, though this was too familiar- the scene in his head replayed, where they'd been racing against time, and he had had to leave Snow alone to take Emma to the tree trunk. He could see in her eyes that she was remembering too.

"It won't be like last time," she vowed, her green gaze firm, true, never wavering.

He nodded once, before turning to Emma, who nodded also, before slipping off her strappy shoes and tossing them into the woods. He burst into a run, Emma on his heels, and Henry, little Henry, surprisingly keeping up with them. The boy was a quick runner.

The scene in his head was so familiar it was eerie. Rumpelstiltskin had always been eerie, though, and manipulative. The map was obvious even in the utter darkness and cold rain.

"How do- you know- we're not- going in- circles?" Emma wanted to know irritably as she panted.

"You know as- well as I do," he said more smoothly.

"Guys, no time to argue!" Henry was pulling ahead.

That was his grandson running a few strides before him, his face determined. James picked up the pace, dodging between trees, and watched Emma leap over a log next to him, her gun in hand as her arms pumped her forward.

His family. All uniting to stop evil again.

This time it would work. They would stop the Evil Queen in time.

They were closing in-

And James saw the trees ripped up by their roots, the wreckage that was the ground-

"She's there!" Henry exclaimed, pointing at the center of the clearing.

James cursed his thoughtless running into the scene without a plan, but there was nothing to do about it now. Henry had given away their position. He'd have to teach him battle strategy.

The Evil Queen turned to face them as the trio slid to a stop several feet away. She narrowed her eyes as Emma pointed her gun at her. "Ah, so I see Rumple sent the cavalry ahead of him," her eyes flickered from Emma, to James, to Henry, who was holding a kitchen knife, and back to James again, who felt entirely useless without a weapon in hand.

He spotted a rumpled mass of golden fabric and brown curls lying on the ground. There was Belle- she was so still behind the slightly visible barrier between them. Were they already too late?

"David, darling, you look completely soaked." The Queen's voice jarred James back.

"It's not David anymore," James shouted, stepping forward towards the barrier. "Your curse over me is broken!"

The Evil Queen's eyes widened in shock, the dark pools lancing with loathing. She bared her teeth at him, and pointed her gun at him.

"Put the gun down, Regina!" Emma yelled, stepping forward slowly, her gun pointed directly at their opponent. "Or I'll shoot."

"Shoot away," Regina smiled at her. "See how much good it will do."

James clenched his teeth at her, helpless. What had Rumpelstiltskin expected them to do against the likes of her, if Emma's gun wouldn't work?

~: Rumpelstiltskin :~

He was racing against time. Precious time. Belle's precious time.

He couldn't just magically appear next to the dagger. The moment he'd had his magic back, the moment he'd been capable of being hurt or manipulated by the dagger again, he'd hidden it. Hidden it with a sarcastic flourish, and now he was regretting it.

He'd hidden it before, but it had more been for the sake of hiding it, and less of the fact that it needed to be kept secret, or safe. After Belle had restored his magic, he'd buried it, a dragon hiding the penetrable part to his scales. Kept it secret, kept it safe.

I wish that you won't come. Belle- her wishes. He shook this one off as he had the last several that had been trying to thread their way in within the last few minutes. She should know that he was coming, no matter how hard she wished. He would come for her.

The dagger was not in his house. An obvious place to hide it. Regina had been dismally unimaginative to think that he would hide it there.

I wish that you won't come.

The dagger was not at his store. He was not about to put it on display in one of his glass cases.

I wish- that you won't come. The stutter in the wish- her thoughts were getting jumbled- no.

The clock tower had always seemed like an ironic place to hide it. Right next to where the power of the curse stemmed from.

I wish that you won't come. Strong wishing- that was his lovely Belle, pushing through.

It was hidden though, a thick enchantment that laced through the door, the door Belle and Henry had tried to batter down. To think he'd only denied Belle access a few days ago- to think he'd been allowed to be near her with a free will, and he'd ignored her for so many days, just to put a plan together that had fallen through. Now, cornered-

I wish that you won't come.

Finally he disentangled the spell, and leapt through the door that wasn't really a door at all- it was more portal than anything else, interlaced with the workings of the clock tower. It was his curse at work at it's finest. And he hated it.

I wish that you won't come.

He didn't need to search. He'd only placed it there a few days- or was it weeks, now? Time was too fast- only a few short weeks with his Belle- but no. He couldn't afford to think like that. The dagger was the only way for her to live. His dagger rested in a chest near the cogs, a black onyx wood box-

I wish- you won't- come. Don't come.

He retrieved it.

Belle- her wishes were still streaming to him, and if nothing he was grateful for them. It meant she was alive. He knew her wishing more than anyone else's. He was tethered to her, now, a thick cord of communion that would never snap- not unless- Belle, and her inability to thread coherent thoughts together. She was losing this battle, and yet she still struggled to fight it. Fight it, Belle, fight. But how could he tell her to fight when he was too afraid to- while he stood there, shaking- terrified- if the royal family hadn't come- he wouldn't stand a chance, and he couldn't weave magic in the area without Regina lashing out- he would have to go in blind-

I wish that you won't come. Please don't come. Please- the last sounded a sob, and he had to stop himself from choking on the noise. Belle- his lovely little Belle, lying there-

He shook off her wishes of him not coming. He was coming. He would come for her. And hopefully the royal family was there as well by now. If they were then maybe all his labors hadn't gone to waste.

I wish you won't come.

Too bad, dearest. I am coming.

~: Henry :~

He had seen it the instant they'd entered the clearing, but he had to let Emma know now, just in case, "The barrier!" Henry shouted, tugging on Emma's arm, "Emma don't! It'll just ricochet off!"

"What barrier?" Emma wanted to know, still aiming at the Queen's head. She was strong enough that he could pull on her arm and she could still shake him off without her gun wavering. His mom was so cool.

"The magical one- it's purple- you can see it if you look really hard!" he gestured at it.

Emma nodded once without looking away, "I see it."

Henry beamed. His mom was accepting it! Accepting that magic was real! Finally!

There was a voice, a new voice that startled all of them, "Technology- technology disrupts magic!"


Henry looked down with a ray of hope. She was pushing herself to her elbows, looking up at him through her hair, at Emma with dirt and blood on her face. Blood, Henry blanched, "The gun- should work- shoot her!"

Emma glanced at her, before focusing on Regina again.

"Shoot- her!" Belle yelled, trembling where she lay.

"Regina," Emma said, adjusting slightly. She was anxious, "We don't need for this to get out of hand- put your gun down now and nobody gets hurt."

"Listen to the little Sheriff, trying to save everyone," the Queen simpered, "Don't you know, Emma? That nobody ever wins? It's just an endless cycle of losing- it's just your turn to lose!" she pointed her gun at Belle.

Behind him Henry heard Snow White gasp- they had finally caught up, but he was too angry to look and confirm what he heard.

No. It wasn't Good's turn to lose. They'd been losing for 28 years. "No!" he yelled, grabbing Regina's attention. Her dark eyes glared into his soul, and he only let his soul shine. Light repelled darkness. "Your reign is over, your Majesty!" Henry shouted. "Let Belle go!"

She looked hurt. An act. "Henry, I'm your mother-."

He cut her off, "No! Emma is my mother! And you're the wicked witch that tore my family apart! But now we're together, and there's no stopping us." He was done with being separated from people he loved by her- everything was going to change now. Emma just had to shoot the Evil Queen- and then- was that how the curse was supposed to be broken? With Regina's death by a bullet?

"No one, but Rumpelstiltskin," smiled Regina, "I assume he's told you about the situation?"

"Shoot her now Emma!" Belle cried to her in desperation.

The dagger. Regina could not get her hands on that dagger. She would destroy everyone in her path- Rumpelstiltskin would even kill Belle if Regina had the dagger and ordered him to. "You're not getting it!"

"Do it!" Belle shrieked, tears streaming down her face. "Do it, he's coming!"

"I can't," Emma growled, and Henry looked to find her quivering, the gun in her hand wavering. She shook herself to try and steady it, but Regina laughed a shrill .

"I have my bargaining chip again, princeling, and I will do with her as I will until I have my prize," Regina stepped onto Belle's back with her high heel, and Belle slumped to the ground, the weight too much for her to bear.

"Regina-," Emma's voice quavered, "Don't do it. Don't hurt her."

Why wouldn't Emma just shoot her? Henry wanted to yell at her, to tell her that Regina was evil through and through and that she shouldn't be hesitating.

"I don't plan on hurting anyone. It's not me that you should be worried about." Regina smiled, and looked past Emma's shoulder, "And speak of the devil."

Storybrooke's Tale of Beauty and the Beast

A Once Upon a Time Story
by Teddy's Twin

Part 31 of 37

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