Continuing Tales

Storybrooke's Tale of Beauty and the Beast

A Once Upon a Time Story
by Teddy's Twin

Part 7 of 37

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Storybrooke's Tale of Beauty and the Beast

~: Emma :~

Emma heard Mary Margret's phone buzz at the same time Mary Margret did. She answered it breathlessly, "David?"

Emma kept going, Mary Margret following behind as she continued listening.

Mr. Gold was still ahead of her. No matter how fast she went Mr. Gold went just a bit faster. Emma kept waiting for him to slow down, to take a breather, but he was more determined than she had ever seen him, than she had seen anyone.

They came over a hill, to an almost straight path not far from where they had taken the left trail at the fork. Her light flashed over something not green or brown fifty feet down the path. It was blue, hulking on the path.

"Henry?" Emma called again uncertainly.

"Emma!" Henry turned out not to be the hulking shape, who was evidently David, clicking off his cell phone when he blinked into the flashlights. She saw Henry's little form leap through some bushes, running to her with open arms, looking almost the same as she had last seen him, just thoroughly wet and a little muddy. She couldn't suppress how relieved she was.

Emma found herself running to him, passing Mr. Gold, and caught him mid stride. If she hadn't held him he would have bounced off of her. "Hey kid," she said, a lump in her throat, pushing his wet hair out of his eyes.

He looked up at her from the hug, anxious faced and wet, "David wants take her back to the hospital!"

"Over my dead body," Mr. Gold murmured as he hobbled past her and her son.

Emma's eyes narrowed after him, thinking about his funny definition of justice.

~: Mr. Gold :~

Prince Charming was crouching down next to her at he sloshed through the mud. It would be the Prince saving the day. He narrowed his eyes at him, before stumbling down next to her on her opposite side, David looking up at him as he did so. Mr. Gold gritted his teeth against the pain of his leg, which had worsened as the night had progressed due to the blasted weather and his earlier falling, and then found himself staring into her face.

She had collapsed. The desperation at finding her was worsened- she had escaped away from him again. Her shell remained, lifeless, and yet it still held her. It had to keep holding her. He had to see her, just once more, had to see her smile, how it lit her eyes.

He stopped himself. He would see it. He would see her vibrant once more. He would not leave her side until he did see it. For now he had to take stock of the damage, of how hurt she was, what he could manage to do to help.

She was breathing. That was always a good sign he consoled himself, and, aggravated, thought how that almost wasn't enough. He continued on with his review.

He'd only gotten a glimpse before, but her face was even paler and her closed eyes even more sunken. He wished they would open, that they would look at him again with that same recognition that he had seen- had it only been a couple of hours ago? It seemed an age to him now. Her hair and face were smeared with mud. He attempted to smooth it all away, trying to see her beautiful skin beneath the grim, and he felt under his palm that she was shivering. She was only in a ragged hospital shift, doing nothing to shield her from the wet or the cold, a garment that was something near indecent where they had once come from. He looked sharply at Prince Charming, his mouth twitching into an unfavorable line at this thought. He pulled his suit jacket off immediately, not looking away from the Prince until he had draped it over her.

It had been the curse, he decided then, using science to make her unconscious. There had been too much medication in her body, and the curse had used that to its advantage, but it hadn't taken her life. She must have been remembering something, and it had acted quickly to suppress the memories. Yes, even in this world he knew magic, could almost taste it when it wove through the air, felt when it crept around him. The curse he knew especially well, the thick layer that coated the town, because he had completed it in his darkest hours. The hours after he had banished Belle, the anger, the loneliness, and the hours he had learned of Belle's death, unbelievable grief and harrowing despair.

He knew that nothing had been sent by the Queen. He had known that she wouldn't, not with her son so near, and not when it was such an unpredictable element. Magic was more fickle in this world than it had been in theirs. It was untamed, not strictly taking sides as some magicks had in the other world, and therefore did almost as it pleased. Her Majesty would not have dared. Therefore this was the curse's and science's handiwork. There had been too much medication in her body, and the curse had made her supplies burn out quickly. She would wake up from this again, he thought determinedly. She would not stay comatose as Charming here had. He would personally see to that.

She had never looked more fragile, he was certain, caressing her face gently, but she had never looked more real.

He had been so worried that he was making her up, that something in him had cracked and he was believing dreams and nightmares now. The curse had done far worse things to him than that, he knew, but as pressed his hand to her forehead, and he felt her burning skin, he decided that if he was believing in dreams and nightmares, he would not have come up with this. None of his dreams would have her be sick with a mere fever due to medications, nor would his nightmares really. His brain wouldn't have come up with something so mediocre, so mundane, so unlike his wonderful Belle. It was a blessing then, he decided, that she'd fallen ill, because if he had seen her again, whole and healthy, he might have truly believed he was the one going insane.

But now it was a nightmare. She was sick. He had nothing to cure her with, not in this ridiculous reality. In his old land, he could have gone to a hedge witch for a small spell, or if it had been truly bad, he would have had to have gotten a few unicorn hairs, or maybe a special root or flower if there was a poison too strong, but here? There was no magic here that could save her, only wicked science, an art that was tricky and less dependable than a two legged stool.

"We gotta get her out of here," Charming was standing, telling the Sheriff and her roommate. Distracting him. "She's sick!" Well that wasn't painfully obvious. Princes had never ranked high on Mr. Gold's scale of people. Bold and brave? Sure. Slow and thickheaded? Most definitely. Charming here wasn't so different, even if he had once been a shepherd. Royalty had gone to his head.

"We can't take her to the hospital!" Henry insisted adamantly. This little prince, on the other hand…

"Why not, Henry?" Snow White asked, surprised by her grandson's passion. How nice it was to be here, with the royal family, getting all set up for an argument while Belle's life was at stake.

"Because we think Regina might have locked her up for no good reason," Emma told her mother. Ah. At least the Sheriff could sense that, if nothing else.

"So what are we going to do with her?" David demanded.

"I don't know," the Sheriff said honestly, obviously thinking. Mr. Gold's thoughts were already ahead of hers, thinking of what to do after they had decided what to do. He had that answer ready and waiting for the right moment to slip it in. Now he was figuring out how to let the Sheriff let him keep Belle.

"I think it's the drugs in her system mixed with running all this way," Ms. Swan said, taking Charming's place, speaking more to Mr. Gold than the others. He nodded. He'd already thought of that. It didn't console him like she had thought it would. She was missing an element of the problem. "I've seen other people like this, plastered and high strung. I think the stuff just has to burn out."

His Belle, plastered and high strung like some rebellious child from this forsaken world? No, never. Even in this world she would be the child dreaming to go to college, to get away from the country life, reading every book in the small Storybrooke library as soon as it came in, rereading books she'd already read when there wasn't a new one to be had, and planning on which place to travel to first as soon as she gathered enough money. He knew all this, because he had thought about it on days where her memories weren't enough, where he'd had to invent, and have her grow in his mind, to keep her alive, even though she was dead. But she wasn't dead. She was here. He touched her face again, as though making sure she didn't disappear, thinking he couldn't wait now to see his theories tested and tried.

"We have to get her out of the rain," Mary Margret voiced her concern. "We can take her back to my place." Princesses too often stated idiotic, simpering things, and even if Snow had been an exceptional one, it was still flowing underneath her skin.

"No," Emma told her mother, still examining Belle, the problem weighing on her mind. "Regina will expect that."

"I have a cabin, not far from here," Mr. Gold spoke to the Sheriff, his waiting proving perfect, "We can take her there for now until we come up with a plan." Of course, he already had come up with a plan. He knew people, though, and he knew they liked to think that they come up with ideas on their own. The trick was leading them there.

"How much farther?" she asked.

She always needed to know the details. He knew she would take Belle down the mountain before going to his cabin if there was a similar amount of distance, just to have the battle waged on her terms. Luckily for him, there wasn't far to go, "About half a mile." Less, if he was estimating right.

"Alright," Emma nodded. He sighed. It was going to take a lot of her patience to do as he said. He could tell he was going to have to call in that favor she owed him.

Storybrooke's Tale of Beauty and the Beast

A Once Upon a Time Story
by Teddy's Twin

Part 7 of 37

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