Continuing Tales

Storybrooke's Tale of Beauty and the Beast

A Once Upon a Time Story
by Teddy's Twin

Part 9 of 37

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Storybrooke's Tale of Beauty and the Beast

~: Henry :~

"I think I figured out who she is," Henry said through a yawn.

"Not right now kid," Emma said, staring straight ahead. They had been driving now for a while. She was going extra slow, and the heat was on high. It was making him really sleepy, even though his socks were soaked and his toes felt prune-y.

"I think she's Beauty," he continued anyways, looking up at her.

"She is pretty," Emma agreed emotionlessly, staring at the road.

"No, I mean I think she's Beauty, from Beauty and the Beast. We were talking about her favorite fairytale when we were walking in the woods, and she said it was Beauty and the Beast, and she stopped, and – and I think she was remembering something about the Happily Ever After place when she passed out." Emma was making that, "I don't believe you" face. He had to convince her, "No! It totally makes sense! It's the curse- the curse is making her forget! I bet that's it!"

"Look, Henry-."

"No, seriously! Think about it!" he was scrambling to get out the book. He had to prove that he was right, something clicking in his head. "And I bet Rumpelstiltskin is-."

"Henry," Emma's voice cut across his. "I've got to get ready to see your mom right now, and I can't be distracted."

Henry stopped, and put the book away quietly as the car moved along the road to his house. Emma had called the Evil Queen earlier, and there had been a shouting match, until Emma had just hung up. He knew she was edgy, but… He sighed, and sat back, dejected. After all his rescuing Belle they all still treated him like a kid. He wished they would just try to understand. It was all so simple if they would just look! Why did adults make things so complicated all the time?

~: Regina :~

She was pacing up and down in the living room of her clean house, peering out the window every once in a while to see if she could see that good for nothing Chief of Police with her son. She was furious. She would have that woman's badge and her heart while she was at it if this had anything, anything to do with her! If Rumpelstiltskin had told her that Isabelle was locked up, that she needed to go save her – no.

Ms. Swan still wouldn't have gone directly in after her as she obviously had. She would have done some checking up on the girl first to make sure Rumpelstiltskin was not letting out some whack job, and to make sure she was not wasting her time. The Sheriff didn't trust the goblin as far as she could throw him. And even if she had agreed, there would have been more of a plan, less running, more legal obligations and paperwork, or even a getaway car. No, Rumpelstiltskin hadn't used Ms. Swan directly, but Regina was still considering cutting out her heart just for being involved with all of this.

How had he found out? This had obviously been orchestrated by him. He had fed Henry some idea and sent the boy running, with Emma chasing after. That seemed the more likely story. Either way, when the Sheriff came she would have her answers. She couldn't just hang up her phone. She would have Henry to dangle in front of her and keep her until she knew every detail of what had happened. It almost always worked.

She heard the car outside of her house, listening as it rumbled to a stop. It was all she needed to hear. She came stalking through the door, leaving the door open, ready to fight. Even if in this world all that fighting meant was yelling and using threats. She saw the Sheriff's shoulders hunch, saw her put a defensive hand on Henry.

Henry was dirty, wet, and tired, dragging mud along with his feet. The woman returned her son to her in this meager state and hoped to live?

"Where is she?" Regina didn't need pretenses. She needed answers. They were on her terms now, on her battlefield.

"I brought your son back safe and sound, Madam Mayor." The Sheriff was avoiding the question, "You could at least show a little appreciation-."

She didn't have time for dodging arrows. "Cut the crap," she snarled, "Where is she?"

The blonde ground her teeth, "I couldn't find her."

"You're lying." It was obvious. She didn't need a spell to see it. The officer of the law was not a good liar. It was one of the reasons she even tolerated her in the town. Ms. Emma Swan couldn't keep anything hidden from her. She knew where the girl was. Next question. "Tell me where he's keeping her."

A look of shock crossed her face before she pretended it hadn't. Ah, so she didn't know that Rumpelstiltskin was connected to Belle. Very sneaky, and well played, she thought admirably, getting the Sheriff to do his dirty work without her even realizing. He had made a grave mistake though by dragging in her son. Regina would get to the bottom of this, and find Belle, kill her if she had to in order to keep them apart. It would be a waste of a good bargain though. Regina wasn't having that. Not in her world.

"I don't know what you're talking about." Still lying? She would see to that. She pulled Henry to her, holding his head to her with her arm.

"Look, Sheriff, this is my town. I am in charge here. If you don't tell me where he is I can make life very difficult for everyone involved. Mary Margret could lose her job. She after all did let my son get beat up by a few bullies." Regina smoothed back her son's hair to reveal the still large goose egg, smiling. She'd thought of this idea when she'd thought of a way to get Mary Margret out of David's life. If she was too devastated, she would crumble away. Mary Margret had always been too fragile. A little red spray paint was enough to break her. And, she was sure that Mary Margret's demise was coming shortly enough, but, when why not torment her even more while she could?

"You can't do that!" Henry cried, pushing away from her. "I'll tell people that you're wrong!"

Regina narrowed her eyes at him. Couldn't he see that she did this to raise him to become a king? If he would only listen, obey her, the curse would not be broken, and he would rule here as easily as she did. They could be partners. How could he not want the power that she had in her grasp? Why must he want to be with his meaningless, worthless birth mother who was only leading him astray?

"I don't know where she is, Madam Mayor, but if you have to resort to those kinds of threats, she must be more important than I realized." Regina's eyes shot up, fixing on the Sheriff. "Why did you have her locked away, huh? Did she do something that you didn't want her to? Is that why you convinced Moe French to lock her up and then tell the town that she died committing suicide?"

The Sheriff didn't know how close she was to the truth. Regina took in a deep breath through the nose, trying to keep herself from clawing out the meddlesome creature's heart, and barked, "Get off my property."

"What?" the Sheriff looked taken aback.

"Get off my property." It wouldn't be good to commit murder in front of Henry when he wasn't ready to see it yet. She hoped that someday he would kill this woman himself once he saw reason, but tonight was definitely not the night to start him on that path. And this pointless arguing was getting her nowhere. She wasn't getting any other answers out of her, she thought furiously, and she was not about to answer any questions that the Sheriff had for her. She needed time to think, "Now. And if I catch you with Henry again, I will get that restraining order, Ms. Swan. Mark my words."

"No!" Henry sounded devastated.

She couldn't stand that he was siding with this woman right now, "Go to bed, Henry."

"No! You can't do this to her!" he was shouting. She couldn't tolerate his betrayal of her at the moment. She tried to reign in her fury.

"Kid, its fine," the impudent woman was comforting her son, bending over to look him in the eyes, "Go to bed, alright?"

"Go!" she shouted pointing Emma to the exit, who glowered straight back at Regina, but straightened, making her way down the sidewalk and through the hedges, disappearing from sight until Regina heard her little yellow beetle rumble away.

"You really are the Evil Queen," Henry scowled up at her, before running inside the house, his back pack bouncing around on his shoulders. If he wanted to make her the bad guy, fine, she would be the bad guy. The Sheriff had given her as many answers as she needed at the moment anyways- the Sheriff knew where the girl was, and the goblin was with her. She knew Mary Margret was involved. She knew how to react now.

"Yes," Regina decided aloud, taking out her cell phone, seething, "I really am."

~: Mr. Gold :~

He sat opposite from her, staring at her as though if he blinked, she would disappear. It was well past midnight, he estimated, four or five hours after if his internal clock was a judge, but there he sat on the only seat in the room. It was cushioned, red, with a half back that sloped into armrests. He wasn't leaning back though. He was sitting forward, hands folded on his cane, and his chin resting on his hands. She had been gone from him for decades. Decades. Dead. And here she was, not looking a day older, alive. Alive and with him. He couldn't believe it, so instead of believing it he sat and waited for her to dissipate into thin air.

Her feet had been bandaged. He had helped Mary Margret pull out splinters that had stuck there. She had run over urban city streets and through Maine's dense forests until her feet had bled and torn. He knew females in this world liked shoes. He had already decided he would buy as many pair as she liked after this trauma.

They had dressed her in some clothes of his. He didn't know why he had been looking for a blue dress so specifically before when he knew full well that he didn't own anything of the sort, but he would order one for her. If she wanted it. She could have anything she wanted when she awoke.

If only she just would…

She had stopped shivering, and his nerves were grateful, so he just watched her sleep, breathing easy. Her skin was not so ashen as it had been. The sleep was doing wonders for the bruises around her eyes. Surely she was the fairest of them all, not the snoring princess in the next room, sleeping on the couch while her prince snored even louder below her on the floor.

And that was something else that bothered him.

Was any of what her Majesty told him truth? Had she just snatched Belle away from her father in the nick of time? But there were no scars on Belle's back, nothing that looked like flaying of the flesh, no evidence of her father's cruelty. That would have carried over to this life according to the rules of the curse. He had scars that carried over, burns, and pains. Maybe her Majesty had just hidden her away the first chance she got a hold of her, and Belle had never seen her father again. The entire story could have been falsified. He wouldn't put it past the Evil Soul to do so. The woman had killed her own father to enact revenge on a girl that didn't even understand the gravity of what she had done by not keeping her Majesty's secret. He could see her picking Belle up and carrying her off, locking her away in a dungeon, and keeping her there until she was useful.

Locked away again to be used against him. His fault… it was his fault, his mind echoed. His fault…

He clamped down on his new cane.

He wondered if she would remember. He had wanted her so badly to remember, but maybe she wouldn't. And now he wondered if that would be so bad a thing. He remembered her leaving him, him driving her off in anger. He had been so afraid of the power she had held over him then, the Evil Queen realizing it before even he did and using it to her advantage before he had even thought about it closely. Terrified, positive others would use her against him to make him weak, he had sent her from his sight, and had never seen her again because of his folly. He had regretted it ever since.

Now that Belle was back, he realized, he almost hoped she wouldn't remember him. She would remember his cowardice, his inability to relinquish his power for her. He couldn't bear for her to hate him for it. She had been locked away to be a tool against him, and if she could remember that, she could remember that she could have learned to hate him, as she must have if she had been told under what circumstances she was being imprisoned for.

Dread seared through him, and he shook. It was his fault.

But he didn't know if he could stand her not knowing who he was, not seeing him as her true love. She had known that to be true in the past, but here? He was just an old crippled man charged with assault crimes against her father that had put him in the hospital for a long time. She would hate him quickly, and never forgive him.

All his fault.

There was no way to keep her near him, no way to make her stay. She would just leave once she had healed. Here he couldn't use the Ogre wars to make her stay at his house, once again a bargaining chip to be played in his favor. He couldn't think of any sane reason she would stay at his house as caretaker or under any other premise in this world. She would go back to her father's house, and he would never see her again without a glower on her face directed towards him. That was, until her Majesty had her disappear again.

She could only be safe with him, he thought to himself viciously. He was the one in charge of the town. No one would dare threaten him. Besides, the last time she had left him, she had ended up presumably dead and was left alone in a dungeon. He would never let something like that happen to her again. He couldn't bear if he was responsible for more of her misfortune, for more sadness to cross her beautiful face.

He shuddered at that thought of not seeing her smile again, after seeing the quiet, muted smile that she wore even in her sleep, shaking with self loathing and fear. He could not win here. She would hate him no matter what happened, memory or no memory intact. He was doomed to her loathing. After all the fact that she was alive, he would never have her love again. Who could ever learn to love a beast, after all, when they've seen its truest nature?

And she had seen his true cowardice. If not she would be witness to it shortly enough. Beating a captive man, her father, for the pleasure of doing so… What a mistake that had been. He was lucky, as the Sheriff had said, that he had not killed her father now that she was alive. If he had killed her father, he couldn't imagine the heart break that would have caused her.

For now though… he would watch her unknowing face, welcome her light breathing, enjoy the peace here in the room between them, studying her features for however long she would be asleep, to keep them in his mind permanently, no matter what her waking brought. She sighed in her sleep, startling him out of his reverie, and she shifted sideways, facing him.

Light illuminated her features. The rain had stopped some time ago to reveal the threads of light, blued pink, spreading across her face. True light would come soon, burning through him as it woke her. She always did rise with the sun.

Mr. Gold found himself sitting back. Wracked with torment as he was, he almost missed the noise.

It was someone rattling the back doorknob.

Her Majesty had always moved swiftly when problems with her plans arose. It didn't matter what world she was in. He reaffirmed his jaw and stood, walking stealthily over to the dresser. The rattling got harder. He pulled the gun from the dresser drawer, and moved to the bed room door with predatory aggression.

Dawn peered through the window, onto Belle's face. He looked at her when he heard her shift, watched her blink awake. Her eyes met the golden pool, and her head turned as she heard the noise at the back door too. Saw him holding a gun in the air. Her bright eyes widened. She sat up swiftly.

He pressed a finger to his lips, nodding towards the room outside.

They listened at the door popped open. She stiffened where she sat, hands clenching her bed sheets. He could feel the fear radiate off of her, feel the confusion tangible in the air, heard it as she held her breath. No. Her Majesty nor her men would not lay a finger on her ever again, even if it meant his demise. Not now that he'd seen her awake, startled face once more.

Eyes narrowing, he tilted his head around the corner.

Storybrooke's Tale of Beauty and the Beast

A Once Upon a Time Story
by Teddy's Twin

Part 9 of 37

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