Not sure what point she’s making, but she’s making it at length, at my feet.
may seem to dream
of nice mice that suffice
for him, or cream;
but he free, maybe,
walks in thought
unbowed, proud, where loud
roared and fought
his kin, lean and slim,
or deep in den
in the East feasted on beasts
and tender men.
The giant lion with iron
claw in paw,
and huge ruthless tooth
in gory jaw;
the pard dark-starred,
fleet upon feet,
that oft soft from aloft
leaps upon his meat
where woods loom in gloom —
far now they be,
fierce and free,
and tamed is he;
but fat cat on the mat
kept as a pet
he does not forget.
In the present, Rumplestiltskin devises a plan to give Belle only good memories. Meanwhile in the past, an unexpected visitor makes Belle question Rumple’s feelings for her. (Alternately, Rumple fucks up no matter what timeline he’s in.)
A/N: This one got dark. Trigger warning for blood and violence toward the end.
In the end, it was Lacey that had given him the idea. It was so simple once the thought came to him. Regina had proven it was possible to plant false memories in someone else’s mind. It had been a necessary part of the Dark Curse, one she had utilized again when she’d given Belle a whole new personality after the pirate had shot her across the town line.
He had no wish to bring Lacey back into existence, but the idea was sound. He could enchant a totem, give Belle all the good memories of her life with Rowan while glossing over the bad. She would never need to know the whole of their history. He could make it more in line with what had happened in their original time line. Belle had left, Regina had kidnapped her and held her in a tower, convinced Rumplestiltskin that she was dead. The only thing that needed to change was that they had a daughter throughout it. He could give her back her memories of Rowan’s birth, of their reunion in Storybrooke, of their brief moments as a family that had been all too fleeting over the years as they darted from one crisis to the next. There was no need for her to remember the things he had done, the monster that he really was.
Okay, I’m torn between yelling “Bad Raven!” for putting Belle through that and really enjoying the way Rumpel showed up and made mincemeat of everybody. Because they bloody well deserved it. How about if I yell “Bad Regina!”? I can see angst lies ahead however, with Belle seeing a new side of Rumpel.
Wow! I was very surprised at how many people wanted this continued (any number higher than zero is surprising to me). Thank you so much! I have a few chapters sorted out in my head and I pretty much know when, where, and how the big reveal will happen (that is a sign that I read too many house blogs), but, if you wanted to prompt me, I would love it. Just hit up my ask box. :)
Andrew Gold wasn’t stupid. He knew his tiny deception with Belle French would come to a crashing, bitter end — probably sooner than he’d like, possibly later than he expected — but he found that he couldn’t help himself once he got started.
He didn’t mean to do it. He’d gone to the apartment complex with every intention of meeting with Miss French — with Belle — to give her his “welcome to the building, don’t make me evict you” talk, something he did with every new tenant, but he found himself confronted with her brilliant smiles and openness that, when it came time to reveal himself, he couldn’t do it.
He liked the way she brightened up whenever she saw him, which was rarely in public and never where he knew other people would call him out. He enjoyed her conversation and the fact that she wasn’t afraid of him. He could actually talk to her, without threats, without animosity, without the underlying fear that she was trying to weasel out a free favor.
Andrew didn’t consider himself a lonely man, even though by textbook standards, he was. He kept no company, rarely went out socially, and the only person he could consider a friend up until now was an employee. People feared him in this town and he liked it to some extent. He enjoyed having consequence and standing, even if it was in some backwater town in Maine. It was a far cry from his youth in council estates in Glasgow where he had to fight for every scrap of food and every ounce of respect came at the cost of bloody knuckles and busted lips.
It helped that he worked directly across the street from the library so he could see her coming and going. Not that he paid extra attention to Belle. No. But if he just happened to look out his window and just happened to see that she was heading towards Granny’s at eleven-thirty for lunch and that she came back half an hour later with a takeout bag in hand, well, it was just something he noticed, that was all. The library was busy from noon until one, but from about one fifteen until school let out it was slow enough that he could exit out the back of his shop, cross the street from the opposite corner and walk to the library from the other direction, spending a good ten minutes talking with the new librarian, checking out her book recommendations (and her legs) when he felt like he’d risked fate long enough for one day.
Belle, he learned, was equally curious about him, or at least the absent Mr. Gold, as she frequently stopped by the shop, peering in the windows at the dusty merchandise while he hid in the back room, peeking back through the heavy, velvet curtain dividing it from the front. He was a coward, he knew that as much as he knew that he was a downright, dirty bastard, but he also knew that he didn’t want it to end. So he delayed the inevitable as much as he could knowing deep down that it would all blow up in his face in a spectacular fashion.
He kept the shop’s sign flipped to “CLOSED” early in the morning and in the late afternoon, when Belle was likely to come by. It seemed Belle French was the only person in town with any reading comprehension whatsoever, a good trait for a librarian, a deplorable one for an elementary school teacher. But Mary Margaret Blanchard also knew that “CLOSED” didn’t necessarily mean he wasn’t there, and so she would barge in whenever she felt like it. Same with the mayor, the dog catcher, the local shrink, the sheriff, and anyone else in town who wanted a deal and knew where to find him.
But he wanted Belle’s lively conversation and warm smiles. She was intelligent, she was nice, she was beautiful, and tactile, touching him on the arm or sometimes brushing his hair off his collar. She even hugged him once, short-circuiting his brain before he recovered his wits. It was a novelty to him, this whole friendship thing so he did what he could to keep it… other than actually telling her the truth.
And it was rent day.
Gold had assigned Belle’s apartment building to Dove for the month, but he nevertheless found himself skulking around the foyer anyway, wondering if he should just get it over with. He’d had a good run, this interlude with Belle, but it was probably time to come clean and tell her that he was the hated landlord of Storybrooke. It was probably better to do it sooner rather than later.
He had just talked himself into trudging up the four flights of stairs when he heard her laughing voice from above followed by the quiet, low tones of his assistant, Dove. They were rapidly descending and he hurried back the way he came before he was caught without an excuse — too late, he had been spotted.
“Andrew,” Belle called out, smiling as usual, her blue eyes sparkling with merriment. “Hey, I didn’t expect to see you this evening.” She came up to him and hugged him, in front of Dove, using his name, beaming at him as if he was a person and not some kind of monster. He cautiously wrapped his arms around her, tentatively hugging her back, breathing in the scent of her light perfume before pulling away. He looked at Dove over her shoulder, trying to convey with his eyes that his grandchildren’s grandchildren would be paying if he breathed one word of his last name to Belle before he, himself, was ready for it.
Bless Dove, he was smarter than he looked. The corner of his lips lifted minutely and he looked away giving the pair a bit of privacy.
“I was just telling Mr. Dove about my broken window.” Belle said, straightening out her sweater as if nothing was out of the ordinary.
“You have a broken window?” he asked, sharply. “When did that happen?”
“About a week after I moved in. I think a bird flew into it — happens all the time. I’ve been trying to get in touch with Mr. Gold but his shop is always closed.”
“Really?” he asked, deliberately ignoring the pointed look Dove was giving him. It was not Dove’s concern how he operated his business.
Belle rolled her eyes. “The man is impossible to find. I still haven’t met him and everyone I meet tells me the most ridiculous stories. I’m beginning to think he doesn’t actually exist.”
Andrew chuckled weakly, but it was drowned out over Dove’s barking laughter. This was probably the best time to reveal his identity, but he would rather not do it in front of… people. Anyone. Ever.
He cleared his throat uncomfortably, “Have you put in a complaint to Mr. Smee?”
“I did, but he said it had nothing to do with him and to call Mr. Gold, who is nowhere to be found of course. I was hoping to meet him tonight, but I met Mr. Dove instead and I’m so glad I did, because he said he’d take care of it.”
“He did?” Andrew’s eyes flitted to his employee with some surprise.
“I just told her that Mr. Gold was timely with repairs and that I’d let him know about it,” the man said, wiping his eyes with a plain, white handkerchief then stuffing it in a wad in a pocket.
“A building in disrepair is more trouble than any initial cost would be I imagine.” It was true that he never shirked his duty to his tenants, but he was surprised to have anyone speak about him in a complimentary way about anything that he automatically forgave him for laughing just now.
They had all turned toward the door, Belle wrapping her arm around his in a way that left him feeling light-headed.
“Are you coming or going?” she asked, tilting her head up at him and looking at him through her long lashes.
“Um, I’m com— I’m going,” he stuttered, mentally flinching at his gaff. This was a stupid idea. He was foolish to think he’d get away with this charade.
“Because Dove said he was done for the evening,” she continued without noticing his hesitation. “And we decided to go get a pizza.”
Andrew’s cheek twitched. “That’s nice.” He turned and glared at Dove over her head. He would eviscerate him. Slowly. With a shrimp fork.
“Did you want to come with us?” Belle asked, her sweet face looking up at him with some fondness.
Gold swallowed audibly.
Oh god he did. So, so much. But going out for pizza meant going out in public, which meant that people would stare and talk and then talk to him and he would be found out. And how would they get there? Everyone knew he drove the big Cadillac. There would be no way they could simply dine out without losing Belle’s smiles and touches. It had all gotten so terribly complicated and preposterous. They couldn’t get pizza to go unless… no, he couldn’t insist on Belle hosting in her apartment and Dove had a roommate and his house was out of the question. Andrew was beginning to regret this entire fiasco.
“That sounds wonderful,” he said reluctantly as her smile dimmed somewhat. “But I have a prior engagement.” Counting the rent money and drinking expensive scotch. In his house. Alone. “Maybe a rain check?” he asked, hopefully. Maybe with planning and care, he could take her out to dinner without Dove chaperoning or bitter citizens breathing down his neck.
She brightened up. “I’ll hold you to that,” she said in a low voice, releasing his arm and stepping away from him. Dove held the door open for both of them and they walked out in to the crisp night air.
“I hope you do,” he replied with a smile of his own, forgetting that Dove was watching him closely. “Enjoy your pizza. Goodnight.”
“Goodnight. Andrew,” Dove said with a smirk.
Gold narrowed his eyes at him. Forget everything, he thought. The man was going to find himself disemboweled and unemployed come morning.
Okay, dude. One month might have been forgiveable, if you explained to Belle that you wanted to get to know her without her having any pre-conceived notions about who you were. But you’re living on borrowed time here, and every extra day that passes, you’re just digging your hole deeper. COME CLEAN, ANDREW.
This was equal parts funny (him skulking in the back room of his shop when she peered in) and sweet (how much he enjoyed her touches and smiles) and “I want to hide behind something so I don’t have to watch it blow up in his face”.
Because we all needed a three generational comparison of the Stiltskin Men wearing suits :)
Ah, yes, the Stiltskins. ALL ALIVE AND WELL AND HAPPY AND NOT FUCKING ANYTHING UP WITH THEIR RESPECTIVE LADIES.
'TIS A BEAUTIFUL FANTASY. I AM GOING TO LIVE IN IT LALALALALALALA.
I SHALL BE YOUR NEIGHBOUR.
Word count: 1631
It’s the middle of the afternoon and Belle has nothing to do…nothing. It is glorious. Rumplestiltskin is holed up in his tower working on some potion or another. She doesn’t really know. She doesn’t need to know. Whatever dark magic he’s designing up there is his own business and so curious though she might be, she rarely sets foot in his tower.
She did once.
She won’t again unless he’s given her express permission.
She learned that lesson in a rather uncomfortable way and would not soon forget it.
Spotty, I love you. Belle bolting out of the tub when Stan slithered in. Rumpel seeing her in all her naked glory. And not looking away. And in this ‘verse, I will never get the image of Rum’s cock waving around like a mini tentacle in the air out of my mind. Go, shipper Stan!
do you ever just
make a friend and think
I am so glad this friend is mine
WELL THAT’S OVER NOW, FRIENDS.
THIS IS HOW PLUTO WAS DEMOTED:
…”He was there for the 2006 IAU vote, which came when most of the attendees had already gone home. Just 424 of the organization’s nearly 10,000 members were present, and when the organizers offered the gathering the chance to reconsider Pluto’s demotion, Gingerich said, “they voted not to vote again because they wanted to go to lunch, so that was the end of it.”
Less than 1/20th of the astronomy group was present for the vote.