Series: Once Upon a Time
SPOILERS: Ep 12. Don't read if you
haven't seen it.
Rumpelstiltskin watched Belle from his chair seated at the far end
of the dining table. The sight of the girl, trembling beneath her
gilded facade of poise and confidence, fighting to keep herself calm
in the face of such a monster, brought a swell of wicked delight to
his impish face. The china clinked as she set it upon the table, and
he told her his list of service commands.
"You will serve me my meals and you will clean the dark
castle," he informed her.
"I understand." The response was nervously polite.
"You will dust my collection and launder my clothing."
"Yes," she acknowledged, quickly, as if any pause might
unleash his wrath.
"You will fetch me fresh straw when I'm spinning at the
A shaky nod, followed by a quick: "Got it."
It was so amusing! And in the midst of such mundane conversation!
Rumpelstiltskin always found pleasure at viewing first hand the
terror he could inspire. The whisper of his very name could send men
running. And this girl was so funny! The way she tried so hard to
cover her obvious fear, struggling to remain graceful as she poured
his tea, was new and exciting. The tension about her was growing
every time he spoke. Oh, with just the teensiest little tug...!
Rumpelstiltskin found himself unable to resist the urge to tease her.
"Oh! And you will skin the children I hunt for their pelts!"
The clatter of the teacup and the gasp Belle emitted was a sound
more melodious than the Pied Piper's flute. The way she stared—oh
the look was priceless! She stood frozen with her face frozen in
horror, while Rumpelstiltskin's own face cracked a smile.
"That one was a quip," he added, unable to remove his
smirk. "Not serious! Hm!"
She shook herself out of her stupor, a breath of relief escaped
her, and she even attempted a smile. "...right." She
dropped to pick up the fallen cup from the carpet. She took hold of
it slowly and gently
"...oh...I...ah...I'm so sorry..." her voice shook "but
Belle forced herself to glance up at him as she apologized. "I
me...Y-you can hardly see it..." Her voice was pleading for
mercy. It puzzled Rumpelstiltskin. After all:
"Well, it's just a cup."
He was slightly bewildered at how little provocation was needed to
make her so jittery. For someone who had stepped in to save her home,
against her father's wishes so defiantly, the way she walked on eggs
around him now was startling. Did she really think he would hurt her
over something so trivial? That thought bothered him slightly. For
all the power he possessed, and for all the wrath he'd wrought upon
his enemies, did people really think him so unstable as to hurt a
girl over a piece of tableware?
But his display of dis concern over her blunder eased Belle, and
for the first time since she'd entered his home, she relaxed, smiling
gratefully at her new master.
Rumpelstiltskin studied the girl in wonder. He knew then that this
beauty would be the prize of his collection.
<HR SIZE=1 NOSHADE>
A world away, Mr. Gold sat quietly in his cell, staring at the
chipped teacup he was now cradling in his hands. The station was
empty, Regina having left after the not so thinly veiled threats they
had issued one another.
The cup was both fragile and strong, much how the girl who broke
it had been. It's funny how strong something can seem one moment, and
how weak the next. It was true of both people and things no matter
what world you found yourself in. Mr. Gold preferred his collection
to people. In his experience, people were much harder to hold on to.
He heard the sound of a door, and then the footsteps of Sheriff
Swan reentering her office.
"What's that?" Emma asked when she noticed the object.
"Don't you know I'm supposed to confiscate any contraband?"
she added with a joking smile.
Mr. Gold looked up at Emma, doing his best to mirror her relaxed
expression. "A present from our illustrious Mayor. She's
returned to me what you could not."
"Why did the Mayor have your stolen property?"
"I imagine she got it from Mr. French."
"Are you saying she had something to do with the robbery?"
Emma questioned. Her tone was hopeful, do doubt excited at the
prospect of having something new to blame on Regina.
"That's between her and me." Mr. Gold informed her
simply. "Besides, circumstantial evidence won't hold up.
Otherwise, you'd have had me locked up in here a month ago. If you
They eyed each other, each recalling the fire and the election.
For Emma, dealing with Mr. Gold was was like playing an intangible
game of chess. It was far less concrete than the war she waged
against Regina everyday, but as her time in Storybrooke passed, Emma
couldn't help but feel that this contest with Mr. Gold was growing
more and more important everyday.
"You're right. And if you aren't willing to cooperate,
there's nothing I can do."
"You're right. You can't do anything." There was a trace
of anger in his voice.
"Like with whoever you were shouting about last night?"
"Quite right." He went back to staring at the teacup. He
traced his fingers along the chipped edge.
"Was it hers?" Mr. Gold remained silent. Emma leaned in
closer to look through the bars. "Looks like it didn't come back
Mr. Gold looked back at Emma. "No, it's just as it was."
Emma frowned. "So, you, took it upon yourself to kidnap,
bind, and beat the crap out of a man with your shillelagh because he
stole your broken teacup?"
"A very rare and unique piece," he told her quietly. "I
paid dearly for it."
"It's still just a cup!"
"It isn't just a cup." The response was so
vehement that it gave Emma pause.
"What kind of person hurts someone over a piece of
tableware?" Her question pricked his memory.
A woeful laugh escaped him as he answered.