|All Magic Comes With A Price
Author: Unidentified Pineapples PM
Gretel makes a deal with Rumplestiltskin to save her brother, but as she will learn, all magic comes with a price. And what does Greta know about Mr. Gold that the other residents of Storybrooke do not?Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Mystery - Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold - Chapters: 2 - Words: 5,296 - Reviews: 12 - Favs: 6 - Follows: 17 - Updated: 11-22-11 - Published: 11-17-11 - id: 7558566
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: I do not own Once Upon A Time or any fairytale characters.
Chapter 1: All Magic Comes With A Price
200 paces past the fence of breadsticks. Leap across the creek and run another 70 steps. Duck beneath the fallen oak, and carefully scramble down the two-horse-high ridge. 150 paces to the left and crawl through the prickly bracken. Once the dense bracken clears in 30 paces, the valley begins. From there, who knew what awaited. Possibly hope, possibly death. Either one was better than what waited back at the cottage of bread and cake.
Gretel sighed as she stared out at the vast valley. If only she could free Hansel from that basement. If only they could escape from the deranged witch. If only they could make it here, then maybe they would be safe. It had taken Gretel a fortnight to discover the route to the valley, sneaking back to the cottage every night just before day break. Sleep evaded her, food was denied her and escape without her brother was not an option. If only, if only, if only.
Gretel closed her eyes and felt the early morning dew descend lightly on her skin. The sun would be rising soon. The witch would awaken. Gretel needed to be back before that happened.
Blinking open her eyes once more, Gretel turned on the spot, prepared to make the familiar journey back…
And came face to face with a wicked grin.
"Enjoying the view, dearie?" he said sweetly, a gleam in the stranger's large, murky eyes.
Her first reaction was to jump in fear. She had been quite certain no one but she knew of this path. Her second notion was that of unmatched relief.
"Sir, good sir, please, you must help me," she begged. "My brother has been captured by an evil witch who lives in the cottage made of bread. She plans to eat him when he has grown fat enough and then eat me as well. All I want is to free my brother and return us home. Please, you must help us."
As Gretel pleaded with the odd-looking stranger, tears cascaded down her dirt-splotched cheeks, leaving streaks of clean flesh in their wake. The stranger's countenance took on that of pity. But the gleam in his eyes remained.
"Ah, dearie, I'm afraid you've asked for the one thing I cannot help you with," he said. "You see, the woman who owns that lovely house doesn't quite appreciate the way I conduct business matters, and I've been forbidden from interfering with her life any further."
Gretel's insides constricted. Good fortune had befallen her in her hour of need only to be snatched away. As her grim fate was realized, another wave of hot tears fell from her eyes. Gretel made to wipe them away, but the stranger caught up her hand.
"Fear not, dearie, for I've another proposition for you." Gretel lifted her gaze to meet his and saw that the gleam there lingered. "You are surely half-starved, for the witch feeds you bones, and you sleep not while you devise a means of escape. By the pace at which you are going, you yourself will be dead within a week's time." As the stranger spoke these truths (the knowledge of which she could guess not how he knew), she could feel the pangs in her stomach deepen and the sleep that tugged at her lids gain a new strength.
"What then do you propose?" she asked ravenously.
"This," he said, the wicked grin returning. "I cannot free your brother from the witch, but I will stay your hunger and subdue your weariness."
Gretel's eyes narrowed in skepticism. There was something strange about this man. Something off.
"Why, with this of course." With a flourish of his hand there appeared within it as if from nowhere a crystal stick.
"A magic wand?"
"Indeed," the stranger said. "With one wave of this, you will no longer feel hunger or the desire for sleep. You will be strong again and think only of how to free your brother."
Gretel's eyes sparkled. "Just like that?"
"Just like that," he confirmed, and with one smooth, deliberate motion, the odd stranger released Gretel's hand and brushed a stray tear from her cheek, lingering longer there than was necessary. Gretel suppressed a shudder; the man's hands were unnaturally cold.
"But I must warn you, dearie," he said silkily, his thumb running slowly across her cheek, "all magic comes with a price." He whispered the last six words, his warm breath on her face. Gretel listened, transfixed by his voice. "If I help you, you must do something for me in return."
After a moment's pause in which the stranger withdrew his hand from her cheek, Gretel looked him straight in his gleaming eyes. "Such as?"
Just like that, the man's grin broke into a wide smile. Gretel knew she should have felt afraid, but the image of her brother locked away in that dark, dank basement drove the fear away. Whatever the man wanted, he could have it.
"If I should ever call upon you to do something for me – a task, a favor – you must oblige. No questions asked."
She didn't need to think it over. She knew the answer. "I accept."
"Ooh, goodie!" the stranger cried in a child-like tone, clapping his hands together and doing a sort of half-jump in joy. "I'm so glad to hear it, dearie. Now, if you be so kind as to sign on the dotted line…" With another flourish of his hand a long piece of parchment and quill appeared. He handed them both over with an exaggerated bow and only regained his posture once her signature had been secured and the items returned. With another flourish, the parchment and quill vanished, and the stranger stood before Gretel, flashing his most wicked, mirth-filled grin yet. "Thank you kindly, dearie."
Gretel squirmed under his hot gaze, and the hairs on her neck stood on end. The sun would be rising soon. She had to return quickly.
After another uncomfortable moment, the stranger held up the magic wand and declared in a cackley voice, "And now for the finishing touches." With a dazzling wave, a mist of blue magic settled on Gretel, and instantly the pangs in her stomach ceased and her lids no longer drooped. She felt as if she could run the entire length of the valley below without stopping for breath. She took a moment to collect herself.
"Thank you, good sir. You have surely saved my brother and I from otherwise certain death."
The odd, little man bowed his head. "You are most welcome, dearie. Now off with you. Dawn is approaching."
Gretel nodded and dashed off back along the path.
"Oh, and dearie?" the man called, bringing her to a halt. "Do not forget our little bargain."
The girl nodded once more, then sprinted toward the cottage.
Order up, Greta thought as she brought the Sheriff's scrambled eggs up to the pass and tapped the silver bell. Ruby, as always, took her sweet time answering the summons, making sure to walk slowly enough to accentuate her slender hips. After all, the Sheriff was watching. Once Graham had received his eggs and gave Greta his usual head tip in thanks for preparing his breakfast just the way he liked it, Greta returned her focus to the griddle and continued manning Dr. Hopper's hash browns, ignoring Ruby's not-so-subtle attempts to get into the Sheriff's pants.
After having worked at Granny's Diner for the better part of four years, Greta knew the typical order of most every person in Storybrooke. No one here, it seemed, liked change much. Same old food, same old people, same old lives.
Order up, Greta thought, tapping the bell once more and sending the hash browns up to the pass. As Ruby retrieved the dish she handed Greta another ticket.
"French toast, short stack," the waitress said.
Greta looked up, confused, and scanned the dining room through the little window. It was 1 o'clock. Henry should be at school, not the diner. But Greta could not find the boy anywhere.
"New girl," Ruby explained, cocking her head over her shoulder to a blonde lady seated at the counter reading that morning's edition of The Mirror. Greta pegged her in her late 20s, possibly 30.
Greta raised an eyebrow in question. Who is she?
Ruby responded with a shrug of her shoulders before leaving to deliver Dr. Hopper's hash browns.
Odd. Storybrooke, in its determination of sameness, never received visitors. Especially ones who looked as though they had much better things they could be doing. Who was she? How did she come to be here? Strange indeed.
Greta prepared the French toast and sent it up to the pass, eyeing the woman curiously. A shrill ding! cut through the room as she tapped the bell to inform Ruby the order was ready. As usual, the red-lipsticked waitress took her sweet time, shifting her hips more than ever. The Sheriff, after all, was still there.
Greta rolled her eyes. Ruby had a reputation for sleeping with anything that moved. She'd even been known to flirt with Dr. Hopper on occasion (when he was the only male presence in the diner, that is). But regardless of her life choices, Ruby was a steadfast friend who didn't judge and was always willing to take the time to understand. As far as friends went, Ruby was the closest Greta had.
"Special task for you, Greta," Ruby said, taking the stack of French toast. "Mr. Gold says he wants you to make him a desert of your choice. Something unique."
Ruby gave Greta a look that plainly said if she was in Greta's shoes, she'd be less than thrilled to make something special for the creep. Mr. Gold was the one man in town Ruby would not flirt with.
Greta, on the other hand, cocked a smile and set to work, leaving Ruby to deliver the meal and chat up the new girl. For as long as she'd been working at Granny's, Greta always found an unrivaled bliss when making deserts, sweets and goodies. She never ate the creations herself, but something about being around them sort of called to her. And Mr. Gold was, after all, the reason she had the job at Granny's. Thanking him with a sweet wasn't, as Ruby thought, the worst thing in the world.
It took her a few minutes to decide what she would make and another 15 minutes to carry out the task, but in the end she was blissfully pleased with her work as she sent the plated gingerbread man up to the pass.
Mr. Gold graciously accepted the still-warm dessert from Ruby (whose hips seemed to have suddenly lost their seductive shift) and flashed Greta a crooked smile, revealing three gold teeth.
A chill ran up Greta's spine. The kind of eerie chill only Mr. Gold could inflict.
Greta looked away and pretended to fiddle with something in the kitchen. Just because she was grateful he had gotten her this job did not mean she had to like Mr. Gold. Not many people did.
And from what Greta knew, they had every reason not to.
A.N. This is my first shot at a Once Upon A Time fic. Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold is my favorite character by far on the show, and I thought it would be fun to explore how Hansel and Gretel play into the lives of everyone in Storybrooke. So this is my attempt to explain their story. I hope you enjoy it.