|The Truth Behind Insanity
Author: TardisInWonderland PM
AU reunion of Belle and Rumple/Gold. When the hospital catches on fire, what will happen to the patients, especially those who have nowhere to go? Belle's reasons for being put in a padded cell, plus fluff to come.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Hurt/Comfort - Belle & Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold - Chapters: 6 - Words: 24,486 - Reviews: 28 - Favs: 56 - Follows: 33 - Updated: 06-20-12 - Published: 05-23-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8145161
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Ok, so this is basically an idea that I had and it wouldn't let me NOT write it. I hope this doesn't turn into another one of my huge projects- I'm imagining 3 chapters right now. This is AU for a reunion between Belle and her Beast, and, well... I hope you enjoy it.
Mr. Gold walked out his front door, leaning heavily on his cane. His knee was having one of its days again- even here that probably meant a storm was coming. A bad one, too, judging by this blasted pain. He would have opted to stay home, except there were things that needed doing, and it wasn't healthy to sit home all day. Heading to Granny's for breakfast, he was just about to reconsider that "staying home" philosophy when Emma Swan nearly barreled into him from around the corner.
"Mr. Gold!" She said, skidding to a halt, eyes wide. She still ran into him, but not half as hard as it could have been if he'd gotten here two seconds sooner.
"In a hurry, Miss Swan?" He asked, recovering. Emma immediately took off again.
"There's a fire at the hospital!" She called over her shoulder. "I've got to go!" Not a second after she hopped in the squad car, the sirens from the fire trucks could be heard. It rolled down the street, driven by none other than the brave little tailor (around the time Emma came he'd changed his occupation), though he went by Timothy here.
Mr. Gold was hobbling in the direction the fire truck had gone. Emma poked her head out the squad car window, not having pulled off yet. As much as she didn't like the man, it was pretty clear he was going somewhere and he was in pain.
"I've got a passenger seat- come on if you're coming!" She called. Gold turned and opened the door with a shrug. There weren't many people in the hospital, thank goodness, but he did want to get a handle on the damage. Emma pulled off with a screech.
"What started the fire?" He asked, gripping the door to keep from being jostled to pieces.
"Don't know yet. They think it was some faulty wiring in the basement, but it's just a guess. That was the second truck- the first is already working."
"And how many people inside?"
Emma shot him a momentary glance, filled with innate terror.
"We don't know."
The squad car pulled up just as the trucks seemed to have a handle on the blaze. The building wasn't too damaged, it seemed, but it was definitely charred enough to be structurally unsound and need major repair work. Though the hospital was only three floors and a basement, which was the psychiatric ward, it was still a miracle the place was standing because of the sheer age. No, not the 28 years' time had stopped in Storybrooke; Regina had made the blasted building old when they got here. A few of the firemen were still working on the blaze, while timothy barreled out of the emergency exit from the basement, a limp woman in his arms.
"I need some oxygen over here!" He called. Thankfully, the bay housing the EMS trucks hadn't been reached by the blaze, as it was separate from the actual hospital building, and a paramedic was waving from only a few feet away from where he stood. Tim worked his way over quickly and Emma went to ask questions and see how she could help.
"We've got to get this thing out or the whole building's going to come down!" Called the chief. "You go to the east wing, make sure it's out, and we'll finish off the west!" The west wing, still smoldering, was where Timothy had come from when he brought out the girl.
Looking around, it seemed like the whole town was outside pitching in. Some of the stronger men helped with the fire hoses, Regina and Emma were interrogating witnesses, Mary Margaret and David were organizing the fifty or so patients and staff that worked inside with the head nurse's help, trying to figure out who might still be in the building, and even Henry was running around with a few other kids, bringing supplies to the paramedics from the bay on the other side of the building.
But as Timothy came over, something else caught Mr. Gold's attention. He laid the woman on a stretcher as the paramedic put an oxygen mask over her face. Her eyes were closed, but Gold could tell… this wasn't just any woman.
Oh, god, he thought she was dead.
Bloody Regina. She knew this was going to happen, and if she didn't… well, she'd crafted their places in this world. She knew where Belle was.
"Tim- who is that?" He immediately asked. The fireman looked up.
"We don't know. A patient from the psychiatric ward; she was locked in, took in a lot of smoke. There are a few burns that need treating, too." He sighed.
"Will she be alright?" Gold asked, never taking his eyes off Belle. He resisted the urge to reach out and touch her hand. She was limp and unmoving, except for the almost nonexistent up and down of her chest. Tim bit his lip.
"In other circumstances, I'd say she'd probably be fine…" Gold looked up at this, his expression concerned.
"In other circumstances?"
"Frankly, Mr. Gold, she's a mental patient. We don't know what she was in there for, but if it was anything major she wouldn't only need emotional support, she'd need care physically. And she might fight it once she wakes up. We don't know what effect this will have on her."
"What are these?" asked the paramedic. He gestured to some deep cuts on her legs, and a few bruises. One of the cuts looked infected, and very painful.
"That is very bad news." said Tim.
The next night there was a called town meeting. For once, Regina and Emma were attempting to work together. Gold was seated near the back of the room, cane in hand.
"We've called this meeting," Regina began, "because of the fire that you are all aware of. While the hospital is prepared, we need everyone from the town to pitch in and help to house these patients."
A murmur went through the crowd. Emma came up to the podium next, standing beside Regina.
"We wouldn't ask you to do this if there was another way, but the hospital is structurally unstable. The Sisters have offered to take in some of the critical patients because they have doctors on staff, but they don't have room for everyone. If some of you could volunteer to house a few of them, just until the hospital is repaired-"
"How long would this be?" Granny called from the middle of the room.
"Only for a few weeks." Regina said. "You don't have to do anything; it's strictly volunteer basis."
After a few moments of discussion, Emma took charge of a laptop, which flashed patient files on an overhead at the front of the room. Most of them were minor ailments, but there were four or five mental patients that were a bit harder to deal with. Archie offered to come check in on them for whoever could take them, but he didn't have room himself. The Sisters offered to put up two in their den, Granny and Ruby offered their loft to one, and David offered his spare room to another. That left only one.
Isabella Rose French. Or at least, that's what the file said her name was.
"What's her condition?" someone asked. Emma scanned over the files.
"We don't know." She said. "Not exactly."
"What do you mean 'Not exactly?'"
"She means she hasn't been diagnosed." "Her father was the florist, but he went AWOL a few months back. Left town."
Dammit, Mr. Gold thought. As much as he didn't want her to go back to her father, there weren't many here who would be willing to take a yet undiagnosed patient.
"I'll take her." Someone said. Nearly against his will, Mr. Gold turned to look. It was that blasted boy Garin, home on college break (as he had been for 28 years). If he had to guess he'd say he was what became of old what's-his-face, that man that Belle had been engaged to. "I knew her father well." He explained, although everyone in the town knew the truth: he was slime. He'd had his eye on Belle since before she was admitted, and it wasn't a secret. Regina was about to say something, but one of the doctors, Dr. Lillian James, jumped up.
"No." she said firmly.
"What?" Garin looked shocked. Apparently the boy was used to getting his way.
"I'm sorry, Garin, but… I'm just not sure you can handle her," Dr. James continued, "Rosie- that's what we called her- was one of our more… difficult patients. We need someone extremely capable to-"
And before he knew what was happening, Mr. Gold was on his feet.
"I'll take her."
The room went quiet.
"Are you sure?" asked the doctor who'd spoken, apparently the only person in the room able to form a coherent sentence.
"You said you needed someone capable. I've got room, and I've got experience tending to injuries." He gestured to his knee. "I saw her after the fire- that girl needs physical treatment, too, and not some, I'm afraid, that can be trusted in the hands of anyone not used to dealing with it."
"I can handle-" Garin began.
"No, you can't, boy. You don't know what you're dealing with."
Regina was staring at him, quite openly, too. No bother, really, but he could practically see the ice in her eyes. Emma simply looked uneasy… but there was no one else. She knew it. They knew it. The doctors knew it. And if Belle didn't get proper care, there was every chance she could die.
The tension seemed to break when Emma nodded.
"I'll meet you all over at the fire station tomorrow to pick up your patients. Two o' clock, please don't be late. Some of the hospital staff will have information for you."
And with that, the meeting was dismissed.
"Mr. Gold, can I speak with you a moment?" Regina asked on the way out.
"Actually, I'd rather not, Mayor Mills." He said without stopping. She caught up with him easily enough regardless.
"What do you think you're doing?" she hissed when they were out of an earshot.
"I think I'm trying to save the life of an innocent girl who you, your Majesty, put in a locked padded cell and nearly got killed during that fire."
"I didn't-" she started, but Gold spun on his heel to face her, pointing the end of his cane under her chin in a threatening manner.
"You know who she is!" he cried. Only a few heads turned, and those few were wise enough to continue walking. "I am not a person who enjoys being lied to." Regina held his gaze for only a moment, and then backed away and walked towards her house.
Gold straightened his tie and turned, walking back towards his own house. Roughly 17 hours until he would see Belle again.
What on earth was he going to do?
The man formerly known as Rumplestiltskin walked into the boarding rooms in the Fire department at exactly 2:00PM the next day. There were only a few people milling about, and he looked around to find Belle. His head turned when he heard a voice calling him.
"Mr. Gold!" Dr. James called. She waved from the side of the room, where Belle was sitting on a wooden chair, wrapped in a pale pink blanket over a blue sweater that was much too big for her. She looked nervous and tired, but curious. Dr. James came over before he reached Belle, when they were out of an earshot.
"Listen, you should know, Rosie…" (Mr. Gold fought the urge to scream that her name was Belle) Lillian shook her head. "We're not sure what's wrong with her. It's something in her head. She talks about other places, other people… Be gentle with her." Mr. Gold nodded his consent, but he wasn't thinking of that just now, not entirely. Other people. Other worlds. Was it possible… was it truly possible…? But no, it couldn't be. He and Regina were the only ones that remembered… but what better way to sneak in memories than as delusions?
"Lillian, may I ask you something?" he glanced over at the beautiful brunette sitting just behind her, and the doctor nodded. "Why is she so bruised?"
Dr. James' face darkened.
"I'm working on an investigation of the psych ward. Let's leave it at that."
It was probably for the best, really. He didn't expect "murder by cane" was a charge that he wanted to face. For now, he took a few steps towards Belle, slowly.
"This is Mr. Gold." Lillian said, by way of introduction. "You'll be staying with him until you can come back to the hospital. Is that ok?" She asked. Belle looked at him skeptically. In response, he held out the hand not leaning on his cane to her.
"I won't hurt you, love. But you don't have to come if you don't want to." he said, though mentally he cringed as soon as the words were out of his mouth. Everyone knew that 'dearie' was a general name for anyone coming from Mr. Gold, but the only thing letting him get away with 'love' was the Scottish accent. Either way, he wasn't about to force her to come with him as he had before… and as he'd forced her to leave.
Belle reached out and placed her hand in his. Not one for conversation, it seemed. Dr. James nodded pleasantly.
"Archie will come over once every couple of days to check on her." she was whisked away before anything else could be said on the matter.
As they walked out to Gold's car, he decided it was probably best to start a conversation. The last thing he needed was her feeling uneasy or suspicious. The poor girl probably half-expected she was going to be raped, depending on how far gone she was.
"So, what's your name?" he asked, opening the passenger door for her.
"They call me Rosie at the hospital." She responded automatically, as if she didn't care anymore.
"No. Your real name. Your given name." he walked to the driver's side and closed the door. The car pulled out. Belle glanced over at him, and her expression was unreadable.
"Why do you want to know?" she asked.
"Because I need something to call you that doesn't sound like a toddler." He said flatly, turning a corner.
"Isabella Rose French." she breathed. The words felt good coming off her tongue. Finally to have a real name rather than a six-year-old's playground nickname her father had given her. They treated her like a child, but she was most definitely not.
"Well, Isabella Rose French," he began with a slight smile, "may I call you Belle?"
Belle. The word sounded beautiful. It wasn't unfamiliar, it was… something else, something she hadn't felt for a long time. It sounded like home.
"I like that." She said with a smile. Oh, it was like sunshine seeing her smile.
"What did your father call you?" Mr. Gold asked. Belle bit her lip.
"He called me Rosie, too. It was my mom's favorite flower, so I think after she died… I think he always wanted her back, you know? Garin called me that, too. I always hated it." She opened her mouth to say something else, but then stopped. "Sorry. I- I don't know why I'm telling you this…" Why was she telling him this? It had taken weeks for them to even get her to talk to anyone at the psych ward, and yet, around him she felt… calm. Natural. Safe.
"It's perfectly alright." He didn't know what else to say about that, so they were silent for a spell. Mr. Gold's house wasn't far, and now they were turning into the drive. The car stopped soon, and they stepped out in front of Gold's house. The place was large, but not so overly huge as the mayor's manor. Once inside, he led her up the steps and to the left, into a large guest room where she would be staying.
"My room is on the lower floor." Gold said. Belle was surprised- he'd purposefully thought to tell her that. Perhaps his intentions really were well-meant. He walked over and opened a wardrobe beside the bed, inside which were two or three dresses, some shirts, and a few pairs of pants hanging on a rod. "I'm afraid I don't have much in the way of clothing. I wasn't sure what size you were, but I did my best."
It was more than anyone had tried to do in a long time.
"The bathroom is there-" he gestured with his cane, "And if you need anything give a shout."
"Wait!" she called as he was leaving. He turned.
"Why me?" she asked. "Why did you pick me? There were a lot of easier people to pick."
Gold just stared. His Belle, his beautiful, brilliant Belle who came because she wanted heroism, because she wanted to be brave for her family, and got a broken heart for the bargain.
"Because you have no one, dearie, and I have no one, too."
Belle showered that night and changed from her ragged blue sweater into a soft nightgown she'd found lying on her bed. It was a bit big, but comfortable nonetheless. The walls of her room were lined with bookshelves, and she skimmed over them with eager fingers. It had been so long since she'd read a book…
But she didn't have the heart to read right now. She wasn't even sure what to think, to be honest, so Belle simply wrapped her old pink blanket around her and stared out the window. Storybrooke wasn't too bright in this part of town, and it was actually possible to see stars. Ursa Major was looming large and familiar in front of her window, in full view. She sighed at the memory of the last time she saw stars…
And then a pain washed over her head, and the world went white.
"That's the great bear."
"Bear? Looks like a shapeless lump to me."
"No," she laughed, "Just look. See the paws there, and the saddle on the back?" She turned to see a face both beautiful and frightening gazing back at her.
"I suppose." he said.
Then the world went white again and she was back at the window. A soft knock came at the door.
"Belle? May I come in?" Mr. Gold asked.
"Yes." She called back softly. The door creaked open.
"Belle! What's the matter? You look like you've seen a ghost." He walked over quickly, a concerned expression on his face. Belle realized for the first time that she was breathing hard. He skimmed over what little skin he could see, checking for bruises and burns that needed tending, but with the state she was in now it could wait until morning.
"I'm- I'm fine." She swallowed. "Just looking at the stars. I can see the great bear from here." He looked out the window where she had indicated.
"I never could see patterns in stars. Looks like a shapeless lump to me, I'm afraid." he admitted, turning to go. Belle froze.
It wasn't possible.
"Did she tell you I'm insane?" she blurted suddenly, but immediately wished she hadn't.
"What?" Gold looked extremely confused.
"Dr. James. Did she tell you I'm crazy?" she tried again, but added quickly, "It's alright, you can be honest. It doesn't bother me anymore." He waited a bit before responding, trying to gauge what the best way to put it might be.
"They told me you talk about other people." It was truth enough, and that was really all he'd been given. She nodded, trying to think of what to say next.
"I'm not crazy. I'm really not." she said suddenly. Gold simply raised his eyebrows and waited for her to go on.
"It's like," she began, thinking how to explain it as she went, "It's like these flashes come into my head, and they're like memories, only they're not. And I can only remember them for a second before they're gone." Gold paused for a second, caught off guard.
"Come downstairs." Was his response. "Let's talk about this in a more comfortable setting."