Several anons prompted: What happens next?
Anonymous prompted: Past!Rumple and Past!Belle having seen Present!Rumbelle have sex etc etc start to unnaturally (way before their time) get a lot closer which massively alarms Present!Rumple who knows that any changes in the time line are bad… especially potential early TLKs and most alarmingly the idea that Past!Rumple might try to hold onto his budding romance and not take the memory loss potion when eventually commanded.
Much love to tinuviel-undomiel for the use of her head canon about Rumple's ring!
A split second before their lips met, Rumplestiltskin went sailing backward through the air, hitting the far wall with a thud.
"No kissing," Rumple ground out as Belle sank to the bed in relief. They'd just come so close to losing everything.
"What the hell was that for?" the past Rumplestiltskin spat out, standing from where he'd landed on the ground in a crumpled heap.
"We're true love," Belle said simply. "And true love can break any curse."
Rumplestiltskin looked confused for a moment before her meaning dawned on him. "Any curse?" he asked, his face suddenly fearful.
Belle nodded. "We found that one out the hard way."
"Will someone explain to me what's going on?" the past Belle asked from where she was still kneeling on the floor, arms outstretched to where Rumplestiltskin had so recently been.
"My power, my magic, it is derived from a powerful curse," Rumple explained. "But true love is stronger. One kiss from you, and my curse will break."
"It would completely destroy our timeline," Belle added.
The past Belle sunk back on her heels looking stricken. "We're true love?" She wrapped her arms around her chest, then looked to Rumple pensively.
"Is that what happened to you?" she asked. "Is that why you look different?"
"No," Rumple shook his head. "My magic just manifests itself differently because of my time spent in the land without magic."
The younger Belle looked confused. "But the two of you kiss. I've seen it – and other things," she added blushing. "Why doesn't the curse break for you?"
Belle glanced at her fiancé. Truth be told she'd wondered the same thing herself on multiple occasions. When Rumple still had his Dark One powers after their first kiss in Storybrooke, she'd feared they were no longer true love, that all the trials and tribulations they'd gone through had somehow broken what was between them. Rumple had assured her that wasn't the case. He'd explained that magic worked differently in Storybrooke. But now they were back in the Enchanted Forest, and it still hadn't broken.
"I understand why your curse doesn't break in the land without magic, but why hasn't it broken here?" she asked him.
Rumple looked guiltily from one Belle to the other.
"Because I'm willing it not to," he said simply.
"What?" Belle asked sharply. "How?"
"With this," he replied, holding up his right hand where his moonstone ring glinted in the soft candlelight of the room. "Magic works differently in Storybrooke, this is true. Magic is not native to that land. Here in the Enchanted Forest it abounds. I can pull it from the ether and have it do my bidding. But even after I introduced magic to the new land, I still wasn't powerful enough. Even the Dark One's Curse needs the magic of a realm to fuel itself, like a battery pack."
"What the fuck is a battery?" the shirtless Rumplestiltskin asked from where he was still leaning against the wall Rumple had thrown him into.
"So I created this," Rumple continued as though he hadn't been interrupted. "It acts as a harness for my power, a conduit between worlds. It can pull the magic from one realm to fuel my curse. I wasn't sure how it would work in this realm, but I suppose it's a reverse of how it works in Storybrooke. It's insulating me from the full ramifications of my curse. That's why I look human, that's why I can kiss you."
"But if you took it off –" Belle prompted.
Rumple slid the ring from his finger, clasping it tightly in his left hand. A shimmer of magic seemed to enshroud him and a moment later he was left in his imp form complete with wavy hair, reptilian eyes and shimmering golden scales.
The past Belle gasped looking back and forth between the now identical Rumplestiltskins.
The past Rumplestiltskin finally seemed to come back to himself.
"She's too dangerous!" he exclaimed, pointing at the past Belle warily. "Why did you not send her away? Why is she still with us?"
"Because we're true love!" the past Belle yelled back, finally standing from her place on the floor. "Weren't you listening? Does that mean nothing to you?"
Rumplestiltskin crossed his arms against his chest, shaking his head warily. He looked up at the past Belle, pain etched in his features.
"Baelfire," he croaked out. "You can't make me choose. If it's one or the other, it will always be him."
Belle looked at her fiancé, willing herself not to cry. He'd lost the most important person in the world to him. She knew he loved her, but he'd never be whole without his son.
"He's not dead, just lost," the past Belle quoted. "This is about your son. You need your power to find him, don't you?"
Rumplestiltskin nodded, looking down at his feet.
"You silly man," she gasped. "How could you think I would ever try to keep you from that?"
Rumplestiltskin looked up at her, surprised. "But I can't kiss you. We can't be together until I find my son."
"I can wait," Belle said, walking forward to grip the imp's hands. "We'll find him together, and then we can be together. That's what happens, right?" she asked, turning to the future Rumple and Belle. "If we take the memory potions, everything will work out as it should."
Rumplestiltskin shook his head. "We won't remember. We won't know we're true love. What if we accidently kiss and my power is stripped from me? We can't forget, we have to remember or I might never find my son."
"If you take the memory potion, it will be like none of this ever happened," the future Belle inserted. "Everything will play out exactly as it has. If you don't you could jeopardize the entire timeline."
"But I'll lose you," Rumplestiltskin protested. "I'll forget that I love you."
"And we'll get to discover it all over again," the past Belle said with a sad smile, cupping his cheek. "Nothing can stop true love Rumple. Not even a little bout of amnesia."
The future Belle grimaced at that, reaching out to clasp her Rumple's hand. If only her past self knew how much amnesia she was in for.
"You know," she said, pulling on Rumple's scaled hand. "You could give them the chance to kiss just once."
Rumple's brow wrinkled as he looked at her.
"The ring," she said, gesturing to where it was still clasped in his left hand. "It should work the same way on him."
Rumple shrugged, "I suppose it would."
He tossed it over to his past self who caught the ring easily in one hand. He looked at the past Belle warily before slipping the ring on his finger. With a shimmer of magic, he was human once more.
Rumplestiltskin looked down at his pale chest in wonder, running his hands over the smooth skin.
"It worked," he gasped. A moment later he had seized Belle around her waist and hauled her to him. She cupped his cheeks gently as he fisted his hands in the fabric of her nightgown. Then he bent his head to kiss her gently.
Belle wound her fingers in his soft brown hair, sighing into his mouth. Rumplestiltskin deepened the kiss, coaxing her mouth open and massaging his tongue against hers.
The future Belle turned back to her fiancé, grabbing him by the hand and pulling him from the room.
"Lets give them some privacy, Rumple."
"But, my ring," he protested. "I need it back. We were in the middle of something, dear."
"So don't kiss me," she smirked, slapping him on his leather-clad bum as she sauntered off down the hallway, blue skirts swishing behind her.
Rumple glanced back at their past selves, still locked in a passionate embrace. Rumplestiltskin had wrapped his arms around Belle's waist and that seemed to be the only thing keeping her upright. He had a sudden pang of sympathy for his past self being forced to watch he and Belle these past few days. It was a highly uncomfortable feeling.
"You've got twenty minutes," he barked at them. Then he slammed the door behind him, rushing off to find his Belle.