Summary: Before the curse, Rumpelstiltskin encountered a siren, who took the form of his true love. Although he has never met her, the Dark One vowed to search every world for this woman, and she would become his for all time.

Author's Note: Oh my goodness! I never would have thought of this plot line! It came to me as I was reading a novel about Anne Boleyn. Weird huh? I hope you like this one-shot.


Chapter One: A Vow

Rumpel wandered aimlessly through the Enchanted Forest after finishing a deal that took, a wrong turn. He had no set destination in mind and he had to clear his head of all these troubling thoughts. They warranted no peace.

His feet carried him to the edge of a lake, the surface glittering in the moonlight. As the water lapped over his boots, the center of the lake began to bubble. Something rose from underneath the surface-the willowy figure of a beautiful woman, seductively draped in a blood-red gown.

A siren.

"Good evening, Rumpelstiltskin," she called in a sweet voice. This siren had a milky heart-shaped face framed by silky, dark spirals. A light pink blush warmed the apples of her cheeks. Her blue eyes glowed as brightly as the water in which she waded. An inviting smile formed on her soft ruby lips. She walked toward him slowly, in a way that emphasized the rolling of her hips.

Any reasonable man would desire such a creature and be led to their doom.

Unfortunately, he was a man that would not take just any woman into his arms. Rumpel was never impressed with sirens. He stuck his nose in the air and scoffed at this one.

"What are you? Siren number 180 and counting? Did you hear what happened to your sister siren down at Lake Nostos?" He had to applaud Charming for being able to see through the siren's charm and do her in. If any guy were to fall head over heels for a mirror image of his truly beloved, Rumpel thought it would have been him.

The siren approached him and dared to stroke her hands up and down his leather-clad arms. He felt nothing close to arousal. Just increasing annoyance. He didn't have time or patience for this nonsense.

"Yes, it is unfortunate. All thanks to Prince Charming. Unlike her, I never fancied the handsome, good men in this world. I prefer dancing on the dark side. Don't you agree?"

Her hands worked their way over his chest, to the patch of exposed skin near his neck, all the while purring in his ear. He swatted her away like a bothersome fly, much to her dissatisfaction.

"Not a single siren in this land has ever been able to charm me. You won't be the first, dearie," he growled. The siren pouted her pretty lips. Even that was meant to be alluring, he suspected. Everything she did was part of a twisted, lustful game.

"You're so confident. I like it." She bent over at the waist, offering him a good view of her cleavage, and scooped up a handful of water. She poured it over her head. When the rivulets of water rolled over her skin, her features transformed into someone new. He found himself face-to-face with his first wife, Milah.

Now he definitely wasn't aroused. Any remaining affection he had for his wife died centuries ago.

"How do you like me now?" She asked, in Milah's grating voice. The siren had plucked the memory of Milah from his head without bothering to examine all the details. A mistake, on her part.

"If you're aiming for a death wish, you're doing wonderfully," he hissed. The siren finally looked frightened of what he could do. Once more she bent to collect the water at her bare feet, determined to locate the chink in his armor. He feigned a bored yawn. "If your next model is Cora, you'll only be wasting your time. Those flames have all gone out."

The dark halo of hair even grew darker. A stream of midnight sky flashed through his vision, the stars hanging beautifully around the sirens new face. Her eyelids parted and he stared into a set of sapphire eyes, full of fire and strength. Before him was a beautiful creature, only he had never seen this woman before in his life.

Who was she portraying?

The siren smiled victoriously when he remained speechless. "Now?" She whispered, bringing her mouth close to his ear. He felt her breath tickle his skin. Her hands wrapped around his shoulders, rooting him to the spot. "Is this more your taste? Do I match your true love now?"

True Loveā€¦

Those two words echoed through his head, drowning out all reason. This siren was portraying his future lover?

No! This wasn't real. He was the Dark One, Rumpelstiltskin, the beast that roamed this land. He was not a lovesick fool like Charming. He assumed he would be immune to the charm of a siren, but as usual he underestimated the functioning of his heart.

"You're not her," he roared, more for his own sake than this incessant siren. He backed away, his eyes roving over her attractive frame. "For one thing, I've never met her before."

"I can be her," the siren vowed. She began to circle him enticingly, her fingertips teasing his neck, weaving through his hair, caressing his cheek. "Imagine it. Your true love right here in your arms, you don't ever have to search for her. Why waste all that special time when you can kiss me right here?" The siren purred once more. "You only imagined it. What if I told you that now is your chance to have it? All your desires fulfilled. All you have to do...is kiss me, Rumpel."

She circled him once more, coming full-circle to stand before him. Her hands gently took his face and her lips sought out his.

This wasn't real.

Gritting his teeth angrily, he stopped the siren from sealing the deal by wrenching her head back with a fistful of black hair. She squeezed her eyes shut in pain and her hand flew to his fist, trying to shake it loose. It was a hopeless effort.

"Rumpel, please-" She pleaded, but her pleas fell on deaf ears.

"Stop! You are not her," he shouted. "Whoever this woman is, you are not her! She would be real while you're just an illusion of her!" With her hair still caught in his fist, he thrust the other hand in her chest, his fingers clawing for her beating heart. A scream tore out of her throat when he ripped it out. The heart had several blots of black marring the red tissue. Focusing solely on her heart, he crushed it in his fist. A stream of dust spilled at his feet.

He released the siren. Her lifeless body sank into the water. It no longer resembled his true love. At the moment of her death, she regained her true face-the dark-haired beauty that first rose from the water. It was nothing but an illusion.

Haunted by his dark thoughts, he turned and headed back the way he came, back to his castle. He made a vow then, to find this woman, and never let her go.