Where Nightmares and Darkness Meet


One month after Rumplestiltskin and Belle are married nightmares begin to plague Storybrooke, each more terrifying than the one before. While Henry sees it as an opportunity to grow closer to his grandfather while they search for answers, they may find that even nightmares can have dangerous outcomes when mixed with powerful magic. AU. Departure in Snow Drifts. Rumbelle. Mention of SwanFire. OutlawQueen and Snowing in the background.

I feel I should place some sort of warning that there may be a bit of violence in this one... I'm not sure how much the warning is needed, as there's always violence in my stories, but you have now been warned :)

Chapter One

He was running. The streets were mostly clear, but he knew it wouldn't be long until they found him. That's what happened when a person was trapped by lines that marked the town's limits - the curse's limits - and kept that person in. It headed off any real hopes for escape. He hated running, but he hated the thought of dying more.

One wrong step and his right ankle buckled. It held his weight better now than it had in many years - Neverland might be a terrible place, but belief made anything solid, even shattered bones - though every once and a while it liked to remind him just where he'd come from. Just where he belonged.

He stumbled, catching himself with one hand against the pavement and was up again. The pause took too long, though, and a sharp cry left him as an arrow buried itself in his back, just between his shoulder blade and spine. The momentum sent him stumbling forward again and he hit the ground harder this time, rolling. Pain raced through him, starting at the entry wound and reaching around his back and down his arm. He pulled in shaking, pained breaths. He'd been shot with arrows before, but his curse had always taken care of it for him. He supposed he should have realized that it would hurt more without full access to it.

Focus. He had to focus. He was sprawled out on the main street now, breaths coming in gasps and he pulled his left arm under him to do what he could to get upright. The shaft had had broken and splintered when he'd rolled, but the head of the arrow was still buried deep in his back, every movement shifting it just a little and bringing with it a new level of pain.

"Not so fast," a voice said from behind and he turned, seeing one of his pursuers stalking closer, sword in hand and ready to strike.

It was only a matter of time, he reminded himself. Without killing them all, he really had no hope of escape. He was limited by the curse he'd written and bound by its restrictions to the town. He'd been running for so long now that it was almost a relief to stop. He wondered if they might even succeed in killing him. At least then he could have a glimmer of hope that he could see Bae again. It was something, and he had to cling to something to keep from drowning in the madness of the situation as the others had.

He raised a shaking hand, half propped up on the pavement and trying not to put pressure on the wound that still had one of Snow White's arrows sunk deeply into it. "David," he said slowly, trying to calm him. "I didn't do it."

"Liar!" the shepherd prince growled and he found the sharp tip of the younger man's blade pressed against his chest. His blue eyes were glassy with tears and the pinned man knew his agony. He was just certain that he hadn't been the cause of it.

"Please just listen."

"I think we've heard enough," Snow White - Mary Margaret in this place - said as she strode forward, another arrow already fitted into her bow and ready to take aim at him. What was her plan? Pin him down with a dozen arrows and see if his curse finally gave and let him die? He wasn't entirely sure how far it would take him, nor was he eager to find out.

Survival instincts flared and though he'd promised himself and the only people in his life that still mattered that he wouldn't kill these two - even in self defence - it didn't stop the burst of magic that swept them both off their feet. He stumbled to his own and the instant, flaring pain nearly took him right back down to the ground. He had to run. He couldn't stop. If he stopped they really would do their damndest to kill him.

He hadn't counted on David being so fast, or perhaps he hadn't counted on his own reflexes being so slow, but the blond prince was up again in an instant, sword clutched in one hand and vengeance shining in his eyes. It was strange, but for all their talk of what was good and right, when it came down to it they were just as susceptible to it as he was. He'd killed Zelena because she had murdered his boy, and now-

A hand grabbed the expensive fabric of his shirt and spun him around. Another denial danced in the back of his throat, ready to spring forward, but only a terrible gasp left him as Charming's blade tore through him and his legs gave way. The prince held onto him and dark eyes met tearful blue ones that held all the anger that a father could hold in them. "You killed her."

"I didn't," his injured captive managed, held upright by the blond that still had a grip on his shirt and the sword that was pressing against his ribs as he tried to collapse to the ground. His lungs weren't working properly and every inch of him now hurt, though he was growing number and number with each ragged, hitched breath. He tried to focus, to get his feet under him so that at least it would be the hand clutching at him that kept him up and not the sword still inside of him. "David, I didn't kill Emma."

"What's the point of lying now? We saw you. We saw everything. It's over, Gold. You're never going to hurt anyone in this town ever again."

The prince twisted the sword and a pained, raw scream left his throat.

She wasn't sure what woke her, but Belle came to wakefulness with a start. She found herself staring at a familiar ceiling and blinked a time or two before remembering that there was a clock next to the bed. Four-thirty in the morning. The blue shining numbers pierced the otherwise dark room and she tried to cut through the fogginess of sleep to find out what might have woken her from an otherwise peaceful night.

The bed jolted as the man that had been tossing and turning next to her sat straight up, brown eyes wide with sudden wakefulness. Rumplestiltskin sat there for a moment, gulping in deep breaths like a man that had been denied oxygen. That was the only movement he made though as he sat in his place, muscles taut and fingers gripping the bedsheets like he was hanging on for dear life. He still hadn't looked away from where his dark eyes had fixated on the far side of the room, likely at nothing in particular. Belle reached out to him, careful not to startle him any more than whatever nightmare he'd been battling had. "Hey," she whispered, touching his shoulder and fining him trembling now. They'd been married nearly a month and this was not the first time he'd woken in such a way. He wouldn't talk about it at length yet, and she often had to remind herself to be patient. He'd lost his son to the woman that had held him prisoner for nearly a year. There was no telling what that vile woman had done, and pushing him too hard would only make her love retreat deeper. Rumplestiltskin had never been the sharing type, but this emotional pain was taking its toll on him and she could see it wearing heavier and heavier every day.

She'd been patient long enough. She promised herself she'd give when he needed her to, but not before.

"Rumple," she murmured, gaining his attention with her quiet voice. She leaned forward and pressed a kiss to his shoulder, her lips lingering against the silk material of his sleeping shirt. Despite the frigid temperatures outside that had crept its way through the old house's many loose boards and windows the shirt was drenched in sweat. Whatever or whomever he'd been fighting had left him with no rest to be had. "Was it like the others?"

He shook his head. The most she'd gotten from him on the previous nights they'd woken in this way was that the dream had been about Bae or about Zelena, but nothing past that. He'd brushed it off, either rising for the day or allowing himself to sink into her arms and try to find sleep if it was still early enough in the night to do so. When he pulled away was the hardest for her to accept, because those were the moments when she felt helpless. True Love might have been the most powerful magic of all, but it couldn't heal the man she loved, no matter how hard she tried to be there for him, to love him just a little more. It couldn't erase the pain he was in.

"Will you tell me about it?" she prompted and received another jerky shake as he pulled away.

"No," he whispered distantly. "It's just a nightmare. Not a vision. It doesn't make any sense for it to… It's just a nightmare."

Belle's brows knit as she reached for him, fingers catching his hand as he threw off the covers. She'd always thought that his nightmares were of the past. It must have been terrible not to know for sure if a dream could become your reality, especially when the dream was a nightmare that plagued you over the most recent bout of terrible pain. "She's gone, Rumple. She can't hurt you anymore."

"It wasn't Zelena," he said roughly as he stood. "It was me."

She didn't have a chance to ask what he meant by that as he moved stiffly around the bed and to the bathroom door next to her side. He didn't want to talk about it, so she told herself to be patient. The others might not see it - he'd never let them see it - but his time in captivity had done him more harm than would ever show on the surface. Even she didn't think she understood it to the full extent, but at least he knew he didn't have to face it alone.

Rumple pushed the door closed and Belle heard the sound of the shower clicking on. The old pipes moaned and groaned as hot water rushed through them. There was no point in going back to bed now, she thought as she pushed back the covers too. He would have been getting up for the day in half an hour anyway. With some luck, she might be able to convince him to join her at Granny's instead of eating at the house. A fresh layer of snow would be on the ground outside and it wasn't like anyone would be by the shop that early anyway. It would do him some good to get out and get his mind off of it.

A soft buzzing sound caught her attention and Rumple's cell phone was lit up on his nightstand. Belle reached across the bed and her fingers touched the vibrating phone, pulling it closer and finally into her hands. It was four-thirty in the morning. Who in the worlds was calling him?

Emma's name flashed across the screen and Belle's brows drew together as she flipped the phone open to answer.

The water was hot enough to leave his skin red and make his head spin. He needed that though. Rumplestiltskin needed something that should be able to wash away the last dregs of sleep and bring him back around to reality. He'd had more than his share of dreams and nightmares since Bae had died. He'd slept as little as his very human body would allow while he'd been confined to Zelena's cage. Again and again he relived his son's death, not to mention Cora's eldest's assertion of her power. She'd made sure he knew who was in charge, and he had the scars to prove it. He covered them, just as he covered the weight he'd lost during his captivity, with an easy glamour spell. Even Belle hadn't seen them all. At least there were no new ones to add to the old.

Rumplestiltskin leaned heavily against the tiles, the water soaking him. The dream he'd woken to that morning was a new one that had, as far as he could tell, nothing to do with either Bae or Zelena as all the others seemed to be. He had been the villain, even if he had been certain of his own innocence. He had no reason he could think of that he would want to harm Emma Swan. She was the woman his son had loved and his grandson's mother. She irked him often - with her lineage, there really was no hope otherwise - but as far as he was concerned she was family, and family meant everything. It was a nightmare, not a vision. Anyway, he'd been trapped within the town lines. He couldn't be certain, but he thought it was likely that her death might end that issue even now.

It was a nightmare, not a vision. He was certain of that the more he woke up.

He wasn't sure how much time had passed when he finally switched the water off, his lungs feeling like they were filled with the same steam that filled the bathroom. Rumplestiltskin swayed as he stepped out, towelled himself off, and opened the door.

While he'd expected Belle to be up - sadly in the short time that they'd been together after his return this late night/ early morning bit was beginning to turn into a ritual - he hadn't expected her to be dressed. Her hair was pulled back and she was dressed casually, but she was pulling on her boots as he ran a towel across his hair. "Sweetheart, if you were wanting to go out for breakfast, I'm afraid Granny's won't be open for another hour yet."

"We're not going to Granny's," his love responded as she tightened the laces to the knee high boots she'd chosen. "Emma called while you were in the shower."

The savior's name sent chills down his spine as he thought of David's grief-ridden accusations. "What could she have wanted this early?"

"Someone broke into the shop last night."

That caused the owner of the shop in question to frown deeply and his magic swirled around him, replacing the sleeping pants that he'd slipped back into and shirt with his more usual suit and tie. It was in perfect condition without a wrinkle to it and his wife rolled her eyes at the display but didn't say anything. She'd become much more comfortable with his casual magic use than when he'd first brought magic back. Somewhere along the way Belle seemed to realize that a bit of magic wasn't going to send him spiralling into state of pure evil and that it could often be useful. In moments like this it was not only useful, but quicker.

"Did she say anything else?"

"Not really. She didn't sound happy at having been woken up to a late-night robbery."

"Early morning, rather," her husband answered and he held a hand out to her.

Belle took it, her smile tired as the walked hand-in-hand down the stairs and to the car. The roads were icy and slick, so the drive was slow going, but he much prefered to drive over there rather than walk in this weather. The snow was still falling, though not nearly as heavily as it must have during the night, and at least it provided a layer of protection to the ice.

Emma Swan was waiting inside the shop, the front door partially off its hinges. She looked almost bored as they entered, and her first reaction was to glare a bit at the shop owner as if it had been his fault that someone had decided to put their thieving ambitions into play in the wee hours of the morning. "People do like to rob you, don't they?"

"It would seem so," Rumplestiltskin answered, dusting the snow off his jacket as they entered. He offered to take Belle's coat as she shrugged it from her shoulders, the wedged heels of her boots tapping against the wooden floor softly as she moved to see what damage had been done.

"Looks like they jarred the door open and went looking for something. Stupid question, I know, but anyone in particular that might hold a grudge?"

Dark eyes peered at Storybrooke's savior and he moved slowly through the showroom. Drawers had been pulled out, papers were scattered, and books had been taken from the shelf and tossed about. The glass on the main display cases weren't broken, but one small case that held a set of knives had been shattered, one of the knives tossed to the side as if it had offended the thief. Paintings had been pulled from the walls and even displays along the main part of the room had been shifted and moved. Someone was looking for something in particular. "At some point perhaps, but nothing as of late, I don't believe," Rumplestiltskin answered as he bent to take hold of a stray object. His fingers touched an old leather ball and he could feel his chest begin to tighten as memories flooded to the forefront of his mind.

"Well, someone was aiming for you. No one else got hit. No one's come in looking for something? Maybe an object that was put down with the latest curse that you wouldn't give back?"

"I'm not a thief, Miss Swan. In case you didn't notice I'm the one that's been robbed,"

Emma snorted. "Anything missing, Belle?" she asked and Rumplestiltskin bit his tongue before the another barb rolled off of it. Belle had taken care of his shop while he'd been held by Zelena and he had only recently opened up for business again after their honeymoon. In that time she'd done her own cataloging, her own arranging. He hadn't noticed in his very first moments back after he'd been sent away by Regina - who had still held the dagger at the time - after they'd had a few harsh words between them about the fact she'd used it to control him. He'd been so overwhelmed by everything that all he'd wanted was to find comfort in Belle. The shop had waited and as it stood, he'd hardly gotten things back into the order he preferred.

"It looks like whoever broke in was looking for something specific." Belle shot her husband a meaningful look as she set the case of knives back upright, careful of the broken glass.

"Or they were children acting on a bet," he answered with a shrug. He knew as soon as he met her eyes that Belle wasn't buying it for a minute, but Emma snorted a laugh.

"I could see it. Let me know if you guys find anything missing." She turned what she seemed to think was an intimidating glare on the Dark One. "And if you happen to think of anyone it might be, come to me with it. Don't handle it yourself."

Rumplestiltskin flashed her his most innocent smile. "Whatever so you mean?"

Emma rolled her eyes. "You know exactly what I mean," she groused. "Belle?"

"We'll give you a call if we find something for you," Belle promised.

Dark brown eyes watched her carefully as she turned, pulling her jacket a little closer as she marched her way out to the bug she'd driven over in rather than the police car. Rumplestiltskin waited until he heard the car door close before he righted the door to to his shop with a flicker of his hand and swept another spell out to search every nook and cranny for things that Emma would have never found. He knew she'd been looking before they got there and she had whatever evidence she thought she needed, but now it was his turn.

"Is there a reason you don't trust Emma?" Belle asked softly.

"What makes you think I don't trust her?"

His wife smiled and he saw her step closer out of the corner of his eye. "Because you haven't trusted anyone with anything since you've come home."

He stopped. The spell could search without him and he turned toward the love of his life. "I trust you."

"Do you?"

His breath caught in his throat and he wondered for a moment if she knew about the switched dagger and the secret he kept. No, he decided after a minute, that was a big enough lie that if she knew - when she found out, a small, terrible little voice prodded at him - there'd be no stopping that avalanche of a conversation. "I love you," he said softly, the words more true and honest than most he spoke these days.

"I know," Belle answered with that knowing smile of hers and she took his hands in hers. "Just promise me that when you're ready, you'll tell me."

"Tell you what?"

"I don't know. All I know is that there's more to what happened than you've told me, and Rumple, I know it hurts and I know that it frightens you, but that's not weakness. That's being human."

He stared, unable to process the words completely for a moment. This woman that stood before him was more than he could ever possibly deserve. Every time he teetered on the edge, about to fall over, she caught hold of him and pulled him a step or two away. His fears and his own whispering curse might never let him be pulled entirely back, but she kept him from drowning in it. She gave him strength.

Rumplestiltskin's thin lips quirked at the sides and he pressed a kiss to her forehead affectionately. "What about breakfast at Granny's once we finish taking a look?"

Belle gave him a knowing look. "You never want to go to Granny's anymore."

"But you do."

The smile was a just barely restrained grin trying to break free as his love tipped up on her toes and pressed a kiss to his lips. "I think that would be perfect. Now, why do you really think someone broke in?" She smiled at the attempt at an innocent look. "I know you, Rumplestiltskin, and you don't think it was a dare. You never did."

The Dark One moved to the countertop as his spell finished, bouncing back to him like a rubber ball set loose. It popped once off the floor and into his hands and he held it up for inspection so that his clever wife could see it as well. The images swirled together tightly and eased themselves out one by one into something useful. "No," he answered softly as she joined him to look, "I should say not."

Things had been unnervingly quiet since Zelena's death, and that alone made the town's sheriff a little nervous. They'd stayed because Henry wanted it, and in the end, if she wanted to admit it or not, this was home. Emma had searched for her family her whole life and as much as she wanted to keep her son safe, he'd never be happy away from them now that he remembered his grandparents and his adopted mother. His father was buried there and those that he'd come to love growing up were all in Storybrooke. Henry wanted it, and in the end, Henry had won out.

The fact that it had been so very quiet after the strange and questionable suicide of the Wicked Witch of the West - well, with the exception of a near-disaster that was the time portal opening up and nearly sucking in anything it could before they'd finally figured out how to shut the damn thing down - should have been something that made the savior feel a little more solid in the decision, but there was something strange about a break in at a pawn shop being the most adventurous thing that had happened in weeks. Granted, the fact that it was Gold's shop probably meant that there was more to it than what any of the rest of them knew on the surface, but what that actually was Emma could only guess. David would tell her she was looking for trouble where there really wasn't any and to enjoy the moments of peace.

The problem was that peace never seemed to be in the cards for long in her experience.

Even so, there hadn't been anyone try to curse Storybrooke in nearly a month now, people seemed to have settled back down into their previous lives, and even though they weren't certain if they were trapped within the town lines or not, people seemed almost content. Well, most of them anyway. Leroy never missed a chance to grouse about something or the other.

Emma shook her head as she pulled the door open to the diner, spotting her family sitting in a booth just inside. Granny could be heard shouting from the kitchen and Ruby grinned at her as she entered. "Cocoa and….?" she prompted.

"Can't I look at a menu first?"

"Do you really need to?"

The blonde rolled her eyes and shook her head. "Not really." She shrugged her overcoat from her shoulders, snow falling from it and stood waiting while her son scribbled frantically into a notebook, seemingly oblivious that she really wouldn't mind taking a seat and he was blocking the full booth. "Anytime, kid."

"Just a sec," he answered without looking up. His nose was almost touching the paper and the pen scratched desperately against it. When Emma tried to get a look at the words he snapped it closed and scooted over for her, grinning a grin that she was sure was all Neal. "Did you find them?"

"Find who?"

"Gramps told me when we got up that you'd gone to look into a break in at Mr Gold… at my grandpa's shop. Did you find out who it was? Did they take anything?"

Emma glanced over at her father who looked like he hadn't slept in days. She and Henry heard enough of little Neal's midnight screaming from their sectioned off bedrooms in the loft, but Mary Margaret and David had been struggling through the first stages of parenthood that they'd never actually been able to experience with her before. She'd thought she might be jealous of the little prince they'd named after Henry's father, but even at this early hour the sight of him brought a smile to her face and she reached over to him. "Hey, kiddo," she greeted and David passed him over willingly. "Woh. Okay then," she laughed as she found her arms full of baby brother.

"Well?" Henry prodded and she found him giving her the most expectant look.

"Well what? The door was jarred open and the place had been turned upside down. They're going to do inventory and get back to me to let me know what was stolen. We'll go from there."

"They? So Grandpa was there too?"

It still sounded weird to hear Henry call Gold grandpa, but he'd been trying his hand at it since he'd gotten his memories back and he remembered that he had two grandfathers in his life. It probably didn't hurt that Gold was his one blood relative that he shared with Neal. Henry had tried to be quiet when it came to it, but he was clinging to anything that had a connection to his father now. Emma had lost Neal too many times and, while it still hurt more than she liked to admit, she felt almost numb to the pain now, but her son - their son - missed him terribly.

Gold wasn't helping, of course. Gold never helped in anything that he didn't want to help in. For all his talk in Neverland of Henry being his grandson and being willing to give his life for him, he had barely bothered to speak to him since he'd come back. In fact, as far as Emma knew, they'd spoken only once, and that had been at Prince Neal's christening when Henry had cornered him. If the kid was hoping to find a connection to his father through his, Emma was worried he'd be disappointed.

"Well, it is his shop," Emma said dismissively.

"But I've barely seen him since… well since he died to save us."

"No one's seen much of him," David pointed out. "The man just got married."

Henry frowned and Emma leaned into him, nudging him with her shoulder. "So I can't do anything with that break in until Belle gets me that list."


"You want to go check out those apartments we saw?"

"Apartments?" Mary Margaret echoed immediately. "Why would you need to look at apartments?"

"Because we are way too cramped in there," her grown daughter pointed out, "and sooner or later Neal's going to need his own room, won't you kiddo?" she asked the little one still happily nodding off in her arms.

"That's the quietest he's been in a week," David whispered, as if he were afraid to break a spell.

"Yeah, well, what can I say? Guess I have the touch," Emma answered grinning. She turned back to her son. "You in?"

"Sure, I guess," Henry answered without any of his usual enthusiasm. He perked then, dark eyes wide with a newly struck idea. "Were Belle and Grandpa looking over everything when you left?"

"I'd assume they were if they want anything back."

Henry snatched up his notebook he'd been writing in and hopped over the top of the booth to the other side. "Cool. I'm going to go see what I can do to help. We can go look at apartments this afternoon, right?"

Emma started to protest, but couldn't move nearly as quickly as she might have if her brother hadn't been latched onto her. Mary Margaret offered her a smile from across the table. "Let him have his time. He found Neal only to lose him. That's tough on a kid. Who knows, maybe they'll help each other."

"Gold didn't seem to want to help," the blonde answered. "I just don't want him to hurt Henry, even if he doesn't mean to."

David chuckled, standing to round the table and take his son from his daughter's arms. "Henry's a tough kid. He comes by it naturally."

"Guess so," she said reluctantly.

"Good moments," her father reminded her and she laughed, shaking her head.

"Right. Good moments. While they last."

The snow was falling again as Henry slipped and skidded down the main street of the town he'd grown up in. It was a Saturday and only a few lights were on at this early hour, but there was only one light he really cared about. It was the one coming from a little shop on the corner with a black cadillac parked out front. The door to the shop wasn't off its hinges like Emma had said it was, but that was hardly a surprise. The man that owned it had written one of the most powerful curses ever to exist, a door must have taken nothing more than a brief thought.

He pushed it open, hearing the bell chime overhead and he felt a strange pulse, almost like electricity, rush through his fingertips. The showroom was quiet and still looked as if someone had been searching for something in a rush. He stepped forward, brushing his coat off as he went and starting to shed layers as the warmth seeped in.

"I'm sorry, I thought we'd locked the door," Belle's voice drifted from the back as she pulled at the curtain that separated the showroom from the office. "We're not open. Oh. Hello, Henry."

"Hey. Mom told me what happened, so I thought I'd come offer to help. That and-" He stopped, dark eyes catching his grandfather's as Rumplestiltskin came into the front. His expression tightened momentarily before evening out into masked uncertainty. "And I wanted to ask my grandpa a question," he finished, watching him carefully for the reaction that his dad's dad seemed so determined not to give. He had taken the first step to come here, now it was up to his grandfather to accept.

The shop owner pulled in a deep breath and offered a hesitant smile. "Good morning, Henry. You're here awful early."

"I couldn't sleep so I decided to catch breakfast with Grandma Snow and Gramps at Granny's. Mom came too, since she was over here so early. I know you're busy trying to figure out who broke in and everything, but I have a question if you have a second."

Rumplestiltskin looked over to Belle as if she'd offerer an answer to a question Henry didn't know, but she only smiled and tipped up on her toes to press a kiss on his cheek. "Why don't you two chat? I'll be in the back and let you know if I come across anything that's been taken."

He nodded slowly and turned his attention back to Henry, running a hand through his grey streaked hair before moving around to the counter to fiddle with something. "What can I help you with, Henry?"

"I had this weird dream last night," he said hesitantly and felt more than a little foolish as the words started to tumble out of his mouth. When he'd decided to come here for help, it had made sense. The nightmare had been so real, so different from anything else he'd ever known, that he'd thought there must be something more to it. His grandfather had visions, and while he hoped to everything that this hadn't been something that would ever actually happen, something inside had screamed that it was more than a nightmare. More than just a dream. In his experience, things in Storybrooke that seemed strange often were, and things that were strange were often fueled by magic. Who better to ask about magic than Rumplestiltskin?

Now, though, as his grandfather's dark eyes flickered up to meet his own, he felt like a little boy that had let a nightmare run away with him. He pushed a sharp breath out through his nose. He wanted to spend time with the elder man and get to know his dad's papa, but he didn't need to work up some magical problem to do that. "Nevermind. It's stupid."

"Somehow I doubt that," his grandfather said, his voice stopping him in his tracks as he meant to turn and leave. Rumplestiltskin was fully focused, and he didn't seem keen on allowing his grandson to leave it at that. "Go on," he urged gently and the small smile he gave him actually looked real.

Henry plopped the notebook on the counter between them. "I wrote it down so I wouldn't forget it," he explained as long, skilled fingers reached for it, flipping through the pages. Brown eyes narrowed as he read the words scrawled there and the teen felt more embarrassed than before. "I know you wouldn't hurt her," he defended softly. "I knew it in the dream. It's just… everyone was so sure. I don't know, it felt so real."

"May I borrow this?"

"My notebook?"

"Yes, if you don't mind."

Henry felt something clench tightly in his chest and his brows drew closer together. "Is there something to it, Grandpa? It… funny."

Rumplestiltskin stiffened a bit at the name and then seemed to relax again. "You have a good intuition, Henry. Let me take a look and I'll let you know what I find."

"Can we have lunch? Will you know something by then?"

A short chuckle escaped the pawnbroker and he closed the notebook. "I should, yes. How much I know is uncertain, but I'll give you a call and meet you at Granny's this afternoon when I have something. How does that work?"

Henry grinned. "Deal," he answered and that pulled another chuckle from the elder man. "I'll see you then."

His mom had bailed on apartment-looking more times than he could count since they'd finally decided to stay, so Henry was willing to cut it short if he needed to to spend time with his grandfather and get the answers that he needed. He had known there was something strange about that dream in which all of Storybrooke had been utterly convinced that Rumplestiltskin had murdered Emma Swan, and together they could find out just what it was.


Notes: Hat tip to AnimeGirl23 for inspiring part of the plot in this story. I can't go into what, specifically, or I'd be providing major spoilers first off, but she started this one off in a conversation that we had.

Likely this will be two times a week update rather than my usual three. I wanted to go ahead and put this up today, but starting next week I'll likely update on Mondays and Thursdays. The reason is that I'm determined to focus on my original work for NaNoWriMo this year. If anyone else is participating, let me know!

As always, I'm very interested to hear what you think!

Next time: Chapter Two, in which answers lead to more questions and Henry ropes his grandfather into Operation Sandman.