Title: all that he has
Author: Younger Dr. Grey
Summary: Skin Deep SPOILERS. All he has is an empty heart, a chipped cup, and the memories. Rumple/Belle. Angst.
Warnings/Spoilers: "Skin Deep"
Disclaimer: I own nothing. All rights for the characters and the world go to their owners. I, in no way, believe – or would lead others to believe – that I own Once Upon a Time.
Author's Note: I started writing this the moment Belle said the line about him only having an empty heart and a chipped cup. I fell so hard for these two. It's ridiculous.
all that he has
All he has is an empty heart, a chipped cup, and the memories. They are his prison. His shell to toughen his skin and warp his mind. He has many memories that make him sweat in even his happiest dreams. But these days - most days - they're of her.
She's fascinated by everything. The way the straw turns, the pictures the light makes on the walls, the cup. She pauses in polishing it, her eyes dancing with an easiness that reminds him of someone else, someone younger. She always seems so young.
"Imagine if this cup could talk. Imagine they all could, all of your furniture. I wonder what stories they would tell me."
Above all, she's fascinated by him. He deflects her focus time and time again, but, on occasion, he indulges.
"Mostly they would speak of what you don't - your despair, your neglect, your loneliness."
He does not look up to see the way her face pulls inward. He cannot afford such luxuries. He already lets her wander about. Anything more and... He doesn't look up.
Her voice is like a whisper when she speaks. Yet, he hears every word as if she spoke them straight into his ears, through them, to the blackened brain that controls him. "I am not lonely. I have you," she says. And his brain flashes to another person who only had him, to Bae's fate, to his own.
"You'd be better off alone," he says. They both would. He's sure of that no matter how much his mind turns. "Take a day to clean the upstairs." It is a dismissal. An order without his usual force. Perhaps that's why she does not listen.
"I already have."
He snaps at her, fury at them both exploding from within. "Then clean it again. Scrub the floors until they start telling you stories."
She stutters at that, stumbles over her thoughts that are too large for being locked away with him. "B-but they cannot."
He does look up then. His lips upturn into the sinister smile he does so well and he speakrs in the voice of the monster he fights to be. "Then make them." Her face falls and so does his resolve. He brings his gaze back to the straw that turns to gold. This he can handle. This he can control. Belle tries to speak to him again, but he forces himself to ignore her. Eventually, she does go upstairs.
She spends days up there, not even coming down for supper. He has to get her on the fourth day. He climbs the stairs to find her lying on the ground, ear pressed to the floor of Bae's bedroom. She is not thin, meaning she has fed herself when he retired to his room the last few days. Smart girl. So very smart. Too smart to be around. Too smart to keep. But he must. He cannot bear to lose her, even to herself.
He tells her to come downstairs but she refuses. Not until the ground sings. This is the second time she defies him. That in and of itself is brave. He turns fom the room without a word and does a spell in much the same fashion. It is not until he gets back to his chair that he hears it, the tales of the world. He shall not take her, but that doesn't mean he shall deny her. It is her wish to know the world. He grants it. Still, all magic comes with a price. The price of this is her love. He pays for that even now. Pays for his weakness, his humanity, his... silly fascination.
Mr. Gold sits behind bars. Henry and Regina are long gone. Emma pays him little mind. It is only because he no longer is pressured to that he admits, "You did not hear wrong, Ms. Swan."
Emma is silent a moment before she says, "I never do." She hesitates. He feels her eyes on him. "That cup in your hand - that what he took? That's it?"
He turns it over in his hands, traces the chip that not even he can spell away. He meets her eye.
"Sadly no. But it is enough. It's all I have." Or all he'd like to have at least.