Chapter Fifteen: A Bargain

Jefferson never received visitors at his mansion-like home. But even if he had, the man never would have guessed that Mr. Gold would come knocking on his door.

And as he watched the older man gracefully sit down in one of his red chairs in his vast living room, the Hatter couldn't help the grin that crept to his lips. Though the two men had been at odds many times over the years, Jefferson had to admit that he had missed the Dark One's company and deal-making antics.

Jefferson took the seat opposite of Gold and reached out for the tea he had been drinking before he had answered the door.

"So, what item do you have that I want, Rumpelstiltskin?"

Gold smiled and shook his head with a chuckle. "I really have missed you, Jefferson. I forgot how much of a pleasure you are to work with. Always right to the point with no formalities and no beating around the bush."

"I do my best," Jefferson replied, returning the smile as he downed the remaining contents of his teacup. "Now propose your deal so I can either accept or refuse. I was in the middle of a project."

Gold's smile instantly tightened, but he didn't seem surprised. Jefferson was much like the Dark One with his constant side deals and trades.

"Have it your way." Then Mr. Gold reached into his innermost jacket pocket and pulled out a small wrapping. He turned it in his hands and slowly pulled the cloth off of the object.

Jefferson looked skeptical as he eyed the piece of delicately carved wood in Mr. Golds' hand.

"Is that what I think it is?" The Hatter breathed hopefully.

Gold nodded, "A very rare item indeed, this. I only recently acquired it. I thought that it might come in handy someday."

Jefferson grimaced. "It won't work though. . . There's no magic in this world. The wood is useless."

"I wouldn't say that," Gold said with a smirk. "The magic remains dormant within the item, but with the proper coaxing, I am optimistic that it would open the doorway you need."

"What's the catch," Jefferson asked.

Gold shook his head, "There is none, Jefferson. The wood will open a doorway to another land, where your daughter will remember you, and you will have the life you always wanted."

The young man laughed. "Can I have that in writing? It sounds too good to be true."

Once again the Dark One reached into his jacket and withdrew a smart looking piece of paper, which offered his old partner. "I thought you might be a bit skeptic, so I drew up the contract before I came."

Jefferson reached for the contract and began to read it. When he was finished, he felt almost giddy. "I never thought of you as a generous man, Rumpelstiltskin. But this offer may have just changed my mind."

Gold nodded, "Narnia is a beautiful land. I'm sure you and your girl will be happy there."

Jefferson smiled and for the first time in what felt like years, it actually touched his eyes.

"I noticed that the contract merely stated that I do you a favor in return for passage to Narnia." Jefferson lifted an eyebrow. "Name your favor?"

Mr. Gold shifted in his chair and his eyes darkened, making the Hatter even more curious. The Dark One met Jefferson's gaze and when he spoke his voice was almost unrecognizable.

"Regina has an compound based underneath the Storybrooke hospital where she is keeping something that is mine. I wish for you to retrieve her for me."

"Her," Jefferson repeated in confusion. "You mean the possession you want me to bring you is a person?"


Jefferson shrugged, "Alright. You'll have to give me a full description of her, as well as, as much information about the layout of the facility as you can."

"I can do that," Gold promised with a nod. "Do we have a deal?"

Jefferson held his hand out to his old employer. "Yeah, we have a deal, Rumpelstiltskin." Once the two had shook hands, the Hatter signed the contract and had gotten his description of the girl and the grounds.

Jefferson felt content as he walked Gold to the door and watch as the crippled man began to climb down the porch steps.

"Wait," the Hatter called anxiously, making Gold stop and turn back towards him.

"What is it?"

"The girl you want me to rescue . . . What's her name?"

Mr. Gold eyes seemed to glow in the darkness as he answered, "Belle."

Author's Note:

I'm so sorry guys. I take forever to update and I always promise I'll update the next chapter faster. I'm sorry that I keep you all waiting! Please accept my apologies!

You are all great and I love you! Thank you for all your reviews, faves, watches and input on this story! You are all amazing!

~Lyn Harkeran