A/n If you have not watched Skin Deep then you will be lost with this fic. This is my take of what both Rumple and Belle are thinking and feeling throughout the episode. Sometimes I will quote the episode word for word, sometimes I will just summarize. Either way, its a marking point to let you know where we are in the story and hopefully will make it easy to follow and an enjoyable read. And you know the drill, I don't own these peps, just borrowing them for my own enjoyment and hopefully yours! This is my first OUAT fic, so please feedback is greatly appreciated! Also with other fics I have written I have had trouble with formatting when uploading it to this site. Sometimes it will make my story run all together with no breaks, etc. If this happens, please know that I am working to correct it and come back at a later time to see the updated version. Thank you!
"If only he had come."
"Well he didn't, did he?"
Belles eyes flitted around the room from her betrothed to her father. She wasn't giving up. He would still come. He had to. If not her family, friends and people would perish. The whispers were that Rumpelstiltskin could never resist a deal. He would come. She was sure of it.
He father sank into his throne in a state of total dejection.. She knelt by his side, speaking words meant to comfort him. A loud knock on the great doors brought her to her feet, her heart racing with excitement. "It's him! It has to be him!"
Belle approached the door at her father's side, her breath increasing with each step.
"Open it." her father commanded. Belle leaned forward in anticipation. The door swung open to an empty hallway. Belle felt a sense of confusion and disappointment, her eyes searching the hallway.
"Well that was a bit of a let down." a voice spoke from behind her. Belle whirled around to see the golden man sitting quite comfortably in her fathers throne. She sucked in a wild breath as her heart rate doubled. He did not look the beast that she had always heard he was. His golden skin glinted in the candle light. Belle felt no fear, just merely curiosity.
Rumpelstiltskin eyes took in the lovely form in front of him. Belles beauty was legendary but the stories did not do her justice. As his eyes met hers he saw no fear. This intrigued him greatly as all in the land feared him deeply. How could this mere girl not fear him? He had planned on asking the king to give him a small serving staff to take care of his castle, but now upon looking at her he had a better idea.
Belle watched as Rumpelstiltskin walked around the room. She gave her head a small shake. This was the one everyone feared so? Wonder filled her and something else, something that she couldn't quite put her finger on.
"We sent you a promise of gold." The king said to him.
Was the man stupid? He had more gold than he knew what to do with and still continued to make more. He was rather insulted that the king wold offer him something that had so little value to him.
"My price is her." Rumple said pointing but not looking at Belle, his eyes on the king.
Belle attempted to swallow down her excitement and the slight fear that crept up on her. Gaston's arm came up in front of her. She hated when he touched her. Her skin crawled under his touch. Maybe this golden man would offer her an escape.
"She is engaged..to me." Gaston said. Belle fought the urge to smack Gaston, speaking as if she were merely an object in the room, as if she had no voice.
"I'm not looking for love." Rumple said. "I'm looking for a caretaker for my rather large estate."
"Get out!" Her father ground out between his teeth. "Leave!"
Gaston's hand came up and swept Belle backwards. Her eyes followed Rumple as he walked to the door. Her chance was about to walk out the door. Not only could he offer her an escape from a loveless marriage but she could be a hero to her people. A win-win situation as far as she was concerned. It was time to start making her own decisions. "No! Wait!" she cried in desperation.
Rumple stopped, his mouth turning up into a smile. He would not mind at all hearing that enchanting voice every day. But he would have to teach her to fear him.
Belle pushed Gaston's arm off her and walked over to Rumple. Her eyes met his unflinchingly. "I will go with you."
Rumple clapped his hand together and let out a mad little giggle. He smiled widely, watching her assert her independence to the others. Making her fear him would be a challenge that he looked most forward to, he thought.
"It's forever, dearie." You will never leave me, he thought with what he told himself was glee and nothing more. He loved getting his way.
"I will go with you forever." Belle said, excitement causing her heart to flutter wildly in her chest.
"Belle...Belle!" She heard her father calling to her but had a difficult time drawing her gaze from that of his.
She approached her father, guilt driving her footsteps. Her fathers voice thick with fear and concern. She loved her father dearly, but it was obvious that while he loved her, she was merely an object to be given into a marriage that she didn't want. Nothing would change her decision.
"Father, it has been decided." She said.
Rumple stepped over to them. He was not liking where this conversation was going. He needed to end this now.
"The deal has been struck." All in the room knew you did not go back on a deal with Rumple."Oh congratulations on your little war." Belle turned her gaze towards him as he spoke. She felt a strange but not unpleasant sensation on her skin where his hand rested on the small of her back.
Rumple felt the sensation as well and tried his best to ignore it. However when they turned to leave he made sure not to break contact with her. Maybe he didn't want to acknowledge the feeling but he didn't want to lose it either.
Belle looked around as they entered the castle. While it was very dim, it seemed like a beautiful castle. Not the kind of place a 'beast' would live. Belle wondered what other surprises awaited her.
"Wh-where are you taking me?" She gasped rushing to keep up with him.
"Let's call it your room." He said. Time to teach her fear and how insignificant she was here. He struggled to ignore a very strange feeling, like this was something that he didn't want to do. Was it guilt? No, how silly of him. He was to be feared and this petulant little female did not. So she needed to be taught. Wait, was he rationalizing? Strange...he had never had to do that before.
"My room?" Belle gasped out as she looked into the small cell. From one prison to another? Her mind had a hard time keeping up with what was happening.
Rumple gave her a shove and slammed the door. He turned and gave a made giggle. There, he did it. He quickly strode away, a flurry of emotions that he couldn't understand crashing down on him.
Belle pounded on the door. He couldn't' be serious. He was going to leave here here? For the first time since laying eyes on him she felt total terror.
Rumple sat at the head of his table ticking off what Belles responsibilities were. He could see the fear in her eyes but for some reason he did not feel the satisfaction that he was expecting.
Belle tried to answer him and concentrate on the task at hand.
"Oh and you will skin the children I hunt for their pelts." Belle gasped and dropped the tea cup that she was holding. Skin children? Maybe this hadn't been such a great idea after all. She looked at him frozen in fear.
The look on her face bothered him. "That one was a quip. Not serious." He felt a sense of relief when she smiled at him, the look of fear disappearing from her face.
Belle knelt down to gather the tea cup up. She looked sadly at the chipped tea cup. I hope it wasn't an antique or special to him in some way, she thought.
He looked at her kneeling on the floor, guilt tainting her features. She felt badly for breaking something of his? No one ever cared about how he felt. His brow furrowed in confusion. "It's just a cup." he said wanting to wipe the sad look off her lovely features. She stood smiling, placing the cup back on the tray. This young lady was quite a puzzle to him.
Spin the wheel...spin the wheel...forget...forget...Rumple sat at his wheel trying to ignore the confusing feelings that Belle was causing in him. He stopped the wheel as her soft voice reached him, enjoying the sound as he always did.
"Why do you spin so much?" Belle asked her curiosity getting the better of her.
He started to turn towards her but thought the better of it and turned back to the wheel. Forget...forget...
He slowly turned the wheel. "I like to watch the wheel. Helps me forget."
"Forget what?" She asked. He was such a puzzling creature. What could be so bothersome to him that he would need to forget?
He lifted his eyes over his wheel. Normally it was his past but today it was the feelings that she was stirring in him. Feelings that he had never felt before and the confusion they brought. He had thoughts about her that he had not had about a woman since his wife.
"I guess it worked." he said giving a mad laugh. Hearing her laughter her turned to look at her. That was a mistake. With her face lit up with laughter he was drawn from his seat to her by a pull he could not fight.
Belle turned her attention back to the curtains. Anything to fight down what she was feeling, whatever that was. She was unable to put a name to it. She just knew when she was around him she got a funny feeling in her stomach. As if a thousand butterflies were there trying to get out. It wasn't an unpleasant feeling, but it did bring her a great deal of confusion. The way his eyes would caress her skin as if she could actual feel his touch. Her skin would warm wherever his eyes would roam. It made her heart flutter and her body sing.
She felt more than heard his approach. She did not turn to him, but continued to tug on the curtains trying to free them. She looked at him. "What did you do? Nail them down?"
"Yeah" he answered his heart racing. He did not want her to see him in the light. Natural light just enhanced his ugliness. He no longer wanted her fear. He wanted something that he would not admit, even to himself.
His closeness was making the butterflies struggle twice as hard. She tugged at the curtains hard to ignore the feelings. Frustrated because she wasn't sure what she was suppose to do with these feelings or really what they meant. Frustration made her careless. The curtain gave way in her hand throwing her off balanced causing her to fall from the ladder.
Without thinking, Rumple stepped forward catching her light form as she and the curtain came tumbling down. He looked up at the window as sunlight bathed them both. His body tingled from the contact with hers, her arm wrapped around his neck. He looked at her, struck by her beauty as he held her, wondering how she wasn't repulsed by him full in the light.
Her eyes slowly climbed from his chest to his face. His golden skin shimmered in the sunlight. The butterflies went straight to her heart, fighting fiercely to be freed. Her body felt a fire with the contact of his. She saw something in his eyes she couldn't name, but it made her breath catch in her throat. "Thank you." she breathed.
The tingling sensation spread through out his body. When her eyes met his he felt himself start to harden. Shock and fear caused him to drop her suddenly. He stepped away bring his hand up in a defensive gesture.
She stumbled back slightly, trying to catch her breath. "Thank you." she repeated.
"No matter." He said quickly turning away lest she see signs of his desire.
"I'll um put the curtains back up." she said with a sheepish grin.
Wait, no! He thought. He looked at her form again glowing in the sun light. This is how she belonged, shining in the sun. "I'll get used to it." He said. He turned and walked back to his wheel rubbing his fingers into his hand, still able to feel the tingling sensation, puzzling over what had just transpired.
Belles gaze followed him. While these feelings were confusing, she was very much enjoying it. She smiled as she watched him. If only he could see what she saw...
He looked up at her as he poured himself a cup of tea into the chipped cup. Her beauty and the feelings that she caused him brought him confusion and fear. She brought him confusion and fear.
Belle felt drawn to him everytime he was in the room. Her feet moved at their own accord, she having very little control over her body when he was around.
Rumple moved away from her as she approached him, the speed of his heart quickening. She stopped and sat upon the table. He turned towards her, fighting the urge to go to her. She looked him up and down causing his loins to tighten. Why does she keep doing this to me, he thought.
"Why did you want me here?" she asked. Maybe he could help her solve this puzzle. She felt a drive to know him.
"Place was filthy." he said quickly taking a sip of his tea, trying to think of what to say, anything to head this conversation in a different direction.
She looked at him doubtfully. "I think you were lonely. I mean any man would be lonely."
His eyes dropped to the floor to hide his thoughts. She thought of him as a man and not a beast? This was not going well...or was it? What? No! He argued with himself. This must stop. He wasn't ready for this and wasn't certain that he ever really would be.
"But I'm not a man." He sat next to her on the table trying to fight what he was feeling. When it came to her he was slowing losing control. He felt sadness bloom in his chest. This could never be. There was no way that his feelings matched hers.
"Was there a son?" He caught the tail end of her question. He hadn't really been listening to her, so lost in his own thoughts. But at the question his sadness turned to white hot pain. He turned to her, in better control of himself. "There was. I lost him as I did his mother."
"I'm sorry." Belle said sadden by the pained tone of his voice. But then an exciting thought crossed her mind. "So you were a man once? An ordinary man?" she asked, her mind reeling with the possibilities.
Her soft voice carried to him, thoughts crossing his mind he had no right to think. He quickly hoped down from the table. He must end the direction of the conversation now. He tried a bit of wit but it failed miserably. She saw through his ruse.
"You're not a monster." She said allowing her feelings to show on her face. "You think you are uglier than you are which is why you cover all the mirrors up, isn't it hmm?"
He drew back from her shaking slightly. She didn't think he was hideous? What was he going to do? He felt that he was soon going to lose complete control. Relief flooded him as her heard a knock on the door.
As the door opened Belles betrothed stood there, babbling something. Jealousy flooded Rumple at the sight of him. Time to take care of this little problem, he thought and with a snap of his fingers Gaston disappeared and in his place laid a rose.
Belle looked at him as he reentered the room his hands behind his back and an impish light lurking in his eyes. "Who was that?" She asked. There had not been a single visitor to the castle during her entire stay.
"Just an old woman selling flowers." He answered presenting her with the rose.
Her eyes met his as she thanked him and accepted the rose. She dropped into a small curtsy and he returned it with a deep bow. A gentlemen even, she thought smelling the rose.
He stood as she turned and walked away. Her joy was such an easy thing to achieve. And it was a beautiful thing. He sighed as he watched her walk away. How could she find any joy here...with him? "You had a life before..this. What made you choose to come here with me?" He sat down staring at her with rapt attention.
"There is not a lot of opportunities for women to show what they can do. When you arrived that was my chance." You were my chance at freedom and maybe something more, she thought.
Glee filled him as he watched her cut off the end of the Gaston/rose as she continued to explain.
"And was it everything you hoped?" He asked in a flippant way, fearing her answer. He listened to her answer but it really didn't answer what he really wanted to know. The next question was very difficult for him to ask. "And what about your betrothed?" He asked not meeting her eyes, his heart thundering in his chest.
"It was an arranged marriage. Honestly, I never really cared for Gaston." Joy spread through him like wildfire.
"To me love is layered. " She said her eyes taking a far off look. "Love is a mystery" Her eyes drew up to his. "To be uncovered." He voice softened to almost a whisper as she considered how much of a mystery he was to her. One she was determined to uncover.
Runmples eyes met hers and the world faded away. All that existed was her. He fell into the beautiful depths and at that very moment her realized that he was lost. He loved her. He shook his head in disbelief.
Belle stopped thinking, lost in her own thoughts. Was love right there in front of her? True, he wasn't what most would consider handsome but beauty was only skin deep.
"But uh." She said shaking herself out of such thoughts. "You were going to tell me about your son."
This couldn't go on. He could not love for it would never be returned. He needed to get away from her. Forget her. Return to his spinning and forget...forget...could he ever forget her?
"Ill tell you what. Go to town and fetch me some straw. When you come back I'll share my tale." The words pained him to say but he hid his pain well.
"You trust me to come back?" She asked confusion clouding her features.
"Oh no. I expect that I'll never see you again." The words were said softly but pain knifed through his entire body. It had to be this way. If she returned then he would go from there but he had little hope of that.
Belle made her way quickly down the forest path, not entirely sure what she was running from. Was she running from the beast himself or the feelings that he stirred in her? As the creature he was they could never have a future together. But then why did she feel this way about him. Why was there pain with each footstep away from him? Why did she feel this sharp sense of loss? Why did she feel like sitting down and crying? The thought of never seeing him again made her sick but she continued to walk, not sure what else to do. The sound of horses behind he caused her to stop and turn. She never saw any horses at the castle but that didn't stop the hope that sent her heart racing. Hope that he had come after her. Once she realized that wasn't him, she stepped of the path carrying her disappointment with her.
A black carriage stopped next to her. A woman dressed in all black threw open the door. After bit of small talk the woman said. "You know, I'm tired of riding. Let me stretch my legs and walk with you a spell."
Belle welcomed the company. Anything to distract her from her thoughts.
They walked side by side down the path. "Running from someone." The woman said matter of factually. Belle looked at her wondering how she knew. "Master or lover?" the woman asked. Belle slowly drew her gaze away from the woman as she asked herself the very same question.
"Ah master and lover." the woman said knowingly.
Belle gasped as the truth was laid nakedly in front of her. This was not distracting her at all. Maybe running was the wrong decision. She really needed to think. "I might take a rest. You go on ahead." Belle said desperate to be alone with the very thoughts she had wanted to escape from just a short time ago.
The woman would hear nothing of it putting her arm around Belle and drawing her back on the path. Belle sagged against her in resignation. The woman would not be put off. "Well I could love him but something evil has taken root in his heart."
"Sounds like a curse to me. And all curses can be broken." Belle couldn't believe what she was hearing. Could they really be together? The butterflies returned."A kiss born of true love will do it." That was all? Belle thought.
"I would never suggest a young woman kiss a man that held her captive. Besides if he loved you he would let you go. And if he didn't love you, well then the kiss wouldn't even work-"
"But he did let me go." Belle exclaimed excitingly.
"Yes but not kiss happened." The woman said.
"A kiss? Then he would be a man again?" she asked as the butterflies pounded through her soul.
"An ordinary man. True loves kiss will break any curse." The woman smiled into Belles face.
Rumple stared dejectedly out the window. Why was he doing this? Standing there like an idiot. She wasn't coming back. Why torture himself? Then he caught the sight of movement on the path below. He quickly recognized the sway of her hips, her milky white skin peeking out from under her cloak. His heart swelled as he ran from the window. He settled back at his wheel just moments before she entered the great room.
"Oh you're back already?" He said as she entered the room. "I ah am nearly out of straw." He searched for something more to say but nothing came to him.
"Come on." Belle said in a flirty tone. "You are happy I've come back."
He leaned forward with a smile and said "I'm not unhappy."
She returned his smile then crossed to where he sat, gently placing her hands on his shoulders. "You promised me a story." She said.
"Did I?" he asked glancing up, enjoying the feel of her hands on him.
"Umhumm." she answered gently removing the spindle from his hand and sitting down in front of the wheel facing him. She leaned towards him, her gentle gaze seeking his. "Tell me about your son."
"Uh, uh." Rumple said trying to gather his thoughts. His mind was racing at her return, her attitude, her closeness. The sweet smell of her breath caressed his face."I lost him and there's nothing more to tell really." He lost himself in her gaze. The pain of losing his son damping as he fell once again into those glorious depths.
"And since then you have loved no one and no one has loved you." She said drinking in his gaze.
He could no longer resist his feelings. He leaned closer to her, looking deep into her eyes. Trying to see into her very soul. Could it be? What he saw in her eyes...could it really be? His face inches from her he whispered "Why did you come back?" He had to know. They say if you love something then let it go. If it loves you it will return. She... had... returned.
"I wasn't going to." She smiled up into his face. "Then something changed my mind." It's now or never, she thought to herself. Her breath quickened, her palms began to sweat. The butterflies were trying to escape through every inch of her body. There was a humming in her ears and she felt a bit faint. But she leaned forward anyway. Her loved driving her on. Her eyes dropped to his golden mouth then back up to his eyes, searching for any sign of rejection. In the last inch of space he leaned forward to meet her, their lips fusing. As soon as they touched she knew she made the right decision. The butterflies stopped their movements. She slowly drew back, hesitant to release the warm soft lips pressing against hers but she needed to see him.
Rumple felt her lips on his and the whole world titled. His breathing stopped but he failed to notice as at that movement everything was her and only her. He was not evil, there was no castle, no curse. Nothing but her and her beating heart, her warmth, her love. As she drew away suddenly the feeling changed. "What is happening here?" he asked as a strange draining feeling came over him.
Belle smiled at him, seeing the gold tone begin replaced by flesh. She ran her hands down his face and begged. "Kiss me again. It's working!" Her hands pulling him toward her.
"What is?" he asked very confused, the feeling making him sick.
"Any curse can be broken!" Belle said excitingly.
"Who told you that?" he roared jerking away from her.
Belle reeled backwards in shock, here eyes wide. Her eyes dropped to the floor. Words jumbling over each other as they came out of her mouth. She sat in shock. Did he not want to be with her? To be rid of the curse? She thought he would be pleased but his reaction frightened her. He raced over to the mirror, ripping off the covering and ranting madly.
Belle cautiously approached him. This was a side of him she had never seen. Fear caused her steps to falter. "Who are you talking to?" She asked hesitantly. The queen? What was he talking about? He continued to rant madly as he approached her. She fought down the urge to turn and flee. She had to make him understand. She reached out and grabbed his hands. "This means its true love!" She exclaimed hoping that he would see the truth in her eyes.
"Shut up!" He raged at her.
"Why wont you believe me?" She yelled at him.
"Because no one, no one could ever love me!" he yelled in her face shaking her. He could feel his fingers biting into her tender flesh and knew that he had to get away from her before he did something that he would regret.
He drug her behind him, tossing her carelessly into her 'room'. He turned and left without a second glance. Belle landed on all fours in a daze. She couldn't understand what had just happened. What queen? Take his power? What was he talking about? Belle curled up in the corner and let her tears fall.
Rumple could no longer contain his rage. With a cane he broke everything in his path, yet none of it mattered. It did not take the pain and sense of betrayal from his heart. He begin grabbing his tea service and flinging it one by one against the wall. When his hand found the cup with the chip in it he momentarily froze. Looking down at it he knew what he had to do. If she loved him before there was no way that she would love him now. Setting the cup on the table he headed for Belle.
Belle leaned back against the wall of her cell, numb and spent from her crying. He had been gone hours and she wondered if this was his plan, to have her die of loneliness, sorrow and a broken heart. The door to her cell opened and he walked in.
Belle swallowed down her fear and faced him. "So what are you going to do to me?" She asked, her voice surprisingly steady despite her fear.
He looked at her, his eyes cold. "Go." He said pointing to the door. If there had been any chance for love, it was now gone. The mere sight of her pained him more than anything ever had. He turned from her.
"Go?" She questioned. She had not been expecting this. Despite her fear she felt a deep sense of loss. She begun to leave the room but stopped. No, she would have her say, give him one more chance to change his mind. She couldn't just walk away, not yet.
She turned and went to stand in front of him, her eyes searching his. "You were freeing yourself." She said her voice thick with pain and tears. "You could have had happiness if you could just believe that someone could want you!" She saw no softness around his eyes. It seemed that old look was gone forever. That thought angered her. "You are a coward, Rumpelstiltskin."
The word echoed in his mind. Coward...not a coward. He was not a coward. The word angered him. He wished to hurt her as much as she had just hurt him. "My powers mean more to me than you." He said cruely.
Belle narrowed her eyes at him. She knew that was a lie. "No, no it doesn't. You just don't think I can love you."
Rumples face twitched as the truth hit him full in the chest. He was struggling with control once again. He must not give in.
"Now you've made your choice and you're going to regret it forever." A sob caught in her throat. He was not going to give them a chance. Her already broken heart splintered every further. She trembled and felt queasy but continued on. "And all you'll have is an empty heart" Another sob/ "And a chipped cup." She stared at him a moment then turned and walked away from him, her tears once again falling. She wanted nothing more than to be with him, but his fear was more than she could conquer. The poets were wrong, love doesn't conquer all.
Rumple remained there, listening as her footsteps faded into the distance. He closed his eyes, trying to block out the pain, the silence, the truth of her words. He regretted his decision already.
Spin the wheel...spin the wheel...forget...forget. It wasn't working. He had sat at his wheel for days, spinning, spinning and spinning. But he couldn't forget Belle, her words, tears, those eyes and her heart. The sound of doors opening caused him to pause. His heart jumped in hope. Could it be her? But no, it was only the evil queen. The last person he wanted to see.
She babbled on about some deal as he turned back to his wheel. "I'm not dealing today." he said simply.
"Are you angry with me? What is it this time?" She asked.
"Your little deception failed. " He said as he continued to spin the wheel. "You'll never been more powerful than me."
"Oh is this about that girl I met on the road?" She asked mockingly. "What was her name?"
"Belle" He said softly continuing to spin. Just saying her name brought him almost physical pain.
"Well you can rest assured I had nothing to do with that tragedy.
Rumple froze at his wheel. What did she say? No! Nothing had happened to Belle. He misheard. He had to have, He walked toward the queen fear making it hard for him to breath. "What tragedy?"
"After her association with you, no one would want her. Her father shunned her. Cut her off, shut her out." She replied gleefully.
"S-so she needs a h-home?" His voice betraying the hope that he felt. He could fix this. He would find her, bring her back here. Take care of her. Love her.
The queen laughed. "He was cruel to her. He locked her in a tower and sent in Clerics to cleanse her soul with scruges and flame. She threw herself of the tower. She died."
Rumple felt for the first time in his life he might faint. The world tipped. Not Belle, not his beautiful sweet Belle. No! Tortured to the point of suicide. He started to shake.
"We're done." He said walking towards the door. The queen made some sort of crack on her way out but he did not hear it. He was to lost in himself, in his pain, shame and guilt.
He walked over and retrieved the cup from his hutch. He took it to the pedestal, removing the gold chalice and replaced it with the cup. He looked at the cup and his grief bubbled over. His sobs echoed the empty halls of his castle. Tears fell from his eyes as his body was wracked with physical and emotional pain. He cried over Belle. He cried over his empty heart and chipped cup...