Okay, so against my better judgment my muse has decided I shoul like, totally write this OUAT fanfic because it's not like I have a job or homework or anything. It'll be a sort of series of one-shots in chronological order that relate but you may feel like some sort of central plot is missing. They'll be snapshots into the growing relationship of Belle and Rumplestiltskin in Storybrooke with some of the other characters as pretty, pretty background. This first chapter is kinda the "boring" one but the needed one, it introduces how I picture Belle in Storybrooke, locked in that mental ward.
I realize my take on what may happen is very optimistic, that things should be harsher and more difficult and you might feel like it's not very realistic but this is what I was compelled to write and trying to make it grittier got me nowhere, so it's fluffier than what I feel reality would be. Still, enjoy.
And please, if you think any character OOC point it out (as well as tell me why). The most difficult one to write is Rumple, but he's also the most fun!
The Queen stared only for a moment. She knew she would not linger, and soon heard the familiar sound of stilettos against the hard concrete floor. It had taken her a while to know what a stiletto was, and concrete as well. But she knew now, that and more. She has made it her life mission to hear and learn, to retain as much information about this… reality as she could.
She shuddered to remember her first days in the padded cell. Above all she had felt disoriented, lost. She had gone to sleep in a dank, circular room, huddled close to the still-glowing corpse of Caia, a rather unfortunate fairy that had managed to incur the wrath of the Evil Queen and had been her cellmate form many months before succumbing to the disease all fairies suffered eventually around iron. She had held the body of the old, wise little creature fearing the morning, when they would take her away.
The next morning she had woken up to find herself alone, sans body. It had taken her a moment to notice the change in her surroundings. The stone walls now padded, the oval windows now barred, yet still rectangular, and a sort of strange, white light faintly coming through them. Her jailors had changed. Now there was a woman, dressed in a strange white dress, a bit on the short side in her opinion, and a rather silent man with long hair and a sort of brusque, brutish manner.
She had learned soon enough that asking questions, mentioning her father, her town, the Ogre Wars, her dead fairy companion and specially the Queen brought about disapproving looks and punishment. It lead to discussions of her "delusions", of upping her "medication" (she had learned through painful experiences that medicines were like potions that usually left her catatonic, or sleepy or numb and that where, therefore, better avoided) and of "informing the Mayor". That frightened her more than anything and had help her realize that she had to stop mentioning anything, absolutely anything, that her caretakers found odd.
Because, when they medicated her so much she would sleep for days, foreign thoughts and memories would creep up on her. Memories of people she had never met and some she had, but that in her dreams looked different. Memories of her father as a sort of flower seller, of meeting a woman with red and black hair wearing little to no clothes, and her grandmother, and a blond girl, and a stutter-prone boy with curly hair and… And it was wrong, all wrong. Not real. Her mind rebelled against it, fought it. Concentrated on her last real memories, on Caia and the straw pile she had called a bed and the voices of the other prisoners, some men, some women, that wondered at all hours of the day about the fate in store for them. Thinking of it helped, kept the lies away. Specially thoughts of Caia, who even dead and gone seemed to want to help her.
Learning what "normal" was here had taken her another long while. But, fortunately, she had time to spare. Time to gauge the people around her, try to see what would prompt them to talk or share anything that would give her clues about this "new world" she knew not stretched well past her cell. A world she was supposed to know, but didn't.
She had suffered a setback when she had, in her eagerness to inform herself and thus avoid more medicine than the one they routinely shoved down her throat, acted a bit too lucid for the Queen's peace of mind… Well, not queen. Mayor here, apparently. Mayor like her father had been once. She had tried to question her, at first innocuously and then with increasing malice in her eyes, about her life in Storybrooke, wherever that was. Having pushed the fake recollections away she had no answers to give, and that had seemed to displease the Queen tremendously.
What had come next she shuddered to remember. Being strapped to a table, feeling something zapping her, hurting her. Then she had had things jammed into her. Needles, she had learned, things that inserted the poison they called "medicine". She had been catatonic for months, if her recollection of seasonal change was correct. Her skin had been marred with bruises and scratches a long time, since she apparently had struggled against her captors a great deal.
The fake memories had oozed into her mind, toxic and unpleasant. She had started to believe her father sold flowers, and that she knew a rather out-spoken woman who wore little clothing and a mousy man who owned a dog. That had been in a place called Storybrooke, and gone to a place called "school", and that her mother had committed suicide because she had not been "right in the head" and that was why she had delusions and believed things that were not true, because it was in her blood. She had had to fight hard against those thoughts, fight to recover the memory of a mother who had been kind and understanding and level-headed, though she had died rather young. A mother who would have never willingly left her only daughter behind. Not all of her had come back. There were a lot of holes, of doubts, empty sports she could not fill for herself. But what she had was enough.
So she had learned she shouldn't talk about what was real to her, but couldn't talk about her pretend life because she had pushed it aside, had rejected it. It was quite a dilemma until she had realized that there was a third option. She could pretend to be gone, to have lost herself to the medicine, the drugs. That was what they had wanted all along, for her to be numb, absent, vacant.
Pretending had been easy compared to trying to retain some sanity at the same time. After a while of doing nothing, of sitting and staring at the floor never talking and never moving her mind and body would feel sluggish. So she had set about to try and reconstruct her shattered memories, to put all the pieces, the ones she had, in order. She had also taken to counting the number of peas she was served at dinner, naming the types of trees she could recall, organizing every new titbit of information she would gain from the nurse when she would talk with the orderly within earshot. She could do little for the state of her body. The cell she was in was sometimes too cold and other too hot, and she hardly got enough food sometimes. She still received daily pills, most of which she learned to pretend to swallow and then hid inside a padded panel with a rather small tear to the side. But the most powerful medication, in the form of injections, she could never avoid, and she would will herself not to struggle as she received it. Later she would battle its effects, though some of her mental exercises would become undone and she would forget part of her childhood, or the name of her favourite mare and mistake a fake memory for an actual recollection. Those days were unpleasant, to say the least, and she wouldn't have to pretend to feel defeated and depressed when Madame Mayor would come calling.
Shortly after the Mayor's last visit, the nurse served her food. It was rather abundant compared to other days and she wanted to eat it all, but she managed to leave most of it untouched. Uneaten food made them further believe her lie (that she is crazy and gone, gone for good). She recalled a moment, a long time ago, shortly after a set of injections, when she had wondered if the lie wasn't actually the truth, if the fake memories were in fact real and vice versa.
As she took a bite out of the blueberry pie, because she adored blueberry pie and absolutely had to take a bite, she thought about the dark magic that must surely be behind it, wondered how far it stretched, how deep it went and how it could be broken, for all curses can be broken (Caia had told her so). And thoughts of dark magic, as always, led to other thoughts, to the recollection of a set of memories that stood vividly in her head, brighter than any of her others. For once she gave herself up to those memories, to sensations like the smell of leather and spicy magic and books, and straw, and gold, and man, the sound of tinkling china and insane giggles that were like music to her ears. Tomorrow, she promised herself, she would be strong, she would focus on the practical instead of fanciful musings.
One day she would leave, she knew it in her veins. And she needed to be as prepared as possible.
Next chapter gold finds out about Belle and man, he's not happy.