More Skin Deep feelings. More drabble.

I also know the Belle breaking in storyline has been used. But I like it. So here it is again.


Eventually, Mr. Gold would get used to the not so rare occurrence of people breaking into his home.

This night, a rainy evening in early march, was not that night.

The girl, his unexpected houseguest, stared at him, wide eyed, like a fox caught in the headlights, with stringy wet hair falling into her face. Dressed in a hospital gown, barely past her knees. Bare feet. But it was her. It was definitely her. The pale blue – frightened – eyes, the set of her jaw, even as she stood shaking. Belle stood, soaking wet in his house, and Gold couldn't breathe.

She spoke before he could, "I'm- I'm sorry. I needed- I should go, I know I sh- I-. I need- please-"

Her voice was the same, though he'd never heard it shake quite like that. So he'd shut the door behind her and ushered her inside. The questions, the countless burning questions that whirled in his mind, could be answered later. Now, she was alive. And that was what mattered.

Once calm, Belle spoke of what she knew. Which was little. As far as her memories went she was in a cell. For all she was aware, she could have been born there. Gold wondered how he should feel that she did not have her past memories. In the end he was glad; those who regained them didn't last long, it seemed. Only the Queen's – quite rational – fear of him kept him from suffering the same fate.

The Queen was the only one Belle knew. Though to her she was 'the woman who checked on her'. Made sure she was well, eating, sleeping. That sort of thing.

Of course. Belle was no bargaining chip if she was dead.

And by some miracle, she'd run away and wound up at his door.

She was no bargaining chip when she was in his protection.

In the meantime, evidence of a secret asylum would keep the Sheriff occupied, as well as add fuel to that fire between her and the Queen. He would have to see Miss Swan about that in the morning.

Belle settled down even more when he promised her he would not send her away, not for a while. She didn't ask for his name, but only because she seemed entirely too exhausted. He wondered how she got out. How far the asylum was from his home. Why she'd been drawn here of all places. How he had not learnt of all of this sooner.

She was awake long enough to tell him, indicating a hospital bracelet on her wrist; "This says my name is Bridget French."

Bridget. It meant strong. Brave. It suited her even more than beauty did. And French explained why her father – who until this point Gold hadn't known had a daughter in this world – didn't deny his earlier, er, accusations. Not that he'd been in a position to deny them.

"Lovely name. Suits you."

"Thank you."

And then she slept. There, on a small, uncomfortable looking chair. He watched her for a moment, and shook his head, knowing with all that had happened that he would not be sleeping that night.

The next morning Sheriff Emma Swan would arrive, having once again received news that Mr. Gold's home had been broken into.

She'd think that, eventually, she would stop being surprised by the strange occurrences that surrounded this very strange man.

Then she'd be let in, to find a young woman wrapped in about three blankets, drinking tea in a small reading chair and decide today was not that day.

Just a bit of drabbley fun without all the complicated questions. I'm not good at those. I'm good at fluff.