In These Dreams
Author's Note: So this is a companion piece to my Rumplestiltskin story 'Dreaming With a Broken Heart' and is told entirely from Belle's point of view. Since Belle's entire life is in one room I imagined she'd escape into her dreams more often than Gold and by doing so she'd remember a great deal of her life. I hope you enjoy it. The lyrics are from 'These Dreams' performed by Heart and written by Martin Page and Bernie Taupin.
Spare a little candle, save some light for me
Figures up ahead moving in the trees
White skin in linen, perfume on my wrist
And the full moon that hangs over these dreams in the mist
She could walk for hours, the winding road never ended, darkness never fell and the air never grew cold beneath the towering trees. Twilight was endless and the shadows comforting as a candle's flickering glow through a window. Her cloak was warm, her dress didn't drag in the mud and her shoes didn't pinch. Everything was as it should be, even the empty basket on her arm didn't bother her. She had somewhere to go, someone waiting for her, and it didn't matter how much time it took, she'd arrive in the end and he'd smile and say her name with joy in his voice.
The castle loomed overhead, stained glass windows like jewels, shadows like velvet surrounding the stone walls. The door opened and light spilled into the courtyard, casting a golden hue onto the statues that stood nearby. No one stood in the doorway but that was fine. She could walk inside and it would close behind her as if by magic.
He was spinning at his wheel, his clever fingers with their cruelly pointed nails deft as he fed straw in and spun out strands of gold. And when he turned and saw her, his dark eyes lit and he said her name—
The clang of the door slot opening with a cold meal woke her and she struggled for a moment between dreams and reality before succumbing to the latter. Sitting up on the thin mattress she rubbed her hands over her arms, attempting to warm her flesh fruitlessly. The meal was always something she could eat with her fingers, bread, cheese, fruit cut into cubes and nearly tasteless. She wasn't allowed utensils.
When she'd eaten she climbed up to her perch near the window and looked outside. A gloomy rainy day today, the sky was grey and the grass was a dull dying green, streaks of brown showing as it succumbed to the cold of approaching winter. She could see the near black of tree trunks in the distance across a field, there was a wood nearby.
For a moment she felt dizzy and clung to her perch lest she lose her balance. That happened sometimes, odd spells of dizziness, and more often lately. But afterward she was able to remember her dreams so clearly. And this time was no different. She remembered being gowned and perfumed and afraid and at the same time absolutely determined. And high cackling mocking laughter.
The sweetest song is silence, that I've ever heard
Funny how your feet in dreams never touch the earth
In a wood full of princes freedom is a kiss
But the prince hides his face from dreams in the mist
There was a handsome man here, tall with dark hair and white straight teeth, and a sword at his belt. Richly dressed as all around her were, as she was in a bright golden gown, he spoke without looking at her and she didn't hear his words, as if he spoke without sound.
She tried to consider if this was someone she knew, someone she'd seen, but too much thought made everything around her fade so she gave up worrying. She didn't want this tall, obviously handsome too dashing man with his jeweled sword and embroidered surcoat. He was too everything, too tall, too handsome, too bright and too grasping. His hand on her arm made her flinch.
It was with relief that she walked into the woods again and found the castle. The daylight was fading and it was twilight once again. Now she would see him. Her heart beat faster as she walked into the room with the long gleaming table and silver goblet on a pedestal. Candles threw their reflection on the wood and in the windows against the darkness outside.
A single blood red rose stood in a vase on the table and she smiled to see it. He'd given that to her, gone to the door one day and presented it to her when he returned, a wicked smile on his face that told her it was more than a rose. She hadn't minded that he was obviously keeping secrets. They were his to keep after all.
Darkness on the edge, shadows where I stand
I search for the time on a watch with no hands
I want to see you clearly, come closer than this
But all I remember are the dreams in the mist
She was somewhere dark now, a small room with straw on the floor, her golden dress dirty at the hem. She was afraid…knew that she should be terribly afraid, and yet part of her wasn't. When the door opened and he stood there she was worried he'd be upset but he wasn't. She should be more afraid, but she wasn't, not anymore.
He gave her a simple gown, a pinafore really, with petticoats and a blouse and an apron to wear, good clothing that would stand up to the work she'd be doing. She'd listened as he detailed the work she was to do and part of her watched in amusement as she recoiled and dropped a china cup on the floor.
And he wasn't angry at her, he simply laughed, he'd been teasing her, trying to scare her and she'd given him what he wanted. He simply picked up the cup and poured tea into it and told her it was only a thing.
She loved him, loved him then, and loved him later when he caught her in his arms, the warmth of his body against hers, the strength in his deceptively wiry frame as he held her easily and the gentle expression in his dark eyes. She knew she loved him, just as she knew he'd break her heart and she'd love him still.
She might be a foolish girl but she was steadfast in her resolve and she was stubbornly loyal. And she would love him forever even if she couldn't see his face. She would love him without knowing his name, without knowing who he was or where he was in this strange world.
Is it cloak 'n dagger, could it be spring or fall
I walk without a cut through a stained glass wall
Weaker in my eyesight, the candle in my grip
And words that have no form are falling from my lips
She stared out the window into the field, straining to see the woods beyond it again. No rain today, but no sun, and just a hint of frost on the dying grass. A rabbit darted across the field and she nearly smiled. Memory told her that rabbits made a good stew, just as tasty as chicken.
She could remember her dreams as clearly as she could see out the window now, she didn't even need to close her eyes to see them. She could see every face clearly except his. Everyone's name was fresh in her mind, there were only a few she didn't know. The name of the man whose face she couldn't see, the name of the woman in black from the black coach on the road and her own name though she thought she knew that one, it just didn't match what they called her here; Bonnie which felt just slightly wrong, close but not quite hers.
She remembered everything, her father, Gaston, the entire village and the ogre war. She knew what books she'd read, even the ones she'd read in the lovely castle she'd spent days cleaning. She knew the pattern of the parquet floors there, each whorl and swirl of silver on the candelabra and the delicately painted flowers on the tea set. She knew everything about that world but his name. The most important piece of the puzzle and she didn't know it. Couldn't see his face, didn't know his name. His voice and laugh were clear as a bell in her mind, but she'd never heard them from this room.
She shuddered as the slot in the door opened. Every now and then the slot would open at a time that wasn't for meals and a woman with hard dark and cruel eyes were peer inside as if she was an animal in a zoo. The woman's face was the same as the woman in black who she'd met on the road.
She met the dark eyes and then turned back to the window with a vacant expression. She'd learned early in her life here that any animation to her face would bring this woman more often to look at her. Meals would arrive later or colder and sometimes not at all. It was better to pretend that nothing here was real, that nothing mattered, that she was as blank as the walls around her.
The slot closed, but not soon enough for her and she waited before sighing slowly against the window and drawing the castle with her finger. Maybe he was a prince, maybe he wasn't. But maybe he would remember her and come find her. Maybe he'd remember her face as she couldn't remember his.
He'd cursed her, shouted, called her a liar and thrown her out of the castle that was home to them both. And she'd still loved him and known he loved her. It was true, that old story, True Love didn't happen every day, but when it happened…it would not be moved or forsaken. Maybe he was cursed, maybe he wasn't, but it didn't matter. She didn't care how he looked, she hadn't cared then, she'd only wanted him to have the light he deserved. The darkness in him made him belief he would never be loved, never be worthy of it.
Someday perhaps she'd be able to convince him. All she could do was wait and pray and remember and dream until he came. She hated the necessity of waiting to be rescued, but independent notions aside, practicalities demanded that her only action be inaction. So she waited and prayed for his happiness and remembered her life with him even when she couldn't see his face and dreamed.
These dreams go on when I close my eyes
Every second of the night I live another life
These dreams that sleep when it's cold outside
Every moment I'm awake the further I'm away