Hellllo! This is my first OUaT fanfic. It is simply for fun. I'm not a grammar fiend, I know some of you are, if you'd like to beta this for me, just lemme know I'd be happy to post any corrections.
This isn't really a "fix-it" fic. It's more of just how I would like to see the meeting of Gold and Storybrooke Belle. That's why it's a little choppy, I imagine it as it would appear on TV not in a novel. I'd love to hear what you think. Enjoy.
The call came in the middle of the night.
Emma groaned as her cell rang over and over again. She rolled and slapped her hand on the nightstand until she finally silenced the offending piece of technology.
"H'lo?" she mumbled.
"Sheriff Swan! It's Dr. Whale. Please you have to hurry!" He sounded out of breath and frantic.
Emma perked up immediately, "Why? What's wrong? Where are you?"
"I'm at the hospital, there's been some sort of explosion, it's on fire!"
Emma jolted out of bed, already grabbing for her shoes.
"I'm on my way."
The squad car roared around the corner as fast as Emma could manage. Sure enough, the entire left side of the hospital was ablaze. She could see panicked patients coughing being led out of the building by singed firemen and doctors.
"What happened?" she screamed at Fire Chief Jay.
"We're not sure. Witnesses say they heard a large boom before the entire place filled with smoke. We have evacuated most of the civilians inside and the fire seems to be well contained," he said with a sense of completion.
"Well, most is not all," Emma snapped. "Have we got a list of employees and patients? We should begin by accounting for everyone who was supposed to be there."
"Already taken care of, people are being taken to the school and they are getting checked in there. A few minor injuries, but nothing serious," the chief said. "We swept through the building and couldn't find anyone else. Now it's just about getting the fire out."
"How was the fire started?" Emma asked.
The chief jutted his chin out in the direction of a very large man. He had long stringy black hair and a scowl on his face. He was dressed in a tattered hospital gown. Two EMTs had him seated on the back bumper on an ambulance. Emma strode over to him.
"Sir, I'm Emma Swan the town sheriff. Can you tell me what happened?"
The man peered up at her. Dark, empty eyes pierced hers, "They were bad." The hollow sound of his voice made Emma shiver. "Who was bad?"
"You're lucky it seems as if no one is seriously hurt…" The dark man grabbed Emma's arm, cutting her off, "Help her. She's not bad." The EMTs quickly restrained him.
"What are you talking about?"
"She's still down there. Get her. Trapped." His eyes glowered.
The man pointed to the hospital with a long muscled arm. He whispered, "Exit."
Emma's 6th sense kicked in. He was telling the truth. There was a 'she' still in the building.
Emma whirled back and shouted, "Chief! There's someone trapped inside!"
Emma and the chief together knocked down the basement door. Emma didn't have time to worry about why a door labeled exit wasn't one at all. When they reached the bottom of the stairs, they were met with small reception area, completely deserted.
"There is no one down here Sheriff!" the chief called. Suddenly, there was a scream.
They heard banging and shouting from down the hall way. The entire place was full of smoke. It was almost impossible to see, let alone breathe. Emma pulled out her flashlight and did her best to navigate towards the sounds. When they reached the door the chief shouted at the voice behind the door.
"Stand back! We're going to get you out!"
They didn't hear a response, but the banging ceased and the chief took that as his cue to begin. He took an axe to the door. Once it was loose from its hinges Emma rushed inside. She could barely make out the figure of a person, huddled in the corner. Emma grabbed for the figure pulling it up. The three quickly made their way through the smoke filled corridor.
They emerged from the building to applause. Emma dragged the limp body towards a gurney. It wasn't until they were both seated on it that she took a good look at the person she saved.
It was a girl; she looked to be about her own age. She looked tired and ragged, her face covered in soot. Tangled brown hair clung to her face.
"Are you alright?" Emma asked
The girl said nothing, she simply nodded.
EMTs rushed over to them causing the girl to visibly shake. Her eyes darted back and forth from their faces to Emma's.
Emma took the girl's hand, "It's alright they are going to help you. They are taking you to a school, to check you out, make sure you're really alright. I'll be by after I get a few things settled to visit. Don't be frightened, alright?"
The girl raised her chin and nodded. Bravery glowed in her blue eyes.
The EMTs tucked her under the blankets on the gurney and wheeled her away.
Emma walked back to the dark man, "You were right. There was someone down there."
"Safe?" He asked
Emma nodded, "I think so."
"I'm going to have to place you under arrest for suspected arson," She said as she placed the handcuffs around his wrists. He didn't struggle and she led him to the squad car.
Once the man, who Emma learned was named Phillip, was safely tucked away in the deepest cell of the jail she went to visit the girl.
She was alone in a makeshift hospital room in the back of the school's gymnasium. After some checking it seemed pretty clear that there was no file, no record of this girl anywhere to be found. The nurses seemed to think it must have been lost in the fire but Emma knew better. She saw the dank dungeon that girl was being kept in. No one knew she was there. None of the doctors could remember her, the nurses either. Something was rotten in the state of Denmark and Emma was going to find out why.
The girl sat hugging her knees to her chest. Her hair had been combed and washed. Her cheeks were hollow but had more color in them than before.
"Hello," Emma said sweetly. "My name is Emma. Do you remember me?"
The girl nodded, "Yes."
"What's your name?"
The girl was silent she stared over Emma's shoulder before finally whispering quickly, "Paige."
"Well, Paige I'd like to get you out of here."
Her eyes lit up at that.
"The doctors don't see any reason to keep you here. You suffered no problems and honestly… they don't know why you would have been in the hospital in the first place. Do you have any family?"
Paige lowered her eyes and shook her head. Emma felt very much what she must be going through. No family, no one to care for you or about you. The pain gripped her chest. If it was the last thing she did, she would make sure this girl wasn't alone anymore.
"Do you know why you were in a hospital?"
"They said it was to protect me."
Paige shook her head, "Not from what, but who. They said he would come after me, that he wanted to hurt me. They showed me his picture."
Emma put her hand on the girl's shoulder, "No one is going to hurt you anymore, Paige. First things first though, let's get you somewhere a little more comfortable, yeah? I don't want to leave you out here for the wolves."
Paige smiled, "Thank you, Emma."
Granny was more than happy to put up Paige for a few days until Emma could find a suitable place for her to stay.
Granny lead Paige, still clad in a hospital nightgown, to her room. Emma could only imagine what was going through her mind. After who knows how long in that place she was to have her own private shower, a bed, and what seemed to be the most fascinating to Paige, a window. She scuffled over to it as quickly as she could muster. She sat on the sill and stared and stared.
Emma walked over to the sill, "I'll be back with some clothes for you tomorrow, 'kay? And I'll take you out to lunch, my treat."
Paige thanked her and Granny again and went back to staring out the window.
The next day, Emma had gathered some clothes from her own closet and Mary Margret's. She walked briskly to Granny's Bed and Breakfast, looking forward to her afternoon with Paige. She was surprised to see Mr. Gold approaching Granny's front door at the same time she was.
"Ah, Good day Miss Swan," He chimed in his usual tone.
"Hello, Mr. Gold. What brings you to here?"
The two walked up the front steps together.
"Just business. I hear you're quite the hero. Saving young maidens from burning infernos.
"I did have help."
Granny opened the door, "Oh! Mr. Gold. I have your usual payment. Just let me run Emma's package up to Paige. I spent all morning on her hair. She's so sweet. It's been ages since Ruby let me curl her hair. Such a pleasure."
Granny continued gushing about Paige as she waddled up the stairs with Emma's box of clothes.
Emma and Mr. Gold waited at the foot of the stairs.
"Paige, is it?" Mr. Gold asked.
"Yes, do you know her? She says she doesn't have family in town, but that doesn't mean she didn't have friends, right?"
"I can't say that I do, no."
Granny had returned and scurried back behind the counter to gather Gold's payment, talking the entire time.
"She'll be down in a moment, Sheriff. She just needed to change. Such a lovely girl."
"What, may I ask is the Sheriff up too with her damsel?" Gold asked mockingly.
Emma glowered at him, "I want to be her friend. She has no one, or at least no one she's talking about. I figure pushing someone who's been locked up then rescued from a burning building isn't such a good idea."
"Indeed, not," he mused.
Just then, they heard a door open and close. Footsteps made their way down the hall, floor boards creaking as they went. Gold stepped towards Granny as she handed him her payment and Emma glanced up the stairs and smiled at the girl she saw.
Paige looked radiant. Granny had curled her hair and it bounced lightly as she glided down the stairs. Dressed simply in a jeans and t-shirt the stand out feature was a gold scarf tied loosely around her neck.
"Emma, wonderful to see you!" she exclaimed. "Thank you for the clothes."
Emma felt Gold stiffen beside her. Out of the corner of her eye she saw him look up at Paige. His mouth opened slightly and he drew in a quick breath. Paige's eyes were still on Emma, she was smiling, bigger than ever. As she got closer her eyes drifted next to Emma and landed on Mr. Gold. The smile crashed off her face, her cheeks went white. Terror rose in her eyes. Gold sensed it too and took a step backwards.
"Paige this is Mr. Gold," Granny said, oblivious to the interaction that was happening.
Paige nodded, "Nice to meet you Mr. Gold. Excuse me I'm not feeling well at the moment. I think I need some air." She averted her eyes and brushed past Emma and Gold, brushing Gold's shoulder as she went outside.
"What the hell was that?" Emma shouted at Gold.
"I have no idea," he breathed.
Emma glared at him and rushed out after Paige.
Gold was left standing in a swirl of disbelief and panic.
Alive and well and beautiful… and utterly terrified of him.
"Paige!" Emma called after her. She was already walking down the street. Seemingly, in an effort to put as much distance between her and Gold as possible.
"Wait! Paige, stop!"
She whirled so quickly that Emma almost ran into her.
"I'm sorry. I just had to get out of there… that man."
"I know he's a little creepy, but I don't think he would hurt a woman…" She trailed off, not convinced of her own words.
"No that's just it. Emma, he's the one they warned me about."
Over lunch Paige explained that a man named Gold was the reason she was locked up.
"I was sick, Emma. I saw things in my head. Things I shouldn't. And that man wanted to hurt me because of it. The hospital made me better; they kept me away from him."
Emma didn't want to believe it. But this was Gold they were talking about. The man who beat Moe French over some secret girl. The man who dealt in children.
He was dangerous. Paige had every right to be afraid of him.
"I understand, Paige. But, trust me. He can't hurt you here. There are people to protect you."
"Who?" She looked wary.
"Like me, for example."
Paige smiled, "Emma I feel like I'm on repeat. Cause all I keep doing is thanking you."
"It's my pleasure."
Paige glanced up at the clock, "Oh my goodness 3 already? I have to go."
"Go where?" Emma asked confused.
"This morning the mayor came to visit me. She has before, while I was in the hospital. Only then I didn't know she was the mayor. She's another person I can look to for protection. She invited me over for tea."
Emma's mouth popped open a little, "You mean, Regina?"
"Yes, I know you say I don't have anything to worry about, but Regina came by to remind me that Gold was still in town this morning. She said he would find me and soon. She was right. I want to talk with her about my options. I won't live in fear Emma. I won't."
Emma wasn't sure how she felt about Paige accepting Regina's help. But, she knew what it was like to be alone and afraid. She wasn't going to keep Paige from finding some sense of comfort.
And if Gold really did want to hurt her, Paige would need all the protection she could get.
Gold wandered the streets for hours. He didn't even bother to go back and open his shop. He tried to make sense of what had just happened to him.
Belle was here. In Storybrooke. That meant only one thing. She hadn't died as that witch had told him. Her face was whole, as was the skin on her delicate arms. She walked gracefully. She hadn't been tortured as that witch had told him.
But she feared him. And it wasn't like the rest of this pathetic town. It was bone deep. It shook him inside to remember that look on her face. Her face. The face he had been dreaming about across 2 worlds. The face that has cried over him as he cast her out of his life.
He rounded the corner near the Mayor's office. It was all he could do to not go in there right this moment and beat her to bloody pulp.
He saw them then. Standing on the porch. The devil herself and his light. Regina had her arms wrapped tightly around Belle… Paige. She looked so comforted, relaxed, like nothing would ever bother her again. They released each other and Regina put her hands on Paige's shoulders. She was talking and Paige was nodding. Regina looked up then and saw him staring. She sneered at him. Paige whirled around, her eyes meeting his. That look was back. The look that would dominate his thoughts for quite some time.
Regina stood protectively in front of her. Gold had no other option. This is what she had wanted. She wanted her to fear him. Everyone else did. It was only right that Paige fall in line. She fed him her lies and he ate them. And now he was paying for it.
Gold's eyes fell to the sidewalk. He couldn't look at his Belle again. His fierce Belle, reduced to a cowering, shivering mess. Looking to Regina for protection.
You could have been her protection.
You're going to regret it. Forever.
He hobbled home.
His bedroom seemed much emptier than usual. He stripped off his jacket and tie. He unbuttoned his shirt and could go no further. He fell on to the bed and stared at the ceiling.
What could he do now?
This was different than before. His brave Belle had fallen in love with him a lifetime ago. Fearful Paige had Regina whispering in her ear. He barely stood a chance then.
It was hopeless now.
He closed his eyes.
The sound of his downstairs cabinet opening snapped him out of it. Hours had passed. It was dark out now, another burglary no doubt. He swung his legs over the side of the bed. There were precious things in that cabinet. One small, chipped thing most important of all.
Why did this entire town seem hell bent on his ruin?
He grabbed his cane and his gun. As quietly as he could he made his way downstairs. He hadn't turned off any of the lights before he collapsed into his bed. He could see the shadow of someone moving around his living room. He stopped around the corner and readied the gun. He whirled around the corner to see…
In her small hands she held a cup.
Well it's just a cup.
She turned slowly, curling her fingers around the cup and holding it close to her heart.
Gold gaped at her. Her blue eyes danced.
"Honestly Rum, if you're stupid enough to think I'm going to let The Queen tear us apart a second time, you've got another thing coming.
Gold dropped the gun.