Title: Wrapped Around a Spindle
Rating: PG
Genre: Angst
Summary: Belle returns to the place where she used to live

When Belle returns, the house isn't the home she remembers.

She clambers over the dust and rubble that was once their front door, and into the great, grand hallway. The shelves are kindling, smoking on the flagstone floors; the sky peeks in through the cracks in the ceiling. The glass from the windows sparkles like diamond shards on the scorched and battered carpet.

The Curse ripped the world apart, and this place was no exception.

She crosses the room, trying not to see the world the way she finally, finally remembers it. For there are the remains of the curtains she tugged one afternoon, and nearly fell to her death.

There are the broken splinters of a table she sat on and drank tea, and talked with the best friend she'd ever had.

The image of this place, this broken ruin of a palace, and the memories of her home are superimposed over each other.

She kneels, uncaring of the damage to her jeans from the other world, the other life, when she sees a familiar shape. The spinning wheel is split cleanly down the middle, the remains thrown to all corners of the room.

The wood isn't torn or shredded, but precisely cut into two separate pieces.

The spindle, still shining in the daylight, is blunted; there is a chip taken out of the top of it.

She picks it up, holds it to her chest, and starts to sob.

A part of her had hoped that this, this alone, would survive. For in this spinning wheel where their memories, hers and his, their shared life wrapped and twined around the spindle, inseparable.

The dust from the floor clung to her jeans. She hadn't taken them off since Storybrooke fell, just hours ago. Other people are changing back into their old attire, remembering who they were.

But not Belle: every part of who she was is in this spindle, and it fits perfectly into her jeans pocket.