Again, I filled a few prompts with this one:
Cyprith prompted: 'fishing poles and ancient fly paper'
This week's special attacks prompt: 'a vanity tray'
Any prompts you have for me, just leave them in my Tumblr ask box. I'm rufeepeach there, too.
It turns out that, when the world ends, there is an awful mess left behind.
Rumplestiltskin should have expected this: after all, magic doesn't work in straight lines. He just hadn't expected that the clean up would fall to him.
Outside his doors, it's a brave new world out there. Princesses on motorbikes and castles with Internet access, two worlds superimposed over each other. And, for the most part, it seems to be working.
Rumplestiltskin's home, however, is another matter altogether.
He supposed that the price for being the only one in Storybrooke to have brought things from their past lives with him, was that he'd have to be the one to bring it all back.
So there it was, littered around his home, an insane chaos of crystal balls and enchanted weaponry, fishing poles and ancient flypaper. His floors are covered in stacks of DVDs and handwritten spell books. Everywhere he looks, there are random piles of old televisions and battered photographs, lost socks and broken ornaments.
And he has no idea what to do with it all.
He feels a little like the Universe is laughing at him, pointing out that he started this avalanche with his silly little Curse, and now he has to be the one left over here, at the finish line, picking up the pieces and sorting through the wreckage.
And amongst all these lost and broken things, Belle finds him. Of course she does. Stood in the middle of the old ballroom, surrounded by everything no one has a place for anymore.
A little like the Dark One himself, left now in a world suddenly filled with light and happy endings.
"Need some help?"
The obvious answer is 'yes, clearly,' followed by 'of course not, all I need is a tank of gasoline and some matches and I'm well on my way', but neither is all that appropriate.
It's just… awkward. Because when they lived here before, Belle was his cleaner and his caretaker, and this would have been her responsibility. Now she is a known ally of every kingdom under the sun, and a hero from the newly written history books, and even if she weren't, she'd still be Belle.
He's spent the last five years making things up to her, trying to prove that he's worthy of her love, that he's not really the monster whose face he wears. And she's spent all that time trying to convince him that it's not necessary, that she loves him even though he's not a saint, even though he can be unbelievably selfish or just plain stupid much of the time.
After all of that, everything he put her through, it seems wrong to burden her with the mess he's created.
But, as always, she sees none of that, and settles herself beside him to sort through the nearest pile of junk. He could swear she almost enjoys it, finding all these strange and misplaced pieces of other people's lives, and sorting the garbage from the treasure. She always was good at that.
She cries out in delight after half an hour of companionable silence, and he turns to look at her, "What's the matter, dearie?"
Today he's Rumplestiltskin. Tomorrow, perhaps he'll wake and be Mr Gold again, with an aching knee and a wardrobe full of suits. This is the most serious in a line of odd, unexplainable things that keep happening, but he can accept that it's the price they pay for having their world back and Regina buried in seven different locations.
It's just troublesome when sometimes he can wake up, and find that his lover's hair has decided overnight that green is really quite fetching this time of year. It's random, tiny wrinkles of magic that are uncalled for, remnants from the hatchet job Emma did when she put the world back together.
Why he'd placed the rebuilding of their entire universe in the hands of a twenty-eight year old sceptic, he'll never understand. The magic isn't entirely right: in places it's downright wonky, a blanket that's crumpled and not quite even, covering the world.
And today he's Rumplestiltskin, so he hurries across the room, skipping and dancing over piles of old books and china dolls, to where she's sat on the floor, holding something shiny in both hands with an expression of pure delight.
"My dress! Remember, the one from my first night here?"
Of course he remembers. It's the golden dress she wore the night he stole her from her home. The night he threw her in a dungeon, and laughed at her fear and dismay. Stupid bastard.
"I wonder if it still fits…" she presses it up against her body, her old t-shirt and ratty jeans, and fiddles with the skirt.
"Let's find out," he grins, and flicks his fingers. And of course the dress still fits, even after almost a decade, even though no one wears this kind of thing anymore and it's dusty and a little torn.
She stands, does a little pirouette, and he is astonished. The world might have changed a hundred times over, been turned upside down and shaken, and they might be standing here in the ruins, but somehow, through some wonderful sorcery, this has remained the same.
But she isn't the same girl he underestimated all those years ago. Her face holds a few more lines, and her eyes hold a wisdom, a surety and strength, that's rarer and more refined than her youthful bravery.
There's something missing from this picture.
He turns, crouches, searching for something he'd discarded amongst the mess. He finally rises and turns back to her, a vanity tray he vaguely remembers from the shop balanced in his hands.
"Okay, maybe it doesn't look great, but you don't need to –"
"It looks beautiful, dearie," he assures, before she can vanish into a flurry of doubt about her appearance, "It just needs a finishing touch."
He looks down at the tray in his hands, and uses a slow stream of magic to lift the ornate golden rim from it. He throws the white disk away, discarding it as useless junk, and keeps the magic flowing as he bends the metal into a coronet.
He crowns her, his Queen; the makeshift headdress nestles into the chestnut curls atop her head.
"There," he stands back to admire his work, "Perfect."
She blushes, and spins for him, giggling like a child. Then she stops, and falls back to her knees, grasping at something in her 'keep' pile.
"I forgot to show you! Look what I found," he leans over her shoulder, and peers at the familiar silver box, "It's my old stereo!" she beams up at him, "From the living room back home."
He eyes it with some suspicion: many a good night was had with music playing through their home, but this device wasn't always an instrument of good. He almost shuddered, remembering the dark days when he'd come home late to discover that she'd dug up her old Spice Girls album, and was blasting it through the house.
"Oh, yes, I remember."
"I wonder if the batteries are still working…" she murmurs, pressing the 'on' button, her smile widening as the display lights up.
"Wonderful…" he hopes the CD in there isn't one of hers. His Belle is an amazing creature, but her tastes in music are horrific.
But no, the Gods are on his side, and the music that starts playing is his.
It's a God-awful small affair
To the girl with the mousy hair
He pulls her to her feet, and she puts the stereo on the floor. In the cavernous ballroom, the music is tinny and quiet, but it doesn't matter. He holds his arms out to her, and she slips into them with a wide smile.
They sway in the centre of this cleared space, this small area that isn't covered in all the worlds' discarded things.
But the film is a saddening bore
'Cause she's lived it ten times or more
She could spit in the eyes of fools
He picks up their pace as the music gets louder, faster, spinning her out and around, and she doesn't hit anything as she twirls away until they're at arms length. He's lifted them off the ground, taking advantage of how he's his magical-self today, and they're dancing through the air.
Belle's noticed, and there's no fear in her eyes. Of course he wouldn't let her fall, he'd die first, and she finally, finally, knows that, and so it's just with a raised eyebrow and a small smile that she returns to the circle of his arms, and places her hand on his shoulder.
"Now you're just showing off." She mutters, and he laughs into the top of her hair.
"Perhaps, but you must agree it's easier up here, away from that… disaster area."
She sighs, and he takes it as assent, and he spins her out again, sweeping her around, her legs kicking and eyes bright. Their magic isn't controlled, and her skirt is billowing in the air, and they're spinning madly, higher and then lower.
He wonders if they ever have to come down.
Oh man! Wonder if he'll ever know
He's in the best selling show
Is there life on Mars?
The song ends, and the hall is silent, and Rumplestiltskin allows them to float to the floor. Belle lands lightly, almost gracefully, and gives a deep curtsey. He bows, following suit, and then pulls her toward him.
He kisses her deeply, slowly, with no desperation or need behind it. They have all the time in this world and the next, and so they kiss languidly, simply because they can.
They stand in that cluttered ballroom, surrounded by the wreckage of this world and the last, in tattered golden silk and dragonhide: the King and Queen of lost things.