A/N: After seeing a post on tumblr saying, "I think Emma reminds Mr. Gold of Belle," that got me thinking about the women's similarities. Both are heroic/would risk their own happiness for the ones they love, so I realized that yes, Mr. Gold probably does admire the same things in Emma that he did in Belle. With that said, I wanted to attempt something inspired by the 1960's Gothic soap opera Dark Shadows (which you've probably heard of since Burton's recreating it). I'll be trying the whole "man-tragically-loses-lover-and-finds-her-in-a-new-woman-then-proceeds-to-try-and-turn-her-INTO-said-lover" scenario, so I hope you'll find that enjoyable. :)
As for the format, it will vacillate between Storybrooke and FTL, because I wanted to include Rumpel's relationship with Belle and how it ties into the present with Emma. I hope that won't be too confusing/off-putting to you guys, because that's how I foresee the rest of this story being told. Anyway, in this story Belle genuinely IS dead (you'll see how it happened in future chapters), so she won't be popping out of the woodworks at a later date. She'll be featured prominently because of the flashbacks, though, and because Gold will be trying to turn Emma into the deceased. Kinda creepy, neh? ;P
CO-WRITTEN WITH RUMPELGOLD
CH 1: Forbidden Parallels
"What are you doing?"
"Reading, of course! Really now, Rumplestiltskin, your lack of awareness worries me sometimes."
The imp in question snorted, quickly averting his gaze as Belle continued to sit curled up like a tranquil cat. With her legs tucked beneath her, she eagerly devoured the words of her novel as though it were her last day on earth.
After a moment's pause, Belle set the book off to the side and patted the spot beside her. "Read with me, master? I promise it's quite a wonderful story."
Rumplestiltskin's upper lip curled in disdain. "I read quite a bit, I assure you, dearie, but not romantic drivel such as that."
Belle mirrored his contempt, but only because he had called her creative taste into question. "This is not drivel, sir – it's the story of a prince, a princess, and true love."
"Ah, well why didn't you say so? Like I said…drivel," Rumplestiltskin spat, yet he moved over to her nonetheless. "Does it have any pictures?"
With a wry smile, Belle picked the novel back up and opened it to her favorite page. She'd memorized it during her first week at his castle, and although she didn't find Rumplestiltskin's abode to be that deplorable, it had at the very least turned her stay into something magical.
Now pointing to the vivid illustration, she dreamily explained, "It's the prince and princess sharing true love's kiss…one day I hope to have a similar experience. I suppose I should thank you, sir, for I now know I never could've shared this with Gaston."
"And why is that, hmm?"
"Well…" Belle appeared thoughtful, her gaze soft and pensive as she shrugged. "I don't know, I just…didn't love him."
Eyes hardening, Rumplestiltskin turned his back on her and took a deep, even breath. His wife had said she didn't love him either, so he never thought he'd be relating to Gaston, of all people.
"Um…hello? Hel-looo, can you hear me in there?"
Jerking back to awareness, Gold found himself face-to-face with Emma and balked. "I…forgive me, Miss Swan, it seems I was daydreaming. Can I help you with something?"
Giving him an odd look, Emma sat down on the bar stool beside him and nodded. "Yeah, actually. Henry's been going on about his fairy tales more so than usual, so I was hoping maybe you had a healthier book he could look at?"
Gold winced at the mentioning of books. Dear Lord, did everything have to reflect Belle's presence? In fact…
Eyes appraising Emma as she turned to talk to Ruby, a dark smile flitted across his lips as a sudden realization came to mind: her demeanor was truly akin to Belle's. Although brazen and loud at times, Emma shared the beauty's insufferable hero complex.
Now turning away from Ruby, Emma gave Gold her attention again and apologized, "Sorry about that…wanted to order something. Anyway, do you have a book I could buy or not? I have to return to the station before Regina stops by, so if we could go to your shop pretty soon, that'd be great."
Such a delicious invitation she had unintentionally given him. Had she noticed, he wondered?
"Yes," he said, pondering and tapping a finger absentmindedly against his lips. Then his brown eyes looked up at her and found hers. "We can arrange something."
There it was again. The way she stood in front of him with that confident look in her eyes. For a moment he could see a ghost of a brown-haired beauty flit over her, curling her eyes and lips and changing her clothes into different shapes. But as soon as the ghost had come, it had disappeared again. His full attention was on her now as his eyes darkened.
"Good," Emma said, "How about I'll be there at five?" She brushed a hand through her golden locks. The action captivated the pawnbroker. Her hair looked soft and surreal in this world; it truly was the hair of a princess from Fairy Tale Land, but that wasn't why his eyes were transfixed on her fingers combing her curls. In his mind, the shade discolored and became less bright.
"Sheriff, my shop usually closes at five," he retorted, earning himself a hoarse laugh from the blonde-haired beauty.
"It's the only time I can come around… Otherwise it would have to wait until tomorrow." It was obvious by the sound of her voice that she wasn't willing to wait that long, but her duty required her to be at the station till dinner time. She could get a quick snack before her night shift started.
Mr. Gold shook his head. "I have just the book for your son, Emma. Just come around five – I'll keep the shop open for you."
She cast him a smile and gave a quick nod. "Thank you." She leaned forth and curled her lips in a sneer. "See you then."
The impulsive idea had worked in Gold's favor – perhaps a little too well, for he hadn't had to devise any sort of plan to draw Emma out of hiding. At five o'clock the fiery blonde would enter his shop, then more than likely imprint on his mind just how little she trusted him, and then…
And then, he'd actually prove her theories correct. He was untrustworthy, but there had been a time when he'd been a normal man…when he hadn't been so monstrous. Belle had seen this in him somehow, and he liked to believe that someday Emma would learn to see it, too.
The bell at the front of the shop suddenly tinkled, then a feminine, "Gold?" came before a smile reached his lips.
Ah yes, the princess had arrived – right on time, too.
"Back here, Miss Swan," he called, now rising from his perch with the help of his cane. "I was just inspecting my book collection."
There came a pause, then Emma lifted the flap to the backroom and entered with a wry smile. "Business that slow, eh? Fair enough… I can imagine people you bleed dry on a daily basis aren't eager customers." Now pointing to the shelf behind him, she asked, "So can I have a look? Or do you already have something in mind?"
"Oh no, go right ahead," Gold assured her, smiling wanly as she passed. "I have a feeling Henry may enjoy something on the top shelf, though…that section's geared more toward children."
Mumbling her thanks, Emma grabbed a chair and unsteadily stepped atop the rickety furniture. In that moment Gold's heart clenched, his hand gripping his cane as the sheriff reached for a book. All he could picture were voluminous skirts, well-coiffed hair, and laughing blue eyes. Goddamn his memories – did everything Emma do have to remind him of her?
With a cry, the sheriff suddenly staggered and nearly fell off the chair, Gold subconsciously moving forward as though he might catch her. In his condition he realistically knew they both would've been hurt, but something about Emma's abrupt vulnerability made his heart swell.
Looking down at Gold when she realized his hand was on her elbow, Emma quirked a brow and wrested herself from his grasp. "Hey, uh…you alright? You don't look like you're feeling so well…"
He parted his lips but there came no reply. His throat had suddenly gone awfully dry and his lips felt like parchment, cracked and unpleasantly coarse. The memory of the girl falling had sprung freshly into mind, and in his eyes the blonde curls had once again turned chestnut while the blue jeans transformed into wide blue skirts. He had caught her in both his arms then, courteously, like a hero, and he had held her close to his chest where he could feel her hot breath stroking his clothes and reaching his golden skin. But now it had not been so…
His disabled leg would not allow him to hold her like he had before, and his strength as a human male of his posture would not have allowed him to carry her weight. Or would it? He frowned. If his leg had been alright, would he have been able to carry her bridal style in his arms and absorb the scent of her lovely curls as her head nestled against his chest? A pulse of adrenaline coursed through his body and with heated eyes he gazed at her.
The man snapped out of his stupor and grinned toothily at the blonde in front of him. Emma dusted her clothes and took a step back. "I am as fine as I could currently be, dear," he assured her. She didn't seem to buy his excuse, but could not tell whether it was a lie or not. She frowned in turn. Mr. Gold always had this tendency to twist and change words to his own purpose, and thus tell someone something that wasn't a complete lie, but still hid the truth. Emma reckoned he had done the same right now. She contemplated his words and concluded that he might not be okay at all, but in the current circumstance he was considered fine.
"Do you want a glass of water?" Gold offered her in a kind and calm voice. She glared up at him and rested her forehead in her hand, then mumbled she'd be fine. Despite her words she could hear him limp to the back room and pour her a glass of water, with which he returned and handed to her. She thanked him quietly before taking a sip, all the while painfully aware of his eyes on her, his intense gaze burning her being.
"What is it, Gold? You've been staring at me for the past fifteen minutes as if you want to eat me alive. Did I do something to bother you? Other than nearly falling and sipping your water, of course… You can't hold me fully responsible for all of that. You offered the water to me and the book so, er...they are not deals you can get my favor for."
Gold couldn't help but chuckle. "Now, now, my dear, must my actions always hold an ulterior motive in your eyes? I merely wanted to help…you looked positively flushed ."
Emma raised her brows, then sighed before setting the water onto a nearby table. "Yeah, well…thanks. I guess weirder things have happened than you being nice, right?"
Eyes cutting to the side, Gold's jaw twitched slightly before he urged, "Wait here a moment – I'll go get you a cup of tea."
"Uh, seriously? You just gave me some water… If you give me anything else, I'll have to use the little girl's room." Rolling her eyes when Gold ignored her and limped off to a cupboard, she folded her arms and called after him, "Honestly, I'm fine – I was a little dizzy at first, but that's gone now."
"Trust me, this will make you feel better," Gold muttered, now slipping a strong sedative into a cup before preparing the brew. The pill would dissolve and had little to no taste, so Emma would be completely unsuspecting of the drug.
After a few minutes of preparation, Gold lifted the steaming cup and hobbled back toward his guest. She appeared annoyed, but nonetheless accepted the tea since he'd gone through the trouble.
Blowing at the steam, Emma muttered, "This better not be some weird, ancient recipe… You've got lots of antiques in here, so that worries me."
"I can assure you the recipe isn't too dated," Gold promised, smiling wryly as she took a sip. She made a face and complained about it being bitter, but swallowed her pride and forced the rest of it down.
"Mm, disgusting," she joked, yet she was smiling as she rotated the cup around in her hands. "Now if you don't mind, I'm gonna buy that book that nearly killed me and go. I need to get back to the station."
Gold appeared momentarily panicked, but nodded his assent. "Yes, yes, of course…forgive me for keeping you from your duties, Sheriff."
"Not a problem, I just…just…" Furrowing her brows, she swayed slightly and pressed a hand to her forehead. "Oh, God…"
"Is something wrong?" Gold pressed, yet the eagerness on his face belied his pretense of concern. Moving over and kneeling in front of Emma, he gazed up into her eyes and realized (to his delight) that they were unfocused.
"Gold, I…I don't feel so well, I just…" With a grunt, the blonde slumped forward and fell straight into his arms, his nose burying into her hair and inhaling the scent he imagined was so similar to Belle's. She was his – now that he had a second chance for the happiness he'd been robbed of, he would not let her go.
A/N: Aaaand, there ya have it. :) Hopefully chapter 2 will be up soon, but inspiration always comes easier with a little incentive, if you get my drift. ;P