Once...And Forever Ch 11 Once and Forever

A/N No that wasn't a typo. This is the chapter that gave me the title of this story. Not the last chapter by far, but the one that inspired me the most, and the one I've been looking most forward to writing. Enjoy!

Emma walked down the hallway, took out her keys and winced as she turned the lock. She had been dreading this the whole way home. Mary-Margaret's car was gone, so she hoped with everything in her that she wasn't home. She so couldn't handle looking her in the eye right now. She was shaken, and scared, and angry, and hurt. She was hopeful, and vengeful. She was also deeper in love than the well she and August had visited went underground. She still had no idea how she was going to talk to Gold about this.

She peered inside the apartment, as the door swung wide. No one in the kitchen, or living room. No noise coming from the bedroom. She breathed a sigh of relief and stepped inside, letting the door close behind her. She walked slowly through the apartment, dropping her keys onto the table.

She didn't stop moving until she was in front of her bed. She wasn't sure if she had time for this, but if she didn't let it out she was going to burst. Flinging herself down on the bed, she buried her face in the pillow and bawled her eyes out, until her throat was raw, and her eyes were red and puffy. She probably looked like some hideous swamp creature, mascara smeared, hair tangled, face sopping wet with tears. She glanced up at the clock. Only 25 minutes had passed. More than enough time to wash away the evidence of her meltdown.

After a shower, and fresh makeup, complete with water-proof mascara, she slipped into the dress. The pretty blue one that Gold had talked her into buying. It felt nice, and she felt very princess-like. She turned and exited the bathroom to go get her shoes and ran right into Mary-Margaret, who blinked and then her face broke into a huge grin. She covered her mouth in awe.

"It's even better than before!" she gushed. "Oh Emma, you look gorgeous!" Emma gaped, and had no time to react from that compliment before hearing David's voice from the kitchen.

"Wow! What's the occasion? Got a date?" he asked her. She turned from the beaming face of her mother to meet the twinkling blue eyes of her father, and she nodded dumbly not trusting herself to speak just then. He smiled.

"If a guy's opinion matters to you, you look pretty Emma," he told her kindly. She couldn't fight the smile the crossed her face. She'd always longed to hear her father say that to her.

"Pretty? Are you kidding? She looks amazing!" Mary-Margaret gushed, clapping her hands together. "Gold is going to flip when he sees you!" she said, and David looked over Mary-Margaret in shock.

"Gold? She's dating Gold?" he asked. Mary-Margaret nodded, and he looked back at Emma. "Wow, well that's great! Only, and it's not really my business, but isn't he a little but old for you?" he asked her, and she shrugged.

"No, not really. I mean it's never come up," she said, thinking to herself that the man was more virile than most men half his age, and twice as sexy. But she wasn't about t say that to David. He looked flummoxed enough. He nodded slowly, indulging her.

"Well, as long as you're happy," he said, smiling reassuringly. She nodded in assent that she was.

"You just have to wear my sliver ballet flats, they will go perfectly with that," Mary told her. Taking her hand and leading her to her bedroom.

"It's okay, I have shoes," Emma began, but Mary-Margaret wouldn't budge. She pulled them out of the closet, and held them out to her.

"Here, we are the same size after all. What's the fun of being roomies if you can't share clothes?" she reasoned. Emma took the shoes and sat down on her mother's bed to put them on, then grimaced. Her parents could have very well made her a sibling in this bed. Eww! She stood up and walked over to the mirror. They did look good, and they were so comfy. Much better than heels.

"Thanks," Emma said to her mother, and caught her smile where they were both reflected in the mirror. How long had Emma waited for a moment like this. Sure they had had a moment like it the other day at the dress store, but it was different now. Emma knew. She knew that this woman was her long awaited mother. She swallowed hard, and looked away, jumping as Mary-Margaret nudged her from behind.

" I won't wait up. You should take a change of clothes, just in case you run late again," she wriggled her eyebrows, and Emma groaned. She so didn't want to discuss this with her!

"Mare!" she cried, and Mary-Margaret giggled.

"What? That way you won't have to come all the way back here in the morning wearing a rumpeled dress. You can just change there. Maybe shower there, eh?" she hinted with a wink. Emma eyes went wide. But in a weird way her mother's logic made sense. Couldn't hurt to take some spare clothes, just in case.

Emma went to grab a some things and tossed them in a bag. Mary-Margaret watched her with a knowing grin. Finally she ducked into the bathroom to get her toothbrush.

"I'd better get going. I said I'd be there at seven," she said glancing over at the clock. She only had fifteen minutes now.

"Okay go. You have a good time," Mary-Margaret said following her out of the bedroom. David smiled again as the two of them crossed the living room. Emma grabbed her coat, and glanced at her father. He nodded to her.

"Be careful out there. I hear there is gonna be a hellatious storm tonight," he informed her. She managed a small smile.

"I'll watch out. Thanks for the warning. See ya," she said quickly, and turned to go. "Bye Mare," she called and shut the door quickly behind her. She took a breath, and sighed. That went a lot better than she'd thought it would. She turned and walked away from the door, leaving her parents to enjoy themselves.

Inside she was a wreck, but she had cried so much before, she'd spent every tear in her. None left to cry now. She had to pluck up her courage, and just do this. She remembered saying once that if she did the brave thing then bravery would follow. She had to tell him everything, because she loved him, and he deserved to know.

She drove slowly, thinking about what she would tell him, and several times considered turning around and rushing back to the safety of her apartment, calling and faking sick. No, she thought, as much as she hated liars, she would not do that. She gripped the steering wheel hard to keep her hands from shaking, and set her eyes firmly on the road.

Pulling up in front of his house, she shut off the engine. Deciding to leave her bag in the car, she took a deep steadying breath,and stepped outside, wiping her sweaty palms on her coat. The walk to the door seemed a mile long, though it was only a few yards away. She stopped in front of his door, and lifted her hand to knock. Then as if by magic the door swung open, and there he stood, scintillating smile in place.

Emma's mouth fell open in shock. He wore his usual dark suit, complimented by a red tie, flecked with an intricate gold design. Typical, the snarky side of her brain wanted to say, but the larger portion of her brain wanted to pounce on him. His eyes swept her approvingly, and his smile grew wider.

"Good evening love," he said huskily, his brogue a little thicker than usual. Emma's mouth went dry, and she swallowed hard, calling a nervous smile to her lips.

"Hey there you," she said, as lightly as she could manage. He moved back a bit, bidding her to come in. She crossed the threshold, and he closed the door behind her. No going back now, she was well within the dragon's keep. And she so had to fight the arcane thoughts and phrases that kept rising to the surface. She was Emma damn it! She blanched when she caught him looking at her mildly.

"Your coat my dear?" he asked politely, reaching out to take it from her. She nodded,and shrugged it off of her shoulders. Gold's breath caught in his throat. She was wearing the dress, and she was a goddess. He took in her lovely form, and moistened his dry lips. Emma looked down at herself, in a self-conscious way.

"I uh, I ended up buying it," she stammered, and then cursed herself. 'Duh! What does he thing you did steal it? Rent it for the night? Great Emma, so witty! Why don't you just blink stupidly, and say 'I carried a watermelon' that would make it perfect!

"I see that my dear, fortunately for me," he complimented her. "You are a vision," he said, making her smile, as color filled her cheeks, self-conscious thought fading away. He stepped closer to her taking her hand and bringing it to his lips. She nibbled her lip. What did she have to be nervous about? They had seen each other naked for crying out loud! And oh great. Now she was thinking about him naked!

"Thanks," she said moving closer to him. "I like your tie, very you," she said seizing it between her fingers. Silk, she mused, and she slid her fingers down it. "Nothing but the best for you, 'eh?" She teased him. He, smirked, and pulled her against him, placing her hand on his shoulder.

"Nothing but the absolute best love. That is why I have you," he said, and leaned in to brush his lips across hers. Damn that man was smoother than his damn silk tie! Emma leaned in and kissed him back, promptly melting into his embrace. His tongue teased at her lips, making them fall open, beckoning, him inside. They kissed deeply, Emma's knees feeling so weak, she had lean on him for support. He may not have been able to stand either if not for his cane. He gripped it tightly, and wound his fingers through her golden hair.

When they broke apart at last Emma nestled her forehead against his. She hoped against all hope that he would not be angry. That he'd still see her as herself. She opened her eyes and met his deep brown ones. He smiled. Emma's mouth was slightly agape, her eyes blinking in wonder at the feelings coursing through her, she felt it, even stronger than before. The feelings she had, on top of the feelings she'd once had, and oh how she loved this man!

"I shall never tire of seeing that look in your eyes my dear," he said softly, touching her face gently. She sighed.

"I shall never tire of wearing this look," she murmured. Shit that hadn't sounded like her at all! "I uh, I mean, so I like kissing you, sue me counselor," she quipped earning her a chuckle from him. She grinned, wow, she really had to pay attention to what she said.

"I hope you are hungry my dear," he said and she nodded.

"Oh yeah, very," she replied, and he nodded toward the dinning room.

"Well, come with me, I'll feed you your fill," he said, and Emma caught the double meaning, and chuckled to herself. "Do I amuse you?" he asked lightly, pretending to have no idea why she was laughing. She eyed him, and smirked.

"Always," she replied. "So, what are we having?" she asked him stopping at a chair, and eying the food on the table.

"Roasted chicken, and buttery herb-ed potatoes," one of my favorite meals," he told her, and she smiled.

"Mine too," she said, very impressed. "Did you cook?" she asked, and he shook his head.

"If I were only that talented. No, I had a little help with the preparation, although I did grow the vegetables," he said, and Emma nodded.

"Well, it smells great," she went to pull out the chair, he let her, but held it steady as she sat down. She smiled over her shoulder at him. They did not make men like him anymore. He pushed her chair up a bit, and then went around to his. He had moved the chairs closer together, so that they would not be a mile away from each other.

Dinner was delicious, but Emma was nervous, so she barely at enough to satisfy her hunger. She wanted to get this over with, so when he asked her about dessert, she shook her head. She needed to talk to him before she lost her nerve.

"Can we just go in here? I'd like to talk to to you about something, and it's kinda important," she said nodding toward the living room. He looked in there, and nodded.

"Of course we can. Is everything alright?" he asked her.

"Yeah, I just found out something today, and I want to tell you all about it, and I wanted to ask you about some things," she said. He smiled mildly at her and nodded.

"Come then love," he said, and she stood up, taking his proffered arm, and let him lead her into the living room.

It wasn't as cluttered as it had been before. He must have had someone come in and clear it up, because the last time she had been in his house it had been littered with odds and ends. She sat down on the sofa, and he sat beside her.

"Now then, what ever is on that mind of yours dearie?" he asked her. Emma smoothed her skirt over her knees and rested her hands in her lap to keep them from trembling as she met his eyes.

"Okay, I uh, well, first, you know all the stuff Henry says about fairy tales being true, and we are all characters in his book?" she said quickly. He nodded. "Well, I believe him. He's right. We are, Regina really is the evil queen, and this town really is cursed," she told him. He smiled at her.

"And what brought you to that conclusion?" he asked her. He wasn't looking at her like she was crazy, a good sign, she thought to herself. She shrugged.

"Well, lots of things. This town is flat out weird sometimes. And the book, and, well what pushed me over the edge was the dreams," she replied. He nodded.

"So you've understood them at last?" he asked her, leaning forward in interest.

"Yeah, I have. Kinda funny really, um, Jefferson was the one who made me see that they were more than just dreams. They were memories," she told him, he lifted his brows.

"Oh? How did he do that?" he asked his voice tinged only slightly with jealousy. He knew that she had no feelings for the man, and he had just been reunited with his long lost wife. But he felt that somehow, it should have been him that made her believe

"I dreamed about him, from over there," she nodded ambiguously towards wherever the Enchanted Forest would be. "And he was my brother," she said.

"Brother?" he asked her.

"Yeah, brother. I lived another life before I was born there as, well me, this me. And the fact that Jefferson was my brother wasn't in Henry's book, so I asked him about it, and he confirmed that what I'd dreamed had really happened, over there. So I knew he wasn't lying and it all had to be true. When that realization hit, so did the memories," she looked away again. "I know who I was, and who you were," she finished, then turned back to judge his reaction. He didn't look surprised. In fact his face broke into an grin.

"That won't be a problem will it?" he asked, and she shook her head, smirking.

"I knew you remembered!" she said in awe. He shrugged.

"I would never have made myself forget dearie. When I make a curse there is always an advantage for me in it somewhere," he admitted.

"So you did make it. Why? Why do all of this?" Emma wanted know. She knew he had to have a good reason, he would not have done something this major without one. The price for it would have been astronomical. Of course he had not been the one to cast it, so maybe Regina was the one that had to deal with the fall-out, which if it were the case, suited Emma just fine. Gold held up his hands helplessly.

"Because, it was the only way I could reach my son. The damned blue fairy went and filled his head with talks of a land without magic. A land where I could be a normal man, no dark powers. She gave him magic to reach this place. We were supposed to go through the portal together, but I was afraid of losing my power. What would I be without them?" he looked ashamed. "I slackened my grip for a second, and he was pulled from my grasp, and was lost to me," he sighed, meeting her eyes. His own looked sad, and careworn.

"I'm so sorry Rumple," Emma said before she thought, covering his hand with hers. He chuckled.

"You are one of the few people I let get away with calling me that dearie," he teased her, turning his hand to gently grasp hers. Emma caught her lip between her teeth, and took a breath.

"We will find him, I promise you," she said. "I won't stop looking until we do," she squeezed his hand gently. He nodded.

"I have no doubts of your skills love," he told her emphatically. "I know that if anyone can find him it will be you. I only hope when you do he will want to be found," he said sadly.

"You are his father. I'm sure he will want to see you, if for no other reason than to punch you in the face," he eyed her, and she giggled impishly. He smirked.

"Emma you are a treasure, " he said lovingly.

"So you've said. And as to what you said about you not having your powers, I think you are pretty great with or without them," she said, and he looked at her funny.

"How do you know what I was like with them? We never met over there," he said, and Emma drew her hand gently from his. "Did we?" he asked her. She looked toward the fireplace.

"We met," she said vaguely, her mind racing. How to say it? How? He didn't know that Jefferson was Belle's brother. She'd thought he might make the connection, but he hadn't. But then Jeff had done a

very thorough job of distancing himself from their father. Changed his appearance, and his accent as well, not wanting to be anything like the man. She didn't blame him for that. She was glad she was who she was now, not like him at all, instead being the daughter of a true king.

"Well, where then? How did I know you?" he asked her. "Did we deal together over something?" he asked her, hoping that he hadn't, since his deals were often not good for the ones he made them with. She nodded without looking at him.

"Yeah, we did," she said, and looked at him, his eyes were on her raptly. "I uh," she swallowed hard, and wet her lips.

"What is it my dear?" he asked her, watching her fidget nervously. He began to worry. What could be troubling her so? She sighed.

"Okay, these dreams, they were my memories. Jefferson was my brother, and French, well he was our father," she blurted out. Then pressed on, trying not to see the gut checked look on his face. "I remember. I remember everything. I remember, making the deal to leave with you to save the village. I remember chipping your tea cup. I remember pulling down your curtains, and falling into you arms," she tried to keep going, but Gold took hold of her shoulders and that gave her pause. Last time he'd seized her like that he'd been angry.

"What are you saying Emma?" he said, and their eyes met. Tears formed in her eyes. Yep waterproofing was a good idea.

"I'm saying that, I'm Belle, or was before," she trailed off and her body shook as she fought the sob forcing it's way up her throat. Gold still held her arms, but his grip slackened, and his eyes went blank. He floundered for words, and could find none other then to speak the name.

"B-b-belle?" he stammered, his eyes searching her face for a trace of lie. There was none. "What, how?" he asked, his voice shaky.

"I don't know! I don't know, I just am, or was, or well I guess in a way I still am," she said, shaking her head in confusion. "My head is spinning more than your wheel used to, but I had to tell you what I have remembered. You deserve to know," she said firmly. "And this time I will tell you everything right away. I understand why you thought I was working with Regina, so let me explain. That way you will know for certain that I wasn't trying to weaken you or hurt you, I really did have good intentions." he nodded dumbly. Unsure if he could speak.

"Tell me everything," he said thickly, fighting the tears back.

"I was walking on the road and met Regina. She was very friendly. I was not from that part of the land, so I did not the queen. I thought she was a noble-woman out for a drive. She started asking me where I was going, where I was from, and I told her, there was no reason not to, she seemed so nice. We spoke of you, not by name, just that I worked for you, and was in love with you, but that you would not love me in return because I believed something evil had taken root in you. And she told me that she suspected you were under a curse, and that I could break it if I kissed you, if our love was true. I believed it was, and it really was, so I came home intent on trying to break it, so we could be together," she said all this very fast and without pause. "You know what happened there, and I don't blame you. I should have told you that I met her on the road. Told you what she told me, then you could have warned me not to trust her," she said, and he shook his head.

"No, I was cruel, I should have trusted you, I should have known you'd never do that. I knew you were good, and sweet, and not capable of such meanness," he choked out. "So you really did... you really were gone?" he asked her.

"Yeah, and then was reborn, as you see," she told him. He nodded a bit.

"What happened to you?" he managed to rasp out.

"It was Regina and French's fault. She set me up, to hurt you, then after I returned home, 'papa' locked me away in a tower, thinking me evil and thinking you and I had been lovers, he shunned me. Did nothing to protect me when Regina sent a bunch of men to where I was. They were dressed as clerics, but they were her guard, I knew it. Clerics are learned men, and these men were not that. He had to know it as well, and just didn't care. He let them come. They burst in on me, intent on, well they were there to rape me," she swallowed the bile that rose in her throat. "All of them. I tried to run, tried to get past them, but there was no way. The only other exit was the window," she said, and he choked back a sob too.

"Oh no, no no no," he whispered, and she rested her hands on his thighs.

"Let me finish, please," she said. "I have to tell you this," she swallowed hard, and he nodded, his lips quivering in anguish as she spoke of her final moments in that life. "I knew I had to jump, because I had not done what I was being accused of, and neither had you. I was not going to let them take something that wasn't theirs to take. So I jumped before they could lay hands on me. I fell slowly, it seemed. I could see the stars, so bright, and I wished that by a star, or by magic or something, that the words I said would reach the one they were meant for, that he'd hear them and believe them. That you would hear them, then I said aloud into the wind, "I'm sorry, and I love you," she was crying in earnest now, but managed a chuckle.

"Funny how magic works isn't it? 28 plus years later I'm my own messenger," she said, breaking at last. He drew her into his arms then, unable to speak, letting her tears spot his jacket, as his fell into her hair. They stayed like that for a while. Neither was sure who moved first, but somehow they were looking into each others watery eyes again.

"I just, can't believe it," he said touching her face gently. "How could it be you? After all this time, you be here?" he asked, and Emma sighed and looked away, for a minute, composing herself, before finding his eyes again.

"Listen, I need to tell you something, okay? I may remember being Belle, and in a way, I guess still am, she is part of me, but I am Emma now, and that's who I will be. I'm not the same as used to be. I'm sarcastic, and loud, and rough,and I'm the girl that grew up here alone, had to make it alone. I'm a blonde, and I wear leather, an denim, not damask and lace. And I just hope that finding this out about me won't make you feel different about me, because I want you to want me because I'm the one you want now, not because I used to be the love of your life," she told him, a pained look on her face. He chuckled, his dewy eyes twinkling.

"So, you think Belle the love of my life do you?" he asked her, and she nodded.

"You still have the cup. You beat French almost to death over it. And the look of pain on your face when you talked about her, or me, whatever," she shook her head. "I know what that look was. You loved her," her eyes fell to their laps, and she tried to hide the fact that she was envious, of herself of all people. Gold chuckled again, and tucked his hand beneath her chin so she would look back up at him.

"You are correct. I did love Belle, I loved her very much. Much more than I knew I could love a woman," he said and Emma shrugged.

"I know that, knew that, I mean... damn stupid time,memory, paradox thing, " she said, and he laughed then, and leveled his gaze at her.

"May I finish?" he asked and she nodded. "I said, I loved Belle. Loved, past tense. She was at that point the greatest love of my life, but that part of my life has gone. She has gone, all but what part of her became you. So yes, I did love her, once, but it's you, Emma Swan, you who fills my dreams, haunts my days. You who fuels my desire, my passion, it's you, all you, Emma. And it's you, who I will love forever, throughout all eternity, while my life still lasts," he told her, his eyes blazing like the fire licking at the logs in the fireplace. He looked a bit sheepish then, as he had the day he'd given her the rose, and said in an afterthought, "If you'll have me," Emma's face lit up like the 4th of July.

"Oh I'll have you Rumpelstiltskin, Gold, Dark One, pawnbroker, don't care what. And I'll love you, forever too," she pulled him close and their lips met in a soft passionate kiss. Emma tangled her fingers deep into his hair, and he did the same to her, pulling her as close as he could making her feel like they were part of each other.

Home. It felt like home, like finally everything in her messed up life made sense. He made it make sense. He was her home. And she would follow him wherever, to hell if necessary.

They more they kissed the more Emma realized that if she didn't touch his bare skin soon she would die. Just expire right there on the sofa. She tugged at his tie, and pulled it free, the dove for the buttons on his shirt, and worked them loose. Too many layers! She wanted skin! Wanted him, now!

They broke from the kiss, and Gold slid his lips down her jawline, and nipped at her collarbone, then the soft skin of her neck. Then grazing her ear, he whispered low,

"Just how fond of this dress are you my love?" he asked her, making a shiver run down her spine. He was so dead sexy.

"It cost me more than I make in a month," she breathed.

"Well then, tearing it off of you is out then. Pity," he growled, and she whimpered as his fingers found the zipper, and pulling it down slowly. The straps slackened and fell from her shoulders. He traced his finger slowly up her spine, he body shuddered at the touch.

"Rumpel please," she sighed. He closed his eyes and savored the sound of his true name on her lips. Loving that he made her feel this way, that she wanted him, knowing that he was not a good man. Knowing the monster he'd been, really at times still was. In spite of all that he was the one she chose to give her heart to.

"Emma, my sweet Emma," he breathed in her ear, his voice thick and yearning. He did not need to say it. He wanted her as much as she wanted him.

Seconds ticked by, as they undressed each other. When they were finally skin to skin, Emma straddled his hips and he looked up at her in wonder. She was a goddess come to earth! She leaned forward, and brushed his hair back from his face, a smile playing at her lips, as she slid slowly down his length. His eyes closed in ecstasy, and she caught her bottom lip between her teeth, tiny whimpers escaping her as she moved on him. He claimed her lips in a fiery kiss thrusting up to meet her. She cried out, and wrapped her arms around his neck, holding on for dear life as they clashed like the thunder and lightning that was flashing and booming outside. The air hummed with magic between them as they gave and took of each others pleasure.

Sweet, and anything but gentle, they made love like they would never be together again. Like there was only that moment, and for them there was only that moment. The moment when they both found their release, tears coursed from Emma's eyes once more, overcome with the feelings he evoked in her. He brushed he tears away with his thumbs as they gazed at each tenderly.

"Oh but I love you Emma," he vowed, and she smiled, leaning closer to press her forehead to his.

"I love you too Rumple, so much," she replied, sealing her lips over his.

Exhausted from the crying and really just wanting to be close to him she asked him to take her to bed. He was all to happy to grant her request, wishing he had the use of his legs to carry her up the stairs and toss her into his bed. But they got there just the same. Leaving the clothes where they lay, the dishes on the table, and fire burning they ascended the staircase side by side.

As they entered his bedroom Emma took it in and decided that she could get used to this. His room was masculine, the colors deep reds, golds, rich browns, it was a warm room. She had not gotten to see his room in the Dark Castle, and wondered to herself if it looked anything like this. Probably more ornate, her Rumpel had quite the flair for the dramatic. Her Rumpel! The thought sent her heart racing.

The bed drew her eye. It was a beautiful piece, all white oak, ornately detailed with tiny wooden briar roses and their vines running all up the posts. The headboard itself was a work of art, dozens of mythical beasts cavorted all over it. Emma ran her hand up one of the posts, and then glanced over at Gold who was watching her reaction to his private quarters. She smiled at him.

"This is beautiful," she told him turning back to the bed. He joined her, smiling proudly.

"It is that. Very much so. All hand carved you know," he informed her and she blinked, turning to face him. She believed that it could be done, and she figured 'over there' where there were no machines, all things must be done by hand. But the thought that all this detail had been done by hand gave her pause.

"I thought it must have been made by magic," she breathed, and he chuckled.

"Did you now?" he asked her playfully. "I did many things by magic, but I leave things of this nature to the craftsmen that do such fine work as their trade," He told her. She nodded, then had a thought.

"Did Marco make this?" she wanted to know. Or Gepetto as he had been known.

"Aye he did indeed. I commissioned him to make it for me an age ago. He did a magnificent job, but then again he always did the finest work." he ran his hand up the post as well.

Emma felt a little exposed, and wanted to crawl between the covers. Gold sensed that, and stepped around to the edge of the bed and turned down the blankets. He glanced back at Emma and nodded to the bed with a slight come-hither look. She didn't need a second invitation. She climbed in the bed giving him a view that he adored, making him follow right behind her and take her in his arms.

This was his greatest dream, or had been since the dratted woman had come to town. Her naked in his bed, and willing to let him do anything he liked to her. But this he had not counted on. She really was the greatest love of his life, in any life, as a piteous man, as the imp he'd become, or as the powerful solitary man he was now. She was it. They had not had time for their love to grow before. And she had been so innocent then. Sometimes he had caught a glimpse of it in her eyes, but Emma was a whole different breed of woman than she'd once been. She was stronger, wiser, and more determined than before. She could more than match him in every way. She was what he had always needed.

She curled her fingers, digging ever so slightly into his chest like a content kitten. His hand covered hers, his fingers twined though hers, and she sighed. This was heaven, sheer bliss. The man that haunted her every step, the man she loved beyond reason, was there, holding her. She smiled and pressed a small kiss to his bare shoulder. He was not perfect, but he was perfect for her. He was cunning, powerful, and witty. And he wanted her, not some memory of her, but her herself.

"Happy love?" he asked her, and she answered with a contented sigh. "I'll take that as a yes then?" he said lightly, and she turned her head to glance at him.

"That was a hell yes," she replied wryly, and he chuckled again.

"Good, I was afraid you would not enjoy being in bed with a beast," he teased and she rolled her eyes.

"Don't call yourself that anymore Rumple, that story is over. We are writing a new one as of right now," she said, and he settled back into the pillow.

"Is that a fact? And what shall we call this new tale we are writing?" he asked. Emma thought for minute.

"The Princess and the Pawnbroker?" she asked him, and he grinned.

"What about, 'The Dark One's Pawn'," he said and Emma grimaced.

"That sounds like a bad porno," She complained, and Gold laughed, hugging her to him. She laughed a little, looking down at him, her hair falling into her face. He brushed it away, trailing it through his fingers as he had the gold he'd used to spin.

"I've got it. The Golden Swan," he said framing her face. "For both of our names, and your beautiful golden hair," he commented, and she blushed a bit.

"That's so amazingly sweet," she sighed, and he shrugged a little.

"Well, it's true my dear. The finest gold never shined brighter," he praised her, and she wanted to cry. She had never imagined that she would or even could feel the things she felt for him.

Have you always been this amazing?" she asked him. He shrugged.

"Pretty much, " he replied, preening a bit, and she giggled.

"Well Rumpelstiltskin, scourge of The Enchanted Forest. You have me here, in your bed. What are you going to do with poor helpless little me?" Emma, teased him. He smirked and leaned close to her ear.

"Tell you what I'm going to do. I'm going to make you scream princess. Scream and beg for mercy. And if you please me well enough I might give it, might. Or, I might just torture you long into the night, til we see the sun rising," he growled low in her ear. Emma's mouth opened in surprise, her eyes drifting closed as his words wreaked havoc on her body. "How does that sound princess?" he asked, closing his lips over her earlobe. She uttered a tiny cry, wetting her lips, and murmuring back

"Then what are you waiting for Dark One?" she rasped, tilting her head back as his lips moved lower. "Do your worst." He leaned away so he could see her face. Her eyes were blazing with desire. He ran his fingers down her bare back and smiled.

"Careful what you ask for dearie," he replied, then rolled her over onto her back and lowered his mouth to hers. Emma was in trouble, and she did not care one bit.

He kissed her deeps and full, and, then lifted his mouth from hers smirk in place, his eyes glittering in the dim light. Slowly in inched down her body, nipping and kissing, pausing at her breasts, and paying them some attention, before moving lower, and lower still, until he lay between her thighs. His promise of torture truly began. He teased at her flesh, never full giving her what she wanted. Emma whimpered and moaned and cried out his name, until finally he relented and gave her the release she craved, before moving back up her body, and pressing himself against her.

"Do you want me dearie?" he asked her. She nodded. "Then say it," he demanded softly.

"Yes I want you. You know I do," she breathed.

"How badly?" he teased, brushing his manhood against her, she squirmed, and wet her lips.

"Bad, so bad! Please, need you, " she said, almost out of her head with want. He grinned.

"Really? Well that is fascinating. Tell me more princess. Tell me what you want," he said, teasing her flesh.

"You, I want you. All of you. I want to feel you in my soul," she whimpered. He looked down into her wild eyes and smiled.

"I can do that, but if I do, you'll never be rid of me," he warned her playfully.

"I don't want to be rid of you. I want more, and more," she moaned, digging her nails into his shoulders. "I want you forever, want this forever."

"Then you shall have it forever my love," he vowed, and thrust deeply into her, claiming her soul, and giving her his, pouring all of himself into her and taking all she had to give him. Time stopped, the earth stopped turning, even the storm outside stilled. The only sound either of them heard were cries of ecstasy, coming from each others' lips. It was the place in time they had both been searching for all, and any of their lives.

It was just after dawn. Emma opened her eyes, and stretched. She was chilly. Where the hell had the blankets gone? Oh there they were, across the room, there was still a sheet, but it was twisted around them both like a pretzel. She smiled and sat up, glancing to her right. Rumpelstiltskin lay on his back slumbering peacefully.

Emma stood up, shakily, and stood there a moment to get her bearings before retrieving the blankets. Things had gotten pretty wild in there, and she was feeling the effects. She carried the blankets back over the the bed. It was not time to be up yet, but now that she had woken up she wasn't sure she could go back to sleep. So she sat down gently, so she wouldn't rouse him.

Softly snoring, the most evil imp the world had ever known looked harmless as a baby in the cradle. Emma covered him back up and then herself as well and lay back down to get warm beneath the blankets. In his sleep he reached for her, and pulled her close to him.

"Emma," he said softly in the semi-darkness of the early morning. She smiled and snuggled back into his embrace.

"Rumpelstiltskin," she replied just as softly, and smiled curved his mouth upwards and he buried his face in the fragrance of her messy curls.

Emma did manage to drift off again after thinking for a bit. About everything. Him, Henry, Jefferson, Grace, Alice, Mary-Margaret, David, the curse and Regina. What was she going to do about that? Was her last thought for a while.

When she opened her eyes again, and sat up he was not in the bed with her. She looked around the room, and then decided to get up and search. After making a pit stop at the bathroom of course. She had staggered in there at some pint before falling asleep the night before, but it was only long enough to relieve herself.

When she opened the door she heard the water running. 'Well that solves that mystery' she thought to herself. She could make out his silhouette behind the steamed up glass. She wanted to back out of the room and let him have some privacy, but the door took that moment to creak loudly, and he peered around the glass shower door and smiled.

"Good morning my dear. Sleep well?" he asked her, his hair wet and hanging in his face, his chest and shoulder visible as well, and both sinfully dripping with water from the shower. Emma stared for a moment, before shaking her head to clear it, and nodded.

"Yeah, like my mom after she ate the apple," she replied and he chuckled.

"Good that you are taking all this so well dearie," he praised her, then motioned for her to come in and join him. "There's room for one more," he teased, and she nodded, walking over to the shower and slid back the door. Steam, and a heady scent assailed her. Ah, spices and wild places, a scent uniquely his. He moved back to make room for her. She smiled and stepped inside, and her breath caught in her throat. Damn that man was sexy as hell when he was fully clothed, and not dripping with steamy water. Her mind recalled the dream she'd had about them in the tub together, and she swallowed hard. He smirked and shook his head in mock confusion.

"Whatever could you be looking at dearie?" he asked. She smiled.

"I wonder," she teased. "Could it be the dripping hot hunk of man in front of me?" she quipped, making him chuckle.

"Oh now Emma my dear lets not be silly, " he said and she rolled her eyes.

"Oh shut it with the false modesty will ya?" she said stepping closer to him, pulling the door closed behind her. "I know now why you covered the mirrors, and it sure wasn't a self esteem issue," she said, and he smirked.

"A handsome prince I have never been dearie," he replied, his eyes telling what his lips would not. He had been ridiculed, hobbled, treated like less than dirt at one time. No one ever told him they thought he was handsome, or attractive. Emma had seen a lot of men in her day, but he took the cake the pie, and the crème brûlée on looks, personality, wit, charm, and down right hotness. She reached up and linked her arms around his neck, pressing her body against his, making him shiver at the contact.

"Rumpel, you are a very handsome, sexy man, and I want you, every day and night, or at least as often as I can for now," he smiled.

"As often as you want me dearie, I am yours to command, " he said and pulled her closer, one arm around her waist and one holding on to the handrail, damn his leg! He wanted to push her back against the wall of the shower and pound the daylights out of her, make her cry his name, and beg for more. But for the present time he would have to settle on the chair he had installed in there to make showers easier on him. He sat down and pulled her atop him. The water striking the back of her head, and running down over her shoulders and between her breasts.

He smiled up at his goddess, and ran his fingers through her hair wetting it completely. Then, he reached to retrieve the shampoo, pouring some into his palm, before lathering it into her tresses. She sighed and let him wash her hair gently. Every few moments he would lean in and kiss her softly, and she would shift in his embrace making him groan with need, as her body quickened his by a mere ghost of a touch.

Then he picked up the spare cloth and soaped it up, washing her body all over taking care to hover in places that made her squirm, teasing and touching til she was moving against him wantonly. He let the cloth fall to the floor of the shower and grasped Emma's hips.

Sensing what he meant to do she helped him moving closer so he could slide inside her. She crashed her lips against his, moaning as he thrust as far in as he could. Deepening kisses, fingers tangled in each others' hair, and skin wet with water and want, they made each other near blind with passion.

Emma flung back her head and cried his name, all four delicious syllables of it, as he chanted her name like a mantra, over and over again as he found his release deep within her. He held her in his arms and smiled in a self-satisfied way. Oh but he did love the after-glow of making love to his wild little Emma.

"Oh wow," Emma breathed against his shoulder. He glanced at her and chuckled.

"Wow indeed," he replied and she smiled and looked up at him.

"Best shower in the history of showers," she said and he nodded in agreement.

"I shall have to have one of these installed when when return to the Enchanted Forest," he said, looking around at this marvel of modern convenience.

"Hell yeah. That would be, uh, fun," she said, and he laughed darkly, running his hands up her thighs.

"Yes with a spell cast to ensure endless hot water, which sadly we don't have here," he told her, nodding to the falling stream of room temperature water. Emma shivered. It would be cool to have endless hot water.

"I guess we'd better get out and dry off before the water gets out and out cold," she sighed, and made to stand up. Her legs wobbled, and he held her arms to steady her. She giggled. "You are the only man to ever make me weak in the knees," she told him, and he smiled.

"Good to know dearie," he stood up his legs a bit shaky as well. "I think after that I could do with some breakfast," he said, and she nodded, and

"Me too, I uh, need to run out to my car and grab a change of clothes, I can't wear that dress when I go in to work later," she told him, and he nodded to the back of the bathroom door.

" I have a robe there you can put on to go out and get them," he replied and reached for one of the fluffy burgandy towels hanging on the rack, handing it to her he took the other down and looped it around his narrow waist, before grabbing his cane.

Emma draped the towel around herself and tried to look in the mirror, but it was hopelessly fogged. She smirked knowing why and pushed her wet hair out of her face. They could fog up brick walls when they were together.

After donning his robe she slipped on her shoes and hurried out to the car to get her little bundle of things and hurried back inside before she caught her death, it was still bitterly cold in the early mornings.

Once she was back inside she dressed in his bathroom and brushed her teeth, when the smell of cooking meat hit her nose. Yum, she was starving! She hadn't eaten nearly enough the night before. She tossed her toothbrush back into her bag and left the room.

She found Gold in the kitchen frying ham, and eggs. He turned to greet her with a smile when she came in the room, and she smiled back. It was strange to see him there, cooking, he looked so harmless and she knew was the exact opposite of harmless.

"Need any help?" she asked him, and he shook his head.

"Breakfast is the one meal I can cook better than any other," he replied, nodded to the small breakfast nook. "Sit my dear, allow me," he said and she shrugged and sat down.

"So do you have anything big going on today?" she asked him, and he made a non-committal


"Could be, time will tell. And you?" he asked her, she shrugged again.

"Just gotta go get Alice and get her to Jefferson's place," she told him, certain that she could trust him with this. "Regina can not find out about her or she will find a way to take her from him again, and the poor man has suffered enough."

"Oh I'll second that, losing his wife, his sister, and his child, it's a small wonder he has not done something really crazy by now," Gold replied, plating the food, and turning off the stove. "have you given any thought what you will tell Regina about the girl's insurance? She did a lot of damage the other day, and Regina will be after her to make good on it," he said, and Emma nodded.

"I was thinking about it. I might be able to set up a fake company using Jefferson's money to pay back the damages, he doesn't want the money anyway, all he wants is to have her back with him.

"I understand that. Is there anything I can do to help?" he asked her, and she looked at him funny.

"What's in it for you?" she teased him, and he smirked.

"I'm sure I can find something for you to pay me back with," he replied, eying her, and she giggled.

"Oh yeah, you are right, and I won't mind paying one bit, " she said, eying him back, making him chuckle.

"There are legalities I can circumvent for you, if you like," he offered, and she thought about it for a moment.

"Can you do it without Regina tracing it back to you?" she asked, and he nodded.

"Of course dearie. She may have gotten a few digs in on me in the past but, I know how to stay ahead of her. She knows next to nothing about contracts and the like. She never used them, that is one of her biggest mistakes."

"Well if you can do it, and not be implicated then, yeah that would be a big help," Emma said, and he smiled.

"Well I will get right on that, come by the shop, and I will give them to you later today," he said, and she nodded, and glanced up at the clock.

"I better get going, I am gonna be so late," she said and he pouted.

"What a pity," he sighed looked at the clock and back at her, she shook her head.

"I have a feeling I will be running late a lot of mornings on your account," she told him, and he nodded.

"Of that you may be certain my love," he replied unabashedly. She chuckled, and stood up from the table.

"I will see you around noon, okay?" she asked, and he tugged her close to him.

"I will be waiting, be safe, " he said lowering his lips to hers. She melted into his arms and kissed him back deeply.

Emma, broke the kiss, giving him a little squeeze, having to turn and leave before she was tempted to stay. It wouldn't take much more than few choice words from his sinful lips to make her say balls to the rest of the day.

She got in her car and hurried to the station to meet Jefferson. Time to start Operation: Follow the White Rabbit. Yea gods what had Henry done to her? Coming up with code names, how silly! What next? She chuckled, but fooling Regina was gonna fun, he mouth quirked up, and she walked bouncily into the station, humming and singing to herself, in a better mood than she had been in in all her twenty eight years.

AN: I'm so so so sorry a thousand times over for waiting so long, but I wanted it to be really good, and I have had some er... distractions. Or namely one big distraction named Michael, lol. My new boyfriend, anyway... I got this chapter done and it was a bear to finish. I hope you like it, and please let me know what you think. I love reviews! There is plenty more to come. I guess since we all watch Once, we know that this is completely AU now. Grrr, but so that we know Henry's dad is a nameless loser and will not come into play in this story at all, as for Bae... more to come on that one. Thanks for sticking with me, being patient while I chase my own happy ever after... :) You guys are awesome.