A/N: Okay, so y'all knew it was coming...I had to start writing a fanfic based off the OUAT finale! Hooray for Rumbelle! :D
Just so y'all know...if you haven't watched the finale yet, you're reading this at your own risk! Plenty of spoilers!
Also, I'd like to thank my amazing friend T'Nara Kelensa Valdrin for her creative input to this story. I don't know how she does it, but she always comes up with the best ideas! So thank you, T'Nara!
Gold stretched his stiff and sore body in the old wooden chair by the window. He didn't sleep a wink last night. He blinked, and shook his head slightly, trying to stay awake. He needed some tea.
With eyes still trained on the window, he fumbled for his cane. He had been so intent on staring out into the night, he hadn't even noticed his cane had fallen to the floor from where it had been propped up.
Gold knew it was foolish to be so paranoid. But he had already lost her once. He wasn't about to lose her again.
He found his cane, and walked over to the makeshift kitchen in his one-room cabin. The townspeople referred in hushed tones to it as the "Cabin of Horror", most likely in reference to his kidnapping and near murder of Moe French in this very cabin in the woods.
He heard a rustling in the corner where the cabin's only bed was. In that bed was Belle, his Belle, still sleeping off the exhaustion of yesterday's adventures. Gold tried not to stare at her as she slept. That was part of what had kept his eyes staring out the window all night. He couldn't stop watching her. It was like he was making up for lost time.
The other reason why he had kept watch at the window all night was because he was afraid someone, namely Regina, would take her away from him again.
Gold found the can of teabags on the shelf where he had left them last time he had stayed in the cabin. Filling the kettle with water, his blood boiled as he recalled Belle's words to him when she found him in his shop. "Regina had me locked up." She had told him.
Gold turned the water off and brought the kettle to the small stovetop. He put the kettle down more forcefully than he meant to, and he quickly glanced to make sure he hadn't woken up Belle.
He fiddled with the knobs on the stove, which refused to cut on. It was an old stove, archaic even, but Gold liked old things. He was about to give the hunk of metal a light kick when he heard a tap on the door. He froze. He glanced over to Belle, still sound asleep, then to the door.
He limped to the door, his cane tap-tap-tapping on the wooden floor as he crossed the room. Gold peered out the window, and breathed a sigh of relief. It was Jefferson. He didn't fully trust Jefferson, but then there wasn't a single person Gold really trusted, except for Belle, and Bae, wherever he was.
Gold cracked open the door warily. "Can I help you dearie?" he asked.
Jefferson smiled "I thought you might be hiding up here for the night." he held out a bag, and two cups of steaming drink from Granny's. "Here. It's breakfast. It's the least I could do."
Gold took the food, still wary, but appreciative. "How did you know I would be up here?"
"Oh, well, I, uh, was the one who sent Belle to you. I knew you would hide out here tonight. She did come, right?" A look of worry crossed Jefferson's face.
"Aye, she did." Gold opened the door further, as an invitation to come in. "How did you know Regina had her locked away?"
Jefferson shook his head, "I've got to be going." he grinned. "Enjoy your breakfast!" He turned and left, heading back for town.
Gold shook his head. Jefferson was a master at avoiding questions. His mouth quirked up into a slight smile, and shut the door. He cringed. He hadn't meant to shut it quite so hard, but his hands had been full of breakfast.
"Who's there?" Belle called out sleepily from the bed.
Gold limped over to the table in the middle of the room. He put down the breakfast, and crossed over to the bed. "It's me, Belle." He said gently.
Belle reached out with her hand and found his face. He flinched, not used to intimate physical contact. But he didn't pull away. It felt good…safe. His hand reached for hers, and he held it carefully in his own. "Rumpelstiltskin" Belle whispered. "So it wasn't a dream…"
"No, no dream, dearie." Gold choked on his words. He had never thought he'd see Belle's beautiful face, or hear her melodic voice ever again. He drank in her beauty like sweet wine.
Oh, her hair was a mess, she hadn't probably properly bathed in God knows how long, and she needed many good meals to get some flesh back on her bones, but Gold didn't care. She still took his breath away.
"I've got some breakfast" Gold told Belle. "Are you hungry?"
She nodded eagerly, and struggled to sit up. He helped her up, and she wobbled slightly, trying to get her footing as they walked to the table.
Gold wished he could have just picked her up and carried her to the chair by the table. His limp prohibited that though. Thankfully, Belle found her footing quickly, and sat down in the chair with a thump. Gold dragged the chair he had sat in all night over to the table so he could sit with her.
By the time he had done so, Belle had already ripped into the bag of food. Amused, he forgot about the slight twinge of hunger that had been building since yesterday. He did take a sip of the steaming liquid in the cup though. Bleh. He had never been a fan of coffee. He drank the bitter brew anyway, and watched Belle wolf down her breakfast, and then tear into his.
It pained him to think about how many meals Belle had missed. How long had it been since her last meal? He took another sip of coffee and tried not to think about that.
Belle finished their breakfast, and looked up sheepishly. "Um, I think I ate all the food" she said, stating the obvious.
"I'm not hungry." he lied. The twinge of hunger had returned, but he ignored it. He would never eat again if it meant Belle never went hungry anymore.
Belle flashed him a look that told him she didn't believe him for a second. She got up and began gathering the trash leftover from breakfast. Gold reached out and touched her wrist as she grabbed his near-empty cup. "Sit." he told her. "I'll clear this up."
"I can get it." Belle protested.
Gold shook his head. "Sit. Please."
She flopped back down and watched him as he gathered the garbage and threw it away in the trash can.
"So, is this where you live?" Belle asked, looking around at the meager living space.
Gold laughed lightly. "No, no, dearie. This is just a small place I own. I come here to get away every now and again." he sat back down at the table. "I own a place in town where I stay most of the time."
Belle crinkled her nose. "So why did we come here then?"
"To keep you safe." he replied, his eyes darkening as he spoke.