Once Upon A Time: Through The Devil's Eyes, Part One
By Rebekkalee Mouri-Hibiki
(Once Upon A Time doesn't belong to me. It belongs to ABC. This is the third story in a series of undetermined length. This story happens after 'Into The Devil's Den' and 'Dancing With The Devil' and will connect back to those two stories. If you haven't read them, I suggest you do so you know what's going on and where we're at. I'd also like to thank my friend Kristy for some ideas she gave me in a comment back on Facebook. 'Into The Devil's Den' can be found at fanfic/view_ /169695/ and 'Dancing With The Devil' can be found at fanfic/view_ /169815/ )
It was an average day in Storybrooke, Maine, Everyone went about their daily business as usual, including Mr. Gold. It was rent collection day so he was busy going to all the businesses, collecting his money. Real Estate had proven quite lucrative, almost as lucrative as spinning gold when he was known as Rumplestiltskin. He couldn't do that anymore though, not since Regina had invoked the Dark Curse.
Apparently, this world didn't have same kind of magic like where they had come from. That in itself was a blessing and a curse. A blessing because Regina couldn't use magic but a curse because, well, he couldn't. Of course, all the other magic users were powerless but they couldn't remember who they were so it didn't matter anyway.
He wasn't completely powerless but it took a while to key into the magic this world held, a problem he was certain Regina had as well. Magic here was more ethereal than the kind from their land. It was delicate and had to be executed with great care or everything would fall apart in an instant. It was like weaving with spider webs... one wrong move and it was destroyed.
It also seemed that this world depended more on the skills of deception, treachery and the ability to outsmart those around you. His once perfect intuition had been dulled to a degree but it still was enough to keep him a little ahead of everyone else. He could think out a situation to the end with amazing accuracy then influence it to happen exactly the way he wanted. The only person who could do almost the same was Madame Mayor but not as well as he could.
She still surprised him at times only she had to really work at it. Most of the time, he had the upper hand. She had managed to top him then and again but not for long. He viewed it as a lovely little game to keep his skills sharp for she would never be more powerful than him... never.
He had managed to fool her into thinking he had been affected by the curse for so very long that she had left him alone, thinking she had won. Without her meddling, he had been left to build his little empire. Before Regina knew it, he owned the town and gained a reputation of a man not to be trifled with. Still she thought he was like everyone else, unable to remember.
He wasn't quite for certain when she realized he hadn't been affected but now she knew. She had taken something he held dear, making him admit his true identity to get it back. It had been a heartless move but then again, no one ever accused Regina of having a heart to begin with. As a result, she had been taking swipes at him more and more often.
Mr. Gold walked down Main street, taking a brief moment to look at Mary-Margret's apartment building as he passed it. A little smile tugged at the corner of his mouth but not for Mary-Margret. The smile was for her feisty and alluring roommate, Sheriff Emma Swan. The events of the past month had forced them to spend a lot of time together.
In that time, he was able to learn quite a bit about the spirited blonde. At least, what she would let him learn about her. She was emotionally damaged and untrusting, her time in the foster care system making her that way. Something else it made her was strong and determined.
She was the first person that had stood up to Regina in a long time, showing no fear in the presence of the Evil Queen. She was so fearless, she didn't even fear him when everyone in town skittered like bugs to get away from him. Perhaps it was ignorance more than bravery but he wouldn't put money on that. She was a brave yet desperate soul, choosing to fight even when she wasn't sure of what she was fighting against.
Her brave facade had cracks in it though, cracks he could see through and detect the lonely heart that lay beneath it. Desperation and loneliness were two things he knew all too well. They had been his constant companions for so long.
They had been with him when the last woman he loved tried to break his curse so he would be ordinary again. He was trying not to let that happen... not until Regina was in her grave and he found his son. When he threw Belle out, she spoke words as good as a curse over him. She told he would never have anything but an empty heart and a chipped cup.
The words had held true for he never found anyone who could love him again... and he still had that cup. It was the only thing he had left of her since she had thrown herself out of a tower to her death. The day Regina came to him and told him Belle was dead still stuck out in his mind. He had just started to think about finding the girl and begging her to come back to stay by his side when Regina told him the horrible news.
He cried for days, blaming himself and vowing to never fall in love again for it was just too painful. The first time he had been in love as a mortal man had ended in tragedy as well. His first wife had hung herself after his return from the Ogre Wars. After losing Belle, he decided that he didn't need love anyway... he had an evil queen to defeat.
Mr. Gold turned up the walkway that led to Granny's Cafe. He had collected the rent for both the cafe and the bed and breakfast already but he still had a bit of business to take care of in the restaurant. He walked in the door, making eye contact with who he had come to see. She went pale when she saw him before taking her apron off and letting the other girl at the counter know she was going on break.
Mr. Gold walked towards the back of the restaurant, where the laundry room was at to wait. He smiled when he sensed the woman walk into the room. " Hello, Ruby. How are you today? " He said without turning around.
" Um, good, " Ruby replied. He knew she was forcing a smile and her chipper tone.
" Grand, " Mr. Gold turned around. He looked her over quickly, questioning how she could even call the scraps she wore a uniform. It was no wonder the men in town stared at her like they did. She was pleasing to the eye but he just wasn't interested in doing anything more than looking.
" Uh, Granny's got the rent at... " She started.
" I already collected that, " Mr. Gold cut her off. " You know why I'm here. "
Ruby nodded, " Yeah. "
There was a long pause and Mr. Gold arched an eyebrow, " So? "
Ruby fiddled with her hands. She always did when they talked. It was like she didn't want to be in the same room with him but they had a deal. He would ignore the fact Granny was two months behind in rent if she'd tell him everything anyone said or did in the cafe that concerned him.
" I'm a very busy man, Ruby. Do you have anything to tell me? " Mr. Gold said firmly.
Ruby walked over to the dryer and leaned against it. She sighed, " Yes but... "
" But what? " Mr. Gold arched an eyebrow as she looked down at the floor. He had recently asked for her to keep an extra close eye on Emma. He knew the women were friends and probably talked about everything. " Look at me when you're speaking to me. "
Ruby lifted her head, " I'm... I'm confused. "
" Confused about what? " Mr. Gold took a step towards her. " Our arrangement? You get me information and I don't kick your Granny out of my property. How hard is that to understand? "
" That's not what I'm confused about, " Ruby said sharply. " I'm confused about what I heard. "
" Watch your tone with me, girl, " Mr. Gold said back just as sharply. " Tell me and I'll sort it out. Is it something you've talked with Emma about? "
Ruby sighed and crossed her arms under her breasts. " You know the other day when she was supposed to meet you at the clock tower and she was here talking to me? "
Mr. Gold nodded. He remembered. Emma had wanted to meet him there to discuss a break-in but was late for their appointment. He had come to Granny's to call her but found her at the bar, talking to Ruby.
" What about it? " Mr. Gold arched an eyebrow. " What was she talking to you about? "
Ruby sighed, " I noticed she looked really tired and I asked her what was up. She told me it was that robbery case and she wasn't getting much sleep because of it. I asked her if there was something else, like a guy. "
" And? " Mr. Gold quirked his mouth. " What did she say? "
" She said yes, " Ruby looked at the floor again. She startled when Mr. Gold hooked his finger under her chin and gently forced her to face him again.
" Look at me when you speak, girl, " He said firmly. " What did she say after that? "
Ruby swallowed, " She said that she can't sleep at night because she's dreaming about him and can't get him out of her head. "
Mr. Gold smiled, for he was pretty sure who was haunting Emma's dreams. He knew from the look in her eyes and the way she behaved around him that she was attracted to him. She couldn't hide it from him though she made every attempt not to let on. It entertained him quite a bit how hard she would try to cover it up though he could help but see all the signs.
He had been giving her little kisses on the cheek, testing the water or so they say. The way she reacted when he would do it spoke volumes, making him rather certain it was more than a passing fancy. There was something there but he didn't want to ruin it by rushing into anything. He wanted to take it slow, build her trust and make her feel special, something she probably had never felt before.
" So who do you think it is? " He asked Ruby.
Ruby sighed, " That's the confusing part. I'm not sure. "
" How can you not be sure? " Mr. Gold arched an eyebrow. " Who else has she been seen with? "
Ruby bit her lip and sighed, " That new guy in town. She went for a ride on his motorcycle with him. They were gone for a while. "
" What? " Mr. Gold felt his heart sink. He had heard there was a stranger in town but had yet to speak to him. " When? "
" While you were working on your defense for your assault case, " Ruby said.
Mr. Gold frowned. He had been on house arrest until his trial and he used the time to prepare his case. He was shocked that he hadn't heard about it sooner but it was too late to worry about that now. " How much time has she been spending with him? "
Ruby shrugged, " Not a lot I guess. He disappears from time to time. I heard he's a writer so maybe he's off writing when he vanishes. "
Mr. Gold quirked his mouth, " I see. "
Ruby nodded, " That's all I have for you right now. I'm sorry I don't know more. "
" Are you sure that's all? " Mr. Gold said. From the look on Ruby's face, he knew there had to be something more she wasn't telling him.
Ruby hesitated then nodded, " Yeah. Emma's been super busy and hasn't been by since she caught that thief. "
" Thank you. You may go now, " Mr. Gold said stiffly. If he did find out she was hiding something from him, he would deal with it later.
Ruby blinked, " So you're done with me? "
" For now, " Mr. Gold said.
" Okay, " Ruby said and headed for the door as quickly as her high heels would allow her to move.
He watched as she walked out of the laundry room then headed out the back door, walking back to where Frederick had parked the car. He knocked on the hood to let his driver know he had returned. Frederick put down the newspaper he had been reading as Mr. Gold opened the back passenger side door and got in.
" Where to, boss? " Frederick said. It was three of maybe two dozen words the man ever spoke. He usually let his large stature and threatening facial expressions do all the talking.
" My shop, " Mr. Gold replied. " And after that, I believe we shall go by the police station. "
" Right, boss, " Frederick nodded and started the car.
Rumplestiltskin sat at his spinning wheel, turning straw into gold. He loved being at the wheel because it helped him forget and he had plenty of things he didn't want to remember. As he spun, he could hear the tinkling of fairy wings. He stopped, narrowing his eyes because it wasn't the sound a good fairy's wings made... it was the sound of a dark fairy.
He glanced around the room, trying to locate the source of the sound. He frowned, finding the fairy was hovering just outside of the window, her tiny fist doubled up and ready to knock on the glass. He strode over to the window and flung it open, glaring at the tiny, dark haired woman.
She was dressed in black, her black wings flashing dark blue in the candle light and she carried a little broom in her left hand. On her tiny feet, she had little black shoes and she had a black cap on her head. She flew inside and perched on the spinning wheel, examining it carefully.
" What do you want? " Rumplestiltskin asked sharply. It had annoyed him more than slightly that she had just fluttered into his home uninvited.
The fairy looked at him, " Rumplestiltskin, right? "
" Yes, " Rumplestiltskin nodded. " What do you want? "
The fairy crossed her little legs, " I need your help. Perhaps we can make a deal. "
" Oh? " Rumplestiltskin arched an eyebrow and pressed his fingers together. " You want to make a deal, deary? "
The fairy nodded, " Yeah. "
" What can I do for you? " Rumplestiltskin asked.
The fairy sighed, " About fifteen years ago, I didn't get invited to this dinner with the other twelve fairies in my kingdom. I got angry and I cursed the king and queen's daughter. "
" So if this was fifteen years ago, why are you coming to me now? " Rumplestiltskin asked. He hadn't even been cursed yet when this little wench had her hissy fit. She would have had to sought out Zoso at that time because Rumplestiltskin had been a normal teenager then.
" Because the child is turning fifteen in a fortnight and I have no way to make the curse come true, " The fairy said.
" Ah, " Rumplestiltskin said and giggled. " That's why you need me! "
" Yes, " The dark fairy nodded.
Rumplestiltskin walked closer, " Tell me what this curse involves. "
" I said she would prick her finger on a spinning wheel spindle and fall down dead, " The dark fairy sighed. " But I need a cursed spindle. "
" I can do that for you, " Rumplestiltskin extended his right index finger into the air. He then pointed to the fairy, " But what can you give me in return? "
The fairy frowned, " I haven't got much. I do have dust. "
" Dust? " Rumplestiltskin scoffed. " What am I going to do with fairy dust? "
" I'm an evil fairy, " The fairy replied. " My dust can do bad things. If you blow it into your enemy's eyes, they will go blind. If it is swallowed, your enemy will shrivel and die from the inside. If it touches your enemy's skin, they will get a peeling rash that will eat their flesh. "
" Remind me not to get on your bad side then, " Rumpelstiltskin teased. He thought it over for a moment then narrowed is eyes. " How does it know the difference between the user and the enemy? "
" A spell I put on it when I give it away, " The fairy explained. " It will be perfectly safe for you to touch. "
" No tricks, deary? " Rumplestiltskin shook his finger in her face. " I don't like being tricked. "
" No tricks. I swear, " The fairy said.
Rumplestiltskin thought it over another minute then giggled, " Deal! "
Mr. Gold smiled as Frederick pulled up to the police station. Emma's yellow beetle was parked there as well as the police cruiser. He opened the door, glancing at Frederick. " Stay here, " He said and stepped out of the car.
" Right, boss, " Frederick said and turned off the engine.
Mr. Gold walked into the station, moving carefully not to make any noise. Startling Emma never lost it's thrill. He couldn't get enough of the face she made when he did it. He crept to her office door, finding she was at her desk, working.
He watched her for a long moment, her wavy golden locks hanging loosely as she leaned over the paperwork. She was wearing a green sweater and he knew she was probably wearing a pair of tight fitting blue jeans and knee high boots. He also noted she had a fresh coat of red nail polish on her short nails. He smiled, waiting for her to notice him.
He had seen many beautiful women over the years but she had to be one of the prettiest. Her hair was like spun gold, her blue eyes like the clearest summer sky and when she smiled, it made his heart jump. It had been a long time since he could say that about anyone.
He sighed, looking at her for a bit longer. She was slender but not delicate by any means. She had surprised him with her strength when she had grabbed him outside of the cabin to put the handcuffs on him. The thought of other ways to test her strength had come to his mind as she arrested him.
Emma looked up, startling then frowning. She growled, " Damn it, Gold! "
Mr. Gold smiled, pleased with her reaction. " Hello, Miss Swan. "
Emma sighed, " I'm really busy. What do you want? "
" I just stopped by to say hello, " Mr. Gold said. He glanced at her shoulder, " How is your wound? "
Emma frowned, " It still hurts. "
" It happened on Saturday, " Mr. Gold reminded her. The whole debacle with the thief had ended just five days before. He furrowed his brow when he noticed she looked rather tired, " Have you been able to get any rest? "
Emma shook her head, " Not when I'm on duty twenty-four seven. "
" We made a deal, " Mr. Gold said gently.
" We've made lots of deals, " Emma replied. " Which one are you talking about? "
" The last one where you agreed to take better care of yourself, " Mr. Gold said firmly. " I've been thinking and I believe if we make a petition and have enough people sign it, Regina may bend to our will. "
Emma scoffed, " You think so? "
" I do, " Mr. Gold said. He had thought it over deeply and decided it would be better than approaching her himself or having Emma approach her. It would make it harder for Regina to say 'no' if she thought it was the people who wanted it.
" Gold, I haven't got time... " Emma started.
" That's why I'm drawing up the petition myself. When they are finished, I will put them in all of the businesses on Main street, " Mr. Gold said. " You don't have to do anything. "
" Nothing? " Emma looked doubtful.
" I'll take care of it all, " Mr. Gold smiled. He noticed she had goosebumps and could see her pulse in her throat. She also seemed to be breathing differently.
Emma gave him a little smile, " Thanks. "
He looked at the clock on the wall, finding it was almost noon. " Would you like to get something to eat, my dear? "
Emma reached into her desk and pulled out a paper bag. " I'm eating here. I have too much work. "
Mr. Gold frowned, " That's shame. "
" Maybe later, " Emma smiled again. Gods, he loved her smile. She didn't do it enough in his opinion.
" Fair enough, " Mr. Gold said. " I think I'll go then, my dear. "
" Bye, " Emma said as he started to walk away.
He took two steps before turned back to her. " Oh. I've been meaning to ask. "
" Yes? " Emma arched an eyebrow.
" I heard there's a... stranger in town, " Mr. Gold said. " Are you aware of him? "
Emma blinked like she had been caught doing something she shouldn't have been. She stammered, " Uh yeah. I've had a couple of run-ins with him but I don't know much about him. "
" I see, " Mr. Gold nodded.
" Does it worry you? " Emma arched an eyebrow.
" Strangers are so rare around here so I can help but be suspicious of him, " Mr. Gold said.
" We're you suspicious of me when I came to town? " Emma asked.
Mr. Gold smirked, " You were a stranger. "
" So you were? " Emma prodded.
" Not anymore, " Mr. Gold replied.
Emma sighed, " I got to get back to work, Gold. "
He took a step back, " I understand. I'll catch up with you later. "
" Later, " Emma said as he walked out of the office then out of the police station.