Hi all, sorry for the massive delay in posting. Real life has really hit me hard this month so I've just been too busy to write anything. Also, my email was hacked and subsequently blocked so that was a massive problem. Hopefully this will make up for it. It's a prompt on the deleted escape scene Jane told us about on the Skin Deep commentary.

Thank you to everyone who continues to review, favourite and follow. It means a lot.

I always intended on writing 10 chapters, however, if you would like me to continue please let me know. I was thinking of putting missing scenes in the new episodes of season 2 so there is room for continuations.

I haven't forgotten the T rated chapter... that will come soon.

Prompts: Belle escapes from the Dark Castle, Dove, Gold/Belle domestic scene.

Chapter 10: The Escape

Belle lay on her stomach admits a sea of tousled, black sheets. Her bare back was warmed gently by the sunlight which streamed in from the window as the hour slowly slid to nine o'clock. Her brow furrowed slightly as the bright, natural light, shone upon her face, but her mouth remained softly smiling. Her arms hugged her pillow and her chestnut hair curled around her in wild waves.

Mr. Gold watched her from the doorway as he fastened his maroon tie over his purple shirt. His eyes were soft as he gazed upon the slumbering form of a woman who his heart and soul had named as his true love.

He was late for work; he knew this with little alarm. The clock, which rested on the nightstand, forewarned that shop should already be open and his presence was required elsewhere. Yet Gold remained in the doorway, watching his lover slumber peacefully. The urgency he previously felt about attending work had dissipated; his lunch times were longer, his working days shorter and his mind consumed (not with deals) but with Belle.


Always Belle.

His house was theirs now. Theirs. She was everywhere and every trinket was a constant reminder of her presence in his life. In their wardrobe his suits had been joined with rows of skirts, dresses and blouses. She had drawers full of her frilly undergarments, stockings and socks. The bathroom now smelt faintly of pomegranate and passion fruit shampoo and the soaps were now pretty colours and shapes rather than bland blocks. Her toothbrush had joined his and her hairbrush rested next to his comb. Next to her side of the bed fluffy slippers waited for her to awaken, as did a small pile of books. Her shoes had their own rack and she even had a stack of hat boxes ready for the winter month.

Rumplestiltskin took great pride in what he gave her, allowing no expense. She had the best - the very best. While Belle had no concept of American currency, he took pleasure in knowing she strolled the streets of Storybrooke wearing an outfit that equalled most residents' monthly rent. He couldn't erase the past but he would overindulge the future. With every purchase he said sorry; she was unaware of it – he was not.

Mostly, he loved the fact that with every purchase his house became fuller. They now had different brands of tea, bagels instead of plain bread and candy bowls purely for her. His rooms smelt of her perfume and he constantly returned home to find her cardigans resting over the arm of the couch.

Belle didn't deter his spending and for that he was grateful because for thirty years all he had was a teacup and now he had a rack of shoes and scented soap. He had a life. He had her.

Moving to the writing desk, Gold slowly penned a letter with flourished lettering and an easy stroke. The pleasure he experienced in simply scrawling her name was unexplainable. In a short paragraph he wished her a good day, but between the lines he whispered of his love for her and as he signed his name he meant every word profoundly:' Yours, R.'

Folding the letter, he walked to Belle's side; casting a shadow over her previously sun kissed features. Gently leaning down, he slipped the letter under the pillow she clutched and pressed a soft, lingering kiss to her cheek.

"I love you," he whispered in her ear.

As he walked down the stairs and through the house he wandered through daylight. Even here she had brightened the place. The house, now a home, was no longer dark and gloomy, it was alive. Sunlight filtered through the stained glass of the door, casting the hallway in an array of primary hues and for the first time since he had moved in he recognised the beauty of it.

Before Belle had returned, he couldn't wait to leave to leave the house – the emptiness had been crushing – now he couldn't wait to return. As the door quietly shut behind him he allowed himself to smile at the morning. Even though he missed her already the image of her peaceful in his bed stayed with him even while time continued to slip away.

Standing behind the counter in his shop, Gold looked out at the cluttered expanse. So much of his collection had returned to their rightful owners but still so much remained. The large ornate clock ticked loudly and slowly and, despite the fact he had lived the same day for twenty eight years, this morning seemed to drag like no other.

The bell over his door tinkled with artificial merriment and a gust of fresh air followed the girl in. Gold smiled brightly at her and felt the boredom of the day suddenly eased. Belle wore a navy blue skirt and a baby blue blouse. Colours which were designed to tug at his heart and conjure a million ancient memories. Her high heels clicked as she walked and made her hips sway in a way that was utterly enchanting and distracting.


"Morning," Belle said with a bashful smile. "I got your note."

He nodded and smiled. "I didn't want to wake you, you were sleeping so peacefully."

Belle walked to the counter and leaned over it, pressing a chaste kiss to his lips. "I would rather wake up to wish you goodbye." Belle tilted her head and gave him a playful grin. "Did you miss me?"

"Yes," he said simply and easily. "But, something strikes me as amiss," he mused.

Belle instantly knew what he meant and bit her lip, trying to keep her face impassive.

"You're on your own." Gold said, dragging the word out, "Where, pray tell, is Dove?"

Belle tried her best to look baffled by the question. "Oh, sorry, what?"

"Dove, the man I pay to keep you out of harm. Where, oh where is he? Or rather, where have you left him?"

"Ah, well…"

Gold's mood started to evaporate. "That man is useless; I'll employ someone else and relocate him."

Belle gasped, realising she had inadvertently harmed Dove's – rather limited – career. "No, no. He does a good job. I just..."

"…Stroll around Storybrooke unprotected."

Belle shook her head, "I'm fine, the streets are always full of people. I won't suddenly disappear." She leant forward again to smooth her hands over his warm, crisp shirt. "Besides I've always had a talent for escaping."

They both remembered her three aborted attempts to flee the castle during the first week of her stay.

Gold barked a laugh. "Talent? You were caught every time!"

"Yes, well, on the third occasion I made it to the Northern gate, and opened it," she said indignantly.

Gold scoffed, "On the third occasion I let you."

Belle gaped at him, "You let me? Why?"

Gold raised an eyebrow and said directly, "To see if you would actually go through with it."

Astonished by the revelation Belle just shook her head at him. Gold smiled slightly and behind the soft eyes and the easy smile Belle could see the imp she fell in love with and all the pain and insecurities that came with him.

"But, I didn't go through with it," she said.

The imp within suddenly brightened. "No, you didn't."

Morning had broken over the mountain tops; she could just about see the spluttering of dawn from the tiny window in her cell. Her master never appeared until the sun was high and her stomach was rumbling. However, that morning things were different. Past her tiny window she saw a beautiful white dove dart by. Seconds later her cell door swung open and in the doorway stood the Dark One.

"Hello," she said, trying to smile.

"Word has come," he said simply, striding away from her.

She chased after him, following him through the sprawling castle and up the twisting stairs to the top of the tower.

"Stay," he told her, like she was an errant pet he was trying to train.

Belle loitered in the doorway, casting a curious eye around the laboratory. The smell was heady, smoky and not at all unpleasant. The dove she had spied suddenly flew in the large window and perched magically on the imp's outstretched hand. As Belle admired the beautiful bird from a distance, Rumplestiltskin gently retrieved a tiny note fastened around the bird's foot. Abruptly, the dove dashed away and was soon climbing towards the clouds. Rumplestiltskin unravelled the note and read with a dramatic and pleased tone: "The war is over! Victory is ours".

With a bright and wide grin, the imp turned to his captive. "You're welcome."

"The war is over?" she asked, checking the information as it slowly trickled into her brain.

"That's what it said," he mocked, waving the paper at her. "So, there. It's done. You may prepare our breakfast and bask in your glorious sacrifice."

Still struggling to absorb the news, Belle nodded and ducked out of the room. In a daze Belle retreated to the kitchen, made the breakfast and slowly trudged back up the stairs. By the time she entered the spinning room and placed the laden tray on the table Rumplestiltskin's words had finally taken root in her brain.

The war is over.

The cell, the imprisonment, the dank dungeon, the constant fear of him losing his temper, the isolation…all were unnecessary now.

The war is over.

Feeling her heart thud painfully in her chest, Belle turned to glance at the door. The war is over. The war is over. Belle felt desperation and bravery swell within her – the war is over… and so was her imprisonment. Without giving her action much thought she darted towards the double doors, running through them as they swung open to let her pass. Then she was in the hall and sprinting across the small space, her heeled shoes slipping slightly as she hurtled towards the large, ornate front door. She pushed the double doors open to reveal the sun drenched gardens and the encompassing perimeter walls. Eyeing the far gate she sprinted across the threshold and…

… found herself in the spinning room. She wasn't on the path or in the garden or indeed outside. She was in the spinning room. Bewildered, she halted and stood impotently next to the table, right next to the breakfast she had just placed there.

"Going somewhere?"

She cringed at the familiar, high pitched tone and turned to face him. He sat in his chair, eating his breakfast and looking at her with a calculating gaze – like how a predator viewed its prey.

"I erm…"

"If you lie to me it'll be the last words you speak," he flatly promised and she didn't think for a moment he was lying.

"You'll murder me?" she gasped.

"Oh no," he said, smiling. "I would no sooner murder you than set fire to my Golden Fleece. I take care of my pretty things. I will however remove your voice box if you dare to lie to me," he hissed the last word, his eyes ablaze.

"I was running away," Belle said quickly. "I was running away because the war is over and you keep me in a dungeon."

To her shock, the imp laughed. "I keep you in a dungeon, dearie, because I fear you may," he gestured in the air, "run away." He fixed her with a hard look. He flexed his fingers and gave her body a cool glance over. "Humans, women especially, cannot be trusted. I cage you because, dearie, you are in want of a cage." He stood up and stalked towards her. Belle fought to stay still and did not allow herself to be intimidated and step backwards. He raised his hand and for a horrible moment she thought he might hit her but then she saw his fingers tremble as they reached forward and gently stroked her cheek. Belle held her breath and looked deep into the inhuman eyes of her captor. "Maybe," he breathed, caressing her skin, "I should turn you into a statue. Preserve your beauty and anchor your feet. Hmmm?"

Swallowing hard, Belle replied, "It is my job to run as it is your job to try and keep me here."

Rumplestiltskin abruptly dropped his hand from her face. He narrowed his eyes and said, "Oh?"

"I'm supposed to try and escape. I'm not your wife, I'm your prisoner."

A fire suddenly ignited in the imp's eyes. "If you were my wife," he spat the word as if the term was abhorrent to him, "I think perhaps you would try more valiantly to leave." He licked his lips. "We may not be wed, dearie, but the agreement we have is more binding. I don't have you for the rest of our lives. I have you forever." He leant forward so his breath brushed her skin. "A deal is a deal."

Belle nodded. "I did make you a deal. It's not that I intend to break it but…" she sighed, "it's instinct to try and run. Surely?"

"Don't speak of instinct in front of a beast, dearie, or I may show you the instinct of a monster."

"You're not a beast," she tried.

He glowered at her and travelled back to his seat and looked down at his breakfast. "Don't lie to me. You've been warned."

"It wasn't a…" before she could finish the sentence she found herself falling into the hay that lined her cell. The light from the tiny window was now diminished as the sky grew cloudy. Belle sat on the floor and sighed.

The second the girl was gone Rumplestiltskin threw his dinner plate against the wall and in a sweeping gesture sent his cutlery and wine glass tumbling off the table.

He was a fool to believe something was growing between them… a friendship… a tolerance. She wanted to leave. She wanted to escape.

Just like his wife.

But Belle had something his former wife didn't – a cell, a lock and a sorcerer to stop her.

He smiled bitterly. Belle would be with him forever.

Whether she wanted to be or not.

Belle ate from the plate that had magically appeared next to her; the food was warm, simple but good and carefully prepared. She wondered how long he would keep her in the dungeon for. She felt guilt niggle at her depths of her stomach but as she ate her dinner she reassured herself that any respectable maiden would try to flee.

What kind of woman would she be if she submitted without a fight? She wanted to be brave.

Brave women fought back.

By morning a teapot and a teacup arrived for her; the water remained hot as the hours passed and when the sun was high and her stomach started to rumble breakfast arrived. This time she didn't feel a measure of relief at his care for her, she felt a shiver of fear – was she going to be left here forever? Would she be a prisoner for all eternity, stuck in a cell with only a food tray for company?

Belle stood up and walked towards the cell door and yelled for her captor: "You have to let me out. Hello? You can't leave me down here!"

When the dinner plate arrived hours later Belle ignored the offering and approached the door again. "I'm just letting you know that I'm going to try and escape this cell. You've left me no choice. I'm giving you a warning!"

Belle waited for a few minutes and when no answer came she glared at the door and started to plot.

Rumplestiltskin, of course, heard her threat. Despite sitting before his spinning wheel, he heard her words as if they had been directly breathed into his ear.

He had lived hundreds of years without company and yet after only two days without her presence he felt lonely.

His wounded pride and the anger he felt over a broken deal had dissolved.

He wouldn't say he missed her, but…

But, maybe it was time he allowed her to re-join his life.

Could he blame her for running? He was a monster and she… she was beautiful and perfect.

Did it matter if she ran?

Perhaps not. She could run and run and run and he would pull her back each time.

He was a monster and that's what monsters did.

It wasn't the best plan but she couldn't think of any others. She had dragged the wooden frame of her straw covered bed over to the tiny window, stood upon it and used her dinner knife to scratch away at the brick. She had made quick work of it already, her arm ached with the effort but she had dug a little trench around the bars and to her delight one rung was starting to wiggle.

"Have you given any thought to how you will fit through that tiny gap?"

Belle gasped and turned, seeing Rumplestiltskin leaning casually against the wall inside her locked cell. He glanced up at her with interest and a small smirk. His mood was calm… his demeanour relaxed. He almost seemed to be a different man and Belle wondered what had happened to him over the last two days to alter his mood.

However, his charm was redundant – he had locked her up. Refusing to grovel, apologise or whimper, Belle instead carried on digging her little trench around the bars – as if he wasn't even there. "I'll fit through."

To her shock and dismay, the imp dragged his eyes slowly down her figure and said, "I sincerely doubt it." He lifted his hands defensively to still her ire. "If, however, you manage to fit your delectable curves and layers of material through that small slit, please enlighten me as to how you plan on surviving the fall?"

Belle placed her knife on the window ledge and frowned. "There is no fall, we're in the dungeon."

"Ah," the imp said, giggling, "I took the liberty of moving the dungeon. It's now in the tower. The fall is… shall we say… substantial."

Belle raised her eyebrows. "You moved the dungeon?"


"Yet you won't use magic to clean?"

He gave her a bemused look and smiled slightly. "I'm a complicated man."

Belle scoffed and then chuckled. She hopped off the bed to stand in front of the Dark One. "Would you like some tea?"

Pursing his lips and giving her a careful look the imp nodded and allowed the cell door to magically open.

"Thank you," Belle allowed as she hesitantly stepped past him and out of the dungeon.

He bowed his head slightly in acknowledgement and a strange ease befell them as they walked together through the castle.

"Sorry for…"

"Forgive the…"

They spoke simultaneously. Neither was prepared to finish their sentence so they let the apology remain incomplete. Instead they smiled at each other and when they reached the hall they parted amicably. By the time Belle had brought the tea to the spinning room Rumplestiltskin was already weaving straw into gold… as if nothing had ever happened.

A few days after Rumplestiltskin had begrudgingly showed her around the garden Belle approached him as he spun at his wheel.

"I was wondering…may I go into the garden and fetch some flowers for the table?"

"Flowers?" he asked.

"Yes, for the table. To brighten the place."

"The Dark Castle does not wish to be 'brightened'" he twisted the word into a giggle.

"Ah," Belle said sadly but nodded anyway.

"You like flowers?"

"Roses are my favourites," Belle said.

For a long moment the only sound in the room was the creaking of the wheel. Then, Rumplestiltskin surprised them both by saying, "Don't take long about it. And remember," he added with a serious tone, "we have a deal."

Belle nodded. It had been nearly two weeks since she tried to escape her cell and while she felt her actions were justified she felt a measure of guilt over trying to break her part of the bargain when Rumplestiltskin had kept his. "Yes," she promised, "we have a deal."

"Off you go then," he waved her away, dismissing her.

Belle grinned and hurried towards the door, completely missing his smile.

Holding her basket over the crook of her arm, Belle traipsed around the garden taking small clippings from the biggest bunches of flowers. Contented, she wandered down the long paths taking a sample or two as she walked. Soon, she found herself at the walled perimeter where the roses grew in abundance: beautiful red roses with sparkling thorns and deep green leaves. Belle followed the line of roses until she found herself faced with black roses which had wrapped themselves around the bars of the Northern Iron Gate. Ignoring the gate and not even realising how close she was to freedom, Belle snipped a few stems free and placed them into her full basket. However, as moved to leave the sleeve of her cloak caught on the thorns and as she wrenched herself free the gate creaked open a fraction. Just a fraction, but enough for Belle to suddenly realise that she was inches from freedom.

Suddenly ultra-aware of the possibility of escape, Belle stared at the parted gate and felt her heart rate increase. It would take seconds for her to slip through the gate and seconds for her to dart into the forest and then… she would be free.

Belle bit her lip and closed her eyes. Her mind begged her to run; it pleaded with her and frantically urged her. Leave, go, run. The deal was unfair; no-one can ask for forever. Run.

Yet, her heart reminded her of her deal and the tentative bond that had grown between them. With a shake of her head Belle grabbed the gate and pushed it closed.

She wouldn't run. Maybe it was braver to stay.

Maybe one day he would be brave enough to let her go and then she would walk free with her heart and her head at peace.

It would be better to earn her freedom.

With a sigh, Belle turned and walked back to the castle, unable to sense the invisible presence of her master as he walked next to her with a look of astonishment on his face.

In the pawnshop Belle rested her elbows on the counter and smiled at her love. "What would you have done if I hadn't stopped? What would you have done if I had gone through the gate?"

Gold shrugged. "The gate would have repelled you anyway. You weren't going anywhere." He didn't apologise for the admission, nor look guilty. "We had a deal."

"Indeed," she said. "I am sorry I broke it."

In a familiar, ancient gesture, that reminded Belle of her beloved imp, Gold used an elaborate hand gesture to wash away her fears. "No matter. What sane girl wouldn't try to run? Hmm?"

"I came back then, I came back from town and I came back from – my much exaggerated death. I'll always come back."

Gold pointedly looked at the chipped teacup which now stood pride of place in the large glass cabinet. "And I will always wait."

Belle thrust her hand out suddenly, waiting for his to shake hers. "Deal."

He chuckled and grasped her hand and shook it firmly once. "Deal."

Moving around the counter, clutching his cane, Rumplestiltskin moved towards the front door, giving Belle a playful tap on the bottom as he passed. Switching the sign to 'closed' he held the door open for her.

"Lunch my dear?"

"That would be lovely."

They walked down the road, her hand in his just as Dove came jogging around the corner panting and desperate.

"Sorry…" he wheezed, sweat drenching his t-shirt. "I …she… just… got away from me."

Gold sighed, "Don't take it personally; she's escaped the most powerful sorcerer in both realms."

"The Queen?" Dove asked, resting his hands on his knees as he tried to get his breath.

"Me," Gold ground out, insulted.

"Although I did escape from the Queen too," Belle added.

Squeezing her hand in his Gold led her towards Granny's.

"Are we going for lunch?" Dove asked.

"Belle and I are," Gold corrected. "You're going to collect the rent."

Both Belle and Dove looked surprised at the change of plans.

"I'm not to guard the Mrs anymore?"

Belle rolled her eyes at the term.

"No," Gold groused. "Clearly it isn't working out," but his glare – as half-hearted as it was – was reserved for Belle who merely smirked.

"Right, ok, boss," Dove said looking slightly relieved.

As Belle and Gold wandered into Granny's, Belle kissed his cheek. "Thank you, I never wanted a guard."

"You're having a guard," Gold promised her, ignoring her expression of displeasure, "as soon as I get my hands on a dragon."

"Good luck with that," Belle teased.

He smiled at her. "Thank you, my dear. So, tell me about your day…"

Thank you again for all your reviews. Please take a moment to comment if you wish. Let me know if you're interested in S2 missing scenes. x