Looks at shoes. I suppose I owe the good readers an explanation for why I haven't updated for...11 months...

Flying kitties, the world depresses me, Robert Carlyle's awesomeness finally put me in a hospital. There that should do it!


Emma Swan was really beginning to regret being alive, let alone her decision to help the town beast Mr. Gold play hero. One side, he had practically thrown her into the squad car when he showed up at the station and then insisted on driving–big mistake by the way. Now they were going well over eighty and she feared she would need internal corrective surgery to fix what the constant jostling had damaged.

"Would you slow the Hell down before you kill us!" Emma screamed over the roar of the engine. "And where the Hell are you taking me?"

In Emma's defence, Gold hadn't exactly been clear on why he all but threatened to throw her into a ditch if she didn't come with him on the spot. All she knew was that Gold was being too far out of character to ignore. He spat out something about she being in trouble, and it was more or less the word that kept her from shooting him. However, now that her lunch was threatening to come up, she was interested to know who was the cause for Mr. Gold's insanity and her demise.

"I'll kill him." Mr. Gold muttered as he took a sharp curve. "That son of a bitch," he slammed his fist on the steering wheel, "I can't believe I trusted him! I'll wring both our fucking necks!"

"Gold!" Emma hissed. "You won't be killing no one if you kill us first! Slow the Hell down!" this only seemed to stagnate him to apply pressure to the gas petal.

"If I slow down, she'll be gone by the time we get there."

"Who!" Emma hisses as they barely dodge a tree. "Who is so important to you that you're willing to kill us both!"

He kept his jaw screwed shut. If he talked, he got slowed down, if he got slowed down, Belle had a zero chance of making it out of Jefferson's grip alive.

He accelerated just a bit more until he reached the familiar path leading to Jefferson's house of horrors. He barely pressed on brakes before jumping out of the car, gathering enough of a mindset to grab his cane before limping up the steps.

"Wait a minute!" Emma screamed after him as she leaned over to put the car in park and retrieved her gun, gripping her stomach as she jumped out.

Gold carefully opened the door, listening franticly for any sounds of distress.

The house was dead quite, but there was evidence of a struggle everywhere. Gold's heart screamed as his eyes studied the tasselled furniture and broken trinkets scattered on the carpets. He heard a creak and glanced back as Emma came up behind him, gun poised as she also surveyed the damage.

"It looks like the inside of a slaughter house in here." she commented with a crinkle of her nose.

Gold swallowed the painful lump in his throat and moved forward, carefully stepping over the trail of vase pieces leading to the kitchen. He opened the door carefully, praying that this was all just some bizarre foist and that Belle was at the stove making tea, humming a pleasant tune as she rubbed her swollen belly.

But all he saw was an out-of-place chair and the basement door wide open, blood splattered on the wood.

Emma brushed past his still form and shined a flash light down the stairs. She saw the trail of blood that abruptly stopped a few steps from the bottom. "Hello!" she called out. "Mrs. Hatter?"

Gold turned away and caught site of the splotches of blood creating an all too easy trail up the stairs.

"I'm calling an ambulance." Emma stated at last. Just as she pulled out her walkie-talkie, Gold marched up the stairs into the unknown.

"Gold wait!" Emma called after him, closing her communicator. "No! You don't know what's up there! Come back!"

He did not relent. He opened every door, walking briskly through them and searching every nook and cranny. "Belle!" he screamed. "Belle answer me!"

She's dead. She's dead and it's my fault and I can smell her blood but not her! She's dead. I've killed her and her baby.

Emma, struggling not to gag, helped with the search. She went back over the ground Gold covered, checking the closets and under the beds. It was a bit hard to grasp that a couple with such a huge house weren't happy enough to want to fill each room with a happy child.

She had met the happy couple once when they had begun baby shopping. She had even helped them pick out a few baby books, her own heart wishing she could have done so with Henry but happy she could have helped the set of parents make better choices than she did. At the time she wouldn't have ever imagined a heinous event between the hermit and the bookworm. What went wrong? What could have caused the blood staining the floors and walls?

Gold stopped in a nursery a bit longer than he had the other room. He stared at the mountain of toys and changing station where a perfectly happy child would have lived with their mother forever.

Since Belle announced her pregnancy to him, he developed a strain of baby fever of his own. His eyes wondered to the children's books at the library, his fingers trailed over the racks of stuffed animals and clothes at the stores, and his mind rarely wondered to Belle bump where, he sorely wished, their baby was living. He wanted children with her so badly, wanted a piece of Belle with him always.

But it was all a kind fantasy at the time. There was blood on the carpets and Belle was no where to be found.

He left the room quickly.

He had to find her now.

"Belle!" Gold kept calling as he made his way up another smaller flight of stairs. "Belle if you can hear me please say something!" He leaned against the post, rubbing his sore leg. He noticed that the trail of blood had turned into droplets and then just stopped altogether at the stairs.

"Gold." Emma sighed when she caught up to him. "She's not here. Look around, there's no more blood. Either she got up and ran for it, or-"

"Or that son of a bitch didn't let her run far." Gold finished vulgarly.

"No matter what's happened," Emma stated as she pulled out her walkie talkie once more, "I have to call it in. I'll request a search party as soon as possible and file a missing persons…but…as for now…"

Gold slammed his cane into the wall, sending the sheriff a glare that dared her to finish. "So that's it Miss Swan?" he growled with a cruel cackle. "You're just going to walk away? Pretend that you weren't just here? Pretend there isn't damn blood all over the place!?"

"Gold!" Emma shouted as loud as she could over his reverberating screams, "Listen to me! The trail is cold! We've checked every room in the house and found no one! The best we can do is regroup in town and-"

"And what Swan!" roared Gold. "Sit back and wait for her corpse to turn up." at the very sound of corpse leaving his lips, Gold doubled over, clutching his mouth as sobs and gags left him.

Emma was stunned. This was Mr. Gold. The monster of Storybrooke who made children leave their games of play on the side walks whenever he strolled by. The ruthless landlord that shook the town whenever rent day rolled around. And here the beast was, gripping the wall as he sobbed roughly.

"It's all my fault." he growled. "I knew he was insane but I didn't try to help her. I abandoned her again! And this time…" his hand slid down his face, taking his almost invisible tears with him, "now I'm responsible for two lives."

Emma didn't know if she should have consoled him or slapped him. She was never a comforting source. When you only looked out for yourself, kindness is not an instinct you need. She wish she had it now that the beast was falling apart at her feet.

She placed a hesitant hand on his shoulder and cleared her throat. "Hey…Gold, it's going to be all right.

He held his hand up for silence. "Do you hear that?"

Emma strained to listen but caught only the piercing silence of death. "No I don't-"

"Shut UP!" he hissed as he stood, following the invisible sound down the stairs.

Emma sighed and followed.

They stopped at a wall just behind the staircase where the blood trail had stopped; however it apparently wasn't a wall since Emma could make out a light beeping just behind it. "What is-"

"SHUSH!" Gold hissed.

Emma obeyed as Gold felt on the wall, his fingers grazing a slight crack that he immediately started tearing at. Emma helped him and with seconds the wall was a pile of wood at there feet.

Gold began to stalk into the room but was abruptly stopped by Emma. "Let me." He nodded hesitantly and stepped aside. Emma poised her gun and slowly tested the floor.

Emma carefully searched the wall for a switch but found nothing, having to resort to her flash light. She searched around slowly, trying to find just what kind of room they were in. It was so dark, not even a crack of light, so dark that she didn't see the mass on the floor that caused her to trip face-first into a mound of spider webs with a cry.

"Swan!" Gold called out, the clinking of his cane echoing through the empty room.

"Stay back!" she called. "There's something..." She trailed off as her flash light beam hit the object that had tripped her.

A foot. There was a bloody foot on the floor with a blaring baby monitor next to it.

"Oh…God…"

Gold immediately pushed past her and paused in the room. Emma could not see his face well, yet could practically hear him become pale.

"No…No Belle…"

Emma stood and trained her flash light on...the poor girl was barely recognizable. Her face was darkened from blood and beatings, her nose in particular looked terrible misshaped. Her left leg was twisted under her, her shoes missing, and one arm was under her head and the other one was clutching her belly—with implausibly was much smaller than it had been when she was last seen.

Gold dropped to his knees beside her unmoving form. He blinked wishing the sight in front of him away, wishing that he could go back in time and stop Belle from ever going home with Jefferson. Stop her from ever being rescued by him. Stop Regina for ever getting her filthy claws on her. Stop himself for ever forcing her to leave.

Stop everything and begin anew.

But reality was a sick bitch, and Belle was lying at his feet.

Emma snapped out of her daze long enough to retrieve her walkie talkie. "Ruby, send an ambulance right the Hell now!"

"He's strong…just like his mother."

His fingertips hovered above her stomach, shaking and not able to sense life inside the inflated bump, soaked though with her blood. And still bleeding oh so slowly.

He didn't see Emma until the leathery smoothness of her jacket brushed his arm. Her hands made buy work with Belle's head and he wanted to break her unworthy hands.

"What are you doing?!" he snarled through a sob.

Emma was quiet for a moment, one hand cradling Belle's head while the the other drummed at her neck. "She has a pulse," Emma stated breathlessly, "But it's weak; I can't believe this..."

Neither could Gold. One second Belle had jumped to her death and then suddenly she was arm-linked with the hatter. Then she was nothing but a bloody heap in his arms and then suddenly she had a pule. Belle was a fucking live!

Gold couldn't breath, too many images swarming him at once. The floor was vibrating with heavy footsteps. The Hatter was returning and he had to protect Belle.

In here!

"Swan what are you doing..."

Why was she leading the monster to them?

As he stood, the room began to spin too fast for him to catch up, sickeningly so like the inside of the Hatter's hat. He was taking her to Hell.

Gold?

The floor swallowed him. No Belle was right there he couldn't leave her again!

Gold!

All the could feel was the warm wetness under his head as the sight of Belle flat stomach began to move as the men in white woke her up.