Title: Gift of Magic

Authors Note: A plot bunny was waiting for me this morning at breakfast and refused to leave me alone till I satisfied it. Unfortunately I found out, only after I fed it mind you, it was a multi-chapter one and it laughed as I screamed and shook my fist at the heavens lol

Okay, so I am obsessed with this pairing. Absolutely, without a doubt, one-hundred percent obsessed; I've watched Skin Deep 10 times already O.O Beauty and Beast was always my second favorite Disney stories, and OUAT did nothing but strengthen that favoritism and bump its behind up to #1 (sorry Lion King!). It truly expresses what love should really be, an attraction to someone for what's under their skin. As Belle (Emilie de Ravin) said: love is layered, a mystery to be uncovered :)

Like I said, this will be a multi-chapter ficlet and this is also my first Rumbelle ^_^

Reviews and general comments welcomed and loved!

Disclaimer: All characters belong to their respected parties (abc, Disney etc.) but, sadly, not to me. Though why I never thought of something like OUAT I will never know lol

Chapter One

"Go."

"Go?"

"I don't want you anymore."

"You are freeing yourself! You could have had happiness if you just believed that someone could want you!"

"That's a lie.

"You are a coward Rumpelstiltskin. And no matter how thick you make your skin, that doesn't change."

"I'm not a coward dearie. It's quite simple, really. My power means more to me than you."

"No, no it doesn't. You just don't think I can love you...and now you've made your choice. And you're going to regret it, forever."

The last conversation that Belle had with Rumpelstiltskin continued to echo in her head long after she had left the Dark Castle. Even the roar of drunken tavern conversations couldn't dull out the memory of him throwing her out like a child would with a toy he was no longer interested in. Belle's stomach lurched at that last thought. Maybe that's all she was to him from the beginning...a toy, a plaything that he had got his fill from.

Belle shook her head. No, no he loved her. She could see in in his eyes when he saw that she had come back to the castle after he had let her go into town. He was just a stubborn old fool, afraid of what true love and happiness could bring him. None of it helped her feel any better as each one of his words still felt like a stab to her heart.

Even if she hadn't loved him, she still would of returned. After all, the Dark Castle was her home, more of a home than her previous one was. At her father's castle, she was nothing but an object, a pretty face. Granted, her father loved her very much – and she loved him – but that didn't change the fact that she was still just an instrument. Her engagement to Gaston was nothing but an arraignment for more land and influences. There was never any love between her and Gaston. All he saw when he looked at her was a pretty form; a form made for only for bodily desires. And all she saw was a superficial, shell of a man who wouldn't know the butt end of a sword from the sharp end.

With Rumpelstiltskin it was much different. He saw and appreciated her beauty, yes, but he also found excitement with her intellect and sharp wit as well. He would encourage her to expand her mind –the library he gave her was proof enough for that– not try and snuff it out with talks of how a woman with brains would produce nothing but prattle, a danger for a man's ear. He would engage her in conversations, go out of his way to do so at times, and not do everything in his power to avoid them and her. She could tell from the start that Rumpelstiltskin was different from any other man. He was wise in the way of the world and she found conversation with him to be quite mentally stimulating. She craved his company, his mind, the many layers that were Rumpelstiltskin.

And yet, here she sat. Alone and a little tipsy for that matter. She had ordered one of the taverns strongest ale in hopes of drowning out the voices in her head. So far however, all she had succeeded in doing was giving herself one heck of an headache. The pain in her head was welcomed though as it seemed to help her forget the pain she felt in her heart; well, almost anyway.

Belle began staring into the contents of her mug, wishing there was a way she could just drown herself in the dark liquid swirling before her. It seemed that those types of thoughts were plaguing her mind ever since she had lost her only chance at true love. It scared her and she wanted nothing more to find some sort of peace from them. Lifting her gaze, she thought that maybe she'd find the distraction she needed somewhere around her.

Her gaze soon drifted over to the long table situated right next to hers. It was occupied by a group of dwarfs, about eight of them to be exact. Each of them looked like they were having the time of their lives, laughing and teasing one another. It wasn't until her line of sight made its way down to the end closest to her, did she notice that not all the occupants were in such high spirits.

One of the dwarfs has purposely set himself apart of the rest. He seemed to be staring off into nothingness just as Belle had been doing only moments ago. Occasionally though, he would turn his attention to his friends and send them a forced smile and slight nod, before turning back and getting lost in his thoughts again.

An elder dwarf, one she hadn't noticed before, suddenly came down and sat himself right across from his brooding comrade. He had a look of deep concern etched in his features as he addressed his friend.

"What's the matter? You barely touched your food?"

Belle watched as the target of her interest heaved a deep sigh before tearing his gaze from the wall to focus on his friend. "I don't know. I can't eat, I can't sleep...I don't feel at all like myself."

Belle couldn't help the small twitch her lips gave as she listened in on their conversation. She knew exactly what was wrong him. In all the history of the land, there was only one illness, one disease that could cause those kind of symptoms.

"I wouldn't worry about it, dwarfs don't get sick. Must be in your head."

She knew she shouldn't intrude, but something inside of her just couldn't help itself, "It's not in his head, it's in his heart."

Belle watched as both dwarfs turned and looked at her, expressions of confusion on both of their faces. She found their befuddlement slightly amusing and came to the conclusion she was going to have to be more straight with them.

"You're in love."

The younger looking dwarf continued to look baffled, but the elder soon expressed nothing short of rejection for the idea, ranting something about dwarfs not being able to love. Belle had to use every ounce of her inner strength to keep herself from being disrespectful and rolling her eyes. Honestly, saying someone couldn't fall in love. If anything, that idea was utter ludicrous. Besides, if anyone knew love, she did, and the dwarf in front of her had fallen...hard.

At this point, the elder dwarf had thrown up his hands in disgust and made his way back to the head of the table, leaving the two of them to their conversation. She watched as her new companion turned his attention fully on her, his eyes wide with curiosity. "What's it like?!"

For the first time in days, a full on smile graced Belle's features. Such a simple question, yet such a difficult answer. How did one describe love? She wasn't quite sure if her explanation would do such a sacred feeling justice but, for his sake, she would do her best.

"Love is the most wonderful and amazing thing in the world. Love is...love is hope, it fuels our dreams."

Belle watched as deep amazement took hold of the man in front of her. It pleased her to see him realizing that he could love, that love knew no boundaries. It was at that moment that she decided she never wanted to see someone in the situation she was currently in. She never wanted someone to experience the soul searing pain that, no matter what she did or where she went, she just couldn't get rid of. She decided that she would give him the best advice she had ever given anyone.

"And if you're in it, you need to enjoy it. Love doesn't always last forever," she did her best to focus her entire attention on the dwarf's face, her eyes piercing into his own, "you need to be with the person you love."

She didn't think it was possible, but his eyes grew to even larger proportions. "You really think so?"

A tight constricting sensation suddenly filled her chest and made it almost impossible to breath. She tried to ignore the twisting sensation resonating deep within her heart. Belle did her best not to show her discomfort, though she couldn't keep the slight crack out of her voice as she answered.

"I've had my heart broken enough to know when someone is reaching out."

The smile the young dwarf was sporting certainly was infectious because Belle soon felt her negative emotions ebbing away just as quickly as they came. She return his smile before, once again, insisting that he go to her; to find his love, his hopes and his dreams.

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A few moments later, Belle watched as her new friend –she had found out his name, Dreamy, at the last second– left with his brothers, a look of new found determination on his face. Belle couldn't help but share his feelings of triumph while they were together but, now that she was by herself, she felt even more alone than before their conversation. How she wished she could just close her eyes and be back at the Dark Castle. She missed her books, she missed her room –Rumpelstiltskin had moved her out of the dungeons a few weeks after her arrival– heck, she even missed her daily chores of the place. But most of all, more than any of those things combined, she missed him. She missed the way he would giggle when he became overly excited, missed the way he would watch her with such curiosity while she worked. She missed the subtle glances, touches and words of gratitude he would throw her way.

Belle could feel as hot tears began clouding up her eyesight. If there was just some way she could turn the clock back. To actually go back and think about what she was about to do as she burst through the castle doors shortly after her talk with the mysterious woman she met on the road. She should never have sprung that kiss on him like that on him. She couldn't help but think that maybe, if she had instead talked with him about it, things would of turned out a lot differently.

She quickly wiped away the tears that threatened to fall and reached into her dress pocket and deposited a piece of gold thread onto the table. She had just enough sense about her before she stormed out of the Dark Castle to grab a few strands from the pile next to the spinning wheel. During that time, she honestly didn't care if Rumpelstiltskin had seen her take from him. She felt it was the least he could do, letting her have some way to survive, after ripping her heart out and stomping on it with his finely polished boots. Belle had actually spent most of it here at the tavern and at the inn situated right above it. She was running quite low however, and knew she would need another plan very soon.

Right now though, she could care less about money, food or having a warm place to sleep. As she climbed the stairs that led to her room, she wanted nothing more than strangle the man who had made her fall in love with him. She also wanted him to hold her in his arms, tell her everything was going to be alright and to have him say those three words she longed to hear: I love you. And as she sunk into her sub-par bed, letting her tears fall freely, she wrapped herself around her pillow and pretended she was experiencing just that.

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So much angst in this chapter! Ahh! DX lol I would say it'll let up buuuuut I'm thinking that might be a lie ^^;;

Again, love comments and reviews!