The rain hit the windows in pellets as the night wore on. Belle had not been able to get a wink of sleep due to a loud cough that had developed. It racked her body and she found breathing difficult. This was the night she learned that Rumplestiltskin was a particularly heavy sleeper when he wanted to be.
Just hours before she had been fine. She had taken a bath with him as they had done the nights before and they had been down in bed for a little bit of talking. The routine they had created was comforting and made her less nervous of the world outside of their home. She had yet to leave the house as she felt out of place being the only one in this new world with no knowledge of how to live in it. But Rumple kept up teaching her and for that she was forever grateful.
"So…"She cooed as she cuddled into his arms as they turned out the light. "What am I to be when I meet the others?"
"I'm not entirely sure what you mean," He yawned and shifted to his back, pulling her onto his chest. He finally got into the habit of leaving the satin shirt off while they slept. Instead, she was wearing it as a nightgown.
"I mean…" She laughed but shooed the idea away. It was a silly question anyway.
"Belle, you've got to use your words," He sleepily said. "I have no idea what you are thinking."
"I'm trying to ask what I am to be with you," She whispered while looking up at him, trying to see his expression in the dark.
There was a momentary pause before he sighed and gave her a kiss on the head.
"You are my girlfriend." He had said as he fell into a slumber.
Now, as she sat up once again and coughed hard into her hands, she wondered why the term sent a strange vibe through her. It did not have the same significance as betrothed, which is what she had expected him to say. Yet it was not despairing. She wondered what the term 'girlfriend' meant as she finally managed to rest her eyes and fall into a restless sleep.
When Belle woke the next morning she found that she had little idea where she was. The rain was pouring harder than the night before and the lightening crashed in the air. Her head was spinning and breathing was painful. On the pillow was a note but she could faintly read it. After awhile her eyes adjusted and she could read Rumple's handwriting.
I heard your coughs this morning. I fear you are coming down with something. I have left some soup on the stove. Eat it, I promise you will feel better. I would have woken you, but once again it is difficult for me to wake such a beauty.
Please call me if you need anything. Even if it is just to say hello.
I love you,
Yet her mind couldn't set still. It seemed like the room was spinning. Her only goal was to find Rumple. She knew he had magic and could simply vanish her illness away with a wave of his hand. He had done the same when she had twisted her ankle so many years ago. So with a light push, she propped herself off the bed and promptly fell onto the floor. Her upsides were downsides and her lefts were now rights.
Somehow she had managed to crawl from the room and to the staircase. It was as if her legs were not hers and she was not granted control. Crying from the pain as she pulled her muscles up, she stood with the help of the railing. She cared little that she was still in Rumple's satin shirt. All she knew was she had to get to him. The steps proved to not be as difficult as she had imagined. As she stepped to the level floor, she thought she saw Rumple waiting for her at the door.
This was not Mr. Gold, but Rumplestiltskin. He was wearing leather pants and long boots that reached his knees. His skin shone even through the darkness of the rainstorm. She smiled and took a step forward but her legs wobbled and she almost fell.
"I don't feel well…"She whispered as she walked towards his image.
He did not respond but bowed to her. With a beckoning motion, he pointed to the door and disappeared. She reached her hand out to grab him but instead caught onto the door handle. With a grunt, she managed to pull the door open to the winds and the rains of this new world. She called out to him and found him to be standing out by the mailbox. With legs as weak as a newborns, she stumbled as fast as she could to him. He held out his hand to her.
"Dearie…"He called to her.
But when she managed to reach him, he once again disappeared. She quickly turned, searching the area for him but yet he was gone. Feeling a mix of sadness and illness, she fell to her knees crying. She had never felt so alone in scared in her life. A coughing fit once again caught her, but this time it did not let go until she felt herself fall into darkness. Landing on her back, she had left the waking world and felt none of the wind or the rain. She also did not hear the screeching of tires.
"Oh my Gods, are you alright!" Red screamed as she jumped out of her car and ran towards the woman passed out on the sidewalk.
Red fell to the woman's side and picked up her head from the pavement. There was blood where her head hit the solid ground and Red quickly checked to make sure it was not fatal. Just a minor scratch.
Red had never seen this girl before, never in Storybrooke or the Enchanted forest. She looked around, slightly blinded by the rain, to find where she belonged. It took her only a moment to see she was in front of Mr. Gold's home and the front door was open. No, this girl could not have come from Gold's unless he had kidnapped her. With that the case, she quickly picked the smaller woman up in her arms. Red was about to run them to the car when the woman's eyes began to open.
"Are you alright," She had to scream over the wind. "Who are you?"
The girl coughed a few more times, this time soft speckles of blood landed on Red's shirt. There was little time, Red knew, and she had to get her to somewhere safe.
"Rumple..stiltskin…I'm his…girlfriend," She muttered.
There are little words Red could use to describe the shock that filled her. But the rain fell harder and she feared the worse for this woman. So instead of investigating any further, she ran into the house with the girl in her arms. She found a bedroom up the steps. Removing the girl's soaked shirt, she quickly found a blue robe and wrapped her in it. Laying her in the big bed, she pulled the blankets to the girl's neck. This was when she found the note.
For a moment she thought she was dreaming. There was no way that someone as cruel as Mr. Gold or as wicked as Rumplestiltskin could have found someone to love. Yet…she quickly pushed that thought from her mind. She had someone once too. Love did not know goodness or evil.
So, instead of trying to figure the situation out, she went to find the soup. Sure enough, she could smell the magic that he had put in it. Quickly dishing up a bowl of the brothy soup, she ran it back upstairs. The girl was where she had left her, lightly moaning with her hair damp on her forehead. Red set the bowl on the stand and took a seat on the bed. Taking a spoon of the broth, she placed the rim against the girl's lips.
"Come on, drink," Red whispered softly. "This will make you feel better."
"Rumple…" The girl whispered, allowing a small amount to slip in.
"Good girl," Red smiled and took another spoonful. "Another."
It took quite a while but Red finally got the young woman to drink a good bit of the soup. She then went to the bathroom and found a rag and drenched it with cold water. The girl had a burning forehead and Red hoped this would break it.
For the next hour Red sat with the girl, listening to the rain and her strange mutters. Most of it was just Rumplestiltskin's name and every now and again a 'Sweetheart' would be thrown in there. Also something about a cup? Red couldn't place it together, but she sat still, ignoring the melting ice that was in her car. Granny could wait for the ice. Finally, just as the storm became louder and the lightening cracked the sky, the girl woke up.
"Good morning," Red smiled.
The girl looked frightened at first, but Red soothed her with soft words and by brushing her hair away from her face. When the girls had settled, she found that her fever had broke. Red sighed knowing that everything was going to be ok.
"What is your name, Hon?" Red whispered as she removed the cloth.
"Belle…"The girl's voice was hoarse. "Who…"
"My name is Red," She comforted Belle with a soft grin. "I found you on the sidewalk. Do you remember why you were out there?"
"I…I can't remember." Belle whispered.
"That's ok, you are ok now." Red took a glass of water and handed it to her.
Belle happily took it and drank most of it in a few big gulps. Laying back, she sighed and pushed her hair away from her face. After a few moments, she turned to Red.
"Thank you," The girl whispered. "I guess I was just trying to find Rumplestiltskin."
"Do you know anyone else here?" Red wondered, taking the glass back to the nightstand.
"No…he is the only one I've seen so far," Belle gave her a smile. "Rumplestiltskin is….well…"
Red could see the how the corners of Belle's lips turned upwards and how sweetly Belle said his name.
"Do you love him?" Red asked, barely believing she was actually happy for this girl.
"Is he here?" She asked, giving her a conformation smile.
As if he had heard his name, Rumplestiltskin's voice echoed from below the steps. He was calling for Belle. The girl immediately sat up but Red gently pushed her back.
"You are still to weak," She said and stood up. "I'll calmly explain to him what happened. Everything will be fine."
Belle called for her to wait, but Red knew that Mr. Gold would be able to stay calm. He was a reserved man after all.
She was wrong.
The moment she arrived out the door she found Mr. Gold just stepping on to the top step. He raised her eyebrows and his mouth fell open. This lasted only a moment before his face fell into a worried look.
"Ok, don't freak out," Red said, putting up her hands in defense. "But I was driving by and found her on the sidewalk passed out. She is alri-"
This is as far as before Mr. Gold ran past her, pushing her away from the doorway. Red caught her balanced and let out a light huff before turning back to the room. Mr. Gold was already on the bed and holding the girl tight in his arms. His back was to her and she could only see Belle's face. This girl was not frightened but strangely calm and looked as if she was happy. Taking her attention away from the girl, she noticed that Gold was light shaking and crying.
Mr. Gold was crying.
That was strange to say the least. She took a step closer into the room and watched as he finally pulled away and gave her two kisses on the cheek before cupping her face in his hands.
"What happened, Sweetheart?"
Red had never heard Mr. Gold's voice to be so full of emotion. She listened as Belle explained waking up sick but remembering nothing after that. Red felt a hint of pride when Belle mentioned who had found her. Gold finally turned towards her and gave her a soft smile.
"I owe you much, Red," He said before turning back to Belle and bringing her back into an embrace.
Red smiled and left the room, giving them a few moments. Sure enough, Gold soon appeared and closed the door. At first he said nothing, just resting on this cane. Finally he looked up at her.
"Is that your girlfriend?" Red asked, giving him a playful grin.
"That is…"Mr. Gold said, obviously trying to hold back a smile. "I thank you for being there for her when I couldn't. I promise that will not happen again."
"It's fine," Red said and placed her hands in her jeans pockets. "I don't know who she is and I'm not asking her story from you but if she wanted too, I could show her around."
"That won't be necessary." Gold started.
"You said you owed me," Red wickedly replied. "Consider that my payment. I know you are one to keeping deals."
Gold let out a light curse before simply nodding his head.
"You are right, she knows no one." Gold replied. "Just…wait a day. Give me one more day to prepare her and then you can…oh, I don't know, show her the mighty social groups we have in this town."
Red smiled and told him she would be around at noon tomorrow for their date. Gold cussed to himself slightly as he watched the young wolf pounce away. He rolled his eyes at the thought of sharing his Belle with the rest of the town. He knew though that he would have to eventually and had never once denied her the right to leave the house. But before Red went down the steps, she turned, gripping onto the staircase.
"Just so you know, Gold," She called to him. "That girl really likes you. I would take good care of her if I were you."
Gold took Red's words to heart. He thought of them as he turned back to the room. When he entered, he found Belle sitting up higher and taking a small sip of water. Those few moments when Red popped out of their room were the most frightening moments of his life. Seeing Belle, her face ashy and her hair damp to her face, was like seeing a ghost and he feared even then he would lose her. He had thrown his cane aside and nearly fell on the bed. He had taken no time bringing her into his arms and feeling her, even though it was weak, embrace him. Only then did he know she was all right.
"Again, I think we need to review the telephone," Gold said as he took his seat next to her. "You should have called me."
"I know…" Belle whispered and grabbed his hand. "But you were there with me."
Gold gave a light gruff before realizing she was serious.
"It wasn't you now…but you then," She said, looking into his eyes. "When you truly were Rumplestiltskin. You lead me to Red. You saved me just as much as she did."
Even though Gold knew she must have had a hallucination, he refused to doubt it. Instead, he kicked off his shoes and removed his wet jacket. He got into bed with her and brought her again to his chest. She quickly fell asleep on his chest and he listened to the melody of raindrops and Belle's soft breath. Perhaps giving Red the chance to show her around town would be for the best. He wouldn't always be there and if she could make a few friends then it would be a few more set of eyes to keep a watch on her. He couldn't lose her.
a/n: Belle wasn't in this episode either. I wrote another one-shot. I will go down with this ship!
P.S. The ankle twisting and the phone comment? References to two other one-shots I wrote. You don't have to read them, but if you are bored, they are there.
P.S.S. I waited a long time for that darn CTV promo to come out. All I have to say is, Thank you, my neighbors to the North. That was a beautiful preview.