Shifting against him she set her head on his shoulder and traced his side with a barely there touch, which had him squirming and sighing in approval all at once. The reaction had her smiling a little as she basked in the afterglow with him. After a few moments he raised his arm, cradling her back, and began to run his fingers through her hair. Occasionally he would brush her scalp as he petted her, sending little shocks of warmth down her spine. Feeling content and happy, with all the pain of her little adventure gone and her lover in her bed, she was fully relaxed. She also found, for the first time, that she wasn't shy about lying over the blankets with him completely bare. It seemed she finally became accustomed to sharing this part of herself with him. After a few minutes of comfortable silence she looked around the room more closely. "Where did my couch go?"
He made a vague motion toward the hallway leading to her bedroom. "I switched them." He told her, which explained why her bed was in the center of her small living room when they stumbled in here an hour ago. That had surprised her when they got up here, although not enough to stop and ask about it as she pulled his clothes off so they could get into it together. She figured the mystery could be solved later, as she had much better things to think about with him pressing searing kisses to her neck and shoulders as he peeled her dress off her.
"Oh." She replied, pleased enough with that answer. She was actually pleasantly surprised that he hadn't blasted it halfway across town with how excited they both were. Having it in her bedroom was very conservative if she gave it any consideration at all to his state of mind when they raced up here. And at any rate she was fairly sure if he had tried to get her in the bedroom the mood would have swiftly and dramatically altered for her. But now that she was calm she asked another question. "How much concentration does it take to do that?"
His lip twitched up. "Not much now that I understand how magic works here. Although I admit you made it a bit more difficult just now."
She laughed breathily and turned her head, smiling into his skin. "I'm pleased it's still in the building." She told him.
"Shall I move it back?" He asked lazily, simply waiting for the command.
She shook her head. "Later." She told him, not wanting to get up at all. For the moment she ignored that she should be downstairs in the library. It was closed all day anyway, and most of the people in Storybrooke were most likely still grieving for Archie. She promised to make it up to Pongo in a few more minutes and allow him up here once they were dressed. "I'm comfortable now."
He didn't bother to fight her on that, and she was half sure he would prefer her to have her bed out here so she would actually sleep on it rather than her couch. He had scolded her about that again after he found her rubbing at a kink in her neck last night while she was waiting for him to come to his bed. "So am I." He agreed, going back to stroking her hair. "And you're not allowed to get into any more trouble." He told her. "You scared me near to death."
"You know I don't plan to get into trouble." She informed him. "It tends to happen without my consent." She made a small concession. "Except for the yaoguai. I admit I walked into that one."
He lifted his head up off the pillow so he could see her. "What?"
She yawned and snuggled closer to him, wanting nothing more than to cuddle. "Never mind."
He was hardly put off by that dismissal. "Why were you anywhere near a yaoguai? Those are insanely dangerous."
"It was attacking a village." She told him. "So I went to take care of it."
This brought him no comfort at all. "You went to take care of it? What does that mean? When was this?"
She thought too many details would send him over the edge and she had only just calmed him down about the Cora fiasco, although it had taken her hours to convince him that no one had come through the portal but Emma and Snow. No need to have his blood pressure spiking again, as apparently that was some sort of health risk according to her books. He could have a heart attack or a stroke from it, and she felt remarkably smart knowing that. In their old land people had been searching for medical answers like that for centuries. Here it was common knowledge and information on it was easy to find even in the beginning medical textbooks in her library. "After I left your castle. It all worked out though as the yaoguai was really a cursed prince. The fairy dust I had changed him back."
It was clear he had a number of questions about all of this. He picked a place to start with them quickly. "Where did you get fairy dust?"
"From a dwarf in a pub."
"From a dwarf in a pub?" He asked with near horror.
"Yes, Leroy, although he went by Dreamy then."
He stared at her, as if the story would simply appear between them like one of the television shows they had in this world. She still wasn't overly fond of those. They were too bright, too loud, and too improper for her. She did appreciate the weather reports though, that was helpful. It was certainly easier to plan what to wear when she knew if it were going to rain or not. "Why were you in a pub?"
"I was trying to figure out what to do with myself while I headed toward the marshes. I found that at that moment the ale was fairly helpful." Reaching over she tugged at the blanket to cover them, as she was starting to cool off and wanted to stay warm. "It also had the added benefit of helping me making friends rather quickly."
He was ridiculously jealous in less than a moment. "What sort of friends?"
She sent him a look, knowing very well what he meant. "You're being silly." She told him, shifting up next to him on the pillow and kissing him. He wasn't mollified by the kiss and she saw suspicion and envy stirring in his dark eyes. Knowing this was an ongoing issue she didn't get overly upset about it. Reaching up she caressed his face, bringing him back out of his head with her. "When I left the castle I was angry with you, but it didn't change anything. I still loved you, I simply didn't know what to do about it. I wanted to go home, but it would have taken me months to get back from the castle without magic, and I'd had about enough of that for a life time." She shrugged. "And even though I was planning on going back to my father was worried I would have had to marry Gaston when I got there, and I couldn't stand that, so I was stalling while I worked out what to do." He said nothing as he watched her. "A few weeks later I went on my own adventure and when it was over I was heading back to make you see reason, or burn down your castle to make it clear you weren't going to have any say in the matter as I'd made my mind up about keeping you. I thought perhaps a very blatant display might convince you that I meant to keep our deal one way or another." His lips curled up and she tugged at his hair as a hint of agitation caught her. "I never made it to either of you, but I was coming back." She smiled, pushing the bad thoughts away. "And really I never liked the pub much anyway. It was so loud and people are really rather horrible on the whole. Dreamy was a nice exception."
That calmed him. "I hope you aren't still planning on burning anything down."
Smiling at that she tickled at his side again. "I seem to have your cooperation in this matter now. I don't see the need." He laughed despite himself and she smiled wider as she gave him a quick kiss, realizing she had somehow both made him happy and avoided to many messy details all at once. She was rather proud of that truth be told. Perhaps she had been spending too much time with him, but couldn't find it in herself to mind. Besides, she was sure if he got curious again he would find a way to weasel the information out of her one way or another. "So I think you can stop worrying about the kinds of friends I make when you aren't around. I much prefer you for obvious reasons."
Turning toward her he cupped the back of her head and pulled her into a kiss. She sighed into it, her body responding with a lazy sort of lust. He broke away slowly, lingering close. "Is that so?"
"Mmhmm." She agreed softly. "I think you believe me too and are simply trying to cause trouble."
"I assure you, dearie, the last thing I want is to cause trouble with you." Giggling, and feeling remarkably playful all at once, she pounced him. He grunted as she ended up on top of him, sending the blanket askew again, and she kissed him soundly as she lay over him. When she was done with that she crossed her arms on top of his chest and rested her chin on them so she could watch him. He was watching her back with bemusement. "For a small thing you do hurl yourself about with great skill."
She grinned at him and he reached up and stroked her hair back. She let him touch her happily. "You love to cause trouble with me." She informed him. "It entertains you."
"Aye, a bit." He admitted grudgingly.
"I knew it." She said smartly. "That's why you used to sneak up on me all the time in the castle. You knew I would scold you about it."
His lips curled up at the corners. "You do shriek marvelously."
"Rotten!" She cried, tickling his sides in retribution for that long ago sneakiness.
Letting out a curse at the unexpected attack he grabbed at her. "Stop that!"
"I thought you wanted trouble?" She teased as she tickled him.
Catching her hands he flipped her back onto the mattress as she giggled up at him. He eyed her with mock severity. "That wasn't nice."
"But you shriek marvelously." She said, mimicking his accent rather well she thought.
"Is that how it's going to be then?" He asked, trying not to laugh.
Without missing a beat she shifted her weight and rolled them back over, having fun with him. In moments she was back on top of him. "Yes." She agreed. "That's exactly how it's going to be."
"I must say I'm quite terrified." He said with glittering eyes, taking her in with real admiration.
"It's because I'm fearsome." She informed him primly, which had him chuckling happily.
"It's certainly the first word I associate with you." He agreed.
"What's the second word?" She asked curiously.
"Graceful." He replied, stone faced, which had her letting out a cry of indignation and lunging back at his ribs in retribution of the jibe. He tried to twist out of the way of her questing fingers, which did nothing to protect him. Despite his best efforts she managed to tickle him quite easily and he laughed at the sensation. It was a sound she truly loved to hear, and she certainly didn't hear it enough from him. Delighted with herself she didn't let up on her assault even with him squirming and grabbing at her. However, he finally managed to get a grip on her and hauled her down next to him as he chuckled. He was breathless from laughing and she was snickering like mad. He huffed at her. "Is that the thanks I get for coming to rescue you?"
"I'm fairly certain I thanked you for that already." She informed him. "It's why we have no clothes on." He sent her an amused look and she went on, feeling as bold as she had all day. "I think it's only right I have my way with you all the way around."
His eyelids hooded at that and he took her in for a moment. His dark, chocolate eyes glittered and all at once her stomach clenched. She knew that look, it was not a safe look. It was the look he got when he had an idea and was about to get terribly, brutally even with someone. She hadn't thought tickling was such a horrible offense to his person. "Is that so?"
She felt unsure all at once and apprehension raced up her spine. "Yes?" She said as much more of a question than a statement.
"I think, perhaps, it's a bit daring of you to think you're the only one that gets to have her way with someone. Especially when I'm the one that did the rescuing."
"Erm?" She said intelligently, trying to gather herself for whatever he was talking about. She decided the best strategy would be to stick to her principles and hope for the best. He would try to turn her around if he could, and as she had no idea what direction he was going to point them at she thought it best to stay on known ground. "No, I think that's right."
He sent her a dangerous smile that sent a shiver down her as he leaned in and kissed her neck delicately. She sucked in a sharp breath as he shifted his body weight over her, his hands wrapping around her wrists and stretching her arms out over her head slowly. She sucked in a sharp breath when he nipped at her pulse point, the thrill of having him holding her so surely getting her excited in a hurry despite having tangled up with him so recently. He shifted his body so he was more than half draped over her and tilted his head so he could kiss her under her jaw. Her head was gently forced back so he could get access to her skin, and something very primal passed between them as she bared her throat to him. A low moan came out of her and he ran small circles over her wrists with his thumbs.
Shuddering all the way down to her toes she shifted below him restlessly as he stoked her lust back up with easy patience. As she pressed up against him, more than inviting, he continued to hold her still as he trailed his lips lazily down her body. He was scrupulously fair to all part of her, kissing and tasting his way from her jaw to her chest. He would intersperse the warm kisses with little nudges from his nose that were as affectionate as they were inflammatory. Panting noticeably she tried to get her hands free, but he pressed them back into the bedding firmly, keeping her pinned down. "Rumple." She whined, wanting to touch him back.
He simply smirked into her chest before pressing his lips over her breast and sucking lightly. Moaning, her back arched and he pressed his weight over her to keep her from coming off the bed. Finding this whole business fully unfair she gasped as he switched to her other breast, lavishing attention on it as well. Her body was flushed now, her body hot and wanting, and she sighed his name out again, hoping he would allow her to do something other than lay here while he tormented her so beautifully. He wasn't deterred however, as he seemed to have himself set on driving her mad, her soft pleading egging him on. He shifted farther down her, twisting his neck so he could kiss at her ribs.
Unable to stretch his arms out any further as he moved down her body he finally let her go, his hands running firmly from her wrists and down her arms. Finally free she reached down for him as his hands settled over her sides, holding her down just as well as he had before. Reaching down she gripped at his shoulders, her fingers stroking him as she tried to coax him back up to her. It didn't work in the slightest, and then he somehow shifted up and lifted her enough to move her closer to the head of the bed. She was soon settled with her shoulders on her pillows and he was moving lower down the bed, and her body. Before she realized what was happening he nipped at her hip bone and wrapped his arm around her opposite leg. Her hands slid to his neck as he settled between her legs and she opened her mouth to ask what was going on when he dipped his head down and kissed her center.
A strangled whine came out of her at the sensation and he held her tightly, which was most likely for the best as her hips bucked up at the sensation. That only spurred him on as he used that oh so talented tongue of his to do to her what she had done to him not two days ago. Having not even considered that this could make her feel good as well she was wasn't prepared to be thrown so hard into pleasure. Her hands tangled into the bedding as she tried to ground herself to something. Rumpelstiltskin didn't pause to allow her to catch her breath and began to do things she couldn't quite describe with his mouth. Looking down at him she moaned loudly as one shock of pleasure after another hit her.
As he continued with this strange kiss she rather thought she'd never had a chance after she decided to tease him. He rarely took declarations of superiority lightly, and this was clearly his form of retribution for her letting the power she had over him go to her head. As he sucked on her she decided she should flaunt that power more, because she would very much like to be chastised like this much more often. It quickly became far too overwhelming and she began to cry out in something close to pain, but was not at all, and his arms tightened over her as he swirled his tongue over the soft spot that made her feel so good. Going taut, she came hard, whimpering his name out in a strangled gasp as lights exploded behind her eyes.
Panting like mad she slumped into the blankets, her fingers slowly unclenching as her head spun. As she tried to get some manner of sense back Rumple turned his head and kissed at her inner thigh, biting at her skin gently. She let out a whimper, thinking that if she felt anything else good she might die, and his hand slid up over her hip. "You moan even more marvelously than you shriek." He commented.
She let out a gasping groan, torn between embarrassment and satisfaction. He smiled into her skin as he kissed her again and then slid back up her body, taking his time tasting her skin as he went. When he was at her navel she managed to lift her arms and set them on his shoulders, clutching at his skin. He hummed at the contact, nuzzling at her stomach. "Oh my."
He laughed under his breath at that, clearly pleased with himself. "Did that satisfy, dearie?"
"Yes." She agreed breathlessly, pushed well beyond shame. "That felt wonderful."
He kissed at her ribs as he explored her. "I'll have to do it again then, won't I?" The thought of that happening again had her head spinning and all she could do was whimper in agreement, unable to think much beyond the soft pulsing of her body. The sound was enough to get the message across however, and he continued to press his lips along her bare skin, taking his time savoring her. Limp with satisfaction she allowed him whatever he wanted, running her hands over his shoulders and back languidly as he moved slowly back up her body. By the time he got back to her face, nuzzling at her jaw again, she was a bit more together. "Lovely." He purred, kissing her just behind her ear. "Every inch of you."
Cooing at him, she began to trace his face with soft touches. "Let's stay like this for two days past forever." She whispered.
He kissed her warmly before laying down next to her, his hand running warmly along her side. "I wish I could say yes to that." He told her with a sigh of regret. "Truly I do."
Humming, she shifted toward him, relaxing when she was leaning against him. "I suppose that will have to do then. It's a pretty thought at any rate."
He rubbed her side for another few minutes, both of them quiet as she regained herself fully, before speaking. "I need you to do something for me." He told her.
"Okay." She agreed without hesitation. "What do you need me to do?" He kissed her head before forcing himself up. She let out a sound of discontent, but sat up as well when she saw him pulling his clothes on. She pouted, leaning against the headboard. "You didn't say it involved getting up."
Fastening his pants he leaned over and kissed her head. "Apologies, dearie, this is important. I was going to wait until tonight, but I think we'd best take care of it now before anymore surprise events unfold."
Cocking her head to the side in interest she got up and changed into a clean dress quickly, now intrigued by what he wanted. He watched her dressing appreciatively as he buttoned up his shirt and she felt a little thrill of satisfaction in his interest. She knew it was silly as they had been with each other naked numerous times, but she still liked that he enjoyed seeing her so much no matter how her shyness tried to take over. Pretending she didn't notice she pulled her hair out from under the fabric and ran her fingers through it as she slipped a pair of shoes on. By the time she was in the low wedges he was finishing with his tie and searching the ground for his jacket. She helped him even as she blushed. "It came off in the staircase on the way up." She could honestly say it was the first time she hadn't been concerned about the narrow space. She had been far too wrapped up in him to concern herself with being nervous, and they had nearly fallen twice on the way up as she yanked at his clothing, not that he had complained.
His lips curled up and he caught her, kissing her hotly, before moving off. "Are you sure we have to do this right now?" She asked.
He nodded and she sighed, regretting having to leave, but following after him all the same. The walk back downstairs was uneventful, save for him nearly tripping over his jacket as they went, and Pongo seemed relieved that they had reappeared. His tail wagged happily as he let out a low woof. He trotted around in a circle in front of the open door of the library, clearly conveying that he had been guarding the entrance for them. "Clever beast." Rumple praised. "Thank you for that."
The dog wagged his tail harder, racing up to him and whining happily at the approval the way all dogs did when they had pleased a favored person. Rumple reached down and petted his head with an easy affection that she found very appealing. He really hadn't been lying about liking dogs, and clearly knew how to interact with them. She herself had never had a dog, although she had always liked the idea of them, and was finding this sweet being to be every good thing she had heard or read about the animals. The dalmatian licked his hand and followed them out of the library, waiting patiently for her to lock up. "He could stay with you." She told him. "He certainly likes you. I've never seen you so fond of anything before."
"I think you may well rank rather high up in things I'm fond of." He commented.
She smiled as they strolled toward his shop, the dog keeping pace with them easily. "That's good to hear." She replied, lopping her arm with his.
"I have no issue with him coming with me, but I think it likely he has a different destination."
Her eyebrows drew together as she looked at him. "How could you know that?"
"A hunch." He replied calmly.
She rolled her eyes. "It drives me crazy when you say cryptic things like that."
"It adds to my mysterious persona." She huffed in exasperation and he smirked. "But I'll be happy to enjoy his company for the time being. It's been a long time since I spent any time with a dog, and he's a good one."
Pongo sneezed in agreement. Deciding to let the subject drop as it seemed both the dog and the man were set to do whatever they wanted she tried something else. "Are you going to tell me what you want me to do then?"
"Patience, dearie." He said. "We'll talk once we're inside and I'm sure no one can hear us."
Wondering what on earth was going on she kept her peace for the moment and the rest of the walk was made in comfortable silence. When they got to his shop he held the door open for her and Pongo raced inside behind her. Rumpelstiltskin made no protest to this and simply locked the door behind them, flipping the sign on the door to closed and then drawing all the shades. She watched with growing curiosity as he hid the inside of the shop from prying eyes. Once he was satisfied he waved his hand and a jolt of magic flew threw the room, rippling around enough to set the hairs on the back of her neck on end. The poor dog had the same reaction and shook himself all over as the spell settled. Rumple turned around, glancing about as if someone were hiding in the shadows, and she wasn't sure how to take this cagey behavior.
Before she could ask another question he ushered her toward the back of the shop. "If you would be good enough to wait out here and watch for us, Pongo?"
The dog sneezed again and promptly lay down in the middle of the floor, his head toward the door and his tail wagging, happy to be of help, happy to be doing something other than grieving. He guided her through the curtain with his hand on her lower back, his thumb caressing her over the fabric of her dress. When they were in his office he went to the cabinet in the very back, the one she had never seen him open. He paused before it for a moment, the slightest hesitation, before opening it up. She looked over his shoulder with interest as she moved forward, sliding onto the edge of his desk as he rummaged around. He was being exceedingly careful, setting things to the side and rearranging them as he went. Unable to see much around him she gave up on it and simply waited. Fortunately, it didn't take him long and he turned around with a cloth covered something in his hands.
As he stepped closer the cabinet shut itself, and she suspected any number of enchantments locked around it as it did, but that was only an educated guess. He stopped in front of her and she looked up at him expectantly. "I need you to help me keep something safe."
She frowned a little. "Can't you keep it safe with your magic?"
"I trust you more than magic." He told her, which stunned her near to stupid. "Especially here. Even with the control I have it's unpredictable in this land." He drew in a steadying breath. "And anyone that wants this will think I've used my magic to hide it. They'll come looking for magic. I need you to help me hide it a different way. I think in terms of my magic, it's difficult for me to think beyond it sometimes. You're clever, dearie, I need that. Between us no one will be able to find this."
Her heart warmed at the sentiment, and the confidence he had in her and her mind. She nodded seriously, willing to help. "What am I helping with then?"
Carefully, he set the item in her lap. Baffled by the way he was handling whatever this was she reached down and pulled the fabric away, holding just the corner of it with care. As it folded back she saw a glint of metal, and the engraved letters of his name, and all at once she realized what this was. Panicked by the implications of this, of what he was asking, and the sight of the weapon that was only spoken of in whispers, she reacted rather less well than she would have hoped of herself. She lost her head, her hands jerking away from the item, and it was only by some miracle both she and the dagger didn't fall to the ground. Rumpelstiltskin said nothing and after several seconds she managed to get her mouth to work. "Rumple…" She tore her eyes away from the dagger. "Is this what I think it is?"
"Yes." He agreed, watching her with an unreadable expression.
"You said it was hidden in a safe place." She said with confusion.
"Having put some thought into it I'm not so sure how safe my shop is." She wasn't sure how to take this. She felt overwhelmed, completely bowled over by the trust and faith he was putting in her. He had literally just set his life in her lap. This was so far beyond anything she had ever anticipated that she didn't know what to do or say. She looked back down at the dagger, at a loss for words. "Will you help me keep it safe?"
"Yes." She promised, looking back up at him. "I'll keep it safe."
"Thank you, Belle." He said with soft sincerity.
She cleared her throat, feeling overwhelmed, and managed to gather her thoughts at last. "So we need to hide this then?"
"I think that would be best, yes."
Carefully wrapping it back up she set it beside her on the desk. "This was rather important then." She said, although there was one thing she needed to understand. "Why now?"
"If you knew about the dagger, if someone found you in a cell Regina hid you in knowing I would kill her if I found out, then I find it likely other people know about it. This isn't the first time someone came after this." He said, placing his hand on the covered dagger. "Although until we came to this land I was nearly certain only one other person knew about it. I spent years erasing all traces of this weapon from history, chasing down books with mentions of it and destroying them, stopping those that knew, and spreading rumors that there was no way to kill me. I am careful, Belle, exceedingly so. That someone knew about this is disturbing. That he hurt you to try to learn about it is terrifying to me."
She frowned. "Who else knew?"
"My son." He stated bluntly. "He's the only one that knew until we came here."
She stared at him. "Until we came here." She repeated. "How could anyone have found out about it here?"
He pressed his lips together. "I can think of only one way."
She jumped to the only logical conclusion in an instant. "You think your son told someone?"
"Yes." He agreed. "I can't blame him, there's no magic here, no way for him to get to me, or I to him but one he couldn't possibly have known about."
"The curse." She supplied. "But why would he have told anyone?"
His eyes flickered unhappily, and all at once she saw the many, many years he had lived. "We parted badly." He told her, self-loathing seeping out into the words. "I made him a promise, and at the last moment I broke my word to him and he was lost." He looked so tired. "I have been trying to get to Bae for a long time. I have spent decades and centuries setting things into play so I could reach him, but I always knew there was a very real possibility that even if I found him he wouldn't forgive me. There are any number of reasons he could have told someone. Perhaps he would as soon wish I was dead, but perhaps, like you, he was given no choice in the matter. I can't say why, but I can't very well find him if I'm dead."
She slid off the desk and stood before him. Leaning in she kissed him gently and he rested his hand on her hip as they stood there. "You're going to find him." She assured him. Reaching up she cupped his face, worried about him. "Everyone deserves forgiveness, Rumpelstiltskin. We all make mistakes. Be honest with him and tell him that you made one. He'll forgive you."
"Perhaps." He said, and she didn't think he was convinced. "But whether he does or doesn't is an issue to be addressed later. What shall we do about this then?"
"He will." She assured him, not wanting to let this go just yet. "Because he's your son, and he must have the goodness in him that I see in you." His eyes softened dramatically and she felt a little better that the sadness was gone. "Stop doubting yourself, and him."
His eyes cleared and he nodded. Pleased with the change in mindset she went back to the problem at hand. "Now, if you don't want magic involved with this then the shop and your house are out. No doubt if someone wants it they'll ransack both regardless."
"That's reassuring, dearie." He said dryly.
"Well that's what I would do." She told him. "So I've no doubt that's what someone else would do. Especially someone brazen enough to try their luck against you." She turned to study the dagger, her hands on her hips as she thought about this. He allowed her the time, not trying to rush her. After a few minutes she spoke. "We need a map."
"You want to make a map to where it will be?" He asked. "That rather ruins the whole point of the thing, and you haven't even decided where to put it."
"We need a map to a place that it isn't at all." She told him. "One that can send whoever wants it on a merry chase full of intrigue and exhaustive digging of some kind. That should wear them out rather well and give us time to stop them, or at least work out that they want the dagger." His lip curled up at the side as she explained that. "It needs to be a good map though. One that looks like we're hiding something and they'll have to work to figure out."
He leaned against his cane. "Have you considered trying to take over the world, dearie? I think you could make a fair go of it with ideas like that floating around your head."
"I have no interest in taking over the world. That's far too much work." She tapped her fingers over her hip. "But where we should hide the actual thing is the question. I can take care of the map without much trouble."
"I can only assume you've read a book on that?" He asked without surprise.
"More than one actually. My father had a strange assortment of war books in his collection, although it hardly compared to your library. It's very interesting really the way spies put things together." He could only smile at that and she reached over and uncovered the dagger again. "I suppose we also need it in a place that you can get to it if you need it. Burying it under several feet of earth miles away won't be much help." He still said nothing, which she took as agreement. "And nowhere someone could accidently stumble over it."
"No." He agreed, and she began to pace around the office as she thought. As she did he stood next to the desk, looking down at the dagger lost in his own thoughts. She assumed he had been thinking about this himself, and was being honest about wanting her help. She had no doubt he had three dozen ideas already, but truly wasn't sure what to do with it now. She wondered how many times he had moved it about since he got here, since the curse broke, since she told him about the man that had come after her in her cell a few days ago. She could only imagine all the secret spots he had found or made in this small town on the edge of this strange, magicless world.
She supposed what he said was true though. Anyone that knew about the dagger would assume he had spells protecting it, and in a place with so little magic to begin with it might be an easy thing indeed to find magic here, like spotting one of the dwarves diamonds in the dust of the mines. It must sparkle brilliantly to those people that could see it. And that was the problem, them seeing it. That thought turned on its self all at once in her head and she let the idea settle. What they really needed to do was hide it in a place no one would look, which often times was where they always looked. Unlike her people tended not to see what was in front of them, which was Rumpelstiltskin's reasoning for liking her so much, and she realized that was the key to this. So where could they put it where everyone would see and no one would look? She stepped back to the small weapon, taking in the shape of it, and all at once she smiled brilliantly.
"I know where to put it." She told him, and he looked up.
"And where might that be?"
"Right where everyone will see it all the time." He raised an eyebrow and she elaborated. "We can attach it to the back of one of the clock hands on the library. It's just the right shape." He seemed less pleased with that than she would have thought. "You don't like that idea?"
"It's a very clever place." He agreed. "But I don't like it that close to you. Someone might hurt you looking for it."
"Everyone already knows about us." She told him reasonably. "And I know you worry, but they would most likely come at me anyway. I can put the map in the library and tell them that you made it and told me to hide it if they threaten me. Then I can use the bracelet to call you if they try to take me with them." She thought this was all together quite a good plan if she weren't being modest. "It's a good idea." She told him, feeling confident about it. Stepping next to him she caught his hand. "You asked me to help. This is a good plan, Rumple. You have to trust that I can help take care of us."
Leaning in he kissed her cheek. "I do." He promised. "That's what we'll do."
Nodding, she held his hand as she looked down at the curved blade. "It seems so strange that this can kill you after I've seen you shot with arrows and it didn't even slow you down."
"Believe me, dearie, this weapon can kill me. It houses my curse." He ran his free hand over the blade carefully. "I used to wonder at the circumstances that brought this into my life, why anyone would give up such power to anyone, let alone me." He pressed his lips together. "I used to think it a gift. Now I see why the last dark one was so eager to be rid of it."
She squeezed his hand, wondering about the man that used to have this curse, and how it had been passed from him to Rumple. "Your curse doesn't define you, Rumpelstiltskin. You do that. I've seen you do amazing and wonderful things, but more importantly I've see you do kind ones. You did all of this for Bae, and maybe you didn't always make the right choices, but you did make them for him, and that's the right reason. You did things a father does for his son, and that can't possibly be anything but love. Whoever gave this to you, I doubt he had anyone to care about, or that could care about him. You have that, you have me, and I'll be here for you no matter what happens. And you have me because you are a good man and are capable of loving, and caring, and kindness. If your curse was everything then you never would have been kind to me, or let me go home, or taken care of me here."
Raising his hand from the dagger he cupped her cheek and kissed her deeply. "I'm always going to take care of you." He promised with such fervor that she couldn't help but believe him. "I'm close now, dearie, and then we can start a real life together. I just need to do this one last thing."
"Hush." She whispered. "I'll be here. Do what you need to and I'll take care of the dagger, okay?"
"Okay." He agreed. "There's something I need to do this evening and I think it may take me some time." He caressed her cheek. "Can I meet you for breakfast tomorrow?"
A little disappointed that she wouldn't get to spend the night with him again didn't mean she didn't understand. She pretended to consider that. "Only if you get me blueberry pancakes."
He laughed softly at that. "It's a deal, dearie."
She tugged at his tie teasingly, setting it askew on purpose. "A deal struck with Rumpelstiltskin? I must be as brave as you think I am." He shook his head with a small smile before carefully wrapping the dagger back up. Going to one of his many boxes scattered about he pulled an interesting looking handbag out and tucked the weapon carefully inside. Closing it, he set the strap over her shoulder. "I'll hide it as soon as it gets dark so no one will see me."
"Thank you." He said sincerely.
She nodded, her whole being fortifying itself as she planned to do this. She would be sure this was done right, that no one would see, and no one would know where his weakness was. He was trusting her and she would prove that she could be a good partner to him in the ways he needed. She could take care of this. "I'll see you tomorrow." She told him. "Call me if you get done early. I miss you at night when I'm not with you."
Affection was written all over his face at that statement and he kissed her cheek in farewell. "I'll do my best, dearie, but I don't know how long this will take."
"I understand." She told him. "I'm taking Pongo with me." She tugged at his collar as she left, her hand sliding down his arm. "Good luck." He watcher her leave with a small smile and she hoped that he worked this spell out soon. She was starting to worry that his patience was running too thin, or that something else would come up and derail this. However, magic wasn't something she could help him with so she would do what she could so he could put his energy into getting to his son.
Author's Note: Okay! Okay! I got the message! Sorry this took so long, really I am, but my life is utter chaos and has been for months. It also took me some time to work out how best to do this as I had to change my storyline with the show, which really was very rude of it. I will do my best to update soon and I really am sorry for the wait. Hope you enjoyed it!