I Hate ending fics on a sad not…so I created this!
Stood there and watched you walk away,
From everything we had but I still mean every word I said to you He would try to take away my pain,
And he just might make me smile
But the whole time I'm wishing he was you instead…
Oh, I'm holding my breath,
Won't see you again,
Something keeps me holding on to nothing
Takes place during "Desperate Souls"
Emma Swan just barely brushed past her on her way out the pawnshop. Their eyes met but no words were spoken. Belle didn't blame her. What could the woman who held your soon-to-be boyfriend when his heart stopped beating (or crushed into dust by the Evil Queen if you wanted the horrible truth)?
Mr. Gold looked up when the bell clanked once more, however this time he didn't smile in triumph when his visitor entered. "Hey." he greeted calmly, removing his apron with a slow speed.
"Hi." she returned with a blush.
The first week after Graham's death had ultimately tested the waters of Belle and Gold's relationship. She cried constantly, blaming and abusing herself for the deceased Sheriff's demise. Gold had been as patient as possible, coaxing her to eat when she would vomit her grief, soothing her when she burst out screaming in the middle of the night, and even helping her pack her bags when she decided that she wanted to check into Granny's so that she wouldn't have to stay in the house her beloved Graham died in.
By then, Gold had lost his humanity and threw himself into a sea of bitter resentment. He would be forever grateful for the assistance Graham had in their relationship, but now he utterly blamed him for Belle's sorrow and his foul mood. He wanted his life back—his Belle and her light!
And he had a shred of hope that he would receive it now.
Belle held up a white paper bag. "I brought doughnuts." she said stepping forward cautiously. "Cream filled. Your favorite."
He nodded. Cream filled were actually her favorite. They were the first thing she had when she got out of the asylum, courteously of Graham, of course. However, he would eat the whole sack if it meant fixing things with Belle. If she was willing to make peace and damn it so would he!
"Take a seat, back's a bit…fetid." he suggested. "I was about to make tea."
Belle made an unsure face. "Do you have coffee?"
He resisted the urge to frown. Belle slowly developed a taste for the bitter substance when her friendship was blossoming with the Sheriff. Usually she'd take tea in a dainty tea cup but once in a while she'd gulp a mug of the stuff down as quickly as Graham or any other man.
He nodded and crept away to crank up the rarely used coffee pot.
Belle took a seat on one of the old couches that cluttered the shop. She listened to him prepare the drinks nervously. She knew how her reaction to Graham's death was affecting him and she felt like a brat from causing him to worry so. She would fix the damage she had done, some way.
Even if her heart wasn't entirely in it.
"How's business?" she went on when he returned.
He shrugged. "Same old same old."
She nodded and sat in the silence with the numb sound of the old coffee pot their only connection to the real world.
They stared at each other before chuckling dryly at the illusion of their comments. "You first." Belle suggested.
"Ladies first." he insisted.
She clamped her lips tightly, smirking in determination.
He rolled his eyes at her cute act and pulled a chair out before straddling it. He was overjoyed to see her smile again. "I…" his smile falter slightly. "I was going to comment on your styling choice."
Belle looked down at her attire. She wore a simple dark purple dress that clutched at her thighs and matching flats—and Graham's leather jacket. It was the one that he had insisted she keep shortly after her release from the hospital. She had stored it in a closet at Gold's house but had fished it out almost immediately after his death when she needed something other than his chilling corpse to cling to.
"It was cold out." she stated indifferently.
"And of all the sweaters you could have chosen? Belle you've been wearing that thing for two weeks when are you going to-"
"I didn't come here to be ridiculed by you." she snapped.
Gold slammed his feet on the ground. "I'm not ridiculing you Belle! You've had me worried as Hell these past two weeks and I think I deserve to blow off a little steam!"
Belle looked away. He did, she'd admit that, but wasn't he supposed to be the voice of reason in situations like this? He was supposed to be her crutch, the arms that caught her when she fell. She needed him to be that now more than ever.
He sighed. "I'm sorry sweetheart I didn't mean to yell at you."
She nodded. She deserved it, she convinced herself, for hurting him so much.
He carefully knelt down in front of her, sitting his cane aside so that he could grasp her hands. "Don't beat yourself up over it Belle, please, don't hurt yourself anymore."
She shrugged, holding back a thick sob. "I can't help it Rum. I keep thinking that there was something I could have done to prevent all of this. I could have-"
"Belle, listen to me." Gold growled a bit desperately, "This is by no means your fault, do you understand me? Regina had him in the palm of her hand-"
"Literally." Belle murmured humorlessly.
He leaned against her leg and clasped her hands to his forehead. "I just want you back Belle. I want your smiles and your laughs, not forced but wholehearted. I miss him to sweetheart, but he's gone. He's gone and as much as I'd like to bring him back just to see you happy again, I can't. You have to move on, allow Graham to rest in peace."
He bowed her head, their foreheads touching. "How can I move on when I know that you're next?"
"Regina killed Graham." Belle sobbed with a prang of malice at the woman's name. "She ripped out his heart and crushed it. She is still alive! What's to stop her from coming after you next?" she shot up. She had to run, had to escape the nightmare she just brought back. It was hard enough losing Graham, but if she lost Rumpel…
She tried to burst to the door but two strong firm arms grabbed her. "Stop." he whispered desperately
"Let go!" she screamed as she fought. Gold forced her back to the ground and wrapped her in a tight cocoon of warmth and her resolved crumpled. Her arms were around him and gray images of holding Graham made her scream into Gold's chest when his face started to replace Graham's.
He rocked her as she screeched. She had broken down several times the past two weeks, but this was the first time she had ever mentioned him in her grief. All this time he had been walking on eggshells to protect her and he hadn't realized that she had been walking right beside him. His poor Belle. He had to help her see that Regina would never lick him. He was stronger than she would ever be. And now that she had utterly broken Belle, he was going to use that strength to make her life a living Hell.
She quieted down and he decided to speak. "Belle, you can not worry about me. With all the mischief I get myself into, you turn your hair white before you're thirty." he pulled a red and black handkerchief from his pocket and crumpled it into her hands. "And I'm going to make it so that you never have to worry about me again."
She scoffed and wiped her eyes with the provided handkerchief. "What makes you say that?"
"…because you're marrying me, that's why."
She pulled back slowly. "What?"
He smiled. "You are marrying me, and damn it woman I will not take no as an answer."
Now Belle utterly loved this man and every aspect that came with him, but she also knew that he was a few pieces short of a china set. "You're are proposing to me…now?"
He shrugged. "Well we're already on the ground so…"
She laughed, truly laughed, for the first time in weeks. It sent and indescribable wave of happiness through him. For the moment, as his love wiped her eyes and recomposed herself, he saw Graham smiling in that husky way he always did. They were moving forward and Belle was beginning to smile again.
"Well, tying you down might save me a heart attack or two."
And she as joking! Moving forward indeed.
He pulled her close and kissed the crook of her neck. "Everything's going to be okay Belle." he whispered into her curls once more. "I swear, Graham's life will not be forgotten."
Belle nestled into him, the urge to cry and the scent of freshly brewed coffee causing her head to ache. Through the bitter smell, she could pick out Gold's spicy cologne and the leather of the jacket in her arms. She wondered sadly if she would be able to go through a wedding with the knowledge that Graham wouldn't be there to walk her down the isle and whisper some kind of threat to Gold as he gave her away.
She sighed and blocked out the image of the sheriff as Gold began to rock her gently.
"Stand up." He requested. "I have something I want to give you."
She helped him stand and allowed him to use her body to get the feelings back in his legs as he limped back to the counter, pulling out a box.
He stared at her hesitatingly for a moment but knew that he had to do this. It was the final step to her recover and he would not deny it. "These…were the things from his apartment."
Belle went pale and peaked inside the box.
"I thought that it would bring you…comfort…to have a few more mementos of his lying around."
With a nod of permission, she painstakingly began to lift things from the box. There were a few newspaper clippings and coupons for the diner, an award or two for being a damn good sheriff, a soccer ball a few of his friends have given him as a present at one point, and three pictures. The first one was of a high school graduation that never happened, the second of a police force that was scratched out of history, and, to Belle's surprise, a picture of him, Ruby, Archie, and her. Ruby was on Graham's left with each arm around "her guys" while Belle was on Graham's opposing side laying a friendly peck on his cheek as the camera flash.
She let out a broken laugh. "I told him to burn this."
"It's a good thing he didn't." Gold commented.
She nodded and pulled out the jacket from the box. "Look like's I'm going to be wearing a lot of leather." she commented.
He nodded understandingly. "Perhaps feeling him close to you will help you cope."
She took his hand and smiled sadly. Graham was gone—gone forever, but she would do enough living for both of them—and Gold would be by her side for every moment of it.