Author's Notes: Rumplestiltskin was so mean in the newest episode of OUAT (season 2, episode 9) that I couldn't work on an on-going fic where he gets a happy, sappy ending, so my friend suggested writing a fic where lots of bad stuff happened to him so I could get out my feelings about him. This is the result.
Mr. Gold's alarm clock went off precisely at 4:30 A.M. every morning in Storybrooke. This allowed him to get up with exactly enough time to be showered, shaved, and dressed before enjoying a leisurely breakfast and still having plenty of time to get to the shop and open at 8:00 A.M.
This morning, however, the clock decided to start making a bizarre whining noise at 3:00 A.M. After groggily messing with the winding mechanism on the back, he lay back down to sleep for the extra hour and a half.
He woke up with a start four hours later to the sound of silence. He stared at the alarm in confusion for a few moments before realizing the time and scrambling out of bed as fast as he could.
"Damn modern inconveniences," he groused under his breath as he chucked the clock out of the window.
He didn't have time to shower or shave; he just grabbed the first clean clothes he could find and dressed hurriedly, not noticing that his vest and tie clashed horribly and that he'd mismatched his buttons.
He hurried down the stairs, wincing every time he put pressure on his bad leg, and out the door to his waiting car. Sliding the key into the ignition, he turned the engine over and drove to the shop, driving at least ten miles over all posted speed limits. He was less than a block away when red and blue lights started flashing behind him.
"You've got to be kidding me," he muttered as acting sheriff Ruby (David was still under a sleeping curse) handed him a ticket for going 45 mph in a residential area.
"Sorry, Gold, but the speed limits apply to everyone. Even you."
He made it to the shop at last, parked his car, and walked up to the door to find broken glass littering the pavement and the door ajar. He had already started dialing the number for the police station when he stepped inside and Henry turned around guiltily.
"I'm sorry, Mr. Gold!" he explained. "I just wanted to read some stories to David…I thought it would help."
He put his phone away and shook his head.
"Next time, just call me first?" he suggested as he grabbed a broom to sweep up the mess.
"Well, it was 8:20," Henry said. "I thought maybe you weren't coming…" The boy trailed off as he took in Gold's frazzled appearance. "Hey, how about I watch the shop for you for a minute, and you can get some coffee at Granny's?" He pulled out a five dollar bill from his pocket and held it out. "I already owe you for the window."
He took Henry's advice and marched over to Granny's; when he walked through the door, his stomach rumbled audibly, reminding him that he'd missed his usual breakfast.
"What do you want?" Granny asked, aware that everyone else in the diner had frozen upon Gold's arrival. "If you're here for the rent, I'm not paying that any more."
"Actually, I'm here for breakfast," Gold said shortly. "One of your breakfast sandwiches and a coffee; to go, please."
Granny took the money and put his order in, but she kept a watchful eye on him. A few of the other diners had resumed their conversations, but many were still too wary of Gold's presence to act easy.
"Here you go," she said, handing him his order. "Now hurry up and get out because I'm losing business."
He gave her an unfriendly smile before gathering his food and turning smartly on his heel, but then he tripped, and his coffee spilled down the front of his shirt.
He couldn't help crying out—the coffee had to have been extra hot to burn that much—so everyone turned to look at him. It was dead silent, until Gold heard the first titter of laughter in the back of the diner. Before he knew it, the snickering had spread until he was stomping out the door to a roaring peal of laughter.
As usual, the shop was deserted, aside from Henry and the comatose David, so Gold had enough time to change into the spare clothes he kept there and generally compose himself. He and Henry played a game of chess (Henry won), Regina brought ham sandwiches by for lunch (she must have forgotten that Gold hated mustard), and then he was left alone with nothing but occasional snoring from David.
After a while, he got an idea of a way to turn this awful day around. He pulled out his phone and dialed the library's number and breathed a sigh of relief when he heard Belle answer.
"Hello, darling," he said. "It's a bit sudden, but would you like to have dinner with me tonight? I thought we'd try something different, go somewhere other than Granny's?"
"Oh, dear, um…I'm sorry, Rumple, but tonight really isn't good."
His face fell. "I see…"
"Yeah, I'm terribly sorry. It's just that I have to wash my hair and—"
"You don't need to explain yourself to me, Belle," Gold said a bit sharply.
"Right, sorry. Perhaps another time?"
He hung up the phone a bit harder than he needed to, but that was the oldest rejection line in the book. At this point, he'd had more misfortune than he could take in a single day, so he boarded up the broken window in his door and closed up the shop a bit early.
He made it to his car only to see a huge scratch on the side facing the street. Whoever had done it hadn't even bothered to leave a note. Muttering a few choice curses under his breath, Gold got in and turned the key; nothing happened. He tried it again, prompting the battery and engine lights turning on.
Ella and Thomas were walking with Alexandra in the stroller and just happened to see Mr. Gold letting out a yell of fury while smashing his fists on the steering wheel; they wisely changed their walking route and didn't say a word to anyone about the encounter.
It seemed to take forever to get a hold of a mechanic; Michael Tillman apologized profusely for the wait, explaining they were short-handed, but nothing could be done about Gold waiting over an hour in the cold until a tow truck arrived. As he started the long walk back to home, it started raining; Archie, spotting him across the street, crossed it and offered him his umbrella.
"I really don't need it, Mr. Gold; I don't live far," he said, but Gold just growled at him and continued on his grumpy way.
By the time he finally got home, he was soaked to the bone and shivering. He went straight up to the bathroom to draw himself a warm bath, only to discover that no hot water would come out of the faucet.
"Can this day get any worse?" he moaned; moments later, he sneezed so forcefully that he was nearly knocked backwards, and he immediately regretted tempting fate.
After changing into dry clothes and wrapping himself in a blanket, he went downstairs to make himself some tea to help soothe his sore throat and stuffy nose when he noticed the answering machine's light blinking.
At first, he refused to answer it; surely it was just more bad news. But after drinking a cup of tea and warming up a bit, curiosity got the better of him and played the message.
"Hello, Rumplestiltskin," said Belle's sweet voice as it rang out through the living room. "I'm sorry about earlier today; Ruby had lent me some different shampoos meant for my hair type? Whatever that means, and they had some complicated instructions on the back. Much too lyrical for my tastes…but I'm sorry it took so long and I couldn't have dinner with you. Perhaps tomorrow would be a better time? I really am sorry I didn't get to see you today…well, good night."
The machine beeped as the message ended, and silence filled the room.
Gold sat there, his tea forgotten, as his heart was warmed by Belle's message. Of course he should have known that his Belle would never use such a silly excuse to reject him, and goodness knows she would take all day to wash her hair; the first time she'd been presented with the concept of a shower, she hadn't emerged from the bathroom until at least three hours had gone by.
And now she'd promised to see him tomorrow; they could go and get some spaghetti (Belle's newest obsession) at the little Italian place by the wharf and then have ice cream at the parlor by his shop or even go into Granny's for something because at this point, Gold no longer cared about how awful his day had been. He was just happy about what his tomorrow could be.