The nurse looked up from her dull paperwork when she heard what sounded like a stamped of elephants racing down the metal steps. Upon craning her neck, she discovered that Regina Mills, the mayor who slipped her a hefty paycheck for her boring job, was not coming down, but the inexplicable Sheriff Swan and the demon of Storybrook.
"The girl you've been holding captive here," Mr. Gold hissed to the nurse. "Which cell is she in?"
The nurse's eyes shot to Emma who gave her a look that told her that her job was on the line if she didn't pipe up.
"I'm sorry Mr. Gold," she spoke, "but all matters concerning the patients are direct hospital priority, so please-"
Mr. Gold grabbed the nurse's starch white collar and brought her to his face. "Listen closely wretch, if she is not in this room in five seconds not only will you lose this pathetic job you will be given the exact same treatment she has been given." He smirked a bit, madly, "And I'll start by restraining you to a bed and-"
Emma pulled him back to prevent scaring nurse any more. "Look, an inside source said that this girl is locked up in here without a file or any other evidence that states that she deserves to be. We just want to take her up to the station. I promise," she glanced back at Mr. Gold, "you won't be harmed or prosecuted if you cooperate."
"Like Hell she won't."
"Gold." Emma warned before turning back to the nurse. "Please."
The impassive nurse stared at the Sherriff then Gold. Seeing as there was no way out of this, she grabbed the keys with a huff and stocked to the cells.
Gold smiled in both satisfaction and relief. If that janitor was telling the truth, Belle was here, alive. She most likely wouldn't have her memory, but at least he'd have her until Emma broke the damn curse and set things right.
The woman herself was glaring at him.
"You do realize I should lock you up for threatening that poor woman?"
"Poor woman? The girl in the cell is the one who should be pitied, not that bitch who's had her locked up all this time."
"Why are you so concerned about the girl anyhow?"
He was silent. He did not have to explain himself to her.
Emma was about to retort when the clicking of footsteps echoed through the room and the nurses returned—empty handed.
"Where is she?" Gold growled.
The nurse gulped but stood firm. "She's…not there…"
The words process slowly but leave a devastating crater in his hope sanctum. "What the Hell do you mean she's gone?"
Emma pulled him back and shot him a glare that said stay put.
"The door was locked but she was not in her room. Someone must have taken her out but that never happens. She was never supposed to leave that room."
"You bitch I'll-"
"Enough Gold." Emma yelled. She turned to the nurse. "I'll have to call you in for questioning later, so stay put. I'll be sending security in here as well to apprehend all the patents until something can be done about all of this." She pushed a reluctant Gold up the stairs where Dr. Whale was waiting.
"Well?" he asked scornfully.
Emma glared at him before retrieving her cell phone. "Graham, I'll going to need your help. A girl has escaped from the hospital, early twenties, hospital garb obviously, and possibly deranged. Keep an eye out until I get to the station."
"She's not deranged." Gold mutter out of nowhere.
Emma sighed. "I said possibly. Let's go."
Gold stiffly after her. He hoped Belle was safe wherever she was and would remain so until he could find her.
"Here we are." Jefferson sighed as he opened the door of his car and emitted a very quiet Belle. She stared in awe at the mansion, the first bit of color entering her eyes since he first snuck her out of the hospital a little over two hours ago. "Wow," she gasped. "You must have a very large family."
He smiled sadly and shook his head. "No, just me."
Belle eyed him curiously. Who was this man who pulled her from her dusty prison tonight, who smiled so sadly yet eyed her with such trust and adoration? He said that he knew her and that she knew him, but she couldn't place him. Then again, she couldn't place anyone. All she knew gray walls, the Severe Nurse who brought her all her necessities, the woman behind the slit in the door who smiled at her with such malice that Belle ached…and in more places than the never-healing gap in her chest, and that this man, this savior of sorts, had something she didn't: a name. His name was Jefferson.
Jefferson opened the door and carried her inside, placing her on the nearest sitting object-she was still too weak to walk on her own. He checked the outside surroundings before closing the door behind him, fastening the locks. He turned back to her and smiled falsely. "Make yourself to home." He strolled of toward another room and Belle was left to ponder. The couches looked more than inviting but Belle felt like she would be disrespecting God himself if her tattered clothes met such fine leather. So she stood and passed some to get the feeling back in her legs. Her whole body ached, but the pain was nothing compared to the fire building in her chest that made her whole body go numb.
The strange man returned a moment later with a tray with a tea pot and several other items. "Hope you're hungry." He commented cheerfully, eyeing her standing form. "You must be tired, sit down."
She wanted to protest, but the way he stared at him showed that he offered no room for objection. She sat down, feeling like a small child on the couch, the material so soft and so foreign to her stiff body. She revealed a smile of approval from Jefferson as he fixed her up a cup of tea, nudging the plate of sweets her way.
Belle stared at the red and brown foods. They couldn't possibly be for her. The only food she ate was bland and flavorless, not sweet-smelling and appetizing like these.
"Help yourself." He stated with a nod at the plate.
She stared at him, waiting for him to say "just joking" and pull the plate away. He didn't and Belle smiled and weakly picked up a light brown thing with small darker brown things on it. "It's...delicious. Jefferson."
Jefferson smiled as she delicately snacked on the cookie. Gaining her trust was just the first part of his plan. As soon as she was well-rested he would set up process of helping her regain her memory-starting with introducing her to who she would soon know as Rumpelstiltskin. Only then would he be able to ignite his revenge on Regina. He smirked as he imagined the things the former Dark One would do to her. It was more than she deserved for keeping him from returning to his daughter all those years ago. That would all be made up for eventually, but for the time being his focus was on the girl without a name.
He leaned forward to pour her a cup of tea, only slightly spiked, mind you, just enough to help her rest easy. Suddenly though, the sweet Belle had tried consuming fell from her hand and she shot up, clutching her chest where her heart was located.
"You okay?" he asked; puzzled but not entirely concerned.
Belle tried to focus on the kind stranger but bursts of blue and purple blinded her and wielded her weak. With the bursts came the fire in her chest. It heightened and seared until she was screaming from the pain, toppling over, her arm hitting the table and sending the tea flying. She continued to scream as she fire seared with each beat of her heart. She couldn't even see now that the pain had heightened to what she dizzily hoped was it's full extent.
"You're mine now."
A blurry image of the stranger hovered over her. He appeared to be yelling at her but all she could hear was an icy laugh that was just as painful as the fire in her chest.
"Hang on Belle."
You had a life, Belle?
You must be Belle?
Looks like your hearts already broken, Belle.
She watched him retreat. He was leaving her-she was Belle-to burn alive.
The purple and blue abruptly faded and was replaced with a red that hurt her eyes. She couldn't even escape the color by closing her eyes. The color brewed and stretched into every pore of her body, digging into her bones and shutting her organs down. The pain only seemed to intensify until-
Jefferson frantically searched through his cabinets for the little glass vial of "flavoring". The title for his sleeping drug made him feel just a tad guilty about drugging his guests' tea constantly. He would have to give Belle the rest of the vial to stop her screaming until he could make certain of what was wrong with her. Taking her to the hospital was not even to be thought of. Playing doctor was his only option.
Crouching down in front of the sink and began riffling through the objects. Would giving her just a taste of drano would stop her piercing screams? As he further considered the idea, Belle's screaming abruptly stopped. He froze and listened to the sharp silence that haunted him every day. Curious, he stood and opened the cabinet above the stove, retrieving the vial of sleeping liquid. He walked cautiously back into the living room, his eyes darting over the empty couch.
The bruised no one was no where in site.
"Damn." he hissed, rushing to the closet. On the top shelf was a dusty box that Jefferson hadn't had to go through in a while. Desperate situations called for a hand gun. If Belle had tried running away, he could at least scare her into relenting to him. That might destroy his chances of gaining her trust, but it was better than losing her completely. He couldn't lose her yet without establishing his demands to the imp.
He began to load the gun when a creak alerted him of the presence behind him. He shot around, gun poised, and came face to face with his metal tea tray. His head hit the shelf and he saw stars. A meteor shower followed as the culprit began to bash him repeatedly with said tea tray. He felt warmth ooze quickly down his temple but his attacker gave him no time to recuperate before it was coming back down him with more force and feminine grunts.
"S-stop!" she didn't, and he was losing consciousness. "Belle!"
"Get back here you little whore!"
"My name…is Belle!"
The tray fell from her hands and Belle blinked back a wave of dizziness. What happened? One moment she was wailing on the floor and next-
She blinked and looked down, screaming at the site of the groaning, bleeding man. Out of pure panic, she slammed the door, wincing at the thump the door made against the man's head. She hesitated at the door as the man rustled inside the closet.
"Belle!" Jefferson called with mixed concern and pain. "Belle where are you?"
Belle. She was Belle. Whoever that was.
She reached out with shaky hands for the knob with intention of setting the man free. The second her fingers touched the cool brass, a shock ran through Belle and everything stopped.
"Belle!" he jumped up and turned the door knob. It was locked or jammed one. "Belle!" he screamed as he banged on the door. "Belle you can't just leave me in here!" he heard a slam and and then an eerie silence before his urgency soared. "Belle come back! BELLE!"