So this is my first OUaT fic. I watched the first season one episode at a time until "Skin Deep." Then I watched the rest of it in one go. I simply love the character of Rumplestiltskin and Robert Carlyle is a genius.

This fic is broken into four or five little vignettes. Please review and let me know how I've done.

I don't own them, I'm just borrowing them for a while.


She stood transfixed at the sight before her, unable to complete her chores the moment it had begun. She hadn't actually watched the rain since she was a little girl, and now that it had started she couldn't seem to stop staring at it. The green meadow that stretched beyond the bounds of the Dark Castle was soaking up the rain that had poured so suddenly from the heavens. The sky was dark with clouds, casting a gloom over the land, but Belle had never seen a more beautiful sight. Tentatively, she reached out a hand and let the cool water bounce off her fingers. She let out a quiet giggle at the sensation, curiosity warring with her upbringing. Finally she shed her hesitation like a cloak and stepped into the downpour.

Her whole body jolted at the sudden chill, but it wasn't entirely unpleasant and she quickly grew accustomed to the steady fall of rain on her skin. Her dress soon became soaked and heavy, but she was so focused on the childish delight that threatened to bubble over that she didn't notice. She stretched out her arms, tilting her head back to let the cold water wash over her face as she spun slowly like a dancer in a ballroom.

"What are you doing, dearie?" She hadn't heard his approach over the rainfall, though she suspected she wouldn't have even if it were deathly quiet. Over the past few weeks, she'd learned a little about her captor-turned-employer, the first being his rather startling ability to just appear when he wanted to. She'd also learned very quickly how to judge his mood by his tone alone, and it seemed today he was feeling just a little mischievious. She'd have to be on her guard.

"I'm spinning in the rain," she told him simply, lowering her head to look at him properly. He was standing just inside the opened door leading from the garden to the back of the kitchens. It was a servant's entrance, not meant to be used by the masters of the house, but Rumpelstiltskin rarely followed the rules.

"I can see that," he crossed his arms over his chest and leaned one shoulder against the jamb, staring at her with a look that was part amusement and part curiosity. Unfortunately for her, she only heard the latter in his question. "Why?"

She had stopped spinning, her arms coming to rest at her side and raindrops ran down in rivulets on her cheeks, giving her the appearance of crying. Her hair had been matted down by the water, soaked and flat against her back. Standing there under his intense scrutiny, Belle felt five years old again. She ducked her head and took quick steps toward the shelter of the kitchen.

"I'm sorry," she forced herself not to stammer under his gaze, "I'll get back to work." She moved past him, but his hand moved swiftly - faster than she could even see - and gripped her arm. It wasn't cruel or hard, as she expected, but rather gentle and firm. She stopped and turned her head a bit, catching him in the corner of her eye.

"No chatisement, just a simple question, dearie," he grinned at her impishly. "Why were you spinning in the rain?" He let her arm go, satisfied now that she wouldn't bolt from his presence. She smoothed her water-logged dress, wincing at the puddle that was forming beneath her.

"When I was a girl, I used to watch the other kids play in the rain. I was never allowed; it's not at all proper for a lady of the court." She worried her lower lip between her teeth for a moment before lifting her chin. "I just figured since I'm not at court any longer, there was no reason not to."

"And was it everything you hoped it would be?" he asked with a flourish of his hands.

She allowed the smallest of smiles to pass her lips as she nodded. "It was wonderful." She felt water shifting in her shoes, and she glanced down. "Excuse me, but I must go change before I catch a fever."

"Oh, I think you've had enough of a break," he answered, rolling his wrist in an intricate movement that left her clothes and hair completely dry. Even the puddle at her feet had vanished, and she couldn't help the gasp of wonder that escaped her. "Back to work, dearie." He walked away without another word, and Belle watched him go. He was an ever-present mystery to her - simultaneously wicked and kind, tempestuous and playful - and she realized with a start that she was beginning to enjoy figuring him out.

30 years later and a world away...

Thunder cracked loudly, jostling the girl from her sleep. Lightning illuminated the small stone room for a brief instant, throwing menacing shadows across the figure huddled on the thin cot. Belle clutched the worn blanket around her more tightly, her eyes screwed shut as she tried to block out the images her mind had conjured. She wasn't mad - she knew she wasn't - but she couldn't make sense of the dreams she'd been having since she'd arrived.

It was worse when it rained, she knew. The storm seemed to amplify something inside of her, something that longed to be set free. The patter of rain against her barred window was enough to keep her awake as she mumbled the alphabet in six different languages to keep the images at bay. That life - the one with magic, and castles, and a man who wasn't a man - didn't exist anywhere but in her mind, but to her it felt more real than the physical space around her.

Maybe she was mad, after all.