When he was mortal, Rumpelstiltskin would've never even considered doing the things he'd done to protect his son and himself for the past eight months.
But now things were different. He had power now. He had the ability to protect what family he had left. The stakes were higher now that he was the Dark One. There would be those that looked to control and exploit him. There would be those that looked to take his place. They might use Bae to do it.
It was self-preservation. It was bloody and it was rough but it had to be done. He hadn't wanted to kill the cart driver but Bae had been injured…how would that look if he let his son get hurt without lifting a finger to protect him? That was how it was before, but it didn't have to be that way now.
He hadn't wanted to kill the mute maid either but she had seen the knife. She could draw for someone what she had seen…willing or not. The Duke had used spies like her to get ahold of the dagger the first time according to what the Dark Being told him…there would be those that would try to get it again.
Bae was angry at him; he was scared of the power. In time, things would change. Bae didn't believe him but he was still young. He didn't understand that power was the only way you picked yourself up from rock bottom. Being good and being honest and harmless…it hadn't helped him at all. Sometimes, one just had to do bad things to get a good result. Example; he murdered the Dark One and unintentionally took the curse to stop the Ogre war. He had murdered the men that came to collect his son to save his son.
But Bae didn't want him to have this power. He didn't see the father that raised him after the pirates killed his mother.
When he made the deal with Bae at the supper table, he had only done so because he didn't believe Bae could find a way to change him back.
But he had and now Rumpelstiltskin was trapped in a deal that he wouldn't be able to wriggle out of without his son knowing. He didn't want to give up this power…there was still so much of the world that needed fixing.
For Bae though…he would do it. He would give up the power if it meant he had his son's respect and admiration.
But to leave home though….to leave home and travel to a land without magic, never to return…
What sort of land operated without magic anyway? And if it didn't have magic…how exactly was a magical portal supposed to open up on the other side?
That was his first belief that it might be a trick. He knew how magic worked. There had to be magic in both places to open a portal. That's how portals worked; it was the most basic rule.
But never the less, the bean that his son threw on the ground opened into a portal in a bright green light.
So either he'd be thrown in some kind of limbo or he'd be transported to a land he didn't understand with no power and he'd be even worse off than he was before since he didn't know the land.
Either way; it was the unknown and it terrified Rumpelstiltskin. For all his power and the centuries of knowledge that this Dark Being had learned over the years, it didn't quite know what he was getting himself into.
"My gods boy," he said as the wind ripped at his hair and clothes, "It's like a tornado."
"We have to go through it," Bae said. He had such faith, even though he had no idea what was waiting for them
The Dark Being that had made him like this screeched in his head. If he jumped through it, the curse would disappear….the thing's life would end. And if it died then Rumpelstiltskin would surely die as well since his life was now intertwined with it. Even if he survived, he would be weak again. Rumpelstiltskin couldn't defend his son in a world where magical beings could have protected Bae. How was he supposed to defend him in another?
"No," he refused in terror, "I don't think I can."
"We must!" Bae pleaded, "It's the only way."
They could be happy here though. The bloodlust would cool in time. He would find a cause to use his magic on…he would find a way to make the world better. The Blue Fairy had given Bae this bean…she had always made it clear to the Dark Being that he was not natural to this world and he was not welcome. She had been the one to create the dagger in the fireplace to try and bind him...for she feared he was growing too powerful. She would try to kill the Dark Being this way and she was going to use Rumpelstiltskin's son to do it, "No, no, no, no, it's a trick…it'll tear us apart."
"It's not!" Bae pleaded, "It'll be okay, I promise!"
The earth under their feet collapsed and they both fell. Rumpelstiltskin clutched his son's arm and struggled to keep him from falling into the vortex. The dirt under him was loose…the vortex left a crater around it and he was slipping.
"Papa, we have to go through!" Bae continued to plead but after Rumpelstiltskin saw what this vortex did to the ground under them, he wasn't going to let that happen to his son or himself. He grabbed his knife that he used for safekeeping and slammed it into the ground to anchor them.
"What are you doing?" Bae said with panic in his voice, he knew full well what was happening, "Papa! It won't stay open long, we have to go through."
"I can't," he screamed and let the fear into his voice so that his son would at least hear it and understand.
But Bae didn't, his face and eyes betrayed that, "It's the only way we can be together!"
Balefire's face twisted in rage, "You coward! You promised! Don't break our deal!"
Rumpelstiltskin was losing his grip on his son. It felt like either he or Bae was going to have their arm ripped out of their second. He knew the pull would get stronger until something went through.
Something went through…
His other hand strained on the hilt of his knife. They said this knife was impossible to destroy without magic. Would it work the same in a land without magic? Would he die if they melted it down or would the link be broken?
The knife wasn't even native to the curse, it'd been created to try and contain and control the Dark Being.
While the knife was strength to him, it was also his greatest weakness.
What would happen if he threw it in the vortex instead? It might kill the Dark Being and it might kill him…it might kill the Dark Being and he would survive…
It was with great reluctance that he ripped the knife from the ground and threw it into the vortex, but he did NOT want to lose his son.
As soon as the powerful knife slid into the vortex, he felt the pull start to lessen and it closed.
He and Bae lay there for what felt like an eternity, Rumpelstiltskin moved to look at his son, "Bae….I'm sorry."
Bae just looked at him in a way that told Rumpelstiltskin how much he broke his son in that moment. Rumpelstiltskin recognized that look; it was the same one Milah had when she learned that he had injured himself because he believed it was more a cowardly act to die in war than forsake everything so he could raise his son.
Baelfire stood up and walked away from him. Rumpelstiltskin ran his hand through his hair…
He was still cursed. He wasn't surprised at that since the knife was given to the duke by the Blue Fairy…
If someone found it over there, and it was powerless and destroyed then he might die…but he wasn't sure.
He went back to the house that night and dozed in his bed. He told himself that Bae would forgive him. He always did.
But in the morning, Rumpelstiltskin got out of bed, dressed, went to wake his son…
And found that Baelfire had taken his clothes and some food and was now gone.