Disclaimer: Much as it pains me to say it, I don't own "Once Upon a Time"… T-T
AN: No curse
"Rumpelstiltskin, you have been sentenced to death by beheading. Do you have anything to say in your defense before this sentence is carried out?" the voice of King James called out, almost reluctantly. After all, the imp had played a major part of getting him together with his wife. Therefore, he had also had a part of ridding them of the Evil Queen and reinstating Queen Snow to power.
Allowing the beast to talk wasn't something many expect, nor was addressing him by name. for so long, The Dark One had been known as the Dealmaker, the creature, imp, or an animal of the lowest form. Most were not even sure if he had a name..
"Not really dearie, now if ye could just get on with it? I'm sure we'll all have somethin we would rather be doin," the green skinned creature called back, letting out a mad giggle. He was the Dark One, so this was really just a formality to him. The only thing that could kill him was his dagger, and that had been safely hidden for over three hundred years.
"Very well, bring out the blade!" he called to some unseen person.
A rustle went through the gathered crowd as one of Snow White's Seven Dwarves came forward and entered the ring of fairies whose magic prevented him from escaping. He was one of the older looking of the bunch, his glasses covered eyes trained on the ornate box he carried. He set it down beside the Dark One's shackled form and withdrew the small sword like instrument inside.
The prisoner's reptilian like eyes widened in disbelief and fear. The very blade he had thought safely hidden was now in front of him, waiting to end his life and send the curse onto its next victim. It was the very dagger he had used to end the life of the previous Dark One, Zoso, so long ago to protect his son.
"I hope yer ready Dearie," he whispered to the Dwarf known as Doc, "for whoever kills the Dark One with his own dagger takes on his powers. The dark is a very seductive power, no matter how good ye are. I wish ye luck with the curse."
The old dwarf visibly gulped and nodded sadly. He knew the risk and he accepted what would happen to him. He was willing to sacrifice the rest of his life for his family, even if he would no longer be able to join the harmonious whistling of his brothers. It had already been worked out, and they had decided he would be spending the rest of his days in the cage down in the mines he had hatched in so long ago.
"Any last words or requests Rumpelstiltskin?" James called down, raising his hand to signal the dwarf.
"Aye, I do," the one time spinner replied with another giggle, his voice lacking its normal nasally quality. "But only this: I clearly outlined what I wanted in all my contracts. If people don't read the fine print, it would be their own fault and not mine. After all, magic always comes at a price!"
"So you say beast!" a voice called at him, most likely a dissatisfied soul he had once made a deal with. Not everyone got their happily ever after when they made a deal with the seemingly most evil man in existence.
"That is enough!" Reul Ghorm, or the Blue Fairy, called out, shushing the crowd. "Your majesty, if this is to be done, it has to be done soon! Our magic isn't strong enough to hold him forever!"
"Aye, if yer going to kill me than do it already Dearie!" the deal maker agreed, perhaps for the first time, with the pesky fairy. He had lived for three hundred years already, and he was tired. When Snow and Prince Charming had defeated the Evil Queen, they had destroyed his one chance at getting his son back from the Land Without Magic. He had nothing left to live for, and he was ready for rest. It was someone else's turn to carry the burden.
"Very well," James agreed, nodding to Doc. "You may proceed."
The prisoner's head was forced down onto a rough wooden block by one of the other dwarves, Grumpy if he wasn't mistaken. Doc clutched the Kris dagger to his chest for a moment and squeezed his eyes shut.
"I'm sorry for this," he whispered to the man who's life he was about to end, tears pooling in his eyes as the reality of what he was about to do dawned on him.
"It's alright Dearie," the magician whispered in return, surprising the only two that could hear him by how normal he sounded. "I'll warn ye now, the dagger grants a lot of unfathomable knowledge and immense magical power to the poor soul whose name appears on the blade. Be ready for the rush of power, and for the voices. Don't listen, or ye'll regret it."
Speaking to the dwarf that held him down, he warned, "When one is killed with the dagger, he goes bad very fast. I suggest ye get him to the cell as quickly as possible, if ye aren't goin to outright kill him."
"Why are you telling us this?" Grumpy demanded, forcing the man's head even harder into the block so that he stared into the waiting basket.
"Because I see the same fear in yer brother that I felt when I took on the curse. History will repeat itself, for he only means to help. I took over for my predecessor because I wanted to save my son. The Dark spirit will eat him alive, just as it did me," Rumpelstiltskin told him gently.
"Now will ye get on with it?" he grumbled, "I wish to finally be able to rest…"
"Very well," Grumpy agreed. "Doc?"
The dwarf raised the knife over his head and began the downward arc that would sever the head from the spine. The mob watched in silence as the quiet little man proceed to kill the beast they felt had terrorized them for far too long.
"Wait, STOP!" a feminine voice shouted from the gathered onlookers, a small cloaked figure darting out of the crowd and crashing into the executioner. The two flew off the raised dais, and the blade he had held clattered to the floor.
Gasp began flying as speculations of who this new person could be, for who would willingly save the Dark One?
"Who are you?" Queen Snow demanded as gathered guards brought the interloper before the King and Queen.
The navy colored hood was wrenched back to show a woman with striking blue eyes and long brown hair that tumbled down her back in waves. She wore travel and service worn clothing, but made of obviously good fabric.
"My name is Belle, formerly of Avonlea!" she shouted in answer, her voice carrying over the den of the crowd. "I cannot let you kill this man!"
"Belle?" James asked curiously, pausing to think a moment. "Sir Maurice's only daughter, Belle?"
"Yes," she told them, ignoring the new mutters coursing through the crowd.
"But we were told you were taken as a prisoner to the Dark One," Snow interjected. "If he is killed, wouldn't you be free?"
The woman smiled sadly and shook her head.
"I have not been Rumpelstiltskin's prisoner in a long time. I voluntarily went with him to save my people from the Ogres, and became the caretaker for his castle. Over time…" she trailed off and looked toward the man in question.
"We fell in love," she finished in a whisper everyone heard.
"That is impossible!" the Blue Fairy called out, flying beside her. "The Dark One is incapable of love!"
"That's what ye thing Dearie," the spinner called to her, fighting against his capture to raise his head and looked the fairy in the eye.
"That can't be true," Snow called out, looking between the two prisoners. "Surely you're just putting misplaced feelings on your capture."
"No, what we have is true love," the girl assured the queen, "and I can prove it with one kiss."
The two monarchs looked at each other in confusion. They knew the power of true love, for it had brought them together more times than they could count. True love was the most powerful magic in existence, the one thing that could break any curse.
"You can't truly love this… thing!" the Blue Fairy shouted in disbelief, gesturing to the imp.
Belle smiled sadly again and nodded.
"He does look a fright when you look at him in a glance, but once you get past the gruesome exterior… he's one of the gentlest souls you can ever meet. I found that out, and I fell in love," she told her listeners.
"That's all well and good," one peasant shouted, "but we came here to see the monster's blood run free! Get on with it already!"
More shouts sounded, agreeing with the first.
"Let us see the monster's whore join him in death!" another voice called out, spurning more agreement.
Three of the guardsmen pulled her onto the dais and pushed her down by the one she had tried to save. Grumpy was pushed away, and the dagger was brought forward again as well as an axe.
"Stop!" Snow shouted, standing up to rush to the railing that prevented her from venturing down to the executioners' platform.
"Belle!" the dealmaker said in dread as he fought towards her and struggled to break his shackles. But he was powerless to stop anything that was happening.
"I love you Rumpel," she whispered to him, meeting him halfway as their lips finally met in a kiss.
A pulse of pure magic swept out from them, sweeping over onlookers. Those who could see watched in shock as the Dark Ones' molten green grey skin began to flake apart and fall away. His rat's nest of curls slowly straightened themselves, his claws began to recede, and his large amber eyes shrunk to normal sized brown irises.
Remembering that day so long ago that she had first kissed him, she pressed her lips to his again so that the kiss could work its magic.
The man looked at his love in wonder as new feelings rushed through his body. The magic was slowly slipping away from him he realized before he began to seize up. He stood rigidly, his shackles bursting apart as power began vibrating the air around him. A purple tinted black cloud began to spill from his mouth, flooding above him to everyone's shock. The Dark One's powers were being expelled from his body thanks to True Love's Kiss, the only thing strong enough to break any curse.
The watchers crouched in fear, trying to shield themselves from the spikes of power coming from the dais. They began running, trying to get themselves to the safety they believed distance would give them. Doc was pulled into the shelter of his brothers by Grumpy, and Charming pulled his wife behind him so that he may protect her should a stray shot of the evil energy come their way.
When the dark mist seem to stop, the prisoner looked down at his onetime captive for the first time with his own eyes. They no longer possessed the look of a mad man, or the reptilian quality that had blocked her looking into his soul.
His curse had been broken and he was finally free.
"It can't be," Reul Ghorm whispered in awe, palming her wand. There was no way of telling if he still had any powers.
"What just happen?" Charming demanded, Snow looking on behind him.
"True Love," Nova whispered from her place in the circle, sneaking a look at Grumpy from the corner of her eye, "it's broken his curse."
"So what," Dopey called out in confusion, "we just let them go?"
"Why not?" Grumpy asked, stepping forward. "He did play a part in defeating the Evil Queen, and he is no longer the Dark One…"
"Are you?" he asked suddenly, turning to the man in question.
No sound was heard as they waited for his answer.
"I don't know," the man confessed, reaching for his love. It was much to the surprise of those still gathered that he spoke in a heavily accented brogue instead of the twittering voice they were accustomed too. "I can still feel the flow of power, but it is not what it was before. For the first time in a long time… my thoughts are my own."
"That's good," the king agreed, not sure how to proceed. They had come to end the life of the Dark One, but he had been freed of his curse. They were therefore backed into a corner, for they couldn't let him go but they also couldn't punish him for something he had done while under the influence of dark magic.
"It's alright, yer highness, I understand yer problem," Rumpelstiltskin called up, smiling honestly instead of the maniacal sneer that usually graced his face.
"Do what you must."
"What are you talking about Rum?" Belle demanded, rounding on him.
"Belle, darling, I've done a lot of things in my life. Even if I was under the Dark One's curse, I was still aware of what I was doing. I chose to do a lot of it, and for that I have to punished," he told her gently, dragging her closer to him.
"No!" she said in fear, quickly drawing him into a kiss. "I just got you back, you can't leave me so soon!"
"Sweetheart, it is a'right. It has to be done," he told her, gesturing for one of the dwarves to come and restrain her. He knew something of her meeting with Grumpy and the bond she seem to share with him for it. The small angry man would look after her.
"Lock him up," the King told his guards reluctantly, motioning them forward.
AN: Tell me what you think, because I'm thinking of making a series instead of just a oneshot out of this.