A/N: I owe nothing but the universe. All the characters are someone else's.
The Storybrooke Asylum was a deceptively beautiful building. The gothic style building was made of gray stones and marble. It was a Kirkbride layout, so it was made up of winding halls and endless corridors. Gardens and fountains covered the acreage that surrounded the building, nearly making the residents and their visitors forget the fact that a cemetery was located right beyond the stables.
The inside of the hospital was nearly as beautiful as the outside. The halls had a rustic and almost homey feel to them. Antique furniture was placed under windows and in front of televisions. The patient rooms were as barren as could be expected, but the beds were comfortable and they came with private bathrooms.
The Asylum was once an overpopulated refuge for the criminally insane and the mentally handicapped, but now the halls weren't quite so crowded. It was currently housing about two hundred patients, half of whom were responding to their treatment there quite well.
The owner of the Asylum, Regina Mills, made sure that everything was run smoothly and effectively. She had inherited the hospital from her late husband and was more than happy to take the reigns. Leo was soft and he coddled the patients and the staff at Storybrooke. She made sure that changed the day after his funeral.
About two years after her takeover, Dr. Rumforde Gold the head Psychiatrist of the hospital was ready to quit. More and more he was seeing his patients being tormented by Regina and her staff of aggressive orderlies.
Gold was, by reputation, a very harsh man. He practiced tough love (minus the love) on his patients and he didn't accept weakness as an excuse for them not to improve. He didn't expect results over night. That would make him insane. He just wanted them to strive for a clear outlook on life.
Director Mills on the other hand, saw any resistance from the fragile residents as aggression and she would order harsh punishments such as ice baths or isolation if she deemed fit.
Adelaide, the girl who was so emotionally damaged after her father died in a boating accident that she had convinced herself that she could breath underwater, was locked in an isolation chamber when she said she didn't want to drink her milk.
Ruby, the girl who thought she was part wolf, was issued a straight jacket when she pushed a handsy orderly away when he tried to grope her.
Max, the young man who believed he was raised in the jungle, was chained to his bed for two weeks when he refused to put shoes on.
Gold couldn't help but feel the smallest flare of pity for his patients as they were forced further into insanity by the wicked woman's ways. But not wanting her to know she was getting to him, he simply turned his head and pretended he didn't notice.
"Dr. Gold!" A voice startled him as he made his way down the large staircase that led into the lobby. He turned to see Mary Margaret Blanchard-Regina's stepdaughter and a fellow psychologist-hurrying to catch up with him. "May I speak with you for a moment?"
"Only if you can do it while we walk Dr. Blanchard, I have a very busy schedule." He continued his descent.
"It's about Regina, I think she's up to something." Mary Margaret kept her voice low as she tried to match his brisk pace. For a man with a bad knee, he was a fast mover.
"Welcome to the Ball Game dearie, you're about fifteen years late on that one." Gold spared her a small glance over his shoulder as he approached the front doors. "Do you have a point?"
"Yes!" The dark haired woman huffed with a small glower. "I believe she's keeping something from everybody."
"I believe what you're referring to is her soul. And that, I'm afraid, is long gone." He turned and rested on his cane impatiently.
Mary rolled her eyes, something she found herself doing a lot of when she was in this hospital. "I think she has patients we don't know about!" She whispered sharply, looking around to make sure no one could hear her. "Somewhere in Storybrooke."
That had gotten a little bit of his attention. But Rumforde Gold was a born skeptic, "What makes you think that?"
"When I was going through my patients' charts, I found some that I didn't recognize. There must have been a mix up of some sort." She pulled the files out of her bag and handed them to him. "I have never seen any of these names before!"
Gold sighed as he opened the first file. "Well that could be because this patient is deceased." He said impassively thrusting the chart back into her hand before going to the next one, which he also threw back at her. "And this one too."
"Yes, they're deceased, I know!" Mary growled taking the rest of the files back from him. "But they all died recently, and none of the causes of death are shown!" She pointed out the blank boxes on the death certificates.
"Possibly a clerical error, I mean they're obviously not your charts, someone must have misplaced them before finishing them." He was really beginning to lose interest.
"Well what about this one?" Dr. Blanchard demanded, holding up a chart. "She's still alive, and as of yesterday, he health is rapidly deteriorating, just like the rest of them. Before they died." She could see the man's wheels turning at that one.
"I've never seen this name before." He muttered, flipping through the chart. "She's only eighteen, how has she been here for five years? We don't treat adolescents."
Mary shrugged and gave him a 'That's my point' look. "She's listed as highly aggressive and untreatable. It says that she killed a man when she was twelve and that she was too young for prison."
"Yes I can read doctor, thank you." Gold muttered, as he skimmed the chart. "My god they have her on more medications than I thought anyone could handle."
"More than anyone should handle." Mary corrected. "So will you help me?" Gold looked up in surprise.
"Why would I help you?" He scoffed.
"Because you have just as much access to this building as Regina does." The younger doctor pointed out. "And almost as much power! Please Dr. Gold? I don't want this girl to die because of my lack of status in this damn building.
Rumforde sighed again as he took his scarf off. "I guess I don't need lunch today then." He muttered. "I just need to stop by my office then we can go on your silly little hunt."
"So we know that she wouldn't be on the first, second, or third floor there are too many people there and we would have seen her by now." David Nolan, one of the few kind orderlies in Storybrooke as well as Mary Margaret's fiance said as he rolled a map out across Gold's desk.
Biting back his remarks about not being told that they'd be joined by the young blonde man, Rumforde leaned over his shoulder. "The fourth floor is out of the question, the library and art rooms are frequented quite a bit and the fifth floor is all storage space."
"I still say she's keeping her in a mausoleum or something!" David insisted. "She can't be in the building. We would have seen her!"
"I've never seen Regina go near the mausoleums!" Mary Margaret argued gently.
"How do we know Regina's the one behind this?" Nolan asked.
"Who else would be behind it? The treatment this girl is going through has Regina written all over it! The ice baths, the restraints, and she even cut her nails nearly to the quick! I watched her do that to three patients last week alone."
"We just can't jump to conclusions if we want to be impartial."
"I don't want to be impartial David, I want to find this girl!"
"What about the basement?" Dr. Gold, who had been studying the blueprints while they had their little spat, asked pointing at the area. "Mills doesn't let anyone down there because she claims it's a liability. She even has a padlock on the door."
The couple thought for a moment before they made sense of it. "She did isolate Leroy when he insisted that he had to go down there and dig for fairy dust." Mary Margaret recalled.
"And when the power went out last month, she insisted that she be the one to go down and check the fuse box." David added.
"I'd say it's a good place to start." Rumforde said with a shrug as he headed out of his office without a second glance at them.
"Okay, Regina is meeting with the board and she shouldn't be out for at least an hour." Mary Margaret reported as she met up with them at the basement door, which was located down a hallway towards the back of the lobby. "Ruby said she'd howl if she sees any sign of her." She gestured towards the slender girl who was casually perched on top of the reception desk, her bare feet dangling over the side as she waved at the trio.
"We need to be quick." David said quietly as he pulled a hammer and a crowbar from the duffle bag he'd collected from his car and got to work on breaking the lock. It only took him a few tries before the padlock broke and the door slid open.
Gold took the lead down the stairs, not having the patience to wait any longer for the couples' hesitations and worried looks over their shoulders. "Why are the lights flickering?" He heard Mary ask when they reached a corridor at the bottom of the stairs.
"Must be a faulty circuit." David observed.
Rumforde strained his ears as they made their way further and further into the belly of the basement. He could hear a familiar humming sound as they reached a left turn. "That's no circuit." He stated as he quickened his pace.
"What do you mean?" Mary asked trying to keep up. Gold ignored her and continued to navigate as the humming got louder and louder and turned into a full on buzz.
He turned another corner to see a nurse sitting behind a large desk that almost seemed out of place in the bleak basement. "What are you doing down here?" She demanded, standing from her post.
"I suppose we could as you the same thing!" Gold snarled making his way past the woman who put a hand on his shoulder to stop him.
"You can't go back there!" She growled, attempting to yank him back. But in a swift movement, the metal handle of his can connected with the back of her head and she hit the ground like a sack of potatoes.
"Let's go." He called back to the shocked duo behind him as he all but sprinted down the hall. He knew the sounds that filled the hair as he got closer and closer to their destination. He didn't want to wait a minute longer to find out what was going on.
They finally reached a metal door at the end of the hall. He looked through the slat in the door to see two men on either side of a bed that held a small girl in it. The girl was writhing and making muffled screams around the white rag that was shoved between her teeth. Around her head was a leather strap that held a cone to each of her temples.
"My god is that-?" Gold heard David stammering as he threw the door open and charged into the room.
"What is the meaning of this?" He yelled going over to a switch on the wall and pulling the lever until the buzzing stopped.
"Director Mills orders." One of the men, Dr. Whale informed him without an ounce of regret in his voice. "This girl is certifiably insane."
"No shit! This is a damn Insane Asylum!" Rumforde all but shouted as he stormed over to the bed and began removing the bindings from the girls ankles. He could see her bones sticking out beneath her pale skin. She was as thin as some of the anorexics who resided on the third floor. Her dark hair was limp and as malnourished as the rest of her, and though her eyes were closed, he could see that they were sunken in. "How often has she been getting this treatment?" He demanded rubbing some warmth into her cold hands after he unbound them.
"Once, maybe twice a week for the past two years." The other man, one he didn't recognize replied. His voice held a little bit more guilt than his partner's.
"What?" Mary gasped from the doorway. "You mean to say she's had this done over a hundred a times?"
"208 times to be exact." Whale seemed almost proud of the number. "She's a stubborn one."
"She's a lucky one!" The woman corrected him. "No one should have survived this sort of treatment! What were you thinking?"
"Director Mills said to continue it until she admits guilt." The other doctor explained. "She hasn't said a word since she got here."
Not wanting to hear anymore, Rumforde reached down and picked the frail girl up into his arms. Seeing him falter a bit on his bad knee, David went to help but the older man shook his head. "I suggest you see to your friend out here." He gestured to the hallway, "She seems to have taken a nasty bump to the head."
As they approached the stairs that led back up to the lobby, they could hear Ruby's persistent howl echoing down the stone steps. "Regina must be out of her meeting." Mary observed nervously.
"Perfect timing." Gold seethed shifting the girl in his arms as he reached the door and stepped into the lobby.
There were quite a few patients out given that it was the free hour before dinner started. All of them turned to stare at the group that emerged from the depths of the asylum. In the middle of the crowd, stood director Mills, whose hand was wrapped around a breathless Ruby's thin arm.
"Well, well, well." She sneered with a wicked half-smile. "What have we here?"
A/N: Any reviews and feedback would be greatly appreciated.