In the Land of Love and Gold

The Dark One

Rumple bounced around the road in the carriage. Charles was trying his best to avoid the rocks and pot holes, but the road was a tricky one. And it was not meant for carriages. The forest was dark and it made the spinner shiver. He could almost feel the presence of evil. No sunlight penetrated through the thick canopy of the forest. With a sudden jerking motion the carriage stopped. The horses neighed and stamped the ground in terror. Charles was calling to them to calm down. Rumple opened the door to the carriage. Charles looked back at him with a sympathetic glance.

"They won't go any farther." Rumple nodded. He could feel his heart beating wildly in his chest. Something moved in the trees off in the distance and the horses neighed and whinnied. "Best of luck to you, mate." Rumple got out of the carriage. He held his walking stick with a death grip. No birds chirped and there wasn't even wind in the forest. "Do you need me to wait here?" Rumple shook his head. Charles nodded and turned the carriage around, leaving Rumple in Sherwood Forest. Alone. He walked with shaky knees through the path. He counted the steps until he reached five hundred and thirty. He turned right. He was panting heavily from fear and exhaustion. His leg hurt from the extensive use. Avoiding crags, pot holes, narrow pathways, and large rocks was taking its toll on his leg.

He could only hear his heart racing in his ears. He berated himself for being so afraid. He looked around for a specific tree. It had two trees growing from the trunk. He continued to walk for some time. He began to wonder if he had been wrong. Something flew over head and Rumple ducked. The raven croaked and soon a murder rose from the trees into the sky. Rumple gasped and stopped. The tree with two trees coming from its trunk was just ahead. Rumple saw something at the corner of his eye and he looked over. There was a figure, in a long black cloak. He wondered if that's what Death looked like. Had it come for him already? Rumple hurried to the tree. When he looked back to see the figure he was terrified to find it gone. By the time he reached the tree he was out of breath and uncontrollably shaking. He felt along the tree, he would knock occasionally on the wood. Finally he hit a spot that was hollow. Rumple picked up his walking stick and hit the hollow area with all the strength he could muster. A hole appeared when Rumple swung back to hit it again. He reached in and pulled the bark away. By the time he could reach his hand in his knuckles and finger tips bled from the exertion.

Rumple reached his hand in and felt around. There was something wrapped in cloth. He grabbed it with his shaky hand. He pulled it out of the hole and the cloth wrap. Inside was a jagged dagger. It seemed to sparkle even in the dark forest. He flipped it over and saw intricate designs up and down the blade. Within the designs was a name. Zoso. Rumple heard a branch snap behind him. He held his walking stick out and whipped around. There was no one there. Rumple took deep breaths, but he still couldn't calm himself down. He looked at the blade again and held it up.

"I call the Dark One, Zoso." Rumple said as loud as he could muster. He looked around, but no one was there. He cleared his throat and went to try again when he saw something move behind him. He whipped around, holding the dagger out in a threatening manner. His shaking hands defeated the purpose of being intimidating. The figure was in a long black cloak, with his face shrouded in darkness.

"This is the coward who called me?" His voice was deep and threatening. Rumple gulped and tried his best attempt at sneering, but it looked more like a grimace. The Dark One began to circle Rumple. Sizing him up. Rumple followed him with his eyes, whipping his head to make sure his eyes were trained on the evil creature at all times. "You think you can control me?" His voice was dangerously close to Rumple's ear. "You can barely walk." He spat and Rumple resisted the urge to whimper or cower. "Who are you doing this for?" The Dark One stopped in front of Rumple. He towered over Rumple. "That bastard child you call a daughter, or the women who doesn't love you." The Dark One laughed. The sound hurt Rumpelstiltskin's ears. The forest was quiet expect for the Dark One's menacing laughter. "That beauty could never love a cripple." He snapped, completely stopped laughing. "How do you know that your daughter is even yours?" Rumple felt fire run through his veins and anger bubble up to the surface. He didn't know how the Dark One knew all this, but he didn't care.

Rumple yelled and charged the Dark One. He stabbed the Dark One in the stomach. The Dark One's hood fell back and the face of the beggar looked back at Rumple. Rumple's face paled. He could feel blood pouring out of the wound, dripping onto the forest floor. His hand was covered in the sticky substance, but when he removed the blade it was clean. The Dark One laughed manically.

"Enjoy your courage, Rumpelstiltskin!" He fell to the floor. He continued to laugh until blood bubbled up, choking him. Rumple dropped the blade, falling to the ground. He scrambled back in terror. His heart was in his throat and was panting heavily. The leaves swayed as a light breeze picked up and a ray of sun landed on the blade. Where the intricate design once held the name Zoso, now the spinner's name was carved into the blade. Rumple felt magic coursing through his veins and an intense rush of memories flood him. It felt like he was physically hit. His head hurt so much that he was knocked unconscious.

xXx

It was sometime later that Rumple woke up, groaning. He rolled over in the dirt, the memory of what happened appeared at the forefront of his mind. He got up, looking for his walking stick. He couldn't find it. He also couldn't find Zoso's body. The only thing that was still there was the dagger. Rumple crawled forward and grabbed the dagger. His name was intricately written on the blade. Rumple shook it as if that would erase his name. Rumple felt something gnawing at the back of his mind. He wasn't sure what it was, but it was dark and foreboding. He ignored that for now. He got up, realizing that his leg no longer hurt. He looked down and rolled up his pant leg. The scarred leg was healed and undamaged. Rumple gasped and put the pant leg back down. Rumple held onto the dagger with a vice like grip. He began to walk out of the forest.

xXx

Charles had come back to the castle with an empty carriage. Belle ran out to greet Rumple, but he was nowhere to be found. Charles jumped down from the driver's seat and Belle pushed him up against the wall. "Where is Rumpelstiltskin?" Charles coughed and gagged as she nearly choked him.

"He stayed." He managed out. Belle pressed harder on his throat. Frankie and Benjy grabbed Belle and pulled her off of Charles. Charles coughed and sputtered, hunching over. Belle fought to get out of their grip, but they wouldn't let her go.

"Princess." Benjy tried calming down his princess. She was furious. She was glaring daggers at Charles.

"I'm sorry, Princess. The horses couldn't go any further, but he continued. He told me to leave." Charles croaked. Belle bristled.

"Where is he?" Charles took deep breaths. Belle lunged to get him to talk, but Frankie grabbed her around her waist and picked her up. She kicked and screamed, but he wouldn't let her go. He carried her away. Benjy consoled the scared carriage driver. Frankie didn't let her go until she was in her room. Where he then unceremoniously threw her on her bed and hurried to the door. Belle scrambled off the bed, running to the door, but it was too late. Frankie locked the door from the outside. Belle banged on the door with her fists. She began to cry. She lost her fight and she slid down the door onto her knees. She screamed in anguish, hoping somebody would come help her. She no doubt knew that both her guards were at her door, restricting anyone from coming in. She fell to the ground, curled in the fetal position, too exhausted to even sit up. Silent tears flowed freely from her eyes. She heard the sound of someone running and talking outside her door.

"Let me see her!" Jefferson demanded. The guards didn't move. Jefferson knew he wouldn't get in there if he was the Dark One himself. He sighed heavily. "Belle!" He yelled. He heard a hiccupped sob. "Belle, tell me what happened?" Belle gasped and he could hear her sobbing increase. He clenched his fists at her guards. "Belle!" She didn't respond, but he could hear her crying. He sat down on the wall outside her door. He stayed there, watching the door.

xXx

Rumple climbed up the steps of the castle. The wind picked up and blew around at dangerous speeds. Rumple wasn't used to the feeling of magic coursing through his veins. He went to push open the door to the castle and both doors opened with a loud bang before he could even put his hand on it. He walked to Belle's room where he saw Jefferson sleeping against the wall opposite of her door. Frankie and Benjy looked over. They moved aside and Jefferson stirred. He blinked a few times, but when he saw Rumple he shot up and hugged the man. Jefferson let go and motioned to Belle's room. Rumple gently pushed open the door, only to find resistance. He poked his head in and saw Belle curled up on the floor. He slipped in and shut the door. Frankie and Benjy moved close together again before Jefferson could walk in. He groaned and walked back to his spot on the wall. Rumple reached down and grabbed Belle. He held her bridal style. He walked over to her bed and lay her down. She mumbled, moving around. He ran a hand along the side of her face. She fluttered her eyes open.

When her brain registered who it was she jumped forward and tackled him in a hug. He fell to the floor, taking her with him. She was crying. She sobbed into his chest. He shushed her. She leaned up and began placing kisses all over his face. When she got to his lips he could taste her tears. She poured all her worry and sadness into the kiss. He rubbed his hands up and down her back. She broke away to catch her breath. She stared at him for a moment, willing herself to stop crying. When she gained her bearings she smacked his chest a few times. Hard.

"Belle." She continued to hit him. "Belle!" A candle off to the side combusted in flames. They both looked over. Belle looked back at him in awe. He stared at the candle until it was extinguished.

"Did?" Rumple looked at her. He blushed. She noticed their position and moved to get off of him, worrying about his leg. He held her close though, shaking his head. He dragged her with him as he leaned up into a sitting position. He rolled up his pant leg. She looked down. She had only seen his damaged leg once, when he was healing. What she remembered was no longer there. She began to cry tears of joy. She looked back at him and kissed him passionately. He eagerly reciprocated. She ran her hands along his sides, slipping underneath his shirt. He groaned and bucked his hips. She cried out softly, stifling her moans. She knew that Jefferson and her guards were directly outside the room. Her hands trailed down his chest and he arched his back into her. She reached down to the hem of his pants.

She dipped her fingers beneath her and something sharp pricked the tip of her finger. She hissed and pulled her hands out. His eyes shot open and she held her finger. A small droplet of blood dripped down her finger. She looked at Rumple and his eyes had changed. His pupils were too big for his iris and black like a night with no stars, but they sparkled as though they were lined with gold. He blinked and they were back to normal. He reached up and grabbed her finger. He reached into his pants and pulled out the Kris dagger. She stared at it in wonder.

"What's that?" He put it in her hand. He put her hand over her chest, where her heart was. He put his hands over hers.

"It's the source of my power." He moved, so her could look into her eyes without hurting his neck. He put his forehead to hers. "You have to put it somewhere no one will ever find it." He kissed her softly. "Do you understand?" His lips were brushing hers, making her shiver with each letter he said. She closed her eyes and nodded. He kissed her hard and she whimpered at the intensity, but reciprocated none the less. She put her free hand on his chest and pushed him back gently. She stood up off of him and his hands lingered on her legs as she walked away. He watched her as she strode to the fireplace. The fire was out, given that no maids had probably been in to light it. She reached up into the chimney. She ran her fingers along the seams before she felt the familiar crack. She pulled out the brick and put the dagger inside.

She put the brick back, patting her hands of the soot. She turned to him and suddenly felt shy under his intense gaze. He sensed her discomfort and softened his expression. He stood up and walked over to her. She couldn't help but stare at him as he approached her for the first time without a limp. He took her hands into his and kissed the tops of them. "You should get to bed." She squeezed his hands tighter.

"Don't go." He bowed slightly with a smirk. For a second his skin shimmer, like it was made of glitter. It had a greenish hue to it. Belle watched in fascination as it returned back to normal. She blamed it on lack of sleep. "L-let me get changed and I'll have someone send you up some night clothes." He stopped her.

"There's no need." She tilted her head in question. "I sleep nude." She blushed, hiding her smile. She hurried to step behind the screen and change into her night clothes. He stepped closer and she heard him. "Do you need any help, Princess?" He sounded smug. She chuckled.

"What's gotten into you?' She asked, poking her head around the screen, seeing he was closer than she thought. He looked away as though he had nothing to do with being almost two meters from her screen and half naked body.

"Maybe being in the presence of a beautiful woman has loosened my tongue." She blushed and finished dressing. When she stepped from around the screen she saw that he had taken off most of his clothes, save for a thin shift and underpants. He was also sitting on the side of the bed, facing the veranda. He looked distant and tired. She walked up to him, slipping her arm through his and putting her head on his shoulder. He looked down at her, focusing on the present. He gave her a small smile. He wrapped her in his arms and dragged her back to the head board of the bed. She chuckled and held onto him. She lay, curled up in his lap. The stress of the day wearing on her. She closed her eyes and soon was lulled to sleep by the steady beating of Rumple's heart.


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