Later that same year
In the snowy peaks of the Forbidden Mountains, lay nestled the ‘large estate’ of the Dark One, Rumpelstiltskin.
Said Dark One was leading a very beautiful young woman, through the halls of the Dark Castle.
The young woman’s name was Belle
The Dark Castle was to be her new home.
“W-where are you taking me?” she asked Rumpelstiltskin nervously as she tried to keep up looking around the large dining hall
Trying to keep back a snicker, Rumpelstiltskin turned to her.
“Let’s call it… your room” he said, his high pitched giggle reverberating off of the walls of the castle.
Further down the hall they went, until they reached a stone spiral staircase that led to the dungeon.
Rumpelstiltskin had opened the door with seemingly no effort at all.
“M-my room?!” Belle shrieked. How could he do this to her? He had seemed so…kind when at her home.
Never judge a book by its cover, my dear… the voice cackled.
You wouldn’t! Rumpelstiltskin hissed
Watch me! The Dark One chuckled.
“Well it sounds a lot nicer than dungeon” with that, the imp shoved her into the cell, and locked the door, giggling triumphantly to himself.
Now, where had he put that sheaf of straw?
As time passed, a certain she wolf was growing more and more impatient.
True she was a wolf female, but, she was in fact, human.
Therefore, the birthing took six months instead of six weeks 1
Hungrily she paced, watching the Hunter as he hunted, Laser beside him.
Traitor she growled. Laser was always softhearted, but she never took him to be soft headed as well.
Then again, in the predicament she was in, she needed some sympathy.
The night she had returned from her rendezvous, her pack surrounded her, reacquainting themselves.
It was Father who said it.
"You have brought shame upon us all! Not to mention danger! To mate with the Dark One of all man or beast?! How could you be so selfish?! From this point onward you are banished from this pack! Be gone!”
Never had she wailed so long and mournfully.
To lose her family over him?!
How she longed to tear at her womb with her jaws…
But no… the child must live, then
She thought with a grin.
She would teach her, later to seek revenge.
For now, the pup must fend for itself and find its way into the world….
Just three and a half months to go…
Belle lay in her prison cell, cold, tired, hungry, scared alone…
The list went on and on…
How in the world was she going to make it for eternity like this?
Having nothing else to do, she cried.
And cried some more…
The door was suddenly swung open.
“You know, when I brought you here to my home, I was hoping that I wouldn’t attract so much attention, dearie” growled the Dark One.
Mmph Rumpelstiltskin groaned, even he was beginning to feel a headache.
“Well I wouldn’t be crying and so cold if you acted more like a gentleman, you… Beast” Belle growled.
That’s it! The dark one growled.
Gently… gently… Rumple pleaded, more for her sake than his own.
All he wanted was to find Bae, and do it in one piece… no matter what happened to this girl, his chances of finding his son were all that mattered to him…
Beware, weakling that you do not get too close! The voice hissed in his head.
You remember what happened last time with Cora, don’t you?
It chuckled as Rumpelstiltskin whimpered to himself.
And let’s not forget about dear Milah… it chuckled.
Milah had not been his first choice for a bride, but she had been the only single choice back then.
During the beginning of their life together, they were somewhat happy; he did the best he could to provide her with a home of her own and care and protection.
She likewise had offered support in overcoming his ridicule, labeled as son of the village coward.
It was this support that had led to his signing up for the Ogres War.
Milah had blanched when she heard of it. Overcoming his fear of people did not vanquish by putting one’s life in mortal danger…
But be that as it may… What was done, was done.
Unfortunately for her though, she had been feeling quite ill, and did not tell her poor misguided husband her secret…
Little did she know he would find out all on his own…
When the captain said his wife was dead, of course it broke his heart.
He had loved her, in his own way, trying desperately to show it; however, his feeble attempts at loving her diminished greatly after returning home from the war.
Wasn’t that what she had wanted?
Him, home, Alive?
Apparently not, for even after Bae was born and a youngling of five, Milah would often leave him alone in their hovel by himself, while she went and sought after drink and… pleasures.
Then came the day when he’d nearly had a heart attack, his neighbor coming to tell him that Milah was gone, kidnapped by pirates.
After he had lost the duel to Captain Killian Jones, his dignity and pride were lost too.
Years passed, and as Bae got older, and his bravery greater, Rumpelstiltskin’s fear increased.
He couldn’t lose his boy to the Ogres War… he couldn’t!
He’d seen the devastation his friend Harrison had suffered, he being the greatest sword master of all the kingdoms!
Bae would not fight in the war just to die.
Rumpelstiltskin would see to that…
Later, while still on a quest to find his son, Rumpelstiltskin got a tad…sidetracked, if you will.
He loved the power that the knife had infused him with; it eased his pain and suffering over the true loss of Baelfire.
He had made his son a promise… promises were meant to be kept, his father had told him…
Rumpelstiltskin shook his head in disgust. He had been no better than his own father, turning back on the promise he made to his son.
All for what cost? Magic? A knife?
Then he met her…
She was a miller’s daughter, eloquent, tough, witty, and charming… not to mention beautiful, which at the time was more than he could say for Milah.
She was also poor. As poor as he had once been.
So, with his heart broken, and his mind itching to make a deal...he took the fatal leap and fell in love with her.
As she with him, or so he thought at first…
She had played him like a violin to get what she was after.
What was more, she had turned the tables on him, amending their contract.
In the end, she had won her prince charming, while he got drunk.
That very night he met the siren that would change his life forever.
You see now the reason this chit of a girl must go… your taste in women is pathetic! Think of them: Cold, calculating, vindictive, spiteful witches! What makes you think this one would be any different?
Rumpelstiltskin viciously shut off the inner evil voice in his head. Surely Belle was different… surely the light he saw in her could take away the dark evil dream away…?
He hadn’t meant to scare her as he yelled at her; but he had lost his patience!
That foolhardy little snip had gone and freed a thief… a THIEF in HIS CASTLE!
What’s more was the thief had stolen a valuable wand.
The wand meant nothing to the spinner, but the dark one was furious.
So, short of harming the girl, Rumpelstiltskin yelled.
This was HER fault and SHE was going to fix the mess she made!
All the while, Belle was trying to reason with him, to his kind and gentle nature, who surely must be within him…
Of course, that’s why she wasn’t dead herself…
But there must be a good reason why Robin Hood had taken the wand!
Belle followed Rumpelstiltskin, dreading the unknown. She hoped she was right about the thief.
Belle gulped. Her life was depending on it.
Rumpelstiltskin and Belle were riding in the imp's carriage, as Belle tried to search for the good man within the imp.
The man on the other hand was scared.
Scared of emotion, scared of vulnerability, scared of being found out, that he'd fallen head over heels for the girl when he first set his eyes on her...
So, to keep himself safe, cowardly spinner Rumpelstiltskin allowed the power to rush through his veins...and hide.
They had reached the fork in the road, and the entrance to Nottingham Forest.
That’s when they met him.
The sheriff of Nottingham was not only drunk, he was a drunken fool; especially when he tried to make a deal for Belle.
“I’ll tell you where Robin Hood is, in exchange for an hour with your wench”
Belle was speechless, turning red by the second. The imp could feel her embarrassment.
Rumpelstiltskin however, was livid. Despite his earlier notions of hiding from Belle, that didn't mean he'd toss her to the wolves!
Why even he, who he was without the knife was undeserving of a beautiful, brave, foolish, kind Princess such as Belle!
“How do I say this nicely…” he said, trying not to growl and choke the man with magic.
“She’s. not. for. sale”
The man scoffed, surely imp was joking. How could one woman mean more to him than a powerful magical wand?
“Five minutes?” he said, pitifully, realizing that the imp would not take kindly to demands...
A giggle, then *poof* a puff of black smoke, where the grey tongue rested in his hand.
“I’m assuming you want this back” Rumpelstiltskin grinned.
The man was moaning, unable to speak.
“Then tell me where Robin Hood is, or you die where ye stand” growled the imp.
The sheriff continued to groan. Belle turned her head, still embarrassed.
"I'll take it as a yes, then" the imp smirked, waving his hand again.
The sheriff relieved to have his tongue back, told him where Robin Hood was quickly getting on his horse and riding away.
“Good riddance” Rumpelstiltskin growled.
He and Belle soon found Robin Hood waiting for something by a tree.
Rumpelstiltskin readied the bow for the fatal kill.
“You can’t do this!” Belle cried.
“I can and I will, dearie…” he flicked his hand and soon, Belle was struggling underneath the ground.
She scowled at her master. All of this was completely unnecessary!
Soon the two noticed a carriage ride up and Robin Hood quickly rush over to the bedridden woman who was coughing.
Belle gasped in surprise. “That woman is sick! That must be why he stole the wand! He needed it to heal her!”
“Must be the woman he stole from the sheriff” he scowled. “No matter… they’ll soon find out what happens when you try to steal from Rumpelstiltskin!”
“No!” Belle shrieked, “I was right about him and I’m right about you”
They watched as Robin Hood helped the young woman off of the carriage.
“She’s pregnant!” Belle urged, realizing that the imp was dangerously close to letting go of the arrow.
“Please…” she said, trying to reason with him…. The good, part of the man who was watching the scene for himself, remembering the vision of Milah holding their son Baelfire so long ago.
Being in the war, he had not witnessed her grow or give birth… he felt a flutter in his stomach…
“You’re not the type of man to leave a child fatherless”
He gasped, not daring to look at her. He knew she was right… but…
He let the arrow fly despite Belle’s shriek of protest.
Rumpelstiltskin lifted his hand, and Belle stood next to him, confused.
“Go back to the carriage, dearie” he said softly, trying to ignore the sensitive warming of his face.
“Our work here is done”
“What happened?” she asked.
“I missed” he muttered.
Belle looked at him with disbelief. “That bow has magic in it… it never misses its target.”
“Well, perhaps the magic simply wore…” he turned, not expecting her to be standing in his personal space. He felt a weird flipping in his abdomen. “…off”
He was startled to say the least, just gazing at her like this even for a moment took his breath away.
“You’re not who I thought you were. And I’m glad” she smiled.
Then, even before he could come to his senses, Belle did something completely unexpected.
She hugged him. Him! Rumpelstiltskin!
“Aren’t you coming?” Belle asked, an eyebrow raised as she watched the imp carefully.
The imp smirked, suddenly shy.
What am I doing? He thought. I have to find my boy…
He turned, gathering the quiver and the bow, not able to help as a small, genuine smile came to his lips.