Author’s Note: This is written with great respect, love and gratitude for the talents of Robert Carlyle, Emilie de Ravin, and everyone involved in of Once Upon A Time. I do not own these characters, nor do I own the songs mentioned in this story. Some violence in this chapter.
Across from Gold’s Pawn Shop stands Günther, who is repulsed seeing Izzy-B kiss Mr. Gold as she leaves. He is broken from his thoughts by a female voice.
Regina purrs, “What does she see in him, when she could have you?”
Günther smiles lasciviously, “Good afternoon, Mayor Mills.”
Regina says, “Long time no see, Günther. I haven’t seen you much since your high school days. You cut quite the striking figure on the football team. I remember Izzy-B was quite the team supporter in those days. You had her, right? Everyone on the team did.”
Günther stares at her, “Uh?”, and then as if retrieving a long forgotten memory, he recalls Izzy-B’s reputation and fumes thinking, “She was giving away free samples, but the tramp didn’t give me a taste!”
Regina’s eyes gleam wickedly at his expression, and she says, “You know Günther, you’d be doing Izzy-B a huge favor by reminding her what she’s missing out on. After all, a real man takes what he wants, and if you stick with me, I can give you the keys to the kingdom.”
Looking at her vapidly, Günther asks, “What kingdom?”
Infuriated Regina growls, “Oh just come with me!”
A few days later, at Storybrooke Printing, Izzy-B is in the front office, when Clarice enters from the press room, “Jim’s got it.”
Izzy-B says, “You told him to go home, right?”
Clarice nods tiredly, “Yep, but our numbers are dwindling. Everybody has this flu.”
“Thankfully, it’s Friday and it’s almost time to close up shop. Half of the staff have called in…which is just as well, because all my appointments have canceled. How’s Jeremy holding up?”
Clarice responds, “I checked on him at lunch…and well, the bigger they are the harder they fall.”
The front door chimes as someone enters, and Izzy-B and Clarice look at each other aghast. Izzy-B says, “Oh no, you too!”
Rumplestiltskin with tired, darkened eyes and his face looking a bit puffy says with a raspy, “What are you going on about dear?”
Izzy-B chastises, “You’ve got it…you’ve got the flu! You should be home; not spreading it all around town.”
He scoffs unconvincingly “Don’t be ridiculous. It’s probably just allergies, he says, though he has never had allergies.”
Izzy-B says, “We’ve already had a frost. It’s not allergies.”
Clarice says, “Take him. I’ll lock up.”
For twenty-eight years, plus most of three centuries before that time, Rumplestiltskin had gone through life without so much a sniffle, now he has the flu, not that he is willing to admit it. Though Izzy-B does not like him driving in his condition, it is not far to his house. Thus, he drives his Cadillac home and she follows in her Saturn, noting his wobbly steering.
Izzy-B exits her car in just in time to rush over to him, as he unexpectedly empties the contents of his stomach into the bushes, as she holds him by the waist and strokes his back. Rumplestiltskin loathes feeling weak and currently he feels as though someone dragged him behind a car, and yet Belle’s loving attention soothes him in a way for which he has ached for decades.
Izzy-B gets him up to his room, and while he changes into pajamas, she makes him some chicken broth made with bouillon cubes. Thankfully, she had the good sense earlier in the day to get a couple of cans of ginger ale out of the company soda machine. After having some of the broth and ginger ale, as well as taking some medicine for his fever, he looks at her blurry eyed as she applies a cool compress to his head and rakes her fingers through his hair.
Somewhat ruefully, Rumplestiltskin says, “It figures…I finally get you in my bed, and I’m too sick to do anything about it.”
Smiling softly, she teases, “If you’re a good boy, put on a puppet show using your socks.”
Reaching up to stroke her face, he feels the heat radiating off of her, and says, “Uh Belle darling, I think you have it too.”
Annoyed she says, “No, I don’t. Don’t even put that into the universe. I’m fine.”
He smirks at the realization that he and Izzy-B are so much alike that it’s amazing that they do not strangle each other at times. With his arms and legs feeling like lead and his throat feeling as though he unsuccessfully tried to swallow a pine cone, he decides not to argue the point and focus on Belle’s touch. He drifts off to sleep.
When he awakes, Rumplestiltskin looks towards the window and observes it now is nighttime. He also discovers Belle asleep and shivering next to him. He quietly grabs his cane, pulls Izzy-B’s cell phone from her purse and walks out into the hallway shutting the door. Searching through her phone directory, he dials.
Clarice answers, “Hey Izzy-B, How’s the grumble pup holding up?”
Rumplestiltskin says in a raspy voice, “The aforementioned grumble pup is calling. Belle’s been bit by the bug.”
Mildly embarrassed, Clarice says, “Oh sorry, Mr. Gold. What do you need?”
Rumplestiltskin says, “No matter, dear. The reason for this conversation is I recall Belle saying you have a key to her house. Is that still the case?”
Catching on to his train of thought, “You need me to get her things and feed the dogs?”
He replies, “Actually, please grab some things she’ll want, and the dogs with whatever they need. I’m not sure how long this viral siege will last, and I don’t want her worrying them alone at her house.”
Clarice smiles and says, “Got it. You’re a good boyfriend, Mr. Gold. I’ll be over in about a half hour.”
Rumplestiltskin smirks, replying, “Thank you for the accolade. I’ll get the door when you arrive, so that Belle can sleep.”
After Clarice brought Belle’s things and the dogs, Rumplestiltskin arranges a place for Diva and Moon Dancer to settle in the sitting room, not wanting to start the habit of having them in the bedroom, given Moon Dancer’s belief that Belle is his wife. The overgrown ball of gray fur behaves sweetly and obediently, yet with his ears down, he is still clearly unsure about the new man in Belle’s life. Diva, however, regularly paws Rumplestiltskin, making it clear that if he ever tired of Belle, she would be the next in line.
Hours later, as Rumplestiltskin lies in a flu-induced stupor next to Belle, he hears her crying in her sleep. Nudging her shoulders gently he says, “Belle, sweetheart, it’s okay. Waken up.”
As she pulls out of her dream state, she whimpers, “Reimund”. Rumplestiltskin immediately recognizes the name of the little boy from Gold’s dream…his own name in a past life. Izzy-B wakes, looking at Rumplestiltskin with grief emblazoned across her crystalline blue eyes.
Gripping his arms almost painfully tight, she cries, “It’s just not right! He died…Reimund died!”
He pulls her close, rubbing her back that is damp with sweat saying, “I know, darling, I know.” Rumplestiltskin does know that loss of love…he felt it as Reimund, leaving Lucienne behind…he felt it in the despair of losing Baelfire to another realm and in soul crushing misery of Angela’s death…it nearly killed him when McKenna left him alone in the world…the injustice of it mocked him as he watched Gabrielle die, having missed his chance…and was a razor in his heart as death almost claimed Belle after the violent acts of the clerics. He holds Izzy-B, his Belle, tightly as she breaths rapidly, shaking and sobbing.
As her breathing slows, Izzy-B pulls back embarrassed, saying, “I’m sorry. It’s just a dream…I know, but it tears me apart every time.”
As he wipes the tears from her face, he confesses, “Belle, I don’t think it was just a dream. I’ve had the same dream of Reimund and Lucienne being children in love and Reimund dieing in a fire.”
Slack jawed she stares at him trying to process this information, and asks “How?”
Earnestly, he says, “I think they were us. I know it sounds crazy, but I think in a manner of speaking, we are the reincarnation of Reimund and Lucienne.” opting not to mention McKenna and Gabrielle at this time to avoid overloading her senses.
She stares at him for a moment and says in a voice tinged with awe, “I don’t think it’s crazy. I’ve always felt like I already knew you…and this dream comes regularly. Heck, I even at a variation of it, when I stayed here that night…the story I was writing in that dream was about Reimund and Lucienne.”
Suddenly, looking at the clock on the nightstand, Izzy-B gasps, “Oh God! Moonie and Diva!”
Hushing her, he says, “Shhh…it’s okay. They’re downstairs. I had Clarice bring them.”
Looking at him with unbridled adoration, she says, “You did? Oh my God, you’re wonderful!”
He smirks saying, “Don’t be too impressed. I’m not letting Moonie up here to horn in on my time with you…even if he does think, he has husbandly rights.”
Exhausted from the burst of emotion in addition to the fatigue of the flu, they settle back in bed and doze off.
By Monday, Izzy-B and Rumplestiltskin are well again, and she and the dogs are back at her house. Wednesday, Rumplestiltskin joins Izzy-B at the Rabbit’s Hole while her band plays during Happy Hour. After which, they have dinner at his house.
Earlier that evening, Günther enters Izzy-B’s house, using one of Regina’s skeleton keys. Diva and Moon Dancer bark frantically from the baby-gated mudroom adjacent to the kitchen. As Günther rifles through Izzy-B’s refrigerator, he yells, “Shut up, ya damn mutts!” Later walking through the house with his sandwich in hand, he goes into Izzy-B’s bedroom, noticing a clothes basket with her delicates. He picks up a pair of fuchsia silk panties, licking his lips and stuffs them into his pocket, as he lies on her bed to wait.
After dinner and a make out session in which she blurted out ‘Rumple’ twice, much to her embarrassment and his enjoyment, Izzy-B drives home in her Saturn, followed by Rumplestiltskin’s Cadillac. With his hazard lights on, Rumplestiltskin waits for Izzy-B to unlock the door and enter. He muses about her little outbursts using his Enchanted Forest name and wonders how long it will be until she remembers their life together in full.
Izzy-B, walking up the porch steps, feels a sense of giddiness thinking about her evening with Randall. She hums the song “The Story”, which she is learning to play, in order to sing it to Randall. Though it feels like her words often fail her when she wants to tell him how much she loves him, for her, music is the great communication tool. She hopes that once he hears the song he will understand how much she adores him.
As she turns on her mini-flashlight to find the key to the door, she notices dried muddy footprints on the porch, initially thinking someone just came to her door while she was away, her heart skips as she notices that one of the prints is partly visible from under the door, deducing that the rest of the print is on the other side.
Rumplestiltskin observes Belle’s body stiffen and back away from the door. He hurriedly pulls into her driveway. As he quickly exits the car, Izzy-B runs to him saying in an excited whisper, “Someone’s in my house!”
Determinedly, he says, “Stay here. I’m going in.”
Agitatedly, she replies, “Like Hell! I’m going with you!” as she is right on his heels.
Rumplestiltskin finds himself wishing that he had brought his gun or better yet, had magic to annihilate the interloper. He turns the doorknob, but it is locked. Looking at Izzy-B in confusion, she points to the muddy footprint entering her house. Using her keys, they enter. They notice the footprints go in two different directions, going towards the kitchen then towards the bedroom. The ones towards the bedroom are fainter, indicating that they were made later as much of the mud had already been tracked to other parts of the house. As they enter the room, Rumplestiltskin attention his brought to Izzy-B as she squeals unintelligible words. The LP from Izzy-B’s mint condition”Abbey Road,” the Beatles final studio album is smashed on the floor, and written in permanent ink on the cover are the words,
“Sorry, I couldn’t stay.
I WILL catch you next time!!!
Enjoy your life!
Earlier that evening, after Günther had made himself cozy in Izzy-B’s bed, he received a call from his employer demanding he come to work a shift for another employee who had called in sick.
While Rumplestiltskin would be livid enough at the fact that the intruder destroyed something treasured by Izzy-B that is worth several hundred dollars, the very clear threat in the message has him ready to go completely insane, yet he tries to hold his temper to keep Izzy-B calm.
Looking at Izzy-B whose face portrays a mixture of terror and rage, he says, “Whoever did this is gone. You’re safe. That’s the important thing. Do you know who G is?”
She starts to shake her head, saying, “I don’t…”, then the realization hits her, “It’s Günther!…he…he called me a couple of weeks ago insisting we go out. I told him that I was seeing you, and even if I wasn’t I’d never go out with him again. I didn’t worry about it, because he just seemed to pout and hang up…but how did he get in here? The lock was fine when we came in.”
Rumplestiltskin’s blood boils as he realizes that he must have had one of Regina’s skeleton keys. His attention is drawn back to Izzy-B when she mutters, “Oh God! He stole something.”
Pointing to the laundry basket, she says hesitantly, “I’d rather not specify, but it was in there.” Rumplestiltskin fumes as she continues, “He was touching my personal things. This whole place needs bleached!”
They both look at her bed, realizing Günther was in it. A look of utter revulsion mars Izzy-B’s face as she covers her mouth feeling ill saying, “What is that stain?!?!? That’s it!…I’m burning my bed!!!”
Rumplestiltskin wraps his arm around her and says, “Let’s get you out of here.”
Izzy-B has a look of confusion as she looks back at the note on the album cover reading,
“Enjoy your life!” and remembering what she said during her date with Günther.
In a panicked tone, she exclaims, “I don’t hear the dogs!”
They both rush to the mudroom; Izzy-B getting there first and exclaiming, “RANDALL HELP!!!!”
Both dogs are lying still having labored breathing with chocolate wrappers near them. Rumplestiltskin quickly calls the veterinarian at home, persuades the veterinarian that is was in the interest of his long term well-being to open his office immediately. They each scoop up a dog, putting them in Rumplestiltskin’s Cadillac.
At the veterinarian’s office, while the doctor and a technician work on the Diva and Moon Dancer, Izzy-B cries and rants, “Günther’s dead!…he tried to kill my dogs…when I get my hands on him, he’s dead!”
Though agreeing wholeheartedly with the sentiment, especially since Günther has made a clear threat against Izzy-B herself, Rumplestiltskin tries to calm the inferno that is Izzy-B’s temper, “Belle, that’s not something to say when others can hear you. He will be dealt with…I assure you.” He holds and comforts her for the next hours.
Once Diva and Moon Dancer are out of immediate danger at nearly midnight, Rumplestiltskin calls Ruby to have her stay with Izzy-B while he attends to some errands. Izzy-B is fairly certain that the errands are related to Günther. After what has happened, she chooses not to question it.
Sometime later, Günther stumbles tiredly into his apartment. Flipping on the light and stopping to admire himself in the mirror, he swallows hard at the sight of Mr. Gold with a silver toned hammer, then pain and blackness. Later, Günther awakes to find himself tied to a tree, completely nude with a screaming headache.
Standing near him, Günther sees a hulking man, with a knife, who he does not recognize. Günther feels his heart race at the sound a snarling dog. The dog has the appearance of blowing smoke from its large mouth as its breath is easily visible in twenty-eight degree temperature. A shadow steps out from behind a tree, holding the dog.
Rumplestiltskin hisses, “You hurt someone I care very deeply about. That is not acceptable.”
In a panic, Günther yells, “It was the Mayor’s idea! She gave me the key!”
Rumplestiltskin replies, “As much as I do enjoy our illustrious Mayor being thrown under a bus, I’m not here to talk about her. She will be dealt with in good time. I’m here to talk about you…the vermin who broke into Miss French’s house, damaged her property, stole from her, defiled her bed, tried to kill her dogs and threatened to come after her in the future.”
Günther pleads, “I’ll leave Izzy-B alone from now on. I promise…just keep that dog away from me!”
Rumplestiltskin says, “But I do love reunions…don’t you recognize your own dog?…the dog you dumped in the forest to fend for himself.”
Feeling totally vulnerable in his current state of undress, Günther’s heart seems to attempt to break out of his ribcage, seeing the huge mastiff sized dog that is a mix of God knows what breeds who he had abused regularly and wantonly. Pure hatred burned in the animal’s eyes.
Rumplestiltskin says snidely, “I’m nothing if I’m not reasonable. It’s hardly sporting to leave you tied to a tree to be mauled. Thus, here’s what’s going to happen…my associate, Dove, is going to cut your ropes and set you free, and you will run because I’m going to let this charming canine loose to get reacquainted with you.”
Immediately, Dove slices the ropes binding Günther, and Rumplestiltskin lets go off the dog’s lead. Günther runs for his life towards the road, hoping to run better on pavement than on the rough forest floor in bare feet. As Günther runs passed the sign stating, “Leaving Storybrooke”, he begins to writhe in agony. Dove whistles for the dog, and the canine obediently comes running to him. In the midst of Günther’s misery he has a moment of clarity remembering that he is Sir Gaston. Gaston turns back towards Rumplestiltskin, saying “You beast have taken…”, just before he re-enters Storybrooke there is a thunderous crack as an ancient tree falls on him.
Rumplestiltskin and Dove look at the fallen tree with part of Gaston visible underneath. Dove kneels down to the dog and pets him as the dog licks him affectionately, and then Dove says, “Mr. Gold, if it’s alright, I’d like to keep the dog. He’s really a good boy, you know.”
Rumplestiltskin says, “As you wish, Dove. Have you picked out a name? Names are important.”
Dove says, “Yes, sir. I’ve named him, Brutus.” and Rumplestiltskin smirks, heading to his car to get back to Belle.
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Author’s Note: Please comment/review. Am I the only one who hears, “Bang, bang Rumple’s silver hammer came down upon his head?” Abbey Road is an absolutely awesome album. Heads up, just one more regular chapter in this story…then a flash forward epilogue. Some really fun stuff happens in this next chapter.
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