lotus0kid: (dancer)
[personal profile] lotus0kid
Rating: PG-13? Maybe R? I'm really not sure.
Word Count: 1,725
Disclaimer: Recognize anything? Then it ain't mine.
A/N: I got in a bit of a horror mood, so I decided to break my new toy. Second half up tomorrow.
Summary: AU from the end of "Skin Deep." Everything happened exactly as Regina told Rumpelstiltskin it did. He sets out to fix it. Which goes about as well as these things tend to.
Contains: Character death, medical ickiness, supernatural ickiness... look, Frankenstein, okay? Think Frankenstein.

This day, the most auspicious of days, is almost entirely lacking in character. Gray sky, brown earth, black trees. He would’ve chosen a prettier day for her first, but it slipped his mind to adjust the weather.

Day and night have blurred into one continuous stream for Rumpelstiltskin. Ever since he learned what had become of her. Belle, the girl who managed to love a monster. Knowing that shining light had been snuffed out, tortured from her soft body by unspeakable cruelty dressed in holy robes, was strangely freeing. Life’s boundaries, already pushed to exciting new distances in his time under the Dark One’s curse, simply melted away. His path lay clear before him.

The first step took him to her unmarked grave outside the sweet little village she had saved. It was the work of a moment to cast the pestilence from her corpse into their water supply. She might chastise him for that. But the rage that fueled him allowed nothing less. She’ll understand in time.

People will trade away anything. And Rumpelstiltskin had a very long list. Hours upon hours were consumed in the meticulous study of Belle’s body. Every broken bit of it fell into two categories: what could be salvaged and what could not. For instance, the shredded flesh of her back and stomach, the more shallow cuts on her arms and face, could be sown whole again with golden thread. Her shattered legs, however, had to go. The back of her skull had to be pieced together- he chose to use metal plates. Her arms he kept, but would replace fractured bones within. Always, careful measurements were taken. She won’t like to be any different from her perfect self.

Then, the shopping. Rumpelstiltskin descended into the darkest of underground markets, working his most elegant of deals in stall after stall. If something in him flinched at the favors he would owe, finding the perfect set of fresh metacarpal bones drove it from his mind. The legs he found were of a duskier skin tone, but were also the exact length required, which had been proving difficult to track down. And even luckier, they were attached to a soul as desperate as they come. With a quick spell or two, the former slave went free, to make her way in the world as best she now could.

His list dwindled steadily. Soon enough, one last item remained. The only one that really mattered. Without it, this was all just a dream. Even with it, the magic would be difficult. She’ll be so proud of him.

Contrary to rumor, Rumpelstiltskin didn’t do a brisk trade in babies. But he could find one when he needed one. Unexpected little bundles popped up with regularity- he simply had to pick the most inconvenient of the bunch. Such as a girl born to a province that valued only manhood. Between the Dark One and the wolves, at least he would be quick.

She sleeps in his arms, warm and solid, on this character-less gray day. They arrive at his estate, and he carries her up to the top of the tower. Their breath ghosts from their lungs- he keeps the air frigid for Belle’s sake. He lays the baby next to her shrouded form on the wooden slab. She squirms but does not wake.

It’s been said that resurrection is beyond the power of magic. In truth, magic has no observable effect on dead flesh. Rumpelstiltskin has had to piece and patch and sow every part of Belle’s new frame by hand. And of course, as it lies now, they are all just separate bits, nothing like a whole human being. But if he can get the magic to take root, even for a second- well, that’s the plan.

He goes to his row of vials, and picks out the one that proves him to be worthy of this task. A strand of his hair and a strand of Belle’s twine around each other inside, gleaming with the pure essence of their love. He clenches the vial in his hand and the power of true love rolls down his arm and through his body. He walks to the slab, stands over the infant. With his free hand, he covers her face. She does not struggle, only shudders a little when her soul departs. Rumpelstiltskin holds the tiny, wispy, blue thing in his palm. He moves to the other side of the slab. He uncovers Belle’s face and nudges her mouth open to press the soul inside. He pours true love in after it, forcing it deep into the cold darkness of the corpse.

After a few moments, he takes his hand away. He waits to see if the heap of parts can somehow be the woman he loves.

His breath stops at the flicker of an eyelid. He darts to her feet and runs a nail over one bare sole. It twitches, and he almost chokes on a cry of joy. “You’re alive. Belle. I’ve brought you back.”

He banishes the chilled air from the room with a wave of his arm, filling it with warmth for Belle. He gazes at her, sees the faintest pink tinge her bone white cheeks. Yes, he’s done it. He peels his fingers away from the vial, and frowns. The hairs no longer gleam and twine, but lie at the bottom as if they were strangers to each other. He shakes his head and tosses the vial over his shoulder, far more interested in watching Belle slowly wake from her not so eternal slumber.

It takes several minutes for her eyes to finally crack open. For a moment they are blind and milky, but then they clear to breathtaking blue. Rumpelstiltskin wants to weep at the sight of them. Instead, he whispers her name.

Her eyes drift to him. He sees no recognition there, good or bad. That’s all right. Surely she’s confused, unsure of what’s happened. He’ll explain it when she’s ready.

“Would you like to sit up?” he asks. It’s time to truly test his magic. He takes her hands, and gently pulls her into a sitting position. A look of nausea passes over her face, but she’s steady.

Rumpelstiltskin checks the gold stitches in her back, face, arms, and belly. He purses his lips- any thought of removing them vanishes. They’ve fused into her clean flesh, just as the metal plates that make up the back of her head have fused with skin and bone. He checks the seams at the tops of her new legs, and finds them perfect, despite the mismatched color. All in all, he couldn’t be happier.

He lets go of her hands long enough to conjure a simple white shift to whisk over her head, angling her arms through the sleeves. She makes no sound, only stares into nothing.

“We’ll stand you up now, dearie,” he murmurs. He takes hold of Belle’s new feet and turns her so they dangle off the edge of the slab. He wraps his hands around hers again to slowly guide her up. She leans and trembles unsteadily, but his grip keeps her standing. He can’t help the smile that creeps over his face. His hands slip up her arms to cup her cheeks. “Always so beautiful. I couldn’t live without you, you see.”

She just blinks, her eyes a blank field of blue. She moves out of his touch, and walks in a careful awkward gait toward one of the tower’s tall windows.

Rumpelstiltskin follows, monitoring how her new body functions as a whole. She seems to improve with every step. He places gentle hands on her shoulders as they both look out the window. “You’re home again, see? No one will ever take you from this place.”

He thinks he feels a shudder roll through her.

***

They sleep in the same bed. Rumpelstiltskin doesn’t touch her- would never, not ever. Not unless she initiated it. And anyway, more accurately, he sleeps, for the first time in what feels like years. She lies beside him. Still silent, still staring. Her eyes glow a faint pale blue in the dark. She doesn’t seem tired at all. She’s had no interest in food or water.

When he wakes, he’s alone. Panic drives him through the halls, searching for his Belle.

He spots a thin white figure standing in a dead end corridor. Beneath the blankness of Belle’s expression, Rumpelstiltskin thinks he sees a hint of remembrance.

“Come, dearie,” he says, “Try to sleep a little.” He moves to guide her back to their bedroom, but she shrugs off his hands and walks in a way that would almost be a stride if it wasn’t so light. He trails after her, curious to see where they end up.

She throws open the doors of the main hall. The site of such perfect hope, and such terrible anguish, and a million more quiet memories of evenings spent in each other’s company. Rumpelstiltskin braces himself for whatever comes first into Belle’s mind.

She, meanwhile, turns a few circles along the carpet. He thinks she might be more graceful on her new legs. Certainly there is something so ethereal about her now, as if she might lift right off the ground and float as easily as walk. She hasn’t put on any of her old dresses, instead staying in the thin loose shift. Rumpelstiltskin won’t press her.

She drifts to one corner of the room, where a certain pedestal holds a sentimental little keepsake. She pauses before it. She lifts the chipped teacup off its exalted perch and gazes down at it. Rumpelstiltskin’s body floods with tension, as if she holds his very heart in her small hands.

In one fluid motion, she spins around and hurls the cup at the wall, where it explodes into countless minuscule shards. A shock of grief steals a gasp from Rumpelstiltskin. His eyes travel from the spray of fragments on the floor to Belle. Her eyes are on him, and finally, she’s smiling. A wide smile, like she’s waiting for him to get a private joke. He manages to return a rictus version.

“Yes,” he chokes out, “You’re right. I don’t need it anymore. I have you.”

She walks towards him. Past his open arms and through the door. Still smiling, dreamily.

Chapter Two

Date: 2012-04-16 12:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] imzadi-gumdrop.livejournal.com
Wow. Poor broken, misguided, stupid Rumple. And poor Belle of course. The horror. And the pain, I doubt that kind of magic would be so kind as to spare her from the pain.

With the wrong author this could've gone so terribly wrong but you're quite brilliant and so is this fic. A terrifying tale I can't turn away from.

Date: 2012-04-18 11:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lotus0kid.livejournal.com
It's difficult to say how much pain she is or isn't in, but overall it just can't be a great time inside her head.

Oh, you! That's very sweet, I'm blushing over here. Thanks so much!

Date: 2012-04-16 03:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] raissad.livejournal.com
Perfect. :)

Date: 2012-04-18 11:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lotus0kid.livejournal.com
Thanks kindly!

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July 2012

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