- I see the future. That's a hard enough thing to deal with. The fact that they all want to talk about their futures makes it that much worse.
- When you see the future, certain days stand out. It’s as though a fairy had waved her wand over those days, made them glow with the unmistakable essence of magic. Today was one of those days.
- I feel it. It's here. Any minute now and it'll be bye bye dungeon, hello estate!
- Never really thought I'd be playing fairy godmother, but I'm open to new things.
- Cake, dancing, "true love,"and informing a certain new princess that it's time to pay up. Who doesn't love a wedding?
- No one breaks a deal with me. Unless you're Cinderella, that is. Congratulations, dearie. You're the first!
- If there’s one thing I’m tired of hearing from these people it’s this: ‘I don’t have a choice’.
- Back to the countryside for the twin brother of Prince James. Something tells me this one too, might be a have-a-go hero...
- I tried to run away tonight. You'd have thought I'd have had enough running to last a lifetime. We'll find another way.
- I'm going to do it. I'm going to steal the Dark One's dagger. It's the only way to save my Bae.
- Midnight boating and dealing, anyone?
- It appears that there's a runaway prince and a princess who doesn't remember how pure her heart is in the forest. This should be interesting.
- Belle came back to me. I can hardly breathe. No-one. . . no woman has ever looked at me like that. Not even my wife.
- Belle said I'd regret it. She was right. All that rage. Once she'd left the castle, it vanished. Like smoke after magic.
- Regina can't be telling the truth. She can't. Regina's a liar, and she's turned Belle. It's the only explanation possible.
- Who knew a prince running in circles through a never-ending forest could be so entertaining?
- The most powerful magic is now safe. Good luck to anyone who wants to lose a limb trying to find it!
- As sickening as it is, true love tends to always find each other. When it has my help, that is.
- So much to teach, so little time. I would know, after all. It's a very tight schedule.
- If you want someone's help, it's only polite to not butcher the pronunciation of their name. You wouldn't want to call the wrong person, now, would you?
- Sometimes all it takes is a push in the right direction. Or through a mirror disguised as a mirror. That works just as well.
- Turns out that yet-to-be-filled deals carry sweet benefits.
- I have a feeling that tonight the king is going to have a sudden change of heart.
- Be careful breaking my trust, dearies. I may be a businessman but once lines are crossed, I make sure that consequences are delivered personally. I don't care much for the "hands-off" approach.
- I may be the Dark One, but I cannot magically create courage. If I could, do you really think I would be on my own and have to wait around for you to fulfill your future?
- Time to make my rounds. After dinner's the best time to catch people at home. When it comes to collecting the rent, I don't enjoy excuses
- 8:15pm, again. I wonder if anyone else feels like it's always 8:15? Or maybe that's the only time I bother to look up at the clock.
- How odd. I noticed on my way to work that the old clock tower appears to be working.
- Well, well. There's a new face in town. Emma. There's something familiar about that name. We don't get many visitors. It's a wonder that Granny makes enough to cover the rent.
- What is the point in having a pawn shop when all people come here for is my assistance in their personal conflicts? No one ever seems to want to buy anything.
- What a mess Mayor Mills's poor apple tree is in. I do hope Miss Swan decides to stay a while longer. Things are rather entertaining with her around.
- Nothing like starting the day by waking up on the floor of your vandalised shop with a cut forehead.
- Formally introduced myself to Miss Swan. Too bad it wasn't under happier circumstances, she seems lovely.
- Miss Swan has successfully traded me one bundle of joy for another; an open-ended favour. Wonderful.
- One day went by without someone begging for my help? Are we certain this is still Storybrooke?
- According to the sheriff there's a wolf about town. Mayor Mills should be alerted. Then again, I'm certain she already knows.
- I was closing up after a late night when I heard the news. Shame, it seems that the sheriff found his wolf after all.
- Henry was caught stealing? Perhaps he's more like his birth mother than we realised.
- At least when I was asked for help, it was for something that I actually sold this time, and not dramatics.
- Nothing warms the heart quite like hearing of a family reunited despite people standing in the way.
- Why does no one ever come to my pawn shop to actually buy things? Go find someone else to bother with your problems for a change.
- What a lovely night for a stroll through the forest with some friends.
- Such a nice tree house. It looks rather familiar, don't you think? No idea where from, of course.
- I have yet to figure out why selling candles is considered a good idea in an age with electricity.
- Apparently I have nothing better to do with my time than to argue with a custodian about the price of a boat.
- The town square is glittering. How lovely.
- Mary Margaret Blanchard in jail. Now there’s a sight for sore eyes. I’d rather it was Mayor Mills, naturally. Maybe one day.
- There’s something very appealing about the way Sheriff Swan approached me for help with Miss Blanchard.
- Playing one side off the other, for once. It's a delicate balance.
- I wonder... where did Miss Blanchard go? Wherever it was, Sheriff Swan managed to find her. I knew she was resourceful.
- Having me as your lawyer generally works best if you don't lose your temper and you listen to what I told you before the questioning.
- It's rather offensive when someone is aware of my reputation, but continues to doubt me.
- He's here. It has to be him.
- Never trust a writer. They know how to construct a lie better than anyone.
- Thinking of getting an old clock repaired. Not sure if it would be worth my while though, so I'll call in an expert. Or two.
- From enemies to allies, it seems. I do hope Mr Booth has better luck with Emma Swan than her son has had.
- Won't be long now. Even the Queen is starting to panic. And then farewell Storybrooke.
- Poor little Henry Mills. I did warn her.
- Surprises can be wonderful. But they certainly can upset some meticulously laid plans.
- Every time the future surprises me with something I didn't foresee, I lose faith in the visions. But then the pieces will form a coherent picture. I didn't foresee Belle's return, only ever saw a woman leaving me. And it happens more than once.
- I must admit, it's satisfying to wake up not feeling alone. I'd forgotten what that feels like. I suppose having everyone returned to themselves and loved ones will have that effect.
- It's incredible how quickly hope can plummet.
- The town has went from picture perfect to a chaotic mess with magic thrown in for good measure. At least we won't become too bored being stuck here for all of eternity.
- Has anyone seen Belle? She's new to the town, but surely someone must have spoken with her. I know I'm not anyone's favourite person, but Belle is innocent and quite possibly in danger. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
- That horrible little man! I should have left a more lasting impression during our last altercation. At least Belle is safe, that's all that really matters.
- I hope the library brings you the happiness that I failed to. I'm sorry for everything I ever did to you.
- Had NO idea that waiting for a woman to call could be so hard to tolerate. Thought I knew how to be patient.
- Another request for medical help - of a kind. This time, a house call, at the request of Regina. I wouldn't throw a cold cup of tea on Regina if she was on fire, but this wasn't for her. Henry's been troubled by a nasty side effect of Regina's magic. Of all my students, she always was the one to cut corners. Now her own son has to pay the price.
- There aren't many things I truly like about this world, but I must admit that burger dates are one of them.
- It wouldn't be Storybrooke without trouble lurking around every corner, now, would it?
- Communication generally works best when there isn't the threat of being injured looming over everyone.
- Date night with Belle has turned into watching Beauty and the Beast. Of course it's a musical. Belle has no reason to doubt if I love her or not, because if I didn't, I wouldn't be risking having these songs in my head for the rest of the week.
- I did it. Soon I will have my family back.
- Sooner or later, people in this town will learn that you never take from Rumplestiltskin without suffering the consequences.
- Once a rat, always a rat; inside and out.
- The closed sign is not just for decoration today. I will reopen when the dust settles and everything is as it should be.
- Funny how the simplest things are the ones that bring nothing but trouble and pain, isn't it.
- No good is going to come from sitting around doing nothing. It's time to take action and try to salvage what I can from those who remember and owe me.
- Surprisingly, unpleasantly nervous. After so long in one place, the thought of leaving is decidedly unwelcome. There's an unseen force that connects all of us with the place we call home. With magic, I've seen it. In places, it gets terribly thin. Some acts are irreversible. And for once, I really have to return to my home.
- Airports are deeply unpleasant places. They seem happy and lively, but there's an undercurrent of fear and threat, of despair at leaving home and the anxiety of never returning. No wonder people have to occupy all their free time inside them by eating and with buying things they don't need.
- That worthless pirate scum. Someone showed the idiot how to use Facebook. Now he's merrily posting his lies and his boasts. What a piece of work. Do women actually fall for any of that rubbish, Jones?
- Family is all that can be trusted. Estranged or as thick of thieves, desperate times call for desperate measures.
- Time is fleeting, and words are valuable. Words left unspoken tend to be the most potent.
- Respects have been paid. Now for the present to be dealt with.
- One of these days, people will learn that when I speak, it's not for the sake of hearing my own voice.
- The only way to live with the past is to admit it then grin and bear it until it's no more than a fact that cannot be told any other way.
- That was a horrible, horrible dream. Not the first time I've dreamt like that. Now they're getting worse.
- Trying to write a letter to Belle. Maybe if I can persuade her to remember something of our life in the Enchanted Forest, she'll begin to remember?
- With the clock ticking, there is not enough time to make a right or wrong choice. And yet, I'm frozen.
- If I must die, then it will be in the arms of a loved one.
- The boy may be my undoing, but my son died to save Henry. I must honor that, and do the same.
- Neverland. Some things never change.
- There is a reason that the best laid plans are not the ones that involve sitting around trying to figure out said plan.
- I may not hide, but that does not mean that I cannot ensure that I am still in control.
- Even with the sounds of war raging on in the distance, anything is tolerable with her by my side. Distractions are dangerous, but when you're waiting on death, they are more than welcome.
- Eggs in a basket? Don't make me laugh.
- I can't decide if trusting Regina with this task is smart or a risk. I suppose if she can successfully cast a curse, this should be considered simple.
- Waiting is always the difficult part. Thankfully, I'm skilled in patience.
- We are too close to not succeed now. Thank you, Belle.
- Not using magic is like asking a drunk to give up his alcohol, but I will rise above this.
- It's amazing how time changes perspective. This island has not changed one bit, yet it is not near as beautiful as it once was.
- I have no shadow. This is the final way in that I will ever apply to the old saying "like father, like son."
- Got a match, anyone?
- I will make things right with this second chance.
- A writer from this land without magic once wrote “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Until today, I didn’t even know what the first part of that sentence could mean. I’d never experienced a moment’s real happiness with my family. Today though, as the Jolly Roger docked in Storybrooke, I understood for the first time. The warmth the comfort of a family embrace. To be reunited, in the arms of the woman I love, with my boy at my side, with his son close by. Everyone safe, and thanks in no small part to my own effort. It’s no small thing, the love of family. It’s something that fills you inside, until your heart feels it may have swollen to the point of bursting. The kind of moment you want to cling on to, that you’ll do anything to cling on to. If only.
- A man never grows so old that his father can’t reduce him to the helpless child within. Since I acquired the Dark One’s dagger, I’ve rarely experienced genuine fear. Yet today, receiving violence at his hands . . . Oh. That was very familiar. The sight of my own father gazing out from behind the demonic eyes of a frustrated adolescent gave me the first reminder, for centuries, of how it felt to be that man’s son. Unwanted and utterly helpless. I’m lucky Pan didn't kill me back then. But the truth is, he didn't care enough. Why risk getting my blood on his hands? He believed himself better than that, in those days. Death would have been more honest than what he did. He couldn't have hidden behind those sniveling excuses. That he’d loathed having to care for me. That I’d crushed his dreams. To think of how I dreamed of how we’d be together in a new land, far away, the land I’d take us to with my magic bean. Yet, my father wanted none of that - just wanted to be free of me. I was nothing but an irritation. And I still am. Seconds ago, I was close to slicing off my own hand and freeing myself from the cuff that prevents my magic. When it comes to self-harm, I’m quite the expert. But another idea struck me then. One that doesn’t need magic, just an ordinary impulse to patricide. There’s a way out of this. A way to destroy Pan. But I’d have to get close enough to him that he could play the same trick as he did with Henry. Powerful as I am, my magic is no match for his. The only solution is to deprive him of any body into which to flee. Any living body, that is. The ultimate self-harm. A bold gesture, perhaps, but Rumplestiltskin was always fond of them. Certainly a painful one. There are things that need to be said; to Bae, to Belle. I’ll have to make every word count, before I go. Time for one last gesture.
- Poison enters the system unseen. It’s a sly thing, slips under your skin, drips into the blood. Before you know it, you’re under its influence. It’s not unlike magic in that way. There’s not so much difference between poison and potion. She was a master of both. With Zelena, I made the greatest miscalculation of my life. And it’s not easy for a man to acknowledge his mistakes. The mistake wasn’t to teach her, nor to pick her sister over Zelena to cast my curse. These matters could have been contained. But I underestimated the woman. It was such a small thing. I’ve always had a weakness for blue eyes; blue, wide and innocent. Zelena seemed every inch the wide-eyed innocent. That rare creature - the natural sorcerer. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit just the tiniest bit of envy for people like that. Envy, fascination, and blue-eyes. A lethal combination. It was obvious that she was fascinated by me. But that’s normal. Crazy girls like Zelena and her mother have always taken a shine to me. To them, I’m a shiny new toy. They just want to play, to learn, to soak up everything they can. Looks a lot like love, perhaps, but it’s not the real thing. Even then, before I ever met Belle, I knew the difference. Zelena’s feelings for me ran deeper than I ever suspected. It wasn’t love, but something just as deep. Darker and more twisted - in the world I understood, there wasn’t even a word for what Zelena felt for me. ‘Poison’ is the closest thing to it. I was a poison in her system. She, in turn, had to bring her pollution to my life. And I didn’t see it. I had no idea. Today, I’m paying for that error of judgement. My boy, my Baelfire - he’s paid for it - the ultimate price. All of Storybooke and the magical realms, they’re paying for my mistake, too. Today and for all the days, until I can escape. I will escape. And then I’ll kill Zelena. These are incontrovertible facts. Today, tomorrow, a thousand days from now, ten thousand. Doesn’t really matter. I’ll be free and Zelena will be dead. For what she did to my son, for what she has threatened to do to my love, there can be no other outcome. Everything else is secondary, now.
- Women have dictated the pattern of my entire life. First Milah, playing with me as though I were a new puppy, throwing me away when I didn’t turn into the husband she’d dreamed of. Punished me for the mistake of believing that a woman could be faithful, could ask only for companionship, warmth and the shared love of a child. Left me alone to care for our boy, until I had no other way to protect him other than taking the Dark One’s dagger. Then Cora, teaching me once again that love is weakness. I was ready to believe that a woman could love me, but she shattered that. Cora, at least, was honest from the start. And Cora’s daughters. Both saw me as a means to an end. Regina has her mother’s brutal honesty when it comes to matters of the heart. I like even more that she didn’t pick me as the target for her love. But Zelena - oh. That woman has ruined me and there is no going back. To experience at close quarters, the twisted version of what Zelena believes to be love, is to enter a whole new kind of darkness. It’s taken me so long to understand, to accept that her feelings can possibly be real. She wanted me by her side from the beginning - wanted me to want her, wanted to see the same flame in my eyes that I see in hers. Belle couldn’t be a rival for what Zelena wants with me - that’s what she believes. Belle is sweetness and sunshine, while Zelena is a shadow that wants to capture my very soul. And it was impossible, of course. Thanks to Baelfire, I was useless to Zelena. A caged lunatic, two mind trapped inside one form. No wonder she’s so thrilled to have me to herself, finally. So now she wants to play at being lovers. She wants to cook for me, drink wine with me, dress me in a Zegna suit, wants me to be Mr Gold for her. What Zelena wants, she will get. Tonight, after we dine, I’ll put my hands on her, I’ll put my mouth on her, she’ll get the full treatment. It’s taken me long enough to see how much she needs this, but finally, I do. Zelena will get what she desires. And while she’s dizzy from the pleasure of it, I’ll take the dagger and I’ll stick it into her heart.
- So easy to fool you, dearie. Gratifying to realise how badly you want me. Was it hard not to ask for this, not to simply compel me with the dagger? Was it so important to you that I desired it?
- I should have pushed Zelena further. But the truth is, she repelled me.
- The missing memories have returned, and with it for the first time, a fleeting sense of hope. Maybe Zelena won't win, after all.
- She said yes. For so many years, I wondered what it would have been like if I hadn’t cast Belle out after she kissed me. Perhaps she would have remained by my side during the curse, or would I have reminded myself to remain focused by making her estranged from me? No, I am and always have been a selfish monster, and I would have had us together. Perhaps I would have fixed her memories so that she would eventually remember as I did, and I could have romanced her properly. Regular dates at Granny’s, weekly visits to her father’s shop under the pretense of buying her flowers, and nights with her wrapped tightly in my arms. If only I had not cowered out and turned her away. I could have been honest from the beginning, and even if we still had our difficulties, she would have been with me for longer than a few short moments before we were ripped apart once more. She could have known more about Bae sooner, and perhaps he would have gotten to know her a bit better, and we could have spent more time as a family before he was taken from me. But now, those years of wondering are now reality, as she will be my wife soon enough. While I may have switched the daggers, the words I promised her were real, and they were promised on the real dagger. I switched them before we parted ways for a few short hours so that I could ensure that my last promise to Bae would be fulfilled. Now, my family is forever safe from that witch’s hold. Belle will be secured to me in vow and law, and this time, she comes to me willing.
As much as I love and trust her, she can never know the truth. I did it to protect her, to protect any little ones that we may have in the future, to protect Henry. Hell, to protect this whole damn town, even. But they can never know, either. It will be my secret, and while it pains me to hide such a thing from her, it will fade into the recesses of my mind, just like her once-betrothed being the rose I gave her the day I gave her the option of freedom. It will become mundane, and she will protect the dagger as strongly as she owns my heart. I had, for many nights after she tried to free me, feared that she would grow to see me as the monster that I truly am. But as always, she is on my side, and tonight, she was in my arms and bed once more. She will wake next to me, and I will greet the new day looking into those blue eyes, just as I intend to do for the rest of our lives.
I just wish that I could fall asleep as easily as I once did. I close my eyes and I hear Zelena’s taunting voice, and hear her threats. I relive that twisted pain she inflicted by ordering me to kill my true love, as sharp as if she had drove the dagger directly into my heart. Perhaps if I hold Belle tightly enough, she will remind me how to be human again. How to breathe without fear of what the next moment may hold, how to eat willingly, how to fall into a restful sleep. She has always been my safety, and I will not be satisfied until I know that she truly knows how she has saved me and the depths of my love for her. Until then, we can start with our wedding.
- Lying to Belle is harder than I expected. Concealment has always been part of my life. When your truth is as ugly as mine, there’s little you wouldn’t do to shield a loved one from its glare. It was one thing to lie to my boy. A parent learns to hide from their children, the harsher realities of life. But to lie to Belle, to hold her and gaze into those trusting eyes, to make love to her while she sighs my name, believing every word I breathe into her ear…
That takes determination. That takes a certain clarity of purpose. I hid the dagger this morning. If Belle suspected at all, she’d know where to look. If her level of mistrust were a little higher she might ask her friend Emma to uncloak it. But she trusts me, and they trust Belle. When Belle vouches for me - as she did this morning, at the police station - they believe her. Instantly and without question. Even Regina. (Who would know better, if she weren’t flushed with the balm of her recent heroism. Let’s see how long that lasts, dearie.) It’s not just me that has fallen for Belle’s sweetness, her honesty. In this whole town, Belle might be the most trusted person of all. Which makes my deception even more necessary. I told Belle that the dagger stands for trust: her trust of me, mine of her. The truth is simpler. It is power - plain and simple.
Belle needs to believe she has power over me. Anything else and our love is unbalanced - too much power on my side, too little on hers. Obviously, I can’t actually allow anyone to hold the dagger. They might hate me, here in Storybrooke, but it doesn’t stop them coming to me with every single threat that might come their way. It isn’t just me that wants it both ways, power and trust. So do they. They want me and Regina around to do the nasty jobs - the things with which they won’t sully their hands. They may not have wanted Zelena dead, but they needed it. And Belle, my bride-to-be, she may wish for a world in which we’re equal, but that too, is illusion. Without my power I’m weak and helpless. Not worthy of a princess, of a beauty like Belle. The dagger stays exactly where it is. This fiction must become my new truth. Meantime, there are wedding plans to attend to. Miraculously enough, involving Moe French, the man who tried to steal his daughter’s memories rather than see her with me. As a father myself, I might even empathize with his original reluctance.
But no-one decides Belle’s fate except her. I remind myself of that, every time I touch Belle, every time she touches me. She gave herself to me, freely. She loves me, the darkness as well the best version of myself. I’m doing what we both need to make this work.
Rumplestiltskin, at Your Service!
Well, I would think there are enough tales about the Dark One flitting around for you to make up your own minds! Why on earth should I ruin that for you, hmmm? No? Well, if you insist…
Rumplestiltskin, at your service! Apparently, I spend my days devouring shadows, skinning children for their pelts, and turning hapless heroes into various plant life. I can assure you, only the latter is true - and that only since I became the Dark One.
On the contrary – I’m merely a businessman. Anything magical you need done, you come to me. If you have something I want, I’ll make you a deal. Remember, all magic comes with a price. And if you are stupid enough to think you can break a deal with me, you can’t. No one breaks my deals, not even me.
Well...I wasn’t all that interesting before I became the Dark One. You don’t want to hear about that, surely? A lot of drivel about being poor, a spinner who went to war and broke his wife’s heart by surviving to tell the tale. Rather dull, dearies, and frankly, none of your business. All you need to know is I became the Dark One to protect my son. My son is lost to me now…
I mean to find him again.
No matter what it takes.
A Name to Remember
I see the future.
Just think about that, for a moment. Imagine the chaos of all possible outcomes. Imagine an event unfolding in time. Think of the pain and suffering the future holds. The pleasure and the fury. Picture yourself trying to hold all that in your mind, a puzzle that never resolves. Try to envisage how you might close your eyes to all that confusion and try to follow a thread.
It’s rather like untangling a knot. But not any knot, oh no. A knot of such horrible complexity that you’d rather pluck out your own eyes than face it.
Think I’m exaggerating? On the contrary, I’ve seen exactly that. I’ve seen things you can’t even imagine.
In the future that I see, certain days stand out. It’s as though a fairy had waved her wand over those days, made them glow with the unmistakable essence of magic.
Today was one of those days.
They came to me, just as I’d foreseen - Snow White and Prince Charming. She was ripe with the child that’s going to change everything. He was just ripe with anger. Wouldn’t even suffer my hand to rest on his woman’s belly. ‘“Next time I’ll cut it off.”
I’d like to see you try.
But her name. The final piece of my puzzle! I heard the guard warning Snow White - don’t tell him your name! Names have power!
Surprisingly shrewd, for a guard. Wasting his time, though. People like Snow and Charming don’t listen to anything they’re not ready to hear. For one brief second, I thought she might dare to withhold the name. I needn’t have worried.
Yes, dearie, it’s a girl. She knew. It was exactly what Snow wanted to hear.
The name fairly tripped off her lips after that.
A lovely name. I won’t forget it. I’ll make very sure to remember.
The Queen and the Curse
Finally! It’s all coming together. Years of plotting and scheming have come down to this. The Dark Curse. There was the little Queenie, running to me for help again. Some things never change. But that stupid woman thought a measly horse heart would suffice. A horse! For the curse to end all curses?! She should know by now, vengeance is never easy. Great power comes with great sacrifice. And she thought a stupid horse would do the trick? No. Only the heart of the thing she loves most will be able to enact the curse. And we both know whose heart it is. If she truly desires vengeance, above all else, she’s going to have to rip out the heart of her dear old Papa. The Queen’s threats have the whole kingdom wrought with worry too. I can hear them from here, scuttling around, whispering about the Evil Queen, even my guards are anxious. And it’s not just the common folk, oh no... The lovely Snow White and her Prince Charming paid me a visit too, you know.
But as I told our dear Queen, all curses can be broken! Even one as powerful as this. Their child is the only one who can break the curse. Little Princess Emma. If the Queen ever bothers to hurry up and cast it, that is. Imagine the shock on her poor father’s face when his precious daughter rips out his heart…
I’d love to be a fly on the wall for that! And maybe I would have been too, if I wasn’t locked in this detestable cage. No matter, I won’t be in here much longer now...
Her Majesty hasn’t changed at all over the years, now that I think of it. She’s perhaps grown a little more bitter, more evil as time went on, but she’s still the same silly little girl she once was. She still lets her hate consume her. And she never learns from her mistakes. She’s willing to sacrifice her own happiness, and her own father, just to punish a woman for a mistake she made as a child. She could have been happy in this land, if only she’d learned to let it go. Learned some forgiveness. Yes… silly little Regina, she does herself no favours, but she’s perfect for my plans. I’m rather looking forward to this new world now. An estate, she said. Rich. And the Evil Queen in the palm of my hand!.. so long as I’m polite of course. Mustn’t forget my manners! I wonder if people will still fear me, even when they can’t remember who I am? Will they still be compelled to come running to me for help solving their silly little problems? Will there still be deals to be made in this land without magic? Yes, I’m definitely looking forward to finding out.
it won’t be too much of a wait there… What’s 28 years to someone like me? I’ve waited this long, I can certainly wait a little longer.
Rumplestiltskin, Fairy Godmother
King George is, surprisingly, a man worth trusting; if you want someone dead, that is.
His family’s fairy godmother was exactly where he’d predicted she’d be, assisting the poor Cinderella. Thankfully the poor girl was too shocked to do more than take my offer. Never really thought I’d be considered a fairy godmother myself, but needs must. She was also startled enough that she didn’t really read the contract to know that the price I mentioned could’ve been anything. She assumed it would be jewels or – the mistake most people make – gold. That’s the problem with assumptions, there’s a saying about the word ‘assume’ for a reason. But I can’t say I particularly mind, it puts the blame on them. On second thought, perhaps the firstborn isn’t exactly what first comes to mind as a price. But details aside, I did not go back on our deal. She got the life she always dreamed of. With a few strings attached of course, but she was fully aware that there would be.
Yet the princess bride tried to be the first to break a deal with me. Me. No one breaks a deal with Rumplestiltskin! And yet, as I watched the fear seep across her face as Prince Charming and her own prince came racing to imprison me, she failed to notice that she did exactly what I needed her to! Oh how I wish I could see the mortification on their faces when they realize that! I still need some information before Regina enacts her curse, and well, Snow White and her prince aren’t exactly eager to come running to me unless they’re sure that I can’t drastically harm them. A name really is a small price to pay, after all.
All that’s left to do is wait. All I need now is the little princess-to-be’s name! The enchantments on this cage may keep me from using my powers to escape, but one does not need to be a seer to know that they will come, and their daughter will be the savior.
After all, it’s pretty easy to predict the future when you’re the one who wrote it.
Thief Comes A-Calling
The longer I spend in this world, the more I find myself taking pity on the fools that come to me begging for help. At the beginning, it was mainly contempt. It's no skin off my nose if I dole out the odd favour to some pathetic creature, once in a while. Always so relieved to know there's someone who can help - those people will deal away things, with no thought for their real value. If people understood the true worth of a hair from the head of a loved one, the blood from the cord that ties a mother to her child, from even single tear, they wouldn't be quite so ready to give up their treasures. But luckily for me, most people are blind when it comes to magic.
A man came to me today; to be frank, I pitied him. Jiminy was his name - a common thief. He came to trade trinkets for gold. But he wanted more. I saw it in his eyes - he yearned. I do like a bit of yearning. Those who truly yearn are at the mercy of their desires. And there's nothing like desire to raise the stakes when you're driving a hard bargain. Jiminy yearned for his freedom. He was prepared to commit murder! A flawed man easily becomes a willing accomplice. Even in the ultimate crime. Well, Jiminy was in luck. Normally I don't like corrupting the weak ones who show a bit of spirit. (I’m generous like that.) But as it happened, I was in the market for a pair of communicating dolls. It’s a simple enough enchantment; you simply require a pair of willing volunteers. They must be close – a couple of siblings will do just fine. Or at a push, a husband and wife, so long as they have a child in common. Magic is fussy like that – it demands evidence of a blood relationship. They have to take the potion willingly – it cannot be forced down their throats or the magic will be disturbed.
And when it’s done, the transformation is complete. Irreversible. These people and their deals - they never ask enough questions. Rarely even bother to read the contract. Once the deal has been dangled, they don’t bother with the brutal details. You might even say it’s unconscionable. And they call me the Dark One!
Hurrah for the Handsome Pwince!
If there’s one thing I’m tired of hearing from these people it’s this: ‘I don’t have a choice’. Poppycock. Everyone has a choice. What they really mean is this: ‘I don’t like the right choice.’ Sometimes they’re too lazy. Sometimes they’re too proud. Sometimes they’re just afraid. Once in a while, that last one makes me feel just the teeniest twinge of sympathy. But not for long! There’s always a price and the price must be paid.
The man I met today? Spotted his flaw in an instant: pride. You’d think I’d asked him to kill the dragon all by his little self. But, no. All I suggested was that he takes the credit for doing what came so naturally to the lad’s brute of a brother. Prince James’s shepherd-boy brother didn’t like being compared to his twin – not one bit. Ha – I’ll bet he’s always wondered about James. Is he smarter than me? Faster than me, stronger? Is he better than me? Did my poor old mother get the raw end of the deal? Of course he’s stronger than you, dearie. That’s just the way it is with princes. They aren’t born – they’re made. Maybe you’d have been better than James – if you’d been the one I took to King George that day. Maybe you would have grown up strong and noble - fit to kill a dragon with one mighty blow from your sword. Hurrah for the handsome pwince!
Didn’t turn out that way though, did it? Still - there was something about that shepherd. Something I don’t see very often. So rarely in fact, I almost missed it. True courage. And yes, maybe even a touch of nobility. There was a glint of it in that boy’s eye. A pity it was overshadowed by his pride. He isn’t the type to take credit for a lie – oh no! Something tells me that this one may have the makings of a have-a-go-hero.
Too bad. It’ll be the undoing of the lad, mark my words.
Goodbye Coward, Hello Dark One
They’re coming for him. It’s only three days now until his birthday. What am I going to do?! I can’t lose him. I can’t lose my Bae. I’ve lost so much in my life, including his mother. He’s the only thing that matters to me now, the only thing left that I love. So we’ll leave then. Baelfire will be safe. He won’t be fighting in any wars, I won’t let him. We’ll go far away, where no one can find us, and we’ll be happy together. A fresh start, where no one knows me as the village coward.
They caught us. Of course they did/ That awful man and his soldiers, they threatened to take him away right there and then. I should have known better than to try and run. You’d have thought I’d learned my lesson with that one years ago. But I was stupid. The stupid coward. He humiliated me in front of my boy, called me names, told Bae horrible things about me. They were true too. All of them. But I didn’t want him to know. I didn’t want him to find out how everyone saw his Papa. I wish I could have spared him from ever knowing the truth about me. Maybe it won’t be so bad after all. I met an old man on the road, a beggar, and he says he knows how to save my boy. All I have to do is steal the Dark One’s dagger from Hordor and I'll be the one with the power, not that bully. I could save Bae. I could save all the children. I'll prove I'm not a coward, be a hero even. I know its silly, trusting the word of an old beggar I only just met. But what choice do I have? How else could a man like me stand up to someone like Hordor? There are no other options. I can't let them take my Baelfire away. I can't lose him, he's all I have left. He's the only thing that matters to me now.
He tricked me. That beggar, the old man I thought was trying to help me. It wasn't about saving Bae at all. He just wanted me to kill him. He was the Dark One. He wanted to die. To be free of his curse. And I did it, I stuck the dagger in him. I wasn’t sure I had it in me, but for Bae I’d do anything. I'm the Dark One now. I have the power. And I killed them, the soldiers. The bullies. I killed all of them. For Bae. All for Bae. Everything I do, everything I did to those men, to keep him safe. To keep him with me. But I've changed. I can feel it. I can see it. The power, the darkness taking over me. I will never be pushed around again. No one will dare cross me. And no one will ever try to take my boy away from me. We can be happy now, together.
Business is Business
Mr. Gold, first name unimportant. I’ve found that secrets, while they can lead to harm, are a necessary evil, quite fun from time to time. I own the local pawn and antiques shop, everything from trinkets to valuable antiques. Of course, it’s not just a pawnbroker’s. I have my finger in a few pies around our quiet little town. Everyone knows who I am. Everyone knows not to cross me. Some people come to me for help, and I am always happy to offer my assistance whenever I can. For a small price, of course.
I am not particularly liked in this town, but then again, I am not particularly bothered by that fact. Business is business, and I have neither the time to waste nor the desire to make friends. Pay your rent, and we will be fine. Miss a payment...and we will be a little less fine, won’t we? Enemies? I have my fair share. The same holds true for my shop. There’s beauty in much of what I store within these walls, but then again there is danger. So much history can be found in even the most innocent of objects. Of course, not all history is pleasant. Especially when the items in the shop seem to have belonged to a town member at one point in time or another. Things just wind up in my possession. Not everything has to be taken with force.
That’s the thing with this town. Its secrets are rather transparent. Yet day after day, people pass by and don’t think twice. Birthdays and anniversaries require people to stop in, but always for the same type of thing. A necklace, or perhaps a ring. It’s like some sort of trance. They come to me, but so reluctantly. As if they’re afraid to try to make a deal, to try to become something more. I can’t say I really blame them. After all, all deals come with a price, some not as obvious as they may seem at first. Rather be safe than sorry, after all.
What you need to bear in mind is this: I started this town on my dime, and if anyone's going to benefit, it'll be at my discretion. Other than that, residents of Storybrooke, may I suggest that you don't bother yourselves about the private life of Mr. Gold.
Tick Tock Goes the Clock Tower
Everything is changing.
I woke up this morning to the sound of the clock tower striking, a clock that hasn’t worked for as long as anyone can remember. It didn’t go unnoticed by those around town either, the street surrounding the library building was packed with confused citizens. Not that it takes much to confuse the people of Storybrooke. Mayor Mills seemed especially puzzled at the clock suddenly deciding to fix itself. Other than that, for me it was another routine day in the pawn shop. There was of course the oddity of the new woman running around town, getting herself into trouble. Emma, she said her name was. Little Henry Mills’s birth mother. She seems to have already made a bad impression with the Mayor, and she’s only been here a couple of days. It would appear the woman who gave her child up at birth isn’t so cold hearted after all, if her concern for him is anything to go by. Her arrival and refusal to leave really seems to have gotten under the Mayor’s skin. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen her so determined to triumph over someone. I hope Miss Swan knows what she’s getting herself into. Although if she did, something tells me even that wouldn’t be enough to drive her out of our little town...
Madam Mayor was most distraught when I paid her a visit earlier. Not only had Miss Swan made a mess of her precious tree, but after all her scheming she had been unsuccessful in forcing her out of town. If only she had come to me for help at the start, then perhaps things would be different. It wouldn’t have been the first time our Mayor made a deal with me. Her precious little Henry, I was the one who procured him when she decided a son was the perfect way to fill the hole in her heart.
A Deal for a Deal
While Storybrooke has been different lately, I can honestly say that waking up with a split forehead was not one of the surprises I was anticipating. Let alone expecting that any injury would come from the heavily pregnant Miss Boyd. Stress like that can’t be good for the baby, not to mention the weight it has on the conscience.
But some people never learn. It’s one thing to make a deal with me. It’s another to sign a contract, then try to steal it back in the dead of night before disappearing.
I hired Miss Swan to look into the case for me, since I really don’t want the Mayor in on this. The sheriff would have her involved, and it really isn’t fair to the young woman to have the town’s officials chasing after her.
This is my business with her, and Miss Swan will ensure that it remains as such. If anyone can get through to a confused young woman that’s barely an adult and already expecting a child, it’ll be her.
She is quicker than I had originally thought. It took her less than half a day to put together that the deal I made with Miss Boyd wasn’t a standard contract, but an agreement that she’d be taken care of in exchange of her child.
What she doesn’t understand is that the child isn’t merchandise, it’s a second chance.
For Ashley and the baby both, not to mention for the family who would’ve loved a new baby but can’t procure one.
Needless to say, I exchanged the deal for another.
Miss Swan will owe me an open-ended favor in the future. She will have no choice but to pay up. The baby girl is at home with her mother and father right now, safe from any and all harm.
It’s a good thing that Miss Swan is around to save the day, isn’t it?
I ran into the sheriff this morning while doing a bit of gardening in the woods. Now that things are changing around here, I’d hate for something I’ve watched over for years to suddenly wither away in my possession.
Or worse, slip out of my control. The sheriff didn’t seem concerned with my personal business, thankfully. He’s one of the few in this town who doesn’t assume all my actions double as motive. He seemed disoriented and confused due to a dream he had last night. It’s understandable; dreams really are a funny thing. They can show us what we desire, or show us our regrets, as if living through them the first time wasn’t punishment enough.
Dreams are memories. Sometimes the memory is more distorted than others, but everything is built on a basis of reality. Waking up is usually the confusing bit. Was it real? Or was it just the mind playing a trick while the body tried to rest? It’s harder to tell more often than not. Of course, in this case it’s nothing more than just a dream. He claimed that a wolf was in Storybrooke. Wouldn’t that be something? Needless to say, there are no literal wolves as of now. Figurative wolves disguised in sheep’s clothing, perhaps. Unfortunately for him, he didn’t seem concerned with that particular breed and went on his way after our conversation. I received the news just a few moments ago that he met his end tonight. Heart failure is what reports are claiming. Miss Swan confirms that it was quite sudden, further supporting the reasoning behind his death. I wonder if he ever found his wolf. I suppose not, since he died from natural causes and there is no evidence to suggest an animal attack. But this is Storybrooke, after all. Stranger things have and are sure to happen. In the meantime, I suppose I should be careful. Wouldn’t want a wrong move to land me in a grave. Then who would collect the rent?
A New Sheriff In Town
Such a tragedy, the death of poor Sheriff Graham. As he had been living in one of my apartments, and he doesn’t have any family in town, all his belongings were left to me. I did offer them to Miss Swan, but the only thing she could be persuaded to take was a set of walkie-talkies for her boy to play with. Ah well, looks like the rest will be going to Mayor Mills. I’m sure she’ll be delighted to receive some of his things, given how much she cared about him and his well being. I’ve decided to offer Miss Swan my services to help her become Sheriff. I suspect her determination to win the position has less to do with what’s best for the town, and more with getting one over on our dear Madam Mayor. Not that it matters much to me either way, I’ll help her become Sheriff whatever her motives. Because I think she’ll be good in the position, of course. And perhaps a little for the satisfaction of annoying Mayor Mills. But that’s all. No one ever bothers to actually read the rules, have you noticed? They hear about them from someone else, and jump to conclusions. Or they take they Mayor’s word on it instead of reading them for themselves. Such a silly, common mistake to make. Miss Swan didn’t even stop to think for one minute that the Mayor could be lying about the rules. Lucky she has me on her side, isn’t it? I have a thing about legal documents you see, contracts and such. I always read the fine print.
It seems Emma Swan is the town hero. She did, however, come in to my shop earlier throwing around all sorts of accusations. She’s got it into her head that I was responsible for the fire that she saved the Mayor from. As if I would ever do such a thing. And if I had, it would probably have been to give the town a reason to love her. That won't be enough to win her the election though. No, Miss Swan would have to do something much more heroic than that. Say, standing up to a villain in front of the whole town. Yes, that would probably do it. Not that I’d know anything about any of that. Miss Swan acted exactly as I predicted. She stood up to the evil fire-starting Mr Gold in front of the whole of Storybrooke, and doing so won her the position of town Sheriff. People are surprisingly easy to manipulate. Don't you just love it when a plan comes together?
Like Mother, Like Son
If Mayor Mills isn’t in here wanting something, then Miss Swan is. You would think winning the role of sheriff would keep her occupied elsewhere, but apparently that is not the case. At least she knows who has power around here, despite being here such a short time. She came in here looking for a compass’ origins. I don’t offer much without a price tag attached, but all she wanted was a name. Not that names aren’t important. They can carry the weight of the world, and only belong to that one individual. Irreplaceable.
That’s partially why I amused her by pretending to look through my records. I didn’t need a reminder of who owned that compass years ago. Something that special… it had attachment to it, and the man who purchased it from me had meant it to be mundane, I suppose. But that’s why my shop is so important. There are things here that aren’t going to be found just anywhere. They all have history. So far, Miss Swan is the only one to inquire about it. Perhaps the Mayor should take notes from her on how to get what you want without upheaving several lives at once. If she put a little thought into the past, perhaps she’d use that knowledge to realise that I’m the one with the power here. Or perhaps I simply gave Miss Swan what she needed to know because I’d already heard about Henry’s misadventure with the Zimmer children by the time she came to me. These children were tied to her son, and now they were a mystery. A parentless mystery that she was determined to solve. No child should have to be without a parent, and no parent should go without knowing their child if they get the chance. It wouldn’t be fair to anyone for me to stand in the way of that, now would it?
I may be a deal maker, but I do have some morals.