A Single Shaft of Golden Light
It holds her in a way nothing else can. Helps her to remain firmly entrenched in a world where the one who ruined everything cannot touch her. In the shadows, only the dimly flickering fluorescents giving her any kind of light to penetrate the darkness that is not so dark to her, there are only two faces that come before her eyes.
She cannot think on one without pain.
She is forced to look on the other when that one comes to see her pain.
But when she is still, still as the darkness that enfolds her and silent with only the sound of her blood rushing through her veins and her heart beating slowly and sleepily against her fragile ribs, it is easier to lose herself in the world that is not real but feels like it once was. It is easier to slip beneath the surface of her not-memories and drown in them, slowly forgetting that she is trapped in the flickering shadows with the one who watches her for some sign.
It is easier to remember the one who gives her pain. The one who is not real and yet must be, because she remembers every detail of his lean face and every nuance of his voice, every gesture of his long-fingered hands and the way the sunlight once gleamed on the champagne-colored silk of his shirt.
When she falls asleep in this underground world without time, it is not the thrumming of her blood in her ears that bespells her like a lullaby. It is the barely-recalled whirring hum of a spinning wheel. The sound of thread gathering on a spindle with a shushing softness. Slow drumming beat, like a heart, of someone plying the pedal. Her dreams are filled with the one whose name she cannot allow herself to remember, not-memories fractured and fracturing further like broken china cups smashing against stone walls. And she awakens just as she is about to call out to him.
She cannot speak his name. The one who watches, with her cold dark eyes like polished ebony and her lips as red as blood curved into a smile that is edged with shards of broken glass, must not know that she remembers the other one. Must not know that she remembers anything, that she is aware of anything. The queen beyond the dimness can never know that she remembers.
So she sinks into stillness and silence, day after day. Her voice dries up like water beneath the blistering sun. Her skin becomes as pale as the queen's, as the one the queen once sought to kill and now seeks only to torment. Sometimes she holds so still that her legs ache and her arms tremble with the effort to remain clasped about her knees, her head pillowed there as if nothing beyond her own body could ever hope to draw her attention. But in that silence inside herself, in that stillness that is so unnatural it makes her ache to run back to the world of not-memory where the other one waits for her to come back and prove him wrong, she repeats the words that are her charm against the wicked queen's spell.
My name is Belle, she whispers in the prison of her own mind. She dares not speak aloud. My father is Sir Maurice, duke of the Enchanted Forest. I was once engaged to Gaston. I gave up my freedom to protect my village from the Ogre Wars, and regained that freedom when I fell in love with the Dark One. His name is... his name is...
Rumpelstiltskin. His name flits through her mind for the space of a breath, a brief flutter of wings in her breast that is her heart trying to race; a memory that is memory, warming her against the chill of her prison cell and the curse bearing down on her. Rumpelstiltskin. A single word that is a world of defiance; just a brief flash of brilliance, like summer sunlight glinting off of golden thread on a spindle. Rumpelstiltskin. A curse as dark as gold, and a single shaft of golden light in the darkness that surrounds her at night. Rumpelstiltskin.
Then she closes her eyes tight against the tears that burn and the hope that refuses to die, and banishes his name from her mind. If she holds it too tightly, it will shatter like porcelain, and the shards of her not-memories will break apart and cut her to pieces, and then she will have nothing left.
Okay, so this is not my first fanfic, but it's my first Once Upon a Time fanfic (although I have a fanfic in another fandom called "Once Upon a Time," oddly enough, but I started that in 2009, so... yeah).
Anyway, although I absolutely adore the show and had no real particular interest in Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold until "Skin Deep" aired on television, "Beauty and the Beast" is one of my favorite fairy tales. And for some reason, when I watched "Skin Deep," (which was only this past Sunday, March 4, because I missed the original air date and had to watch it online at a friend's house) it really fired my imagination. So I should have, like, 3 one-shots inspired by this one episode and this one couple up before the end of the week. They're my new favorite. =)
So I hope you enjoyed "A Single Shaft of Golden Light." I certainly had fun writing it.
- LA Knight
Disclaimer: I do not own anything copyrighted by someone other than me. A Curse as Dark as Gold is a retelling of "Rumpelstiltskin" by Elizabeth C. Bunce.
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