It's Alright, Rumple

Fix-it for all of season four.

Disclaimer: I own nothing.

The first thing he was aware of was a cold cloth on his forehead, and an aching deep in his chest. It was terribly hard to breathe, and it felt like there were pebbles rattling in his lungs. There was something across his upper lip and in his nose. The tang of blood was in the air - he could smell it, and taste it. And something was pricking at the back of his left hand.

A hospital. He was alive. How? He remembered his last moments with Belle, as his heart died in his chest. He remembered the blackness pulling him down, and then -

A small, soft hand was petting his hair, and a soft voice was humming. There was a slow, steady beeping somewhere to his right, and distant sounds from far away, but the humming came through the clearest, until he realized that what he'd thought was a hum, was actually quiet singing.

"...My soul is there, beside you.

Let this candle guide you.

Soon, you'll see a golden stream of light.

A cold and friendless time has found you.

Don't let the stormy darkness pull you down.

I'll paint a ray of hope around you.

Circling in the air,

Lighted by a prayer..."

She sounded sad, but also hopeful, and even as he enjoyed her soft petting, he wondered why she would be singing to him. She didn't love him. She didn't love Will, either, she'd said so, herself, but she didn't love him. Not any more.

And yet, here she was, at his bedside, carding her slender little fingers through his hair, and quietly singing a vaguely familiar song from some old Disney movie Gold had once watched - a song about her love being the light that would bring him home. After everything he'd done, could she still want him? Her soft song seemed to suggest she might.

Rumplestiltskin prayed to every god ever known that he wasn't wrong.

An unfamiliar tickling rose in the back of his throat, and Rumple was quite suddenly overtaken by heavy, barking coughs. Belle stopped her singing at once, and her petting. Then one of her hands was sliding behind the back of his head, and a cup was pressed against his lips - which were strangely dry.

"Drink slowly, Rumple," Belle told him softly, the fingers holding his neck kneading the skin there.

He did as bid, and the sensation faded. The coughs died away, and his breathing slowly calmed.

"What happened?" Rumple questioned, his voice coming out a feeble croak. Belle shook her head and smiled sweetly. She set the cup of water down, and her hand returned to his hair.

"You've been sick, Rumple," Belle answered, oddly calm. He'd been dying just a short while ago, and probably still was, but she was calm, reassuring.

"I... I know," he wheezed, closing his eyes and recognizing the ache in his chest for what it must be. "My heart..."

"Dr. Whale said you aren't supposed to talk much," Belle interrupted gently. "And there's nothing wrong with your heart, Rumple. Don't you remember?"

Rumple frowned. What didn't he remember? The darkness of his curse was consuming his heart at last, he knew that- it was why he'd tried so hard to rewrite everyone's stories with the Author. How could he let the Dark One loose on innocent people - specifically Henry and Belle?

He remembered the fiasco that was his attempt to break his tie to the dagger. He remembered his banishment, and his heart-attack-but-not in New York. He remembered Zelena, and trying to tell Robin in a way that wouldn't make him try to kill him then and there for such a vicious lie about Marian. He remembered finding Ursula, despite the pain that had throbbed in his ankle and chest. He remembered returning to Storybrooke, and all his efforts to change his fate and keep the Dark One at bay.

"The Snow Queen thought you were a threat," Belle was saying. "She locked you in the shop, and tried to freeze you. Killian found you, and broke in. You... You got really sick, Rumple... Your lungs. You've been out almost two weeks."

Impossible. It was months after his banishment. There was no way the Snow Queen had tried to kill him only a few weeks ago.

"But... the dagger," he murmured, confused. "W-what I did to Hook... To you -"

Belle shushed him gently, and stroked his hair back again.

"You didn't do anything, Rumple," she assured him. "To me, or Killian. He's actually been asking about you."

"I-I don't understand," Rumple frowned, shifting as his breathing came more heavily. He looked at Belle with all seriousness. "Belle, love, the... the last thing I remember... is being in your arms, on the floor of my shop. I-I had the Author rewrite everyone's lives... My heart was... dying, because of my curse... all the dark deeds I've done... but somehow... somehow, we were all b-brought back... You... You came tae me, Belle... said... said ye... didna... love Will..." He was gasping by the end, his accent thickened and his chest heaving, and Belle gently rubbed his chest in an attempt to calm him.

"Hush, love," she breathed, kissing his temple. She petted his hair again, and he automatically leaned into the touch a bit. The smile she gave him felt like home, redemption. "It's alright, Rumple. It's alright.

"It was only a dream."