~ Rumple ~

"Belle, why can't you understand?" I asked her, frustration growing.

"Understand what?" She retorted. "Why you value power, power that you do not actually need, over everything else in this world? Over me?"

"But it is not that simple. If you possessed magic of your own then I am sure that you would understand. Please, Belle, believe me when I say that you need to experience it for yourself to form a valid opinion on it."

"But I do not want to experience it, that is the difference between you and I. I do not desire to be corrupted, I like myself as I am."

"So do I, Belle. I love you for who you are but..." I paused, having a sudden realisation. "What would you say if I had a solution to this problem, that I had a temporary way for you to walk in my shoes, to see things from my point of view?"

"And how would you do that? I refuse to become a Dark One, if that is what you are suggesting." She replied, skeptical.

"Don't worry, dearie, that is not what I was suggesting. Not quite. What I was thinking was that we concoct a body swapping potion – that my mind goes into your body, and yours goes in mine. And my body will of course retain all of my magic. This is the only way that you can experience what it is like to truly be me."

"And how long would this potion last, exactly?"

"Twenty four hours exactly."

"You want me to be in possession of your magic for such a lengthy timespan? Is that really wise?"

"I see no problem with it. After all, I may be defenseless but I'll be defenseless in your body and everyone knows that you are no threat to anyone. And you will be safe in my body because people usually flee at the sight of me because of my wonderful reputation."

"But what if someone gets brave and decides to challenge you? I have little experience in wielding magic, you know this, and I would rather not get you killed – accidentally or otherwise."

"I understand that but that is why I will not just let you galavant off without a magic lesson or two. I am no fool. I know that even though you are incredibly intelligent, having magic of your own is something that you are unaccustomed with so you will need aid."

"I see." She answered, after a few seconds of mulling it over. "But are you sure that it will be safe? What if it goes awry and we are trapped in each other's bodies forever."

"Belle, honestly, do not overthink this. I am adept in potion making and you know this. I have never gone wrong yet so trust that I never will. So, what do you say? Do you want to partake in this experiment? It is entirely up to you, I respect your wishes."

~ Belle ~

Rumple did not fully realise this but his idea terrified me. Yes, I knew that he had not gone wrong yet but saying that aloud only served to tempt fate. And besides, cockiness usually led to one's downfall. I knew this quite well. And as much as I loved him, I did not want to be him. I liked the fact that I wasn't a mixture of man and monster. It would not suit my personality at all.

But he did make a good point. Doing this swap would help me realise what living as him would be like, more so than simply asking questions would achieve but that still did not help steady my nerves. I do not think that anything truly would. But I had not gotten this far in life by being a coward and backing out of things.

I was a strong woman and I needed to be strong now. I needed to push my fears aside and take up Rumple's offer. If it helped strengthen our relationship then it was completely worth it.

"Yes, Rumple. I wish to carry out your idea."

"Well then, dearie, I'll get brewing." Rumple replied before dashing off to collect the ingredients needed.