AN: Hey all! Welcome to my new story! Now, if you're a read of... any of my other stories, you might be currently think: 'hey, what the heck? why is this crazy broad starting a whole new story? doesn't she have like... five others that she's supposed to be working on or something?' Now if you are, in fact, thinking something along those lines, I must respond... yes. Yes I do have other things I am supposed to be working on instead of starting a brand new fic, especially since I have been lapse in updating things and am about to start a whole new semester of undergrad. However, I have two excuses for my actions here.
ONE: as I have mentioned in other locations, I tend to write as inspiration strikes. And several days ago, as I was lying awake and trying to fall asleep at 3:27 AM, I was startled by a large plotbunny clawing its way from under my bed. This strange creature climbed up on top of the bed, stared at me for a minute, then released a roar which summoned it plotbunny-spawn, all of whom proceeded to latch onto my personage a nom at me with their big nasty pointy teeth. The end result was massive blood loss, gaping wounds over my body, and the complete plot to this little dose of crazy.
TWO (which is somewhat less like the plot of a horrible made-for-TV sci-fi movie, and somewhat more of a downer than the first reason): On Saturday I took my beloved doggie Fish II into the vet for his checkup, and the vet found a massive tumor in his intestines. Now, Fish was sixteen years old and had a number of other medical issues, so in the end we decided that the kind thing would be to put him to sleep. I'm really missing my buddy of sixteen years right now, and just felt like writing something that's just silly, and most of the other projects I'm working on right now are a lot more drama based. So, I decided to go ahead with this one.
That all said, to those of you who are waiting on other updates: I've already got some partial chapters for most of my fics, and updates should be coming pretty soon. Also, as I mentioned I have the entire plot for this set and there aren't a lot chapters, so it should distract me for too long. Hope the wait isn't too annoying, and thank you for indulging my AADD (Author Attention Deficit Disorder). To those of you who aren't waiting on other updates and have never even heard of me before: ... You totally didn't need to read any of that. WHOO-HOO!
Anyhoosit, I've taken enough of your time. Here's the story! Hope you all enjoy it!
Disclaimer: Once Upon a Time does not belong to me. Sue, and all you'll get are my student loans. Which you are totally welcome to if you want them, but... yeah.
There is an old, well-known quote from the Bard that follows: By the twitching of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes. Since its creation this phrase has been borrowed time and again, often by people who are being jocular and have never actually experienced twitchy thumbs. Such is not the case in the quiet little town of Storybrook – which is, in fact, not that little and rarely quiet – where people are so used to their thumbs twitching that a town-meeting was once called to discontinue the use of "thumbing it" as a means of hitchhiking anywhere. (It must be noted that unlike many town-meetings, which typically in multiple trips to the hospital or bar and a slew of unresolved issues, this one went down as one of the most necessary and productive.)
But, digression aside, an epidemic of twitchy thumbs erupted on the road which connected the local cemetery and Mr. Gold's Pawnshop. The reason for this epidemic, of course, was none other than the dreaded and terrifying Mr. Gold, aka Rumpelstiltskin, himself – evil mastermind, Dark One, and, most terrifying of all, landlord – who was heading to his shop after a particularly trying series of days.
Thankfully, the prior warning of their spasming digits allowed the citizens of Storybrook to stay out of the way and attention of Mr. Gold, who – as was his want – probably would have unleashed his dark and terrible powers upon any who stood in his way. Not that he generally needed an excuse for such behavior, but the last few days really had been particularly trying.
And so it was that Mr. Gold managed to reach his shop without violating any of nature's laws or having his thoughts interrupted. His thoughts – in the event that one might be curious – ran roughly as follows:
Sweet unmerciful Me, these last few days were strange. I found my son, and that's good! But he still hates me and doesn't want anything to do with me, and that's bad. I'm a grandpa, and that's terrific! But fate is apparently still a cruel bitch and now I'm related to Emma Swan and the Charmings, and while potentially exploitable that promises to be really annoying. That obnoxious sea-monkey Hook stabbed and poisoned me, and that really hurt. But I'm not dead, which is really nice! (I mean, really, being dead would just be so inconvenient. Incidentally, how in the blue hell did Hook even find me? I mean come on, I went out into a world he knows nothing about, and I took a plane! A plane! Honestly, I think he might be stalking me. Maybe I should look into getting a restraining order. Nah, that probably wouldn't work. I should just kill him. Yeah, that'd be nice. …Where was I? Oh, right!). Cora is finally dead, which is beyond wonderful! But, of course, now Regina is all bent out of shape about it and will probably go back to being all evil and mopey, which is bad and annoying. Oh, and Belle still doesn't remember me, and that's really really sad. Like… like even more sad than when there's no more jam! It is worse than no-jam-sad, and that's an awful sort of sad! It's even worse than somebody-stole-from-me-sad, which honestly isn't sad for that long because it usually becomes somebody-stole-from-me-bloody-furious, but still! Sad. It's a good thing there's still jam at home. At least my jam is there for me, unlike the woman of my dreams and my son. Oh hey, look, my shop door is standing open. And the lock is broken. And my shop looks like it's been ransacked. … Yep. The next one to four seconds of somebody-stole-from-me-sad are going to be really unpleasant.
Yep. Somebody's going to die.
Moments later Gold was in his shop, taking stock of the situation and fighting back the urge to go out and lay waste to the town as a whole. How many times were people going to steal from him? What did it take to dissuade that sort of behavior?
Honestly, I never should have listened to Belle about sparing that stupid archer. If I had just skinned him like I wanted then I wouldn't be having this recurring problem! Honestly, when I find whoever broke in this time I am so getting my skinning-knife. Actually, I guess it's a good thing Belle doesn't remember me right now; she probably wouldn't be happy about me using Alfonso again. … I wonder if most people name their skinning-knives, or if that's just something I do?
That thought working through the back of his mind, he slowly made his way across the shop, cataloging inventory as he went.
Tacky glass unicorn mobile: check. Smelly dwarves' beer steins, seven in count: check. Magic wands, in variety: check. Regina's tears, eleven bottles: check. Incredibly creepy puppets, matched set: check.
His brow furrowed slightly; thus far nothing appeared to be missing, which was… good. And yet, he couldn't bring himself to believe that someone would just break into his shop, ransack the place, and not take anything. Even were the intruder looking for something specific and didn't find it, it seemed somewhat unlikely for them to leave empty handed. He paused at his potions cabinet, noting the slightly ajar door with growing unease, before opening it fully and glancing over its contents.
Forgetful potion that turns you evil: check. Levitation potion: check. Invisibility potion: check. Disguise-in-a-bottle: check. Intangibility potion: check. Sterility potion: check. Puppet potion, ugh: check. Bottled sunlight: check. Bottled moonlight: check. Steelskin potion: check. Shark-repellant potion, in handy spray: check. Night-vision potion: check. Forbidden Potion of Dark and Unspeakable Evil: missing. Blending potion: ch-
The Dark One nearly gave himself whiplash, head jerking to the empty spot in the cabinet. He stared. And stared. And stared a little more. Eventually, it began to sink in the staring would not, in fact, alter reality. A chill washed over him, his stomach coiling into a tight ball, and a deeply unpleasant tingle settling into his bowels and nether-regions alike. Finally, he opened his mouth and, addressing the universe at large, whispered:
"Oh, bugger me."
There is an old, well-known proverb which follows: No rest for the wicked. Sherriff Emma Swan was by no means "wicked" – she was on occasion reckless, petty, and somewhat vindictive, yes, but not wicked – but certainly had been allowed much rest over the last, particularly trying, few days. So in her case the proverb did not particularly apply. In fact, it occurred to Emma that the wicked people she knew often seemed to rest much better than the non-wicked people she knew. That particular thought turned over in her mind as she made her way towards the police station.
Why do all of the bad guys I deal with seem so well-rested anyway? Hmm, probably comes from not having to worry about people breaking into their homes and brutally murdering them in their sleep. That tends to keep you up nights. Well, that and trying to stop whatever evil plot the bad guy has in the works. How did my life come to the point where I actually have to deal with bad guys and evil plots? I mean… that's the kind of thought that just makes you feel really sad about your life. Like, almost to the point of feeling aw-man-I'm-out-of-jam-sad. And that's just awful. So happy we still have jam at home, it went great with the toast this morning. Oh hey look, the door to the station's open. … Even though I locked it last night. … And only David and I have the keys. … And he hasn't left the apartment since yesterday.
Damnnit today's going to suck.
Slipping her gun from its holster, Emma slowly made her way into the station. At first glance, everything looked fine; the place didn't look ransacked, there didn't appear to be any sort of magical whatsit spookifying anything, and there was no sign of any evil megalomaniacs or headache-inducing potential love-interests – and how sad was her life that the latter seemed more plentiful than the former… or that the former even existed – lying in wait to ambush her. After a cursory once-over – followed by a not-so-cursory twice-over – Emma finally holstered her gun, sighing in slight relief and reaching to rub her forehead.
This is not the way I like my days to start. Not at all. … I need coffee.
That particularly thought replacing all else in her mind, Emma turned in the direction of the station's old-but-serviceable coffee machine. And nearly had a heart-attack from running head-first into Mr. Gold.
The Pawnbroker/Landlord/Lord Of Darkness/Her Son's Grandfather was staring at her with an odd expression, not apparently phased with her reflexively trying – and pathetically failing – to draw her gun on him. Idly, while she desperately tried to get her breathing under control, Emma's mind mulled over the strangeness of his expression. On a… anything not Mr. Gold, she would classify that expression as a combination of barely suppressed blind-terror and utter horror. On Gold… she shook her head briefly, then opened her mouth to speak.
"We have a problem."
She felt her eye twitch slightly at being cut off, and suppressed a biting retort. (To those who might be curious, her retort would not, in fact, have been at all biting, but would have been "Your face is a problem!"). Instead of the masterfully crafted comeback she initially intended, Emma simply choked out a sharp, "What now?"
Gold seemed to suppress a shiver, "Something's been stolen from my shop."
… This is so not what my day needs.
Emma felt her eye twitch again, less slightly this time, and she struggled once more to control her breathing. "Gold…" she swallowed against the frustration boiling up inside, "No. Just no. I know you know about the days I just had, so you have to know that I am not up to dealing with this right now. Now, I am sorry if someone broke into your place and stole the lace freakin' doily that is the only memento of the gerbil you had back in Fairytale Land, but-"
A strange, straggled noise bubbled from Gold's mouth, cutting off her growing tirade. The man before her seemed ready to jump out of his skin – or, possibly, rip the skin off of somebody else – at the slightest provocation. "Sherriff, I assure you I would not waste time on you if my keepsake of Bernard had been taken. The object of which I speak could very well bring about the absolute destruction of the entire town!"
Her jaw dropped open, and she stared at Gold with unveiled shock. "You… actually had a gerbil? His name was Bernard?! Why would you – wait." She blinked suddenly, mind backpedaling frantically, "Did you just say the town would be destroyed?!"
Gold's eye was twitching now. "Woman," he hissed, voice a notably higher pitch than usual, "would you please just try and keep up?! We are on the brink of facing a dark and unspeakable evil, the likes of which this town has never even dreamed in its most unnatural of terrors!"
Emma's mouth went dry, a chill running down her spine at those words. If Gold of all people was this worked up… "Alright…. alright." She swallowed – or at least tried to, the dry mouth made it a little difficult – and steeled herself. "What was it?"
"A…" he shuddered, "a love-potion."
Gold started, blinking at her in startled confusion. "I said a-"
"I heard what you said!" Emma briefly debated whether or not to pull her gun on him. "Damnnit Gold you got me all worked up! And over what?! A stupid 'love potion?' Are you kidding me?! That's just…" she threw her hands into the air, waving them in some strange gesture that roughly resembled jazz-hands, "So what? Someone's going to be able to find and get together with their true love, whoo-hoo, great for them! How does that that even resemble-"
She froze suddenly, words dying in her throat as she stared at Gold. Who was… laughing.
Not a happy, pleasant, joyful laugh; filled with merriment and delight. Nor a harsh, maniacal, evil laugh; ringing with insane passion and the promise of violence. No, it was a hysterical laugh of unwanted understanding, and that meant terror.
Gold's eyes meant hers, and she felt herself shudder at the veiled panic in them. He spoke again, his voice trembling slightly, "You think this has anything to do with true love?" He shook his head jerkily, "Oh no Sherriff, nothing like that. Nothing like that at all." He shook his head again, "What this potion does is much darker, much more horrifying. It…" he shook his head a third time, "when applied to one's eyes, it forces that hapless individual to fall hopelessly and madly in love with the first person they see."
Emma blinked, trying to wrap her mind around what Gold was saying. Suddenly, a thought occurred to her. "What a minute… isn't that… didn't that happen in Midsummer's Night Dream? The Shakespeare play?"
"Oh Sherriff," Gold's voice was grave, "If only things had ended so well for those poor souls in reality as they did in that little tale." His eye twitched again, "I assure you Sherriff, that was the last time I allowed the potion to be used. And now…" his voice dropped to a whisper, "now it's loose in our town."
And now Shakespeare's plays are based on reality. And the reality sounds more like Lovecraft or Stephen King than Shakespeare. This is really not what my day needs.
Emma swallowed thickly, "So… what really did happen the last time the potion was used?"
"I have absolutely no idea."
She started, face contorting with confusion, "What? How could you have-"
"Because the first thing I did once it was all over was go into the first tavern I could find, at which point I imbibed enough alcohol to utterly purge every last brain cell containing even the slightest memory of the affair."
Silence ruled after that statement, filling the station with its mute awkwardness.
After an eternity – or thirty-seven seconds – Emma sighed, palmed her face, turned around, and promptly walked out of the station.
She was almost at the dinner when Gold finally caught up, eye twitching more from annoyance than terror.
"Sherriff, I am somewhat at a loss." He glared at her, "I just informed you of an unspeakable calamity poised to decimate our town, and your first instinct is to make a bee-line to the land of frozen entrées?"
Emma bit back another sigh, "Look, if this missing potion-thing is really as bad as you say it is, than I need coffee. And not the emergency stuff we keep at the station for when we can't get to Granny's or need to strip paint." She grimaced at the thought, then quickly had to dodge out of the way of a couple who were speed-walking down the sidewalk. After shooting a quick at the rapidly retreating pair, she looked back at Gold. "So, that means that this 'unspeakable calamity' can wait until I get my java," she side-stepped an unsettled looking young man, "and maybe a Danish or something because if the past-" they both parted around a trio of hurried teenage girls, "is any indicator I probably won't get a chance to eat-" she stumbled slightly in her attempt to avoid collision with Happy, who was running at break-neck speed down the street, "much today and what in the heck is going on?!"
They both stopped short before the entrance to Granny's, staring as the door was flung open and a veritable tide of townspeople surged through the door. She glanced towards Gold again, this time sharing a look of trepidation with him. Then, mustering her courage, she opened the door and walked into the dinner.
Where she promptly froze, staring in utter shock at the sight before her.
"Yes… Sherriff?" The voice at her side sounded as stunned as she felt.
"Is… is that…?"
"Miss Ruby and Dr. Hopper? Yes. Yes it would appear so."
"Sitting on the bar counter? Yes. Yes he is."
"And is she…?"
"Straddling his lap? It certainly seems that way."
"And…" her voice came out in a bewildered squeak, "Are they…?"
"Employing their tongues in a thorough spelunking of each other's throats? Looks like it."
Her jaw would not retract, nor would her eyelids close, no matter how hard she tried to get them to obey her. Emma Swan would go through the rest of her life as a slack-jawed, bug-eyed crazy person, and the spectacle before her was to blame. The spectacle that – she determined – had been permanently seared into her retinas and mind alike and would never leave.
Then the noises broke through her fugue state. Noises that, most emphatically, had no place outside the bedroom. Or coming from the throat of Archie Hopper, the Mr. Rogers of Storybrook, under any circumstances.
"G…" she shuddered, willing her mouth to form actual words again, "Gold?"
"... Whoever stole your potion…" she shuddered again, and suddenly felt a different sensation welling up inside. Not the shock or horror from moments before. No. Now she felt the cold burn of anger kindling itself in her chest. Her eyes narrowed, "Whoever stole your potion must be stopped."
Beside her, she could feel Gold straighten somewhat, a sense of power growing where he stood. "Indeed. Stopped." An odd note crept into the man's voice, "Stopped, with extreme prejudice."
That sounded about right. She nodded sharply, "Right, now let's go find the-"
Hey, why is Ruby taking off his glasses? What is she doi- OHDEARSWEETNONONONONONONO STOPSTOPSTOPSTOPSTOP BADTHINGS! BAD BAD BAD THINGS! LOOK AWAY! FLEE!
The next thing she knew, Emma Swan was standing outside the dinner with Gold by her side, both of them trembling in unspeakable horror. Her mind was nearly blank, one thought alone cycling through her distorted consciousness. Finally, she opened her mouth and, addressing the universe at large, whispered:
"Today. Officially. Sucks."
AN: There it is! Hope you all enjoyed chapter one, and will enjoy what's to come! And remember kids-
Riku: Reviews = Love. So send out a quick review to validate this little mental-ward-escapee's existence. ... Seriously. Please review, the other muses and I have to deal with the little nutjob when she feels unloved.
Shoosh precious, don't scare the nice people. But... yeah, R&R folks!
Hasta Luego! ^-^