Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: Once Upon A Time
Character/Pairing: RumBelle (Rumplestiltskin/Belle)
Challenge/Prompt: 1_million_words ABC Challenge: B
Word Count: 1,000
Date Written: 28 January, 2016
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to their rightful owners, not the author, and are used without permission.
There's power in a name. Rumplestiltskin has always known that. When he was young, the children teased him not just for being a coward but for his namesake. As he grew, the world always rattled him, and he came to look, he fears, far more ugly than any meager Goblin. Thankfully, he's also grown to eclipse them by far in power, but there are still others with stronger power than he.
It's useful to keep track of names. It's part of keeping track of his many, many deals, after all, but there's another use to it that many people fail to grasp. A person can often be summed up at least partially with their name alone. He always knew Regina was meant to be a Queen, and David is too loyal for his own good. He will do anything for those he loves, even sacrifice himself. It's an admirable trait, really, one Rumplestiltskin possesses himself to a certain extent but one he also knows well how to use.
Cora was destined to become the Queen of Hearts, a far darker destiny indeed than many realize, and of course, the Charmings' daughter will be called Emma for she is intended to bring their world back together after he has Regina cast the curse. Every name has a meaning, and every name holds a certain amount of power over the one to whom it is given. Of all the many beings he has encountered, Rumplestiltskin has yet to meet a single one whose name did not somehow affect it, which is exactly why he chose Baelfire for his own son, hoping that the name would not alter the boy's chances for a good life as it was intended simply to tell the world when he came into it.
He doubts Maurice French ever gave names much consideration, but yet, his choice for his daughter is uncannily accurate. Perhaps he doesn't give the old, doddering fool enough consideration. Perhaps he did know what he was doing when he named his daughter, or perhaps the babe was simply the most beautiful thing his eyes had ever beheld. Rumplestiltskin can certainly believe the latter for somehow, even in the darkest corners of his castle, on the dreariest of days, there's a certain light of beauty that simply glows around Belle.
Of all the creatures he's encountered, she is surely the one who most lives up to her name. She is beauty personified not just outside but inside. He's tried to break the girl, but she faces him always with a patient smile, a stiff back, and amazingly kind eyes. She does not hide from him. She does not shrink away in fear or disgust even when he is cruel to her. He can bellow at the top of his lungs, and she simply answers him in a soft voice and with a patient smile.
He doesn't deserve her patience or her kindness. He wants to break her. He wants to make her hate him like the rest of the world. It will be easier to rule her then. And yet . . . Yet, there is a part of him that would rather die already than make her hate him. When she does eventually come to look at him in fear and hatred, in repulsion, and Rumplestiltskin is quite certain she will, he knows that last spark that he feels warm in his chest every time she smiles upon him will shrivel and die. He doesn't want it to happen, and yet it must, for him to succeed at his goals.
He doesn't have time for fairy tales, and yet, even in this age, when the Fae are alive, well, and in the heyday of their magic, Rumplestiltskin knows that the greatest fairy tale of all, the greatest lie of all, is that of True Love. Sure, it comes in handy from time to time, especially in breaking certain spells, but he's quite certain that even the love that the David and his thieving Princess share will one day break. He's even more certain that no one, not even his beautiful slave, will ever be able to love him. It's better by far that she just go ahead and shriek and run from him.
But yet, day after day, she fails to do so. She meets his anger with temperance, his cruelty with kindness, and his snide remarks with smiles. She never fails to have his meal ready, and she's even been there when he's been hurting, caring for him far more than he will ever ask -- or so he tells himself. Even now, however, there are whispers of the legend of Belle's beauty and another fairy tale that has yet to come into reality. He shudders as he remembers the tale and tells himself again that he must find a way to make the girl hate him. He must not fall for her charms.
He can not love her. He must not love her for if he does, he knows already her beauty will be the end of his beast. For Baelfire, he reminds himself and turns his scheming mind to concocting the worst punishment yet for his Belle. Tears will do her no good, but the cold warning in his gut tells him already she won't cry. She'll only smile, endure whatever he casts upon her, and wait again for his anger to be appeased.
He must keep to that anger, he reminds himself again as thunder rolls across the darkening sky. That anger is what will drive him, not her beauty and certainly not love. That anger will guide him to his son and their happily ever after to be spent together. He has no time or room for any girl, and yet . . . Yet, as he thinks of her smile, he can not help but to smile himself. Even in his darkest hours, her smile makes him grin, and Rumplestiltskin knows he's doomed to be love's servant again.