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Childhood Fears and other Things That Owe Rumpelstiltskin Money

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This whole family thing set Rumpelstiltskin on edge. Being pleasant for no reason and offering favors for nothing in return went against his very nature. Here he was, about to borrow a priceless item because “it was the nice thing to do for your family”, according to Neal.

“Besides,” his son had argued, “it's Charming. He's offered you relationship advice more than once. He's your friend.”

If Neal thought Rumpelstiltskin was going to become drinking buddies with David Charming Nolan just because the pirate was gone, he had another thing coming. Still, it was what Neal wanted, and it would be a bad idea to go against his wishes now. They had finally reached a good point in their relationship. Neal was even accepting his use of magic as a valid life style. To let David go play archery with his wife and look like a total ass was a small price to pay to maintain this new found peace.

“And it never misses its target?” David asked again.

“It never misses its target,” Rumpelstiltskin repeated for the millionth time. “But I'm not responsible for what happens when your wife finds out.”

“She's not going to find out,” David said, putting the bow away in a broom closet.

Rumple cringed. “Be careful with it, it's one of a kind.”

“No worries. It will be returned in perfect condition.” David closed the door and turned to the other man. “So? How's Chip?”

Oh, dear lord, he was attempting to make small talk. Life was so much easier when they were fighting each other.

“He's good, he's good.” Then, because he thought it was the polite thing to ask, he said, “How's Prince Neal?”

“Prince Neal lost his first tooth today.”

Rumple sighed, already exhausted by the story that was sure to come. You couldn't shut those Charmings up once they started. “Is that so?”

“Yes. We put it under his pillow and told him to wait for the Tooth Fairy.”

Rumpelstiltskin's eyes doubled in size. “What did you say?”

David chuckled. “He's so excited. Isn't it amazing how fast they grow-”

“Where's his bedroom?”

“Upstairs, why?”

Without another word, Rumpelstiltskin rushed upstairs, two steps at a time, leaving David behind, too confused to follow.

Mary Margaret came in right after. Taking a look at her husband's face, she frowned, “What happened?”

“Gold was here and he-”

David's explanation was cut short by Neal's whiny voice, as he walked down the stairs and into his mother's arms. “Mommy,” he said, with tears in his eyes, “Mr. Gold stole my special tooth.”

Rumpelstiltskin came down right after him.

“You stole his tooth?” David demanded, as Mary Margaret gave their son a tight hug.

“Of course I did!” he all but shouted.

“Why the hell did you steal his tooth?” Mary Margaret asked, looking ready to get her own bow and arrow out of the closet.

“Why did you put it under a pillow?” Rumpelstiltskin replied, baffled.

Neal whined again. Mary Margaret started rocking him and, in a voice sweeter than usual to compensate for Rumple's screaming, she said, “Because the Tooth Fairy will come for it.”

“Why do you want the Tooth Fairy to come? Are you insane?” Rumple asked, keeping his voice as indignant and loud as he could, despite the little crying boy.

“Because she's going to take the baby tooth and leave a coin in its place,” Mary Margaret said, between gritted teeth, as if implying “And you better agree with me, or else!”

Rumpelstiltskin, however, looked as perplexed as ever.

“Why would you even think that?” he shouted. “Don't you people ever open up a book? The Tooth Fairy doesn't leave coins behind. She plucks all the teeth of everyone in the house as soon as they fall asleep!”

There was a moment of confused silence.

Charming broke it by asking, “Sorry, what?”

“Yes! And that is the way you summon one.”

Mary Margaret raised one hand. “Wait, the Tooth Fairy is real?”

“Yes!” Rumple said, glad to see that he was finally getting to them. “She's the most sadistic being you'll ever have the displeasure of meeting. If you get that fairy in your house, she won't leave until she has collected everybody's teeth. Is this what you want? Is it?”

Neal started crying, wrapping his tiny arms around his mother's neck evern tighter.

“There, there, sweetie, it's okay,” Mary Margaret said, rocking him and giving Rumpelstiltskin an angry glare.

“I don't want the Tooth Fairy to take my teeth!”

“He won't, buddy,” Charming said. “Mr. Gold was just kidding.”

“I was not!”

“Gold!”

“You have to familiarize your children with summoning rituals from an early age! Or else, this happens!”

Neal sobbed harder.

Charming gave him pleading eyes.

Rumpel sighed. Right. Being nice.

“Fine. Look here, Neal, look. I'll make sure that mean Tooth Fairy stays far away from you.”

Neal peeked over his shoulder.

“You see, you can only summon the Tooth Fairy if you have a baby tooth under your pillow, and I took your tooth, you see?” He showed the boy the little incisor on the palm of his hand. “She won't come here now. Only if you keep it under your pillow.”

His sobs subsided. He said, “But what if she changes her mind?”

“That's not how magic works.”

“But what if she changes magic?”

These children needed a serious lesson on the fundamentals of magic.

“Alright, look, if you don't have a baby tooth, then she can't come and get it in the first place. Yes?”

“I guess...” Neal said.

Rumpel passed one hand over the teeth and turned it into a little golden coin. “There we go. Problem solved.”

Neal stopped crying immediately. “Is this for me?”

“Yes.”

“Is it real gold?”

“A tiny bit of it.” He handed him the coin. “And it is safe to keep under your pillow. For good luck.”

Neal turned the coin in his little fingers. “Mommy, look! It's a golden coin!”

“What do you tell Mr. Gold?”

He grinned a smile that was missing a tiny tooth. “Thank you, Mr. Gold.”

Despite himself, Rumpelstiltskin almost smiled back. “You're welcome, Neal.”

“Now lets say goodnight and go back to bed.”

As soon as Mary Margaret was gone, Charming turned to Rumple and said, “You couldn't have found a more subtle way to introduce a sadistic fairy into my child's imagination?”

What?” he snapped. “I save your child from a lot of pain and torture and give him a treat. How am I the villain here?”