Prompt: Gold finds out who freed Belle, and pays them back.
There’s few people in town that don’t recognize the black Cadillac. Most know that if it’s parked in front of a house it’s either rent day, and woe betide the man or woman who does not have their rent ready, or there’s trouble. Mr. Gold does not often make casual visits.
Jefferson is one of the few people in town that do not rent property from Gold. He’s one of the few that has never had his threshold crossed by the pawnbroker. He’s one of the few that are owed a favor, rather than owing one.
He’s about to be paid, in full.
For the first time in almost twenty-nine year he stands at the front door of the monstrosity that has been that Hatter’s jail, and raps on the door with the handle of his cane.
“Go away,” says the hoarse and muffled voice on the other side of the door. “I’m not buying any.”
“I think you’ll want what I’m peddling, dearie.” He waits, a count of three, and knocks again. “I have no problem with picking the lock on your door, but that would be tedious and I have a guest to return to.”
“What, no threat to blast the door down with m...” The Hatter, never lacking for words even if they are nonsense as often as not, can’t seem to even form a sound.
“I do believe we’ve managed to surprise your father. Perhaps you can help him, dear?” He gives the girl a gentle nudge, and she’s closing the space between them in seconds.
“Papa!” Father and child are suddenly wrapped so tightly together that it’s impossible to tell where one starts and the other ends. He turns, ostensibly to give them privacy, but if he’s honest with himself it’s because the reunion is too painful to see.
“We’re even now, Hatter. Regina knows that the girl is under my protection, but if you’re foolish enough to deal with her again I will not bother to save you again.” He doesn’t know if the man even hears anything but his daughter’s voice, but it doesn’t matter. He’s paid his debt, and has no reason to linger.
Now, for the first time in three decades, he has someone waiting for him to come home.