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Waiting

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A blank expression lay on Belle’s face as she stared out the window from Rumple’s tower room. It was only a matter of hours before everyone would be torn away from the Enchanted Forest to a different land. A land where magic didn’t roam free. It would be strange of course, but it’s what had to be done in order to reunite father and son.

Belle and Rumplestiltskin had worked tirelessly for months in preparation for this very day. They had put Regina in a certain mindset, exactly how they wanted it. From there, they prepared. Belle protected the castle on the off chance they would ever return while Rumple set up his plans with Regina. Plans that would keep Belle and the baby together, at least. Her heart ached at the thought of being separated from Rumple, but she knew they would reunite eventually. She knew that the savior, a woman known as Emma, would reunite them. Belle had to believe she would.

Belle’s focus was snapped when the sound of crying filled the room. A small smile spread on her face as she turned towards the crib that sat in the middle of her line of vision.

Their daughter had been born four months prior. The pain hadn’t been too much for Belle to handle, but she had chalked it up to the curse of the Dark One protecting her. Either way, she and her husband were equally content. Their daughter had been born, a perfect split between mother and father.

The thought of Rumplestiltskin made Belle sigh. She wished for her husband to be by her side as she waited for the purple haze to take them away, but she knew he was exactly where he wanted to be, imprisoned underneath the castle of Snow White and Prince Charming. The thought humored Belle, as she had tried to protect the couple’s baby only months before (which she now knew, the baby would grow up to become the savior). In the meantime though, they were keeping her husband there, without magic. Belle chuckled again as she went to pick up the child, who immediately began playing with Belle’s brown locks.

Rumplestiltskin wasn’t completely alone. No, Belle and the baby would visit. Once nightfall hit, Belle would sneak down to where he was being held captive. A quick freezing spell would take care of the guards, and the bars of the cage were easy enough to open with her magic. Their daughter would smile and giggle at the sight of her father, and they’d stay there through the night. Sometimes their child would just smile at them both, other times she’d sleep through the whole encounter. When their daughter slept, the two would talk. They’d talk about their plans, the curse, the new land. Everything. Belle was thankful for each moment.

When dawn broke, Belle would kiss her husband goodbye and leave everything as it was before she arrived. It was as if she was never there.

Another sigh escaped her lips. She knew he was where he needed to be, but she still wished for him to be at her side as they left this world for another. She snuggled her daughter closer to her as she walked towards the window. They would soon be lost in another world, it was only a matter of time.

- -

“Cleanup on aisle two,” a voice said over the loudspeaker in the supermarket.

Lacey had to stifle back a giggle at the words as she navigated around the store with her cart. That had to have been the third spill this morning alone.

A small noise erupted from the cart and Lacey smiled. Her daughter had been asleep all while she shopped, meaning she was bound to wake up any minute. Of course, the loudspeaker would be the noise to do it. “Hi my little darling,” Lacey cooed down into the cart as she walked aimlessly around the store. After everything that she had hoped for in life, she couldn’t even begin to fathom this is where she would end up.

She had always dreamed of seeing the world. She spent her entire childhood reading countless books about different countries and the different wonders of the world. She had plans to go to college somewhere far away from Storybrooke, Maine. She wasn’t going to stay in town like all of her reckless friends. However, a drunken one-night stand at eighteen with the town pawnbroker proved otherwise. She ended up pregnant and devastated. She would never see the world. Even though the thought loomed in her mind, she knew she would do whatever it took to care for her child. Unfortunately, the father of her child wasn’t as interested in the concept as she was.

Lacey made do as a single mother, though. She had a child care system set up with the church, and she would work at the Storybrooke Library to earn her wages. They made do, and Lacey adored her child. They had each other and that was all that mattered.

Lacey’s thoughts began to drive her away and she didn’t realize that she was about to crash into one of the sale racks. In attempt to avoid the collision, she pulled the cart back and moved out of the way. In doing so though, she accidently backed into another patron.

“Woah,” the voice said, causing Lacey to furrow her brows. The voice was new, one that Lacey had never heard before. She knew everyone in the town. Lacey quickly turned around to acknowledge the stranger.

“I am so sorry,” she quickly apologized as she came face to face with the unfamiliar face. This new girl was blonde and wore an irritated expression on her features. She was holding a candy bar in her hand. “I must have not been paying attention,” she continued on nervously, her cheeks blushing red. She despised feeling embarrassed

“You’re fine. I wasn’t really paying attention either,” the woman explained, causing Lacey to nod. They were about to part their separate ways before something drew Lacey in.

“Do I know you?” Lacey questioned with a raised eyebrow. For some reason, she needed to know who this woman was. “It’s just, I know everyone in town, but I don’t think our paths have ever crossed,” she explained, almost as if she were in a trance. The blonde woman narrowed her eyes at her before shaking her head.

“No, I don’t think so. I’m new to town,” she explained with a nod of her head before putting the candy bar back on it’s shelf. Lacey nodded along with her before extending a hand to her.

“I’m Lacey,” she said simply, a smile replacing the confusion that had piled up on her features. The stranger gave her a small smile as well before taking her hand to shake.

“Emma,” she said. Emma. Lacey’s vision clouded for a second before memories started pouring into her brain. She remembered who she was. Belle.

Countless, countless memories of her former life began to resurface and she remembered everything.

Being a Dark One. The curse. Their castle. Her pregnancy. Snow. Charming. Baelfire.

Rumplestiltskin.

Belle’s breath hitched and she quickly pushed her new thoughts away, since Emma was now staring at her with a concerned look. “You okay?” She asked. Belle quickly nodded as she went to pick up the baby carrier out of the cart. “Yes, I just remembered something. I have to go,” she explained and within seconds she was flying out the door with her baby in tow. She would come back and apologize for leaving her cart in the middle of the aisle later, but she needed to go now. She needed to see her husband.

- -

Belle moved as quickly as she could towards the pawnshop that stood towards the middle of town. Part of her was in shock. She had been clouded with twenty-eight years of false memories. Twenty-eight years of caring for her child as a single mother. Twenty-eight years of believing Rumplestiltskin (well, technically Mr. Gold in this land) didn’t want to be with her. The thought alone broke her heart, especially since she knew the truth.

The bell to the pawnshop rang out as she pushed her way through, tightening her grip on the baby carrier. Rumplestiltskin stood behind the front desk, sifting through paperwork. The sight of her love made her heart explode, but she had forgotten one crucial detail. He wouldn’t know who she was. At least, not yet.

“Miss French,” his voice spoke out grimly, the sound breaking her from the trance. “What are you doing here?” he asked plainly, as if he was not interested at all. Belle’s heart sunk, but it was true. In this land, Mr. Gold wanted nothing to do with Lacey French or her child.

“I was just, um,” for once, Belle was speechless. The clashing personalities between who she is and who she thought she was battled for dominance, leaving her speechless. “I’m sorry,” was all she could muster up in the end. She wasn’t even sure what she was apologizing for, but it was better than an awkward silence.

“I think you should leave,” he replied, refusing to look at her or her child. Their child. Belle wanted to scream. In both realities, they had a child. How could this version of her husband not want anything to do with the child? Deep down, she knew it was the curse. It was all Regina’s doing. Even then, it still hurt.

Belle contemplated leaving, but no . She didn’t want to leave. She wanted to be here, with him. With their daughter. Her family. No, she was staying and she was going to make him remember, whether he liked it or not.

In another true act of impulsiveness, Belle marched over to where he stood and set the baby carrier down by her feet. Without another thought, she grabbed at his tie and pulled his face down to meet hers. Their lips crashed together, the feeling making Belle ecstatic. She missed this. After a few moments, she pulled away from him, determination still plastered all over her face.

The man looked confused, at first. He merely stared at Belle while she stood there, her confidence soaring. Then, a small smile formed on his face as he reached up to cradle her cheek. “Belle,” he said softly, tears welling up in his eyes. The same started to form in Belle’s as she quickly reached up to wrap her arms around him. He remembered.

“You look different here,” Belle said, half jokingly. Rumplestiltskin laughed at the comment after the two pulled apart.

“As do you,” he said, taking in her appearance. He was right. In this land, Belle’s wardrobe included sundresses, blouses, skirts, and ballerina flats. She did look different, compared to the enormous amount of leather and heels she wore in the Enchanted Forest. She would have to fix that later on.

While Belle contemplated her new wardrobe, she had noticed that Rumple’s eyes had finally locked in on the baby carrier. Belle’s face quickly broke out in a grin as she reached down to pick up the carrier and place it on the counter. She unbuckled their daughter and gave her a gentle smile before handing her over to her father. He didn’t say anything, but she watched on as he held their daughter with such ease.

They were finally a family again.