Fic: Friday Night
Title: Friday Night (Time of Day ‘verse)
Rating: very NC-17
Summary: The night he meets Emma Swan, Mr Gold really feels the effects of time moving once again. Belle French finds him in a bar, and an affair is begun.
Marchie prompted: His drink is too strong for her; Mr. Gold finds Belle in a bar;
Accio prompted: How they met
She drops down onto the stool next to him as if she has a right to it.
Little Belle French, with such bright eyes and demure little skirts, who watches everyone so carefully.
Mr Gold knows who she is: he knows everyone. Until today, tonight, he never knew how he knew them. Just that no one in town had a secret he didn’t keep, somewhere among the ruins and chaos of his work.
Tonight, however, Mr Gold knows exactly who she is.
Little Belle French, the florist’s daughter, who was once the only child of a knight turned warlord, who once traded herself for the lives of everyone she loved. Whose name hasn’t changed for all that her memories have, for all that she’s somehow flightier and less substantial than she was when they last met.
It’s a bit of a shock, seeing her here and now. To his recollection, the fuzzy and hazy idea he has of his life between a magical prison cell beneath a castle and this seat at the bar, they’ve never spoken before in Storybrooke.
He’d thought her long lost, gone and dead and buried.
Either his magic is more powerful than even he’d believed, or someone has been telling tall tales for three decades now. Either way, he’s half way past sober already, and Belle is sat beside him, and he can feel her warmth even through the air and his jacket, smell the scent of modern, chemical shampoo - not lemons, not the way it used to be - without even turning.
“Hey,” she smiles, wide and sure and a little insecure, and he shoots an entirely dismissive smile back, doesn’t turn to look at her face to face.
He can’t do this, not now. Not when he’s dealing with a headful of new memories and a life newly filled with regret, with the memory of the son he’d forgotten and the horrors he’d wreaked. And he’ll do it all again, smash and burn and twist the world to his design. But not tonight. Tonight he plans to get so out of his mind drunk that he can barely remember the way home, let alone anything else.
He doesn’t need the woman who became his true love smiling at him from less than a foot away and threatening to stay.
He’s been mourning her for far too long to hold on now.
And she doesn’t know it, not at all, but if he turns to look at her fully, hears his name - even Mr Gold, his new name, the moniker that is somehow better and so much worse than the old - on her lips, he will cry and cling and beg. He will become what he once was, low and afraid, a coward to his bones, and hold on to the bravest person he’s ever known to protect him from his own storms.
“Are you alright?” she asks, a note of doubt creeping into her voice, and it’s so unlike herself, so not the Belle he remembers, that he turns in surprise.
Her hair is a little shorter, here, and straight. Blonde, although it hadn’t been yesterday. That could explain the chemical smell coming from her: perhaps he is not the only one who tonight has changed.
It’s enough of a difference that he can look her in her eyes and not fall apart.
“No, not really dear,” he admits, because if you cannot tell the woman you claim to have loved so deeply your troubles, then who on earth can you tell?
“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.” she smiles with genuine sympathy, and for the hundredth time since the moment they met so very long ago and far away, he wonders what she is.
The barman - who he recognises now, and isn’t Robin Hood looking well these days? - asks for her order, and she, foolish and brave child that she is, orders whatever he’s having. Which she can’t afford, because his brand of whiskey is expensive as gold thread, but she asks for it anyway.
“I’ll cover it.” The words are out of his mouth before he can stop them, and she smiles like the sun.
He could have paid the tab and walked away, were it not for that smile.
“Oh, kiss me again, it’s working…”
He winces, and she frowns, “You don’t need to- I mean, it’s fine. I can just have a rum and Coke or something.”
“No, it’s fine dear,” he smiles, tries to be Mr Gold and to bury the bones of Rumpelstiltskin, “I’m hardly going to deny a woman her drink.”
The barman regards him oddly as he pours her her whiskey, but Gold ignores him. He raises his glass in cheers to her, and she follows suit, taking a long sip as he does and smiling. She is the sexiest thing he’s ever seen for all of two seconds, and then she is red-faced, coughing and spluttering, “Oh dear Lord, what is that, pure gasoline?”
He snickers, takes another sip for emphasis, “It’s just whiskey, dear, is something the matter?”
“No.” she looks him square in the eye, and downs the whole glass, wincing and trying not to show it.
Her face flushes, and she’s breathing hard, but there is no coughing. His Belle is still brave, even in this world, never one to back down from a challenge. “Well, that was impressive.” he mutters, and she smiles. Her eyes are a little glazed already, and he wonders how much of a drinker she can actually be if she’s tipsy from one glass.
Rumpelstiltskin drank goblin ale and firewhiskey. Gold wishes it were easier to get him drunk than the tried-and-tested method of downing an entire bottle of this realm’s Scotch, but he’ll take what he can get.
And bloody hell, he’s missed her. He’s missed the way she smiles at him, how completely unafraid she is of him. Even when she doesn’t know him at all, even when he charges her father through the nose on rent, and scares the living daylights out of most of the town. She isn’t scared of him now, and she wasn’t then, even when she really should have been.
He doesn’t know where she was, all that time, but she’s here now and maybe that’s what’s important.
“You think?” she croaks, and he doesn’t hold back his laughter at her thoroughly murdered throat.
“Dearie, you just downed half a glass of eighty-proof scotch. That you can even speak right now is an accomplishment.”
“Well then,” she giggles, “I shall take the compliment.” She rises from the table and plucks her knee-length skirt out, makes a deep and wobbly approximation of a curtsey.
He laughs, and she beams like he just handed her the moon. He inclines his head - he is inclined to sweep a deep bow to her, to his lady, but it would be a mite out of place in this world.
“So, what’s the matter?” she asks, as she slumps back on her stool, and watches him with wide and interested eyes. She looks looser somehow, like the tension has been drained from her body, and she must be some kind of lightweight if she’s tipsy from one glass of whiskey.
Then again, he has no idea how much she might have had to drink before she approached him. She is enchanting all the same, with her cheeks flushed, a new bright sheen to her eyes, and her smile languid and natural.
“I ah,” he wonders how he can phrase this so it is neither a lie nor the impossible truth, “I had a rather disturbing encounter. Stirred up all kinds of memories.”
“Memories of what?” she asks, and he’s sat on a table in his old dining hall, with a girl in a blue dress and dark curls, telling a halting and altogether edited version of the loss of his boy. Her accent hasn’t changed, although what would have been a Marchlands tone in the old world would identify her now as Australian, and he wonders absently if she has implanted memories of her supposed homeland.
“Of another life, Miss French,” he can see that she’s intrigued, and he wonders once again what the hell she is doing sitting and talking with him, tonight of all nights.
“Another life? Like a previous life? Oh!” she smiles, giggles, “Were you reincarnated as a cat or something? I could totally see you as a grouchy old tabby.”
He frowns, half-seriously, but the damned girl keeps laughing. She’s had more to drink than he’d originally thought, it appears, but her laugh is still the same: warm and rich, wrapping itself around him and removing every little hurt that he has. He’s missed her laugh.
“If I was a grumpy old tabby cat,” he replies, finally, “Then you were a far-too-curious little blonde kitten. The kind who decided it was a wonderful idea to chew on electrical cables.”
“Oh, shut up!” She smacks his arm, playfully, and he stares at the spot where her hand brushed for a moment in utter shock. She is real, corporeal and physical and present, and capable of half-hearted attempts at violence. “I was the bravest kitten in the litter. I led adventures and got the others into trouble.”
“And then became a fluffy little kitty barbeque.” He smirks, and she sticks her wicked little pink tongue out at him, but the teasing little gleam never leaves her eyes.
“That’s horrible!” she scolds, but she can’t contain her wicked little giggles, and he remembers her sense of humour, how she understood his stupid little jokes and always laughed, how her attempts at humour were always as dark and lame as his.
“Brave kittens get themselves dead: it’s the bright, cautious, sensible ones who make it.”
He tries not to feel the little stab of pain at the truth of his words: Belle’s bravery lead to her disappearance, lead to her supposed death. She had been brave enough to heed the advice even of a woman as unsubtly and obviously threatening as the Queen, and to return to the lair of the monster to save him with no thought for herself. And for her efforts, she was thrown in a dungeon and cast out into the world without a word of thanks.
He’d thought her dead, and blamed her bravery and his cowardice in tandem for the loss.
She smiles at him a little oddly, and he wonders if he really covered his reaction as well as he thought. Then she laughs, tosses her hair, “You were the kid who always won at hide and seek, weren’t you?”
“The trick is to pick your hiding place before the game starts.” he replies, dryly, “Then give everyone else poor advice, to weed out the competition.”
“Ah,” she nods, smirking, “That’s not a bit… dishonorable?”
She slurs a little on the last word, and he chuckles, feeling a warmth he hasn’t felt in decades, a fire in his blood that has nothing to do with the alcohol, “I like to win,” he shrugs, watching her closely, “I like to get what I want.”
He doesn’t know when his voice went lower, or when she started to lean in and he started leering, but here they are and he has no intention of stopping.
“Oh.” She shivers, although it’s plenty warm in the bar, and he permits himself a lascivious sweep of his eyes up and down her form, from the tips of her toes in their brown boots to the roots of her newly-blonde hair. He lingers on the curve of her hips, the swell of her breasts beneath her t-shirt, and he sees her shaking and trying to stay still as he does.
Because she’s drunk, and he’s tipsy, and he’s missed her more than anything in the world, so what’s the harm in looking?
“And what do you want?” she asks, and she licks her lips, damned and perfect woman that she is.
“I want…” he smiles, enjoying the quickening of her breath, “To know why I have a silly little blonde kitten bothering me on a Friday night.”
He smirks, turns back to his drink, and hears her sigh of annoyance. He has to remember what and who they are in this world. She is alive, and innocent, and pure as the sunshine, a florist’s daughter with a sweet smile for everyone and anyone; he is nothing more than an old and battered pawnbroker with his finger in every rotten pie in town.
Until the curse breaks, he must not touch her.
He will ruin her, if he lets her make him happy. The Curse will take any shred of peace or happiness any of them find - now that the Saviour has come to awaken the world - and burn it all to ashes. Belle will be consumed in the flames, and he cannot lose her again.
So he smiles, like the bastard he is, and denies her all that her parted lips are begging for.
“I’m here because you were alone,” she says, “And I don’t think you can be as awful as you want us all to believe.”
“Oh, believe me dear,” he chuckles, bitterly, “I’m far worse.”
“I wonder.” She leans in, her arm on the bar so her face is inches from his shoulder, so he could turn his head and kiss her with the barest of motions, “You could’ve taken advantage just then, and you didn’t.” she smirks, “Even though you paid for my drink.”
“And this is significant?”
“A real asshole would have his hands all over me right now.” She grins like she’s won an argument, “And think he was entitled to it.”
Maybe she’s not as drunk as she’d seemed.
“I think you overestimate your appeal, dearie.” He drains his whiskey to swallow the lie, and she ought to look crumpled, the wind taken out of her pretty blonde and blue sails. She’s just smiling, like she’s seen through his falsehood with one blink of her periwinkle eyes, and is amused that he’d even try.
“You’re just a decent guy,” she counters, “Better than you think.”
“Have I missed something here?” He tries for cold, for downright fucking icy, hoping she’ll leave him alone and go back to her safe and boring little life, her holding pattern, until the curse can break and they can be together properly, “Perhaps our last several meetings where you earned the right to act as my therapist?”
“Oh, come on, I’ve seen how you look at me. But you never say a word. Ever. You could threaten my dad with the rent and have me as collateral, but you don’t. You’re not the immoral, selfish, evil bastard everyone says you are, and I’m sick to death of no one having the guts to come up and say it.”
“So you’re here to be the angel on my shoulder?” He scoffs, and tries to hide the little broken tone to his voice. Because that’s what she’s always been, and for her to take up the mantle willingly is more than he can bear.
“Oh,” she laughs, low in her throat, “Angel might be taking it a bit far.”
He turns to look at her, the richer, knowing tone of her voice something so new, so different than the Belle he remembers that he can look at her, and not see the girl who died.
She is so beautiful, and young, and whole.
“Would it, really?” he looks her up and down again, more critically this time, “Hiding a pair of horns and a tail somewhere on your person then, Miss French?”
“Belle,” she breathes, and when did he get so close to her that he could feel her words on his face, her breath warm and infused with whiskey and secrets? “My name is Belle.”
“I know, dear,” he replies, right before his lips meet hers, “Believe me, I know.”
She tastes different now than she did before, in the old world. No more lemon rinse and tea leaves, she is whiskey and cherry lipgloss, sweet and warm, drugging with every slant of her lips, as he runs his tongue along the seam and she opens with a gasp.
Her hands come up to tangle in his hair, and he growls into her lips as her nails scratch ever-so-lightly against his scalp, sending shivering tingles down his spine and straight to his groin. He doesn’t let her reciprocate, he plunders her mouth for every hidden secret, finds every spot that makes her whimper and exploits them mercilessly. It is a kiss designed to brand and burn, to show her what kind of fire her delicate little hands are playing with..
He loves her, and with every stroke of his tongue against hers, every squeeze of his hands on her hips as he holds her against him, every sweet moan he elicits and swallows down, he comes closer to breaking her as well.
But he’s missed her, and he’s been missing her forever, and self-control is a dream for princes and knights in armor. He is a monster, his purpose is to slash and burn and pillage, and that’s all he’ll ever be
He pulls back, bites on her lower lip and feels her gasp against his mouth. He surveys his handiwork, the bruised and swollen lips and flushed cheeks, and she withdraws her hands from his hair slowly, brings them down to rest on his shoulders.
“There are downsides to being my guardian angel, pet,” he says, and waits for her eyes to open fully, for the shock and disgust to register and any liking she had for him to fade.
“Oh?” she blinks up at him, “Like what?”
He frowns at her, and can’t help feeling they’ve done this before, this same dance of acceptance and disbelief, kisses and beaming smiles. This doesn’t end well, not when certain words are said out loud. And it breaks his heart, just a little bit, just enough to hurt.
He breaks their cycle.
He grabs her hand, hauls her off her barstool and smirks at the little surprised sound she makes. He looks at the bartender, smirks, says, “Tell anyone and expect an eviction notice.” And feels a burst of twisted glee when the boy swallows hard and nods. Belle looks at him a moment, but she doesn’t pull her hand out of his, and even giggles when he growls down at her, all intent and villainy.
He pulls her through the bar, the few barflies hanging around too off their faces to notice a slight man and his tiny companion, and pulls her into an empty billiards room in the back.
His mouth comes crashing back to hers, holding her against him and kissing her greedily, as she moans, wrapping her arms around his shoulders and winding her hot little fingers back into his hair.
He backs her up against the pool table, and she moans as the small of her back hits the wood and his mouth leaves hers, trails hot, open-mouthed, scraping kisses down her jaw, worrying on the side of her neck long enough to bruise, all lips and tongue and biting teeth. She cries out, such sweet little noises, as one of his hands trails from her waist and up under her shirt, to rub her breast through her blouse, greedily squeezing and rubbing the tip through her lacy bra.
She is clinging to him, and between them they push her up to sit on the pool table, so she can wrap her legs around his middle, so she can be as close to him as physically possible.
In this world he can touch her, kiss her, mouth her neck and taste her skin, and the walls do not crumble, the earth remains where he left it. The world stays standing, and he is ravishing his Belle on a pool table, and her mouth drugs him as she hauls him back to her and kisses him breathless, claiming him as much as hers as she is his.
He pulls back, catches his breath, and her blouse is half undone and open, her skirt rucked up around her hips and her heels crossed behind his thighs. She looks bright and burnished and entirely wild, and he loves her so much he cannot breathe.
“You see?” he hisses, “Downsides.”
“Perks,” she smirks, kisses his lips, “Privileges,” she snakes a hand down between them, grinds her hand against the growing bulge in his pants, and he groans, bucks his hips against her wicked little hand, “Benefits.” she whispers, and no word has ever sounded lusher or richer than those syllables falling from her lips.
She wants him, really and truly, and of course she does. She’s Belle: she’s been wanting him for as long as he has her, she just hasn’t felt it so keenly, unburdened as she is by their past.
The idea that she must have wanted this before, in his castle, before he wrecked and ruined everything, sends a wave of something not-quite pain, and not quite desire rushing through him.
He pushes a hand up through her skirts, pushes her panties aside and rubs his thumb hard against her centre so she cries out in surprise. She rocks against his fingers in a desperate attempt to gain more pressure, her head bowed as she rides his hand. She makes such sweet little moaning, mewling cries, her hand trembling as she fumbles with his belt, distracted by the sensation he causes in her.
Finally she gives up, and places both hands to grip his shoulders as he slips one finger up deep inside her, as she gasps and writhes against him and cranes her head up to kiss him, hot and fast and deep.
This is not about love, not now, not here. If it was then the Curse would take it and break it, crush it to dust and force him to watch as it did.
This is about desire, about a twisted old man and a beautiful young woman, about lust and fire and the kind of pain that made him moan and cry out in the night without explanation. The kind of pain that belonged to dreams of her as his, and his alone. Grief and power, greed, have made him selfish, and if he cannot let love redeem him then he can at least have some fun with the useless desire it leaves behind.
“I could do it, Belle,” he whispers against her lips, “I could make you come like this, right here, make you scream with just my fingers,” he pushes another finger inside, twists them until she moans, “Do you want that?”
But she shakes her head, stares at him with parted lips and pleading eyes, “I want you.”
And he is broken, shattered, and he hides his clinging to her with another kiss, pulling his fingers from her and gathering her in his arms as for one moment - one brief and shining and awful moment - as he lets all the love he feels for her rush through him. He kisses her tenderly, carefully, ties his tongue in pretty bows with hers, and simply drinks her in.
Then he pulls away, and shoots her a grin, a real, honest smile, and her responding beam could light up the whole universe she’s so happy. He holds onto her waist with one hand, and with the other he pulls his flies open, taking himself in hand and lining them up.
“Are you sure?” he feels he has to ask, even if he doesn’t know if he could stop now, even though this is the most awful idea he’s had in years and he will destroy both of them in this one act.
“Yes,” she breathes, and pulls him down to her, kisses him soft and sweet as he thrusts into her, slowly, gently, memorising every moment of feeling of his Belle - his perfect, beautiful, lost and broken and whole and reborn little Belle - wrapped around him, clenching and releasing and clinging to his shoulders. “Yes!”
He nibbles her lips, the corner of her mouth, down her jaw as he pulls out and thrusts back inside, harder and deeper than before, drawing another little startled gasp from her lips. He takes her hard and slow, trying for gentle and ending up with barely repressed desperation.
But she is muffling her cries of pleasure against his shoulder, and holding his head against her neck as he lavishes her with open-mouthed, biting kisses, and her legs are wrapped so tight around him as she rocks against him.
He couldn’t stop if he wanted to, and there is no world he’s ever heard of where he’d want anything of the kind.
“You’re so beautiful,” he murmurs against her skin, and she gasps and gulps for air as he increases his pace, pounding into her, the pleasure of her wrapped around him almost too much to bear, “Fuck, you’re the best thing I’ve ever seen, beautiful little Belle, you want this, don’t you, don’t you?”
“Yes!” she tries to stifle her sounds, tries not to scream but he can see that she is close, can feel her tightening around him, the pleasure roaring in his blood as intense as anything he’s ever felt before, “Always, always wanted you, always!”
He reaches one hand from where it was tangled in her soft blonde hair, and rubs it between her legs, above where they are joined, kissing her to stop her from screaming as she arches against him, as he has to wrap his free arm around her back to keep her from falling.
“Then come for me, little Belle, come for me and see stars.”
She makes screaming, mewling sound against his mouth, and her whole body rocks against him as she comes, hard, her movements sending him reeling over the edge as he climaxes with her, as they ride out their orgasm together and he feels he might die, the pleasure and pain and fire in his blood too strong for his human body to handle.
Thirty years of love and lust and longing, culminated in a quick, hard, dirty fuck against a pool table, and he’s a little proud of how thoroughly he screwed up this little hellish world he created, that this is how it happened.
But he can smell her skin, her sweat and hear her satisfied little laugh, and it’s enough.
“Oh, god.” she murmurs, “So glad I’m on the pill, huh?”
He hadn’t even thought about that; he curses himself silently, for how the old rules don’t apply here, and how thoroughly ruined their lives would be if a baby were conceived this way.
Not that a sweet, smiling summer child, with his dark hair and her bright blue eyes, his mischief and her beatific smile, is an idea anything less than magical.
When the curse breaks, he will fill her up with children, and they will be in love and forever joined. She will be wife and mother and partner in crime, and they need never be parted. And he will apologise for how much this will hurt them both, how weak he is to hold her this way when he cannot give her what she wants.
But only when the curse breaks.
“Indeed, dearie,” he smirks, “But I’m finding I rather enjoy this arrangement.”
“Yes,” she smiles, and he helps her down from the table, slips out of her and sorts himself out, “Some benefits…”
“We could…” he can’t look at her, ridiculously nervous, but he takes her hands in his, fiddles with her fingers, “We could do this more often. Keep this arrangement?”
“I’d like that.” she sounds almost shy, as if he’s asked her to be his wife instead of his friend with benefits, a body to fuck. He hates to phrase it that way, but he calls a spade a spade. But then she sighs, regretfully, looks to the door, “My papa would go postal. He… he’s not your biggest fan.”
“We could keep it a secret?” he suggests, “What do you say? Sneak around in alleyways, meet on street corners and vanish?”
She giggles, and he doesn’t know when he became a romantic, when this began to appeal, “We could try.”
And that, for now, is enough.
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