Rumpelstiltskin returns to the Enchanted Forest against his will and with a certain savior in tow. He doesn't react well.
The forest had stood there for nearly as long as Rumplestiltskin had been alive. The first tiny seeds sprouting long before the first ogre wars and with the monsters gone, they had grown strong and tall. So tall that when the ogres returned the thick trunks not easily uprooted as they searched for food. Branches broke and some trees fell but the forest stood proud and alive.
Then Rumplestiltskin returned. And the forest didn’t last thirty minutes.
The ogres lasted less than ten.
He almost used his cane. Since disappearing to the Land without Magic, the cane had become an easy weapon. It fit so well in his hand. The strong wood never broke no matter his rage. But he was home and the trickles of magic he felt in the other land were nothing compared to the washing wave he felt now.
Besides, his full curse was back.
It was easy, in the other land, to forget how heavily the curse weighed on his soul. It was reaching, clutching claws, dragging him down down down. It was a creature on his back, whispering nasty little things in his ear. It was the power of the entire world resting in his hands and demanding it be used. It was a beautiful woman, asking for just another moment of time, begging to not be left alone.
So he listened. And the forest burned. And the ogres died. And he was a strange lizard man in a singed suit. And he wasn’t alone.
Rumplestiltskin turned on his heel. He turned on his bad leg on purpose, just to enjoy the feel of it holding all his weight. The magic around his leg was as warm and comfortable as a favorite sweater found at the bottom of the drawer. You’d forgotten how much you loved it.
Emma Sawn, savior and general idiot, stared at him with the wide eyed expression she’d worn a lot of late. Rumplestiltskin felt two very different urges. The Mr. Gold urge to plant the cane on the ground, smile a tight lip smile and gently ask what was wrong. And the Dark One urge to giggle and do some exaggerated hand motion. Both would bother her, both would get those eyes to snap from a burning corpse back to him, both could drive her off into the land.
She’d die out there, but the idea didn’t bother him much. He needed her before, a savior to break the curse. The curse was broken now and the little idiot didn’t even kill the evil queen. Rumplestiltskin tightened his grip on his cane and the smile that spread across his lips was too wide and wild. He didn’t care.
“What did you think you were doing, dearie?” He asked, raising his voice so it’d carry over the new field. “Did you even try to stop the beast?”
The wraith was gone for now. It had no desire to be near its summoner and Emma didn’t carry the mark. They were safe, for now. The monster was still loose and he might have to deal with that.
Or maybe he just wouldn’t care.
Please, a familiar voice cooed in his mind. It had an accent you wouldn’t soon forget. Don’t let anyone else be hurt.
Rumplestiltskin fought the need to snarl. Control, he needed control to do this right. He had to get back, back to Belle, back to Bae. Claws scraped across the cane’s gold handle. Control. He would do this. He put too many years into this to fail now.
“What I did?” The savior found her voice. She threw one shaking hand to the charred remains around them. “What is that? And what is that?” She gestured to his face. He grinned, bright and wide, so she could see his teeth.
“This, dearie?” He giggled, his old Dark One giggle. It felt like the magic around his knee, familiar and safe. “Just my real face. What?” He affected a look of insult, eyes wide and jaw dropped in hurt. “Don’t you like it?”
Emma stared for a good few minutes. Then she threw her hands into the air and let out a rather creative string of curses. Rumplestiltskin waited. He didn’t mind, this he understood.
“What is going on here?” She finally said, turning back to him.
“What is going on here?” The anger was back, as cold and sharp as a blade. He so dearly wanted to cut her with it. “What is going on here? I’ll tell you.” He didn’t take a step. Instead, he was just right in her face, inches barely between them. Their breath tangled and he could see discomfort widen her eyes. He loved it. He loved making the great savior scared.
Then it was easier to ignore the screaming panic in the farthest corners of his mind.
“You didn’t kill the queen. You didn’t stop the beast. You let the damn thing drag us into the hat. And now we’re stuck in the Enchanted Forest. And guess what, dearie? There’s no way back!” He roared the last word, spitting in her face.
Emma struck out, a frantic, fearful push. Her hands moved through him like water and he was behind her. He didn’t even need to think about it. He simple wanted it and the Dark One got it. The Dark One never wanted for anything.
Only Rumplestiltskin cried for more.
“There has to be a way back.” She turned around, hands up but she didn’t strike. “How did you get there last time?”
“Last time? Last time?”
“Yes, damnit! Stop repeating me.”
He giggled again, still bearing his teeth.
“Last time I spent two centuries creating a protégé, arranging a marriage of true love, and building a curse so dark it would tear this whole world apart. And look!” He spun around, waving his hands at his destruction. “It worked.”
“You’re insane, Gold.”
Oh, that made him laugh. Not giggle. Laugh. It was a harsh, cruel noise and it didn’t stop. Gold. That stupid fake name. That stupid fake life. It was such a nice life too. Bae would have been so happy. He had money, he had power, he had space. More than enough space for Bae and even Belle. His pretty little Belle, back to him happy and whole. And it was so close to being right.
Then the wraith grabbed his ankle and dragged him back to this…place.
“Rumplestiltskin, dearie. Or Dark One, if you wish to be formal.”
“….Really? Rumplestiltskin.” She looked around, like waiting for the punch line.
“That’s who you are? Yeah, okay!” She threw her hands into the air again—sans swears—and spun around. “Yeah. Great. Fine! Great.” She kicked a half burnt tree trunk. Ash exploded onto her shoes. She cursed more but spun back to him. “We have to get back. Henry’s back there!”
Henry. Rumplestiltskin paused, staring Emma down. She stared right back. He recognized the panic on her face, not quite accepted and still held back by anger. He remembered digging through dirt trying to prevent it from settling. She kicked a tree. And every moment he drew his answer out, she tensed more.
“There must be something we can do!” She yelled at last. “Something! How did I get back last time? I mean, there must be…” Panic hitched her voice and she turned but not before he saw a slight glimmer of tears.
“Magic is in your land.” He said after a moment, his voice almost Mr. Gold soft.
“Magic is in your land. The barrier is weakened. Perhaps…some of my old spells or ideas will work.” He looked down at his hands, scaly and green. Years spent gathering his work, his power and it took minutes to ruin it all.
But he refused to spend more than a month in this place. The savior is a product of True Love. She’d be useful.
And Belle would love me to play hero.
His heart hitched. Belle and Bae. So far away.
“I have a castle. My spells and notes will be there.” He offered Emma a hand. “Want to get home?”
“Yes but…” She stood back, with a wary frown.
“Free of charge, dearie.” He said with a smirk. “I have a son waiting for me on the other side too. And I won’t leave him again.” A growl entered his voice but Emma didn’t seem frightened by that. She stepped forward and gingerly took his hand.
Then there was only a field where a forest used to be.
Season 2 rewrite based off audreyii-fic's post:
taken from here