Fandom: Once Upon A Time, Princess Bride (movie and book)
Characters/Pairings: Rumbelle, Graham, Grumpy, Sidney, The Woman in Black/Dread Pirate Ursula
Disclaimer: I don’t own anything this awesome.
Summary: This came out of yet another conversation with the RMC about awesome OUAT crossovers. This is an AU where Mr. Gold reads Henry a book about fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles, and a love story that is quite familiar to all of us. :D
I’m so sorry this took so long! End of quarter was crazy and I’ve been moving and I just haven’t had the time or brain power to finish this. But I’m excited I finally did, because this chapter contains one of my favorite parts of the movie. :D And it’s about 3 times the length of one of my normal chapters, but I couldn’t bring myself to break it up, and you guys have waited long enough. Enjoy!
While Rumplestiltskin didn’t care to leave the castle for much longer than was absolutely necessary, he still had to venture into town on a semi-regular basis to stock up on food and other supplies. It was on one of these trips that he was stopped by a group of three travelers.
He was instantly wary, but didn’t want to anger them. He knew as well as anyone that refusing to assist travelers often resulted in negative consequences. It was with this thought in mind that he cautiously approached the group.
“Can I help you?”
One of the travelers stepped forward, a dark-skinned man of average height who seemed to be their leader. “We are in need of directions to the next village. Can you help us?” The other two stood silently behind the man. A tall, but slenderly built man with a bow and quiver strapped to his back stood next to a surly looking dwarf with an axe in his hands. Rumplestiltskin’s nervousness returned at the sight of the man’s silent and armed companions, but managed to answer politely.
“I’m afraid you’re several miles away from the next town, but if you follow this path, you can’t miss it.”
The man smiled, and it wasn’t a comforting expression in the least. “Excellent.”
Before Rumplestiltskin realized what was happening, the dwarf was behind him, and he felt a sharp pain on the back of his head before everything went dark.
“Graham.” The leader spoke quietly, gesturing for the taller man to pick up Rumplestiltskin. The former deal maker might have cut an imposing figure as the Dark One, but he was slightly built and Graham was easily able to carry him.
“What does the queen want with him anyway?” Graham asked, following the other two men into the forest.
“That is none of your concern.” the leader said, his voice clipped as he led his companions away from the path.
“Sidney,” the dwarf, Grumpy as it read on his axe handle, began in a gruff voice. “Maybe we should…”
Sidney turned on Grumpy. “You were not hired for your brains, dwarf.” he said sharply. “As I’m the only one who the Queen truly trusts, I am the only one who gets a say in this venture.”
Grumpy exchanged looks with Graham, but said nothing.
The group continued on in silence, soon arriving at a small boat tethered to a tree on the shore. The trio boarded the ship, Grumpy heading straight for the helm as Graham gently deposited Rumplestiltskin at the back if the boat. Sidney began barking orders, and none of them noticed the figure in black hidden in a tree far above them.
“Why do you keep doing that?” Sidney asked later that night as Graham turned to look behind them yet again.
Graham looked back, looking almost surprised that he had spoken. “I keep thinking I see something out of the corner of my eye, but no one else should be on these waters. They belong to the Queen.”
Sidney quickly joined Graham at the back of the boat, peering out at the dark water. He could barely make out a small, boat shaped spot on the edge of the horizon.
“That’s impossible…” Sidney breathed, staring at the ship behind them. Graham opened his mouth to speak when a loud splash interrupted them. They both whirled around in time to see Rumplestiltskin in the water, struggling to swim away from the boat. Sidney sighed.
“You’re just making it harder on yourself, you know.” he said in exactly the same tone you would use on a petulant child. When Rumpletstiltskin didn’t answer and kept swimming, Sidney raised his hand and snapped his fingers. Before he could blink, Rumplestiltskin found himself out of the water and back on the boat.
Sidney looked down at Rumplestiltskin, smirking slightly as he watched him catch his breath.
“I wasn’t aware that you were so brave.” the former genie said quietly.
“Do the brave thing, and bravery will follow.” Rumplestiltskin answered with quiet conviction, raising his head to meet the other man’s eyes.
Sidney said nothing and went back to his seat on the other side of the boat.
“Why didn’t you use magic before?” Grumpy demanded, sounding angry that he and Graham had been made to do the heavy lifting when all Sidney had to do was snap his fingers.
Sidney looked straight at their captive when he answered. “All magic comes with a price.”
Grumpy said nothing, but didn’t look very happy with that answer.
Rumplestiltskin closed his eyes, not wanting to think about all the prices he paid for his uses of magic.
They reached their destination shortly after dawn. Graham quickly tied Rumplestiltskin’s hands together and dragged him off the boat and onto shore.
Sidney was not pleased to see that the boat Graham had spotted earlier had gained on them in the night and would reach the shore not long after they had. He grabbed Rumplestiltskin by the elbow. “You stay here and deal with our guest. Meet me at the rendezvous spot when you’re finished.” he left quickly, or as quickly as he could go with Rumplestiltskin’s limp, not bothering to acknowledge the other two after he’d given his orders.
Grumpy and Graham stood in silence as they waited for the boat to approach the shore. They didn’t have to wait long, and soon their “guest”, a petite woman dressed all in black, alighted from the boat. Her clothes were tight, but not constricting, with a sword hanging at her side and a mask to hide her features. Her hair was tied back, and while she hadn’t been what either man was expecting, both of them knew better than to underestimate a woman in black.
“Isn’t this quite the welcome party.” the woman simpered, moving towards them.
“We don’t want to hurt you.” Graham said calmly, wanting to give her a chance to back out. Grumpy remained silent, looking none too friendly, but letting Graham take the lead.
“That is very considerate of you.” she said, politely. The smirk remained on her lips however, putting the two men on edge.
“We don’t want to hurt you,” Grumpy echoed, raising his axe as he spoke to prove his point. “but we will if we have to.”
The woman’s responding smile was patronizing. Graham was reminded of Regina and didn’t want to find out how similar they really were. “I’m looking for Rumplestiltskin.” she said, ignoring Grumpy’s threat.
“As you can see, he’s not here.” Grumpy responded, testily, already growing tired of this woman’s antics.
This was the wrong thing to say, for the woman’s smile turned suddenly dangerous. “I don’t want to hurt you either, boys,” she began, walking closer to them. Graham and Grumpy both tensed. “and they say that all magic comes with a price. I usually don’t like to be the one to pay it, but in this case I just don’t have the time to deal with you the old fashioned way.” she made a sharp movement with her hand and both Graham and Grumpy found themselves immobilized.
Her expression turned sympathetic for a moment as she looked at them. “The spell will wear off in the hour. I apologize for leaving you to face the queen’s wrath, but I need to find Rumplestiltskin.” with that, she ran off in the direction Sidney had taken Rumplestiltskin, leaving Graham and Grumpy to wonder what had just happened.
Sidney was shocked to see a dark figure running towards him. He could only assume it was the stranger sailing the other boat, but considering they were on the queen’s land, where few dared venture, it was a safe bet. He was less surprised to see it was a woman. He had learned long ago that women were not to be underestimated and were often more bloodthirsty and determined in their quests than men. One didn’t fall in love with women like Regina and not realize this fact.
The woman in black slowed to a walk as she reached the spot where Sidney and Rumplestiltskin were seated. Rumplestiltskin stiffened at the new arrival, but wisely said nothing.
“Well done.” Sidney congratulated as the woman drew closer.
“It would probably be too much to ask for you to give him up without a fight.” the woman responded, smiling. The smile didn’t disarm Sidney as he supposed it would have with anyone else. A smile like that was often more dangerous than a scowl. Especially on a beautiful woman.
“Just a little.” Sidney responded, sounding almost friendly.
The woman shrugged. “Then we are at an impasse.”
“Not quite.” Sidney shot back, before raising his hand to send a spark of unfriendly magic the woman’s way. She batted it away easily with magic of her own. She turned her patronizing smile on him in full force.
“Now, now. None of that. You know as well as I do that all magic comes with a price, and now isn’t the time to pay it. Besides, wouldn’t a battle of wits be more entertaining?” she opened her arms with a flourish before sitting down across from Sidney.
Sidney shrugged feeling confident that he could win this. The woman was good, but she wasn’t that good. “That sounds like a fair substitute.”
She nodded, and reached into her tunic’s side pocket. She pulled out two darkly colored vials, identical in size and color. She placed the vials on the ground between them.
Sidney looked down at the vial and then back up at the woman in black. “Am I supposed to be impressed?”
The woman in black ignored Sidney’s question. “One of these vials contains the one of the deadlier poison known to this realm. The other, contains nothing more than your run of the mill stream water. The battle of wits has begun. It ends when you pick a vial and Rumplestiltskin finds out who his new master will be.”
Sidney grinned. “This is a matter of simple deduction.” he gestured to the small bottles. “You have placed one of the vials closer to me, and one of them closer to you. I just have to figure out whether you would be more comfortable with the poison closer to you or closer to me.” the woman said nothing, waiting patiently for Sidney to make his decision.”The normal person would want the poison as far away from them as possible, but since you’ve obviously rejected social norms, I can’t assume you would have a typical reaction to anything. Having the poison closer to you could mean you would have more control, and you seem like the kind of person to want control.” he paused, and the woman continued to sit patiently in silence. “You have studied magic, which means you’re of no small intellect. Scholars tend to be more aware of their own mortality, meaning you would have placed the poison closest to me. Sorcerer’s on the other hand like to believe in their own invincibility, which means you could be trusting on your magic to save you.”
“We said no magic.” the woman pointed out.
“That’s true, but how do I know you’re trustworthy?”
The woman tilted her head toward him in acknowledgment. “Have you made your decision?”
“Not quite.” Sidney replied, his smile growing. His smile quickly gave way to shock as he looked behind her. “What is that?” he asked incredulously, pointing at a spot behind the woman in black’s head.
She turned to look. “What is it?” she asked, sounding curious, her arrogant tone missing from her voice for the first time since she approached him. Sidney quickly leaned down and switched vials as she looked away. She turned back and Sidney shook his head.
“It must have been a trick of the light. It doesn’t matter, I’ve made my decision. You drink from the vial in front of you, and I’ll drink from the vial in front of me.” the woman nodded, and both she and Sidney grabbed their bottle and quickly downed the contents.
Once they had finished drinking, the woman grinned. “You guessed wrong.”
“That’s what you think.” Sidney crowed, triumphant. “I switched the bottles when you weren’t looking! Never underestimate a former genie, or a man in the Evil Queen’s inner circle.” It surprised Sidney that the woman’s smile never left her face, but he soon felt nothing as the poison did it’s job and he fell to the ground.
“How did you know he had switched the vials?” Rumplestiltskin asked as the woman moved toward him.
“I didn’t. They were both poisoned. I’ve worked up an immunity to that particular poison.”
“You cheated.” Rumplestiltskin said, sounding more like he was stating the obvious than accusing her of any wrongdoing.
The woman shrugged. “So did he. And I couldn’t afford to lose.” she untied his wrists and helped him up. “Now let’s go.”
“Why should I trust you?” he asked, rubbing his wrists where the rope had been.
The woman in black gave Rumplestiltskin a pointed look and gestured for him to follow her. As an ordinary man, he had never been a very imposing figure, but this woman was tiny and under normal circumstances, he could have defended himself. Ordinary women didn’t have swords hanging by their sides or magic practically crackling from their fingertips, however, so he hobbled obediently behind her.
They had only gone a few hundred feet before the woman stopped and turned to him, frowning. He came to an awkward stop in front of her.
“Well, this certainly won’t do.” she said, almost to herself. She snapped her fingers once the telltale purple smoke had lifted, he was amazed to see his staff gone, and to feel no pain in his leg for the first time since his curse had been broken.
He looked up at the woman, still shocked. “The price?” he inquired.
She gave him a strange look he couldn’t quite interpret before speaking. “Mine to pay.”
He was only able to murmur his thanks before she grabbed his hand and broke out into a run.
They stopped only when Rumplestiltskin was completely out of breath. They had stopped in a small outcropping of rocks, and she all but threw him down on one of the largest. “Catch your breath.” she said dismissively as she remained standing.
“I know who you are.” he stated, his emotions at the realization making his tone take on a hardened, cruel edge. “You’re the Dread Pirate Ursula.”
The woman gave an elaborate bow, complete with flourishing hand gestures. “At your service.” she said grandly, grinning. “What can I do for you?”
He felt his lips form a snarl as he answered. “You can die a slow and horrible flaming death.” he spat out.
She cocked her head at him, her lips twisting in an almost smirk. “Now, that’s not very nice. What did I ever do to deserve such hatred?”
“You murdered my true love.” he said, his voice soft and pained.
“That’s highly likely. She wouldn’t be the first.” her tone was flippant and Rumplestiltskin felt his anger rise. “Who was the woman? Not another evil queen like Regina?” her tone was still light, but she said the name like it was filthy.
“Regina is not my love.” he spat out, standing up. “Or anything close to it.” his anger faded slightly, replaced by a quiet sadness as he thought of Belle. “No, she wasn’t royalty. She was brave and beautiful and perfect.” he trailed off, lost in his own thoughts for a moment before continuing. “She was going to visit her father when your ship attacked, and you aren’t known for your mercy.”
The woman shrugged. “I have to maintain the image somehow.” she walked toward him, pacing slightly. “I think I remember this woman. It would have been about 3 years ago if I’m not mistaken.” she looked to him for confirmation and he stared stonily ahead. “Not many women claim to be the true love of the infamous Rumplestiltskin.”
He looked up at that. “I heard rumors of…scourges and flaying.” he said in a whisper, his voice pained.
Her eyes widened in surprise and pain before softening for a moment. “They were just that. She died well.” she wasn’t as quick in regaining her arrogant and flippant attitude as she had been before. They remained in silence for several long beats before she spoke.
“Do you still drink out of that chipped cup?” she asked softly, her voice losing its hard quality.
Rumplestiltskin froze. It couldn’t be. She was dead. His hand lifted of its own accord, reaching out to touch her. He stared into her eyes, and mentally cursed himself for not recognizing the blue he had grown to love so much.
“Your real. You’re alive.” he whispered incredulously, placing his hand on her shoulder to prove she wasn’t just another dream.
She smiled, tugging her mask off and moving closer to him. “Why didn’t you come find me?”
“Well, dearie, you were dead.” the words were said simply, but she could see the pain and guilt in his eyes.
“Death cannot stop True Love. All it can do is delay it for a while.” she replied, shaking her head, the smile never leaving her face.
“I will never doubt again.” he whispered, bringing his head closer to hers.
“There will never be a need.” she breathed the words before she crushed her lips to his. He marveled at the feeling of her in his arms, a feeling he had thought he would never be blessed to have again.
The sound of hoof beats forced them apart too soon. “The Queen.” Rumplestiltskin murmured. He grabbed her hand. “Run!”