Title: Memory Mayhem
Rating: M, for suggestive comments, mentions of body parts. Not explicit but I tend to overrate myself
Summary: Storybrooke's curse was broken and Magic came back. The Queen cast a forget spell on everyone with more or less success. Mr. Gold thinks he is fundamentally unaffected... One shot.
A/N: This story came to me as an adjunct to my Wednesday fic. It is a stand alone piece and merely takes place after the Curse was broken. The moment that Magic was brought to Storybrooke, Regina seized upon her returning powers and cast a forget spell upon the citizens. Some inhabitants aren't affected by the spell while others are completely befuddled. Life is much as it was pre-Cursebreaking. I hope this amuses you.
Disclaimer: I will post my disclaimer at the end of the fic. There's a certain surprise factor involved and I'd far rather it wasn't spoiled.
Mr. Gold's shop bell tinkled cheerfully, indicating that a customer had just entered his domain. He got slowly to his feet, his leg paining him more what with the rainy weather, and made his way to the main floor of the shop. He was surprised to see that his customer was Mary Margaret Blanchard. She'd not visited his business before. He gave her a small smile.
"Good afternoon, Ms. Blanchard," he said politely. "A pleasure to see you again."
She gave him a far more generous smile in return. "Mr. Gold," she said cheerfully. "Thank you." She blushed a little as she spoke and he wondered at her shyness. Sometimes it was almost painful to see how the residents of Storybrooke were changed from who they'd been in the realms. The Snow White that he remembered had been far more outgoing and far less…miss-ish in their dealings. Mary Margaret's hesitation lingered a little longer than seemed appropriate. Mr. Gold looked at her quizzically.
"How can I help you today, my dear?" he asked, thinking that perhaps she needed a small push to get started.
She ducked her head, her short black hair insufficient for the task of hiding her rosy cheeks. "I was wondering, Mr. Gold," she said softly. "That is… I was hoping that you might have some posters or…or memorabilia from the age of Vaudeville."
"Vaudeville?" Gold's eyebrows rose in surprise. The schoolteacher ducked her head, smiling s little desperately.
"I know it's a long shot," she hurried to add. "But my class is going to put on a small show and I am having a difficult time helping the children understand how the theaters advertised the shows. You know, the spirit and the style of the times? Anyway, I was hoping to find some actual examples to show the kids." She lifted bright eyes to the pawnbroker. "Might you have anything like that?"
He considered the question for a moment.
Since the breaking of the Curse, he was sometimes surprised by items in his shop. Things he remembered being there no longer were and things he'd never seen before popped up in the strangest places. Of course it was all part and parcel of the spell that Regina had cast as soon as she was able to access the magic he'd brought to Storybrooke . It didn't really affect him as he was far too entrenched in his identity to be bothered by such a ploy but no one else seemed to recall much about the breaking of the Curse or the return of magic. Lifting a finger to his lips, Mr. Gold tapped them thoughtfully as he imagined where he might store something like posters or handbills. An area came to mind and he smiled at Mary Margaret.
"I believe I do have some things that might be in the general subject of interest," he said. He gestured her toward a stand on the far side of the room, the one where he kept paintings and prints that weren't already framed. "You may wish to try there, Miss Blanchard. I will go and look in the back just in case I have something set aside."
Mary Margaret's hesitancy bloomed into full out grateful enthusiasm. "Oh, that would be wonderful, Mr. Gold. Thank you so much!"
She headed for the stand he'd indicated and Gold made his way into the back of the shop. He poked around in the back room, feeling as though he should have something suitable. It was a vague feeling, something he was growing used to as Regina's meddling magic had softened the borders of what had been and what she wanted things to be. He found an autographed playbill for an Orpheum Theater that listed the acts in their show, with contemporary art and design, and continued looking for anything else that might suit Ms. Blanchard's needs.
He heard the bell over the front door chime again and lifted his head in surprise. It was unusual for his shop to be busy on an afternoon. Most people didn't want an audience when they came to see him.
Stepping back out into the main room, Mr. Gold was astonished to find it empty. Apparently the bell had signaled Mary Margaret's departure. Gold limped to the door and peered outside but could not see his customer on the street outside.
Puzzled, he made his way back to his office and sank into his chair, propping his leg into a more comfortable position, before going back to his ledgers.
Several hours later
Mr. Gold locked up his shop and made his way toward Granny's for something to eat. He hadn't gone far before he heard his name called. Pausing, he turned to find the sheriff approaching him. Emma Swan's blonde hair and trademark red leather jacket made her conspicuous as she neared him. She smiled at him; a taut expression that made her look stressed and overworked.
"Good evening, Mr. Gold, "she said breathlessly. Gold gave her a smile.
"Good evening, Sheriff. What can I…?"
She cut him off apologetically. "Official business, I'm afraid, Mr. Gold. Would you mind coming to the station with me?"
"Am I under arrest, Sheriff?" he asked. She shook her head, blonde ponytail flipping over her shoulder.
"No, of course not," she replied. Her eyes took on a teasing gleam. "If you were, this conversation would have started with the words 'you have the right' and included handcuffs."
"Oh, but we've had that chat before, haven't we?" he asked, tilting his head curiously. "As I recall, you had the upper hand in that volley." He leaned forward slightly, holding her gaze with his. "Unless you'd like to be the one wearing the cuffs this time?"
A strange look crossed her face and he felt a sudden pang of self- doubt. Had the arrest actually happened in this new reality or had he made a mistake? Emma stared at him for a long moment then shook her head in disbelief.
"You must have me confused with another sheriff, Mr. Gold," she laughed. He silently cursed his mistake until she continued, plucking at her jacket. "I wear the leather and apply the cuffs. You wear the silk and the hardware."
He couldn't have said what made him laugh, the fact that he hadn't said something that didn't happen in this reality or the sheer cheek of her comment. She blushed a little and shuffled her feet awkwardly.
"All joking aside," she said. "Would you be so kind as to accompany me back to the station?" He complied without complaint, pleased at the feeling of camaraderie that her teasing had given him. This reality had made them less adversarial, a side effect of Regina's spell that he was certain the Mayor had not expected.
Emma ushered him into the station and through to her office, offering him a seat before sinking into the leather chair behind her desk. She studied him for a moment as though she wasn't certain where to begin.
"Mr. Gold," she said at last. "You have a reputation in this town that I am certain you'd like to maintain. You own a substantial amount of real estate and several businesses including the pawn shop. Many citizens in this town are in your debt. You are known to be ruthless in business and few people would dare to impugn your reputation or draw your attention to themselves, much less your ire." She took a deep breath. "Would you agree with my assessment?"
"I suppose I would, dearie." He frowned. "What is this in reference to?"
"I have a few questions for you, if you don't mind. They are completely informal and you aren't obligated to answer them at all. I thought this was a private and more appropriate place for this than anywhere else." Emma leaned forward on her desk. "Now, just to clear up a few things before we proceed. You originally came to Storybrooke from Great Britain, didn't you?"
"Aye," he replied, his accent broadening. "From Scotland."
"But you traveled in the British Isles before emigrating? I mean, you lived in places other than your birthplace?"
"I did." The memories of the three different realities were in agreement on this point. "I went wherever I could find work when I was younger."
The sheriff nodded, watching him attentively. Mr. Gold was all too familiar with that look. Emma possessed an uncanny knack for catching someone in a lie. She was a living breathing lie detector. "You told me once…" she began and then stopped herself. "You were a father once, weren't you?"
Now he hesitated. Had he said anything to her about his son? Of the three sets of events in his head, all of them included his son but had he ever told her that he had a boy? For an instant he drew a blank on his son's name and a chill of horror swept through him. Damn Regina's wretched spell! He struggled to remember his boy's face, grimacing with the effort.
"Yes," he said sharply. "I have…had…have a son." He gave her an exasperated look. "What is this about?"
She held up her hand, silently imploring his patience. "Please, Mr. Gold," she said very quietly. "I am sorry to be so cautious but sensitive information has come into my hands. I want to make certain that I am doing the right thing and not making any mistakes. This is just between us. Nothing you say to me will leave this office. I am investigating a crime."
Gold glared at Emma. "What am I being accused of now?" he demanded.
Emma shook her head. "I'm sorry, Mr. Gold. I haven't made myself clear. At this moment, I am investigating a crime against you. You were the victim, not the perpetrator."
Mystified, he tried to grasp what she was saying. "I've reported no crime," he told her. "What are you talking about?"
"Does the name Gary Schofield mean anything to you? Went by the nickname 'Gaz' and had a son named Nathan?"
Warning bells went off in his head but he wasn't certain why. The names sounded oddly familiar but he couldn't place them. He searched his memory desperately but came up blank. "I'm…" He rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "I'm not sure."
"Well, they say a picture is worth a thousand words," Emma said slowly. She passed him a manila folder. "I believe that this belongs to you."
He opened the folder warily, not sure what to expect. An 8X10 photograph was inside, in full color, the folder's only content.
The photo was of six men on a stage, all of them facing away from the camera and all of them nude. The man in the center photo had his face turned slightly to one side, giving an excellent view of his profile against the stage lights. Gold stared at the picture in mute horror for a long moment and turned the picture over. A paper handbill was glued to the back. It declared 'Hot Steel' over a banner that said 'We dare to be bare.' He flipped the sheet ever again, the photo silently damning him as he racked his brain for an explanation.
As he looked at the picture, the memories began to fill themselves in. He could remember the overwhelming emotions of that time and place- his desperation at being poor, the fear of losing his child, and his decision to strip for cash to keep his place in his son's life…
The story had some of the elements of his life as Rumplestiltskin, things that were familiar and personal. The things that were different made him rage inside as he stared at the picture. This had to have been Regina's doing, both the photo and the story that went with it. No doubt the product of her restored magic and her chance to degrade him, to make mock of him in Storybrooke… He would extract a vengeance upon her that would be legendary.
"Where did you get this?" he growled between clenched teeth.
"From Mary Margret actually," Emma said simply. "She found this in your store this afternoon and was so… flustered by it that she rushed home. She didn't realize that she still had it in her hand. Of course, one she realized the…delicate nature of the image…" Emma cleared her throat discreetly. "Well, she came to me to turn herself in." She glanced down at her desk demurely but Mr. Gold could see the tint of her skin grow rosy with a blush. "She, ah, that is, we understand if you'd like to press charges, Mr. Gold, but I was hoping that you wouldn't."
"No, I don't think I would," he said, fighting the urge to grit his teeth and snarl the words out. This was ludicrous. It was embarrassing. Gods, it was his bare ass…! He snapped the folder shut, shoulders rigid as he made to rise. "Thank you for the return of my property."
"Mr. Gold," Emma said, forestalling him with a quick motion of her hand. "Please don't think badly of Mary Margaret. She simply lost her composure and her head for a moment." She shrugged awkwardly. "I hope you know that she is not eager to say anything about this…event. And you can rest assured that, as Sheriff, I will not tell anyone either."
"Yes," Mr. Gold said stiffly. "Well then, Sheriff, I appreciate your discretion in this matter. No crime was committed." He got to his feet and reached out for his cane only to come to a halt when Emma spoke again.
"I wouldn't go quite that far, Gold," she said. His eyes rose to hers and he found a glint of amusement there, shocking in its intensity. "A crime was committed," she said gravely. "One that is continuing, as we speak."
"What do you mean?" he demanded, grasping his cane tightly.
"The crime you are committing right this very moment," she continued, standing up to face him squarely. She circled her desk until they were almost nose to nose, staring up at him intently.
"And what are you accusing me of? I thought you said that this was merely an inquiry."
"I did, but I've been forced to reconsider." She shook her head sorrowfully, laying a hand on his where he gripped the manila folder. "The picture here has made me think about what those excellently cut suits of yours are hiding, Mr. Gold. Given this photo, I think it's painfully clear that a crime has been committed every time you dress in the morning:defacing a work of art."
"I beg your pardon?"
"You heard me, Gold. It's a crime against every woman in this town and possibly some of the men. However, I won't take any action against you at this time." She patted his hand "As long as you don't take your jacket off in front of anyone else in Storybrooke, I'm content to know that no one else has any idea of any wrongdoing, so I'll let it slide for now."
"Magnanimous of you," he quipped, mouth suddenly dry. "And what do I owe you for that leniency, Sheriff?"
She tilted her head to one side, smiling. "I am sure we can think of something suitable. Or perhaps… suit less would be a better word?" Pausing, she considered him carefully, watching the dull red of a blush rise on his face at her insinuation.
"Is that all?" Gold managed to say, staring at the woman before him.
"I don't know," she began but then changed her mind, holding up a finger and giving him a saucy smile. "Oh, and don't destroy that picture, Gold," she said after a moment. "I like it."
As Mr. Gold made his way toward Granny's diner, he realized that the Mayor might have set her sights on bringing him down with her little game but she hadn't succeeded in anything except giving him another avenue of working toward Emma's good graces. An interesting avenue, an unexpected avenue but it was one he was looking forward to exploring.
Disclaimer: I do not own anything in OUAT or The Full Monty. They belong to their respective owners. I own nothing except an over-active imagination and too much time.