Belle happily skipped down the stairs of the tavern, only to slow down when she noticed that the entire room was deserted.
That was quite odd. Was it such a weird time to be up and awake, she wondered, even for pirates?
She wanted to head towards the door, but froze as she saw Rumpelstiltskin standing in the doorway. His back was turned towards her and Belle felt how her heart started pounding frantically. She needed to hide before he saw her. It was a confrontation she wasn’t ready for. What was he doing here in the first place?
She wanted to turn around and hide, only to bump into Toodles, the ugly pirate that had harassed her earlier that night. He grinned viciously and Belle thought it could not get any worse, until she noticed the pistol he was holding in his hand.
Ever since her arrival on Tortuga, nothing had scared her more than the pistols these people seemed to carry around everywhere, and realizing it would betray her position to Rumpelstiltskin as well, she begged: “Please, no!”
She froze as she heard Rumpelstiltskin laugh – it was his high giggle and Belle found it highly inappropriate that he was laughing now that someone was pointing a pistol at her.
“Please stop!” she begged of the pirate as he raised his pistol to her face.
“Aim for the heart,” she heard Rumpelstiltskin say. “That’s where it will hurt most.”
“No, please, Rumpelstiltskin!” There were tears in her eyes as she turned her head. “Save me! I love you!”
But it was too late. A deafening sound told her that the bullet had been fired.
With a sharp inhale of air, Belle rose in the bed, feeling completely disoriented as she looked around in the dark. Her heart was racing like crazy and she felt how there were beads of sweat on her forehead. As her eyes got accustomed to the dark, she noticed that she was still in Norrington’s room in the tavern. Her eyes looked for him in the dark and she saw his outline in the faint moonlight while he was sleeping on the floor.
Feeling horrible because of her nightmare, she lay back down in the bed and wrapped her cloak tighter around her, staring out of the window.
Rumpelstiltskin wasn’t here.
She repeated that thought a dozen times in her head, but her heart continued to race.
It had felt so real. Too real.
She wiped a tear from her eye as she closed her eyes again and tried to catch some more sleep, but she was unable to calm down. When she noticed that Norrington started tossing and turning, she held very still. He seemed to mutter some words, though it was impossible for her to make out what he was saying precisely.
Still, it was oddly comforting for her to know that she was not the only one plagued by nightmares.