Rumpelstiltskin had quite the temper, and it had gotten him into trouble before. After all, if he hadn't let his emotions get the best of him in the first place, with Milah and Hook (though he'd only been Killian Jones, at that point), everything
would have been different. He might have been able to follow after Bae without the need for the Dark Curse, and he could have found his son that much sooner.
But at the same time, he wouldn't have met Belle....., but he wouldn't have lost her, either. She probably would have been better off without knowing him, though he knew full well that he would have been missing out on one of the bright parts of his dark life. And the fact that Hook had tried to use that fact, the way he felt about Belle against him, well, it certainly made it hard to watch his temper.
The Dark One was determined, however, to do everything he could to keep from lashing out at the other man; he needed to think on his feet, to react, to adapt. He couldn't allow his strikes to be miscalculated or mistimed. One wrong move and he would end up at the pirate's mercy, something that he certainly didn't intend to happen today.
A dark, bitter laugh left Rumpelstiltskin at the mention of his son, and his eyes flashed dangerously. Hook certainly knew what buttons to push to do his best to rouse Rumpelstiltskin's anger. There wasn't a day that went by that he didn't blame himself for letting go of his son, and he couldn't even leave this town to go look for him, not until this curse of his devising was broken.
And this ridiculous duel with the pirate wasn't helping towards that end, that much was certain. He just wanted to get this over with, to defeat the pirate once and for all, and get back to doing what he could to manipulate Miss Swan into believing what her son said about Storybrooke. Because until she started to believe, she wouldn't be able to break the curse.
Instead of rising to the taunt, Rumple smirked when the pirate said that he was almost impressed by his confidence. That wouldn't be all he was impressed by, by the end of the day, the pawn shop owner would see to that. One of Hook's flaws was that he tended to underestimate people he perceived as weaker than he was, and Rumpelstiltskin would use that against him today.
Another mirthless laugh left him at the pirates words as their blades locked, and despite the fact that he was shorter than the pirate, Rumpelstiltskin's presence loomed larger than his stature. He'd been prepared to leave them alone, but Milah had pushed a step too far, the way she always had, and he'd reacted out of anger. Rumpelstiltskin had always had a temper, but the power of the Dark One had made it dangerous.
"I'd like to see you try to take everything from me now, pirate," Rumpelstiltskin spat, watching as the man moved a few steps, his dark eyes taking in the angle of his moves and the ship around them. Instead of following the pirate, he took a step in the opposite direction, sword held at the ready, calculating his next move.