Who: Belle and Gold What: Reuniting now that Belle’s demagicked When: Friday morning (7/27) Where: Their room Ratings/warnings: Fluff overload Status: Complete (G'docd)
To say the last nights had been difficult would have been an understatement. Belle was somehow both pleased and unsettled by how quickly she had gotten used to having her love’s arms around her while she slept, because it meant she felt the absence now far more keenly than she had when the idea of such a thing was only that. It made waking from the nightmares worse, somehow; feeling like he should have been there and being alone, just like she was in her dreams. Which was why she wasn’t terribly surprised that most mornings started with books or pencils taking flight as she tried to slow her racing pulse; particularly not after the incident with the pan and the kiss that had followed.
And that really did sum up her feelings when it came to him, didn’t it? On the one hand, she was often--rightfully--furious at him for the things he did to other people. To her father and the people of their realm. But then she’d remember what he’d told her; of losing his son, of thinking her dead. The look in his eyes and the pain in his voice when he told her those things. And she understood, far more than she’d have liked. She had meant it, after all, when she’d told James that she would kill that horrible woman if she was ever truly a threat, especially to him. And that terrified Belle, deep down. But then, she told herself, wasn’t that the brave thing? Fighting for the people you loved; even when sometimes that meant fighting with them? It hadn’t been pleasant, after all, calling him a selfish coward and everything else that had fallen from her tongue, but it had been the truth and she resolved to be honest with him whenever she could.
It had been--it was--difficult, to hold all that love in her heart while at the same time hating him for what he had done. Which, she supposed, was why she’d kissed him at the end of it all. Not just because there was no telling when the train would force them apart for good, but because it had been the only way she could really think to tell him that there was nothing anyone--not even he himself--could do to make her stop loving him. She’d only hoped for a brief moment, enough to tell him that he was for the most part forgiven and always would be.
She certainly had not expected him to touch her cheek and kiss her back. Just like she hadn’t expected him to admit to being an ass, to seem so truly sorry for what he’d done. Forget curses, moments like that made her truly believe he was trying to change on his own.
If Belle had been eager to lose this magic before, that small moment had made her downright impatient. Particularly when all of those people left, leaving children and loved ones behind. It left her always checking the door, to make sure his name was still there, and herself; questioning if she could still feel the magic humming inside her, watching all the objects in the room carefully, especially when she woke.
Which was what she was doing now, grappling the covers away from her body and gasping for breath. Her gaze kept flitting around, waiting to see a pencil hovering or a book hurtling towards her.
Nothing. Belle drew in a long breath and forced herself to think very clearly about the images still flitting through her mind--remembering the feel of the stone beneath her, how cold and damp and horrible....
Her heart began hammering in her ears again, though for completely different reason. She ran to the door, stumbling a little as her shaking legs tangled in the sheets. It wasn’t something she really understood, but she had sensed the ward’s presence. Had being the key word, now.
Belle swallowed and closed her eyes, taking one more moment to actually think. She didn’t think about how she looked now--pale, trembling, hair completely mussed from sleep--or even what time it was.
No, she thought just of what she was going to do. Days ago, she’d have slapped him across the face. And it was true that part of her still wanted to, at moments. But far more than that, she wanted...
Belle bit her lip, pondering. She wasn’t sure how this would end, either, but nothing ventured...she actually managed a small smile, then, before running back to the dresser to grab her device. It took a few tries for her to actually type out the message, and once she had she found herself nearly bouncing back to stand right in front the door.
Even when he had sparkling skin and leather pants, Mr. Gold was never really one to be completely honest when it came to the emotions that Belle evoked in him. It was no different, now. When he saw her message, relief and joy slowly began to spread through him. The only outward display of this was the corners of his mouth tugging upward, and, for those who looked, an extra twinkle in his eye. He tried not to move too quickly, but still limped back to their room the moment Belle said that her magic was gone.
Tentatively, he opened the door. Just in case there was any residual magic and a pencil made for his eye socket. “Belle?” he asked before opening the door a bit wider.
Of course the smart thing to do would have been to say something in return, to actually let him fully into the room to prove the magic was completely gone. But all these days spent apart--and the feelings that had brought, along with the nightmares--had made Belle more or less cast aside reason. There’d be time enough to be sensible. Right now, all she wanted was to show him in the only way she could how glad she was that he was still here.
The only care she took, then, was to take his collar on his stronger side, drawing him as close as she could before she pressed her mouth to his. Unlike the last kisses between them, there was no hesitation or worry here. She might not have been experienced, but she tried at least to put everything she felt--all the forgiveness and love and hope she had for him--into this kiss. Not just with her mouth, but with the way her fingers curled against his collar and the back of his neck, holding him just as close as she could, daring him to even try and pull away.
To say that Mr. Gold was surprised by Belle’s greeting would be an understatement. He had no time to react before she was pulling him in for a kiss. He stumbled forward and lost his cane in the process. Without his cane, his hands sort of uselessly flailed about for a bit before resting on Belle’s shoulders. He didn’t try to pull away, because, as much as he would never admit it, this felt absolutely right. Belle’s lips against his felt so warm and so perfect, that he didn’t even notice that the door had been knocked completely open, and they were both visible from anybody in the hallway.
Instead, Mr. Gold focused on the smell of Belle’s hair, her hands on his collar and the back of his neck...The first time had sent mixed feelings fleeing down his spine and into the tips of his toes on his good leg. This kiss felt like it could break all the curses in the world. Even though Belle’s powers were gone, this simple act felt so full of magic and light and life. When he drew back, it took him a few minutes to remember how to form words. “My cane...” was all he could manage. It was stupid, but he needed something to do with his hands and just now, they were using Belle to stay upright, for fear of tumbling to the ground. Loving Belle, he decided, was a dangerous thing. Although maybe that wasn’t so bad?
Belle laughed, breathlessly, at his words. Of course she should have thought of that. But all she’d been able to think of was how wonderful it felt to kiss him like that. Not with the intent of breaking his curse, or because she was afraid she’d never see him again, but just because she wanted him. And the fact that he didn’t immediately pull back, that he actually put his hands on her and let her kiss him had cleared almost every other thought from her mind for a few moments.
“Right,” she nearly-gasped, taking her hands away and stepping back a bit. “Sorry. I....” she wasn’t sure how to explain herself. All the books she’d read in two different worlds, and she didn’t quite have words for the way he made her feel. If it were anyone else, she’d have been terribly bothered by the fact she could feel her face burning--with a little embarrassment, to be sure, but also with overwhelming happiness.
Mr. Gold didn’t really care about his cane, if he were to be completely honest. It was more of a comfort to know that it was at least within reach. But with his hands still clinging to Belle, it wasn’t needed right now - not really. He hadn’t heard her laugh in what felt like forever, and he felt it infect his own face; though he couldn’t be sure, Mr. Gold thought that he might also be chuckling. This entire situation was laughable, really. In all the 300 and then some years he’d been alive, he never imagined that he would feel this way about someone - that she would love him back. And yet, there Belle stood, her face flushed and eyes turned toward him. Her eyes always seemed to shine, but especially so when they were looking at him. Mr. Gold found himself staring back into them, amazed yet again how her entire body seemed to scream out her love for him.
He kept one hand on her shoulder, and lifted the other to rest on the side of her face. His fingers barely touched her skin, but the hand on her shoulder squeezed, and then he pulled her close. Whatever he could possibly say would ruin the magic of this moment. He held her against his heart for a moment, wondering if she could feel it stirring beneath the layers of his suit. It would probably always be hard for Mr. Gold to fathom how someone could love him, but nonetheless, he still wanted Belle to know that he wanted her. That there was an enchantment all her own in the way he felt about her.
Belle let out a soft sigh as he drew her close. True, it wasn’t the first time he had since his arrival, but she never took any affection he gave her for granted. Not after his rejection, or what she’d learned had happened afterwards.
For a moment, she just relished in being this close to him again. Feeling him breathing against her, his skin brushing hers. At moments like this, she didn’t need words. Even if he didn’t realise it, she could feel how much he truly loved her--no matter how often he pulled away or made an absolute mess of things.
After a moment, she cleared her throat and looked up at him, a slightly-playful smile on her face. “We--ah, should probably get out from the doorway, before people start waking up and we become the talk of the train.”
When Belle spoke, Mr. Gold looked over his shoulder at the door. It wasn’t until that moment that he noticed that they were still half in the hallway, half in their room. An impish grin spread across his face as he imagined what the train would say if they saw them like this, or even before, with their lips locked. He returned his eyes to Belle’s face, and hoped to never again have to look away. “Indeed, we should.” Reluctantly, he released Belle and stooped to pick up his cane , which he then used it to shut the door. He didn’t want to move away from Belle just yet. “That ought to still wagging tongues,” he said, all but beaming at her.
Seeing him grin like that, Belle couldn’t help being even more bothered by the people who had been complaining at great length about the fact it looked like they were never going to be ‘rescued’. Because if they were ever rescued--or even if she was just returned--she would lose moments like this. Not just no longer experiencing them, but losing even the memory. The others all figure out how to rescue themselves, for all she cared right now. The only people she worried about, in this moment, were the two of them. It should have bothered her a bit, that he brought out some selfishness in her. But it was hard to care when being close to him in this way felt so right.
She giggled a bit at his expression, seeing a glimpse of the imp she had fallen in love with. “Gods, I missed you,” she said, voice playful but face so sincere as she gazed up at him again, hand reaching to curve against his face.
Hearing Belle giggle and say that she missed him seemed to erase all the unpleasantness Mr. Gold had endured these past few days. The sound enveloped him in warmth, and then her eyes and her hands were on him again. His free hand reached up to cover the one on his face, and he gazed at her with misted eyes. “And I missed you,” he said softly. For a moment, he thought that Belle might not be real. These thoughts often flickered in the back of his mind - she couldn’t exist, she must be a figment of his imagination. During his time as the Dark One, that was easier to believe. It was times like this when Mr. Gold couldn’t understand how he could think that she wasn’t real.
He could feel her firm yet soft fingertips against his face and underneath his own hand. He could see her glistening eyes, hear her breathing. It was all real - she was real, as impossible as it all seemed. His hand traveled to her hair, and he couldn’t stop the smile that bloomed across his face. “Belle, your hair...” He laughed and continued, “...it looks awful. Come, let’s fix that.” He took her hand in his and sat her down on the bed. Mr. Gold limped to the bathroom to retrieve her brush, and then sat on the bed beside her. Gently, he began to work through knots and tangles born from tossing and turning in bed. He wondered then about her nightmares, but didn’t say anything. Instead, he began humming as he worked through her tresses, much like he had while spinning his wheel in his castle. It helped him forget then. Now, the repetitive and methodical act calmed him.
Had it been anyone else, Belle would have shot back some cutting retort to what he’d said about her hair. After all, it was early in the morning, and her very first act upon waking had been to message him. How was she supposed to look?
But he wasn’t anyone else, so she didn’t. She let him lead her to the bed, heart jumping just a bit when he sat beside her. She truly hoped she never stopped getting the slightest bit jittery when he was close.
As he worked the brush through her hair, Belle felt all the anxiety that had built up inside her--over that magic, what he’d done to her father, the idea that he might leave before she saw him again, and of course the Queen’s presence--melt away, little by little. And when she heard him humming, she couldn’t help grinning. She knew this was a side of him only she would ever see. Months ago that might have bothered her--that no one else could see the man she loved. But now she was glad to have this part of him that was all hers.
A small, happy sound came from her throat, as she closed her eyes and relaxed into the sensation of the brush working through her hair, body leaning just that little bit closer to his.
The tiniest of smiles flickered across Mr. Gold’s face when Belle made sounds of contentment and visibly relaxed. Though his hands did not stop the motions, he could feel the gentle pulsing of his heartbeat in his fingertips. Any excuse at all to get closer to Belle thrilled him. It was always fascinating and new to think about the feelings she inspired. And perhaps a little scary, if Mr. Gold were to be completely honest. Still, for all their glistening and shimmering, Belle’s eyes were only his second most favourite feature on her. No, his favourite tangible thing about her had always been her hair.
In some lights, the soft brown shimmered like gold when it had been smoothed out. When she was in the castle with him, Belle seemed to glow. She was like a star, twinkling from the crown of her head, and moving outward. As he drew his fingers through the brushed parts to check that all the tangles had been separated, he smiled. How long had he wanted to touch her hair and do this? The parts that he worked through became soft and his fingers easily glid through. When he had finished, he was tempted to put the ends of her hair to his lips. But he didn’t. “There we are. Finished,” he said, his voice full of admiration and just a tinge of pride.
A soft sigh fell from Belle’s lips, unbidden, as she felt his fingers working through her hair. Of course, no matter what form he had, she found him handsome. But there was something about his hands--possibly from all that time spent watching him spin and gesture madly in their life before, and worrying at his cane or the cup now--that made her feel warmer than the rest. And right now, after all those days spent apart, the sensation was absolutely heavenly. In fact, she was almost disappointed when he finished.
She tipped her head back, smiling up at him. “Thank you,” she said, sweet but not overly treacly.
Mr. Gold smiled down at her, tempted indeed to kiss her again. Instead, he stifled a yawn, which surprised him. Now that he thought about it, he couldn’t have gotten more than three hours of sleep over the course of about five days. The thought of Belle with magic was something that literally kept him up at night, and well into the morning. And it was beginning to show now. “You’re welcome, dearie,” he said, standing and fighting off another yawn. “And now to sleep, or so it would seem.” He made his way to the bathroom to change into pajamas, and hung up his suit, per the usual. As he went about these tasks, it became apparent just how tired he was. He decided to skip his nightly shower and instead peeled back the covers to the bed and slipped beneath them. “You look perfectly garbed for a nap. Come on, then,” he said, the impish grin returning as he patted the pillow beside him.
Belle’s eyebrow shot up for just a moment. It seemed like everything about this morning was going to be different. Not that she minded, not at all, it was all just rather surprising. Well, knowing them, they’d have another fantastic fight in a week’s time to make up for all this, so she supposed she’d best make the most of it.
Grinning back, she slid in beside him, a little thrill running through her. They’d never been quite this close before, not like this, and it felt...right. And, gods, she’d missed having him in her bed. Already, she could feel sleep snaking back over her mind. It had been a fight the last few nights, one which she rarely won, but it seemed like it would come easily now, as it was already getting difficult to keep her eyes open even as she curled herself close to him.
The top of Mr. Gold’s head tingled a bit at being so close to Belle, but he didn’t dare move. Should he pull her even closer? he wondered to himself. He decided to leave that one, and instead leaned his head toward Belle. He could feel his eyes becoming heavy-lidded and closing of their own accord. “Goodnight,” he murmured through another yawn. As exhausted as he was, this warmth still managed to pierce through the shroud of sleep and make him feel calm. Mr. Gold couldn’t remember the last time he’d felt that, even in sleep. There had always been something gnawing away at the back of his mind, even when he was with Belle. The Queen, the magic she’d had -- all very little things. But not today. This time, as his body angled itself towards the young woman beside him, his mind was blissfully blank. He may have heaved a relieved sigh before giving into sleep, but he couldn’t quite remember anything beyond the warmth.
Belle wasn't as naïve as she had once been. She knew very well that this moment would change very little between them, really. He'd still be a selfish, cowardly imp, and she'd have to be stubborn and brave enough for both of them in whatever they were to face.
But they'd be facing it together. No matter what else happened, that thought—knowing and feeling, with him so close, that he wanted her just as much as she did him...that was enough comfort to chase away thoughts of evil queens and malevolent trains. At least for tonight.
With a long, happy sigh, Belle nuzzled in a little bit deeper and let her mind slip into a darkness that, for once, wasn't terrifying at all.