Prologue: Parts Four & Five
Disclaimer: I own nothing. “Beauty and the Beast” was originally a fairy tale by Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont. But, I'm afraid to say, the version in my brain is thoroughly Disney.
A/N 1: With permission from the prompter I gender-flipped “Adam.” So, this story will eventually feature a poly relationship, but it will start with F/F. I'm telling you all now to avoid any sort of problems. (Original prompt is on the first part.
A/N2: Reviews are Good. This has been a subtle hint from the author - Please return to your regularly scheduled reading.Part Four
The tone to their interactions changes after that; every single conversation is not automatically pleasant
but things are
different. It is as if they are both truly trying to get along now. They know she is to stay her forever, so why should they constantly put each other through the stress of constant antagonism?
And over the weeks she finds herself charmed by the personality she finds buried underneath the gruff exterior Beast initially presented. There is an awkwardness, a sadness, a secretiveness, and a wish for friendship that Belle relates to very strongly.
Apparently she watches Belle as well – because she figures out the most wondrous gift to present her. A library
. Oh, an entire library, all her own, to explore - free to pick and choose, free to get lost in for hours. (And free is the operative word. She grows to have such a sense of freedom in this place that is at direct odds with her actual captivity.
Everything seems to build to one night. Beast dresses in a suit (she has always worn trousers since Belle arrived, which she assumed was simply logical due to her size
) but Belle does not see this as masculine – despite the lack of any feminine touches – never once thinks of her as anything other then a woman in this moment. Because, as so often seems to happen, her eyes catch the Beast's blue ones and she just sees her
– the fur, claws, horns, and suit are part of it all, of course but there is something else
. Something beyond all of that that Belle feels she has almost
reached, that she thinks she can just almost
And Belle has never truly thought much on her own appearance - and those times that she has pondered it at any length, she thought of her perceived physical attractiveness as a truly negative thing. Something that brought the sort of attention upon her that she shied away from.
But now - oh now
, she feels truly beautiful and it is
a good thing, something that warms her slowly from the inside out. She just cannot help it - the fine golden gown, the grand brightly lit ballroom, the romantic music, the Beast dancing with her (hands so very gentle, as if she is a china doll that will break if she is held more firmly
). And her partner's size is not overwhelming her, it is comforting – she has seen Beast's awesome strength but she also knows the extreme care she employs every time she touches her.
And those eyes - those human eyes amidst that face full of fur - are giving her such a look
. The sort of look Belle has never truly dared let herself hope she would receive from someone of her same sex. It is more than that though, more than the fact this person gazing upon her so is a woman. She does not think herself so fickle, that her heart would beat so quickly for just any
of the "fairer sex".
Because she has become fascinated
by the Beast in the short time together, the mystery surrounding the castle and it's inhabitants that had sparked her curiosity has slipped away - along with her fear of her housemate being so much bigger. Instead she is too caught up in the joy of their banter, the fun they are able to have together playing like children in the snow. Belle finds herself no longer filled with a sense of never ending fruitless frustration when she awakes, (as happened so often in the village
) instead she is smiling as the sun touches her face, welcoming the day, wondering when they will "just happen" to run into each other in the vast building.
She feels as if she is tumbling head over heels down a great hill, seems like a Lady in one of the romance novels she has guiltily enjoyed; feels her face burn and her heart beat faster as she cuddles closer during the next twirl of their dance. Part Five
The only thing that mars her happiness in this moment are thoughts of her Farther that creep into her mind. She has tried hard not to think about him too much, knowing how the emotion will pull her down. But feeling so at ease now, Belle worries about him – they have been all each other had, in a rather unwelcoming world, for so long.
It troubles her that he would logically
believe her to be ill treated, would naturally come to that conclusion from his own imprisonment at the castle. Would probably, the rest of his life, hold the heavy guilt in his heart of having his only daughter (his only family
) take his place in such wretched circumstances.
Beast notices this change in mood, asks what is troubling her so, and when she tells her, gifts Belle with the opportunity to view her Father through the mirror in the West Wing (yet another enchanted item – and Belle is somehow not too surprised by this, has gotten a bit used to thinking of this place as outside the purview of scientific reasoning
When she sees him within the magic mirror though - lost and sick in the forest – she is horrified. Belle had thought she would simply view their cottage within the glass, see him puttering away at another invention. Some small domestic scene that, while it might make her homesick, would not make her feel so very helpless
But then – then she isn't
helpless anymore, isn't stuck here, bound by her word. Because looking down upon her expression of sorrow, Beast gives Belle another gift. Her freedom.
And how can saying those words, telling her she can leave
the castle (leave her
), seem so much like another phrase all together. Why is there both such tenderness - and such resignation - that she feels her heart will break in Beast's voice (in her blue blue eyes
) when she says Belle can go?
But Belle also knows she must take this opportunity given to her, must save
her Father. To actually leave
though – oh, to actually go
tore at something within her so harshly she thinks Beast, and the rest of the transformed staff, must hear it as well.
But there is hardly another choice, and so (with the smaller magic mirror given to her in her saddlebag
) she rides swiftly into the forest. Away
from the castle, away
from the Beast.
And as Phillipe's hooves create distance, Belle feels a growing chasm inside as well, feels as if she might have just left her heart behind; beating hopefully in fur covered, claw tipped, hands.