Hey guys sorry it took me like two weeks to finally sit down and write a new chapter. I was lost on where to go but OUaT always helps inspire me as well as RC tweet session. So here it is chapter 8.. enjoy :)
The more time that had passed the more Belle and Rumpelstiltskin learned each others nature as if it were second to their own. It had blossomed into an off-kilter relationship they had begun to trust each other. She was allowed to walk around the grounds outside of the castle now. Winter had set in but that did not deter her from enjoying her newly gifted freedom. The gated grounds were wide and extended into the forest so she had plenty of room to explore. Gazing out at the mountain strewn horizon squinting slightly as the sun reflected from the gleaming blanket of snow. She heard the sweet song of birds over by the pine trees and followed the sound.
He watched the brunette beauty roaming the grounds a small sac of seed in her hands feeding a brilliant bright red cardinal. Deciding to join her he wrapped himself in a warm elegant cloak following the path towards the girl. As he approached she glanced his way and received him with a tender smile. “I was wondering when you might come out from the wheel.” she shrugged the bird from her hand tossing it seed on the snowy ground.
"I see you made a friend." he gestured to the cardinal his eyes darting away from her full lips drawn into that precious smile.
She nodded and sprinkled a bit more seed on the ground seeing that the vibrant bird was now joined by others. “Would you like to feed them?” she asked offering him a fistful of the bird-feed.
Rumpelstiltskin shot her a perplexed look and before he could respond she had spun his wrist so his palm was facing upward, filling his hand. Seeing the bounty in his hand a gorgeous blue bird swooped upon his palm. Resting its little wings as he pecked at the food, Belle held his hand in place. He looked at her blinking a little dazed letting the petite creature finish its meal. He was dumbfounded that Belle was not repulsed at the lack of heat in his green-gold hand most would shutter at the odd texture of his ancient skin.
Belle giggled seeing him standing there sort of in awe of the little bird not realizing what was really racing through his mind. “See you can’t be a beast he’s not afraid of you.” she released his hand and the bluebird flew off.
"I’ve never understood the affinity that princess’ have with woodland creatures." He smirked dismissing the event entirely with his little quip. She shot him a playful pout and placed the seed bag in her cloak pocket. She watched his face seeing the look of satisfaction she shook her head. Having no answer and feeling a little silly for cavorting with the birds. She bent at the waist picking up a fistful of snow and tossing it at Rumpelstiltskin giggling with delight as she did.
The cold fluffy white snow exploded in a soft puff as it made contact with his chest. Ducking out of the way just in time for a second snow ball. He gave a fluid gesture bending at the waist as well as if bowing at the beginning of a duel. He grabbed a large handful of the soft icy cold crystals tossing it towards her missing her entirely as she dodged it with an out of character cat like reflex. Her laughter sang out through his grounds as she took shelter behind a tree, gathering fresh ammo and making contact with him again. Caught up in the amusement he let out his own small laugh and vanished in a wisp of purple smoke, appearing behind Belle and grazing her shoulder with a small snow-ball.
"Hey that’s not fair, you’re cheating!" Her face lit with joy as she realized that she was seeing a new side of Rumpelstiltskin. An almost child-like nature was radiating from him as they engaged in the playful snow-war. She continued to dodge him but he was enjoy his dirty tactics, popping away in a smokey cloud just as one of her well aimed balls of snow swished through the air in the place he had been standing. This inspired more determination in Belle and she collected an arm full of ammo before hurling them at him. Giving out a soft gasp of faux surprise when he managed to target her the snow scattered all over her clothing now.
She felt him appear behind her and turned quickly on her heel tackling him. He gave her a winded look and stayed perfectly still as she had him pinned. Rumpelstiltskin looked back at her unblinkingly, their faces inches apart. Belle was lost for a moment looking into the dark pools of his eyes before she snapped back into the present. She had honestly just wrestled him to the ground, she was appalled with herself. Her pale cheeks suddenly burned a deep shade of crimson and she bolted upright. He leaned upon his elbows and sat up slowly, looking at the flustered girl. Standing up after a moment and brushing himself off.
"Err, I…I’m sorry about that." Belle’s voice a little higher than normal as she spoke nervously. She had gotten caught up and had forgotten that she was his captive and not his companion.
"No harm Dearie, all in good fun of course." he replied hesitantly. "I suppose you really wanted to win that little battle." He gave her a genuine smile.
"So you conceded defeat?" she relaxed seeing that he was unphased by her little stunt.
"Only if it means we can escape from this cold, your lips look as if they may turn blue." he nodded pressing his palms together.
Belle gave one firm nod and they headed back inside the castle. He helped her remove her cape and hung it to dry over the mantle of the fireplace. Removing his own cloak as well as he saw her knelt trying to inspire kindling into full flames. With a simple gesture of his wrist he extended his hand to her helping her back to her feet as the flicker of the fire grew. Feeling the frost from the outside melting away Belle went to the book case and grabbed the tale of King Arthur bringing it to the chaise lounge and sitting leaving space for Rumpelstiltskin. He noticed the empty space and joined her gladly not seeing the title of the book. “What are you reading Dearie?” he asked gently.
"About King Arthur and Lady Guinevere." she replied her gaze looking away from the pages. She felt a bit rude diving into a book while he kept her company, "Would you like me to read some of it to you?"
His face turned to the roaring fire relaxing and closing his eyes basking in the warmth and the peace of the moment. ”Yes, please who doesn’t enjoy a good love story.” He nodded and settled in as Belle began to tell the tale her voice sparkling as she recanted the legend to the imp.