Heavy raindrops pounded the deserted
pavement, the inhabitants of the small town safely locked away
behind closed doors in front of warm fires sipping at their hot
chocolates, shutting out the late afternoon downpour. Outside,
thunder clapped and lightening flashed, freezing for a tiny
moment the image of one lone figure strolling along the pavement,
looking for all the world as though it was a bright sunny day and
she were going for a pleasant walk in the sunshine. Long, dark
hair was plastered down the back of a navy blue coat, absolutely
drenched, stockings poking out the bottom, and anyone watching
would have thought that the slim young lady ought to be frozen to
Belle raised her face to the large
droplets plummeting down from the skies, welcoming the freezing
cold splashes against her cheeks. She had thought about calling
Rumple to come and pick her up after she had finished work at the
library, but she did love to walk in the rain. Even if it was a
little stormier than she would usually go out
In two minutes Belle was thoroughly,
unexpectedly, drenched, from her hair right down to her bare
feet, preferring to walk barefoot through all the puddles than in
the small heeled ankle boots she'd been wearing that day. She
hadn't thought it was raining this hard. Nevertheless, she
reveled in it.
Belle raised her arms and twirled
mid-step, laughing as hundreds of tiny beads of water flew off
her clothes and hair and collided with the falling drops,
creating a kind of watery explosion all around her for a split
second. She stopped and looked ahead at the empty pavement
streching before her, a childish grin spreading across her rain
streaked face. Taking a deep breath, Belle tightened her grip on
her boots and suddenly sprinted forwards, twirling at the same
time, laughing in pure happiness at the sensation of the water
all around her, the thousands of tiny water droplets flying in
Belle came to a breathless stop,
giggling to herself. What Rumple would think if he saw her
behaving like such a child! Belle caught her breath after a few
seconds and briefly continued on her way before she stopped again
and slowly realized that she was actually quite cold. She was, in
fact, saturated and positively freezing. And now that she'd
stopped moving and noticed, shivers were making themselves known,
and her teeth began to chatter. Belle unconsciously curled in on
herself, wrapping her arms about herself and hunching her
shoulders. Not that that would do her much good now that she was
Well, that would teach her for going
out in a winter storm when she ought to have called
Belle began walking again, this time
angling across the road. Originally, she had been aiming for her
and Rumple's home, about a 15 minute walk away, but now she
changed direction for Rumple's pawnshop, a much closer 3 minutes
walk. She dreaded the fuss he would make, knowing how worried
about her he would be over something as small as getting a bit
wet. But he would make an even bigger fuss if he arrived home
after work in 10 minutes and found that she was still walking in
this storm. Belle quickened her pace.
It had been a slow day for Rumple. A
whopping one customer had come in all day, only to wander around
for a few minutes and then leave again. But that was okay, Rumple
had plenty of other business to keep him occupied until he could
return home to his Belle.
Rumple had received a call from a
customer about half an hour ago, and had decided to close up the
shop while he sat in the back office making the necessary
arrangements for them. It was hardly likely that anyone else
would come in this near to closing time, particularly with this
storm ravishing the tiny town.
So when Rumple heard the bell tinkle,
indicating someone had entered his shop, he was very surprised
indeed. If it had been an ordinary customer, they ought to have
seen his 'closed' sign and came back tomorrow. Rousing himself
from the paperwork he was immersed in, he glanced briefly at his
watch, realizing with a shock that Belle ought to have finished
work by now, and he hadn't received a call from her to come and
pick him up. He rose from his chair, smoothing his suit against
his stomach. Surely she wasn't out walking in this
Rumple suddenly had a hunch about who
his mystery late afternoon customer
Belle hesitated briefly outside the
door of the pawnshop, ignoring the 'closed' sign hanging in the
door, before softly pushing it open, setting the bell tinkling.
The faint sounds of a chair scraping across wood and then a cane
hitting the ground announced that Rumple was on his way, so Belle
waited in the entrance, shivering violently and dripping all over
Rumple emerged from the back office
and Belle's chocolate brown eyes met his darker, almost black
ones, registering first happiness, then amusement as he took in
her bedraggled state, which turned into concern as he noted her
severe shaking and pale skin.
Worry creased his forehead, the
contrast between his lined face and her smooth one showing the
obvious age gap between them, but neither of them noticed. When
they were together, neither of them so much as gave a passing
thought to the 2 decades seperating their ages. It didn't matter.
All that mattered was that they had found each other
"Belle, darling," Rumple said softly,
immediately making his way across the shop towards her, his limp
slowing him only slightly. He cupped her face delicately with one
hand, wiping her plastered down hair off her face and attempting
to rub some little bit of warmth into her cheek with his thumb.
By God, but she was cold!
"I'm s-s-s-sorry," Belle got out
between shivers. "I-I know I sh-sh-should have
Rumple cut her off with a worried
frown. "It's okay dearie, what's important now is that we get you
warm and dry. Come on, sweetheart." With one arm around her he
lead her gently but swiftly through the shop, completely
disregarding the trail of water she was leaving, and out into the
Rumple's mind was in overdrive. What
on earth had she been thinking? Only his Belle would be wild
enough to attempt to walk home in the middle of a winter storm.
Why she would do such a thing was unfathomable to him, but it was
not important; what was important was that he should have known
she would do it, and he should have been outside waiting for her
when she finished work.
Rumple glanced at her out of the
corner of his eye. Belle's beautiful chestnut waves were dyed
black with rain and plastered to her scalp. Her usually rosy
cheeks and healthy coloured skin was pale and washed out. No one
as fiery and warm as his Belle should ever look so
"Take off your coat, sweetheart,"
Rumple said as he moved to a cupboard, reaching up to retrieve a
thick blanket. When he turned back, Belle hadn't moved an
"M-m-my hands-" She looked up at him
Rumple moved to her side. "Alright,
here, let me help."
Rumple navigated Belle's arms down to
her sides and, after some awkward shuffling, managed to remove
the coat. Underneath it, the warm blue dress she was wearing was
just as soaked, but there was nothing to be done about it at the
moment. Rumple swiftly grabbed the blanket and wrapped it around
Belle's shoulders. She grasped it as tightly as she could with
her numb fingers and held it as snugly about her as possible,
glancing up at him with an attempt at a smile in
Rumple smiled tenderly in return.
"Come on, sweetheart. Let's get you
Rumple ushered Belle up the stairs,
one arm around her blanket covered form, and towards the
bathroom. He turned the shower on to a nice warm temperature, not
too hot, not too cold, and went to fetch her night clothes,
dressing gown and slippers while he waited for it to warm up.
Belle remained stock still in the bathroom where he'd left her,
following his movements with her eyes, hugging the blanket tight
Rumple's face was creased with worry
as he went about his task, his shoulders tense, the knuckles of
the hand gripping his cane were white. His dark brown hair,
hanging down to his shoulders, was slightly damp from the rain.
His mouth was tight, and his whole posture was incredibly rigid.
Belle felt a wave of guilt at the stressed state she'd put him
in. If only she hadn't been so foolish as to think she could walk
home in such weather!
She knew how worried Rumple got over
her. But she couldn't blame him. Belle felt the exact same way
about him. She would be nothing without her Rumplestiltskin, and
she loved him with all her being.
Rumple laid her clothes over the
towel rail, slippers on the floor, and turned back to
"Thank you," Belle whispered. Her
shivering had almost stopped now, and feeling had returned to her
fingers and toes.
"I love you, sweetheart," Rumple
replied, moving over to stand in front of her, placing his hands
delicately upon her shoulders. "Now warm up in the shower, and
I'll go downstairs and get a fire going and make you some hot
chocolate." He smiled, gently rubbing his hands up and down her
"I love you too," Belle tried her best
at a smile in return, but ended up looking like she had
toothache. "I love you so much. My Rumplestiltskin," She
struggled for a moment before getting one arm free of her
blanket, stiff fingers coming up to stroke the side of his face.
Rumple wrapped his arms around her, around this most precious
girl, and softly pressed his lips against hers. Belle kissed him
back just as gently, tenderly holding him to her as best she
could with one arm, her chest swelling with
Rumple was the one to gently
disengage himself, Belle protesting feebly. But she needed to get
warm and dry. Rumple leaned in quickly for one more kiss,
allowing himself a brief grin as he met her eyes, and then let
himself out, closing the bathroom door behind
Belle remained still for a few moments
after the door clicked shut, remembering his touch, but then she
opened her eyes and saw the steam coming off the water in the
shower. Belle let the blanket drop and swiftly undressed, peeling
her soaked clothes off her soaked skin, and stepped gingerly into
the hot shower.
The first contact her skin made with
the water was searingly painful, but as she stood under the jet
of water she felt her body slowly begin to warm up. The water was
pleasantly warm, and she felt the heat seeping into her bones,
warming her all the way through as she stood under the spray,
droplets running down her face.
When Belle felt the hot water
beginning to run out, she shut off the flow and reached for her
towel, quickly drying herself before the steam had time to
disappate and leave her cold again. She slipped into her night
clothes and wrapped her dressing gown tightly about her, pushing
her feet into her cozy slippers, and heading downstairs to find
Rumple had changed out of his suit,
the arms and front damp from being in contact with Belle, and put
on a pair of comfy jeans and a dark, long sleeved, button up
shirt. He'd started a roaring fire in the living room and was in
the process of making Belle a hot chocolate when he heard quiet
footsteps behind him. He turned to see Belle wrapped snugly in
her chocolate brown dressing gown and puppy shaped slippers,
chestnut hair semi dry and ruffled from the towel, pink cheeked
and smiling sheepishly. Rumple grinned in relief, feeling a
weight lift off his shoulders, and opened his arms to
Belle skipped over to him and thumped
into his chest, wrapping her arms around him as he leant back
against the counter. She pressed her head into his chest, and
Rumple leaned his head on hers, his arms enfolding her and
holding her tightly against him.
"What were you thinking, dearie?"
Rumple mumbled into Belle's hair.
"I like the rain," Belle whispered
back. "Just not quite that much."
Belle heard the vibrations in his
chest as Rumple laughed quietly. She raised her head so she was
looking him in the eye, and leaned up on her tippie toes to press
a gentle kiss against his lips.
Rumple smiled, stroking her face
tenderly. "Shall we go and sit by the fire?" He asked softly,
keeping his tone quiet so as not to disturb the peaceful
"That sound like a fabulous idea,"
Belle replied, the same happy grin stretching from ear to
Keeping one arm around Belle, Rumple
finished making her hot chocolate and handed it to her, and they
dawdled together into the living room where a fire crackled away
in the fireplace. A small two seater couch had been dragged in
front of the fireplace, and they relaxed into it together. The
fire lit the room with a warm orange glow, creating a cozy
atmosphere, and Belle let out a content sigh. She curled up
snugly against Rumple, sipping her drink and staring into the
flames, and Rumple wrapped his arms protectively around Belle,
holding her safely against him.
Outside, the rain beat down heavily on
the roof, but the couple in front of the fire felt only