Fic: Three Worlds And Counting
Title: Three Worlds And Counting
Pairing: Rushbelle and Rumbelle
Summary: Belle loves Nick for a hundred reasons, but sometimes in the middle of the night her hatred takes her breath away.
A/N: I’ve read loads of Rushbelle fic, and memories of some old crossovers got to me, and this happened. I’m very productive today.
Marchie prompted: “she snores and he talks in his sleep”
Belle loves Nick, she really does.
She loves the scruff about his chin and neck, and the way his eyes light up when he’s solved a particularly difficult problem. She loves that he will tell her what’s wrong when that light dies entirely, if she asks just right, if she smiles as she does it and has her hand in his as reassurance.
She likes that he likes her back, loves her even, and lets her inside when everyone else is at bay by degrees: everyone else is a potential enemy, but she is an ally.
She loves that.
And yet, some nights, she awakens next to him and sees his face in shadow, sees that horribly familiar hair and that long nose, the slant of his brows in sleep and the lack of expression, dead to the world. And she hates him, really and truly, loathes him for all that he is and for so much more.
He talks in his sleep and she snores, apparently, and when he talks it’s sometimes amusing little diatribes about mathematics and engineering, about how to extend the oxygen supply or which of Brody’s habits have pissed him off this week. But other times, other times it’s different.
Sometimes he just murmurs, and the words are not distinctive, not enough to remind her that he is Nicholas Rush, to haul her back to her place here on the Destiny and keep her mind on the stars.
Sometimes when he murmurs, she hears another voice, an accent horribly familiar, and his hair falls just so, and he is Mr Gold for all of five seconds. And she wants to rail and scream, to tear and claw at his skin with bloody fingernails, to ask him a million questions and make him shoulder this hurt, this horrible responsibility he’s left for her to bear in his absence.
Her first love died. She brought him back to life when his skin was grey-gold and sickly, when he wore leather and his heart was broken. She brought him back to life when his whole existence was a lie, and he felt he had nothing left to lose, no one to care for but himself and a son who could be long dead, for all he knew.
But then the bastard decided - for the first time in his long and cowardly life - to sacrifice himself for the good of all, and restored the Enchanted Forest with a dagger thrown down a well and a spell to destroy it for good. And with the dagger went his powers, his immortality, the very essence of life that had kept him upright and alive for the past three centuries. And even she could not bring him back from that: true love’s kiss does not work when the broken curse started the problem.
The bastard died, and she fell into the ensuing whirlpool after him, screaming her grief and her rage, desperate for him to not be gone, not now, not now that Bae was with them and they were happy, not now that they had been married and made love and held each other for days on end, and the world was as it should be.
He died, and she landed aboard a ship floating through the stars, and there was Nick, a man who wore Rum’s face and yet spoke such a different kind of magic.
She loves Nick for his misanthropic love of the universe, for his mind and his heart beneath all his cynical snapping and harsh words, for how he looked at her - not so much bewildered and astonished, not true love but chance and strangely sweet - and for how he didn’t judge her for the oddities that came with being a woman who had travelled three worlds now and was a thousand million miles from home.
She loves him for being Dr Nicholas Rush, but she loathes him for reminding her of Rumpelstiltskin.
And she is tired, she is so very, very tired, of healing men who wear this face. How many universes must she travel, how many slender, long-haired, quick-witted and broken men must she heal before she is allowed to rest? How many loves must she find before she is allowed her happy ending?
Rumpelstiltskin threw her from the castle with a sneer and stony silence; Mr Gold held her close and promised forever, kissed her mouth and worshipped every inch of her skin, and then told her “goodbye, dearie” and destroyed every inch of who he was and who he had ever been.
And now Nicholas Rush clings to her in the middle of the night, his day long and hard and his nightmares awful, and murmurs something about love and loss in his sleep against the side of her neck.
She is Belle, and her job it seems in this world and all the others is to kiss Rumpelstiltskin’s wounds and tell him he is a good person, not a monster, that the world is still turning and that she loves him. That was her calling when she was twenty-five and a maid to a monster; thirty and the wife of a sorcerer and a miscast hero. And now she has no idea of how old she is or how far from where she started from, and she is the lover to a bitter old scientist, and she misses Gaston, of all people.
Things were simpler when her purpose in life was to marry her childhood friend, and bear his children, and try to live to a decent old age before passing their small throne to her firstborn son.
But she loves Nick, and he murmurs something about supermassive black holes or dwarf stars, and she is snapped back to the present. Princess Belle of the Marchlands is banished back into the mists of time and memory, and Isobel French’s eyes open, another new name for another new life.
Belle loves Nick, she really does.
But she hates that he needs her, that the men who wear his face always cling to her, and that no matter how many times she says it, she hasn’t decided her own fate since the day she wore a golden ball gown and bartered her fate for the safety of her people.
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- thestraggletag said: God bless Red Bulls
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- bad-faery said: Ouch. Love the detail that she misses Gaston. It just feels so real.
- iambicdearie said: …and broken again.
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