A fic done for my friend Tricia (ticktockdearie)
Ten months, three weeks, and five days.
To Belle, it seemed like an eternity to wonder, wait, and try to keep the faith that she would see Rumple again. But she never gave up. Even in the face of knowing that the town was now cloaked and he might not ever find his way home, she didn’t give up. Belle knew that Rumple would find his way home to her again and she knew that when he did, they would be reunited and together forever. Never again did she want to be parted from him since she had spent years in the tower of the castle Regina kept her in before the curse and twenty-eight years in the asylum of the hospital in Storybrooke. And the time she spent as Lacey, when her memories were stolen from her again after she crossed the town line…all of those times were moments robbed from her and Rumple that she would never get back. But they would start anew. They had to.
During his time away, Belle had taken over as the Mayor of Storybrooke, voted by the people because they believed she was the most fitting person for the job. To help her run things smoothly, she appointed Grumpy and the rest of the dwarves as officers so that the order was kept in the town. She also employed Ruby to help keep the paperwork straight in the office. She and Ruby had made amends for the things that happened in the hospital and before, when Ruby chained her in the library to keep her from harm. They had come to an understanding and Belle was forgiving of her, though she knew that a lot of people had failed her when her memory was gone. But that was the past and they all needed to work together to keep the town going and safe from harm.
Anton, the giant that lived in town, was also helping them by working on replanting the bean crop that was supposed to be growing before it was destroyed by Regina. Belle didn’t know who would want to go back to their land, but she wanted that option to be there for those that wanted to. That was a decision she and Rumple would make together, once he came back home. And when he did, they would figure out a way to make things work for them because she knew that her relationship with him was worth the effort and all the trials they had been put through time and time again.
As she ticked another day off on her calender in the bedroom, she sighed and knew that she missed him. Oh how she missed him. The little things about him that made her think about him, like the way he would spin to keep his mind off of things or that childish laugh he sometimes had. And then there was their chipped cup…the symbol of their relationship and what it had began as, which was kept by her side of the bed on the nightstand as a reminder of what they had together. But the most dear reminder of her Rumple was the very thing in her arms at this moment as she turned away from the calender and went to stand by the window.
It was early morning still, but the light was creeping in, giving a little color to the babe in her arms. Their child…a daughter. Belle had gone through the pregnancy without him there by her side, which broke her heart, but gave her strength because she had this little piece of him with her always. A beautiful baby girl with whisps of dark hair on her head and deep blue eyes that you could get lost in just looking at them. She loved her so much and promised her from the moment she was born to always be there for her, no matter what. Ruby had been in the room during the birth, coaching her on and holding her hand, but the moment her daughter was born…everyone else disappeared to Belle. Only this little creature existed to her in those moments and every day since.
Watching her daughter, she heard the door open and felt her stomach drop for a moment. She wasn’t expecting anyone today…not that she could recall. Quickly, Belle held her little one close and came down the stairs with some mace that Ruby had given her to keep her safe, but as she heard the familiar click of a cane, she felt tears in her eyes.
“Rumple!” she cried, seeing him walk through the door of their home into the living area that she was coming into. The mace dropped to the floor from her hand as she forgot all about it, seeing that she was safe.
He seemed taken aback for a moment, looking in her arms at the tiny baby she held. She knew that he wouldn’t have known about this child, unless magic would have told him, but all the same…he seemed genuinely surprised.
“What’s…her name?” he asked, blinking back tears of his own as their foreheads pressed together.
“Lucy…her name is Lucy,” she whispered, kissing him tenderly while still holding their daughter between them. Belle was overcome with emotions in this moment…he was safe, he was here, and he had come home to her. “I knew I’d see you again…I knew.”
“Yes you did, sweetheart,” he murmured, kissing her sweetly again.
Belle had waited a long time for this moment. The wait was well worth it.