The clothes aren’t quite up to Belle’s usual demur standards, but they’ll do. Window Lucas apparently got the clothing from her granddaughter, the more modest side of Ruby’s closet he was sure, but almost everything happened to be a different shade of red and he rather liked her in blue. Gold shifted through the small box that rested between his legs, occasionally glancing over at Belle who was stretched out along the rug in front of the fire, arms curled around his pillow and deep asleep. He tried to imagine her in red and failed, because all he could remember was blue and gold.
His foot pushed the box away effortlessly and he leaned back in his chair, hands folding across his chest as he contented himself with mapping out the lines, or lack thereof, on Belle’s face. She looked completely at ease on the floor in his worn pajamas, chocolate curls falling across her shoulder, highlighted by the dying embers in the fireplace. Gold could pick out the differences he hadn’t noticed before, how much thinner she looked now, the gentle shadows under her eyes, but there were no physical scars that he could see, no blemishes within sight.
Belle was here now and safe and he would tear the world apart seam by seam to keep it that way, to keep her innocence just a little longer.
The sudden serious turn to his thoughts, how he went from worrying about the red clothes to burning the world, left him with a grin. His mind had always turned a shade faster under the influence of magic and this was perhaps the first sign he had that his conquest of the day before was going to work. On the floor Belle shifted, curling around his pillow with a quiet sigh that shifted his attention.
She’d slept so precariously the night before, waking almost constantly at his back, startling awake and falling back asleep almost just as fast. He wondered if it was always this way, if she always had trouble sleeping at night or sleeping at all or perhaps if it was the bed that had been the problem. Belle seemed to be fine on the floor and Gold weighed the pros and cons before he slid from his chair and eased himself down.
He would regret this in an hour or so, he knew, but it didn’t really matter once he was at her side, her knees pressed against his hip as he rested on his back. She was here, and she was safe, and he was tired.