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Be With Me For Evermore

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Belle didn’t want it to end. It was like nothing she had ever read in one of her books. Their kiss was slow but also filled with need, something that could never be truly describe with words. But Belle felt it in her heart and as her hand slide up his side, she felt how warm he was. How full of life he was, when moments ago his eyes were blank. She was desperate to feel him, to be around him, to take everything in.

Slowly the two broke away and Belle could feel the tears welling up in the corner of her eyes as she looked into his. They were the blue that she had grown to love so much, with the warmth that she longed to see again. It was truly him and as she cupped his cheeks with her hands, she couldn’t stop the tears from falling and the laughter that escaped her.

“It is you,” she whispered, a smile stretching across her face, “I-I had thought...with the rose and you were so cold…”

He gently grasped her hand, bringing it to his mouth and kissing it lightly, “I...I don’t quite understand myself,” he replied, “but as long as you’re here…”

Belle could feel the heat rush to her face, a warmth spreading across her body she didn’t expect. She found herself lost in his eyes and they stood liked that for what felt like hours.

What am I supposed to call him?

Embarrassment washed over her and she ducked her head slightly. How could she never have learned his name?

“Belle?” he asked in a worried voice, trying to catch her eyes, “what’s wrong?”

“I…” she stopped, shaking her head, “It’s silly really…”

“How silly can it actually be?”

Looking back up at him, she smiled sheepishly at him, “In all the time we were together...I never learned your name.”

His eyes widen slightly and he stared at her, his mouth slightly open. Suddenly, a smile broke across his face and he burst into laughter.

Shock was one word to describe Belle. Even as a beast, she had never heard him laugh before. And if she did, it was nothing more than a chuckle. But here he was now, in his old clothing and long hair covering his face, laughing.

It felt like a dream.

“I hadn’t even…” he said, his shoulders shaking slightly, “it’s been so long since someone called me by my name.”

“Lumiere and the other’s…?” she asked, confused.

“No, no...they insisted on calling me ‘master’,” he replied, combing his hand through some of her hair, “it’ll take some use to being called by it...but my name is Adam.”

“Adam?” she repeated, testing the name and nodded her head slowly, “Adam...it suits you.”

His eyebrow rose slightly, “You think so?”

A giggle escaped her lips, “I mean it’s no Romeo but…”

She couldn’t hold back her laughter as he rolled his eyes, groaning, “I thought we had gotten past that…”

“Don’t be such a snob,” she teased, “I can still like that story, thank you very much.”

Faint laughter filtered through the room and startled both of them. Belle took a few steps away from Adam and listened, a swell of happiness growing in her.

“If you’re back,” she said, turning towards him, “that means all the others…”

Realization dawned on Adam’s face and he quickly stepped towards her, taking her hand in his, “They must be downstairs...” he whispered, and for a moment Belle thought she saw some tears form in his eyes.

Squeezing his hand, she smiled up at him. It would take some getting used to, she thought. He wasn’t as tall as he used to be, and his voice wasn’t as deep, but it was him. She had seen beyond the beast and had seen the man inside of him, his love of literature, and the love for the people around him that he tried to hide. Like he was trying to hide now.

Tugging on his hand, she started to walk towards the door, “Let’s not make them wait anymore then they already have.”

“Belle…”

She stopped, turning around to look at Adam. He smiled at her, his eyes full of warmth, “I...I love you Belle.”

Her heart felt like it would burst from her chest. She knew that he loved her, the way he kissed her expressed that, but to hear those words. Her knees felt weak and it took all her strength to not trip over her own feet as she stepped toward him.

“I love you too Adam,” she said, smiling, “Even if we don’t share the same taste in literature.”

He playfully scoffed, “I just happen to have better taste.”

Their laughter echoed through the chamber and he rested his forehead on her’s, looking down into her eyes, “We should go down...but I like having you to myself at the moment.”

“We’ll have plenty of time for that,” she replied, “we’ll have all the time in the world.”

As they walked out of the room, Belle’s breath was taken away. The west wing, which had been fallen apart with each petal, had been fully restored. The darkness that had seemingly overcome it was gone and the sun shown through the windows, bringing a new warmth to it. They walked down slowly, Adam readjusting to his human form.

“I’m just...a little lighter than what I’ve been used to,” he explained as he took another step, “it just feels a little off.”

“You’ll get used to it,” Belle said, gripping his hand, “It’ll just take some time. A change like that...well, you know more then I would…”

As they made their way down the main hallway of the wing, the laughter and chatter of voices grew. Confused, Belle looked up at Adam, “It’s rather loud out there…”

“You said people from your village came to the castle,” he began, confusion in his own voice, “but I don’t know why they would stick around.”

“Could…,” she mumbled, “Could they have been cursed as well? No one in the village seemed to know of your castle...and it’s not that far from here.”

Standing at the top of the stairs, they could see the crowd of people outside the doors. People hugging and laughing, like they hadn’t seen each other in years.

“I wouldn’t be surprised,” he agreed, “the enchantress seemed to have thought of everything.”

Belle looked over Adam and it was easy to see he was nervous. It was something she could tell rather quickly as well when he was in his other form, something in his posture. His shoulders were tense, the smile on his face slowly forming into a frown, and his eyes seemed a million miles away.

“Hey,” she whispered, squeezing his hand, “There’s nothing to worry about...they’re all waiting for us.”

He opened his mouth, probably to counter her statement, but she cut him off, “Adam...they’ll be overjoyed to see you. They care for you so much, you must know this.”

He stared at her, searching her eyes, and slowly nodded his head, “I just...you’re right, but I…,” he sighed, shaking his head, “I’m over thinking it.”

“Let’s not make them wait any longer to see their prince.”

He shook his head, smiling, “Not just their prince. You as well.”

This wasn’t how she imagined her life would go. She had dreamt of things like this, like the tales in her stories. But as she raced down the stairs with Adam, their hands locked, she knew this was far beyond a dream. It was real. It was better than any story she had ever read.

Chapter Text

The Beast moved slowly through the upper level of the library, eyes scanning the spines of each book. He had almost forgotten how many books were actually within this space, how many years of history each book held.

As a child, he loved to read. He and his mother would sit for hours in the library, going over tales of adventure, heroes, and discovering the true beauty of the world. It was at these times, sitting next to his mother by the fire, where he was truly happy.

After she passed, it took him months to step back into that room. The simple act of standing outside the door would cause a swell of sadness to wash over him. Stepping inside the library, it was almost too much to bear. He would run out, fighting back the tears that formed in his eyes. He couldn’t let those tears fall, he couldn’t show this type of sadness, this emotion, or his father would ridicule him once again.

Eventually he found himself back in the maze of books, though he avoided the sections he used to go in every day as a child. It was a small escape for him from his father, who grew colder and crueler with each passing day. He found himself finding books that held dark themes, twisted tales, with little love to be found in them. The fun stories he recalled from childhood brought with them too much pain.

Sometimes within these tales, it would bring up the idea of romance or true love. He would scoff, quickly dismissing the book, and let it collect dust in the parts of the library he rarely visited. Romance...the pining, the warmth, the “care” people had for one another, it was a feeling he wanted very little to do with. Sometimes, when talking to some of the servants, he would let that small feeling creep into his heart, a warmth long forgotten. But he would quickly shut it away, knowing the pain it brought with it. It was this lack of warmth and love that drove him into the person he was that night his life changed.

Once he turned into a beast, it was years before he set foot into the library again. It was too much of a reminder of what he wasn’t anymore. And the Enchantress...she had left that cursed book, another cruel trick she had laid for him.

Eventually, he did go back into the library. It was a hiding spot for himself away from the servants in the castle, though it was rare they would come looking for him. Lumiere and Mrs. Potts were the exceptions, but everyone else...they knew better then to come looking for their master. He found himself looking through the shelves, something to distract his mind from what he had become.

It was frustrating at first, his claws would rip the pages of the books and his irritation would grow with each torn page. He couldn’t even flip a simple page! If he couldn’t do something as simple as that, how could he get someone to fall in love with him? Looking the way he did?

But somehow...he had. Now, the Beast found himself in a section of the library he rarely visited and shut those memories and thoughts away. He may care for Belle, but she would never love him. She was far too beautiful, too kind of a person to love a creature like himself.

He huffed, shaking his head. Who was he trying to fool?

“Oh, there you are!”

If his heart skipped for a minute, he didn’t let it show. But he did jump slightly and turned quickly, looking down at the small brunette that had somehow snuck up on him.

Her long chestnut hair was down today and the sunlight from the window made it look as if she was glowing. He also noticed she was wearing her blue dress, the same type of outfit he had first seen her in. He would never say it outloud, but it was one of his favorite outfits for her. It was...just so Belle, he wasn’t sure how to describe it.

An eyebrow playfully raised, Belle tried to fight off a smirk tugging on the edge of her lips, “I didn’t expect to find you in this section.”

Confused, the Beast looked around and realizing what she meant, he fought back a groan.

“I just wanted to make sure everything was in order,” he deflected with a huff, “you’ve been going through them all so much…”

“I’ll have you know,” she countered, digging around in one of the pockets she had tied around her waist, “That I put the books back correctly every time.”

Pulling out a book from the pocket, she turned it over in her hand a few times, looking down at it’s cover, before meeting his gaze, “I must say...you’re taste in books is a little...more intense then I am used to.”

She held out the book for him and he took it gently, aching to brush his paw against her hand. Even for just a moment.

Fighting back the thought, his eyes skimmed over the title, “Oh, you read Hamlet ,” he commented gruffly, looking back at her with a bit of a shrug, “It is a favorite of mine.”

“I saw you finished it the other day and I was just curious as to what had you so captivated.”

A small laugh escaped him, “So that’s where it ran off to before I could put it away…”

Belle laughed lightly, she has a beautiful laugh he thought, and a flush of red came to her cheeks, “Sorry, I needed something new to read and took the chance…,” she trailed off, her eyebrows furrowed, “it was fantastic, of course, but...sad. Do you tend to read sad books?”

The Beast was taken aback for a moment. Did she really pick that up about him so quickly?

“I…” he trailed off, finding the right way to word it, “don’t seek it out on purpose. They just happen to be a bit more tragic than some of the other things here.”

“That’s an understatement!” she chimed in, “”Between Hamlet and Macbeth …”

“Two of Shakespeare’s most famous works,” he countered, smirking slightly as Belle rolled her eyes.

“Two which are just...depressing as can be. Though, wonderfully written of course,” she added, “I mean, Romeo and Juliet was sa-”

“More like boring.”

Hands on her hips, she glared up at the Beast, trying to keep a serious face, “Says you. Pére Robert and I happen to enjoy it quite a bit!”

“That makes two of you,” he huffed, though a small smile crossed his face, “but to ease your mind, not everything I read is depressing. I happen to enjoy adventure novels, my moth-” he abruptly stopped himself, looking away from Belle.

From the corner of his eye, he could see her body language drop, the carefree nature of their conversation quickly disappearing, and he cursed himself. They were having a nice moment and in typical fashion, he went and messed it up.

His mother wasn’t a subject he liked to linger on. But Belle already knew most of it thanks to Mrs. Potts, though the Beast wasn’t thrilled about that. He weighed his options and as the air grew more tense, he sighed and turned back to look at Belle.

“My mother…” he started again, waving to the shelves around them, “she loved adventure novels. She would read them to me when I was younger, before...she grew ill.”

Belle watched him, crossing her arms over her chest. Her brown eyes were warm and she smiled slowly, tugging nervously at a lock of her hair, “My papa  would do the same thing,” she replied, “he was always nervous about leaving the village, but he know that I wanted to explore. We didn’t have much, but the small books he did find...they would brighten up my day.

“It’s funny,” she laughed, “He told me...that when I was ill, that he would read to me because I was a nightmare to take of.”

“You?” The Beast asked, chuckling under his breath, “Truly, I am shocked…”

“Oh ha-ha,” she mocked, raising an eyebrow, “I’m sure you were just an angel…”

“If he says that!” a cry came from below them, causing the pair to jump, “then he’s a liar!”

The Beast groaned, Belle laughing at his expense, as they both leaned over the railing and saw Mrs. Potts and Chip on their trolley below them.

“The young master was anything but cooperative,” Mrs. Potts continued, “now come on down you two! I have some tea, it’ll warm you right up.”

The Beast sighed gruffly, shaking his head, before looking at Belle and shrugging, “After you then.”

Her smile didn’t leave her face as she walked by him, patting his arm lightly as she said ‘thank you’ under her breath.

He froze as he watched her go down the stairs. She didn’t flinch, didn’t hesitate to touch him. The warmth of it still lingered on his arm and he could feel his heart racing.

‘She didn’t...could she actually…?’

Realizing he hadn’t moved, he shook his head and quickly followed the brunette. It was a ridiculous thought to have. But the feeling that Belle gave him, the warmth he always felt when she was around him, the way she would laugh...he hadn’t felt that feeling in so long. She made him feel almost human again.

‘Don’t be foolish…’ a small voice echoed in his head, ‘ she could never love a beast like you…’

Belle turned, standing next to the trolley, and held out a cup for him. Her smile inviting, no fear in her eyes as he slowly took it from her. Though she may never love him, the Beast could still enjoy the time he had with her.

And at that moment, it was good enough for him.

Chapter Text

‘Maybe throwing the snowball wasn’t the best idea…’

That was the first thought that came to Belle’s mind as she lay on the snowy ground. She blinked rapidly, ignoring the throbbing from the back of her head, and tried to re-play what just happened.

Her train of thought was broken by what she assumed was the Beast’s laughter coming from the other side of the railing down below. It was deep, but somehow light at the same time. Had she heard the Beast laugh before? He was usually very stoic and even if he did make a joke, it was dripping with sarcasm or a roll of his eyes. But his laugh...it sounded nice.

‘Though he’s laughing at my expense, so is it really that nice?’

She laughed to herself, staring up at the powder blue sky above her, snowflakes slowly falling. There was a warmth that crept into chest as she lay there, a warmth that Belle had grown used to in her time here in the castle. It was something she couldn’t explain, but it always seemed to come around when she was with the Beast. She had begun to see past the cracks of who the Beast presented himself as and see the man Mrs. Potts had mentioned in passing, the prince looking to be set free. It was new little things every day, finding him in the library, discussing books with him over meals, and watching how interacted with the castle’s staff. It was like a puzzle she was slowly putting together.

But what did it mean? Belle was usually very sure about her feelings, but coming to this castle had her questioning everything. It was all so new, so strange, but exciting at the same time. Like one of the stories she had burrowed while she lived in the village.

This wasn’t the village though, far from it. Here, she had finally found someone who didn’t mock her for her love of literature ( Romeo and Juliet aside, they still bickered about that from time to time in a playful manner). She had found a companion, a friend, who she could talk to for hours about the latest novel she had discovered in the rows of books within the library walls.

“Belle?”

His gruff voice made her jump slightly, had she zoned out?, and she debated getting back up. The ground, covered in snow most of the time, was rather chilly and the snow was starting to melt through some of her clothing. On the other hand, it was very peaceful and she did enjoy the view quite a bit. And it wouldn’t hurt making him feel bad, he did throw a giant snowball at her face.

She heard his heavy footfalls coming up the stairs quickly and turned her head, a smile stretching across her face. As he approached the top of the stairs, expression mixed with different emotions, he tripped over his paws slightly and caught himself before falling. A hand flew to Belle’s mouth as she tried to cover her laughter, his expression was priceless!

Grumbling under his breath, the Beast’s eyebrows furrowed as he watched her laugh, confused; “Y-you didn’t…,” he stopped, rubbing the back of his head, “you didn’t reply when I said your name, so I thought….”

Belle was trying hard to stifle her laughter, she could see he was genuinely worried, but his expression was just too good!

“I know, I’m sorry, but,” she waved her hand at him, feigning offense, “that’s what you get when you hit me in the face with a giant snowball!”

“As I recall, you’re the one who started it,” he countered, looking down at her with an arched eyebrow, “you have no one else to blame but yourself.”

“You didn’t have to throw it at my face!” she playfully chimed.

Shrugging, the Beast took a few steps closer to her, casting a shadow over her view. Frowning slightly, she patted the ground next to her and the Beast’s expression changed from confusion to almost a bit of disgust, “You really want me to lay on the ground with you?”

“You say it as if I’m trying to tortureyou,” she replied, rolling her eyes, “I am patting the ground, so yes, yes I would.”

A frown grew on his face, it was one she always saw when he didn’t know what to say, and he looked away. Snow fell around them as she watched him, it wasn’t uncommon for him to mentally debate things from what she could tell. It was something Lumiere brought up once to her, ‘A man of few words!’ t he candelabra declared, and she always found it fascinating to watch. What was he thinking?

He sighed deeply, looking back down at her, “Fine...but just this one time,” he grumbled, lowering himself down on the ground next to her. As he leaned back, she noticed that he had deliberately left a little bit of space between them and she frowned.

When they would spend time together around the castle, he always left that little space between them. At first, she hadn’t noticed it. But it was when they were in the library one night and she had leaned over him to point out something in a book, that he had moved slightly away. She hadn’t said anything, confused by the action, but let it pass as a one time thing.

It wasn’t. Anytime she would get close to him, he would movie just the slightest and she wondered if she should maybe ask the castle staff about it. Belle ended up keeping it to herself, not wanting to start anything within the castle.

When she took his hand today and saw his face, the confusion, the awe, it dawned on her then. It must have been so long since he had someone around him, someone small, a bit more fragile. Of course the castle staff was always here with him, but she thought this was different. She was human, someone who could be hurt easily, by accident. He was worried. Which was a sweet concept, but she didn’t want him to feel that way. She didn’t want him to worry, to act differently around her because he thought he could hurt her. He wouldn’t, she knew that now.

She scooted closer to him, her arm brushing his, and smiled, “I promise I won’t tell a soul,” she teased, “I’m sure Mrs. Potts won’t be happy when she sees us carrying snow into the castle…”

“They did just clean it up the other day…” he added, trailing off.

They lay their together in silence, Belle watching the clouds slowly move their way across the sky, covering the sun. It was peaceful, just the two of them being like this, and she stole a quick glance over to the Beast. Who also happened to be looking at her at the same time.

Heat rushed to her face, embarrassed at being caught, and his eyes widened slightly, but she didn’t break eye contact with him. That warm feeling in her chest was spreading and she didn’t want to let it go.

She smiled shyly, “I know Cogsworth says he’s the head of the house...but I think Mrs. Potts has a bit of a better...handle,” she laughed, the Beast shaking his head, and continued, “on things around here.”

“Very funny...I’m sure she’d be happy to hear you say that, though,” a smirked tugged on the edge of his lips, “most of the staff can run things better in the castle then Cogsworth most of the time.”

Laughing, she playfully smacked his arm, “Don’t be mean, Cogsworth...he means well…?”

Beast’s eyes darted from her to his arm, a small look of awe on his face before he frowned, trying to play it off, “Well...just don’t tell Mrs. Potts I hit you with a snowball in the face,: he shuddered, earning another laugh from Belle, “I’d never hear the end of it.”

“Oh Mrs. Potts!” Belle said dramatically, placing her hand on her forehead as if she was fainting, “you wouldn’t believe what happened, it was devastating!”

Their laughter echoed through the garden, Beast’s low and gruff, while Belle’s was light and lively. This is what she had been missing at the village, someone who could understand her. While she loved her Papa very much, she was his world and her his, it was nice to finally find someone else who she could interact with.

The blush on Belle’s cheeks didn’t leave her as they laid their laughing, and it wasn’t just from the cold air. The warmth, the happiness that she had come to get from being around the Beast was something she would treasure. It was surprising and unexpected. She couldn’t compare it to any of the stories she had read.

As she listened to him laugh, turn to her and smile, his blue eyes filled with a happiness she rarely saw, she felt her heart skip a beat. There was something here with him now that wasn’t there before.

And she didn’t want the feeling to go away.

Chapter Text

“MAESTROOOOO!”

Color burst into every part of his vision. Fabrics of every kind surrounded him, but his eyes were only for his Madame. His Madame who he could actually see, her beautiful face, her eyes brimming with tears as she crawled her way towards him.

They were alive! They were back to their human forms! Truly a miracle had occurred!

Cadenza let out a laugh, meeting his wife in the middle of all the fabrics around them. She took his face and her hands, oh they were so lovely. To feel human warmth again, to feel how smooth they were...it was more than he could imagine.  

“Madame,” he cried, shaking his head in disbelief as he grasped her hands, “it’s you! We’re back!”

“We are my love!” she replied, tears streaking down her face, “They broke the curse, Belle mu-oh my love!” she cried, looking at his mouth, “your teeth! They are gone!”

“That matters not now!” he laughed, kissing her lightly on the lips, “all that matters is that we are together again!”

A scampering of feet and a bark broke them from their moment. Froufrou was running full speed at the two of them and they could only laugh as the little dog launched his way into their laps. Their eyes met, smilies growing, as they both hugged the dog. It was almost too good to be true.


Cogsworth’s held the monocle up to his eye as he watched his friend spin around, revealing the dark moustache and ghost white hair he had worn the night of the curse.

“Cogsworth!” the French man cried, grinning from ear to ear, “we beat the clock!”

Walking towards the younger man, Cogsworth nodded, “Just barely my old friend! True love seems to have won the day!”

A look of realization came over Lumière's face, “Something must have happened though, be-because we turned. What could have reversed it?”

“Why ask questions! We are back to ourselves!”

A white feather blew in between the old friends and Lumière's eyes followed it like a hawk. Turning his head, he saw a mound of white feathers on the castle’s steps and rushed forward.

“Plumette!” he said, holding back tears of joy. Kneeling down in front of the pile, he saw the dark skinned hand reaching out from them and gently took it in both of his hands. Pulling her slowly up, Lumière took in every detail of Plumette’s face. Her dazzling dark eyes, her perfect skin, everything was like it was before the curse.

A smile slowly formed on her face as she looked over him, “Oh Lumière…” she whispered, and he quickly had his lips on her’s. It had been too long. It was a moment that he feared he would never get to live again, those endless days in the castle not allowing for any hope.

But they were here now, together, and as he slowed pulled away and watched Plumette’s face, he knew how lucky he was.

“Oh!”

A warm feeling from the top of his head caught his attention and he quickly squatted down, letting her pat the top of it.

“Was that smoke?” he asked in confusion, earning a small laugh from the woman in front of him.

“Your kiss may have been a little too hot,” she giggled, cupping his face in her hands, “Not that I personally mind.”

“You are too much for me my darling!” he whispered happily, kissing her quickly on both cheeks. It was real, this was real, but it felt like a dream. Something too good to be true, but here he was with Plumette, even having Cogsworth back! Which meant…

“The master…” he mumbled, “if we are back, that means he must...and Belle…”

Plumette’s smile spread across her face, “She has saved us all.”


 “Oh Chip!” Mrs. Potts cried happily, hugging her son with tears in her eyes, “You’re a boy again!”

She got up and spun around with the boy, their laughter filling in the air. It was more than she could have ever dreamed, her boy in her arms, being able to hold him and not having to worry if he’d break. Placing him down, she kissed his cheeks and head quickly, earning a groan of disgust from him, but she didn’t care. It had been so long and at points, she had given up hope.

But then Belle came and it changed everything.

Mrs. Potts looked around quickly and took in the castle, which was fully restored to as it was. No longer was it covered in snow, but the green grass that should be found during the summer months. It was no longer dark and uninviting, but warm and elegant. Even the statues along the tops had changed.

“To think it actually happened…” she whispered, looking back towards the castle’s entrance. Her smile grew and she quickly grabbed Chip’s hand, running up to see the others.

“Oh Cogsworth! Lumière! Plumette!” she yelled, hugging each of them, “It’s so wonderful to see you all again!”

“The same to your Mrs. Potts!” Lumière replied happily, “Madame! Cadanza! And even you Chapeau!”

They all gathered together, tears and hugs were shared, and even Cogsworth couldn’t hold back his emotions from being with them. It had been trying for all of them, being the way they were. Dealing with the master, thinking that they would never be human again. Never to feel the sun on their skin, the rush of the wind through their hair. But they had made it through and as they chatted amongst themselves, Chip was the first one to notice people coming towards the castle.

“Look Mama!” he said in a confused tone, “The villagers! They’re coming back! But they don’t seem to be as angry…”

Plumette, resting her hand on Lumière's arm, frowned slightly, “What could they be coming back for. Unless…”

“Unless...they remember the castle…” Lumière finished, turning to her, “Plumette you are a genius! That Enchantress must have made them all forget the castle was here. And made them forget we were all here…”

Cogsworth’s frown deepened, “Oh good heavens…”

Madame looked behind them, back towards the doors, “Where are the prince and Belle?” she asked, “I would have thought they would be out here by now…”

“The master was at one of the top turrets before the fighting began,” Cogsworth noted, taking his mind off whatever plagued him, “I believe she was heading up that way as well…”

People started to flood the front of the castle, servants from within slowly coming out and recognizing whoever could be found. For a moment, as they all reunited with family and friends who had forgotten them, they could be without their prince and Belle.

Lumière watched as Mrs. Potts was reunited with her husband, who he recognized from the battle that had happened a short while ago. He smiled softly as they all embraced, kissing each other in delight.

“It’s nice to see, no?”  Plumette asked as she gazed around at the people then at him, “The castle has never felt more alive.”

“You are right as always my darling,” he replied, “Even though old Cogsworth doesn’t seem to be as thrilled.”

“Oh yes...I forgot he didn’t like his wife,” she giggled as the older man hugged a woman, his body completely tense. The younger couple shared a laugh, though something caught Plumette’s eye. Turning slowly from Lumière, she squinted and could make out the top of a head from behind the crowd in front of the castle doors. It was a dark blonde and the moment the people parted, a smile burst onto her face.

“Lumière!” she whispered gleefully, “Look!”

Belle, in her white dress undergarments, cheeks flushed, stood hand in hand next to a young blonde haired man. His white shirt was baggy on him, and his hair reached just past his shoulders. And he was barefoot. But Lumière would recognize his prince anywhere, though the smile on his face was something the servant wasn’t used to. He watched Belle and the prince glance at one another, their eyes only for one another, and Lumière felt his own heart soar.

“Oh my prince!” he cried, stepping towards the couple with open arms. The smile didn’t leave the prince’s face and as he stepped towards Lumière, he wasn’t sure what to expect. The prince had been cruel in his years before the curse, but he remembered him to be a sweet child. And, at times, he would catch glimpses of that in his adulthood. But it was very rare.

This was different though. His prince’s face was ecstatic, a smile stretching across it, and eyes that looked to have tears in them, “It’s so good to see you again old friend!”

They embraced and the prince’s grip on him was tight, his face in Lumière's shoulder. This was the boy who loved so much as a child. This was the memory that Lumière thought he’d never get to see again in real life, after the king had turned his son cold. They separated and the prince looked at him and couldn’t help but laugh, shaking his head in disbelief.

Plumette came up next to them and quickly curtsied, taking Belle’s hand, “You saved our lives Belle!” she whispered in delight, a smile breaking across Belle’s face.

“Oh Plumette,” she beamed, “It’s so good to see you all! To actually see you!”

“And you too mademoiselle!”

“Belle!” Chip chimed in happily, running to the brunette, “it’s me! I’m a boy again!”

“Oh Chip!” she cried, scooping him up in her arms and hugging him, laughter escaping her. Mrs. and Mr. Potts walked over, Mrs. Potts rushing towards the prince and pulling him into a big hug.

“Oh Adam,” she whispered into his shoulder, gripping him tightly, “I’m so happy for you, I’m so happy to see you…”

The prince, Adam, hugged tightly back, nodding his head, “I’m so glad to see you too Mrs. Potts...thank you so much for everything.”

She pulled back from him, tears in her eyes, before placing a hand on his cheek, “I’ll be here for you whenever you need me my boy...I’ll never leave you alone again.”

As Adam and Belle made their way through everyone, Madame Garderobe crying out in delight at seeing Belle and rushing into hug her, it wasn’t surprising that Agathe was able to slowly make her way through the crowd without being noticed. She watched Belle being giving kisses by the Madame, her smile never leaving her face. Her gazed then turned towards Adam, who was talking to Lumière and Plumette, pulling the two in for a hug.

He had learned to love again, to welcome people back into his heart.

Smiling to herself, Agathe pulled the hood of her cloak slowly over her head, disappearing into the crowd.


As Maurice rode through the castle grounds, he couldn’t believe how different it all seemed. The snow that had covered the grass was gone, the gardens bursting with light, and the castle almost glowing. Completely different from the castle he had first found that stormy night. Approaching the castle, he passed by villagers who seemed to be beaming with happiness, the opposite of what he was expecting.

Had he missed something?

Peering over the crowds as he grew closer, he looked for his daughter. She had raced quickly back to the castle after they had been free’d and he had feared for her safety. Though he knew his daughter was strong, there was always going to be a part of him that worried about her.

Dismounting and leaving the horse with a group of others, Maurice climbed the stairs of the castle, squeezing by people. Some looked to be crying, others over joyed with the people around them. Maurice frowned slightly, looking around.

“Papa!”

Her voice rung out among the crowd and Maurice quickly turned around, his daughter running right toward him. She hugged him and buried her face in his chest, laughter muffled by his clothing. He quickly hugged her back, combing his hand through her hair and resting his cheek on her head.

“Oh Belle!” he comforted, squeezing her tightly, “I was so worried, I got to the castle expecting a fight but…”

Beaming up at him, Belle took his hands in her own, “It will be a lot to explain,” she replied, a smile on her lips, “but first you must come with me, I have people for you to meet!”

“People?” he asked in a confused tone, allowing his daughter to pull him through the crowd, “but what about the beast? You said you had to warn him.”

Her smile only grew, a mischievous look in her eyes, “I did Papa! Like I said, there will be a lot of explaining later…”

Another question was on the tip of his tongue as Belle pulled him to the front of the castle. There was a group of people, separate from the others, happily talking amongst themselves. Something about them...seemed familiar to Maurice, though he couldn’t place from where.

“Adam!” Belle exclaimed, walking towards a long blonde haired man, “My father…”

The younger man tensed up slightly, nervous in a way, and turned towards the two of them. Maurice frowned, taking in the way he was dressed, and quickly looked to Belle in confusion, “Belle...I don’t understand.”

“Papa…,” she said, letting go of his hand and walking over to the other man, who whispered something to her. They went back and forth for a moment, his blue eyes darting to Maurice, before sighing. Belle took his hand and led him over to Maurice, who was more confused now than ever.

“Papa...I know this will be hard to understand but...Adam,” she waved up him, “this is what he truly looks like.”

The older man raised an eyebrow, “‘Truly looks like’? Belle I don’t…,” he stopped himself, looking at Adam. His eyes...though they weren’t filled with the rage that had been present when the Beast found him...they were exactly the same. But now, instead of rage, they were filled with confusion, but warmth as well.

“You…,” Maurice stammered, “You were the beast?”

“I...I was,” the young man admitted, his voice lighter than he imagined, “and I want to apologize for the way I treated you sir. I had no right to lock you away, it was only out of my own anger…”

Maurice watched Adam for a moment, his eyes flickering to his daughter’s hand, which was holding Adam’s very tightly, “Belle said that you let her go...is that true?”

“Yes,” he quickly replied, “She was worried about you, saw what was happening at the village...I couldn’t keep her here when you needed her help.”

A flood of emotions was running through Maurice. So much was happening at once, so much he didn’t understand.

“Papa, how about we go inside and explain everything,” Belle chimed in, “I know it’s a lot.”

“That’s an understatement my dear,” he replied playfully, “but I wouldn’t mind sitting, if that is alright with you?”

Adam nodded quickly, “Of course, it would be no problem at all.”

Maurice followed his daughter and the young man into the castle and watched them. How their hands didn’t let go, how close they stood next to one another, and the way they looked at each other. It reminded himself of his wife and he back in Paris. A sad smile tugged at the corner of his lips at the memory. There was much for Maurice to understand, but for his daughter, he was willing to listen to it all.

Chapter Text

Panic.

It wasn’t something he felt often and when he did nothing good came of it. He remembered as a child the panic he felt when his mother’s grip on his hand loosened, her bright eyes becoming dull as he was pulled away from her.

He remembered the panic he felt when he had become a beast, how his bones snapped as his body changed. It was horrifying and every part of him screamed in agony. Within his own pain and panic, he could hear the cries of his house staff, and he couldn’t bear to think what had happened to them.

Panic followed him when he saved Belle from the wolves, an odd sense of concern washing over him when he thought of the brunette. The girl who had refused to dine with him, who had entered his wing and almost touched the rose that could have damned them all. Who switched places with her pleading father, who dared to talk back to him on multiple occasions. The thought of her dying and it being partially his fault, he wouldn’t allow that to happen.

Panic was not an emotion the Beast associated with good things.

It was all he felt though as he ran through his castle, desperately looking for his staff. The villagers had made their way to the castle at one point, but they seemed to have fled as he dashed down the staircase. He wasn’t sure how much time he had left, the last petal was doomed to drop any minute. He had failed them, had given his staff hope, but couldn’t break the curse to turn them back.

Pain gripped at his heart as he thought of Belle running from the west wing. He saw the fear in her eyes, the desperation, as she watched what was happening in the mirror. He knew he couldn’t keep her in the castle, how important her father was to her. But that meant his staff, whom he had come to think of as a small family, would have to pay the price.

Spotting a hint of a flame outside the castle doors, the Beast burst through them. For a second time that night, his heart sank.

Lifeless. Silence hung in the air as he slowly made his way past Cadenza and Madame de Gardarobe, who stood only feet from one another. His eyes trailed over to the trolley and he held back a whine as he saw the faceless kettle and cup of Mrs. Potts and Chip. Her voice ringing in his head, encouraging him on sharing his feelings with Belle, and he quickly looked away.

Stopping a few feet away, Cogsworth, Plumette, and Lumiere were all huddled together. Slowly falling to his knees, the Beast leaned forward and looked over the objects, tears in his eyes. This is not what he wanted to happen, this was not as it should have been. Lumiere, so life like even as a candelabra, was cold. Even Cogsworth’s gears were silent. He reached out to touch them, but quickly brought his paw back. There was nothing he could do now. He glared down at his claws and slammed his fisted paws on the groud, a roar crying out into the silence.

It was all his fault. If he hadn’t been the arrogant, selfish prince he was the night of the ball, this would not have happened. If he had found love sooner, if he told Belle his true feelings, there could have been a chance. For them. The staff who stood by him even in those years of hopelessness, even when he treated them like dirt. Somehow, they still cared for him, loved him.

And he couldn’t do anything in return.

Slowly, he made his way back to the west wing. The castle was slowly grumbling apart, but that didn’t matter now. He would be alone for the rest of his days, wallowing in his despair as he lived out his life with no one.

Dragging his feet into his room, he looked around, too drained to be angry. Something caught his attention though, from the corner of his eye. Turning, he felt the fur on the back of his neck stand up.

Belle.

She stood by the glass vase, looking over it’s contents like she did so many nights ago when he first scared her off. She shimmered in the moonlight with her yellow dress, almost like an angel.  

“Belle?” he whispered, slowly walking towards her. She turned her head, slowly, and a faint smile graced her lips. It was her, she had come back! She held out her hand to him and he took it, her warm skin too good to be true.

“Belle…,” he whispered again, disbelief coming over him, “You...you cam-”

Her hazel eyes widened and she grabbed his arm, “Look out!”

It was like a bomb went off.

He stood there in shock, looking down at Belle. Red was blossoming from her right shoulder, sliding down her arm and pooling into the yellow dress that once glowed. Her eyes, which had always held a sense of mischief, of love, were clouded over, tears forming at the corners of them.

“Did you honestly think she could love you?”

The voice was muffled to the Beast as he slowly kneeled down next to Belle, taking her hand in his. It was so cold, so limp. This was not what was supposed to happen! She had protected him, when it should have been him on the ground, dying.

He felt himself shaking as his vision blurred. The hurt, the love, the pain of it all was too much for him. The thought of his staff being gone because of him, now Belle joined them as well. All because of him, because of his faults.

Nothing else mattered now. He smelt the gunpowder coming closer to him, but as he leaned down over Belle, crying for what felt like the first time in years, he didn’t care.


Panic rushed through Adam as he shoot up in bed, gasping for air in a frenzy. A hand flew to his chest, combing through his hair, which was now a mess, and he quickly looked around the room. Nothing was out of place. It was as it was when he had fallen asleep, the only source of light coming from the moon through some of the windows. His heart felt like a drum, his skin covered in sweat that left him with a chill. He could feel the hair on his arms all standing up and he tried to catch his breath.

It had been a nightmare. A twisted, dreadful nightmare, but a nightmare just the same.

But it felt so real…

He gazed down at his hands, now clawless and with less hair, and he took a deep breath through his nose. It had been awhile since a nightmare had riled him up that badly. It had mostly been right after the transformation happened, but the dreams were never as vivid as the one he just had. He could remember every detail, the coldness of Belle’s skin, the lifelessness of his staff. He squeezed his eyes shut, combing his hands through his hair, trying to forget it all.

Cracking his eyes open slightly, his gaze found it’s way to the other half of the bed. It was empty. Adam sighed, his hand tracing where Belle would usually be.

Maurice was going to be moving into the castle in the next few days and Belle had offered to help her father pack for the move. Adam had insisted on helping, which Belle had found sweet, but told him that it wouldn’t take too much time. Just the weekend away, to make sure everything would be ready when a carriage arrived.

Shaking his head, Adam climbed out of the bed and walked over to his desk. With every step he took, he could still feel himself shaking. It had felt too real, a reality that could have happened, and it struck a nerve in him.

“But it didn’t happen like that,” he grumbled, leaning over his desk, “so stop...shaking…”

It was no use. Groaning, the young prince grabbed a robe from near by and pulled it on. Too drained from the dream, he didn’t bother with footwear and he made his way out of the west wing.

Sleep was the furthest thing from his mind right now, and he didn’t expect he’d be able to go back to it even if he wanted. Walking always seemed to clear his head, let his mind wander to other matters then letting it linger.

Stepping down the main staircase, soft laughter echoed through the air that startled him. Who else could still be up at this late hour?

Following the sound, he could make out some talking as well, though it was whispered. It sounded like three, maybe four people, and he had a pretty good idea who they were. He was tempted to walk through the kitchen door, maybe try and act surprised when he saw Lumiere, Plumette, Cogsworth, and Mrs. Potts all sitting there, but something stopped him. His mind flashed back to them as objects and he felt himself tense up. It was ridiculous to think about, because he knew that they were themselves, back to the lives they had almost lost, but the dream nagged at him.

The kitchen door flew open and Adam found himself jumping back slightly, startled.

Lumiere, who was without his wig, had a smirk on his face but it slowly slid off as he looked over his prince. The young man, who usually presented himself very well, looked pale, shaking slightly, and his hair was disheveled, some of it falling over his face. His eyebrows furrowed, concerned, but tried to pull the smile back, “Master, what are you doing up so late?”

“I…,” Adam paused, trying to relax. He didn’t want Lumiere to know, he didn’t want to worry his staff. They already did so much for him his entire life, he didn’t want to add another burden, “I couldn’t sleep...I thought I’d come down to get something to drink.”

“Of course! Come,” he said, leading the blonde through the door, “Mrs. Potts just finished up with some tea, that should help you.”

“I don’t want to intru-”

“Nonsense Master,” Cogsworth grumbled from the table in the middle of the room, Plumette and Mrs. Potts sitting on each side of him, “there’s plenty of tea for us all.”

As they approached, Adam could see Mrs. Potts scrutinizing him. He held back a sigh, preparing for her onslaught of questions. She could be like a mother hen sometimes, much to Belle’s delight, and always knew how to get information out of him that he didn’t want to share.

Lumiere pulled out a chair for Adam, then sat next to Plumette, who greeted the prince with a warm smile, “Sleeping troubles are the worst,” she said, “a good cup of tea always helped me when I need to relax.”

“Yes I suppose,” he replied in a low whisper, his eyes darting to each of the people at the table. He took in each of their faces, memorizing every detail he could. This is who his staff was, who they had always been, but his mind continued to play tricks on him. He would look to Lumiere and still see a flash of gold, a hint of a flame, when there wasn’t any of it in sight. He could hear the ticking of a clock, gears slowly grinding. The paint marks of a china set would linger around Mrs. Potts eyes before he blinked them away. Feathers would float around Plumette, her face concerned as she leaned forward to say something, but he couldn’t hear. It was like a buzzing noise and each second it grew louder and louder, and Adam wanted to curl in on himself, block out the noise, block it all out.

He had done that to them, had stolen years of their lives away because of his selfish, cold nature. They had almost died because of him and yet they still sat here with him, like nothing had changed. How could they stand to be around him, to be in this castle?

“Master?”

Blinking, he tensed, realizing he has drifted off. All of their faces were concerned, Mrs. Potts slowly moving around the table towards him.

Standing up abruptly, he backed away, “I…, I'm sorry to have bothered you all,” he mumbled, “I have a lot on my mind, I don't want to bo-”

Warm hands cupped his face and his eyes were glued to his feet, not wanting to meet Mrs. Potts worrying eyes.

“You,” she said strongly, “are not bothering us. What has shaken you so much?”

“I'm fin-”

“Don't you dare say ‘you’re fine’ or so help me…”

He looked up at the older woman, eyes wide, and they stared at one another for only a few moments, but it felt like hours.

The others, watching from the table, stayed silent.

The sternness of her expression melted away slowly as Mrs. Potts rubbed his cheek softly, “You don't need to hide away anymore. Your emotions aren't a burden for only you to bear, they are something you can share. We weren't there for you as a child,” her voice cracked and Adam’s vision blurred slightly, tears forming, “but we are here now my boy. And we always will be.”

He ducked his head, her hands not leaving his cheeks, and he tried to control himself. It used to be so easy before all of this had happened. He had been so cold, pretending to not care what others thought of him. It was all about him and how he wanted to be pampered every second. He didn't care for others, too much pain had come with that. Why care when all he needed to worry about was himself?

But then the curse came and he lived in despair for years. Mirrors shattered as he would look at himself, the true person he was. Angry. Alone. A hideous beast.

Then Maurice stumbled upon his castle. And with him, Belle came. Everything changed after that. He had changed.

Taking a deep breath, Adam looked back up at Mrs. Potts, a small smiling tugging at his lips, “Thank you…” he whispered, gently laying a hand over her’s.

Her own smile grew and she quickly pulled him into a hug, startling the younger man. He froze, not sure how to react, and he looked to the three at the table for some help. Lumiere covered his mouth, hiding a laugh, and Plumette softly smiled. Cogsworth sat up straight, a proud expression on his face, though he tried to still appear as grumpy as he always was.

Relaxing into her grip, Adam slowly wrapped his arms around the shorter woman, returning the hug. He laughed lightly to himself, “I do remember liking your hugs a lot…” he mumbled.

She pulled back, “When I was able to give them,” she teased, “you always seemed to be on the move.”

“An energetic boy you were,” Cogsworth chimed in, “Trying to get you to sit for a lesson was a nightmare.”

“In his defense old friend,” Lumiere said as Mrs. Potts and Adam made their way back to the table, “I would have trouble sitting still in one of your long lectures. They are, what you say...very dry.”

The two argued back and forth as Adam sat down, Mrs. Potts next to him with her full attention. The shaking had gone away and he found himself feeling more relaxed, the tenseness in his shoulders gone.

“I…,” he started, causing the two two older men to pause in their jabs, “I had a nightmare, which I’ve had before, but this one...it felt so real. Like it could have happened, how it almost did happen and I…,” he combed a hand through his hair, leaning back in his chair, “I was scared.”

“Scared?” Lumiere asked, leaning forward, “You’ve had nightmares before, as you said. What was it about this one? Because Master, you looked like a ghost when I opened that door.”

He laughed lightly, “I almost felt like one, I couldn’t stop shaking,” he paused again, his eyes focused on the table to avoid eye contact with them, “I...I was a beast again and was running through the castle, the last petal...it had yet to fall. The villagers, they had come and gone, and I was so worried about all of you...but then I found you.

“And you were all…,” he took a deep breath again, trying to control himself, “All I could think about was how it was my fault, that I couldn’t stop the petal from falling, and for that you all...died.”

“But we didn’t,” Mrs. Potts replied, grabbing his hand, “We’re here. Alive.”
“You did though,” he countered, a sad smile on his lips, “The rose petal...it did fall. I felt myself go and I know, even if...it was for the briefest of moments, you all turned.”

Plumette squeezed Lumiere’s hand and glanced over to him, unshed tears in her eyes. It had been brief, but the feeling of slowly dying was not something that she or the others would shake easily. If at all. Like a slow, crawling pain that wouldn’t go away. True, that it was because of their prince they were the way they were. But Plumette had never blamed him solely. Her eyes darted over him and though he looked like the man before the curse, he was completely different. It was his eyes, which had always been a telling sign even at a young age. They seemed warmer, especially when he was around Belle, but they also held a kindest that wasn’t there in his later years.

“This burden was not your’s to bear alone Master,” Plumette assured, “don’t blame yourself. Don’t let those kind of thoughts linger in your mind, they can only do more damage than good.”

Stormy blue eyes met her’s and she could see the conflict within them. There was something he hadn’t mentioned yet, something that had shaken him. What kind of nightmares did he have, she wondered, to leave him in the state he was in.

“Something else happened in the nightmare…,” she whispered.

Nodding slowly, Adam looked away from them, his eyes distant, “I went back up to the west wing and I was so tired. There was nothing left for me, everyone I knew...everyone I loved, gone. But then she was there. Belle...she was near the vase, in her yellow dress and she...she was glowing. I couldn’t believe it.

“We were together, her hand was warm in my paw, and though you were all gone...Belle had come back. And for a moment,” he chuckled darkly, “Everything was fine. Then, the next thing I know, Belle is on the ground and...blood is pooling around her and she’s so cold. And there’s nothing I can do and I-”

“Adam.”

Blinking, he turned to look back at them. Mrs. Potts was still squeezing his hand, holding back tears. Lumiere’s eyebrows were furrowed, concern on his face. Plumette had reached out and took Adam’s other hand, when she did he wasn’t too sure. Cogsworth, who hadn’t said much during this entire thing, had genuine worry his eyes as he watched Adam.

A cool feeling slide down his cheek and it was then Adam realized he had started to cry. Gently, taking his hand from Mrs. Potts, he wiped at his cheeks, trying to dry them away.

“It was a nightmare Adam. Rooted in fears you hold, yes, but it was only a nightmare. You are here, back in your own body. So are we. And Belle,” she whispered in a reassuring tone, “will be back tomorrow, with her father. Safe.”

“If you ever need to talk about these things Master,” Lumiere continued, “please...let us know. We are all more than willing to listen.”

“It could even be the smallest of things,” Plumette chimed in, “but don’t let these things fester inside. All of us, we love you.”

“Let us help you when we can,” Cogsworth reiterated, his voice as sincere as he could muster.

Adam looked over all of them, eyes wide in disbelief. Something warm settled in his chest and it coursed through his whole body. It was love, he realized, and it took all of his control not to cry again.

“You are all….so much kinder to me then what I deserve. Thank you. I…,” he whispered, trailing off for a moment. It hadn’t been so long ago that he was found himself wallowing in despair every day. When he would go weeks without talking to his staff, paying them no mind, just so he could be alone. Even in those times though, somehow they still cared for him.

His eyes travelled around the table, taking in their faces again, and he slowly smiled. A genuine smile that took over him. Within these walls that used to hold no love, Adam found more of it each passing day. With Belle. And with his staff.

“I love all of you too.”

Chapter Text

“They really do know how to throw a party around here.”

A small smile on her lips, Belle couldn’t help but laugh at her father, who looked at her with a playful smirk.

The celebration was unlike anything she had ever seen or experienced. It was even beyond something she could imagine in her own mind when reading. Growing up in a small, poor village, there weren’t many opportunities to come to royal parties. It wasn’t the type of lifestyle she was in, though she had read as much as she could about them in her books. The details about the lavish dresses and the exquisite music did them no justice when it was actually experienced in person.

It had been overwhelming at first. Belle found herself almost breathless as she walked into the ballroom, which only a few weeks ago she and some of the castle’s staff had cleaned. But there was something different about it now, with all of the guests talking amongst themselves, dancing along with the music. The butterflies that had been bothering her as she dressed started to rise again. She took a deep breathe, trying to squash her internal panic, and looked up at Adam.

The rest of the world melted away when she meet his gaze.

Now, Belle found herself in an alcove off the ballroom floor, sitting on a bench as her father sat next to her. His smile was warm, as it always was, and took one of her hands into his.

“I’m surprised that your prince let you go long enough to take a break,” he teased, he gaze turning to the young man in a powder blue outfit across the room.

Adam’s back was to them, his long blonde hair tied with a light blue ribbon, and he seemed very animated as he talked to Lumiere. The older man laughed at something Adam said, placing a hand on his shoulder, and Belle found her own smile growing.

“I may have mentioned to him that I wanted to sit for just a moment or two,” she confided, a tired sigh escaping her, “I haven’t danced for that long since...well never!”

“Long ago are the days when you would be stepping on my feet,” Maurice said wistfully, “now you seem to have the perfect dance partner.”

Blushing slightly, Belle ducked her head, “Papa…”

“It’s funny,” he continued on, rubbing a small circle into her hand, “watching the two of you dance, all these people around you. But if you really looked, it was like you were in your own world. He couldn’t take his eyes of you, you know. Not even for a second.

“I see it too, living here in the castle. It’s small things, but they add up. It makes me so happy,” he squeezed her hand, looking into his daughter’s eyes, “to see you so happy. You’ve dreamt so long to find something more, to find someone who understands you. And now you have.”

“Oh Papa,” Belle whispered, throwing her arms around his shoulders and hugging him, “I love you so much.”

Maurice hugged her back, squeezing tightly, “I love you too Belle.”

Pulling away, his hand found her cheek and his smile grew, “You remind me so much of your mother Belle. She would have been so happy to see you, to see the beautiful, smart woman that you’ve become today.”

Belle’s chest tightened up at the mention of her mother. There was still so much she didn’t know about her, even though she had gone back to Paris to where her family once lived. Those had been her last moments. But her mind still held so many questions how her. She dared not ask, knowing how hard it was for her father to talk about her mother.

Still, she wanted to know more.

“What was it like,” she began, leaning in closer to him, “falling in love with her? When did...when did you know she was the one for you?”

For a moment, she thought she asked too much of her father. His gazed flickered away from her, a frown pulling at the corner of his lips. It was the same reaction she would always get when Belle asked about her mother.

Something changed though. She watched him intently, holding her breath for a response. Slowly, Maurice looked back at her, a sad smile replacing the frown, and unshed tears in his eyes. Belle had to hold back her own, squeezing his hand tightly.

“I first saw your mother in Paris, just by chance. I was in a square during a busy summer day, the market was full, and I didn’t have much money to my name. But I did have my art and I was painting when I saw her. Her dark hair stood out in the crowd, she was moving so fast,” he chuckled, shaking his head, “she was always on the move. There was always something happening with your mother, moving from one idea to the next. Never wanting to slow down.

“Lucky for me, she did stop. She saw me painting, our eyes met, and...I just fell.”

“Just like that?” Belle asked with a laugh.

“Swept me off my feet the moment she came over to talk to me. She was so different from the people I had met in Paris. We understood one another,” he trailed off, his smiling growing as he tilted his head, “like how you and Adam understand one another.”

If she could have smiled any wider, Belle would have. She could picture her parents in her mind, meeting together in a busy marketplace, off to the side like they were the only people in the world. Her mother was still a mystery to her, and the small pain in Belle’s heart would never leave when thinking about her, but the pieces were slowly coming together. A strong, fearless woman. A loving woman, a woman who was ahead of her time. A woman who her father loved with all of his heart and beyond.

The last part of his sentence finally hit her and she blushed, “You think so?”

“Oh my dear, I know so. I used to look at your mother the same way.”

A swish of blue caught Belle’s attention and she turned, Adam slowly making his way over to the two of them. He seemed hesitant, glancing from her and Maurice with a worried expression, but she waved her hand forward.

“I didn’t mean to intrude…,” the younger man said as he entered the alcove.

“Nonsense, you are more than welcome here my princ-”

Monsieur , you don’t have to call me prin-”

“And we’ve discussed you not calling me ‘ monsieur ’,” Maurice countered playfully, standing up, “You are more than welcome here Adam. I was just taking my leave.”

Belle watched them, worry fluttering in her stomach.

Adam bowed his head respectfully, a shy smile on his lips, “Maurice. I’ll try not to slip up again.”

The older man chuckled to himself, patting Adam’s shoulder, “I’ll see you both later.”

Belle sighed, the small tension that had built up leaving her body. Her father was always one to tease, and he was having a good time of it with Adam.

“Your father,” the young prince said, snapping Belle from her thoughts, “is still an enigma to me.”

A light laugh escaped her lips as he sat next to her, “He’s always been like that. Having some fun at your expense I’m afraid.”

“I don’t mind it,” he replied, his gazed focused on her, “He’s a very kind man. Kinder to me then he should be.”

Shaking her head, she took his hand in her’s, “I’ve told you not to be so hard on yourself. My father has already forgiven you, don’t let those thoughts fester within you.”

The past few weeks had been like a whirlwind. Something that had become a theme, much to Belle’s dismay, was how much guilt Adam could hold within himself. She could see it when they were together, when his eyes lingered on the house staff for a moment longer then they would have. When she would find him out in the gardens by himself, tracing over the white roses that still grew even without the curse. The nightmares that would plague him. It all began to take a toll on him, even though he tried to hide it.

Many times she tried to reassure him. At first it didn’t seem to have too much of an effect and she was at a lose as to what to do. She had gone back to the village for a weekend, to help her father finish packing, and had Adam stay back at the castle. She explained it to her father, who listened very intently.

“Sometimes,” he had said, “People need to find it in themselves to forgive their self. The wound is still fresh Belle, and though it pains you to see him this way, it may take some time.”

When they arrived back to the castle, she knew something had changed. His eyes shined like she had rarely seen, the darkness that lingered over them gone. It was like a weight was lifted off on his shoulders. She tried, when he and her father were in deep conversation, to ask Lumiere what had happened. The normally chatty man just smiled at her, winking, and mentioning that late night conversations seemed to be the best for their prince. It just left her most confused, though glad to see him more lively then he had been in the past few weeks.

Sitting next to him now, looking into his eyes, she gave him a reassuring smile, “Don’t them linger on this wonderful day. Everything is so beautiful, there should be no reason for dark thoughts.”

He brought her hand to his mouth and kissed it lightly, “Are you enjoying yourself? I know it can be a bit overwhelming with all of the people and the dancing.”

“Of course I’m enjoying myself!” she said happily, playfully bumping his shoulder, “did I give the impression I wasn’t?”

“N-no of course not!” he stammered, a light blush appearing on his cheeks, “I just wanted to make sure you were comfortable, you mentioned that big events like thes-”

With a raised eyebrow, she tilted her head, “Who told you that?”

“I…,” he stopped, shrugging his shoulders with a small smirk, “may have heard it from a little bird.”

“Did this bird happen to be working within this lovely home?”

“There is a possibility.”

Laughing, she rolled her eyes, “Which staff member did you threaten?”

“Threaten?” he said with mocked offense, sitting up straighter, “How dare you accuse me of such slander.”

“Can I guess it was from a certain ‘head of the household’?” she asked, earning a snort and grin from the young man.

“The man can be rather chatty,” the prince conceded, “Though I did want to make sure you were enjoying yourself. It’s a bit different from having the whole ballroom to ourselves.”

She hummed in agreement, looking back onto the ballroom floor. The guests mingled amongst themselves, some still dancing away with the lovely music Cadenza played. That night of just the two of them dancing seemed so long ago with how much had happened in between. But she could still remember it perfectly, the sensation of him picking her up and twirling her around in the air. How she almost forgot to breath at certain points, her focus completely taken by him. The feeling his paw, his hand, on her waist as they danced their way around the entire room. It was in those moments, looking into his eyes, that she found herself coming to terms with her feelings.

Turning her gaze back to Adam, she smiled softly, “Everything is perfect,” she whispered happily, “Nothing could be more perfect. I’m here with you, I’m here with my family, my friends. I’ve never felt more at home. This is everything I could have ever dreamed of.”

Gently, he tugged her against his side, his forehead resting on her’s. His gaze held nothing but warmth as he looked down at her, his smile stretching across his face.

“You are...the most beautiful person I’ve ever met,” he whispered, his nose bumping her’ slightly as he slowly moved closer.

She closed her eyes, a hand gripping his arm slightly, “Don’t be so dramatic,” she teased.

She felt his laughter against her lips, “I happen to like being dramatic,” was his reply and his lips met her’s. The kiss was soft, tame, but she could still feel the passion that came from him. It sent a warmth through her entire body and she bit back a sigh as they separated.

“Home…” he said softly, his hand resting on her cheek, “I like the sound of that.”

“Home it is then,” she laughed lightly. It was where she felt safe, where she had found herself in different ways then she could have imagined. The castle was where her whole life had changed and as she kissed Adam again, she knew it would always be home to her. With him, with her father, with her friends within the staff.

This was the start of the adventure she had longer craved for.

Chapter Text

The wretched book brought nothing but pain. Another cruel trick placed on him by the Enchantress, mocking him anytime he dared to enter the library. It found it’s way towards the back of the massive room, but still he could hear it mocking him. A book that truly allowed someone to escape. How foolish he was to think it would be that easy. For how could he escape looking the way he did? If someone had seen him, even for the briefest of moments, terror would take over the, screaming and running away from the beast he had become.

He couldn’t use the book, no matter how hard he wished. A prisoner in his own castle, with an escape that would lead him nowhere.

Belle was a different story. She could easily blend in with the crowds of people if she so wished. He remembered that she mentioned wanting to explore different parts of the world, having been trapped in her small village for so long. It pained him, knowing he was the reason she couldn’t go, but then he remembered. The book. It would be the perfect escape for her, something that would make her happy. At least he hoped. They had grown close with their time together and he would do almost anything to make her happy, to see her smile, to hear her laugh.

The book had been a massive mistake.

They arrived back in the library, Belle visibly shaken, and he found himself frozen. What could he do, what could he offer? There was a fear that he would overstep her boundaries, he didn’t want to make her uncomfortable.

She looked up at him, her smile tight, and unshed tears glossing her eyes, “I...thank you, I just…,” she stammered, voice hitching slightly, “I need to get ready for dinner.”

“O-of course…,” he replied, his chest tightening as he watched her walk away. She tried to disguise it, but her pace was faster than normal, her shoulders shaking slightly.

The pain was something he could understand. When he had seen the mask, picked it up and turned it over in his paws, a wave of dread had washed over him. His mother hadn’t suffered from the plague, but it was something he saw the doctors carrying around with them. He remembered asking Mrs. Potts about the masks and the color from her face drained. It wasn’t a topic people liked to discuss he found, like the mention of it could somehow bring it within a household.

The death of his mother was something that had never left him. He had stayed by her side every chance that he could, trying to be strong, trying to keep her strong. He had prayed every night for her to live, to stay by his side. But nothing worked. His eyes never left his mother’s body as his father pulled him away. She was pale, so cold compared to what she had been only a month or so ago.

Belle didn’t know her mother though. From what he gathered, she had faint memories of her and the small stories her father would tell, but nothing solid. It was something she must have clung to, one of her heart’s greatest desires. He had offered her the world with the book and she had brought them there, in that small attic. With each passing moment, watching her walk around the room as she ran her hand down an easel, a familiar scent filled the air. It was slowly coming together for him and he could see it on Belle’s face as well.

He wanted to give her the world, allow her to escape, and all he brought to her was pain.

The frown on his race deepened, his brows furrowed in frustration, and he glared down at the book. It sat opened, the grains of gold moving slowly over the page, and his hatred for it only grew. Slamming it shut with his paw, he quickly locked it back up and stomped over to the back shelf where he kept it.

It continued to mock him and he wasn’t in the mood to be mocked.


Somehow, he found himself standing outside her room in the east wing. It was different from the first time he had, no castle staff to pester him, no anger in his heart. He was worried about Belle and it had been eating at him since she left the library. There had to be a way he could comfort her, to help her. She had helped him so much already and it was his fault she found herself in this pain.

Taking a calming breath, he slowly raised a paw to the door and lightly knocked on it, “Belle?”

A muffled sob caught his ear and he backed away slowly, unsure. What right did he have to talk to her in a time of such despair? What right did he have to ask? They had grown closer in the weeks she had been here, but that didn’t mean she had to talk to him about such things. To pour her heart out to him and tell her everything that was wrong.

But he also knew how painful it was to deal with the passing of a loved one alone. Those days after his mother’s death, he had no one to comfort but himself. The staff had tried, Mrs. Potts especially, but his father had scared them away from him. Left him alone to deal with the heartache, the misery that set into his soul.

He couldn’t leave Belle alone like that. As he raised his paw to knock again, the door opened slightly, his eyes widening in surprise. Confused, he looked down and he was caught in Belle’s gaze. Her eyes and cheeks were red, puffy from what he assumed was her crying. He stood frozen looking at her. There was a sadness in her eyes he hadn’t seen before and he had to control himself from reaching out to her.

“I-I’m sorry, I lost track of time,” she whispered, rubbing at her cheek, “you didn’t have to come up here, I should hav-”

“You don’t need to apologize Belle,” he interrupted gruffly, “I... I wanted to make sure you were ok.”

Her eyes widened for a moment, staring up at him. They stood together like that in the hall, the only noise coming from the distant clanging of the kitchen. He could feel his heart pounding in his chest and he shifted nervously, but didn’t dare to blink.

A hint of a smile formed on the corner of her lips, her shoulders sagging slightly, “Thank you..., did…,” she paused, looking back into her room then up at him with a raised eyebrow, “did you want to come in?”

“C-come in?” he stammered, taken aback. He could feel a heat rush up to his face and cursed himself. What a ridiculous reaction to have! She was just asking for him to come in her room and talk. His mind racing, he nodded his head, “I-if you wouldn’t mind me intruding….”

“It’s not intruding, it’s...good to have someone to talk to about these sorts of things,” she replied, nodding to herself as she said it. Opening the door more, Belle backed into her room, looking for something.

“There doesn’t seem to be a chair in here,” she mumbled to herself as she looked around, the Beast watching her as he slowly walked it. It had been years since he had entered this room. The gold coming off the wall shimmered just as brightly as he remembered, the furniture spotless from any dust. His eyes wandered over to the wardrobe and he frowned slightly, knowing the Madame was there. Trapped in this room away from her loving husband.

“You don’t have to worry about that,” he said, turning away from his dark thoughts, “I can just sit on the ground…”

She turned to him and looked mortified, “No, no I couldn’t ask you to do that!” she countered.

“I’ve sat in worse places.”

Shaking her head, she looked around the room again, “If you sit on the ground, then I will too. Let’s…,” her eyes trailed over to her bed, “we can sit against the bed.”

“You don’t have to sit on the ground on my account,” he fretted, watching her grab a blanket from one of the closets.

Spreading out the blanket, she knelt down and sat against the end of the bed frame. Though somber, she smiled up at him as she patted the blanket, inviting him.

Sighing, he followed suit, slowly trying to get his bearing on the ground. He avoided crushing his tail and crossed his legs, trying to leave some space in between them.

“You seem to have a habit for sitting on the ground,” he grumbled playfully.

She laughed lightly, looking up at him, “It’'s not too bad, it can actually be pretty comfy if you find the right place.”

Silence settled over them, Belle fiddling with the hem of her skirts. The Beast wasn't sure what to say, he hadn't expected this to go as far as it did.  A wave of nerves washed over him. He didn't understand why it always seemed to come when he was around Belle. When he was still human, he hadn't felt these types of emotions when he was around other girls.

Then again, those girls weren’t Belle.

“I wanted to thank you,” Belle said, breaking the Beast from his thoughts, “for taking me there. It was something...that I had wanted to see for so long.”

A rattling caught his attention and his gaze fell to her hands, which held the small rose rattle she had found in the attic. Her fingers lightly traced the petals, fully absorbed in her own world.

“I had a feeling something bad had happened to my mother,” she continued in a whisper, “the way my papa would react anytime I brought her up. His eyes...they would cloud over, a sadness would settle there. Like he was reliving it all over again.”

She bit her lip, her eyes filling with tears again, and before he could think, the Beast reached out and gently took me her hand into his paw. The sudden contact didn't seem to bother her and she squeezed his paw lightly.

She looked up at him and gave him a watery smile, eyes shining, “I just don't know why my papa didn't tell me...or if ever planned to tell me, he was so secretive about her,” she continued, choking back a sob, “it hurts more then I thought, I didn't even know her but still the thought of her dying like that…”

“That could be the reason why,” he replied softly, Belle shooting him a confused look, “the lasting image of your mother, he could have...wanted to preserve that. To have you remember all the wonderful things about her, not the way she left this world.”

“He always did protect me at any chance,” she whispered, shaking her head, “I know he means well. I just don't think he would have ever told me.”

“Did you…,” he stopped, finding the words, the right way to phrase it, “even though it was painful...did you like finding out?”

The question seemed to have struck her. Her gaze moved from him to some point in the room and it looked like a million thoughts were running through her head.

“I...did,” she said slowly after a moment, “even if it was painful. Just having that knowledge...it's gives me closure.”

The Beast nodded, an agreeing rumble coming from his throat, and they feel back into a comfortable silence. His eyes traced the room, allowing Belle to have some sense of privacy. It was immaculate. There was times, when he was younger and wanted to get away, that he found himself in this room. It had been his little secret, his escape from his regal father, from the life he wa living.

Funny that it had also been one of the rooms left almost untouched by the curse that had the castle crumbling.

“Can I ask you something?” her voice brought him back and he looked back down to her. Her brows were furrowed, worried?, and she bit her bottom lip again.

A playful comment crossed his mind, but he kept it to himself. Searching her face, he could tell her inquiry was along the serious side. A sense of dread settled over him, an inkling of what it was she wanted to know, but he brushed it off.

“Of course. What is it?”

“Is...is the last thing you see of your mother…?”

Right to the heart of it. Belle always did seem to have a way of reading into his words differently from others, see beyond what he was saying. She could read him as well as one of her books sometimes.

“Is the lasting image I have of my mother when she died?” He asked, finishing her question. Her gaze was intense, searching, as if she worried she went to far.

It stung for a moment, his mother flashing before his eyes. But as he looked down at the small brunette, who clutched his paw without any fear, that pain slowly faded.

“At first it was, I would go to sleep and any time I closed my eyes...I saw her face, how pale it was, how different she had looked,” he explained, his voice rough, “it took some time but I would just try to remember the other memories I had of her.”

“And that helped?”

He shrugged, “As much as it could. Sometimes I find my mind lingering on her sickness...but it passes.”

Nodding slowly, Belle brushed her thumb over her knuckles, smiling slightly, “I'll keep that in mind.”

Her hand slide out of his paw, the warmth leaving along with it, and she slowly stood up. Straightening out her skirts, she glanced out the window and let out an amused huff, “I'm sure Lumiere is upset we missed dinner.”

He snorted, standing up next to her, and rolled his eyes, “He has a tendency to go over the top with meals. Ever the showman.”

“Oh you like it, don't lie,” she teased, a smile stretching across her face, “how he gets the plates to fly around is beyond me.”

“Yes that was something I always wondered as well,” he replied in a deadpan, causing her to giggle.

Her eyes, which held no tears but warmth, caught his and he could feel his heart skip. Somehow this girl had wormed her way into his heart, which had been closed off for so long. It scared him, to be so open with her. It had been so long since someone could understand him, to see beyond the wall he had created.

Belle smiled up at him, “We should probably go then before they come hunting for us right?”

Shutting off his thoughts, he snorted again as they walked to the door, “I'm sure they already are knowing the lot of them.”

Laughing again, she pushed open the double doors and they walked down the hallways, side by side.

Things were better, with her here. But it never escaped him that she was here because of the choice she made. Even if he found himself caring for her, and even if she opened up to him, nothing could change that fact.

At least, in their time together, they could share these moments.

Chapter Text

Even in the summer months, the castle held a cold chill at nights. It helped when the days were long and hot, as they tended to be in this part of France. Still, as Belle pulled her robe around her a bit tighter, the cool air wasn’t as welcoming when walking around at such a late hour.

Holding the small candelabra aloft, Belle quietly walked down one of the many halls in the east wing. She didn’t wish to disturb anyone at such a late hour, the staff had been working long and hard all day and she knew they needed their rest. The next few weeks looked to be hectic, between the surrounding village leaders being welcomed to visit, and some of Adam’s own family coming. The thought of his family made Belle bite her bottom lip, worry creeping into her. She was excited to meet them, of course, but she didn’t want to be looked down upon. She feared that they would see her as just a “peasant” girl, as someone who wasn’t worthy of Adam’s time.

Though she knew these types of thoughts were silly, they still lingered in her mind. Even when she brought them up to Adam, he could only shake his head and assure her that he would never let someone talk to her like that.

“Family or not,” he had said, kissing the crown of her head as they hugged, “they do not matter. All that matters is that we are here, together. And I would sooner throw them out of this castle then let them speak ill of you Belle.”

Slowly walking down the steps of the main foyer, Belle shook her head at the memory. Adam didn’t seem to have the fondest feelings about his extended family. They were together when he read the letter that said they would be coming to visit and the darkening of his expression was all she had to see. He had talked about his father in bits and pieces, mentioning that he had passed right before the curse, but never spoke of any other family members. It left her confused, she figured he would have a long extended family being royalty. But she knew it to be a touchy subject and was something to tackle at a different time.

Walking past the dining room doors, Belle made her way through a side hallway. Ever since the castle had been restored to it’s former glory, she hadn’t had the time to explore its hundreds of rooms. Even when the castle was cursed, she never explored this section. Had it been closed off? She didn’t recall seeing the hallway, though she must had passed it a number of times. It caught her curiosity.

Climbing a staircase, mindful of her steps, Belle’s eyes widened as she made her way to the top. The hallway in front of her was massive, paintings adorning each wall, a carpet laid the entire way down it. How had she not been up this way before? Holding up the candelabra as high as she could, she walked over to the first painting she saw. The detail and artistry on it was breathtaking, something she would surely have to show her father in the morning. The portrait was of a woman, young and very beautiful. A familiarity sparked in Belle’s brain as she gazed over the image, but with what she wasn’t sure. Something about the eyes…

“Mademoiselle?”

Letting out a yelp, Belle jumped and tried not to drop the candelabra. Clenching it tightly in her had, she quickly turned towards the voice, heart hammering in her chest.

Lumiere stood at the top of the stairs, without his wig and dressed down slightly from his usual golden suit. It took her a moment to recognize him before she calmed down, sighing to catch her breath.

“Lumiere...you almost gave me a heart attack,” she said quietly, smiling at the older man.

A smirk on his lips, Lumiere bowed slightly, “I apologize mademoiselle,” he replied, standing up straight, eyebrow raised, “I wasn’t expecting to see anyone up this late at night.”

Heat rushing to her face, Belle pouted, “I...couldn’t fall asleep, so I thought a walk could help tire me out a bit.”

Sleep had always been a tricky thing with Belle. Her mind raced a mile a minute sometimes and she found herself up late at night coming up with new ideas for inventions, or caught up in a story. Sometimes, she found herself lying awake at night worrying where her life would lead her. Would she be stuck in this small village for the rest of her life? Never able to see the cities and lands that her books described in such loving detail, full of life and adventure? It ate at her everytime she closed her eyes in that small house.

Now, though, it was more about nerves. Meeting a royal family, living up to what the people would need from her and Adam. She had faith in herself that she could accomplish anything, she already had so many plans. Setting up a library for Villeneuve. Turing the castle library into a small school room so that boys and girls could come and learn. Being able to travel to other places and establish new connections to help the kingdom. It was everything she could have ever dreamed of, so far beyond the small town she felt trapped in.

Doubt found its way into her sometimes. It was silly, she thought, to worry about such things. But she would and it usually came as she tried to go to bed, a voice in her head whispering to her.

Tonight they had been louder then she would have liked, which is how she found herself wandering the castle halls.

“What are you doing up so late Lumiere?” she asked, “You all worked so hard today, I would figure you’d be asleep.”

“Oh how I wish,” he sighed, shoulders slumping, “I happen to be an unlucky fellow who was given the duty of checking up on the castle this evening.”

Giggling, she walked over to him and patted him lightly on the arm, “Well, we can do it together since you found me. How does that sound?”

A grin stretched across Lumiere’s face and he nodded, “That sounds lovely mademoiselle, company is always appreciated on these long tours.”

“Lumiere, I’ve told you to call me Belle,” she teased as they walked down the hall side by side.

“Of course, of course,” he acknowledged, waving one of his hands, “but old habits die hard, no?”

Holding back another laugh, she shook her head. Lumiere always had a way to make her laugh, from the first moments she got to the castle. His personality was infectious and he was ever the showman. While dinner’s were never like the first one she had in the castle, Adam had rolled his eyes the first time she told him about it, the former candelabra still knew how to do a presentation like no other.

Belle’s eyes trailed the paintings on the walls again, “Lumiere, the paintings in this hall,” she asked, “Are they all of Adam’s family?”

“Yes, for the most part. If I remember correctly, the master’s mother’s family is on this side,” he explained, waving his hand to the right wall, “while his father’s are on the other.”

Her eyebrows furrowed, “Maybe that’s why we’ve never been to this wing…,” she mumbled under her breath.

“That is a possibility,” Lumiere chimed in, turning the corner of another hall way, leaving the paintings behind, “The master doesn’t have a lot of love for his father’s side of the family. And most of his mother’s sadly,” he paused, shrugging sadly, “most of them had passed on before she did as well.”

“That’s terrible…,” she muttered, “what was she like?”

Confused, Lumiere glanced to the smaller brunette, “Who?”

“Adam’s mother. He doesn’t speak of her often, but the small bits he has said,” she paused, looking up at him with a small smile, “it sounds like she was a lovely woman.”

Nodding slowly, Lumiere held out an arm for Belle to take. They had made their way to the top of a staircase, one that was a steeper than some of the others in the castle. Mouthing a ‘thank you’, Belle took his arm gently and they carefully walked down. The castle still held so many surprises to her as she looked around, the detail on the walls and the railings truly something to behold.

“She was a lovely woman,” Lumiere began, a sad smile tugging on his lips, “When the master’s mother was alive, this castle was so different. She brought a sense of joy to it, love. She took the time to learn most of the staff’s name, to my shock. I had worked for at least two royal families before ending up here, and she was unlike anyone I had ever seen.

“There was a warmth about it, something I could never explain. And she loved the master so much. Not a day went by when you didn’t hear them laughing,” he chuckled, “It wasn’t perfect, but the environment here was inviting.”

“Then everything changed…” she whispered, a sadness coming over her. When she had helped Adam back to the castle when he was injured, Mrs. Potts mentioned how cruel his father was. Before then, she had gotten that sense. The family portrait in his room in the west wing, it had been torn in multiple places. The worse of it was on his father’s, which she had barely been able to make out.

“Sadly yes. It was hard on everyone in the castle, though it was worse for the master. His father didn’t help in the matter, the man was very cold. Distant.”

They reached the bottom of the staircase, the two of them walking in sync as they walked down a curved hallway. A small couch in a small alcove caught Belle’s eye and she tugged on Lumiere’s arm. Walking over to it, almost dragging the man, Belle let go of him and sat down. Setting down the candelabra, she turned to Lumiere as he made himself comfortable next to her.

“Did you want me to carry that?” Lumiere asked, motioning to the candle, “As you know, I have a good relationship with them.”

Laughing quietly, she shook her head, “You don’t have to, I don’t mind carrying it,” she answered, her mind turning back to what he had said earlier, “Adam’s family that is coming, they are from his father’s side? How do you think that will go?”

Lumiere winced at the thought, the mere idea of those people visiting sending a shiver up his spine. When the master showed him and Cogsworth the letter, all he could do was mutter curses under his breath. Those people were awful, the worst he and the staff have ever dealt with. It was the king’s older brother, who thought himself the greatest man in the world. Lumiere had a few other colorful words to call him, but he kept those to himself.

The master had looked distressed as they read the letter, pacing back and forth. He held no love for his uncle, despised the man, but he felt it his duty to welcome him into the castle. Cogsworth had agreed, though he too wasn’t happy about the matter.

He could only pray that the visit was short lived.

“I’m not entirely sure, though I’m sure the master will put up a good front about it,” he replied with a nervous laugh, “the former king’s older brother was never...the best person to deal with, if I were to put it mildly.”

“Sounds extremely charming,” she deadpanned, leaning back against the wall, “hopefully his trip won’t last too long.”

Fighting back a yawn, a small smirk formed on Belle’s lips, “To change the subject though...how are you and Plumette? She’s been in such a happy mood the past few days.”

If he was still a candelabra, Belle was positive that Lumiere’s candle flames would be the brightest they could possibly be. The mere mention of Plumette, who Belle adored with all her heart, always seemed to put Lumiere in a better mood. Even as enchanted objects, she could see how much they loved one another. Nothing could drive them apart.

“Well! We are fantastic, Plumette is truly one of a kind. She’s just been so happy to be human again these past few weeks, like we all have,” he said excitedly, “though the other day we did happen to have a surprise picnic I set up for her. Something small, but she seemed to love it all the same.”

“A picnic?” she asked in delight, “that is so sweet of you! Picnics are absolutely a treat, and with the lovely weather we’re having! I’m sure it was wonderful.”

He nodded his head happily, “It had been so long since I was able to do something like that for her, it was fantastic to see her so happy.”

The smile on Lumiere’s face couldn’t stop growing, just the mere thought of her brought a wave of happiness over him. She was everything to him and had been for so long. The fact that now, after all those years as objects, he could be with her again. Hug her, kiss her, be with her and the glow that she brought with her, it was almost too good to be believed.

The curse had been going on for so long, he had started to give up hope. No one had been the castle in years, no one seemed to remember it at all. Each passing day was another closer to their demise. It was heartbreaking, seeing the curse slowly eat away at the staff. At their master, who they rarely saw. Anytime Lumiere would see him at dinner, he would catch the looks that the once-man would send him, something akin to sadness. But he would never express it, just eat and be on his way.

Everything changed though when the older man, Belle’s father, arrived.

Lumiere knew the moment she traded places with her father that she was the one. He felt it in his heart and was even more reassured of that when she didn’t back down from their master. A fearless, beautiful girl. Someone with compassion, understanding of what had happened to them. Truly, she was the girl who could save them all, who could look beyond what their master had become to who he truly was.

A small yawn broke Lumiere from his thoughts and he blinked, turning to Belle who was rubbing her eyes. A chuckle escaped him, “You seem tired mademoiselle, perhaps you are ready for bed?”

A grumble, which sounded like a “no”, came from her though it was hard to tell when she was yawning again. Laughing, the older man got up and held his hand out for her. She gave him a playful annoyed look before accepting it, grab the candelabra from the ground.

Gently, he pulled her up and they made their way down a few halls, chatting quietly as they walked by doors which held staff members within them. They had walked by Cogsworth’s door and Lumiere pretend to go and knock it, rile up the older man, but Belle shot him a pointed look that was pretending not to be amused. They both laughed silently to themselves, walking up the grand staircase before stopping at the stairs that led to the east wing.

“It was a marvelous evening to spend with you Belle,” Lumiere beamed, kissing the top of her hand lightly. He squeezed it before letting it go, bowing dramatically to her as she laughed.

“The same to you Lumiere, you are delightful company to keep,” she replied with a small curtsey, her face glowing with a smile, “we must do it more often.”

Climbing the stairs, she turned back one more time and gave Lumiere a small wave before continuing back to her room. Each step brought a new wave of exhaustion to her and she all but ran back to her to room. As soon as her head hit the pillow, she was out. No voices to bother her, no worries in her heart.

Just a familiar tune with lively dishware and colorful explosions. And a certain golden candelabra trying his best to make her feel at home and welcomed.

Chapter Text

“What do you say we run away?”

Adam’s eyes shot up from the letter he was reading, meeting the grinning face of Belle. His savior had arrived and silently he prayed to the heavens.

Cogsworth had, much to Adam’s dismay, designated a time for him to read over all of the letters that had been sent to the castle since they reappeared to the outside world. The older man had all but locked him up in the library, refusing to let him leave before he had at least gotten through half of the letters.

Adam had barely gotten through a quarter. The letters all started to blur together, the handwriting morphing into one another and at points, he swore he felt his own eyes cross before he blinked them back into focus. Boredom could kill someone, couldn’t it?

He looked up at his wife, shocked, “How did you get in here?” he asked in disbelief, rising from the chair. He groaned as he stretched out his back, his muscles stiff from sitting so long.

A glint of mischief in her eye, Belle could only smile, “I had a lot of free time in this library,” she replied, walking around the table to stand in front of him, “I have a few secret in’s and out’s.”

“Aren’t you the devious one?” he chuckled, pulling her closer to him. Ducking his head down, he quickly kissed her lips. This was something that would never get old to him.

Being near Belle always brought him a sense of calm, of reassurance. That this was all real, that she was real, and that the curse was truly gone. It was the joy in her laugh, the way that she would tease him, the passion that she would show when talking or doing something she loved. The warmth of her eyes, the softness of her skin, the scent of charcoal and lavender that was so Belle. Beauty, but her mind was always working. He would laugh when he would see the smudges of her face when she forgot to wash the charcoal away after an idea would come to her. Each day there was something new he would discover about her and each day he would love her more and more. Trying to imagine his life without Belle was impossible.

Giggling, she broke the kiss and patted his chest lightly, “I do have my ways. But you didn’t answer my question.”

“Oh?” he said, leaning his forehead on her’s, tugging her body against his, “what was it that you asked again? I was engrossed in the most interesting letter.”

“Another one from a family relative you haven’t heard from in years?”

“No, I got through those earlier, thankfully,” he grumbled, “it actually was the first one that was interesting. A young king from the east side of France, Kit I think his name was.”

Eyebrow raised, Belle smirked as she tried to hold back a laugh, “It must have been good if you remembered his name!” she teased.

“Hush you,” he whispered, kissing her again as Belle burst into a fit of giggles.

Gently, she pulled away from him, “Like I was saying before,” she paused, a glint of mischief coming to her eye, “we should run away.”

Confused, Adam’s brows furrowed, “Run away?”

“Just for a bit, like we did once before.”

Once before? Adam stared down at her, puzzled, before a low rumble of a voice ran out in his mind;

“What do you say we run away?”

“Use the book?” he asked, “I don’t even know if will still work.”

“It’s worth a try isn’t it?” she replied, taking her hand in his, “this time we can go anywhere we want, there is so much we haven’t gotten to explore yet.”

Looking into her eyes, Adam could tell that her mind was made up. Getting Belle off an idea was almost impossible, especially when it had something to do with exploring. He had promised to take her wherever her heart desired, knowing she wanted nothing more than that. To see the cities and lands she had read about in her books so much. His heart clenched when he realized it would be some time before they could do that, the matter of being royalty taking up far more time then he would have like.

The book, that cursed enchanted book that he hated so much, would make it so much easier. The worry of travel would be gone, whisked away quickly to see anywhere the heart desired.

His own heart pounded at the idea. It had mocked him for so long, a cruel trick placed in front of him all those years. Just the thought of it made him bristle.

Feeling him tense slightly, Belle squeezed Adam’s hand, concern on her face, “What’s wrong?”

He shrugged, his eyes shifting away from her, “Nothing, I’m just...not sure the book would work anymore.”

Huffing, Belle took his face in her hands and tried to catch his gaze, “Don’t try that, you know that doesn’t work with me.”

Frowning, he leaned into her touch, “It works sometimes.”

“By sometimes, do you mean once?”

“Once is still a ‘sometimes’ I’d argue,” he mumbled, his eyes finally meeting her’s, “I...just don’t like that book very much is all.”

Sighing, Belle gently stroked his cheek with her thumb. He watched her, the small bit of sadness that had settled into her eyes, and couldn’t take it. It was his own fear, his own hatred, holding her back. For all she had done for him, for all that he loved her, he couldn’t do this one thing?

Her sadness wasn’t something he could bear.

“If you truly want to use the book,” he whispered, taking one of her hands into his, “then let us try. What could it hurt?”

“If you are uncomfortable…” she began, but he shook his head.

“It is nothing more than a foolish hatred.”

For a moment, Belle did nothing. Watching him, searching his eyes. Slowly the smile came back to her face, tugging on the edges of her lips. Leaning forward, she kissed him gently before pulling away.

“Then let us go see if we can find the book.”


Scrutinizing the wall of books, Adam let out a frustrated sigh. He could have sworn he had put it towards the back of the library, where he never had to see the blasted thing again. Replaying the scene again in his mind, it had been a few months, his hand traced down some of the spines of the other novels. He had placed it with other books he wanted no part of at the time, some of them his mother’s favorites. They were still too painful to look at.

Steps approaching him, Belle’s own sigh caught his attention and he looked over at the frowning brunette. She had pulled her hair into a bun as they begun their search, a determination in her eyes that he couldn’t help but smile about. Now though, it was more of an annoyed look, her eyes scanning the shelves.

“It was a pretty big book wasn’t it?” she asked, hands on her hips as she looked at him, “surely you couldn’t have put it too many places?”

“It should be back here,” he grumbled, waving his hand in a general direction, “unless the blasted thing grew legs and walked off…”

“I mean it was a magic book…” Belle countered, looking over some of the spines.

Adam rolled his eyes, holding back a groan, “Magic or not, it should be here.”

Biting her lip to hold back a smirk, Belle shook her head as she knelt down. She tried to imagine what the book had looked like, the small time she was with it. From memory, it was brown, leather bound, which didn’t help much. There was a good number of those types of books like that here.

It was the corner of her eye that spotted something. A small twinkle, like a flash of gold. Following it, she slowly stood up. It was a few shelves up, higher then what she could reach on her own. Dashing toward the ladder, she quickly pushed it back towards the shelf in question.

Adam watched her flurry of movements, confused. Had she seen something he hadn’t?

Belle climbed the ladder, carefully, and slowly pulled the large book from the shelf. Her eyebrows pinched together as she looked over the it, a sense of confusion coming over her. It was the same book, but something felt different about it. Like it was duller. The sparkle that had lingered around the covers corners were gone and it also seemed to be crumbling.

“Adam look at this,” she said urgently, climbing down the ladder. Walking over to Belle, he held out his hand for her as she took the last few steps off the ladder. Giving a small thank you, she quickly walked over to the nearest table, Adam right behind her.

Carefully placing it on the table, Belle ran her fingers along the cover. The life that she recalled from before, the warmth that her hand felt, it almost seemed like it was gone.

“It looks as if it’s...crumbling,” Adam muttered next to Belle, “try opening it.”

Gently, as if it were made of glass, Belle opened the magical book. The pages, which had once been brimming with colors and gold that moved throughout the pages, were almost completely dulled. As she continued to turn the pages, each different from the last, sadness wormed it’s way into her. It had been a small idea, something that could allow both she and Adam to get away for even just a moment.

It all seemed for naught.

Watching her, Adam knew with each page that Belle’s hope was waning. He could see it in the twitches of her lips, which started to pull into a frown. How her brows furrowed, her shoulders dropping every so slightly. It was the small things that would give away Belle’s mood, something he had picked up on during the curse.

“Let’s flip to the atlas,” he said, putting his hand on her’s as she grasped at the pages, “maybe that’ll be different.”

Together they flipped to the page and a small laugh escaped Belle. It was like this page hadn’t been touched at all by whatever happened to the book. It shimmered, the gold dust moving towards where their hands had been placed.

Her eyes traced over the page, taking it all in. Fingers lightly going over the page, a small scrawled out message in one of the corners caught her attention.

“Was this here before?” she asked Adam, “‘May you have one last adventure…’? Who could have…”

“The Enchantress…” he whispered, eyes widening, “otherwise...the book probably would have lost all it’s magic when the curse fell.”

A small smile on her face, Belle turned and looked up at him, “Where would you like to go?”

“Me?” he asked, shaking his head, “no darling, you pick where we go. You’ve always dreamt of seeing the world,” he carefully takes her hand, bring it up to his lips and kisses it, “you should be the one to pick our adventure.”

Gently, he placed her hand down in the middle of the book, as he once did before. But instead of a paw, that was larger than her petite hand, his own human hand covered her’s. He smiled softly, looking from their hands to her face, which was almost glowing with delight.

The warmth of the book seeped into her fingers and Belle couldn’t fight the happiness that filled her. Looking from the man she loved, her gaze fell on their hands and the magic that awaited them. Taking a deep breath, she closed her eyes and visualized the place she always wanted to see. The warmth that filled the air, the shimmering river, the beautiful buildings and homes that lined the streets.

Verona had always been her escape.


Hands locked together, Belle rushed down the cobblestone streets of the Italian city. Her laughter filled the air as she ran with Adam, trying to absorb every detail she could. It had been almost like she had imagined, but so much more.

Halfway over a bridge, Belle stopped and tried to take it all in. Laughing out of breath, she had to stop herself from pinching her arm.

“It’s more beautiful than I imagined,” she said breathless, “can you believe it?”

Adam, who had been silent most of their running, hummed in response, looking around. He should have suspected that she would take them here, the heart of her favorite play. He had thought of teasing her, hoping to rile her up slightly, but he watched the true joy she felt from being here and couldn’t bring himself to it. Not at this moment anyway, there was other times the teasing would be appropriate.

Turning to him, cheeks flush, she couldn’t help but laugh, “It’s left you speechless!”

At this, he raised at eyebrow, “Speechless wouldn’t be the right term,” he countered in a deadpan tone, “though I will admit the sunset is lovely.”

It was like something out of a painting. The sky was a perfect mix of oranges, blues, and slight purples, creating a setting that was almost too good to be true. Belle thought of her father, how he would have loved to come along and be able to paint such an image.

Arms slowly wrapped around her waist from behind, Adam lightly kissing the spot between her neck and shoulder. Belle softly hummed, leaning back into him as she watched the sunset.

“It’s a romantic city…” she mumbled softly, her hands resting on top of his as he continued up her neck, “the perfect escape I think, don’t you?”

His hot breath on her neck sent a shiver down her spine, her knees feeling weak, “I would have to agree my love, it is a nice escape.”

Nibbling at her earlobe, Belle had to fight back a small moan. Turning quickly around, she wrapped her arms quickly around his neck and kissed him hard, tangling her hands in his hair. A low growl rumbled from Adam and he pressed her back against the bridge, leaning into the kiss.

A heat formed in the pit of her stomach, surging through her body, and Belle knew they had to stop. The ache was beginning, but not out in the open when people could see them! She felt herself flush even more and broke away from his kiss, breathless. Adam tried to duck in to kiss her again, but she stopped him, laughing lightly, “If we keep going at this rate….”

Kissing her neck again, Adam huffed, “I thought you said it was romantic…” he muttered teasingly, finding the spots he knew he’d get a reaction from.

Belle tried to fight it, but another moan escaped her, louder this time, “A-Adam...in the open?”

Kissing behind her ear, a smirked played on his lips, “I’d take you right here if you let me…” he whispered.

Her face flushed even more and she smacked his arm, “Adam!”

Pulling back, he laughed, shrugging his shoulders, “You asked.”

“You are unbelievable.”

“What, so sex in the library is fine, but not on a bridge?”

She hit him again as he laughed, “Alright, alright, I get it…” he conceded, his smirk slightly crooked, “I was teasing.”

“Well, we could just go back to all your lovely letters.”

“Now that’s just cruel.”

Spinning out of his arms, taking his hand, Belle started to pull him along, “Then we’ll take our time seeing some places that took place in Romeo and Juliet .”

Laughing at his reaction, his eye rolls somehow always got more dramatic, she pulled him closer to her so they were side by side. Kissing his cheek quickly, she locked their arms together and rested her head on his arm, “I love you, thank you for bringing me here.”

Even now, after all this time, his heart still raced when he heard those words. Words he waited so long to hear, that he thought he would never hear. Now he was here, with the love of his life, in a city she loved, and he couldn’t believe how lucky he was.

“I love you too.”

Chapter Text

Belle was always a mystery to Lefou.

Sometimes, when he would be with Gaston, he would hang back and watch Belle from a distance as his best friend tried to once again woo her. The younger woman was a puzzle he couldn’t crack. Everyone in town loved Gaston, the every man turned war hero, and there were few girls that he couldn’t impress. There was a charm to his personality, if not a little overbearing at times, but Lefou could look past that. Most people could, going along with the boisterous man as they drank and dance.

Belle was different though. She was beautiful, but in an effortless way. It didn’t seem to be something she cared about. He would notice the charcoal smudges of her face whenever Gaston ran into her, or how her braided hair would be coming loose by the end of the day from the work she did around her home. A book was very rarely not in her hand as she made her way through town, the eyes of the villagers always following her. Whispers of how strange she was or calling her a ‘funny’ girl.

Each time, she would turn down Gaston in a new way that left him confused. What was Gaston doing wrong that couldn’t crack the young woman? Lefou had tried to steer his friend to other girl’s, seeing the losing battle Gaston tried to fight each time he talked to Belle. But he was steadfast in his need to marry Belle, no matter how hard he tried.

They had never interacted too much while living in the village. A ‘hello’ here and there when he would see her while he was out alone. There was once, when he had tripped over something and fallen into a mud puddle, that she noticed him. She was next to him in a moment, helping him up, inquiring if he was ok, and letting him use one of the rags she happened to have with her. It was a different type of interaction than he had ever had within the village. Most people would have walked by, not giving him a second glance.

Belle was different though, and it’s what made her stand out within their small village.

Walking beside Pere Robert, he couldn’t stop himself from gaping at the enormity of the castle. Even after a few visits, it was still an incredible sight. The marble floors, the high ceilings, the decor, everything about it screamed royalty. And yet, it also felt homey. Like anyone could be welcomed within the walls.

“I believe the library should be right up here,” Pere Robert said, catching Lefou’s attention,  “We’ll have to be quiet, I believe Belle is still finishing up with the children.”

As if on queue, an eruption of giggles echoed down the hall. As they walked closer to the source, Lefou found himself panicking. His heart felt like a drum, his hands starting to sweat, and it took all of his focus to take deep breaths. The last time he had been this nervous was the night before he and Gaston had left for the war, his stomach felt like it had been doing flips and he hadn’t gotten any sleep. This wasn’t a war though for god’s sake, it was a simple lesson!

Pere Robert put a finger to his lips with a whispered shushing sound, walking quietly through the massive double doors. Turning into the room, Lefou had to hold back a gasp, his breath almost taken away. Never in his life had he seen a room so large, rows and rows of books expanding from one wall to another. The craftsmen's ship of the shelves was stunning, the intricate details on the ceiling catching his eye as he took in the massive space. Being in the room for only moments, he could tell how much it was loved.

“Our story will have to end there for today everyone,” a light voice announced to a long series of whines, a laugh flittering through the air, “don’t worry though! You’ll be back before you know it, don’t forget to take the books that you picked out today!”

Hair pulled up in a bun, though still in a messy fashion that Lefou remembered seeing a few times before, Belle looked as if she was glowing. The smile on her face couldn’t have been any bigger as she laughed at the children's pouting faces, tugging on the skirt of her dress, begging not to leave. He couldn’t recall a time, in all of the years he had seen her, where she looked as happy as she did now. A small smile snuck it’s way onto his lips as he watched the scene before him, taking in the moment.

Belle had found him during the celebration the prince held a few weeks after the fiasco at the castle. He was shocked to see he was invited, a special invitation from Belle herself, and he found himself questioning the motive behind it. What had he ever done for the young woman? For him to be treated with such kindness from her?As he listened to Pere Robert read it, there was mention of helping to protect the castle, and how some of the staff would love to see him once again. He replayed the words over and over in his mind again, having the clergy man re-read it a few times, and he stood there in shock each time.

The celebration was unlike anything he had ever seen or experienced. The beautiful people, the music, the festivities, being in the presence of actual royalty. It made his head dizzy, the whirlwind of emotion almost too much to take. Then he had found himself dancing with Stanley, a rush of warmth going through his body, and there was so much he just didn’t understand.

He didn’t mind the dance though.

She found him off to the corner and greeted him with a huge, dazzling smile that lite up her face. Arm entwined with the prince, (“Adam,” he had said in a smooth voice, shaking his hand with a firm grip that Lefou attempted to return), she peppered him with questions from how he was doing to if he was enjoying himself.

“I just wanted to thank you personally for helping to defend the castle,” she had said, “you could have left after Gaston left you to fight...but you stayed. And that means a lot, truly.”

‘Sorry old friend...but it’s hero time.’

Those had been his best friend’s last words to him. Leaving Lefou to defend himself, leaving him behind to prove he was the hero of the village once more. In that moment, the weight of the harpsichord pressing down on him, he could feel his heart break. For all he did for Gaston, through their years as children, to the war, and beyond that, he was treated as an afterthought. Never truly standing alongside Gaston, always the figure to the side who would support him in whatever endeavor he had next.

That loyalty was rewarded with nothing.

Sensing his mood, was he that easy to read?, Belle had offered for him to come by the castle if he ever needed anything. They always needed help around the massive building, and she had already begun a plan to make the library into an area for children to come by and learn. The offer was kind, and as he tried to decline, he let it slip that he didn’t know how to read.

“Well then I’ll help you to learn, you can come by when the children are finished,” she declared happily, “if you would like to, that is. The offer is always open. I would love to help.”

That’s how Lefou found himself standing in the massive library of a prince, helping Pere Robert with a headcount of all the children. Each Saturday, boys and girls from the village would come down to the castle and get lessons from Belle. From what Pere Robert mentioned, they learned something new each week, keeping their interest as much as possible.

“So next week guys, we’ll go over each of the stories you picked out! And if you don’t understand something, we’ll all go over it together,” Belle happily explained to the children, giving a hug to each one as they filed out of the room, “have a great rest of the day, I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!”

A chorus of ‘ merci’s! ’ filled the air, Pere Robert greeting Belle with a smile and a hug of his own, “Another lesson gone well I hope?”

“Of course,” she replied, pulling back from the older man, “though with the nice weather today, the kids were getting a little anxious to go outside.”

“As most children are,” he replied with a smile, “I’ll get them back safe. I’ll see you next week Belle.”

Lefou, standing off to the side, nodded to the clergyman as he left the room with the rambunctious group of children. It reminded him of times when he was younger, when he would walk with Gaston to school, and how the older boy would playful push him. Simpler times.

A hand rested on his arm and he jumped, the memory fading away as quickly as it came. Looking around, his eyes met Belle’s, curious yet concerned, and tried to fight back a rush of embarrassment.

“Is everything alright Lefou?” she asked quietly, “Mind wandering?”

A laugh escaped his lips and he shrugged, trying to play it off, “Something like that. It’s been doing that a lot lately.”

Belle eyes scrutinized him for a moment, squinting slightly as if she was trying to see past his forced smile. He didn’t blink, didn’t feel like he could breath, because he didn’t want her to see. See the turmoil he had been holding within himself in these past few weeks, his world turned upside down. Gaston was always by his side and even with his faults, Lefou loved him. Now, he was gone.

After a moment, Belle leaned back slightly and nodded, “I can relate, the past few weeks have been,” she paused with a smile, eyes drifting over the far walls of the library, “they’ve almost been like a dream.”

“I couldn’t agree more,” he confessed, his gaze drifting back to the area where the children once were, “the kids seems to be enjoying themselves.”

Belle blinked, turning her gaze back toward him before looking back to the mess of books on the table. She hummed happily, her feet carrying her over to the crowded table, “They were very attentive today, which was fantastic. Mixing together some reading lessons and drawing seems to be the winning combination with them.”

He kept his distance, watching the brunette hustle around the table and flip through each of the books. She looked up from the text for a moment, waving him over gently with her hand. It was a welcoming motion and after a moment, Lefou slowly made his way over to her. His eyes watched as she created multiple piles with the books, then double checked the spines of them before putting them together.

Pursing his lips, Lefou watched her with a raised eyebrow, “What are you doing?”

Pushing back a few random strands of hair from her face, Belle gave him a polite smile, “Organizing the books, so that I can put them back in their proper place. I’ve made it my mission to organize the whole library, much to Adam’s amusement.”

“Does he think you can’t do it?”

“Oh no!” she exclaimed with a laugh, walking toward one of the shelves by the fireplace, “He knows I’ll be able to do it, he just finds it amusing that I’m very particular with how the books are organized. Can you blame me though? While he was in here often, Adam didn’t have a real organizational method to all of these books.”

“Nothing?” he asked with a surprised tone, coming around the table. Picking up a few of the books, he followed after Belle, “I would think he’d have some sort of method to the madness.”

“He had a little something, but nothing like I’m going to do,” she said with a determination in her voice. Turning toward him, her gaze bounced from the books in his hand to him and gave him a small thank you. Taking the weight from his hands, he watched her almost dance along the shelves, eyes scanning the rows books. Like she had the whole thing memorized, which, thinking about it, she probably did.

They continued like this for awhile, him following her around the floors of the library as she put the books away in their correct section. As they walked, she would explain what each section was slowly becoming, pointing out each time what her favorite novel was in reference to it. The names and titles floated in one ear and out the other for Lefou, though he nodded politely as they walked along, asking the occasional question to keep from falling into silence.

Sighing happily, Belle sat down in one of the lush chairs towards the back of the room. Lefou pulled a chair from the other side of the table next to her, sitting back and couldn’t fight back his own sigh. “It’s chairs like this that make me never want to stand again.”

Belle chuckled, “It’s truly a struggle, especially when you’re supposed to be going down to dinner but really don’t want to move.”

“Can’t you have your meals up here?” he asked, sinking back into his chair more, “or do you prefer the dining room?”

“I think if I ate in here, Lumiere would have a heart attack,” she said jokingly, dragging her chair closer to him. Giving Lefou a smile, she pulled over a small book that she left on the table, flipping through the pages quickly.

Cracking the book open, Lefou caught a quick glance of the pages and felt his heart hammer against his chest. It looked like a lot more than he could handle, his mind racing with failure. It would be too much for him, he already knew.

Shooting him a reassuring look, Belle slide the book closer to Lefou, “I know it may look like a lot, but believe me it’s not. We’ll go through this step by step and go as slow as you need to,” her smile was soft, comforting, “I want you to be comfortable with this. We’ll work on it as long as we need. Is that alright with you?”

A knot formed in his chest, an emotion he was unfamiliar with. Belle looked at him with such caring eyes, an encouraging tone, it wasn’t anything he had experienced before. All his life, he had put something before himself. He was the shadow to the village hero and most people paid him no mind. After awhile he became numb to it, smiling through being ignored and continuing on with what worked for him in the past.

Now though, it was all different. It was his time in life to shine, to bring himself up to center stage. To live his life in a new way he hadn’t before. Wringing his hands together, a small smile ghosted on his lips. He lifted his head up, meeting her eyes, and he knew that he had found someone who was looking out for him. Who cared about his well-being and wanted to help him learn something he had all but forgotten about it.

“That’s perfectly fine with me. Where do we start?”

Chapter Text

Lumière had arrived at the castle at a young age. His family, too poor to keep another child, found a way for him to work within one of the most beautiful castles in France. It was not an easy adjustment at first, he remembered the nights when he would curl into himself on his cot and let his crying overtake him. Wishing to go back home, wishing for the pain in his bones to fade away. As time went on, he begun to create an air of confidence about himself. To stand out from the other servants, to show he was not just another staffer of the castle.

In that time, he had connected with the young prince. Adam would come find him when he didn’t want to study with one of his numerous tutors, listening to one of the many tales that Lumière weaved. The child’s eyes, which were as blue as the sky, always filled with wonder and awe and hung on every word. The prince would pepper him with questions afterwards, wanting to know as much as he could about the people within the stories. Where they came from, if they were true. Lumière would find himself laughing, jostling the young boy’s hair as he tried to think up answers. Adam would often race back to his mother and, from what he understood, tried to retell those stories to her with the same showman’s ship Lumière possessed.

Cogsworth, beginning his time as head of the household, would often try to dismiss Lumière . But he could not fool the younger man, who would often find himself following and teasing Cogsworth. It was fun to get a rise out of him, Mrs. Potts even seemed to find it amusing at times.

But it made the big castle feel more like home to him. The warmth of it oozed from almost every corner thanks to the Queen. A beautiful woman with a striking blonde hair but a kind smile, she would try to learn every staff members name. When she had introduced herself to Lumière and found out who he was, her smile glowed as she shook his hand.

“So you are the young man my son has talked so much about. A pleasure, truly.”

Life was funny, how it picked and chose who to take so early before their time.

He could feel the warmth slowly fading in the castle as the queen died. There was nothing that many of them could do but sit by and watch in pain as she slowly wasted away. It was only for a brief moment, but Lumière caught a glance of her. Her cheeks were sunken in, skin almost as pale as the marble floors within the ball room. Her blonde hair looked like wisps and she could barely keep her eyes open.

Not too long after he had seen her, she passed.

The castle was different after that. The king, who Lumière t ried to avoid as much as possible, became crueler and colder with each passing day. He carried an air of arrogance around with him, and his eyes felt like ice. Piercing, but nothing behind it. There was no love in him and, much to Lumière’s dismay, he took it out on his son.

Adam, who used to smile from ear to ear, who would run around the hallways of the castle with an air of innocence. Who was quickly enraptured by a good story, his eyes showing curiosity but also pure joy. The boy who the castle staff had grown to love with all of their heart.

There were whispers among the staff. Lumière tried to brush them aside as only that. He wanted to believe someone couldn’t be so heartless, who would hurt their own child. The thought kept him up at night, staring up at the ceiling of his small room. Mrs. Potts came rushing down to the servants quarters one morning, tears streaming down her cheeks and trying to hold back her sobs. Cogsworth & Lumière brought her aside, trying to calm her down, asking what had happened.

A hand covering her mouth, she tried to stifle the sob, “T-the prince, he tried to...to hide them, but there were these bruises on his arms…”

His heart felt like it dropped into his gut as he listened to the older woman. The two men shared a look, unsure of what to do. What could they do? They were nothing but servants in the castle. The king would have them thrown out even before they could get past the accusation.

They could do nothing but watch.

Each passing year, the prince would grow colder and colder. He wouldn’t give most of the staff a passing glance, would lock himself up in his room at any free moment that he could. Watching what this boy was slowly becoming killed Lumière , his heart aching to reach out and comfort him. Those blue eyes that were once so warm had grown cold, devoid of almost anything. He could see beyond the mask the prince had formed for himself. That boy was still there, but had been buried deep. To keep the pain from resurfacing, to allow himself to get hurt anymore than he already was.

The night before the curse would change their lives, Lumière had decided to confront the prince in the days to come. He would try to get through to him, to apologize for not being there when Adam needed it the most. That he would always be with him and help him in anyway he could. He wouldn’t let the prince hurt anymore, not alone.

Then the curse happened and everything flipped on it’s head. He was nothing more than a candelabra, is beloved a feather duster, and the prince...had become something he had never seen before. The staff wouldn’t utter the word out loud, afraid of being within earshot of the prince, but it all lingered in their minds. A beast. Even through the years when the prince would lash out on the small staff, Lumière didn’t let it deter him. It may have not been spoken out loud, but he had promised Adam. And beyond the claws and fangs, he could still see the young man who was so desperate to hide himself.

When Belle had walked through the castle doors, Lumière k new she would be the one. An unexplained feeling, but in his heart he could feel it. There was a different air to this girl then others he had seen years ago. Watching her counter the prince, even through his rage, only cemented those feelings. He and Plumette would discuss different ways to get them alone after they had witnessed the two bonding in the library. He kept an eye on them from afar, delighted with the rest of the staff when he heard their master’s laughter. It had been years since such a thing was heard.

The curse had been broken. The moment he laid eyes on the prince, who looked disheveled but with a smile that was almost exactly like the queen’s, Lumière couldn’t keep back his joyus laughter. They embraced and he could hear Adam’s laughter in his ear, whispering how good it was to see him, and the former candelabra had to fight back the tears forming in his eyes. It was too good to be true. Life had handed them a dreadful hand, but they all made it through. He wouldn’t allow Adam to fend for himself alone anymore.

Now, as he saddled one of the horses that had been attached to the carriage, fear welled up inside him. It was a bad idea, he had known that, but Adam had insisted on going. Maurice, Belle’s beloved father, needed to make a trip to one of the neighboring villages and the prince had volunteered to join the older man. Maurice insisted he didn’t have to, flustered at the thought, but Adam didn’t back down.

“I have been away for so long, it’s only right that I see the village’s that we are sworn to help, is it not?”

Stubborn as a mule the boy was. Even Belle couldn’t deter him from this trip. He would keep a low profile, dress down to something a commoner would wear, and just take in what the village was like. It would be only a few days, Maurice would be selling his music boxes, and Adam was eager to help. Lumière thought Cogsworth face couldn’t get any more flustered as it were and quickly volunteered to tag along with the two.

The trip went well. As Maurice set up his display, he and Adam walked around the small village. The air held a chill, not entirely normal for the early autumn weather. The prince didn’t seem to pay it any mind though, his gaze flickering to almost every building they walked by, every person they saw. It reminded Lumière of the attentive child he had met all those years ago and he couldn’t help but smile, Adam asking what he found so amusing.

“Oh nothing sir,” he deflected, “the village seems very quaint, no? Let’s head to the market to see how it is there.”

The day before they departed, Lumière noticed that Adam looked slightly more flushed than he usually was. Brow furrowed, he watched the prince take careful steps with Maurice as they carried the music boxes back to the display in the market. It was subtle, but having watched the younger man for so long, Lumière picked up on it quickly. His steps were measured, slower than normal, and once he had to catch himself quickly before tripping over a small branch.

“Sir, are you feeling alright?” he asked as he pulled Adam aside from the display.

Lumière, I’m fine.” Adam reassured, a tight smile playing on his lips. The older man scrutinized his face, arms crossed over his chest  with a frown. There was sweat on Adam’s forehead, his cheeks slightly flushed, and there was something about his eyes.

“I’m just making sure,” Lumière s aid, placing a hand on his shoulder, “if you do feel unwell, you are free to tell me. I’ll help anyway I can.”

An emotion crossed Adam’s face, one Lumière couldn’t read, but it was quickly gone, “You’ll be the first to know.”

Shaking his head from the memory, Lumière turned quickly away from the horse and made his way off the dirt path. Following a smaller path, the sound of running water grew louder and he quickened his pace. He pushed through the bushes, careful of the thorns, and dashed to two figures below a large tree on the side of the river.

Maurice’s head snapped up, giving Lumière a small wave and placed a damp cloth over Adam’s forehead. The young man’s eyes were closed, breathing slow but raspy.

Maurice stood up, meeting Lumière a few steps away from the prince, “I’m not sure if he’s sleeping now, but he should be fine until you get back,” he whispered, glancing from the body on the ground to the concerned eyes of Lumière , “His fever seems to be in the same place but we should get him back as soon as possible.”

Cursing under his breath, his eyes lingered on Adam. A storm of emotions raged within Lumière as he watched the prince’s chest rise and fall slowly. The boy was stubborn as could be! Why didn’t he say anything to him yesterday? Why didn’t he come to him like he asked?

A weight on his shoulder brought Lumière from his thoughts and his eyes found Maurice’s, which held understanding, “I know you are worried. I am as well, as the carriage breaking couldn’t have come at a worst time. I will keep a close eye on him, but you must race ahead. We are not far from the castle.”

Breathing through his nose, calming his thoughts, Lumière nodded, “I will be back as soon as I can. I must tell you, the master has a tendency to...talk while he is under a fever.”

Chuckling softly, Maurice gaze drifted back to Adam, “Belle was the same way when she would be ill. I’ll manage until you get back.”

Lumière brushed past Maurice quickly, kneeling down next to the young prince and laid his hand down on his forehead, moving the cloth. The heat spread over his hand, the prince’s skin clammy to the touch. A sigh escaped his lips, “I will be back as soon as I can master…”

“L... Lumière …”

Adam’s eyes were cracked open, glazed over and unfocused. His mouth was opening, like he was trying to say something, but the words wouldn’t come out. Lumière fought back a chuckle and let a small smile cross his lips as he looked down at the prince.

His hand left Adam’s forehead, “Rest. We can talk when you’re back at the castle, healthy.”

As he stood, a limp hand rose open, grasping onto Lumière’s fingers with little to no strength. A pained look was on Adam’s face, his eyes still unfocused, “I...I’m sorry... Lumière...

“There is no reason to be master,” he whispered, squeezing his fingers before guiding his hand back to the ground, “Rest. I will be back soon.”

Giving Maurice one final nodded, Lumière dashed up the path back to the horse he prepared. The castle was only a few miles and nothing would stand in his way. As he mounted the horse, the memory of the queen lying on her deathbed flashed into his mind. The prince’s skin looked so similar, the way his eyes looked. How desperate he was for contact. Galloping on the forest path as fast as the horse could, he banished the thought from his mind.

He would not allow his prince to die.


 

Sifting through the items they could salvage from the broken carriage, Maurice bite back a sigh. Taking off his glasses, he ran a hand over his face. Thinking back to the beginning of the day, he should have seen this coming. As they packed to leave the tavern in the morning, he had noticed Adam moving a bit more sluggishly than normal. Maurice had chalked it up to not sleeping well, Belle had mentioned that the prince had lingering nightmares that kept him up most nights.

But it just wasn’t the way he moved that should have tipped Maurice off. His complexion was paler, his breathing haggard, and the air around him was different. It was hard to explain, but he could feel it any time he was close to the young man.

It had from bad to worse when the carriage’s wheel collapsed. There was a ditch he must have missed as he listened to Lumière and Adam bicker back and forth about the young man’s health. Everything happened quickly, Lumière fell backwards to the back of the carriage, Maurice grabbed onto the reinings as he calmed the horse, and Adam was tossed out of his seat. His body landed a few feet away in the grass, face down, and hadn’t moved when the two rushed over to him.

Maurice took the cloth from Adam’s forehead, careful not to disturb him, and quietly walked to the river next to them. Dipping it into the river and ringing the excess water from the cloth, he couldn’t help but worry. Sickness was something that Maurice had feared feared all his life. Even before he met Belle’s mother, sickness had sunk his claws into his family. His father died when he was a boy thanks to a fever he developed while he was out at sea. It devastated him and though his mother put up a strong front for him, he could hear her crying at night when he was supposed to be asleep. It seemed to follow him anywhere he went.

Settling himself down next to Adam, he carefully placed the cloth back onto his forehead. He hoped that the young man was sleeping, rebuilding his strength, but from experience that probably wasn’t the case.

Maurice still pinched himself sometimes since he moved into the castle with Belle. So much had changed in their lives because of this prince. He never imagined the beast who took him prisoner over a rose would turn out to be a human. At the time, he was lost in the furious gaze of the beast’s eyes, who towered over him as he laid on the snowy ground. There had been something about those eyes that, looking back on it now, seemed human. He couldn’t place it. There was so much fear running through Maurice at that moment as he was dragged up the numerous staircases that he didn’t ponder about the possible “human” side of the beast.

Belle did though. She explained to him what had happened in the castle, how she could have escaped at one point but decided to help the beast. A sadness crept into her eyes at that, “I wanted so badly to be home with you Papa...but I couldn’t leave him to die in the snow, not after he saved me.”

His daughter showed more compassion than any person he knew. It was a trait that her mother had, one of the many things that shined about her. As Belle continued to speak about her time in the castle, he saw his daughter lose herself in all her stories. Her eyes would shine when she spoke of the prince turned beast. About how he had given her the library, how they discussed different literature. It was something she had yearned for while in the village, someone who understood her. She had grown up to be such a beautiful and smart woman. Like her mother in many ways, but her own person.

A series of coughs made him blink, snapping him from his thoughts. Adam had rolled on his side, back to him, and his shoulders shook as more coughs racked his body. Leaning over him, Maurice lightly grabbed his shoulders and rolled him back onto his side, sitting him up. Carefully he lifted a water jug to Adam’s lips, slowly allowing him to drink.

“Take you time there,” he instructed calmly, placing the jug off to the side, “that’s it, easy…”

Adam’s eyes stayed cracked open, slowly taking in what was around him. His gaze found it’s way back to Maurice, who was trying to keep the small reassuring smile on his face.

Lumière will be back soon and we’ll have you back at the castle in no time,” he reassured, “you should rest Adam.”

Lumière…?” Adam whispered, his voice raspy, “He’ll b...be back?”

“Of course, he was very worried. He’s gone to go help from some of the others.”

His blue eyes clouded over again, a tight smirk tugging on his lips, “ Lumière ...is too kin-kind...to someone like me…”

Maurice’s eyes widened. There was a sadness lingering in his voice, as quiet as it was. Did he think himself unworthy of Lumiere’s concern? It could be the fever talking, but he felt there was something more behind the words. Something the young man wouldn’t say, that he kept to himself.

“You should get your rest,” he whispered, “your fever is still high.”

“Maurice…,” it came out like a whisper, Adam fingers curled around the edge of his coat, “I-I’m sorry...for what I...I did, I was...I was so angry…”

He made a shushing noise, shaking his head as he placed the cloth back over Adam’s forehead, “We’ve discussed this Adam, I forgave you long ago. You don’t need to apologize.”

A hitch caught in the prince’s throat, eyebrows furrowed together, “They were...they were so important to-to me...I couldn’t let...let anyone take them, like-like they took her…”

Confusion came over Maurice. Took her? His mind racing, trying to think back to the many things his daughter mentioned about the prince. Was he talking about Belle? Or was there another? Watching him, the distress of Adam’s face was clear. There was something stirring within him, that had been buried deep. But why mention it to him?

Take them . The words replayed in his mind over and over. Then it clicked.

“Are...are you talking about the white roses?” he asked, disbelief lingering in his voice. Someone had been taken by the white roses? Were there others before him that tried to take the roses as well? The phrasing was confusing to him but he wanted to understand what it meant. It seemed important to Adam.

“She loved the-them...so much,” his voice hitched again, eyes fighting to stay open, “we’d...we’d go in every day to...take care of them. I couldn’t...wouldn’t let you take them….cause they were all…I have left of her…”

A piece fell into place. Carefully, Maurice took one of Adam’s hands and squeezed it, “Adam...you don’t need to explain, I understand. Rest….”

“Those roses…always roses,” he whispered, “I’m...so sorry Maurice…”

The running of the water was the only thing that could be heard. Adam’s eyes were closed, his fingers uncurling from the coats fraying edges. Maurice studied his face, the worry that was building within the pit of his stomach only growing. This boy’s soul was deeply troubled. Even before the curse, which didn’t help matters, something tragic happened to him.

The white roses he was so protective of the night they met....they held a meaning. A meaning that Maurice slowly started to piece together and broke his heart as he theorized. Adam’s mother. They were her roses. Which meant that something happened to the mother.

A sadness settled into his heart as he looked over the young prince. For so much turmoil to happen to someone so young, Maurice couldn’t fathom the thought. Adam didn’t believe himself to be worthy of his staff, of the people he loved. That much was clear and it troubled the older man to his core. There was so much self-loathing in his heart and yet Adam didn’t display it, at least not around him. He assumed it was like that for the rest of the staff. If there was anyone he would tell, it would most likely be Belle.

There was a piece of his past Maurice was missing, to have it all make sense. But was it his place to ask? They didn’t start out on the best foot, but Maurice slowly started to see the man his daughter fell in love with once he moved into the castle. He had been so eager to help Maurice on this trip, which took the older man by surprise. There was a desperate plea in his eyes and Maurice couldn’t deny that. The trip didn’t end on the best note, Maurice flipped the cloth on it’s other side of his forehead, but being able to interact with Adam outside the castle was refreshing.

He was curious, asking about his music boxes as they placed them on display for the village. How they worked, what made him choose the themes he did, finding the little details to make each one different and special. The tension that he often saw in the prince’s shoulders was gone, he would turn each music box over and over again in his hands. Curious, but careful. It was unknown to him, Maurice realized, as he watch Adam look out into the crowds of people in the village. Being amongst the people he ruled, seeing their day to day lives. He had mentioned wanting to know more about the people, to try and connect.

Though Adam rarely spoke of it, he admitted that before the curse that he was an uncaring ruler. Cruel, unkind. Didn’t give a second thought to the villages who needed his help. He wanted to change that, to offer any help he could, desperate to show he wasn’t the monster he thought himself to be.

Sighing, Maurice pushed back the strands of hair that stuck to Adam’s sweaty forehead, “You think yourself a cruel man...but you’re not,” he whispered in a comforting tone, “misguided, perhaps. But in your heart, you are good. Caring. Don’t think you are unworthy of the love of the people around you. Because you are.”

A chorus of neighs brought back Maurice, his head shooting up in the direction of the sound. He prayed it to be Lumière and the others. They needed to be at the castle, to be safe, and be able to take care of Adam in a proper way.

Looking down at the prince again, a swell of sadness settled over him as he continued to put the pieces together in his mind. Something or someone in his past allowed these thoughts to fester in the boy’s heart. He had a suspicion, one that filled him with an anger he rarely felt, but he would keep it to himself.

A group of men appeared through the bushes down by the path and Maurice could see it was Lumiere instantly. Relaxing, he gently took one of Adam’s hand in his own and gave it a light squeeze, “I told you he would come back,” he reassured, “you won’t be alone.”

Chapter Text

“And then Lumière mentioned that there is cursed Aztec gold!”

A light laugh echoed through the colonnade, the sunlight warm on his skin as he grinned up at his mother. The last remnants of winter were finally fading away, the chill that hung in the air so often gradually growing into warmth. With the warm air brought the the small hints of the gardens blooming, the grass shiney like it never could in the winter months.

It was Adam’s favorite time of year. Being able to run outside and roll around in the grass, not having to be cooped up for long hours during the days. The sun stayed out longer which allowed him to explore more. More often than not, he would run outside with a new book and hide away in the maze that was the gardens. Those were the few times that he could get away from his studies without having to meet the disapproving gaze of his father.

Spring also meant that the flowers were beginning to bloom, which was another thing the young boy loved. That meant that his mother would begin to tend to them and he knew how much she loved her flowers. Especially the roses, she adored them beyond any other flower the gardens held.

Her warm eyes found his and he couldn’t help but break into a boyish smile, “It’s true maman ! Lumière told me all about the curse! He said he heard that a ship with black sails roams the...the…,” the young boy stuttered, trying to think back to the name. Why did he forget the name?

“The Caribbean, darling?” his mother answered playfully, the thin smile on her face growing as she held back another laugh, “Lumière does have a way with stories doesn’t he?”

“But it’s true maman , he told me himself! Last time he went to port with some of the other staff, some of the sailors were talking about it!” he declared, “It’s one of the fastest ships on the sea!”

A hand, small but powerful, ruffled his hair and Adam grumbled under his breath. His mother loved to tease him when he go overly excited about a story, but he couldn’t help himself! She loved the stories just as much as he did. Who else would he share them with?

“Tell me more darling,” she urged him, her hand trailing lightly along the edges of the petals of the white roses, “This Black Pearl sounds like a ship not to be messed with…”

The white roses. Against all of the greenier within the gardens, those were always the flower that stood out the most to him. They always caught his eye, something so delicate but also powerful enough to pull his attention away. It was the flower in the garden that his mother paid the most attention to, though she would try and deny it.

They reminded Adam of his mother. Elegant, but with a hidden power to them.

As he sat on the bench, he found himself lost in the story of the ship that could terrorize the sea. It had caught his attention immediately when Lumière came back from his trip. Adventure, the high sea’s, those were things Adam thought he would never get to experience for himself. Only fantasies that he would find in books, places where he didn’t have to worry about  real life. Where he didn’t have to worry about one day becoming a king.

“And then Lumière mentioned that the crew would start to become…”

His eyes widened as he watched the rose drop from his mother’s hand. It landed softly on the ground and he felt his body begin to shake when he saw something on the petals. Red droplets coated the one side of the once pure white rose and his eyes quickly shot up to his mother.

Jumping up from the bench, he caught his mother as best he could as she fell forward. It was like holding dead weight and he slowly sank to ground with her in his arms.

Maman ?!” he cried, resting her head in his lap. Her skin was almost as white as the rose, her chin covered slightly in blood, and her eyes were closed, “ Maman , are you alright?!”

His heart was racing, like it would beat out of his chest. Breathing ragged, in a panic, Adam could do nothing but look down at his mother. Tears, which he hadn't noticed before, begun to roll down his cheeks. What was happening to her, his beloved mother?

“Someone!” he cried, his voice hoarse, “Someone please help! Is there anyone?!”

The white rose sat on the ground a few feet away from them. As the servants heard his cries, they rushed towards them and, without a thought, crushed the flower. They ushered him away from his mother and he stood to the side, hugging himself as his body shook.

He lingered behind the servants as they rushed his mother indoors, kneeling down to the rose. His eyes didn’t leave the crumpled flower. Carefully, he cradled it in his hands. Such a beautiful thing, how quickly it was destroyed. Bringing the petals to his chest, his leaned forward and prayed that his mother would be alright. That it was just a fluke, that the world wouldn’t take her away from him so quickly.

His prayers went unanswered.


It was dark. Had it always been this dark? It was like being lost at sea with no light to guide him. Everything seem muddled. What had happened?

The small village flashed in his mind, but went away as quickly as it came. He had a trip, for what reason he couldn’t remember. He was with someone, two people maybe? But his mind couldn’t place it, the faces hidden behind the shadows. It all blurred together, the colors interwoven with the black murkiness he now found himself in.

Something echoed, bouncing off the hidden walls this black prison seemed to have. Like a voice, but it sounded far away. He couldn’t make out who was saying it, or what they were saying. Another echo joined the first but it sounded like it was closer. It’s tone was warm, familiar. Like he heard it before in a scenario like this one yet he couldn’t remember.

A light pressure lingered on his forehead. It was warm, but not the kind of warmth that he felt in this dark sea. A healthy warmth, caring. The hand is small and again it’s familiar. Smooth. Who is it? An image ripples across the dark waters, a flash of blue and gold. His mind screamed for him to know who it is, to catch a glimpse of this person. To escape this wretched place.

Light blinded him as his eyes cracked open. It’s too much to bear, too painful, and they quickly close again. Slowly, he finds himself fading back to the dark murky waters. Nothing felt like it could reach him here. He was alone.

The faint voices fade away with the tide and he slowly sinks into the water, letting it roll over him. He was so tired, his body weak, and he just wished it would go away.


The room smelt like sickness. It was heavy, dark, like there was no hope. They had given up on her. The doctors, different one’s almost every week since she fainted, filed in and out of that room. Each time they brought no news. Or no news Adam wanted to hear.

When they would look at him, their eyes would be filed with regret. A sadness, like they tried to understand how he felt. They didn’t know, how could they know? How could they know what it felt like to have the light of your life torn from you? To have the center of your world fade before your eyes?

The doctors forbidden him from going into the room, concerned that he would contract the same illness that had befallen his mother. Each time they would shuffle him away, promising that in the next few days he could go in.

A few days became a week. And the week after that.

Today he wouldn’t be denied. He felt it the moment he woke up, the pulling desire to see his mother. A feeling at the pit of his stomach told him he had to before it was too late. She wouldn’t be here for long, not with how long she had been sick for. It was only a matter of time and his heart clenched at the thought of a world without her.

Rushing down to the garden where it all begun, he carefully plucked one of the white roses from the vine. He examined it in his hand, mindful of the thorns. She would want this to be by her side.

Watching the doctors leave the room, Adam skillfully snuck through the opened door before slowly closing it. He knew his time would be short, the doctors were never gone long, and he turned.

She was worse than he could have imagined. Slowly, quiet not to disturb her, he walked towards the large bed. Propped up on numerous pillows and buried under blankets, his mother looked like a ghost compared to the woman laughing at his story weeks ago. His hand trembled as he reached out to grasp her’s and he hiccuped, holding back the tears he felt well up in his eyes.

“Mother…,” he whispered, his voice cracking, “Mother please….”

A light squeeze of his hand almost made him jump, his heart was racing, and his eyes met his mother’s. They were cracked open slightly, the blue that used to shine clouded with a haze. The edge of her lips were tugged up in what he thought was a smile, but it was almost unnoticeable.

“Adam...oh darling…,” her voice was hoarse, barely above a whisper.

Her eyes fluttered closed for a moment but he watched her fight to keep them open, focusing on him. Quickly, a feeling of dread washing over him, Adam brought up the white rose and lightly placed it in her hand.

“I brought this for you mother,” he said as he tried to fight back the tears, his voice soft, “I kno-know how much you love them and I thought…”

A faint laugh escaped her lips, her eyes trailing over the petals and then back up to him, “Oh darling...thank you,” she replied, her voice weak, “you always did know...how to cheer me up.”

The tears fell, he couldn’t hold it back any longer, “ Maman , please don-don’t leave...I-I wouldn’t know how…”

“Oh my sweet boy…,” she whispered, squeezing his hand lightly, “I love you...so much Adam. So much more than you will ever know. B-but don’t forget that I do. Always.”

“How could I ever forget?” he replied with a crack in his voice, a forced laugh, “I-I don’t think I could love anyone more…”

“One day...you’ll find someone,” she assured, a knowing smile on her lips, “And they will love you….as much as I do. The people here Adam...they love you so much. Don-don’t forget that. I love you...so much...your stories...your smile...my sweet...sweet...boy…,” her voice trailed off, the grip on his hand slowly unraveling, “my Adam…”

The light that danced in her eyes so often faded and he didn’t remember screaming for her. He felt himself shaking, trying to tell her not to close her eyes, but it’s too late. Hands, heavy and powerful, rest of his shoulder as he’s ripped away from his mother. He cries, desperately trying to get back to her, to see her again as bodies crowd around her.

Everything after that is a blur, his body is shaking, his face coated with tears, and he crumbles into himself the moment he’s back in his room.

The pain in his chest was like if someone had clawed their way in and ripped his heart out. It was too much for him and he sobbed, the lasting image of his mother playing in his mind over and over.


It takes him a moment to recognize where he is. Eyes cracked open, the light not as blinding as before, Adam felt sluggish. The murky water and dark world he was in before was gone, replaced with colored blurs. His eyes travelled around the area, trying to put the pieces together as to where he was. Something clicked in his mind, he’s unsure as to what, and he realized he was in his bed. Which meant he was back at the castle.

Someone was sitting next to the bed on his side. Slowly he turned his head, his vision swimming slightly. For a moment the person is nothing more than golden blurred lines. He squinted, trying to clear his vision, and suddenly the figure came into focus.

Lumière.

It all raced back to him. The trip to the village with Maurice and Lumière, the sick and sluggish feeling he began to feel during the trip. Arguing with the older man about his wellbeing, fighting back the concern the other man showed. After that, it all was blank.

His hand felt like it was weighted down by rocks but slowly he raised it, reaching for the other man. Instantly, he felt the warmth of another hand in his and he fought back a sigh from his lips.

“Lumière…” he said, his voice sounding rather weak and hoarse, “Where are…?”

“The castle sir,” the older man quickly confirmed, gently placing the prince’s hand back on bed but not leaving his grasp, “We arrived back a few days ago. Belle is down with Mrs. Potts coming up with a new tea to help this fever pass.”

Concern laced Lumière voice and a wave of guilt washed over him. He didn’t want to be a burden to them. Why did he deserve their love? For so long he had been nothing but cruel. Uncaring. They had reiterated to him, ever since the curse broke, that they loved him and he wanted to believe that.

There was a voice that lingered in his mind that whispered that none of it was true. That they would grow tired of him and leave.

His eyes lingered on Lumière’s face and he thinks how he could have doubted them. This self loathing, which Belle frequently teased him about, had blinded him to the people who cared about him. Who would do anything for him and he had tried to block himself out again. To prevent the pain he had become so numb to.

“Lumière...I...I’m sorry I didn’t listen to you,” his voice faltered, exhaustion creeping over him, “I was just being…”

T êtu ? Hard headed? Négligent ?” he rattled off, a hint of frustration behind his voice, “I could go on my young prince.”

Laughing faintly, Adam shook his head gently, “I think I get the idea.”

He made a clicking noise with his tongue, “A shame, I had a whole list,” his tone was playful but his eyes shined with concern. Adam felt a squeeze on his hand, “Sir I...I would hope there to be no “next time” but...if there is, please just tell me. I don’t want to…”

Lumière’s voice faded off, his head ducking and Adam was unable to see his face. His tone caught the prince off guard, unsure what to make of it. Lumière was a playful spirit, someone who always oozed positivity as they walked into a room. With the snap of his fingers he could put on a show, entertain a whole group of people, and it was always a secret delight of Adam’s to watch. It was rare, as he watched the older man now, to see him so serious and a sense of worry gnawed at Adam.

A ticking of a clock was the only sound in the room as Adam watched the man. He felt himself tense, unsure of what was to come. What had Lumière so worked up, surely it couldn’t just be him being sick? There had to be something more.

“I was so worried,” it was no more than a whisper, but it made the hair on Adam’s neck stand up, “You had flown off the carriage and when Maurice and I got to you...y-you were lying on the grass and weren’t moving and I thought…”

His eyes shined with unshed tears, his hand in Adam’s trembling, “I told you, many nights ago, that I would be willing to listen, no? That if there was...anything you needed to say, you could tell me. But I should have known that it would not be that simple.”

Adam’s eyes didn’t leave Lumière’s, loss for words.

“For so long, mon prince , you have kept things to yourself. You have closed yourself off so that you wouldn’t be hurt. Because if you were closed off, you could appear uncaring. To defend yourself from your father…,” his voice choked up, “you should not have been alone to face that man.

“Before the curse,” he pressed on, “I was going to tell you what I’m going to say now. Je suis désolé . I should have been there to help you, not stand by and watch th-that man be so cruel to you. You should have been comforted, not left alone. When you needed us the most...we were not there.”

“Lumière, I-”

S'il vous plait ,” he cut off Adam, his voice strong but emotional, “let me finish. I will not let you be alone anymore. No one here will. I beg you, don’t bury these things. Let us, let me...help you, unlike before. I won’t let you hurt like that again. That’s a promise.”

Adam sat in stunned silence, staring into the tear filled eyes of the former candelabra. He felt himself shaking, the emotion of the words rocking him. It was all so much to process, to understand and he had grown so tired. His eyelids fluttered, trying to close, but he fought to keep them open. He owed Lumière that much.

His body resisted and he knew it was only a matter of time before he fell back into unconsciousness. His body screamed for rest but his mind and heart screamed to talk to this man whom he has trusted all life.

“I-I don’t…” he stuttered, unsure, “Lumière….”

A warm smile spread across the other man’s face, “You should rest,” he whispered, “I can see you fighting it off. It won’t work in the end you know.”

Eyelids fluttering again, Adam fought back a yawn. There was so much he wanted to say, he had no time for rest. How could he sleep after something like that was said?

His body refused to listen to his mind and he felt himself lulling back to sleep. Squeezing Lumière’s hand, he felt a small tear roll down his cheek, “Thank you…” he whispered.

“Of course mon prince ,” a soft voice replied as his eyes shut, “now try and get some rest.”


Escaping the castle was almost impossible now. As a young man, it was thrust upon him to shoulder more responsibility than he had ever before. The process never made much sense to him and mostly he ignored it. His father was always watching him and many times Adam found himself acting out just to spite the older man. From the lavish parties, the girls he would take to bed, and the nights he would drink himself almost to death. Anything to sneer at his father.

Today though, he was lucky. His father was gone, off to do business with some high lord he didn’t care about. It allowed Adam the freedom to do what he wanted and as he gazed upon the clear skies, he felt a tug on his heart he hadn’t felt in years.

Walking slowly through the gardens, he tried to hide the small smile that tugged in his lips as he took in the flowers. Flowers of every kind were beginning to blossom, some still buds while other in full bloom. Though they weren’t as neatly taken care of as they had been in the past, it was still a sight to behold. He had forgotten how calming this area could be, how fresh and lively it felt compared to the rest of the castle. It felt like a small piece of freedom.

His feet came to a sudden stop as he came upon a familiar structure. The colonnade. Compared to the rest of the gardens, it was overgrown, unkempt. Clearly it had not been touched in years, as if someone made it a point to forget about the entire structure. He felt his teeth clench at the thought, anger swelling in his chest.

His father’s doing no doubt.

The man wanted almost nothing within the castle to remind him of his late wife. The portrait in the west wing was one of the only things he kept of her. Adam remembered the day his father gave most of his mother’s things away or burned them in the fire within the library. A new level of hatred for his father was born as he watched the letter’s turn into embers within the flames.

He loathed the man with almost every fiber of his being.

Adam’s steps are slow as he walked toward the structure. His mind skipped back to that day long ago, he can see himself sitting on the bench, swinging his legs as he retold a story from Lumière to his mother. He could hear the playful and light laugh his mother let out as he demonstrated his fake sword fighting skills.

Standing in the middle of the colonnade, his eyes rose up and around as he took it all in. The vines had overgrown it slightly, somehow making there way over top the structure. The bench, which once he so delightful state on, looked as if it would break at any moment. His hand trailed over the stone. Turning, his eyes caught a glimpse of white and he felt himself gasp.

The white roses.

Untouched, perfectly bloomed white roses. Like nothing had changed over the years. Taking a step towards the bush, he can’t help but feel in awe of the flowers. The roses were still as stunning to look at so many years later.

Carefully, he felt as if he hand was trembling, Adam slowly grasped one of the stems of the rose. He snapped the stem, mindful of the thorns, and turned it over slowly in his hand as he sat down beside the stone bench.

He examined every detail, every petal of the rose. Pure as the snow that was on the ground during a snowstorm not too long ago. His heart ached as he sat there, his eyes flicking back and forth between the structure and the flower. The last time he had seen a white rose, when he held it in his hand…

“I love you so much Adam…”

His breath hitched, the soft and comforting voice of his mother ringing in his head. How he longed to hear it again, her laugh, to see her smile. Everything about her.

Something within him broke, just a fraction. The emotions he had been holding back for so long after her death, to avoid ridicule from his father, burst out of him. Tears welled up in his eyes and blurred his vision. He laughed through the sobs, the sheer ridiculousness of this situation almost too much. Careful not the crush the delicate rose, Adam laid the rose in front of him, covering his face with his hands. His shoulders shook as memories played out in his mind and he was overwhelmed.  

Her voice rung in his head as he curled into himself on the grass, letting the emotions out that he had kept hidden for too many years.


Give me your favour; my dull brain was wrought with things forgotten, ” a voice, soft and warm, said from beside him,  “ Kind gentlemen, your pains, are register’d where every day I turn the leaf to read them. Let us toward the king. Think upon what ha-

What hath chanced, and, at more time, the interim having weigh’d it, ” his broke through, eyes opening an inch to catch a glimpse of brown hair, “l et us speak, our hearts free to each other.

Belle held back a laugh, her eyes meeting his over the pages of the book in her hand. Their eyes lingered on each other, Adam taking in the small details of her face. How could he not? Everything about her screamed beauty, even her name, and even the small smudge on her nose from what he assumed was charcoal couldn’t take away from it. He lifted his hand, it didn’t feel as sluggish as it did before, and gently nudged her nose, a smirk tugging on the side of his face.

“Were you drawing again?”

She did laugh at that, laying his hand back on top of the blankets and closing her book, “What gave me away?” she teased, standing up from the chair. She moved off to the side, leaving his field of vision. A clattering came from the other side of his bed, but he was still tired. It had been so long since he felt this weak.

A warm, minty aroma brought his attention back. Belle was back beside him, holding out a small cup in front of him with a pensive look on her face. He knew it well.

Whispering a small thank you, he took the cup and sipped it. The warmth of it spread through his body quickly and he sighed happily, leaning back into the pillows he sat against, “What is it you would like to say my darling?”

“Why do you think I would have anything to say?”

At her dull tone, he couldn’t help but roll his eyes as he took another sip of tea, “Please Belle. You always have many things to say. And I can tell by the look on your face.”

She moved her chair closer to his bedside, leaning on the covers of the bed to get close to him, “I’m just trying to come up with an answer as to why you didn’t tell my father or Lumière that you weren’t feeling well.”

The answer everyone wanted to know apparently. His eyes trailed away from her’s, trying to find the answer himself.

Playing with the cup in his hand, he shrugged his shoulders slightly, “I didn’t want to be a bother to them is all. It didn’t feel so bad at the time.”

A defeated sigh, “Adam…”

“I just,” he stopped, his grip on the small cup tightening, “I don’t want them to have to worry about me. They shouldn’t. They have so much to do, they’ve worried about me for too long.”

He felt her hand on his cheek, leaning into the touch, and his gaze met her’s. Her expression was unreadable, her eyebrows furrowed, but he could sense the frustration coming from her.

“You are a stubborn man when it comes to people who love you,” she whispered, her thumb rubbing his cheek, “don’t you see that? They will always worry about you Adam. They are your family, even if it not by blood. You not saying anything won’t make it better.”

As it is most of the time, Belle was right. She could see through him so quickly, it still puzzled him why he even tried to keep things from her. But he knew she was right, he just didn’t know how to accept it. Ever since his mother died, he dealt with everything on his own.

Things were different now, of course, but old habits died hard.

“I know,” he mumbled, “It’s just been so long...I’m so used to having to take care of myself. They couldn’t help me then.”

Belle’s hand trailed through his hair, “Because of your father?”

He hummed in response, the thought of the man sent a chill down his spine still. His father was so unlike Maurice, who was loving and caring towards his child. The complete opposite would be how Adam would describe him, a man who expressed little emotion and little care for his only son.

“He was a cruel man who had little time for me,” he admitted quietly, “I think they feel guilty, for not being able to help me. But they shouldn’t, it is not there fault.”

“So the burden is your own?” she questioned, shaking her head, “Adam, you don’t have to do that. You were a child. Mrs. Potts and the other’s...they believed they could help you but couldn’t. Why do you think Lumière said what he told you?”

His words rang in Adam’s mind and that swell of emotion he had from that moment creeped into him, “He didn’t have to…”

“But he did,” she insisted, taking his face in her hands, “Because he cares about you and wants to make up for what happened. You can’t take their guilt and make it your own to deal with. It will crush you, don’t you see?

“Accept their help Adam. Let them be there for you, let them worry about you. It is their choice.”

Her eyes shined with determination. There was nothing he could say that would change how she felt and he knew she was right. They had chosen to stay here after the curse, even when he offered to allow them to leave. The sharp denials shocked him. He had been so certain that they would want to leave this place, to live their lives in a new way. But they stayed and silently he couldn’t have been happier.

It would take getting used to. For so long he feared getting the staff in trouble if he even looked at them, let alone talk to them. There was so much he wanted to say to them. Now, in this new life, he didn’t have to worry about be berated.

“As always darling, you are right,” he said with a smirk, “how did I live without you for so long?”

She laughed, an eyebrow raised with a playful expression, “I think you managed enough.”

“You think so?” he asked, “I did get cursed. Not the best way to live life, I can assure you.”

“True,” she replied, patting his cheek as she slide her hands away, “but then, we wouldn’t have met. So it did so some good in the long run.”

He grasped her hand before it got to far away, his lips grazing her knuckles. He could feel her shiver slightly and the smirk on his lips grew. It was the small things he loved the most, the little ways he knew how to get a reaction out of her. Leaning forward slightly, he rested his forehead against her’s, his eyelids half open as he looked down in her dark brown eyes.

“If I weren’t still sick, I’d be kissing you right now…”

He felt her laughter, her head slightly shaking, “Oh I don’t doubt that,” she whispered, her breath warm against his face, “It’s unfair really, you were already gone for a few days and then you come back sick. How could you make me wait?”

“I do apologize mon amour ,” his hand slowly ran up her arm, carding through the bottom of her hair, “I promise to make it up to you.”

“Of that, I have no doubt,” she replied with a smile, pressing her hand against his chest. She pushed him back against the pillows gently, “you should rest though. Your fever for the most part is gone, but Mrs. Potts doesn’t want to take any chances.”

“Of course,” he grumbled, his eyelids becoming heavy as he sunk into the pillows. A wisp of white hair flashed in his mind, an aged face with kind eyes, “Belle, your father...is he alright?”

“Papa? Yes he is fine, don’t you worry,” she squeezed his hand as she moved away from the bed, “He has been worried about you. Once you’re better, you two can talk.”

“Of course…,” he whispered, closing his eyes, “Do you...do you mind staying? I haven’t listened to you read in so long.”

He thought he saw her smirk and give a reply, but he couldn’t be positive. Before Belle begun the next scene, he was lost in his dreams.


Winter never leaves this place. Almost as if the castle was frozen in time. Every day, not matter how long the sun would stay out, nothing would touch the ground but the snowflakes that fell from the sky. No amount of light could melt it away, not matter how hard he wished it would leave.

That didn’t mean that it effected the white roses. Somehow, some way, they lived through the bitter cold. He stood before them now, almost entranced. There wasn’t much beauty to look at anymore within the castle walls, each day more and more of it broke away. Like a wilting flower slowly dying.

He wouldn’t reach for the flower like he had so often before, afraid that he would cause it to die. The beauty of the flowers was too pure for the creature he had become, who he had always been. That realization had resulted in mirrors being smashed to bits, his hands turned paws littered with little cuts.

It was better this way, him out in the cold and his staff in the castle where they could find some kind of enjoyment in each other’s company. The thought of joining them had crossed his mind once or twice, but he knew that it would end badly. They would grow silent, unsure of how he would react, and slowly leave one by one. He couldn’t blame them.

Most nights he found himself out in the gardens. It brought him the little bit of peace he could find.

Then someone had the nerve to come into his castle uninvited. He watched the older man from afar, within the gardens. The man was close to leaving when he spotted the roses and a fury grew within the once prince. His eyes were on the older man as he walked into the colonnade, mumbling something about getting a flower for someone named “Belle”.

Before the man could snap the stem from the vines, he jumped. Landing on the ground, he towered over the man, who now laid on the ground. His eyes were wide, his body shaking, but didn’t care. How dare this man come into his home, eat his food, warm himself by his fire, and then try to take one of the only things he had left of his mother?

Without a second thought, he locked the man away and left him there to rot.

The following day, a girl with brown hair stormed into his castle and demanded her father’s freedom. From that moment, his life changed forever.


Freedom was a beautiful thing. Adam took a deep breath, the fresh air feeling like a gift as the wind blew through his hair. He had been trapped in his room for far too long, even though he felt much better these last few days. Anytime he asked if he could leave his bed, Mrs. Potts would shoot him a glare so fierce he would immediately apologize for the idea.

Of course he understood why she wanted him to rest more. But it didn’t mean it wasn’t driving him mad.

Finally though, he had made his escape. Throwing a simple jacket over his loose shirt, he tugged on a new pair of breeches and slid on his shoes before sneaking out of the room. Living in the west wing for so long, he knew each passageway that could get him to the outside without being caught by one of the staff. It would only be for a bit, just to get some fresh air.  

Walking through the gardens, Adam caught something in the corner of his eye. The colonnade, but there was someone inside it. Curious, he quietly walked over towards the structure. As he got closer, more detail on the figure came together.

Maurice was on the bench, hunched over himself slightly, and it takes Adam a moment to realize he is sketch something. Lingering behind one of the pillars, he contemplated leaving the older man. He seemed to be focused on whatever he was working on and Adam didn’t want to intrude.

“Adam!” the older man’s voice spooked him, spinning around to see Maurice waving for him. Had he been seen so quickly? I’ll have to work on my sneaking around…

Walking over to the other man, Adam put a smile on his face as he nodded, “I didn’t mean to intrude Maurice…”

“Nonsense, you weren’t intruding at all, come now, sit,” he suggested, patting the spot next to him on the bench, “I’m just happy to see you up on your feet again.”

“If Mrs. Potts had it her way,” he sat down on the bench, trying to hold back a grin, “I would still be sitting in bed.”

Maurice laughed under his breath and the two fell into a comfortable silence. The scratching of his pencil was soothing to Adam, his eyes trailing over to watch. Maurice’s hands moved like a blur, slightly more hectic then how Belle tended to draw. It wasn’t hard to tell where she had gotten her skill from. though

“Thank you for helping me Maurice,” his voice broke the silence, “I apologize for making you worry, I didn’t realize how sick I was. It was foolish not to say anything.”

The pencil slowed, Maurice’s gaze finding his and the older man smiled at him, “There is no need to apologize Adam,” he reassured, pausing for a moment. Something was on his mind, though Adam wasn’t sure what. It left him on edge and his eyes didn’t leave Maurice, “Apologizing seems to be a thing you do a lot lately...it’s not always needed you know.”

He felt heat rush to his face and he ducked his head, fighting off the embarrassment, “Bad habit…”

“It’s nothing to worry about, just something I noticed,” he replied, falling silent for a moment. His lips pursed, his eyebrows furrowed, “Would it be alright if I asked you something?”

Blinking, confused, the young prince nodded, “Of course.”

“While I was with you, before Lumière came back, you mentioned something about roses…” his voice trailed off and he turned his head and Adam followed his gaze, already knowing where this conversation was heading.

“I don’t remember a lot of that, but it doesn’t surprise me,” he said, a harsh laugh following his words, “I tend to ramble when I’m sick.”

“You did seem rather chatty about certain things.”

Sighing, Adam ran his hand through his hair. Of course he would mentioned the roses to Maurice.

“They were my mother’s. She took great pride in the garden, but her favorites were the white roses. Every spring we would come out to see them bloom and without fail, they would be here,” his voice was muted, his eyes not moving from the roses, “when she was gone...they were all I had left.”

Maurice watched him, placing his artistic tools aside, and moved closer to his side, “When I lost my wife, there wasn’t much of her that I could take with me. The few things I did take though, I would protect with my life,” a low laugh left his mouth, shaking his head, “It’s my turn to apologize. For trying to take one of the roses from you.”

“Maurice, you don’t have t-”

“No, Adam, it was not my place to take what wasn’t mine, don-”

“Maurice,” Adam’s voice froze the older man, a smile creeping onto his face, “You taking the flower turned out to be the best thing to ever happen to me. To the staff. It brought Belle here, desperate to find you.

“When I saw you two, how much she loved you and you in return, the envy I felt,” he paused, drumming his fingers in his knee, “to see a father love his child so much. It was something I was so unfamiliar with, something I craved my entire life. My father was nothing like you, the complete opposite actually. Cold...distant….he wanted very little to do with me.”

“Adam…”

“When Belle pushed you out of that cell, I couldn’t believe it. That she would sacrifice her own life in exchange for your’s, it was such a foreign concept. I had thought you nothing more of a thief, but I was so wrong,” he shook his head, trying to cover the emotion that swelled in his chest, “You are a kind, caring man Maurice. I can see why Belle loves you so much.”

Maurice stared at him, eyes flickering around the prince’s face, and for a moment Adam isn’t sure what to do. His expression was unreadable. He had poured his heart out unexpectedly to Maurice and he felt embarrassed to dump all this baggage on him. Maybe Mrs. Potts was right, maybe he should have stayed in bed and rested.

Arms wrapped around his neck, shocking him from his thoughts, and Adam found his face in the Maurice’s shoulder. His body tensed, the sudden body connection stunning him, and he couldn’t hide the gasp that escaped his lips.

Slowly, unsure, Adam wrapped his arm’s around the other man. His embrace was comforting, warm, so unlike anything he had felt from his father.

“I’m sure you have heard this a lot since you got up,” Maurice’s voice rumbled in his ear, “but don’t think you have to be alone in this. I understand...that these types of things can be difficult to talk about. But know that I am open anytime if you ever need to talk about anything.”

Maurice pulled away from him, looking him in the eye with an expression that reminded Adam of Belle, “No parent should treat their child the way your father treated you.”

His heart felt let it could burst out of his chest. There was so much he wanted to say but every time he opened his mouth, nothing would come out. Nothing could describe the emotions he was feeling, no words good enough to describe how much it meant to him.

“I….Maurice,” he stuttered, his face flushing, ducking his head, “thank you…”

The rest of the afternoon, Adam sat with Maurice. Occasionally they would make conversation, but a comfortable silence had settled between the two. Adam didn’t mind. It allowed him to take in the conversations he had over the past few days. The different people in his life reaching out to him. It was so much more than he deserved.

His gaze fell on the white roses that decorated the colonnade. He could still hear the faint laughter of his mother’s. It seemed so long ago when she was here with him. When she died, he thought he had lost his entire world.

That was the furthest thing from the truth now. It felt more like a home then it had in years. Bustling with people chatting excitedly, full of warmth that had long been forgotten. There was nothing more he could want in his life.

His mother would always hold a special place in his heart. He thought he had lost it all when he was cursed. But now, with the small family and the love of his life around him, he knew that life had so much more planned for him.