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It's a small village, Gaston, I've met them all

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It was almost as picturesque as he imagined: his latest kill roasting on a spit above the pit’s roaring fire, their children in various stages of youth free from chores and either playing with their dogs or sitting much like their mother reading a book.

He sat on one armchair in front of the fireplace, tired after a good day’s hunt. He stretched out his legs, his feet reaching the other where Belle sat mending one of the children’s shirts. He wiggled his toes.

“No, Gaston,” she stopped. “You’ve been doing this for years and I’ve been saying this for years.”

He argued yet again.. as they did every time he spent all day out in the woods with Lefou, searching for the biggest prey before finally bringing down an exceptionally large buck, and then hauling it home with his bare hands (with Lefou, but he did most of the heavy lifting). “That’s the point. It’s been years . Don’t you think you oughta change your mind about that one little not important thingy you told me fifteen years ago? As your husband, I’m not going anywhere.”

She scoffed abruptly. “Is that your way of telling me to get used to it? Gaston-”

She continued on but he didn’t listen. Her voice was getting terse and he was vaguely aware he should start backpedalling or else he’d spend yet another night on the cold and uncomfortable floor alone as she gave him her famed silent treatment. And after a good and eventful hunt, he usually preferred to do some sensual activities with her before bed.

His feet unceremoniously landing on the wooden floor jerked him from his thoughts. He gave her an incredulous look which she did not see as her eyes were purposely focused on her mending.

Her voice dripped, sickly sweet. “I should not be surprised you stop listening when it doesn’t concern anything about your person. I was serious when I said I would not be your little wife-”

“I know that, Belle,” he grunted stubbornly. He tried again and she pushed his feet off once more, a small grin to her face.

It was all jest - her frustrated behavior with him. All an act.

“Belle-” he growled in annoyance at seeing her look. He was about to attempt again when little hands, their owner on wobbly feet, pushed at the side of his leg. He looked down to their youngest who was just getting the hang of this walking business.

He made a grumble at Belle, who laughed lightly in return, and might have added in his deep and sultry voice, “Later, my beauty, when the children are asleep.” He gave her a semi-serious glare to which she smirked at. Then he lifted his daughter onto his lap.

Little Amelia - number eight in the long train of Gaston genes as Lefou loved to put it - had turned 1 not seven months ago and like Gilbert had been twelve years previous, was a quiet and peaceful baby who hardly ever cried. She was as beautiful as her sisters and her mother. She and two of her older brothers were the only ones to inherit Gaston’s grey eyes - the other five had Belle’s brown orbs.

Amelia reached forward and with her pudgy hands, touched Gaston’s face. Her hands landed none too lightly against his stubbled cheeks. Belle, having set down her work, watched the two and winced for him. She smiled fondly as she would every time he held their children for he would remain unaffected by their rough pulls and pinches and punches.

She smiled at the two as he pulled Amelia close and kissed her cheeks, the scratch of his stubble making her laugh. Her little contagious laugh pulled a hearty chuckle from his chest.

When he said he had changed all those years ago, she hadn’t thought he could change that much.

Of course, with Gaston being Gaston, she certainly had not expected Gaston to be a hands-on and caring and nurturing father right from the start… But she really hadn’t expected that ever .

The first many think of when the burly man is mentioned is: a hunter who boasts about himself every hour of every night. She could easily recall it was just that in the beginning. But once she had broken him of the “Gaston” song him and Lefou came up with and singing it to their oldest Nathaniel then Gilbert when they were babies, she saw that perhaps he could change…

And from the day in the townsquare where the villagers called her odd, she should have known the bouquet of flowers (and him being entirely too forward) was his way of trying to please her.

The thump of heels hitting the chair startled her. She glared at their owner who no longer held Amelia and was grinning. She narrowed her eyes and abruptly stood up, his feet landing harshly on the floor.

“No, Gaston.”