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Happily Ever After-1 Year Later

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The thing about Jack and Apricot is that they’re each other’s impulse control, which means that they don’t really have any at all. Jack can say “I’m going to sell my cow for some magic beans!” and Apricot will say “Your mom might have something to say about it, but I want to see you do it anyway.” Apricot can say “I want to climb the beanstalk that grew from your magic beans!” and Jack will say “I don’t but I’ll come with you anyway.” It doesn’t even matter who had the idea to steal the goose who lays golden eggs, because the other one didn’t stop them, so they both might as well be equally culpable.

Given that information, it isn’t surprising that they’re doing flips in the ballroom despite the fact that they both have already almost slipped and broken something. It actually looks pretty fun. Phillippe kind of wants to join them, but he’s currently holding a baby, and he doesn’t really trust anyone else in the room with his child.

Pearl has only been human for around a year, and while she seems pretty responsible, she also still has moments where she forgets how to walk. Prince Henrik is much too focused on her and his upcoming sea voyage to be of much use, either.

Mila and King Frederick definitely are out, because they lost their own baby at Briar Rose’s 16th birthday ball. Rumplestiltskin was able to simply walk in and take him! Besides, they have their hands full watching a toddler, and Mila’s late enough in her second pregnancy that she’s going to be sick to death of babies soon.

Pinnochio is a child himself, so Phillippe will not be handing his own child over to him. Geppetto had lost Pinocchio (similar to Mila) and therefore is not allowed to care for Phillippe’s kid. The Azure Fairy let Pinocchio get lost and looks a bit too enthusiastic about Jack and Apricot’s tumbling.

If only Rose or one of their own fairies were here, but they all left the room a while ago and have yet to return. Maleficent and the fairies said they had some sort of surprise for Rose, and Phillippe isn’t worried. They’ve been on good terms with Maleficent, and they made sure to invite her and Diablo to this christening. They even sent an invitation to Baba Yaga and her sisters, although they had ensured that Prince Ivan would be there before sending her invite.

Speaking of Prince Ivan…

Phillippe finds him in the corner of the ballroom, watching Jack and Apricot with what appears to be equal parts confusing and interest.

“Hello, my friend.”

“King Phillippe,” Ivan greets warmly. “Is this our small prince?” He leans over to look at the bundle in his arms, and Phillippe finds himself handing his son over easily. Ivan immediately adjusts to cradle the baby’s head, and Phillippe knows that Ivan’s friendship is possibly the best thing to come out of Baba Yaga’s mess a year ago. As enchanting as it was to relive his romance and courtship with Rose, he does that nearly every day. These new friends filling the ballroom, and Ivan specifically, were wholly unexpected.

Rose is always encouraging him to look at silver linings, and this is definitely one of the best silver linings he could have been gifted with.

“Wait! Watch--”

There’s a crash behind them, and Phillippe turns to see Jack on the floor, laughing. Apricot stands above him, one hand still grasping his shirt like she tried to catch him, cracking up just as much.

“Oh dear,” Ivan says.

“It looks like they’re both alright. Maybe they’ll settle down now,” Phillippe says. It isn’t very likely, but as long as they stay safe and no one dies, he doesn’t mind. Their energy is refreshing, even if Phillippe isn’t sure he could put up with them for more than a few days at a time. The castle is so big without people to fill it, and although the christening has been kept to minimal attendance, the ballroom feels more than full with his friends here.

Besides, Jack and Apricot need all the room possible for their acrobatics.

The ballroom doors open at that moment and Rose enters, brows pinched together in gentle confusion even with a smile still gracing her face at the sight that meets her. She’s just as beautiful as she was when they first met as children, and for a moment he can see her at eight years old at their first meeting, eleven years old with tangled hair and her face flushed from laughter, sixteen years old and in a sleep comparable to death, a few days ago sweaty and flushed with the labor from giving birth and beaming down at their son, forty years old and still ruling the kingdom with grace and kindness, eighty years old and beaming at him with laughter lines and white hair and reaching for him with speckled, wrinkly hands. He loves her so much he aches with it.

“Whatever happened here?” she asks. Jack and Apricot burst into a new round of laughter at that.

“Just a tumbling mishap, your majesty,” Gepetto says. “Everyone is alright and thoroughly entertained.”

“Oh, I’m sorry to have missed it,” she says. Rose has always loved watching others show off with the same childlike curiosity that led her to talk to Phillippe that first day he found her cottage.

“We can show you some of our new tricks later, if you want!” Jack offers.

“I’ve learned how to juggle since you last saw me!” Pinocchio chimes in.

“If you would be willing to after the christening, I would be delighted and honored,” Rose laughs. She makes her way over to Phillippe and presses a kiss to his cheek, and he holds on tightly to her.

“How are you feeling?” he asks softly. She’s been worn out trying to recover from the pregnancy and birth, and she’s already been on her feet more today than in the past week combined.

“I’m alright, for now,” she says. “The fairies are ready to start if we are.”

“Then let’s start.” He presses a kiss to her head and organizes the others while Rose takes their son from Ivan. When everyone is settled and they stand in the place of honor, the ballroom doors open and the fairies process in.

The ceremony goes by in a blur. Phillippe doesn’t get a chance to process the fairies’ gifts through the haze of magic and happiness filling the air. Rose clutches his hand while the fairies gather around the cradle, Maleficent included, and nothing goes wrong. There are no fairies that they have forgotten to invite who barge in to demand attention in a catastrophic way. When the time comes to present the prince to the crowd, Phillippe and Rose are both beaming.

“We now present Prince Hugo!”

Their friends clap and cheer, and Phillippe looks down at Rose to find her already looking back at him. They still have to present Hugo to the kingdom gathered outside with the aid of a projection charm, and then there’s the reception and a day’s worth of celebration tomorrow. It’s going to be exhausting, and Rose will likely need to duck out to rest and recover more, but that doesn’t matter right now.

He is surrounded by his family and his friends, everyone is safe, and everyone is together. Phillippe finds himself to be very, very happy.