rodlox (rodlox) wrote,
rodlox
rodlox

OUAT fic: part 3/3: "Split"

Fandom: Once upon a time.
Title: Another path to Childhaving. {AO3}

written for the Rumpel_Belle exchange, for Mirime_vy.
Author: Keenir.

LJ:
Chapter One: The road less taken in a woods.
Summary: Belle and Ruby meet - but then the angry villagers catch up to them.

Chapter Two: In the Dungeon.
Summary: Belle and Ruby explore the dungeon of Dark Ones' collections. And Rumplestiltskin has company over, to discuss an upcoming war.

Chapter Three: Split.
Summary: Red makes her deal. And, in what I think is the end, we meet Ruby.

Author’s Note: For the most part, I’ve tended to assume (as backstory) that the baby-deal with Ella was made so Belle wouldn’t be alone…but then I read a different fable with Rumplestiltskin, which sparked this. (and so did my thought of "Belle and Ruby are friends now - could they have become friends sooner, had things gone differently?")

Rating: PG-13.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

‘How long…?’

‘Oh I have no idea. An archaeologist would, and could count the years.’

Have I been a fool? Belle asked herself, standing before the carpet-sealed window of yet another room, as she replayed yesterday’s conversation in her head. My father agreed to my youthful request to never be married off to someone twice my age… And now I am developing a crush upon someone who may well be older than my dynasty?

Belle sighed, wondering how much of her behavior had been an inconvenience for Rumplestiltskin…and how much of a laughingstock. Has my behavior been too easily interpretable, and does he laugh himself to sleep because of me?

She had done her work far too well – when she kicked in frustration, there was no dust to be struck; just empty air.
“I need to ask Red her thoughts, Belle said. Red’s always been honest with me. And not in the ‘truth through omission’ that Rumplestiltskin does.

Belle took a step towards the door -- and heard the screams.

*

Minutes earlier…

'You always find the good ones' was what replayed and replayed in Rumplestiltskin's mind, while his hands re- and re-felt the weight of catching Belle.

The Dark One did not weigh in with what she wanted, nor with Belle's weakness.

So Rumplestiltskin reviewed what he knew of of the friend. 'Werewolf' as one of the mob had called her -- A curious choice of epithet, to be sure. The last werewolf I met or heard of, was Lycaeon, a General in the army of Moreau's father.

Which begged the question -

“I do have a request to make,” Red said to Rumplestiltskin, interupting his thoughts.

“One to do no doubt with the approaching Full Moon,” Rumplestiltskin said. “Proceed.”

“Can you break or remove my curse?”

“No, and before you ask, neither will True Love’s Kiss.”

“I never –“

“As in my situation, whomsoever breaks the curse, gains the curse.”

“So if you broke my curse, you’d become a werewolf?” Red asked.

“Were I not already the Dark One.”

“So –“

“Magic does not simply disappear, dearie; it moves. Onto Belle, most likely. And what true friend would do that?”

“Right.”

“Now, are you ready?”

Red frowned. “Ready for what? You just said –“

“You and King George have the same hearing problem,” Rumplestiltskin said. “I said I couldn’t end your curse. I never said I couldn’t remove it.”

“That’s possi- You can do that?”

“Oh yes. Split myself in two, once upon a time.”

“What’s the cost?”

“For myself, nothing. But Belle will have a hand in raising your firstborn.”

“Of course.” She’s my friend. If I ever had a kid, I’d like her to help anyway. “Deal.”

“Lovely. Now don’t worry, this won’t sting at all. It’ll hurt.”

Red saw him take her hand – and then she saw only pain, tasted cleftishness but no blood, and heard only her own screams.

*

Belle ran and ran; but in the end, there was a locked door between her and them. “Rumplestiltskin!” Belle shouted when she could find no way to open the door.

“Open the - Open this door!” Belle said as she pounded on the door, but was ignored. “I promised her she’d be safe,” Belle said, her voice breaking. She didn’t leave.

*

The door opened in the breaking moments of dawn. Belle entered, slowly as she was watching something inside: two wolves – a giant and a pup – slowly transform into humans. The giant wolf was turning into Red.

“Ah, Belle,” Rumplestiltskin said as he draped Red’s cloak over Belle’s friend.

“The door… What happened here?” Belle asked.

“Two questions, one answer. I granted her request; and as she had no control over her other half, I locked us in.”

“With a baby??”

“She wouldn’t harm herself,” said a highly confident Rumplestiltskin. “And I know you’re awake.”

Red opened her eyes. “You were saying you did to yourself… What’d you do?”

“Unto you, dearie,” Rumplestiltskin said, picking the baby off the floor, paying no heed to Red’s growl.

Looking a little awkward at her reaction, Ruby asked, “So, that baby…”

“Is the wolf.”

“But I changed this morning. Transformed.” Got my fingers and toes and other parts back.

“Details,” Rumplestiltskin said as he handed the infant to Belle.

Belle was taken by surprise by all this, as well as her unreadiness to hold a baby – even one as clean as this one was. But she finally could, did…though there was a long moment during the handover when both Belle and Rumplestiltskin were holding the child, and inadvertently looked into one anothers’ eyes.

And, Ruby could tell, neither of them had a clue what to say. So she saved them by changing the subject of conversation - “Go on, say it,” Red invited.

“Say what?” Belle asked, now the only one holding the baby.

“I’m a monster.”

Rumplestiltskin giggled. Red looked up to glare witheringly at him, but didn’t have the strength to do more than look stern – more a strongly-worded letter than a grenade.

“You’re not a monster,” Belle told Red.

“Werewolf,” Red said.

“Dark One,” Rumplestiltskin said, as if telling her, I’m worse, I win.

Neither of you are monsters,” Belle assured.

“You didn’t do as you promised,” Red accused Rumplestiltskin.

“Not a particularly original accusation,” he commented.

“You said you’d –“

“For you to honor your word, dearie, you had to be something other than bleeding all week. Once I removed the little tyke here from you, I left enough wolf in you for you to repair yourself.”

Oh. “Then I suppose –“

But Rumplestiltskin had already vanished.

“I’m glad you’re okay,” Belle said.

“Thank you,” Red said.

“You’re sure you’re okay?” Belle asked. “Nothing hurts or anything?”

“I’m fine. More than I’ve felt in a long time.”

“Okay. Let’s get you something to eat,” Belle said, helping her up and being a crutch.

**

While the two of them supped soup, Belle casually said, “I may not be a monster in guise, but I have the blood for it.”

“You?” Red asked. “You’re too nice.”

“Thank you. I like to think that’s a trait from my ancestor.” Lowering her voice, Belle added, “I can trace my line of descent back to the King of Demons.” Not evil, true, but most would say monstrous.

Very cool. “Only that’s not what people see when they look at you.”

A semi-wry semi-pained look on Belle’s face now. “Anyone traveling through my duchy knew. Anyone who hears the name of me of any of my family, they know. That’s why nobody came to aid my duchy when the ogres threatened.” That’s why Rumplestiltskin was our only option.

“Monster-by-association. Er, -by-relation. Either way, I get it.”

“Would you like some more soup?”

Red nodded.

“So…what will you call her? The baby,” Belle asked.

“Not sure,” Red said, looking at her baby she’d never delivered. “I think… Ruby?”

“That’s a good name,” Belle agreed.

**
THE END.
THE END.
Tags: belle, once upon a time, once upon a time fanfiction, ouat, red, ruby, rumplestiltskin, series
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