An AU where Belle is Rumple’s wife from the beginning. They live a simple life, but they love each other and are happy. On the night Rumple tells Belle he’s been drafted into the army, a beggar comes to their door, with a story in exchange for shelter, about how the Duke controls the Dark One. Rumple takes on the curse of the dagger in order to end the war and stay with his wife and his unborn child.
This is NOT a Photoshop filter, every stroke is painted by me.
Her eyes light up when she hears the wooden door to their small hut open and she turns to see her husband enter. In her happiness, she doesn’t see the worry in his expression.
“Rumple, I have news!” she says, coming to him.
“So have I,” he says, grimly. He holds up a small scroll of paper. “I’ve been conscripted into the Duke’s army. He’s sending me to the front lines.”
Her eyes widen in understanding, her face draining of color. “No...” she whispers, visions of bloodthirsty ogres flashing through her mind. “Not you, not now... I’m... We’re...” She places her hands protectively over her abdomen and this time, her husband’s eyes widen.
She nods, miserably. The news she’d been burning to tell him all day now turns to ash on her tongue. “I saw the wise woman today. She thinks I’m a few weeks along. We’re going to have a child, Rum.” Her cerulean eyes brim with tears. “And now... you might never get to see...” Her throat closes, preventing her from saying more.
He moves to take her into his arms, though he knows he has little comfort to offer, but a knock on the door interrupts their sad exchange. He squeezes her arm wordlessly and she nods, indicating that he should see who it was.
A stooped, hooded traveler stands shivering in the dimming light of day when Rumple answers the knock. Then he sees the small wooden bowl in his hand.
“Alms for the poor?” the man asks in a wheezing, broken voice. Not a traveler then, but a beggar.
“Of course,” Rumple says, opening the door wider. He reaches into his rough woolen trouser pocket and retrieves a few coins, which he places in the man’s bowl. “But come in and join us for the night, my friend. It is getting dark and our fire will warm you. We don’t have much food, but what we have, you are welcome to share.”
“You’re too kind. Perhaps you would allow me to repay you with a story?”
Belle looks up from tending the fire. “A story?”
“My wife loves a good story, sir,” says Rumple, leading their guest to the table.“Then listen well,” says the old man. “For it may aid you in some way...”