So! This is my contribution for the first day of the HiatusSundayFluff event on Tumblr. After all, we all need something nice to help us survive till March, right? :)

As always, I apologize in advance for any and all gramatic errors that might've found their way into this story.

Enjoy! :)

Focusing on the smooth wood beneath his hands, Rumplestiltskin tried really hard not to be aware of Belle's every move as she carefully dusted all the trinkets in the room. But soon he realized it was impossible to ignore the energic, cheerful presence she carried wherever she went, no matter how fast he spun. He already had more gold than he could ever spend, but watching the wheel helped him sort his thoughts.

Or so it usually was.

Rumple sensed Belle coming closer and instantly stiffened, trying to keep in the desire to cross the distance between them. He waited for her to move away again, but instead she took another step to the spinning wheel and watched his hands turning the straw into a gold thread.

"Could I try it?" she suddenly asked, startling him for a second.

"Try what, dearie? The spinning?" he asked, eyebrows raised.

"Well, yes," Belle grinned. "It always gives you this calm and collected expression and I just thought it could be interesting to find out what's so relaxing about it."

The sight of her smile alone would make him do anything she wanted and he knew that, no matter how hard he tried to deny it in the depth of his mind. Still, he pretended to think it over, watching Belle from the corner of his eye.

"Alright then," he said finally with a grin of his own. Snapping his fingers, he conjured another sitting stool out of the thin air and placed it in front of his, motioning Belle to sit down.
As soon as she did, Rumple took her hands, placed them gently on the proper places on the wheel and started explaining the basic principles of spinning.

Unsurprisingly, Belle was a quick learner and soon his hands were merely hovering over hers to ensure the right movements. It seemed she was enjoying it as much as he did, and as he let his mind wander to stop thinking about the way her hair fell down in chestnut brown curls, he couldn't help but remember the last time he taught someone how to spin.

The thing was, everything was different with Cora. There was a connection between them, and even though she chose power over love in the end, they shared beautiful moments - but the centre of their relationship was the burning passion in both of them, the same passion that fuelled their magic and had to be controlled so it wouldn't swallow them.

The difference back then was that while he cared about Cora, he wasn't so afraid of tainting her, of breaking her, of destroying her - not the way he was with Belle. She was everything he wasn't, all the light and beautiful and kind things he had trouble finding in his own soul, and he was the personification of darkness and manipulation.

He wanted her to be happy and laughing and free, but at the same time he wanted to have her all for himself, and he cursed himself for his selfishness.

The feeling of something warm on his chest made him snap out of his thoughts back to reality. With a surprise he realized both him and Belle have been moving closer until her back was pressed into the fabric of his waistcoat and his arms entwined her waist. Even more surprising, however, was the discovery that her eyes were closed and there was a dreamy, satisfied smile on her face.

Something long-forgotten fluttered in Rumplestiltskin's stomach. Slowly, unsure of his own actions, he buried his face in her neck, breathing in her smell and allowing himself to relax.

And for the first time in many, many years, he saw a light at the end of the dark and twisted tunnel that was his life.

And it wasn't even that far away.