Her Handsome Hero - A Rumbelle Fanfic by DrGiggles

Dedicated to my birthday girls on Instagram: Celica (rumbelleinthetardis), Nickie (rumbelleisotp), and Paige (rumbelle_fangirl). Enjoy your birthday present from me, love you guys tons!

Disclaimer: I do not own Once Upon a Time, Rumple or Belle. If I did, we'd have a Rumbelle baby. *Sends hopeful thoughts to A&E*

Credit to Celica for making the wonderful cover art, thanks babe!

Her Handsome Hero

At four years old, Belle was a precarious young girl. She could not read yet, but she still followed her mother around the family's library for hours at a time.

"Mama, can you read me a book?" Belle finally asked one day, climbing onto her mother's lap. They sat under an exquisite lamp in a large armchair, more than big enough for the two of them. Colette smiled and reached over for her favourite book.

"How would you like a story of a young woman and a handsome hero, who saved her and her village from ogres?"

"Is it scary? Ogres are scary, mama." Belle curled in a little closer to her mother and peered up at her questioningly.

"No, my Belle. The hero is very good with fighting the ogres, you needn't worry."

"Okay mama, I want to hear this story."

"Once upon a time, there lived a young maiden who lived happily with her parents. Young Clara Aurelius' life was well until the ogre wars broke out..." Belle sat on her mother's lap, entranced by a story of heroes and love. Colette started teaching her young daughter how to read in the afternoons, and at bedtime they would read Her Handsome Hero together.

Over the years, Belle read many books and learned several new languages. But she would always revisit her first book, as it held a special place in her heart. Her heart broke even more when she discovered her precious book was lost in the ogre attack that killed her mother. Many months later in Rumplestiltskin's Dark Castle, she searched in vain for her favourite book in the library. She didn't notice that her master was standing in the doorway with a determined look on his face...

Belle gently rocked her crying daughter, wondering what her month old baby needed. She'd been fed, burped and changed...and a tired Belle was almost tempted to call her husband home. Suddenly, an idea clicked in her head and she made her way to the nursery with a familiar book in hand.

On the morning of her and Rumple's first anniversary, she awoke with a small wrapped gift beside her bed. She remembered smiling as she unwrapped it, and her mouth dropped open when she saw the title of the book. When Rumple arrived with breakfast, there were tears streaming down her face. "W-where did you find this?" He put the tray aside and sat on her side of the bed.

"It took a lot of searching, but I found it in a box in the basement. I don't know why it was there, but I'm glad I found it for you, my Belle." She buried her face into his chest and his arms wrapped her in a gentle hug. After a few moments, she pulled away to kiss him gratefully. "Thank you." She whispered, joy in her eyes at the thought of reading her favourite book for the first time in too many years, but pain in her heart thinking that her mother was still alive last time she read it.

It was a few months later, after she found out she was expecting their first child, that Belle flipped through the book with a new sense of joy. In several months, she can hold her baby and read them the book that changed her life. But in the weeks following Clara Gold's birth, Belle had neither the energy nor the time to read.

Now with her swaddled daughter in one arm and the book in the other, Belle did what she's always wanted to do, inspire her child to read. They sat in the rocking chair in Clara's nursery, and Belle began the story.

"Once upon a time, there was a young maiden who lived happily with her parents. Young Clara Aurelius' life was well until the ogre war broke out..."

AN: Thank you for reading my very first OUAT fanfic! I actually wrote this during the night I spent in the emergency room with my roommate Jacky (we were injured in a car accident a few days earlier). I was watching Family Business when this idea struck. I will hopefully have more Rumbelle fics for you in the coming months. In the meantime, if you would like to follow me on insta...check out my profile for my username. Take care, dearies xx

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