Continuing Tales

Civilised Existence

A Once Upon a Time Story
by Fyrie

Part 9 of 17

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Civilised Existence

Rumpelstiltskin was in a quandary.

There was a beautiful, amusing, delightful young woman, trapped in his halls with him, and either she was trying to drive him mad or she was trying to lure him into her bed. Or both. He wasn't quite sure.

He couldn't avoid her. That would have been unfair on her, to leave her completely alone. He couldn't just sit and spin while she was there, either. Especially not after she came to see what he was doing, and her breath was so warm on the curve of his ear that he dropped the spindle.

It had to be deliberate.

When she nestled against him in front of the fire, after he told her the truth of his life, he had assumed it was simply comfort for a tragic tale. It seemed this was not the case. With every passing day, it was becoming more apparent that she enjoyed his touch, and wasn't about to stop touching him either.

It was… distracting.

Of course, given the chance, he would have swept her up in his arms in an instant, but it came back to the kiss. With the Queen's threat still present, he couldn't risk losing all that he had, just for one night of gratification. Or several nights. Or maybe a week or so.

Belle didn't seem to notice his concerns, or the fact her touch left him shivering as if he had a fever.

Whenever she passed him, her hand would fleetingly brush his arm. Sometimes, she would curl up beside him at the wheel and lean against him. The final straw came when he was reading in his - occasionally her - chair and she perched on the arm, facing him.

He tried his best to ignore her, but the words on the page looked like they were dancing. They started spinning even more when she reached down and tugged at his buttons.

"Disgraceful," she murmured. "Didn't you think to ask me to fix them?"

"They're quite all right," Rumpelstiltskin replied, stalwartly staring at the book.

"This is all right?" Her fingers tugged lightly and the thread holding the button in place snapped. "Oh! Sorry! I'm sorry!"

He felt the button drop inside the shirt, and opened his mouth to say something, but her small, nimble hand was inside the shirt first, chasing the errant button across his skin. Her fingers curled, and her nails caught, and the sensation raking across his ribs made him gasp.

He caught her wrist in a vice-like grip. "Belle," he whispered hoarsely. "Leave the damned button."

She bit her lip and nodded, and as soon as he freed her wrist, she rose. He knew he probably had succeeded in upsetting her again, but with the heat growing in the pit of his belly, the last thing he needed for her to be was there to see it.

It was that moment which drove him back to the library, seeking arcane knowledge of the power of the so-called True Love's Kiss. After all, it was always the kiss that broke the spell, in every tale ever told. No one said anything about True Love's Fondle or True Love's Tumble in the Hay.

Thankfully, his little housekeeper arranged the library, and the magic books were all clustered together. He tore through them like fire through dry brushland, searching for anything that might tell him just how much he and the little vixen could do before his powers were sapped.

He was only halfway through the mountain of books when the doors of the library opened, letting a glimmer of moonlight slice across the floor. Was it so late already that the moon was so high?

"You won't find any answers in there," Belle said quietly.

He tried not to look, tried to keep his eyes on the words. "I have to look."

"I already have," she said and he looked up, startled. Then down, then back up, and swallowed hard.

"Is… is that my shirt?"

She looked down the red silk shirt, his favourite, which she was wearing. Damaged in the laundry, she said. She didn't mention that it was now hers. And only covering her to mid-thigh. And buttoned low on her chest. One hand toyed with one of the buttons, and her eyes met his.

"It's on me," she said, her voice a little breathless, nervous. "Mine now."

"Belle," he warned in a growl.

She approached on bare feet, the shirt whispering, and the moonlight made her slim legs glow like magic. "I don't want to break the curse, not unless you want me to," she said quietly. "But I do want something from you."

He was drawing ragged breaths, his fingers curled around the arms of the chair, his eyes fixed on her face. Her hair was loose, and her eyes were darker than usual, and her lips paler, and his nails were carving into the wood of the chair.

She was level with him, and she pushed aside the books, letting them fall to the floor. Both small hands braced on either side of her, then she pushed herself up to sit on the table, the shirt riding up those pale, pale thighs. She lifted one leg and laid her toes delicately beside his hand on the arm of the chair.

"Don't," he whispered, wanting nothing more than to start on that foot and work up, tease her as much as she had been teasing him for days on end.

"Too late for that," she whispered. There was a flush in her cheeks as she moved her toes just enough to brush his hand. His fingers leapt, catching her ankle, and she shivered as he dragged his palm up her calf.

"If it breaks," he warned, his voice quivering as much as her calf, "if I start to change…"

"You stop," she finished, then giggled breathlessly as his nails skimmed the back of her knee, dragging back down.

He stood so sharply that the chair crashed over, the echo rebounding in the silence, but his eyes were on her alone. He caught her thighs, stepping between them, dragging her closer to the edge of the table, closer to him, and she sprawled back.

"No risk of kissing," she said, her voice still trembling.

He gazed at her, in the blood-red shirt, thighs about him, her hair spreading like a shadow across books and parchment. He realised in that heartbeat that he had never wanted anyone so much in his life.

It was never going to be True Love's Kiss, but when he lowered his head and kissed the perfect curve of her throat, and she trembled beneath him, it almost felt like it.

Civilised Existence

A Once Upon a Time Story
by Fyrie

Part 9 of 17

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