Continuing Tales

Kissed by a Rose

A Beauty & the Beast Story
by SamoaPhoenix9

Part 25 of 33

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Kissed by a Rose

"What's wrong?" the Beast asked. The fear, and the longing, on Belle's face was terrible to behold.

"It's Papa," Belle explained, clutching the mirror and still staring into it. "He's out in the woods! He's all alone! And he's…he's sick. He may be dying. Oh, Papa!" She looked away, and the mirror darkened. The Beast rescued it before it fell from her hands. He put it carefully back on the table.

Belle was sobbing now. "I...I should…go…"

"No, Belle. You can't." Belle's head snapped up, and there was unmistakable anger in her eyes. He hadn't seen her angry with him in a long time. He wanted to step back, but he held his ground and met her eyes with his. "Belle, listen to me. It isn't because of the promise you made to stay here. We both know that was wrong. You haven't been my prisoner for some time. I would have let you go whenever you asked, if you'd truly wanted to leave. But you can't go now."

"Why not? My father needs me."

"Yes, but Belle, you're just weeks away from having the baby. You can hardly stand up without help. How can you help him right now?"

"I'll hitch Philippe to a cart," Belle said, but the fight had gone out of her the moment he'd mentioned the baby. "I'll find my father and bring him back here to get better."

"I'll go for you, then."


"You think I can't?" His own temper was rising now.

"No, of course not." Belle sighed. Her shoulders slumped. "We both need to calm down and think about this. The last time Papa saw you, you were dragging him out of the castle. You're a monster to him. What do you think would happen if he saw you again, but this time when he's alone and probably delirious with fever?"

She had a point. The Beast growled in frustration. "I can send some of the servants…"

"The ones that can leave the castle would never be able to get Papa into a cart if he's hurt or unconscious. I at least have a chance, and he knows me. He loves me. I have to go."

The Beast studied her. He didn't want to let her go, and not only because he feared for her safety, and the baby's. He still hadn't asked her how she felt about him. If she left now, precious time would disappear. Or she might never come back. Once she had her father, they might go somewhere else for him to recover. He'd never see her again. Like his parents.

No. He knew Belle. She had already said, without him asking, that she would come back. Even if it meant he'd be a Beast forever, he'd never forgive himself if he kept Belle here against her will. He knew the look in Belle's eyes. If he'd been given such a chance to save his father, or his mother, he would have taken it in a heartbeat no matter what anyone else said.

He would have to trust her.

"Go, then." He turned away, but of course the rose was there. Six days.


He winced, though it had never bothered him before that she had no other name for him. He'd barely remembered—until tonight—that he had another name. He swallowed hard. "Go. Take Lumière with you at least—his candles won't go out unless he lets them."

"Thank you." Her footsteps started towards the door. They paused about halfway, then started again. The door creaked open.

He whirled. "Belle, wait!"

"Yes?" Her face was lit from the back, so it was impossible to read her expression.



"Take this with you, too." He picked the mirror off the table and brought it to her. "That way you'll find him much faster."

"I…thank you." She studied his face. "Thank you for understanding how much he needs me." One slender hand came up to touch his face, to very gently stroke the fur. How he wished he could feel it skin-on-skin. For a second he contemplated pulling her in close, of whispering in her ear that he loved her, and to come back soon. But then she turned, and made her way out the door.

It took more time than Belle would have liked to leave the castle. All of the servants were inclined to argue when she announced her plans. Lumière would not have agreed to come at all if she hadn't said the Beast had suggested it.

"I cannot believe the Master would agree to such a plan," the candelabra grumbled.

"He didn't like it, either. But this is the only way," said Belle as she pulled on as many warm clothes as Madame could find on short notice.

"And he's not coming himself?" asked Mrs. Potts. "I don't like the idea of just you and Lumière out there alone, with the baby coming so soon."

"He wanted to, but Papa would be terrified at seeing him again. He doesn't know the Beast like we do yet." She refused to believe that there wouldn't be a 'yet.' They'd find Maurice. He'd get better, with time and attention. He'd see how much the Beast had changed from the monster they had both first met.

"I do not approve of this, either, but the girl is right. We have no choice but to act if we are to bring Belle back as quickly as possible," announced Cogsworth, surprising everyone. "And I choose to support her in whatever way this household can supply," the clock added pompously.

"And I, too," Lumière said with a glare at Cogsworth. "I will go to the stables and alert them, mademoiselle. Meet me there when you are ready."

"Belle, dear, are you sure you want to do this?" asked Mrs. Potts as Belle started for the door.

"There's no other way." Belle swallowed back the tears that had been gathering ever since she'd looked in the Beast's mirror. "I have to save him."

"Very well," Mrs. Potts sighed. "Come back soon. And when you get back, we'll take care of your father. You need as much rest as you can to prepare for the birth. I still don't like any of this, but I suppose we have no choice. Belle, please, be careful. For your sake, and for the sake of your child."

"I will. Thank you for everything, Mrs. Potts."

Belle made her slow way down to the stables, where Lumière was waiting as promised. Philippe had been hitched to a very fine open carriage. Since it was nearly April, the snow had gone, but it was still cold and the roads would be muddy.

"I hope you don't mind getting this beautiful carriage dirty," Belle said to Lumière.

Lumière shrugged. "This is the carriage best suited to our needs. It will be worth a little mud if we can find your father quickly and bring him back."

"Are you ready, Belle?" The Beast stood at the door to the castle.

"Yes, I think so." He came forward and helped her negotiate getting into the driver's seat. This took several minutes, and Belle wondered what she would do when they actually found her father and she had to do this without the Beast's powerful arms to steady her. That would be a problem to be worked out later. She couldn't think about all the obstacles or Maurice would never be safe. Lumière hopped up beside her, and she took the reins firmly.

"Let's go find Papa, Philippe."

The horse snorted and started forward. As the carriage rolled out, Belle turned back to blow the Beast a kiss. He just stood there, watching them go, shoulders slumped.

Belle had expected to be able to think about nothing but her father as they made their way through the woods. Instead, her mind kept drifting back to the Beast. Why was he acting as if her leaving was the end of the world? The expression on his face in the West Wing, and as the carriage pulled away, had been something akin to heartbreak. Yet he had argued much less than she'd expected with her decision to go. It was a puzzle she couldn't figure out.

His face. Maybe it was finally seeing the portrait again after all these months and really knowing what it meant. Or maybe because she'd never seen such a tender and sad expression from him before. But suddenly, as he had been handing her the mirror to take with her, she had seen a glimpse of the human face behind the hair and fangs. The man inside the monster. For a wild moment, she wanted to stretch up to kiss his cheek, to tell him that everything would be all right, that there was no reason to look so miserable. But she didn't think she could reach that far without overbalancing. Instead, she put her hand right where she wanted to place her lips. She hoped the gesture would tell him everything she wanted to say.

"Perhaps we should consult the mirror," Lumière suggested, breaking into her thoughts.

"Good idea," Belle agreed. She drew Philippe to a stop, pulled out the mirror, and requested, "I want to see my father again, please." It showed Maurice huddled in the trunk of a half-fallen tree. "Can it show more if I ask it to?"

Lumière peered around her. "I believe so, but I am not certain. Only the Master has used it until now."

"Can you show me how to get there?" Belle asked the mirror. Immediately it shone again, then cleared to reveal an image of the path ahead of them. The scene began moving forward until it reached a fork in the road. Then it turned left down the smaller of the two paths.

"We're going the right way," Belle said happily, setting the mirror down and flicking Philippe's reins. "I'll ask again once we've passed the fork in the road."

"There's a fork in the road?" Lumière peered ahead at the gloomy, drooping trees. "A useful guide, this mirror."

"How long has the Beast had it?" Belle asked curiously.

"I am not certain. It appeared one day," replied Lumière with a vague shrug. Belle would have liked very much to ask whether it had been ten years, but decided against it. Even after all these months, no one in the castle knew how much she had guessed about their past. She planned to keep it that way until she knew more. Such as how that rose was tied in. And, most importantly, how to change them all back. None of them deserved to be trapped this way forever.

As expected, the fork in the road loomed ahead. Belle took the left and then pulled out the mirror again. In this way the mirror led them for the next hour or so, to a nearly-forgotten side trail that was heavily overgrown. Belle eased herself out of the carriage, tied Philippe to a convenient tree, and then lifted Lumière and the mirror down. Less than ten minutes of walking brought them to the fallen tree.

"Papa?" Belle asked, peering inside. A weak cough was her answer.

"He is there!" Lumière cried.

"Papa, come out. We're here to take you home," Belle coaxed. She took his arm, feeling with dismay how cold and damp his skin was.

"There are blankets in the carriage, if we can get him there," Lumière said.

"Oh, thank you, Lumière. You think of everything," answered Belle. Gently, she guided Maurice out of the log and onto his feet. He swayed dangerously but managed to stand. Belle was horrified at the state he was in. He'd lost a great deal of weight, so much that he was practically skin and bones. His clothes were tattered, and she could see the flush of fever on his face.

"Oh, Papa." She hugged him close. What had she been thinking, abandoning him like this? But at least he was alive. "Come on. We'll get you someplace warm and safe."

His eyes focused on her for a fraction of a second. "Belle?" he whispered.

"Yes, Papa, I'm here."

"I've missed you, Belle. Your hair's gotten longer." He reached up with trembling fingers to rub some of her brown locks.

If that was all he noticed, Belle was glad. She wasn't sure how he'd react to her pregnancy, if it had taken him this long to even recognize her. "Come on. Can you walk? We've got to get you out of here."

They began to stagger together back towards the carriage. Lumière led the way, his three candles burning bravely against the darkness.

"That light is moving," Maurice muttered when they were about halfway there.

"It's here to help us," Belle answered shortly. She was getting out of breath from half-carrying her father and trying to keep her balance at the same time, and didn't feel up to explaining. Maurice seemed to accept this, as he didn't say anything else until they reached the carriage. Belle handed Lumière up to the driver's seat first, then passed him the mirror. Then she moved to lead her father to the carriage door. It was as she turned that he first brushed her huge belly.

Belle tensed, waiting. Maurice looked at her, down at her stomach, and then back at her. He broke into a huge smile that stretched the skin of his face to almost skull-like proportions. He put a hand on her belly and rubbed it back and forth a few times. "Why, yes, Celeste, the baby's going to be beautiful," he said, as if in answer to a question. "You look beautiful, too." He kissed her cheek.

"T-thank you," stammered Belle. "Can you climb into the carriage? We should be going." Maurice complied, and Belle tucked as many of the blankets as she could around him. Before she was finished he was dozing. Grimly, she went back to the front of the carriage.

"How is he?" asked Lumière anxiously.

"He thinks I'm my mother, pregnant with me," Belle answered. "Which I guess is better than him being horrified, at the moment. It gives me time to explain when he can really understand. It is somewhat unnerving, though."

"He'll understand when he is better," Lumière assured her. "It is the fever talking. He doesn't really know what he's saying."

"I know." Belle wiped a few tears away. "My mother was the same, at the end. She thought I was my own grandmother for two days."

"Don't think like that, chérie," soothed Lumière. "Come, we must be going."

Now was the moment Belle had been dreading. She took the driver's seat firmly in her hands and tried to hoist herself up. It was no good. She was too heavy. Even bracing herself against one wheel only gained her a few inches before she felt the weight of the baby throwing her off.

"This could take some time," she panted to Lumière.

"You look like you could use some help, Belle," said a deep voice from behind her.

Belle whirled around, staggered, and nearly fell. She had to clutch the coach in both hands to stay on her feet. Heart sinking, she dared to look at the man who had spoken. Her knees nearly gave out again.

It was Gaston.

Kissed by a Rose

A Beauty & the Beast Story
by SamoaPhoenix9

Part 25 of 33

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