A/N: Yet another Rumplestiltskin/Belle story. Pure fluff. I do love them!
And just like that his life was changed.
“What?” He must have misheard. Please Gods, please have let him misheard.
“We’re pregnant,” Belle said again and gave him a hesitant smile. She was happy about this, he could see. Her eyes were shining, and even though there was something fragile in her smile, something scared, his little Belle was being as brave as ever.
It wasn’t the first time he’d been a father, and the first time it had, at first, seemed to come naturally to him. He’d fed Bae, changed him, played with him, comforted him, but when it had come down to it he hadn’t been able to protect him, and his son had died. Because of him. Because he was an awful father just like he was trying so desperately hard not to be an awful husband to Belle.
“I’m so sorry,” he apologized. This was his fault. He should have been more careful. He should have protected them better. “Belle, I’m so sorry.” Belle was kind. Too kind to leave him for knocking her up.
“I’m not,” she said, catching his hand in both of hers. “I’m just sorry that you seem to be.”
“Belle, you deserve a better father for your child than me.”
She rolled her eyes at him. “Who could possibly be a better father for my child than my husband? Whom I love? What’s really bothering you, Rumple?”
That he was a terrible father. Couldn’t she see that? His first son had died. He’d promised to protect him, but in the end he hadn’t, and so he’d died and it was all his fault. But Belle wouldn’t understand this. She’d tell him that it wasn’t his fault, that he wasn’t to blame. Rumple, however, knew the truth.
He’d had the chance to start over, to create a new life with his son, but he’d picked power over his own family, and his son had left without him. And Rumple had let him. He avoided Belle’s searching gaze. He might be powerful now. People might fear him, but underneath it all he was still the scared little spinner, who bent the head and begged for mercy. He was a disgrace, and he’d fought for years for Belle not to see that.
Except that she had. She’d seen him at his worst. She’d seen him grovel, beg for mercy. She’d seen him scared and crying and yelling. She’d seen how the power he cloaked himself in was nothing but a coward’s desperate lie. Belle had seen all of this and she still thought he would be a good husband. She had still said I Do.
He looked up and met her gaze. His brave Belle. Despite everything she might say, Rumple knew that he was a coward, but maybe Belle had bravery enough for both of them.
Do the brave thing and bravery will follow.
He gave her a forced smile. “You’re going to be a wonderful mother,” he told her. He was still sure that he was going to be an awful father, just as he’d turned out to be the first time, but by the Gods he would try to do better this time. This time he’d do right by the people he loved.