Scotch, Straight Up

A/N: Another OUAT fanfic, which really became thrice as long as originally planned. Oh well. Belle is a bartender, Gold her costumer, and I have no regrets. Enjoy! 

“Scotch, straight up,” the brusque voice ordered and Belle willingly turned around with a cheery smile. She was used to rude costumers, and truth be told they didn’t bother her much. It was the insistent ones that meant trouble. The ones that had trouble understanding a no.

“Here you go, sir,” she said handing over the drink with another smile. The man merely grunted and handed her a fifty.

“I want the change back,” he told her. “All of it.”

“Of course, sir.” Belle watched the man with interest. A slight man, who somehow seemed bigger than he really was, somewhere in his early fifties. To her own surprise she felt herself physically attracted to him despite the fact that he was nothing like the men she usually took notice of. Not that she would go after this one. Not only had it been so long that Belle was half convinced that she’d forgotten how to flirt, but the man himself had showed no sign of a personality she would like to get to know. Still, she was a bartender, the man was her only costumer on a Tuesday night, and her job was as much to listen as it was to serve drinks.

“You look like you need an ear,” she said symphathetically with another easy smile.

The man merely grunted. “I don’t.”

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A Second Chance

A/N: Yet another Rumplestiltskin/Belle story. Pure fluff. I do love them!

We’re pregnant.”

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.

Unlike him.

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.

Strangers in a Bus

A/N: Okay, this one is officially fanfiction to Once Upon a Time, but it can just as easily be read as an original story. Meaning that even if you aren’t a fan of OUAT you can still (hopefully) enjoy it.

Robert was well aware that he was a bitter man. But how could he not be with an ex-wife, who to this day called him up at random intervals to tell him his many short-comings as a husband? And how could he not be bitter with an estranged son and an empty house?

And now, after a gruelling day in court, his car had broken down and he had to take the bus of all things. Dirty, foul and filled with people, who were constantly falling into him like it he didn’t had trouble enough already leaning on his cane while simultaneously making it appear as if it was merely for decoration. Robert bit his teeth together as yet another stop forced the very heavy woman across from him to stumble and fall into him, surrounding him with the cloy smell of her perfume. Robert had enough.

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