Summary: Belle has doubts and fears just like Rumplestiltskin. And just like Rumplestiltskin, sometimes they get the better of her.
Rumplestiltskin hadn’t touched her in a month.
At night, despite sharing the same bed, an ocean of sheets spread out between them, clearly marking ‘his’ and ‘hers’ where before there had only been ‘theirs’. If Belle moved, whether in sleep or otherwise (to comfort him from the nightmares that plagued him, that woke him and made him jolt or scream or claw the headboard in terror), Rumplestiltskin would carefully shift her back, gentle elbow nudges and fingertips carefully on clothes and not her. Or he would move, curling on his side so close to the edge of the mattress that she would roll away to prevent him from falling onto the floor.
She’d tried to kiss him several times before he left in the mornings, planting herself in his path, hiding his keys or cane, leaning against the door to prevent him from sneaking past her. Her efforts had been rewarded (a few times, but it was better than nothing), but the kisses had been quick, a brush of lips, nothing but mouths touching.
He didn’t run his hands up her sides, or bury his fingers in her hair. He didn’t take her hand or her arm when they walked. Her foot brushing his under the table lead to him shifting, mumbling apologies before he smoothly lead the conversation back to whatever they’d been talking about.
They still talked. All the time, constant chatter, conversations that lasted until dawn, phone calls when he was away, but it was all they ever did (he always told her he loved her, and it was never a lie, and he said it and it should have been enough for her).
Belle had to hunt him down to steal a kiss (and it did feel like a theft, taking what he obviously did not want to give, forcing him into a situation where he wasn’t comfortable and only gave in so he could leave).
It hurt, realizing that her true love didn’t want her anymore.