A Bit Of Both (Gaston x Reader)
Part 5 (epilogue) of “Another Look Around”
Word Count: 2,825
Warnings: If Gaston being flirty counts as one, then there’s that…
A/N: yeh, it took a while longer than the previous parts, but yo, I finally finished it. Thanks so much for all the reads, likes, reblogs, and the AMAZING comments, lil chickadees!!!
For several moments, you tried to ignore the prodding on your arm. It was early after all, and yesterday had been a particularly exhausting day. But after half a minute of the timid motion, you finally shifted, stretching out your legs and arms and with a groan.
You felt soft breath fanning across your face as a small voice asked, “Are you awake?”
You cracked your eyes open, a smile spreading over your lips. “Well, I am now,” you answered quietly, your voice raspy from sleep. As you spoke, you moved your hand and poked the side of the little girl laying opposite you. She squealed and swatted away your hand, smiling widely.
“James was snoring again,” the dark-haired girl said accusingly. “You can hear it from all the way down the hall. He woke me up.”
“Did he?” You responded, gently stroking a few stray strands of hair from her eyes. “Well, we’ll have to speak with him about that when he wakes up, won’t we?”
The child, Rosemarie, nodded, a mischievous expression on her delicate features which coaxed a snicker from you. You brushed your thumb across her cheek and leaned forward to kiss her forehead before asking, “Ready to get up?”
Rosemarie nodded again, swiftly shimmying her little body from under the covers and slipping off the bed. Her curly, deep brown hair bounced around her waist as she scurried from the room, her bare feet filling the silent morning with a pattering sound.
You grinned widely after her, sighing as you hauled yourself into a sitting position and raked your hands through your hair. The morning was pale and just beginning, and through the window across from the bed, you could see a thick mist hanging above the ground as the sky turned pallid blue. The house was warm, but outside the cool whispers of fall were beginning to fill the land.
You briefly glanced at the empty space beside you, noting the absence of your husband from his usual position before tossing the covers off your legs and rising from the mattress. You quickly pulled a blue skirt and vest on over your white underdress, then joined Rosemarie in the large kitchen, the floorboards cold under your feet. When you arrived, you found her sitting with boy who was slightly older than her, but who had the exact same chestnut waves atop his head.
“Ah, well if it isn’t the culprit himself,” you teased, ruffling James’ hair as you passed him. He gave you a satisfied smirk, leaning back in his chair. “I can’t help it,” he said simply. “It’s Rosemarie’s fault for being a light sleeper.”
Rosemarie gasped, “Is not. I can’t help that either.”
“Well if we’re being specific, I made both of you, so I suppose it’s my fault,” you said, grinning at the way that James scrunched his nose in disgust – reminding you so much of his father – while Rosemarie sat there blankly. “I don’t understand,” she confessed. You laughed lightly, moving to fill a large kettle with water to boil for tea. “Trust me, Rosie,” James answered. “you don’t want to understand.”
The pot was on the stove and Rosemarie was halfway done braiding James’ hair when the youngest of your children finally emerged from the bedroom that the boys shared, looking hardly awake.
Gabriel was the only one who’d inherited your hair color instead of his father’s, and incidentally he was also what James liked to call a “mama’s boy”. It was true. Gabriel was almost always stuck to one of your legs, no matter what time of day. It was of course something he would eventually grow out of, but until then, you relished every instant that the stunning little boy spent at your heels, asking to be held or reaching his small fingers up to wrap around your thumb.
At two years old, Gabriel’s speech was still rocky, but he remained silent as he crossed the room straight to you, holding his arms out. You smiled and acquiesced, hoisting him into your arms and resting him on your hip. Rosemarie was next in the age line at four, followed by James and his twin sister at six.
It suddenly dawned on you, just as Rosemarie and James began bickering over Rosie’s decision to put flowers in his hair, that your other daughter was nowhere to be seen.
“Wait a minute,” you muttered, looking from Gabriel, to the other two. “There are supposed to be four of you. Rosie, where’s Adeline?”
“Outside with Papa,” she answered before engaging James once again in debate. The corner of your mouth turned up. “When is she not?” You commented, kissing Gabriel’s cheek quickly before moving him to sit in one of the chairs at the table. “Mama will be right back, alright?” You told him, tapping his nose with your finger. He yawned in response. “Good. James.”
The boy froze as he was about to smack Rosemarie’s arm with a nearby spoon. He blinked and you raised an eyebrow. “Can you keep an eye on Gabriel for a few minutes?”
He smiled appealingly, dropping the spoon onto the table and making a knightly vow to protect his younger brother with his life. You winked at him and moved towards the door as Rosie asked, “Oooh, if you’re a knight, then does that make me a princess?”
“Of course not, Rose. Mama’s the princess. You can be the dragon.”
You ignored the sounds of Rosemarie’s indignant protests, knowing that James could handle the younger children until you returned. You exited the house, leaving the door open and stepping out into the chilled morning air.
Your rustic home sat upon several acres of lush forest green, and practically perched on top of a mountain. From the front yard, it was possible to look down and see Villeneuve spread out below. The area was secluded, but not difficult to find. A small stream ran behind the house, and the surrounding forests wrapped around all sides except the front, which looked out over the lands beneath. It was picturesque to say the least.
The dewy grass felt divine between your toes as you walked slowly to where two figures stood out in the fog. You stepped carefully, not wanting to alert either one to your presence just yet.
The young girl stood, her brown eyes blazing with concentration as she held a small bow in her hands, the string drawn to her cheek and the knocked arrow aimed at the trunk of a gnarled old oak tree. Her stance was solid and professional for someone so small, better than that of most fully grown hunters.
The man on his knee beside her had his back slightly turned to you, one of his large hands resting gingerly on the girl’s side. He was talking quietly, and after every sentence, the girl adjusted something in her position, lowering her elbow or altering her aim.
After a minute or so of this, the girl finally pulled back. You saw her shoulders rise as she took a deep breath, then fall as she exhaled. Next thing, she released the bowstring, and the arrow went whizzing from the weapon, spiraling straight into the center of the dead oak.
She shrieked joyously, and deep, rough laughter that sent shivers trembling down your spine joined in with the child’s giggles. She threw her arms around her instructor’s neck, nearly knocking him backwards, causing him to shift towards you in order to keep his balance.
There was a smile on your face as Gaston’s dancing eyes caught yours.
When Adeline pulled back from her father, she too caught sight of you, instantly running forward exclaiming, “Mama, did you see? I hit it!” You dropped to your knees just in time to catch her in a tight embrace. “I saw!” You answered. Then you pulled her back and said, “Keep shooting like that, and you’ll be rivaling your father in no time.”
“Now that I would like to see,” Gaston shot back, striding towards the two of you. You raised an eyebrow and gave him a sly smirk, to which Adeline sniggered again.
“Papa says that he taught you how to shoot too,” she said, lacing her fingers through yours as you stood. “That he did,” you replied, keeping your eyes on Gaston. “I don’t think he ever thought that one day I’d turn out to be better than him.”
Gaston narrowed his eyes as the corner of his mouth tilted up. “In your dreams, perhaps,” he taunted.
“Ooooh,” Adeline gasped, gazing up at the two of you. You squeezed her hand, then her face lit up as she declared excitedly, “I’ve got to show James and Rosemarie!”
Gaston chuckled as his daughter spun on her heel and bolted towards the house, snaking an arm around your back as the two of you watched her go. You in turn moved closer and turned to face him, sliding your hands around his torso and resting them on his sides.
“How long have the two of you been at it?” You asked him, glancing down at the bow in his other hand. “Not long,” he murmured, shifting his full attention to you. “That was her first shot.”
You nodded, unable to keep the smile off your lips as you gazed up, examining his features in the pale blue light. After six years of being together, it still astonished you how ridiculously handsome he was.
On this particular morning, Gaston’s hair wasn’t pulled back as usual, but rather left unattended in all of its thick, wavy glory. Despite a few additional wrinkles around the corners of his eyes, mouth and forehead and the occasional grey streak to his hair, he hadn’t changed at all in terms of appearance. He was still every bit as muscled, and he still stood nearly a full head taller than you.
“You’re staring…” He pointed out cockily, pressing his forehead against yours. You grinned, using your grip on his midsection to pull him against you. “So are you,” you countered, causing a husky chuckle to emanate from his chest. His hands rose to your face, the contrast of his calloused fingers on your smooth skin making you shudder. “Is it not common for a man to stare at the most beautiful thing in sight?”
You laughed, making him smile wider. If there was one thing the years definitely hadn’t taken from him it was his inhumanly perfect charm. To this day he could still send your heart pounding effortlessly.
Without hesitation he pulled your lips to his, eyes closing blissfully as he kissed you for the first time that day. There was a chorus of squeals from the house, and realizing that the children – none of which necessarily appreciated the frequent displays of affection between you and Gaston – were on their way out, you started to pull away, but then stopped with a shrill gasp as he caught your lower lip between his teeth. You brought a hand up to smack his chest. He laughed smugly, pulling back just as Adeline returned with her siblings behind her.
You opened your eyes as Gaston pressed a quick kiss to the corner of your mouth, winking roguishly before moving back and heading towards the kids. You lingered behind a moment, feeling dizzy and light, taking a few seconds to regain your composure. It was only when James ran up to complain about being hungry that you truly snapped out of it.
After Adeline had showed her brothers and sister her archery skills, you gathered them inside and set to work immediately.
Gaston stood in the doorway, leaning against the frame, a smile on his face as he looked on. It didn’t matter how much time had passed. You still baffled him with your elegance and poise. He watched as you somehow managed to keep your head cool amidst a wave of chaos – “No, Rose, we can’t have pastries for breakfast. James put that down before you poke someone’s eye out. Adeline, keep the shooting outside, please. Gabriel, what on earth is on your face?” – and the way you moved around the room with fluent grace. Every gesture was effortless, and merely watching you interacting with your sons and daughters, even in the mundane, every-day manner was enough to make his heart swell.
To him, you were the embodiment of perfection, a gorgeous sort of mystery that never ceased to amaze him. You were his and only his, and though he may have been reluctant to admit it out loud, he couldn’t deny the way he was wrapped around your finger as well.
After breakfast had been eaten and each of the children had gotten themselves dressed, you assisted the girls while Gaston helped the boys to get ready for the day they were meant to spend in town with your parents.
Gaston corralled the boys into the hallway, telling James for the fifth time that he couldn’t bring the dead bird that he’d found in the yard that morning with him. No doubt it was the work of the family cat, Rufus, but the concept that it might be disturbing to some of the villagers to see a young boy skipping around town with a deceased bluejay in his hands couldn’t seem to get through his son’s head. James gave him a sulky look before stomping into the kitchen.
“Dramatic,” Gaston muttered, shaking his head. Without missing a beat, you leaned out of the girls’ room, saying, “Mmm, I wonder where on earth he gets that from.”
Gaston didn’t get a chance to respond as Adeline shot past you into the kitchen, then proclaimed excitedly, “They’re here!”
You simpered at Gaston teasingly, while he stepped towards you, leaning down to your ear and practically growling, “You will be the death of me, woman.” You only smiled as his hand traced up your spine, but then let out a bark of laughter as he squeezed your side, making you double over.
Rosemarie appeared from the bedroom and gave Gaston a reprimanding look, silently commanding him to stop tickling you, to which he obeyed. You straightened your back and subtly kicked his leg, trying to look cross and failing utterly as he gave you a dashing grin. You shook your head, wrapping an arm around his waist and walking onto the porch with Rose.
Gabriel and Adeline were already climbing onto your parents wagon when Rosemarie bolted forward, barely giving your father any time to catch her before she flung herself into his arms.
Your mother made her way towards you with a wide smile, placing her arm on your shoulder and looking between you and Gaston.
“I’m not sure how the two of you do it,” she admitted, making you laugh as you glanced at the children. “To be honest, Mama, we aren’t either.” You kissed her cheek before adding, “I hope you can handle them for the day.”
At this your mother made a face. “Now, now, (Y/N), one day is perfectly manageable.”
“Are you sure?” You asked. Your mother raised an eyebrow.
“Of course I am, I raised you. I’m prepared for anything.”
“Mama!” You exclaimed, Gaston and your mother sharing a laugh. You rolled your eyes and linked your arm with hers, the three of you strolling to the wagon where your father had just finished situating James, Gabriel, Adeline and Rosemarie.
“Well,” your father said, embracing you fondly. “I suppose we’d better be off. Ready, darling?”
Your mother nodded, giving you one last hug while Gaston and your father shook hands.
“And remember,” you said as your parents mounted the wagon. “If at any time you lose track of Rosemarie, you’ll almost definitely find her at Père Robert’s.”
“Don’t worry!” Your mother scolded. “We’ll be perfectly fine.”
You didn’t argue, but secretly you knew that by the end of the day, your parents would undoubtedly be pleasantly exhausted.
Each of the children waved wildly as they set off, trying to be the one who yelled their goodbye the loudest. You smiled and waved back as they disappeared from sight, their voices growing smaller and smaller.
“My parents have no idea what they’ve gotten themselves into,” you joked, placing your hands over Gaston’s as his arms encircled your waist. “Mmm,” he hummed, his chest vibrating against your back. “They’ve done it before, they can do it again.”
“I guess so,” you sighed as Gaston grazed his lips across your neck, making goosebumps bloom on your skin. “You know what this means,” he asked, his voice an octave lower than usual. “What?” You whispered, your eyelids fluttering as the scruff around his mouth scratched your skin. “For the first time in weeks, I have you all to myself.”
You managed a flustered laugh. “Should I be scared or excited, Monsieur Gaston?”
His arms tightened around you and he placed a kiss beneath your ear. “Maybe a bit of both…”