((I BET YOU THOUGHT I FORGOT ABOUT THIS MUWAHAHAHA but no, I’ve been saving it in my drafts forever and now it smells musty and needs some work. Rated T for Teensy Bits of Inappropriate Talk.))
“It’s time to wake up, Belle,” he murmured.
She stared at him, “Belle? Who-”
He cradled her face in his hands and kissed her. Unfortunately he had no time for tenderness, immediately putting his all into it. He held the kiss for as long as he dared, then he slowly retreated.
She stared at him and he felt his pulse race. The seconds ticked by and yet there was no change in her expression. Then, she smiled, “Did you hit your head on the way back?”
His stomach plummeted. It hadn’t worked… His sweet Belle was still trapped somewhere inside, with Rosaline French Gold as her warden. And, despite being married, Rose did not love either Mr. Gold or him.
“It, it’s nothing,” he said as he straightened, his face burning from humiliation. Rose looked at him a moment longer before picking her book back up.
“Alright, leftovers are in the fridge, unless you ate.” Without a second thought she found her place and started reading again, shutting him out as thoroughly as if she had slammed a door in his face.
He stumbled into the kitchen, grasping the counter and fighting back tears. Of course… He had been so naive to think it would be a matter of true love’s kiss to break his love free from the curse… But it was hard to love someone you couldn’t remember, or couldn’t remember loving.
It felt like a living nightmare, he and his wife preparing for bed, mere feet away but worlds apart. She didn’t say a word to him, only giving him a weird glance if he stared for too long. When they slipped into bed and turned off the lights, she did not close the gap between their sides. His arm, slightly extended, remained empty as she mumbled a good night and turned her back to him.
He wanted to scream at the loneliness tearing through him; he wanted to close the distance, spoon her, whisper how much he missed her in his ear between kisses placed on her neck. He wanted to discuss where to go from here, figure out their game plan to both get Emma to believe and keep Regina off their backs. He wanted to fuck and make love to her in an endless rotation until they were both too exhausted to move. He wanted to assure her of his love. He wanted to hear her call him “Rumple”; he wanted to see her eyes light up.
He wanted his real wife back.
Tears slipped down his face as he tried to imagine facing the end of the curse without her support…without her love. He couldn’t…he couldn’t do this…
He turned his head to look at her; to watch the rise and fall of her side as she slept unknowing beside him. It was her… Deep down his true love was waiting for him. And he’d be damned if he didn’t do everything in his power to bring her back to him.