|All the Bright Pieces
Author: Bad Faery PM
AU- She marries him to pay off her father's debt.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance - Belle & Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold - Chapters: 4 - Words: 27,279 - Reviews: 122 - Favs: 345 - Follows: 100 - Updated: 04-14-13 - Published: 05-06-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8091064
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
It's Izzy and Mr. Gold's first Christmas together.
Thanksgiving hadn't been a total disaster. Cooking in her husband's gourmet kitchen was certainly more pleasant than trying to make a meal in the cramped apartment she'd shared with her father after her release from the asylum- finally she had enough counter space- but the meal itself had been awkward. Her first turkey had turned out well enough, but the conversation had been more than strained, her husband and her father struggling to make nice for her sake. Izzy had hoped her father would come around once he saw how happy her marriage had made her, but he seemed no more comfortable seeing her with her husband than he had on their wedding day. For his part, Anthony looked relieved when she told him that she wouldn't be inviting her father to Christmas dinner. Instead she'd drop by on Christmas Eve to give him his gift and reserve the day itself for just herself and her husband.
"What do you usually do for Christmas?" she asked, using her index finger to draw a heart on his bare chest as they lay together in bed that night. While she was in school, she and her father had decorated a small Norfolk Island pine and exchanged presents, but they'd never had much in the way of traditions. After years of not celebrating at all, Izzy was eager to make this Christmas- their first- one to remember.
"Whatever you want suits me, love," her husband assured her, but that wasn't what she'd asked.
"What did you do last year?" she persisted, and he played with her hair as he thought about it.
"As far as I can recall, nothing," he answered, shrugging a little when she looked up at him. "I've never been one for celebrations."
Disappointed, she rested her head on his chest. Izzy had imagined a proper family Christmas, even if their family was on the small side, but she wasn't about to try to force Anthony into an elaborate production if he wasn't interested. He'd been too good to her, too generous with her to do that to him. He deserved better.
Maybe he wouldn't mind if she got a little tree, she thought hopefully. If she asked, he was certain to say yes, but she didn't want to inconvenience him with it. There was a low table in the living room that would suit a Norfolk Island pine beautifully if she cleared it off, and it shouldn't be in the way. She'd ask him tomorrow, she decided, yawning.
By the time she woke up the next morning, he'd already left for the day, although he'd left a cup of tea for her on her bedside table. This was the biggest shopping day of the year after all, and she giggled to herself as she imagined her husband opening the shop doors at five in the morning for a hoard of Black Friday shoppers. Somehow, she didn't think that was what had pulled him away so early. However, it did remind her that she needed to buy a gift for him, and the thought made her head swim. As far as she could tell, her husband already owned one of everything, and anything he didn't have, he could certainly afford to buy for himself. She couldn't begin to imagine what she could possibly give him that he'd want or could use.
Izzy worried at the thought all morning as she put the house back in order after yesterday's holiday, stopping only when she heard a knock at the front door. The noise made her jump, and she instinctively shied against the wall before she forced herself to act like the adult she was. No one ever visited here, but that was no reason for panic. Her husband would never let them lock her up again.
A quick glance through the peephole revealed a huge man on the other side, and a genuine smile shaped her mouth as she threw the door open. "Good afternoon, Dove!"
Dove smiled politely, half-bowing to her before gesturing to the pile of boxes that surrounded him on the porch. "Good afternoon, Mrs. Gold. Mr. Gold asked me to bring you these. Where would you like me to put them?"
"What are they?" Izzy asked, opening one at his shrug. It took only a moment to realize what was inside, and her eyes flooded with tears, making it difficult to see the beautiful antique glass ornaments. "In the living room please, Dove."
Not all the boxes held ornaments, Izzy realized as she began to sort through them after Dove left. There was also a Nativity set, ceramic carolers, and an elaborate porcelain Santa's Workshop, complete with reindeer that appeared to be covered in genuine fur. In short, her husband had provided her with everything she might need to turn their home into a winter wonderland.
She set to work at once, rearranging the furniture to make room for a full-sized tree and carefully placing Santa's Workshop on one of the broad window seats, taking care to make certain that each small figure was displayed to its best advantage. She was just searching out a spot for the carolers when she heard the front door open, and she ran to greet her husband, flinging herself into his arms before he even managed to close the door behind him.
He chuckled into her hair, wrapping his arms around her to hold her close. "Like your present, love?"
"It's wonderful!" she enthused, lifting her face for a kiss. "You really don't mind?"
"If my Belle wants a Christmas, then a Christmas she shall have," he promised, stealing another kiss before pulling out of her embrace long enough to lock the door. "Should we put up lights too?"
The outdoor decorations became Dove's responsibility. Anthony's knee prevented him from climbing a ladder, and he wouldn't hear of Izzy doing it herself, so she found herself safely on the ground overseeing the other man's efforts until wreaths and ribbons decorated every window, and white lights twinkled along the roofline and on every bush. While the pink house had felt welcoming to her at once, never had it looked so homey. "It's beautiful," she murmured as she and Anthony stood together in the gathering dusk, admiring the effect.
"That it is," he agreed, his voice a little rough, and Izzy glanced up to find him looking at her instead of the house and blushed. If only her father could see him like this, he'd never worry for her again. Still, she liked it that she was the only one who got to see him like this. It made him more hers.
The tree they did themselves, her husband making a point of picking out the largest one the lot had to offer, and it dominated one entire side of their living room. He even helped to decorate it, and the mixture of antique baubles and the crude ornaments she'd made as a child and retrieved from her father's house was somehow exactly right. His ornaments lent hers some gravitas, and hers brought a lightness and playfulness to his. Izzy thought that was a fine metaphor for their relationship itself.
"What do you want for Christmas?" she asked as they snuggled together on the couch after the last ornament had been hung, the tree the only light in the room.
Her husband looked blank, and she wondered how long it had been since anyone had bought him a present. He brought her little gifts every day but the thought of doing the same for him had never crossed her mind, and Izzy's stomach clenched. After a moment, he smiled at her, "You in something lacy."
Giggling, she rested her head on his shoulder and playfully smacked his arm. "No, seriously."
"I am being serious," he protested. "I can't think of anything I'd rather unwrap."
Although he was teasing her, his eyes were perfectly sincere, and her heart fluttered. After long years of cold and loneliness in the asylum, it felt wonderful to be desired so intensely. Her husband made her happy, and Izzy loved that she could make him happy too.
Still she needed something more than a lacy negligee to give him on Christmas morning. She wanted something that would make him smile, something tangible to show him how happy she was to be his wife. It would be nice to give him something they could do together.
As always, Izzy's mind turned to books. He gave her books on a regular basis and read the ones she picked out for him at the library, but although she liked snuggling with him on the couch or in their bed as they both read, 'here's a book' didn't exactly say 'I'm glad I married you.'
Pleading errands, she begged off their usual lunch together on Monday and spent her lunch hour aimlessly browsing through the shops of Storybrooke. Clothing wasn't personal enough, and besides, she trusted his taste far more than her own. Most of the truly interesting items in town were already housed at his shop which made gifting them rather pointless. Worse she was shopping for his gift with his money which seemed somehow wrong. Izzy was stumped.
Nothing even caught her eye until she spotted the handsome leather-bound journal in one of the home goods boutiques. The cover was buttery soft and somehow reminded her of her husband, although she couldn't think why. There was something about its subtle strength that appealed to her, and she found herself paying for it only moments before she was due back at the library. She still didn't have the slightest idea what she was going to do with the thing, but at least it was a start.
The town book club was meeting in one of the library's private rooms, and she waved at the various women as they walked in. Izzy herself hadn't been asked to join, the combination of her madness and her husband too much for the town to overcome. She hoped in time they'd welcome her a little more completely. It would be nice to have someone to discuss books with.
Suddenly she knew exactly what to do with the journal, and she opened it to the first page, taking out the pen her husband had bought her several weeks ago, the one that wrote with gold ink. In her neatest handwriting, she inscribed the words Title and Author at the head of the page then skipped a line and wrote her name.
She'd pick out the perfect book for him, and they'd read it together, taking turns to jot down their thoughts in the journal. He could take it to the shop one day and she could take it to the library the next so they could read at off moments. It was a way for them to be together even when they were separated, and it would make a lovely record of their life together. Smiling to herself, she turned her attention to the inside leaf, thinking of the perfect inscription. "To Anthony, my happy ending. Love, Belle"
She wrapped it with care, adding a copy of Good Omens to the box, a book she'd read before and enjoyed. Crowley rather reminded her of her husband, and she noted the similarity in the journal before wrapping it up. "I'm not calling you a demon, my husband, but you can't deny you like it that people are afraid of you. Just like Crowley, there's so much more to you than most people ever see. I'm honored that you share yourself with me."
Although Izzy was pleased with how her gift had turned out, she did a double-take on Christmas morning when she saw their tree. Brightly-colored packages were piled under and around it, spilling halfway across the room. She froze in the doorway, a cup of tea clasped in her hands as her husband chuckled at her reaction. "You must have been a very good girl this year," he noted, kissing the top of her head before nudging her into the room.
"I... You... These can't all be for me." Izzy stared at the sea of packages of disbelief as her husband laughed at the look on her face.
"What's the point of having a wife if I can't spoil her?" he asked lightly, depositing a present into her lap.
"But..." she protested, and he cut her off with a kiss.
"Merry Christmas, Belle," he said firmly, watching with rapt attention as she unwrapped the box.
She gasped at the floral-print shirtdress and nearly dropped the box when she saw the designer's name. "Jean Paul Gautlier?"
"I thought it would suit you," he said, looking vaguely concerned by her reaction. "Don't you like it?"
Izzy had poured over issues of Vogue in the bath, but she'd never dreamed she'd actually wear something that had graced its pages. This dress alone had to cost more than her entire wardrobe, and this was only one box. "It's incredible," she managed to choke out, and he looked relieved as he handed her another box.
It took a solid two hours to open all of the packages, and by the time she reached the end, Izzy found herself in possession of a brand new wardrobe, every item of clothing a tribute to her husband's impeccable taste. A gorgeous leather handbag sat on the coffee table awaiting her belongings, and he'd bought her a new coat, scarf, and gloves to match. There were shoes and jewelry and perfume and a pile of books, both contemporary best-sellers and first editions of some old favorites.
He'd spent a fortune, but more than that, he'd clearly taken the time to think every gift through. Every single thing she unwrapped was perfection. It was like he was trying to give her three decades of Christmases all in one morning. He'd given her the world, and she'd bought him a journal and a book. Izzy wanted to die.
"What's wrong?" he murmured, his hand gently stroking the side of her face.
Izzy tried to smile, not wanting him to think she was ungrateful. "Your present suddenly doesn't look that impressive," she admitted.
His eyes widened at her statement. "You got me a present?" he asked in disbelief.
"It's Christmas. You're my husband. Of course I got you a present!" she exclaimed, darting over to retrieve it from where it had gotten shoved behind the tree. He took it from her automatically when she pressed it into his hands, staring down at the wrapped gift with a look of wonder on his face.
"You didn't have to buy me anything," he murmured, his hands stroking over the present like he couldn't quite believe it was real.
Izzy's heart broke for her husband at that. When had someone last given him a Christmas gift? Had anyone ever given him a gift? "I hope you like it."
With careful fingers, he untied the ribbon and unwrapped the package, smoothing the wrapping paper and setting it neatly aside. Izzy held her breath as he looked at the box she'd used, looking like he was trying to commit the moment to memory before he opened it.
The sight of the book made him smile. "Have you read it?" she asked anxiously, and he shook his head.
"No, but I'm sure I'll enjoy it," he assured her before turning his attention to the journal. Her inscription was brief, but he lingered over it for what felt like hours, looking like he'd forgotten how to breathe.
"I know it's not much," she said, shifting self-consciously when suddenly his mouth covered hers in a feverish kiss, and she could feel the journal pressing against her back as he pulled her close without putting it down.
"Oh, Belle... Belle," he gasped against her lips, holding her so tightly that it almost hurt. Nothing in the world could have gotten her to pull away.
When they had to break apart to breathe, he clung to her, his face buried in her hair as his chest heaved with his ragged breath. "I thought it would be something we could do together," she explained, not sure if he'd realized the purpose of the journal. "We can share the book and write to each other."
"I would like that," he rasped, his eyes suspiciously bright when he released her. They snuggled together on the couch, caressing and talking idly until it was time to put the turkey in the oven, and by the time Izzy returned to the living room to straighten up a bit, her husband had his nose buried in the book she'd given him.
There was one last box that needed to be unwrapped, and she slipped it back under the tree, not sure if he'd forgotten it or wanted to save it for later. He didn't mention it during dinner or while they watched A Christmas Story, and by the time she went upstairs to get ready for bed, Izzy had nearly forgotten about it.
It was sitting on the bed when she entered their bedroom, the journal placed on top of it, and she ignored the package for the moment in favor of pouncing on the book, turning to see what her husband had written in reply. "If I'm Crowley, that must make you Aziraphale. I must admit that I can see it. The books, the deceptively mild exterior concealing inner strength... The angel/ demon dichotomy does seem to suit us, doesn't it?"
When Izzy looked up, she saw her husband leaning in the doorway, watching her read, and she beamed at him, pleased that he'd gotten into the spirit of things. "You're certainly tempting enough to be a demon," she teased, and she didn't think it was a trick of the light that his color heightened.
"Speaking of..." he nodded at the present. "Can I tempt you into opening that?"
Giggling, Izzy pounced on the box, revealing a gold satin negligee trimmed in lace. "It's beautiful..." she whispered, and Anthony's smile turned wicked.
"Now, if you wouldn't mind, I'd like to unwrap my present," he said archly, swatting her on the rear as she scrambled off the bed, taking the nightgown into the en suite with her to get changed. The lace was soft against her skin as she pulled it on, the color setting off her pale skin admirably. Her husband had never complained about the pajama pants and baggy shirts that served as her nightclothes, but Izzy had to admit that this was an improvement. She smoothed her hair and opened the door, stepping back into the bedroom.
He'd dimmed the lights while she was changing and lit a few candles, disrobing partway himself until he was wearing only his trousers, his chest and feet bare in the golden light. "Oh, Belle," he breathed at the sight of her, his eyes wide and soft and stunned.
Izzy blushed, twirling so he could get the full effect, and he abandoned his cane to limp towards her and take her hands in his own. "I believe Christmas just became my favorite day of the year."
Smiling, she stepped into his arms, their mouths meeting and sliding together. After three months of marriage, this was familiar and comfortable, but Izzy's stomach still fluttered with the excitement of being in her husband's arms, and she could feel his body trembling as she stroked her hands over his back.
She kept herself tight against him as they made their way to the bed, both to provide him with support and to enjoy the feeling of his skin against hers. This was going to be one of their gentle nights, she realized at once. Before their marriage, Izzy had never dreamed that there were so many different kinds of lovemaking. Over the past three months, her husband had taught her well; some nights they were playful and teasing, others frantic and desperate, and it was all lovely. There was something special about their gentle nights though. His hands were tender as they moved over her body, stroking and massaging as his mouth fused with hers. On nights like this, he could spend hours just kissing her, and that they were free to do so felt like the greatest luxury imaginable.
Izzy trailed her hands over his chest and back, everywhere she could reach as his body blanketed hers, his solid weight both arousing and comforting. Her husband was the best thing in her world, and every day she said a silent thank you to whatever higher power had brought them together. Their marriage had brought her so much more happiness than she ever expected to have.
His mouth coaxed her to heights of pleasure that were all the sweeter for the long years she'd spent cold and numb in the asylum. With Anthony, Izzy didn't feel mad. He grounded her and held her together, all of the strange feelings she had when she had to talk to Storybrooke's other residents melting away. There were days when she wanted nothing more than to lock both of them in their bedroom and forget that the rest of the world existed. Her husband, she knew, would enthusiastically approve of the idea.
She was still panting from her climax when he kissed his way up her body. "You're a million miles away, love," he scolded gently, but she could see concern in his eyes.
"Just thinking how happy I am," she answered honestly, and his mouth came down on hers in a fierce kiss, the concept of gentle forgotten for the moment. "Oh, yes. Yes," she pleaded, parting her legs for him, and he sheathed himself in one swift thrust, their cries mingling in the sultry air.
"You're my present," he murmured in her ear as he started to thrust- long, slow strokes that made her toes curl. "My Belle."
"My husband," she whispered, and he groaned like a dying man, picking up speed as she arched beneath him, trying to take him deeper. He'd bought her beautiful things today, but this closeness was the best present of them all.
She wrapped her legs around his waist, her hands straying lower to clutch at his ass and urge him on, and he bucked against her as she squeezed. He was so careful with her, so conscious of her pleasure that it was a glorious thing to make him lose control. "Belle!" he cried out, his voice hoarse, and she leaned up to catch his mouth with her own, her tongue searching out the places that made him crazy.
He grunted against her lips, his pace growing wild even as he fisted his hands in the bedclothes, struggling to hold on, and that was the last thing she wanted him to do. Letting her mouth slip from his, Izzy kissed her way lower, laving her tongue over the place where his neck met his shoulder for a moment before biting down hard, and he arched into her desperately with a shuddering cry as her womb flooded with heat.
His frantic thrusts carried her over the edge with him, and she keened, losing her hold on his neck as she shivered and moaned through it, holding him in place when he would have rolled them over.
Finally, his weight became uncomfortable, and he pulled her onto her side, his hands smoothing over the satin negligee that was now hopelessly wrinkled. "You didn't get to unwrap your present," she chuckled, her voice rough.
He kissed the tip of her nose, then lifted his head to look over her shoulder at the clock. "We still have another forty-five minutes of Christmas," he assured her, his hands sliding under the lacy confection, "We'll make them count."