|Tis the Season
Author: Bad Faery PM
A collection of fluffy holiday ficletsRated: Fiction T - English - Romance - Belle & Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold - Chapters: 5 - Words: 6,812 - Reviews: 71 - Favs: 29 - Follows: 29 - Updated: 12-24-12 - Published: 12-13-12 - id: 8793050
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A child at the library tells Belle he's writing a letter to Santa. After he explains who Santa is, she doesn't realize it's a myth and writes her own letter.
Morgan Jensen wasn't a bad boy, just an active and inquisitive one, so it was odd to see the seven year old sitting so still and writing so studiously at one of the children's tables in the library. Lowering herself to sit in the small chair opposite him, Belle waited until he looked up to ask, "What are you working on?"
"It's my letter to Santa," Morgan told her as if that answered everything, bowing his ginger head over his work again as Belle tried to puzzle out who Santa might be. The boy said the name like he expected her to recognize it, so she assumed it was someone who belonged to this new world.
"Who's Santa?" she asked when he looked up again, and Morgan gave her the look children reserved for adults who were putting them on. "No really. I don't know."
A critical look ascertained her honesty, then Morgan sat up straighter, his small chest puffing out at the opportunity to impart knowledge that an adult didn't have. "Santa Claus lives at the North Pole, and every Christmas he brings presents to people who are good. If you're not good, he brings you coal instead."
Privately, Belle thought that coal might be a very useful present, but Morgan made a face when he mentioned it, so it was clearly undesirable. "How does he know who's good and who's not?"
The little boy leaned closer like he was telling a secret. "Magic."
At that word, she perked up. Rumpelstiltskin had told her this was a world without magic, but he'd clearly been mistaken. Perhaps he'd never heard of Mr. Claus, and Belle wondered if she could arrange for a meeting. "What do you put in your letter?"
"I'm telling Santa why I was good- I picked up my toys when Mom told me to. And I'm telling him what presents I want him to bring me. I have a long list."
Belle thought she had a handle on the basics, but she extended her hand for Morgan's letter just in case. "May I read it?"
"I'm not done," he cautioned her but handed over the letter with no argument, and Belle read it to herself. "Dear Santa, I have been very good this year when Mom tells me to pick up my toys I do. I am seven years old. I want you to bring me a super ninja action figure, a gameboy with lots of games, a stuffed dinosaur, a Harry Potter wand that really works..." The list of toys went on for quite some time, and Belle didn't recognize most of them. After skimming through it, she handed the letter back to Morgan, who promptly began adding to his list, and returned to her desk, retrieving a piece of stationary for herself.
Ruby had told her a little bit about Christmas, and she thought the holiday sounded charming. If writing a letter to Santa Claus was one of the requirements, Belle would not be found wanting.
"Dear Mr. Claus, I'm sorry I haven't written to you before, but..." She hesitated, trying to think of a way to translate 'I was locked in the basement of a mental hospital with no memories' into something that would be appropriate to put in a letter to a stranger. "...I didn't have access to writing materials. I apologize for my lapse, and I hope you are well. I feel that I have been good this year because I have been helping Rumpelstiltskin to make better choices in how he deals with others, and I supported Ruby when she worried about her werewolf side. I am..."
She paused again. She'd been twenty-six when the queen locked her up, but she'd technically been in the hospital for twenty-eight years after that, making her fifty-four. Furrowing her nose, she continued "...twenty-six years old. For Christmas I would like a selection of new books for the library and..."
Try as she might, Belle could think of nothing else that she wanted. Her apartment had come furnished, and thanks to Rumpelstiltskin, she owned more clothes than she'd ever seen before in her life. She missed her mother's necklace, but Regina had taken that from her, and even if Santa Claus did have magic, she wouldn't ask him to retrieve it for her. Only one more thing came to mind. Scratching out the "and" she started a new sentence.
"Rumpelstiltskin brought us to this world to find his son, but he can't leave the town limits. Since you have magic, I would like it if you could help. His name is Baelfire, and we're not sure how old he would be, but he has brown hair and eyes. I'm sorry I can't give you more information."
A moment's thought told her that this was a very large present to ask for, and she continued, "If you can find Baelfire, I don't need the books. I realize this is a present for Rumpelstiltskin too, but he has also been good this year. He has been helping Henry without asking a price and trying to be honest with me. Please don't bring him coal. Thank you very much. Sincerely, Belle"
She read over her letter and nodded in satisfaction. At the very least, Santa Claus might take an interest in their quest and stop to talk with them. If he had magic enough to know if someone was good or bad, surely he had the magic to know where to find someone specific. Rumpelstiltskin would be so pleased if she managed to find someone who could help.
After sealing the letter in an envelope, Belle realized she had a problem: she didn't have the faintest idea what Santa Claus's address was. In the Enchanted Forest, all she'd needed was a person's name, and the birds did the rest, but the birds in this world weren't quite as helpful. If she'd been thinking, she would have gotten his address from Morgan before he left; the boy had been a fount of knowledge.
The computer sat innocently on her desk, and she stared it down. She'd mastered the art of searching the card catalog and checking books in and out, but that was about it. Although she knew the computer was capable of much more- Henry had told her there were entire libraries of information in that one small box- she'd been too busy trying to get the library sorted out to figure out how to use it. The few times she'd tried, it had made horrible beeping noises at her, and she had the feeling it was no fonder of her than she was of it.
Still, if the computer knew so much, it might know where she should send her letter, and she was just getting ready to attempt it when the front door open, the sound of a cane on tile telling her exactly who her visitor was.
Although Rumpelstiltskin had been dropping by the library every week or so to check out a book that Belle wasn't certain that he bothered to read, he always looked wary when he first entered as though he expected to be summarily ordered to leave.
This time he brightened when she waved him over eagerly. While she didn't want to share the contents of her letter- not wanting to disappoint him if Santa Claus couldn't help- she could at least find out if he was familiar with the magician.
After a quick kiss on the cheek in greeting, she asked, "I was talking to Morgan Jensen today, and he told me about a man named Santa Claus. Have you heard of him?"
He blinked at her in much the same way he had when she first asked if he'd ever had a hamburger. "Yes, of course."
Disappointment curled in her stomach. Belle had hoped to tell him something new, but perhaps all was not lost. "Have you ever talked to him?"
For a moment Rumpelstiltskin just stared at her, then he said, "... No?" like he wasn't sure it was the correct answer.
Satisfied, she nodded. Rumpelstiltskin tended to play his cards close to the vest. It didn't surprise her at all that he hadn't asked for help. Perhaps he hadn't thought he was sufficiently good to warrant Santa Claus's attention, but Belle hoped she'd made her case well enough in the letter. "Why?" he asked.
If Rumpelstiltskin had heard of Santa Claus, perhaps he would know his address. That at least gave her an excuse for asking without revealing the present she'd requested for them. Holding up her envelope, she said, "I wrote him a letter, but I don't have his address. Do you know it?"
His lips parted like he wanted to say something, then he closed them firmly and plucked the envelope out of her hand, tucking it into his jacket pocket. "I'll take care of this for you, sweetheart," he promised, and a warm glow filled her at the endearment. He'd used them less since she moved out, but she still liked hearing them.
"I was wondering if you'd like to have dinner with me tonight," he offered. "Have you ever heard of lasagna?"
Belle hadn't, but she liked the sound of it. Retrieving her coat, she followed him out onto the street, threading her arm through his after she locked the door. "So, what did you ask Santa for?"
Hugging his arm and her secret close, Belle dimpled. "It's a surprise."
He chuckled and pressed a daring kiss to her hair. "Well, I hope he brings you what you want."
Smiling to herself, Belle promised, "If he does, you'll be the first to know."