Prompt: Three times Belle falls and one time he catches her

He didn't like to socialize with the citizens of Storybrooke unless her had to. Most of his days were spent either inside of his shops, or wandering around town to collect rent. He just simply didn't care about the welfare of the people in the town he owned. Well, there was one person he cared about.

It had been a little over a month since he'd saved little Belle French from becoming roadkill, and ever since then she had been by his shop every day. At first she came in to simply talk to him about his life-which he had given brief, but candid information on. Then she became his little helper.

He didn't limit her due to her disability. He gave her a feather duster and had her clean everything that she could reach. He was quite impressed that she never broke anything, not because she was blind, but because she was known as being the clumsiest child in Storybrooke.

So he couldn't be 100% surprised when he saw her slip on a patch of ice as she approached the shop one Saturday morning. He was just returning from getting a cup of coffee (and a Hot Cocoa for her) from Granny's when he watched the tiny eight year old running much too quickly down the sidewalk. Before he call out to chastise her, her tiny feet flew out from her and she fell flat on her back.

Before the first wheezy cry flew from her lips, he'd dropped the hot beverages and ran to her side. "Hey! Hey little one." He mustered up his most soothing voice as he leant down to comfort her. But Belle didn't seem to hear him as she gasped for air. Her sightless eyes were opened wide with shock. "Belle?" He called out to her, placing his hand on her stomach to try to calm her.

It took him three seconds to realize that she was having an asthma attack. "Where's your inhaler?" He demanded, pulling her up out of the snow and sitting her up on his knee. Her tiny lips were losing color and her cheeks were flushed as she shakily tried to reach into the pocket of her peacoat. Gold replaced her hand with his own and fished out the nearly empty inhaler. He shook it and held it gently to her lips, "Breath in dearie." He whispered. It took her a moment to compose herself enough to comply, so he could push down on the pump. He repeated the process twice before she was finally able to catch her breath.

"I hurt m-my arm." She whimpered holding up her left arm. He grimaced when he saw that her old coat was torn at the elbow.

"Well that will show you not to run in the snow." He scolded, keeping his voice light. "Now how about I take you to get some ice cream from Granny's?" He touched her nose with his finger.

She let out a shaky laugh as he stood and picked her up with the arm that wasn't holding his cane. "It's morning!" She pointed out, wrapping her arms around his neck and resting her chin on his shoulder.

He grinned and patted her back. He was concerned to hear the slight rattle in her chest, but decided to give it another hour before rushing her to the hospital. "It's never too early for a big Sundae." He told her, ignoring the confused looks he was receiving as he carried Moe French's little girl down the sidewalk.

He continued to ignore them as he bought her the biggest Sundae that Granny made. The old woman gave him a glare as she placed the ice cream in front of them, but she leaned down and kissed the top of Belle's messy curls as she dug in. Even she had a soft spot for her granddaughter's best friend.

When they left the diner, he took her to buy a new coat. She'd refused at first, be the more she resisted, the more clothes he placed into her arms. By the time he steered her towards the register, she wouldn't have been able to see above the pile if she could've.

After that, he took her to the pharmacy to get her a new inhaler and some bandaids to keep at the shop for the many mishaps she was bound to get in.

By the time they arrived back at the shop, he'd seen more than half of the town. But he couldn't bring himself to care. He let the exhausted little girl sleep on the couch in the back room before he went outside to pour salt on the sidewalk.

/

At sixteen, Belle French had become a bit of a recluse. She'd spent day in and day out in Gold's shop and when she wasn't there she was in his home.

It had been a couple of months since her father beaten her within an inch of her life, and she was recovering beautifully. She was still terrified of the large man appearing and taking her away from the perfect life her and Rum were building, but the nightmares were diminishing and he made sure that she was never far from sight.

It was late in the afternoon one chilly Autumn Tuesday, and Rumforde was just getting Belle's lesson together in the back room. He was in the process of picking out a new book for her to read when he heard a loud thump, followed by her little scream.

"Belle?" He shouted, dropping everything and pushing past the curtain into the shop. He gasped when he saw her curled up on the floor next to the ladder, clutching her arm to her chest. "Belle! What in heaven's name?" He rushed over and knelt beside her as she pushed herself into the sitting position.

"I was trying to dust higher." She admitted with a small cough as she gestured the ladder shamefully. "I'm so sorry! I thought I could do it...but one of the rungs broke and..."

"Shhh it's okay darling." He whispered pulling her gently into his arms and kissing the side of her head. "I'm just glad you're okay."

"I landed on my wrist." He pulled back quickly and took the said limb into his hands. "I think it's okay though." She reassured him with a small laugh.

Gold sighed and kissed her wrist gently before kissing her lips and then her forehead. "No more ladders okay?" He choked. "You're much too clumsy."

Belle giggled and nodded as he helped her off of the floor and led her to the back room to love and pamper her.

They could put her lessons on hold for one day.

/

He hated animals. Scratch that. He hated animals that were larger than him. But as his sweet Belle stood at the fence listening to the horses whinny and stomp around, he felt a familiar tug at his heartstrings.

Her mother had a horse when before she passed and she always sat her daughter in front of her on the saddle when she rode. Violet French had never loved anyone or anything more than she loved her little girl and she made sure that her child knew that.

"Do you think Merlin would let me ride one?" She asked suddenly, her chin rested on her hands on the fencepost as she breathed in the smell of hay and manure.

Gold stopped his process of unpacking their picnic and looked up at his new wife in shock. For years they had been coming to the small farm at the edge of the woods. She loved the putrid smell of it and the sound of neighing and galloping. He never thought she'd want to approach one.

But who was he kidding? His Belle was the bravest creature in town. Of course she would want to have a go at it.

"Perhaps if you'd ask nicely." He teased, tugging on the hem of her dress to pull her back towards him. "Now eat your lunch and then maybe we can go over and see if he's home."

He wasn't surprised when she scarfed down her chicken salad and orange slices. He was even less surprised when she stood up and started to make her way over to Merlin's house before he was able to finish packing up their things.

He was just catching up with her when she knocked on the door. Merlin Lance was a kind old man. He mostly kept to himself and though a lot of people said that he was off his rocker, Gold liked him. When he opened the door he smiled brightly at his cheerful visitor.

"Hello little Blue Belle!" He beamed. "How are you today?"

"I'm...I'm good..." Rum smiled when he heard her becoming nervous. After a moment of awkward silence he decided to step in.

"My wife would like to ride one of your horses. If that's okay." He said kindly.

Merlin beamed and nodded eagerly. "Of course little princess!" He took Belle's hand and led her out towards the pasture. "Which one would you like to ride?"

"The fastest one!" Belle requested as she skipped alongside the man.

"No..." Gold growled, playfully taking her cane from her as Merlin went to go fetch a horse. "A slow and calm one."

"I've got just the one!" Merlin smiled as he came back with a beautiful tan horse with blonde hair. "Belle, I'm sure you remember Phillipe." He led the massive animal over and Belle let out a small gasp at the name.

"Phillipe?" She choked, reaching out a shaky hand to touch the creature.

"Yes ma'am. I've been holding on to him for your mama." Merlin said proudly. "I don't have a saddle for him, but he stopped liking 'em anyways." He told her as he lifted her up and situated her on the horse's broad back.

Gold watched in concern as his wife, who had been so excited less than a minute ago. Sat atop the animal looking like a child who was just told that she couldn't have any candy. "You okay darling?" He called to her as Merlin led Phillipe around the yard.

Belle nodded shakily as she took a gentle hold of the horse's mane. She seemed to be in a daze but she appeared to be relaxing at least.

They were too far away when he noticed that she was beginning to slump over on top of the Clydesdale. He called out for Merlin to stop as he dropped both of their canes and ran towards them, ignoring the blaring pain in his ankle.

He cried out when his Belle fell off of Phillipe and hit the ground hard. Merlin took his hand off of the animal's mane and hurried to check on the girl just as Rumforde was approaching. The terrified husband knelt down beside her and rolled her over.

"We have to get her to the hospital!" He exclaimed when he saw the blood running from his unconscious wife's temple.

They had her in Merlin's truck in seconds and to the hospital in minutes. She was just coming to when Dr. Whale had her going through the CAT Scan machine. When she began to cry out, he pushed his way over to hold her hand as the procedure was done.

Merlin dropped them off at home after she was released from the hospital with a minor concussion. He set her up on the couch with a bowl of soup and began to read to her the accounts of Dracula. She wasn't to sleep for at least 12 hours and she'd always said that horror stories tended to keep her awake.

"Rum?" She asked timidly, interrupting him mid-sentence.

"Yes darling?" He whispered leaning down to kiss her forehead. "What do you need?"

"Can we go visit Phillipe tomorrow?"

He hesitated before replying. "If that's what you wish my love." He could never say no to her.

"But if I ever ask to ride another horse again, shoot me." She grumbled, laying her head on his lap.

Gold chuckled and pulled her close. "You've got it."

/

He loved to watch her as she flitted around the shop. She knew everything that was in the display cases and on the shelves lining the wall. She loved to pick up random objects and feel every curve on them.

Rum smiled as he put on his coat. She was currently running her faces over the marionette dolls hanging from the ceiling. "These are creepy." She murmured, her adorable nose scrunching up in disgust.

Gold laughed and helped her into her coat. "They're disgusting creatures." He told her, kissing her cheek. "Let's go home."

"Fitzgerald!" She called, holding out her hand. With a small bark to acknowledge that he heard her, the white dog ran up so she could grab the handle attached to his harness.

Rumforde smiled at the loyal companion. It was obvious that Belle adored the intelligent canine, and the feeling was mutual. Fitz knew who his owner was and he barely gave anyone else the time of day.

"Can we go to Granny's for dinner?" She requested, biting back a gasp when the winter chill hit them as they stepped outside.

"Of course." He murmured leaning down to kiss her head. He would have preferred taking her home and ravishing her but if she wanted a hamburger, she was getting a hamburger.

They were just nearing the diner when a loud bark came from around the corner. Fitzgerald whimpered and edged closer to Belle as if to protect her. Just then Pongo bounded around the corner and charged right towards them.

The Dalmatian crashed into Fitz and tackled him to the ground. Belle tried to let go of the handle, but not in time to not be knocked over by the momentum. Before she made contact with the concrete though, Rumforde caught her and lifted her up onto her feet.

"Dr. Hopper," He called out to the frazzled red head as he rounded corner as well, "I'd appreciate it if you'd get your mongrel under control." Gold muttered, reaching down to help Fitzgerald up and hand the harness back to Belle.

"I'm so sorry Mr. Gold." Hopper sighed putting the leash back on his rambunctious animal. "Are you alright Mrs. Gold?"

Belle nodded with a shaky smile as she leaned down pet Fitz. "We're fine Doctor. Aren't we Rum?" She put a little extra warning in her voice to keep him from making trouble.

"Yes." Gold growled, still glaring at Hopper as they continued towards the diner.

"That was a good catch." She told him once the were settled in their booth.

"What?" He looked up from his menu in confusion.

"You caught me." She said. "You were very quick."

Gold smiled and picked up her hand to kiss her knuckles. "Well," He sighed, caressing her fingers, "I just got sick of seeing you fall."