A/N: This story intended for Adults. Please respect your author's intention and click the back button if you are not yet 18.
This story contains descriptions of sex between a human Belle and the Beast in a consensual and respectful relationship (Chaps. 3-11). Read at your own discretion.
Belle dashed though the corridors of the castle, feet, hands, and nose cold from the snow. Reaching her room she collapsed back against the closed door, breathless. She startled when the wardrobe asked if she was well. She could accustom herself to living furniture, but not to a lack of privacy. Making assurances and requesting a change of clothes, she stepped into her adjoining chamber to dry herself and clean up. There was a bit more privacy here, and she thought back to the playful encounter she had just had with Beast.
He was endearing. And yet, he was fierce and could be short tempered. Recollections of him rescuing her from wolves forced themselves forward. He was such a contradiction. At moments courtly and aristocratic, and at others a brutish warrior, and then innocent and playful, stubborn. She had begun to teach him to read. He had known how at some point, she had come to believe. But it was like his manners, he had ceased using them alone here in his enchanted castle and he had forgotten. They were reading together. Poetry today, she thought.
She met him in the library where a large fire was glowing in the massive hearth. He had arranged a thick rug before it and a low table with steaming tea and plates of cookies and fruit.
"Belle," his voice nervous and his feet shuffling, "Is this ok? I thought we could have a picnic, by the fire. But would you rather the settee? Or…"
"This is perfect, thank you!" She settled herself down on the rug and fixed their tea. "Are you going to join me?"
He nodded his shaggy head and curled himself beside her.
"Shall you read today or shall I?"
"We can take turns."
"Very well." And she began from the slim book of sonnets.
When he took the next turn she had difficulty focusing on the words, rather distracted by his eyes, so intent on the pages, his lips and teeth, straining to form each word. He shifted slightly, making himself more comfortable, and she became aware of his scent. She had smelled him before, certainly, each time they were close. He smelled musky and slightly sweet, and like wood and citrus. She wondered what of it was him and what the soap he used. She was leaning toward him, she realized.
"Belle, are you well? Should we move back from the fire?"
"I am well. Are you too warm? We can move if you wish."
"No, but you are flushed. Did you take a chill this morning? Are you feverish?"
"Oh no! I am quite well. Don't worry," she reached out a hand and laid it on his arm. Her fingers slid over the fine lawn of his shirt, the warmth of his arm underneath. She pinched the fabric between her fingers, rubbing them together. Her eyes studying his arm, shirt, her fingers, "You are wearing a shirt."
"You didn't always. Why did you begin?" she looked up at him through her lashes, curious, studying.
"I… well, you…I," he stumbled, and she thought if he wasn't covered in fur he would have been blushing. Perhaps he was, underneath.
"It seemed only proper, now that I have a guest. Now that you live here. That I should behave as a man, as a gentleman. As much as I can. I wish you to be comfortable here. With me."
"I ought to wear a coat, I know. But it's…it is … difficult." He looked away, his eyes dropping to the floor and his expression growing dark.
It was amazing, she thought, that he had so much expression on his beastly face. So much emotion in his eyes. "I do not wish for you to be uncomfortable."
"I do not mind."
"Did you wear a fine coat everyday, before? And boots? Do you miss it?"
He gasped and looked at her with horror. "What did you hear? What do you know?"
"Nothing! Nothing. Truly. I didn't mean to invade your privacy."
He relaxed marginally, and feeling her hand now gripping his arm, he turned to her after a brief internal struggle. "I miss many things. Coats and boots are not ones I had considered. There is freedom in … in not needing them."
"It is a shame to cover your fur, so beautiful and useful. You don't get chilled even in a drafty room, do you?"
He could only look at her in wonder.
"How old are you?" she asked, now it having formed in her mind that he had been a man, and was now something apart, she could not completely smother her curiosity. He fascinated her.
"I… I don't know." He frowned. How long had it been since the curse had been laid upon them? And did time pass the same? He thought not. The young ones did not seem to age, nor the elderly pass way, though it had been many years.
"It has been many years, since you all became what you are?"
"Why do you ask this?"
"I wish to know you. To know your life."
She looked away. "We are friends, are we not?"
"I hope so Belle."
"Would you like to know about me?"
"Would you tell me?"
He stared at her, as she raised wide trusting eyes to him. She was so beautiful in the firelight and the last of the evening sun casting a golden glow across her face from the window.
"What was your favorite book about?"
And she relaxed and shifted closer to him, not touching but close enough to feel his warmth. And she told him about adventure and surprise and romance.
That night in her bed she considered her friend. He was unlike anyone she had ever known. Of course he was a beast living in a magic castle. But aside from that, he was unique. He was smart, yet ignorant. He was kind and careful, but capable of great violence and rage. He listened to her, and cared about her thoughts and opinions. He did not think she was silly or odd. He made her feel special and beautiful. And she had a visceral response to him. He provoked her.
She thought that if he was not a beast in a magic castle she would be very nearly in love with him.