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At one point in time, she had been Meghan Lucas.

Orphan, slut, a nobody. A tall drink on your senses with mile-long legs underneath her caret-red, tiered miniskirt. Red, red, and more red — combed into her dark brown hair, and on fashionable, clunky necklaces and earrings. It's her bra straps peeking out of her see-through tops, and it's exquisite on her lips. Red was her signature.

Schooling after high school felt like a requirement, not a goal.

She earned the money to take credits in Storybrooke's community college, enrolling at the sophomore level after passing the general education. But her passion, what Ruby had been good at, was the fine arts. Using colors and the technique to create something out of a blank canvas. Ruby's imagination never could manage to turn itself off.

As Meghan, that's when she met Emilie Lacey.

Sweet, goodhearted Emilie with her mint-green Peter Pan collar and her boyfriend blazer. Nineteen-years-old. A natural and lovely brunette for her hair color just like Ruby. Killer eyeliner around her bright, crystalline-blue eyes, and she knew back then it wasn't because of Emilie's prescription contacts.

They shared one of the elective Graphic Design labs together. Ruby remembered strategically positioning herself over the desk, revealing the glorious view of her low-cut cleavage. It granted herself an enthusiastic, loud wolf-whistle from across the room. The professor glared and shushed the dumbfounded, scowling fraternity boy.

"Got a pencil, Em?" she asked then, flashing one of her little, pleasant smiles.

Emile had not even batted an eyelash, but stammered through her "yes" and Ruby felt absolute delight in watching her cheeks flush. God… what she wouldn't do to ravish her. She could imagine herself mouthing down the length of Emilie's body and sucking on her clit until she's boneless in Ruby's grasp.

"You are a lifesaver. I owe you." Emilie's spare pencil twirls slowly between her fingers, tapping against her fake, maraschino-cherry nails. "Is there a mobile number on hand, too? Or do I have to say pretty please for that?"

The laughter to follow was soft and bell-like.

It formed so effortlessly, much like their friendship. She did get Emilie's number, however, scribbled hastily from a blue, rose-printed notebook and torn out.

And, somehow in the process, Ruby found herself giving away her heart.

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There was a lot about Emilie she would come to learn about.

After her mother's death when Emilie was only fifteen, her father tried to regain custody of her. Mrs. Lacey had her reasons to hate him when she was alive, and Emilie knew personally about his violent and irrational behavior. His excessive drinking. When Moe Lacey didn't win the custody battle against Emilie's aunt and uncle, he kidnapped Emilie.

He was only a couple miles from escaping Maine's state-line before police caught up with him.

Moe had connections and escaped any real jail-time. The restraining order lasted until Emilie got pregnant during their exam week. Crunch-time meant avoidance, which meant more parties worth being invented to. Ruby wasn't keeping an eye on her as Emilie had a few too many shots and grew adventurous. She got led giggling up to a bedroom.

Ruby felt like… she should have been taking care of her.

Six weeks pregnant according to the gynecologist visit. Ruby assumed she had the flu before that point.

The condom broke during sex, which hurt so bad the first place and she wanted them to stop, Emilie confessed on Ruby's futon. Her pretty, blue eyes swollen and bloodshot from crying. But, Emilie wished she had enough alcohol then to forget the scumbag reassuring her that being a little (too) tight was better for him. Doing it without a condom would be fine if she just cleaned out, he said. They kept going anyway and he never pulled out. Emilie felt disgusting, used.

A lack of consent and a real sex education, resulted in this. Emilie being a virgin meant nothing.

Ruby wanted to find him. She wanted to drop everything and rip out his throat with her own fucking bare hands.

Moe Lacey just made it worse. He stalked Emilie's apartment, leaving her envelopes containing letters of missing her so much and asking her to talk to him, talk about his grandchild. When they went unanswered, he instead began leaving her the recent photos of Emilie's school and the inside of her classrooms. Emilie panicked.

Six weeks, and Ruby realized there wasn't anything here for either of them.

"Let's run away," she told Emilie, smiling widely. She clasped their hands and entwined their fingers. "Far, far away where no one is gonna find us."

Emilie frowned, her dimples vanishing. "Why would you do that?"

"Granny thinks I'm useless. I wait tables. I want something more out of my life," she said, never relenting on her cheerful expression and inclining their foreheads, watching Emilie's features soften. "We could find it together."

And, that's all it took.

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Emilie and Meghan are just stories lost to the endless void of other people's memories now.

They register for partnership while living in the Netherlands. She becomes Ruby, and legally weds herself to a woman named Belle French. Straight out of a fairytale. They are going to live a fairytale life from here on out.

Even if the Netherlands is colder and grayer, cloudy and rainy during the summer.

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During autumn, the woods gleam yellow and split apart through the branches into radiant, glowing beams.

Belle looks beautiful in the halo of it, with her round, creamy-pale face and her locks of curly, auburn-brown hair. "You got another commission?" she asks, twirling as her wife hums absently and entangles their arms, dancing along to an invisible harmony that only Ruby seems to be hearing.

But, Belle plays along, gracefully clumsy.

"Yep," Ruby answers. She nods expectantly to a passerby who stares in mild, outright confusion. "Big payoff this time."

"Well, they must love your color scheme."

It's not an empty compliment, for certain. Belle has always been articulate and educated, and Ruby could listen to her philosophize for days — which she has the pleasure of doing most days of the week, living together in the same flat.

"You know what I love?"

Ruby lets her go, gazing over Belle in admiring. Her nude lips quirking up as she brushes the hair off Belle's warm cheeks, stroking her thumbs over her jaw.

"You… in this light, sweetheart. It's perfect."

"I feel bloated," she complains, and Ruby tries to not chuckle, and tells her she's the opposite. They stay out late, walking the bike path that lights up like brilliant, aqua gemstones, solar-powered, underneath their feet.

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Twenty-two weeks into her pregnancy, and Belle wonders when she would begin showing.

It's easy for her to notice, while immersed in perfumed, flower-petal bathwater, and she rubs her hands over her naked bump thoughtfully. It's going to be a boy, most likely. She feels like it will be, somewhere deep inside her.

Belle's legs keep cramping painfully, and her indigestion is worse than ever. She's baffled by her protruding navel, but expects it to revert back into her normal, innie bellybutton after the delivery. Ruby asked her a long time ago why she didn't consider aborting, not that it was Ruby's decision and had been very sensitive about the discussion. Belle… wanted a family. A brand-new family, who was save from their past, to call hers with Ruby, and this is just the needed opportunity.

The door creaks open, and there are footsteps padding closer. Belle doesn't turn around in the full, sloshing tub, leaning backwards into Ruby who sits down and greets her with a friendly, wet smack of a kiss on her temple. "How are you doing?"

"Mm… tired." Belle stretches out, arms flopping over the tub's edges. She winces at the sudden, jerking motion inside her belly, but it fades. "Agh, shit, the baby wants to practice for the gymnastics team — you're taking a break?"

Ruby's fingers skim Belle's pale shoulders, before gently pressing down and massaging rhythmically. "The client is very specific — she demands for a Little Red Riding Hood theme for her daughter's playroom," she says, offhandedly.

Belle releases a sigh of ecstasy as Ruby's hands keep working, listening to the chuckle of amusement.

"So, the Big Bad Wolf with fangs are out?"

"That's what I expect from her based on her opinions. I'm getting some sketches done." Ruby nuzzles her entire nose against Belle's damp, dark hair, sniffing once and mumbling against her as if struck dreamy. "… You smell really good."

"Speaking of wolf…" Belle teases, but she cannot ignore the ping of arousal it causes.

Her wife drops her voice, to a near growling quality. Ruby's lips touch over Belle's neck and her ear, her teeth nipping lightly on her lobe as she slides her hands over Belle's front. "My, my, what big…" Ruby's fingers cradle Belle's exposed breasts, running playfully over her rosy-brown, engorged nipples.

The other woman yelps and turns her head quickly to Ruby's gleeful, greedy expression, Belle's mouth going into an 'o' of surprise.

Belle splashes her, gaining the element of surprise back. The tickle/splashing battle commences, neither of the two woman being the victor or the loser, kissing and tasting the lilac bath-perfume, open-mouthed and laughing until breathless.

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Their son is born on a Thursday evening, a little under four hours after Belle's early labor.

It's unheard of. The midwife took an hour to reach their flat and by then, Belle transitions into active labor, her waters breaking in the living room, puddling onto the wood-paneling. A natural home-birth is what they expected.

Ruby helps her change into am old, faded nightgown and position her onto the bedding, and by that time, Belle already crowns Peter. She clenches up, heaving out short, punctuated screams, about needing to push, about him being stuck. The midwife pats Belle's trembling leg, examining her and declaring in accented English she's fine.

After three pushes and seven minutes later, Ruby witnesses Peter's birth. He's plastered with bloody fluid and mucus, bawling his lungs out, and she's being congratulated. Ruby can barely contain her excitement, as Belle coos down at him, wrapping him in a soft, cotton towel. "You did it," she whispers, repeating it over and over. "You did it."

Belle wordlessly tugs on Ruby's sleeve, bringing her closer and accepting Ruby's arm locking comfortingly around her.

"Say hi to your momma, Peter… say hi…"

The newborn only squints up his eyes, hiccuping and whimpering high-pitched as Ruby tentatively cups his head. He's so red and tiny, and before Ruby knows it, she's giving away her heart for the very last time.

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Every fairytale needs a garden, and Ruby builds it in their cottage's backyard. Bluebells, violets, mauves, roses and multi-hued daisies and fluffy, emerald-green bushes that line up and zigzag the stone-paths.

"It's perfect," Belle murmurs, curling, lacing their fingers together, setting her chin onto Ruby's shoulder.

And, that's exactly how their lives should be.

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OUAT is not mine. THE LAST ENTRY FOR OUAT FEMSLASH GIFT EXCHANGE! Also was anonymous and not can be revealed! :) I'm a huge fan of Ruby/Belle and am sad that Ruby is no longer in the same dimension basically, but still! This was a pitch hit and I was glad to do it! Any thoughts/comments are appreciated!