Author's note: I'm not sure why I got this idea, but for some reason, my muse wanted to write in this fandom. So, here's my first B&B ficlet. I'm nto sure exactly when it would be set, but before the library scene for certian. Hope everyone enjoys, and please review.

Disclaimer: I don't own Beast, Belle, or anyone else. They belong to Disney. Please, do not sue me. Savvy?



He was an animal. He was a monster. He was, a beast. He knew it. Many would think it shamed him. But no, that was not where his shame truly laid. His guilt did not stem from his appearance, his disgust was not because of his fangs and claws and horns and fur and tail.

It was all because he knew, he knew inwardly, he had always had these attributes. They had been there, hidden by handsome features and a royal title. But his nature, this bestial nature had never been able to lay buried underneath a crown and clothes.

He could not blame his parents, those who had spoiled him until their deaths at the hands of a plague that visited the land surrounding the castle almost ten years before. He could not blame the servants that pampered and spoiled him after their deaths, trying to heal the young boy's empty mourning of parents he rarely even saw and always received lavish gifts from. He could not blame the plague that had stolen the king and queen that had not care for their son as anything more than an heir.

For it had always been in his power to become a man. To become a prince worthy of the crown worn by his father. To be king, to be ruler, to be in power. It had always been in him, but he had taken the easier path of devolving into this.

The enchantress had been right. He had been a beast before this transformation. She had merely taken away the illusion that fooled so many into thinking he was a human prince, a boy just reaching the years of manhood.

For so long he had tried to blame her. To hate her. Curse her for taking away his humanity and his form and his youth. He had come up with so many excuses after she left. So many empty reasons from vain attempts to justify himself, to justify his hatred for her and his blaming her for what had taken place.

What he had become.

He was young, he had not been raised by a father and a mother who taught him values. He had the right to make mistakes, to be foolhardy, he was a prince, he was supposed to be spoiled, he was supposed to be cruel.

He wanted to claw himself for thinking those things. He wanted to claw himself for thinking them even now. He knew, oh, he knew they were wrong, they were the selfish excuses of someone who did not want to face the consequences of his actions.

But recently, he had finally come to face them. Finally come to look in the shattered mirror on his wall. He had stared at the human eyes framed by the face of an animal, and had come to acknowledge. He still cursed the enchantress and shouted his vain reasons, but they were even more empty than before. Because he knew, he acknowledged.

He had always been a beast. And he always would be a beast.

And then, came her. Belle. Beauty.

Whoever had named her had properly named her. For she was indeed beautiful. And proud. And exquisite. And fiery. She was captivating and enticing and far out of reach even though she know resided in his own castle.

She was everything he was not, but wanted to be. He looked at her, and in her eyes, he saw the fear, saw the repulsion, saw the distaste and the resentment, and so many things that reminded him of what he was and what he would always be.

Now was his chance, it was his chance to become a man again, to regain his humanity lost long before his curse. Yet, how could ever change his ways, stuck in them so long, this curse taking his mind and changing it to be even more bestial? How could he make himself better, earn this girl's love?

He was a beast. But now, he was not a beast trapped in a man's body. There was a man inside him, trying to break free, trying to be dominant. Trying to shine through and show the world he could indeed be human, humane.

Perhaps, perhaps this girl could be the key. Perhaps she could tame the beast and find the man.

But old habits die hard, and beasts fight the fiercest when cornered. His old nature was still in control, he was still so stubborn and set in his ways. For too long he had resigned himself to his dark, primal fate. He was still that spoiled prince.

Yet Belle, lovely, trapped Belle, gave him a spark of hope. Perhaps, perhaps he could indeed change, perhaps she could save him from himself.