Disclaimer: I don't own Beauty and the Beast. That honor goes to Disney.

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Before

You would think, considering where I grew up and how I grew up, that in urgent times I could come up with a decent plan.

Well, you'd be wrong.

I can't say what I was thinking that night. Years after the fact, I look back on it, and I can never quite say what thoughts were running through my head that night. Perhaps because I wasn't thinking much at all.

I remember the dark. The cold. And the fear.

I had felt fear before, as a child. The fear of losing my mother at a young age, of her being ripped away from me suddenly and I didn't know where she'd gone or why she didn't come back. That fear, and the fear I felt when I saw my father was sick… that fear I understood.

This fear… this was new to me.

It was a swirling sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, magnified, it seemed, by the darkness and cold of the night. A stark feeling of terror that leaped up my throat and clawed at my chest in a way that no beast possibly could, and even though I wanted to scream no sound escaped me.

This was fear in a way I had never experienced before. This was terror to a new extreme. And weaving through it all was the hopeless, helpless thought.

No matter how fast I urged Felipe to run, no matter how much I prayed, I didn't know if I would make it in time.

Before Gaston. The thought pounded in my head over and over, like the chorus to a song I'd heard too many times to count. I have to get there before Gaston. Before he gets there. Oh God, please, just this and nothing more. I need to get there before Gaston.

Later, Papa would tell me that I'd actually said the words, whispered them into Felipe's mane as we galloped through the darkness to the castle I'd come to call home, whispered them desperately and softly and fervently like a prayer.

I never remembered this.

All I truly remembered that night was this new fear, and that I had to get there before Gaston.

That was all.

The End

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Thank God I got that out of my system.

We were watching Beauty and the Beast in class and as of late I have been attacked by numerous story ideas related to the movie, but this was probably the only one I was willing to write down. Just my thoughts on what Belle was thinking as she ran back to the castle after Gaston.

Read and review, please! Constructive critism is welcomed and worshipped.