Okay, here goes. My first BatB fanfic...I've loved Disney's movie and musical for years, but only recently found people just as in love with it as me. (Lolz, hi B&S!)
What always bugs me is that in no decent retelling is there the Beast's side of the story. I hoped I've fixed that, at least for Disney.
Disclaimer: The only BatB things I own are my musical soundtrack and my plushie Beast. I do not own the movie, plot, musical, or anything. Disney owns it, along with about half the planet.
People look at me, look at what happened, and think I must have been born that way. That I had always been a selfish, cold brat. My parents must have been monsters to have raised me to become what I was. I wouldn't know; my mother died when I was born, and my father died when I was a young boy. I remember the day when Mrs. Potts told me what had happened.
"Vincent, dear, come here for a moment."
I looked up from the window I was staring out of, a pastime that always drove my then-governess "batty" as Mrs. Potts put it. As a six-year-old, I couldn't read the expression on her normally cheerful face; I only knew it probably wasn't good. "I didn't take the pastries from the kitchen, it was Jean-Claude!" I said instantly.
Mrs. Potts smiled, but there was sadness in her eyes. "No, dear boy. It's not about the pastries. It's about your father."
She now had my full attention. I noticed the white letter in her hand. "Is Papa coming home soon?" I asked eagerly. Mrs. Potts shook her head. Sighing, she came over and pulled me into her lap.
"Vincent, do you remember what your father told you when your grandmother died last year?" she asked. What a silly question. Of course I did. My mother's mother had lived with us for as long as I could remember, and I'd loved her dearly, not having my own mother to raise me. Papa had told me she'd died when I was born.
"Papa said she was going to a better place and that she wouldn't be sick anymore," I replied. "Why?"
Mrs. Potts looked at her husband, Gregory Potts. Mr. Potts shook his head sadly and approached us. "Vincent…you know your father's been ill lately, don't you?"
I nodded. Papa was usually ill, and it was nothing new to me. Mr. Potts took care of any fatherly things Papa couldn't carry out.
Mrs. Potts embraced me tightly. "He finally died last night, Vincent." I looked up, stunned.
"Died? You mean, he's gone?
Mr. Potts nodded sadly, putting a hand on my shoulder. "He's been ill since your mother died six years ago, Vincent. After your grandmother died, the doctors said it was a matter of time before he followed them."
I looked from Gregory to Mrs. Potts and back again, hoping to see some sort of joking expression. When I realized it was no joke, I broke down sobbing in Mrs. Potts' lap, hysterical.
Papa was buried within the week. Maman's friend and my grandmother's caretaker, Lucille de la Grande Bouche, or Madame, sang in place of a chorus. She lived in the castle after that, as she was my godmother. I did have grandparents, but they were the type that favored the eldest son over the younger, and never paid any attention to my father or his family. They wanted nothing to do with me.
For the first month or so, I merely cried or sat in my room. First my mother, who I'd never met but still loved, then my father. I hadn't know my father well, since he was always ill or gone, but I'd hoped one day we'd become closer. Now, of course, we couldn't.
Mrs. Potts and Madame never tried to take the place of my mother or my grandmother, whom I was closest to; they merely tried to provide a motherly presence. Mrs. Potts had several children, most of the adopted waifs from the nearby village, so it was mostly her. Madame related some of the more humorous times she'd had with Maman and generally tried to cheer me up. But I wouldn't allow it.
It became worse when Gregory Potts died a few winters later from a fever. Mr. Potts had been the closest to a father I'd ever really had, my own being a rather poor one in terms of quality time and other father-son type things. With him gone, I felt truly abandoned, even though Mrs. Potts tried her best. I felt I was doomed to lose everyone I loved. Who was next? Mrs. Potts? Madame?
By the time I was ten, I had reached a decision. Caring about others only caused heartache and pain; from now on, I would only care for myself. I ordered the servants around and paid them no heed unless it suited me. I flew into a temper at the slightest insult or accident. The servants hurried around, trying to appease me and giving me whatever it was I wanted; watching them scurry off became a favorite pastime of mine.
The arrival of Cogsworth did little to help matters any. Madame had met him at one of her many opera performances and had recommended him as Gregory's successor. Mrs. Potts liked him, so I was predisposed to give the tightly wound Englishman a chance. At the time, though, that was all I was going to give him. I was an angry boy, and didn't like massive changes.
Within three years, Lumière became my maître d'. I'd heard him talking to Madame and asking how they dealt with me.
"He's an…angry and hateful boy, I'll admit, but I owe it to his mother," Madame explained. "He lost most of the people he had ever cared for at such a young age; I pity him."
"Still! Why spoil the boy?" I tensed. I was not spoiled.
Madame sighed. "It's easier to let him have his way than try to discipline him, especially now that's he's a young man." Then she added something in some language I didn't speak, and Lumière agreed.
It was only the thought that she had known my mother that kept me from sending Madame away after I heard that conversation. They must have discovered I'd heard because both avoided me for a short time after.
Christmas Eve…my fifteenth year
I sat lazily in the giant chair in the main hall. The gifts this year were boring, and the last one was the worst. Cogsworth and Lumière knew full well that I hadn't read anything since I was eight, and they had the gall to give me a book. A book! I'd thrown it aside the second I recognized it for what it was.
I was almost ready to declare the holiday over when a loud knock cut me off. I waited for someone to get it; when no one did, I got up and answered the door myself. No more holidays for the staff, I decided as I flung the doors open.
An old hag stood there, bent over and hacking. Disgusted, I demanded, "What do you want?"
"Please sir," she said softly, "may I come in and get away from the bitter cold?" I looked at the hideous old woman and outright laughed at her.
"Me, allow you to stay in my castle? You'd have to pay me," I scoffed. "Get out."
The old lady looked up at me. "Please, do not let your judgment be clouded by my appearance, Prince Vincent. As for payment, I can offer but a single rose." She drew the pale pink blossom from her rags. I looked at it. Roses didn't bloom in December; it must be fake, and a poor imitation at that.
"A fake rose?" I said incredulously. "You must be mad and hideous. Get out before I send for the hounds." I began to slam the door shut.
A pale pink light emitted from the rose. "I was afraid you'd say that," the old woman said in a very young voice. She began to levitate and her guise as an old beggar woman disappeared as she became a young enchantress. I stumbled away from the door and fell on my knees.
"My lady! If I had known, believe me I would have never-" I began. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my servants also fall to the ground, and Babette fainted in Lumière's arms.
"Silence!" the Enchantress demanded. "I have watched you long and hard, Prince Vincent, the victorious. You are no more than a spoiled brat who cannot appreciate anything more than your wishes and what you want. I had hope for you as a young child; tonight proved me wrong." She drew the rose to her. "By refusing to allow a beggar woman in need of shelter, something your parents had done on many occasions, merely because she as poor and ugly, you have become a beast in human guise. From tonight, you will no longer be even that. You shall be a true Beast!"
With that, she formed a massive fireball in one hand and threw it at me. For the first time in seven years, I felt actual pain and cried out. The flames surrounded me, twisting my shape into a large, hulking mass of bone, sinew, and fur. Horns painfully erupted from my head, and I could see my hands become massive paws with semi-retractable claws. The shirt I wore shredded under the sudden change in my size, and I could hear my voice become less human and more bestial.
I thought of my appearance: tall, strong, with what Madame had called "gorgeous almost auburn hair". Still hidden by the flame, I ran my hands…my paws over my face. Jutting jaw, fangs….I was hideous. Somehow, that hurt worst than any of the physical transformations.
The flame dissipated and I heard Lumière mutter, "Mon Dieu…" I could only imagine how I looked to my servants, no longer the handsome human prince they had served. I glanced in the mirror on the wall and nearly screamed. I terrified myself.
Lumière's voice drew the attention of the Enchantress to the gathered servants. "I feel sorry for what I must do now," she said. "You could have helped him, taught him better than you did. He came to think of you as mere objects, so mere objects you shall become." She waved her hand over them and I watched in horror as Mrs. Potts, the one person who had remained with me throughout my life, take on aspects of a teapot. Her youngest son, the one everyone called Chip, shrunk considerably and became a teacup.
The same was happening to every one of my servants. Instead of humans, I saw humanoid feather dusters, clocks, wardrobes, and dishrags. "Since you were doing what you thought best at first, and later were afraid to disobey your master," the Enchantress explained, "you shall not suffer from instant transformation. Over the course of the years, each of you shall slowly lose any humanity and in the end become objects completely."
"At the end?" Cogsworth, looking like an overgrown mantle clock, squeaked. "At the end of what, may I ask?"
The Enchantress sent the rose towards me. "This is an enchanted rose. Had you accepted it, you would have found immense happiness the rest of your life. Instead, it shall be the timekeeper. In order to break the spell, young Prince, you must learn to do something you are currently incapable of. You must learn to love someone, and earn her love in return, before the last petal falls from the rose." I looked at the rose, my undoing.
"Like this?" I asked, cringing at my new, harsh voice.
"Like that," confirmed that wretched Enchantress. "The rose will bloom for a while, so do not worry, Beast. And I will not keep you away from the outside world forever. You never enjoyed life, merely watched, so I give you this mirror. Merely tell it what you wish to see and it will show it to you. Do not ask it to show me or the one who is to break the spell; the mirror will shatter and the rose will die instantly if you do.
"To ensure you stay hidden from the outside world, the gardens that surround this castle will become a dark and dangerous forest, infested with wolves and all manners of vicious creatures. They will attack anyone who enters the forest should they scent them."
With that, the Enchantress gave one last look around the room and vanished.
No one said a word for several minutes. Finally, Mrs. Potts ventured a question. "Vincent-"
I whirled on the elderly woman-turned-teapot. "NEVER mention that name in my castle again! I never want to hear that name, or the word 'enchantress' ever again. Do you understand?"
Those servants who remained conscious nodded furiously. I stormed past them to my room in the West Wing, smashing mirrors as I went. I couldn't bear to see my reflection. The only mirror that escaped my rage was the magic one I held in one hand-paw. In my other, I held the cursed rose.
My castle, once made of what looked like white marble and glass, had transformed into cold gray stone and harsh metal. My room remained unchanged, having always been dark and foreboding.
I set the mirror on a small table that had appeared next to my balcony. The rose floated a few inches above the surface of the table, and I knew I'd need something to protect it. I found a glass dome, once used to keep a portrait safe, on a shelf and covered my precious rose with it. My world had shrunk so much in the space of a few minutes.
Something moved behind me, causing me to whirl around. My portrait, one I had sat for just three months ago, stared back at me. Ashamed and angry, I slashed at it with my powerful claws and threw it across the room.
Outside, a blizzard raged on. Furious at myself, at the Enchantress, at my parents for leaving me, I stood out in the storm…and howled.
Let me know whatcha think. And thanks to Trudi for beta-ing this and my subsequent chapters!