Author's note: Definitely not my primary fandom, but I was watching Disney's Beauty and the Beast the other day and there was a little bitty scene at the end which sparked a little ficlet. It's unbeta'd so let me know if you see anything untoward. Chip says, "Maman" because, after all, this is France.
I don't own them; Disney does.
At first, all eyes – including his – were set on his daughter and her prince as they twirled across the floor. They looked so happy, as if happily ever after had finally come true.
But more and more he found his gaze drifting to the plump, white-haired lady who stood near him, a small child on her hip. Mrs. Potts, that was the name he had been given when they had been introduced. A housekeeper, one who directed the maids and the scullery girls, one who kept large swathes of the immense household that was the castle in perfect order. She seemed so nice, he thought, with her rosy cheeks and easy smile. It had been a long time since Belle's mother had died. He hadn't pursued another wife; he'd had no desire to burden Belle with a stepmother who would hate her, or make things difficult for her. Besides, who would have him? Crazy old Maurice, the villagers had called him, and perhaps they were right, in a way. His machines never seemed to work; he was happiest tinkering and puttering around in his workshop. What woman would put up with that?
But now... now his fortunes had changed. Now he was the father of a princess, and he had been assured of a place in the castle. A place where he could putter and tinker to his heart's content had been set aside for him, and his daughter... she would not want for anything. She was an adult now, and he had given her to another to hold and care for. Perhaps... yes, perhaps it was time for him to be happy. And this Mrs. Potts – she seemed like an understanding woman. It wouldn't hurt to ask her to dance. It had been so very, very long.
She smiled as she watched him – her Prince – sail across the floor with Belle, the one who had made him human again. She felt a motherly bond with both of them, but particularly with him. She had served him and his family for so long, and it felt so wonderful to have the weight of his curse lifted.
"Maman? May I get down?"
She turned to smile at Chip. He was still so small, even though years had passed since the doom had fallen on them. She'd forgotten what it was like to hold him, to run her hands through his hair, to kiss his smooth cheek, to feel his warmth on her lap and on her hip.
She let him slide to the floor. "Yes, my dear. Go and play. But stay out of trouble. Do you understand?"
"Yes, Maman. I understand."
He went skipping off, looking for the dog, Sultan. They would play fetch in the stable yard, under the watchful eye of the stable hands, or perhaps play tig with his brothers and sisters.
She sighed. There were so many children. Not all were hers by any means, but most of them had been made into the cups and saucers and had been under her care during the years of the curse. Still, she and Mr. Potts had produced a sizable brood of their own, of which Chip was the last. She smiled faintly, remembering her husband's final words as he'd slipped into that dreamless sleep. "I love you." He'd never awakened, not for long days, until finally, his breathing had stopped. She was glad in a way. He was gone before that fateful night when her liege lord acted the fool.
She gazed out over the dance floor again. Her prince and Belle had almost finished their dance, and soon, other couples would fill the floor. Even the servants would have a chance before going about their duties.
The music stopped. The prince bowed to Belle, one hand still clasping hers. Belle curtsied deeply, then the room broke out in applause. The prince led Belle off, nobles and commoners alike bowing and curtsying to them as they swept by.
The music resumed, and there was a touch on her elbow. She turned, and found Belle's father, Maurice, standing beside her. Such a nice, solid looking man. He must be very special to have raised someone as gentle and intelligent as Belle.
He looked down, a bit bashful.
"Madame?" he asked, stuttering a little as he bowed. "Would... would you care to dance?"
Mrs. Potts smiled softly. It had been so very, very long.
"Why yes, Monsieur," she replied, curtsying. "I would very much like to dance."