A/N: So this is my first Beauty and the Beast fanfic… I hope you like it! Reviews would be very nice ;)
Summary: Basically, this is about the portrait Belle sees in the West Wing. Since she was distracted by the light the rose gave off, she never got to put together the picture of the prince. So, what if Belle hadn't gotten distracted? What if she had put the portrait back together and saw the full face of the prince? Would she find out about the curse and set the castle free earlier than expected?
Disclaimer: I don't own anything, just my slightly worn out DVD of Beauty and the Beast.
Belle felt a strong sense of accomplishment as she heard Cogsworth and Luimere continue the tour as if she were still there. Of course she would've loved to visit what she knew must be a magnificent library, but the intrigue and mysterious nature of the West Wing was just too much to pass up.
She tip-toed up the red carpeted stairways that seemed to go on forever, her feet not making a sound; when she reached the top, she gasped at what she saw.
The magic and wonder of the castle morphed into something utterly frightening. The rich red and gold of the staircase darkened to bleak blacks and grays. Gargoyles appeared on either side of the long hallway, looming down at her as Belle's eyes widened in terror. What had once been beautiful tapestries hung limp and torn from the walls. Dozens of broken mirrors hung everywhere, glass littering at her feet. At the end of the narrow hallway, a single candelabrum was eerily lit beside a massive wooden door. Belle curiously wandered over to the door, and saw something that scared her most of all.
An ordinate golden carving of a beast's head took the place of a doorknob. It seemed to snarl up at her as she covered her mouth in a strange sense of awe.
Curiosity overruled her better judgment and Belle took hold of the golden beast's horns and gave a sharp pull. To her surprise, the large door opened easily. A stream of light from the open door shown over impossibly dirty carpet of the room inside, wrecked furniture and paintings were strewn about as far as the eye could see. Belle slowly walked into the room, her desire to know more fueled every step she took.
Maroon curtains hung in tatters from the ceiling, and the remains of a bed were carelessly pushed aside as if it wasn't used any more. Belle passed a broken dresser, the drawers split in half and half hanging out onto the floor. Caught up in her mysterious surroundings, Belle's leg bumped into a small table. The small touch made her jump, nearly knocking it over, but she caught it just in time to keep from making a noise.
Belle made her way over to the wrecked bed. It had collapsed in on itself, the canopy drooping down and puncturing the mattress. The bed might have been suitable for a king in its better days; Belle could barely distinguish the elaborate carvings in the head and footboards and on the bed posts supporting the canopy. Angels and roses were delicately carved into the mahogany wood, along with fine details that must have cost fortunes.
She continued to observe the room around her, seeing the ruins of what might have been a room fit for royalty; however, it was too destroyed to tell. Then, Belle turned around and saw something she had not expected to see. A portrait still hung erect on a nearby wall, even though its picture was distorted. Animal claws had ripped through the face of a handsome prince that sat proudly, posed for the portrait. Belle stared in wonder at the shreds of the handsome man's face, tucking a stray piece of hair that had fallen in her face behind her ear. She moved hesitantly towards the portrait, unsure of what had possessed her to do so.
From somewhere in the corner of the room, a bright pink light splashed color onto the young woman's face, but she didn't pay any attention to it; she was too transfixed by the bright blue eyes she saw softly staring back at her from the picture frame.
Now, she stood directly in front of him. Even though his picture was torn to shreds, she couldn't help but notice his beauty. Yes, he was beautiful; his pale complexion bathed in pink light shining from somewhere over in the corner. Belle carefully took the largest piece of shorn canvas in her small hand and warily held it up to its proper place. With her other hand, she smoothed out the other two ripped edges of the man's face to their original state.
The man's face was so familiar, but Belle couldn't exactly place where she had seen it before. Then again, it wasn't his face she recognized; it was his distinct features.
His hair was an attractive red-brown color. It was wavy as it hung loose past his wide, strong shoulders. Belle knew that color…
The feature that stood out to Belle the most was his eyes. The bright blue eyes were something she had definitely seen before. But somehow they looked different, kind and gentle; somehow Belle had expected them to be fierce and full of anger and hatred. Belle removed her hand from the piece she held up making his mouth and stroked the cheek of the man in the painting. Her hand moved upwards to his oh-so-familiar eyes and she rubbed her thumb over them. Immediately, she knew where she had seen them before. The thought was absolutely absurd, she feared she was losing her mind when she thought of it, but there was no mistaking it now. She knew what she saw; what she had seen were the Beast's eyes staring back at her.
A single tear sprang forth from her right eye as she continued to look upon the Beast's eyes on a man's face. She was right, she knew it; Belle had recognized the man's hair as the fur coat of the Beast. Although, the Beast's fur was much more matted and tangled, it was definitely the same.
Belle's thoughts were interrupted by a low moan coming from the corner of the room. She quickly turned around, seeing the Beast himself standing watch over the pink light, as if his life depended on it. Her heart sank as she saw the look of utter misery on the Beast's face; despite how awful he had treated her, no one deserved to be in such pain.
She proceeded with caution to where the Beast sat on his back hunches. Her eyes welled up with tears as she heard the Beast let out a strange heart-broken cry. He sounded almost... human.
Belle stood still beside the huge body of the Beast. Together, they watched as a petal gracefully detached from a glowing rose inside an ordinate glass vase. His cry then became more of a sob as the red petal touched the table below.
The two stood there for a moment, side by side, the Beauty and the Beast.
Then, the Beast spoke, "Why did you come here?" His voice, while still holding that animal-like growl, was surprisingly gentle. It wasn't an accusation, or a reprimand, only a question, like he really wanted to know.
Belle stood there in shocked silence; she had expected him to be furious. When she did not answer his question, he continued.
"I told you never to come here."
Yes, Belle remembered him saying so. He had told her that she may go anywhere she liked in the castle, except the West Wing. It was forbidden.
Neither one said a word, almost as if they were scared to break the silence. The Beast continued to look at the rose, never taking his eyes of it. It was like it was the center of his world.
Belle timidly spoke after a while, "I'm sorry."
The Beast did not reply, nor did he show any sign that he had heard her. She looked at him carefully and he seemed to almost collapse under her gaze. He finally looked down at her, "This is wrong," he mumbled.
"What?" Belle questioned, her brow furrowing at such a random comment.
The Beast squeezed his eyes shut in what looked like pain.
"I release you," He said, looking back at the rose. It was like he was speaking to it, not her. "You are no longer my prisoner."
"What?" Belle asked again, "But why?"
"I should have never kept you here. It was a mistake from the beginning; it was selfish and spoiled. I don't deserve your company."
Belle stood there, too stunned to say a word. Her mouth hung open, rather impolitely, and she felt tears tickle down her cheeks much faster than before. They fell at a steady pace and Belle tried to wiped them away with the sleeve of her dress.
"Go," the Beast ordered, his voice rougher than usual.
Belle did as she was told and ran towards the door. Before she disappeared, she felt her lips form three simple words. She didn't know why she said them, or if she really felt that way.
"I love you," she whispered, barely audible, but the Beast still heard. He turned around so quickly he almost knocked over the table with the rose. His eyes widened and mouth dropped as he couldn't believe what she had said.
However, the Beast was too late, and Belle was gone.
A/N: Do you like it? Review if you want more :)