Ok, so this is a crossover I'd started a while back, hope you enjoy!
Disclaimer: I regrettably do not own The Hunchback of Notre Dame, or Beauty and the Beast. Disney does. One day, though...:)
Please, review, they make me feel loved, and then I want to write faster ;)
The city of Paris awoke, as it always had, to the morning bells of Notre Dame. They rang out across the streets, reassuring its residents and welcoming new people, visitors into the famous city it watched over.
One such young woman watched the street below her hotel window, gazing down at the little boulangerie opposite; at the local baker, a small and stout man, setting up his trays of freshly baked rolls and pastries. She smiled fondly at the sight, her rosy lips parting to reveal white teeth, whilst her brown eyes sparkled with amusement. She tucked a strand of brown hair behind her ear, out of her beautiful heart-shaped face, and thought to herself how much the sight below reminded her of a similar place...
A gently rumbling voice interrupted her musings.
"Belle?" The rough voice came inquisitively from behind her. She turned and looked towards the darker shadows of the room, her smile widening warmly.
"I think..." she chuckled softly, the sound kind and gentle. "...Paris is not so different from a poor provincial town I know. It's a relief, I was expecting it to be so very different..." As she spoke, she moved away from the window to reach into the shadows. A large and furry paw extended hesitantly to envelop her own pale and dainty hand with a gentle pressure. It held her hand as though she were made of the finest and most delicate crystal, something that could be irreversibly broken far too easily.
"Come and see." She murmured softly and enticingly, tugging at the paw. "It's beautiful this morning..." At first there was no movement, and then a large paw stepped into the light, and her dearest friend, her love, came into full view in the dim sunlight.
Beautiful, impossibly gentle blue eyes squinted for a moment through the mask of a monster, a beast. Though his features at first seemed fierce and rough, from the large tusk-like incisors and dangerously sharp claws, to the horns atop his huge, hairy head, a closer look revealed him to be hesitant, sweet...he was a human being beneath all the fur.
He gazed adoringly down at Belle rather than at the majestic city outside.
"Beautiful..." He sighed, his eyes gleaming with affection and she looked away almost shyly. She wasn't used to such attention, and besides, it made her heart speed up and her stomach flutter in an almost alarming way. He continued sadly. "...I used to visit Paris. Before..." His gentle rumble trailed off and she automatically raised a small hand to press against his cheek comfortingly.
Neither of them wanted to think of the curse that had been placed upon him by a vengeful Enchantress, or indeed just how painfully close they had come to breaking it. That night, the night Gaston had died, the night the last petal had fallen...Belle only really remembered the dull horror of seeing her dearest friend, the Beast, dying in her arms, smiling with joy simply because she had returned for him. It had been that very devotion that had given her a burst of courage...enough courage to whisper the three words she had been most afraid to say to him...
"...I love you." She whispered brokenly, laying her head on his chest. She didn't feel the wind battering her hair wildly, or the ice cold rain that mingled on her cheek with her own tears.
He, her Beast, was dead, or dying. It didn't matter which, she thought almost bitterly, there wasn't anything anybody could do, was there? They couldn't heal a wound as serious as the one that Gaston had inflicted in his final moments. It made her feel nauseous, the sound of his last, horrified and spine-chilling scream still echoed in her ears, though she refused to think on it now. Not when her Beast was...Not when this was all her fault... Oh, if she had just given in to her feelings, stopped being so stubborn-!
"Do not blame yourself, child."
Belle started, lifting her head from the Beast's chest, she looked over to the balcony doors of the West Wing. Lumiere, Cogsworth, Mrs Potts...They all watched sadly, but that was not what drew her attention. What did was the old woman, bent and twisted with age, that stood in the doorway, her dark cloak swirling around her frame, and hiding her aged face. Even through the wrinkles and the grotesque figure, Belle could sense more to her than what met the eye .
"W-who are you...?" Belle asked shakily, clinging to the Beast's cloak, tears still falling. "Can you help him?" Hope swelled momentarily in her heart as the hag hobbled forwards. It disappeared however as the old woman simply tugged her face up, surveying it with a critical eye. Her hand was cold.
"You are a beauty aren't you." The hag murmured slowly, and then she chuckled, a grating sound, as she moved away, stick clanging sharply against the smooth stone of the balcony.
"P-please..." Belle found herself begging, only to be interrupted.
"I came here on a night much like this." The old woman mused. "That time was ten long years ago. Funny how much things can change in a single decade, eh?" A sigh escaped her, a sound that was far too young for such a decrepit old hag.
"He was so very close too."
"P-please...I don't understand." Belle's lips parted as she waited for some sort of explanation.
The hag looked over, eyes piercing through her.
"It was raining that night too. Prince Adam's birthday, if I recall correctly."
"W-what?" She looked down to the Beast, confused, and the hag chuckled.
"I came here," She muttered. "and I asked Prince Adam to grant me a night's stay in return for a single rose. He was repelled by me , dear one." Her voice was suddenly ice cold, colder than the rain that stung their cheeks. "He turned me away."
Belle clutched her cloak to her in a nervous gesture.
"Who...?" Her brown eyes widened with realisation and her gaze dropped once again to the Beast, and then to the rose inside the West Wing, the flower that had just shed its last petal.
The hag nodded once.
"His refusal angered me. If I had been beautiful, would he have said yes? Most probably." Another bitter laugh, and Belle shuddered. "And so, dear one, I saw that Prince Adam had no kindness in his heart."
"But he..." Belle swallowed. "The prince is kind, and sweet, and..."
"He is now. But not then. I transformed him into the Beast he was inside." The hag's eyes gleamed with unspoken power and Belle shuddered again, a warning shiver down her spine that had nothing to do with the wind. "His staff, the men and women that he treated like furniture...they became so." Belle looked over to Lumiere again, Cogsworth and dear old Mrs Potts... Her eyes were welling painfully with tears again and she bit them back,she tried to smile at them as they huddled together, watching.
The hag continued as though unaware of Belle.
"There was a condition to my curse. A simple enough task." Suddenly her voice seemed layered, layered with a younger woman's; it bristled with power. "Prince Adam must learn to love another and be loved in return, before the last petal of the rose falls."
Belle felt her nose wrinkle in confusion.
"I do love him though," She spoke clearly, surprised at the ease in which she was able to say it. It felt right now that she had admitted it out loud. The hag smiled, looking directly at her, eyes piercing once again.
"And he you."
Lumiere tottered forwards, the metal of his body tapping sharply on the stone.
"Then...the spell, she should be broken, non?"
"No, Lumiere." The hag didn't look down, instead staring at Belle. "The last petal fell before the conditions were met."
Belle gasped, standing with sudden anger.
"I loved him before that petal was anywhere near falling! I just hadn't said it!"
"And that is why the curse did not break." Her voice was harsh and imposing, but Belle refused to back down.
"I was saving my father. He was dying!"
"Ah...Belle..." The hag shook her wrinkled head, coarse grey hairs falling around her face. "That is your own curse isn't it? You love far too much."
She couldn't help but stamp a foot, her tone defiant.
"They don't deserve this!"
The hag paused, eyes surveying her coldly, and Belle lifted her chin, trying not to look stupid. She certainly felt it. But she simply could not bear the look on her friends faces as their hopes were crushed. It all made sense now. How they came to be this way, why the Beast, her Beast, was so ...angry, so secretive...the rose, the magic mirror... And she could have freed them of their curse.
She raised a trembling hand beseechingly.
"Please." She spoke softly, calmly. " This is my fault. I could have saved them, but I left thinking only of my father." She took a deep breath. "Just...please let me fix this?"
Belle hardly dared breathe as the hag turned away briefly, moving back to the doorway. Upon reaching the door, she turned back, her lips curling upwards.
"You are a very rare, very special type of person, dear one. I can see your heart is pure."
There was a long pause, a long silence only punctured by the patter of raindrops. No one dared move.
Finally, she spoke, turning back to stare inside, at the fallen petals.
"I shall heal him. Your prince will live."
Belle exhaled, a rush of relief flooding her, so sweet that it was almost painful. She felt her lips pulling up, a smile widening on her face.
"Thank you, oh , thank you!" Her moment of joy was ruined though as she looked to her friends. Though they smiled, she could still see the sadness that lay beneath.
"What about Lumiere, Cogsworth? What about my friends...?"
The hag's stick slammed once on the stone sharply, a harsh and final sound as she snapped, "I have told you, child that I cannot free them!" Belle flinched, fighting the instinct to look down. After a long, silent moment, the old woman spoke again.
"There may be a way for you to free him. "
Belle smiled again, seeing her friends faces light up with hope.
"Don't be so quick , child." The old woman cautioned. "You may come to regret it. The secret lies within the gaze of Notre Dame, and will doubtless come with a price. Be warned."
The wind suddenly picked up with her last words, whipping the thick cloak around her frail, twisted body. When the wind had died down, and Belle could see past her own twisting hair, the woman had vanished.
Thank you! Hope you enjoyed, and I'll post the next ASAP!
Reviews are love xxx