A/N: The finale = Larcosemptimi. Larcosemptimi, by the way, means '[noun] is too awesome awesome for words and the amount of love towards [noun] is indescribable' You're welcome, by the way, for this addition to your vocabulary.

So...this is basically a totally wrong account of Rumbelle's reunion (I'm kind of surprised the writers didn't make Belle crazy, but what happened in the finale was too Larcosemptimi to want that to change) But I'll keep writing this anyway :D

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Mr. Gold is still not used to her.

Then again, it's been less than a week. It's hard to keep hold of time when she's around.

He wakes up and is about to get something to eat before heading to his shop, when he sees her standing in his doorway. And for a moment, he forgets all over again (which Mr. Gold has been doing far too often lately). Then he's faced with all the memories and feelings rushing back at once.

It's a terribly annoying cycle.

"Belle," He breathes. "Something you want?"

She stands there silently for so long he's afraid she's gone off the deep end again. Then she shakes her head. "I just...I wondered if you could do my hair." Funny how he always ends up with this task. But Mr. Gold likes her curls back. It reminds him of when she really was his Belle.

"A-alright. You might want a brush." She scuttles to his side and drops her comb in his hand. Mr. Gold examines it for a moment as she crawls onto the mattress in front of him. He's so overwhelmed by her presence that the smell of orchids on her is all he can know. Belle —his Belle— smelled different. But the flowery scent intoxicates him all the same.

He wonders how the real Belle would feel about that. About how he might fall for this imitation. He wants to believe he'd only love her because she's in Belle's body. But the lines between them are always blurring, until one day he won't be able to tell them apart anymore.

"Finished, Belle." He says, more for the excuse to say her name than anything. He loves the way it tastes on his tongue, even when he knows he can't have her. But now there's a chance, and Mr. Gold has to take it. Every moment with her though, illuminates a 'Proceed With Caution' sign. He has to be more cautious and controlled than ever, because he's treading on the broken glass of Regina's mirror, and his own broken heart.

She turns, tries to force a smile. She doesn't succeed. "Thank you." The words are still nectar to him.

"No matter." He says, an automatic response. One he longs to take back.

Instead, Mr. Gold clears his throat. "Shall we go back to the shop today?"

Belle looks at him hesitantly, as if she's not sure what to say. As if she wants to come up with an answer that will please him, but can't find the right words. Finally, Belle simply nods. It's become too common a response.

He flicks her hair. Despite his brushing, it has reverted back to the matted waves she had when he first found her. "Belle."

"Yes?" Her eyes will always get the better of him.

"In...the hospital...you...they didn't let you shower, did they?" It's his responsibility now too look after her hygiene. He doesn't really want to be asking this, but she has to eventually be able to take care of herself.

"N-no..." A blush has started on her cheeks. He doesn't remember his Belle ever blushing.

"Before we go...or tonight, I suppose...it might not be a bad idea." Mr. Gold wants to cringe. He's not used to dealing with things this...personal and he doesn't want to insult her.

"I don't...I don't smell do I?" Belle wrinkles her nose. This change in context is much more comfortable for him.

"You smell like a bed of roses, Belle. No need to worry. But other people in Stprybrooke...well, they're a lot less forgiving. They just cannot accept you smelling better than them. We'll have to drown it out with plain soap and unscented shampoo."

She laughed then, and he couldn't help but smile. That was the first laugh he'd heard from her since he found her in this world.

"When we come back, then." She said, then paused. "What kind of roses?"

"What do you mean?" Red ones, Belle. Magical. Made from the body of your ex-fiancé.

"What colour? Did you know they all mean something different?" She's studying him as if that's not a well-known fact.

'Does it matter?' most people would say. But he can't. He loves her. "Red," His voice is hoarse. "Or yellow. Maybe Lavender, if you'd like it." Red means love. Lavender signifies enchantment. Yellow means 'Remember me'.

Belle doesn't say anything else. She must know what red means. Everyone does.

Mr. Gold clears his throat again. "We should...we should go now." Belle stares up at him, almost in disappointment. Almost as if she expected him to kiss her.

That's ridiculous of course. That's pushing wishful thinking so far you think it's reality. He can't afford to think like that. She's his patient, she's his guest, she's the girl he's trying to save. The girl he loves. The girl who —just like nearly everyone in this town— can't remember.

They go to his shop again, but instead of sitting behind the birdcage, Belle stands with him behind the counter.

"Is this what you do all day?" She whispers. "I mean, before you found me. Stand behind counters and wait?" He meets her blue gaze and sees all the unanswered questions hanging on her tongue.

"No, usually I polish. I collect rent. I threaten people. Standing behind counters is only a hobby." She snickers at that. Mr. Gold almost wishes he didn't mention the threatening, but if she can fall in love with a beast than she should be able to stand it.

Belle looks at him for a long time. He knows she wants to ask about him finding her. And about why he chose her of all the patients. Belle always picked the strangest questions, but they always gave her the answer she was looking for. Only the timing wasn't right. She would not ask him that today.

"Here." Mr. Gold has hardly noticed that she slipped from behind the counter, grabbed a vase, and returned. "Polish this. It's looking dusty."

He smiles impishly. "Are you criticizing my shop?"

"Yes." Is all she says, staring at him again. He finds he doesn't mind anymore, that he's grown used to it, and it has become less and less unsettling. "Polish it."

Mr. Gold complies and she watches his fingers as he scrubs the vase with a rag. They go on like that for hours; her grabbing things, him polishing, and her putting them back: all in companionable silence. Eventually, someone enters the shop, his little reminder jingling as the door opens.

Rather exasperatedly, he drops the metal rose Belle just handed him and looks up.

"Mr. Herman...how can I help you?" He smiles. Mr. Gold has a large wonderful arsenal of smiles. This grin is sharklike, calculating and dangerous. It's not the time to be using this particular grin on this new customer, but he's rather annoyed with Sean for breaking this moment with Belle. If it cab really be called a moment.

"Ashley and I are getting married." Sean says, unable to keep the flicker of happiness from his eyes. Oh yes, Ashley Boyd. And their wonderful little baby that has managed to escape him. Sometimes favors are worth more. "I want to get her something...special." Sean tosses his hands in the air helplessly, admiring Mr. Gold's well-stoked, bizarre little shop. "This is the perfect place."

"Anything in particular you're looking for?" Mr. Gold inquires, shooting off a cold smile.

"Who is this?" Belle whispers, glancing at Sean over his shoulder.

"No, I think I'll just..." Sean's eyes catch on Belle, cowering behind him. The ex-prince looks at Belle like he's trying to remember where he's seen her.

Probably in the town square, with at least half a dozen other mental patients.

"Hello." Sean says, and then his gaze flicks back to Mr. Gold. "I didn't know you had employees."

"I don't." Mr. Gold says coldly. Protectiveness is coursing through him. His voice is like a hand clamping on someone's wrist, squeezing until they drop whatever they are holding.

"O-oh." Sean hesitates, but turns away. Mr. Gold has always, always preferred to keep his affairs private and vague. It makes him more threatening, more mysterious, and seemingly more dangerous.

Sean idles by a china tea set. A lot of the objects in Gold's shop have no particular order to most eyes. He puts antique brooms next to otherworldly clocks and strange glass dragons. A ruby necklace is left next to a candelabra with no candles and an oddly shaped vase. But he keeps all the bells together. And most of the clocks are in one half of the room.

Mr. Gold turns back to Belle, who is staring stiffly at Sean as he traces his fingers on a glass swan (yes, Hopper, that's very funny). She's hunched slightly over the counter, poised, like a cat about to pounce.

His hand wavers over her back. Right now he wants nothing more than to let it fall and trace comforting patterns on her shoulder blades. But Sean looks up. And he wouldn't be able to do it anyway. Host and caretaker first. There's no room for her to love him.

"See anything you like?"

Sean's brow creases. "This, I think." He says, holding up a delicate horse made of emeralds. Mr. Gold doesn't know where that one came from. The items from his tower were transported to his house, mostly, and the objects the fairy tale characters couldn't keep were brought here. "Ashley loves horses." Sean smiles at the green creature's jewel face.

"It's quite expensive. You must really care for the woman." Mr. Gold tries to force the usual grim smirk for whenever love is brought up, but instead only manages a grimace. It's strange having Belle right beside him. He can feel the warmth swirling around in her body; her tensed shoulders and her white knuckled fingers, clenched to the counter's edge.

Sean smiles softly, placing the expensive emerald horse by the cash register. "I do." Mr. Gold is not sure how this man's guard can be so low around the most fearsome man in town.

He can't find anything else to say, and instead tucks the cash in the cash register, wraps the emerald beast with the flowing mane, and hands it back to Sean. Belle's blue eyes watch him the whole time. She doesn't shoot Sean a single cautious glance.

The horse watches too. He can feel the stone eyes on him through the paper bag that bangs against Sean's leg as he exits.

Even the door's bell can not drown out the horse's smug glare.