Disclaimer: I do not own Once Upon a Time or any of its characters. I do not own Lion King. Also the picture used for this fic is not mine. The source is the facebook Rumbelle fan page. The author was not listed, otherwise I would credit them. If you find it is yours and want me to credit you or change it please let me know.

Belle could tell now that Rumplestiltskin was free, a large weight had been lifted from his shoulders. His personality was more the teasing Rum she had a few glimpses of in the castle, rather than the depressed, and despairing one. She was happier too. She constantly laughed at his antics: the way he always talked with his hands, how he would dance or speak in a sing-songy voice when something pleased him greatly. She didn't think it possible, but she was falling more in love with him.

Still there was this dark side to him she rarely saw when they were in the castle. It was a side she had known was there, the side he had told her about several times, but she had never seen it until he had been freed. She knew it was a part of him, and most likely it would always be a part of him, but didn't love him any less for it. Now that they were together she could see he was at least trying to be a better person, and for that she was grateful.

Rumplestiltskin spent every day in denial. He couldn't believe he had such a beautiful woman who truly loved him and wanted to be with him, much less marry him. He learned more about Belle during the passing days. She was incredibly curious, but he had never realized how clumsy she was. He couldn't help but laugh, as she would find some way to cause utter chaos by tripping and dropping or knocking something over.

There would be times that Belle's clumsiness would become rather inconvenient, like when they were in the market to buy some fresh food and she managed to knock over almost an entire cart of vegetables. If it had been him, he would have just spit on the clerk and told him to keep his goods where no one would run into them, but not his Belle. She made absolutely no sense to him. Rumplestiltskin would watch her closely as she would apologize over and over again to the clerk and promptly help him clean it up, paying him for any damage she had caused. She cared way too much for others when Rum couldn't give a damn. Yet, he wouldn't change anything about her. He loved her and he could feel that love growing everyday.

After asking her to marry him, he used some of the gold thread to fashion a ring. Belle insisted she didn't need one, but Rumplestiltskin wouldn't have it. Still she loved the ring he created for her. It was more special than any ring he could have bought for her. Besides the magic needed to turn the straw into gold, he didn't use any magic to weave it. He was quite the craftsman. It was a very simple ring. Several strands of gold were braided into a band, with the shape of a rose forming the top. She wore it proudly.

As they traveled, Rumplestiltskin would search for information that could lead him to his son, but he had little luck. They stayed on the down low for a while after leaving King Maurice's kingdom. Word spread quickly that Maurice no longer had control of the Dark One; that Rumplestiltskin was once again in control of his own fate. Eventually the cries for help resumed, but as much as Rumplestiltskin wanted to start making deals again, now was not the time. He knew King Maurice would be searching for both him and Belle. The king would do anything to get his daughter back from the hands of a monster.

King Maurice's search was confirmed one day when they were passing through a little town a good distance from the kingdom of Avonlea. It was a quiet village full of little people who kept to themselves. Rumplestiltskin always wore a worn light brown wool cloak to blend in. He did not want to unintentionally be recognized by anyone. The only cloak Belle had was her green and gold one received as a gift from her father on her twenty-first birthday.

After they left a local restaurant, Rumplestiltskin stopped abruptly causing Belle to crash into him, "Rum…what…" she cried.

He ignored her. His eyes were wide with concern as he looked at what lay before him. Belle glanced around his shoulder to see what he was staring at. Her mouth fell open and she grabbed his arm, "Rum that's me…" her voice was shaky.

There on a street lamp was a newly posted flyer with a drawing of a beautiful woman, obviously Belle. Her father had released wanted posters for her with a pretty hefty reward. The poster failed to mention the Dark One would accompany her, but that didn't surprise neither Belle nor Rumplestiltskin. No one in their right mind would try to take on the Dark One, so if the king had any hopes of someone returning his daughter, he had to leave that bit of information out.

Rumplestiltskin pulled Belle into a nearby ally so no one could hear or see them, "Belle we are pretty far from your kingdom. If word has spread this far there's no telling what lies ahead. Let me see your cloak."

"My cloak…but why?" Belle objected.

"Just hand it here." Rumplestiltskin was growing impatient.

Belle removed her cloak and handed it to him. He held it out and Belle watched as it became covered in purple smoke. When the purple smoke was gone, what was left was an old worn cloak similar to the one Rumplestiltskin had been wearing. She snatched the cloak from his hands angrily, "Rum! What did you do?! You ruined my cloak! Why…"

He cut her off, "No I most certainly did not, I merely disguised it. Your cloak sticks out like a sore thumb. Your father has everyone looking for you, and we must keep a low profile. Anyone who sees you in that will instantly recognize you as a royal."

Belle nodded in understanding, "So it's not permanent?"

"No. I can change it back at anytime."

Belle was relieved. She slipped the cloak back on.

"Your cloak is like mine now. It's enchanted, so as long as you wear it no one but me shall recognize you. However, It's best we avoid others for a while. We shall get some provisions and continue on through the grasslands," Rumplestiltskin said.

Belle nodded and followed him to the market where they purchased mostly food, enough which would last them for several days. As they shopped, they inadvertently heard conversations that pertained to the missing princess. Now that word was out, it was what everyone was talking about.

They decided to avoid the inns until the hype about the missing Belle ceased. Instead they found secluded places to camp out. It was springtime so the weather was much warmer.

Belle lay curled up underneath Rumplestiltskin's arm one evening. The sky was clear, so they both were gazing at the stars just enjoying each other's company. Rumplestiltskin had both hands behind his head and Belle had both of hers on her stomach. "The stars are so beautiful tonight," Belle noted.

"Indeed," Rumplestiltskin replied plainly.

There was a moment of comfortable silence before Belle spoke again, "Rum?"

"Hmm?" Rumplestiltskin's voice sounded as if he was beginning to doze off.

"Do you ever wonder what the stars really are?"

"Well if you were to ask the lions they would tell you they are the great kings of the past watching over us."

Belle giggled and sat partway up to look at him, "Now how would I ever talk to a lion?"

"You can't. Even with magic you can't communicate with animals."

"Then how do you know what the lions think?"

"It's just a tale, but I must say, I don't like the thought of a bunch of dead royals watching my every move."

Belle returned back to her original position, "Well, even if it is just a tale, I kinnda like it. It feels good to know there maybe someone there to guide you."

Rumplestiltskin glanced down at Belle and examined her as she continued to watch the stars in awe. Something had been on his mind for a while, and he needed to speak to her about it. He sat up breaking her concentration.

She smiled at him as he took her hand in his, "Belle, you realize I'm not going to be able to give you a proper wedding…and it will be rather hard to find someone willing to marry us."

Belle's smile disappeared, "Because you're the Dark One." It wasn't a question. She knew it was the reason.

Rumplestiltskin nodded.

Belle reached up with one hand to cup his face, "That's ok Rum. I never wanted a big fancy wedding. That's not who I am. As long as it means we can be together, a wedding doesn't matter."

"If we do find someone, most people won't treat out marriage as legitimate."

"We'll know it's real and that's all that counts."

Rumplestiltskin bent down and pressed his lips against Belle's. The kiss was short but sweet.

"I do have one request though," Belle stated.

"Well perhaps we can make a deal…" Rumplestiltskin teased.

She smiled slyly at him, "How about you fulfill my request and I'll marry you?"

"And what does my little dealmaker want?"

She paused, "I would like to find Snow White and have her at our wedding. She's the closest thing to family I have left. Plus, I think she deserves to know I'm all right. With all the rumors floating around, I know she must be worried."

"Very well my dearest. First thing tomorrow we will journey to see your friend Snow," he brushed a lock of hair out of her face.

She gazed at him lovingly, "Thank you."

"It's no matter."

Belle pulled him back down for another kiss, "No it is, and it means the world to me. You mean to world to me. I love you."

"I love you too, my Belle."

a/n I will not be able to update this one as often as the other because of school now, but I will try to do it at least twice a week. Thanks for reading!