angel_gidget: (TV: Sam Winchester)
[personal profile] angel_gidget
Title:   Adjustment Period
Fandom: Beauty & the Beast
Rating: PG
Word Count: 3636
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: You don't spend half your youth as a beast only to get turned into a human again without experiencing some... mixed emotions.



Mrs. Potts and Lumiere snicker to each other as Belle demands that they have privacy. They don't understand. He is trying. He is trying, trying, trying to not burst. Or scream or slam things. But she has been watching him flinch, seeing him struggle.

Skin without fur is too damn sensitive. Shoes are confining, but walking around barefoot is worse. The floor is so cold, and jagged edges so sharp. He has been sniffling relentlessly. None of the servants can infer the way Belle can. They assume he has a cold. But the truth is that nothing smells right. That is, some things smell, but nothing has a scent anymore.

He knows he's gotten smaller, but it feels as if the world is suddenly bigger, made up of strange empty spaces. It takes more strength to lift things, and at some moments, he almost worries he's dying till he remembers that his heartbeat is supposed to be slower now. It's like being half-blind, yet his sight is the only thing that hasn't changed. He supposes it's because his eyes are the same. At least, Belle tells him they're the same. He never looked in mirrors much before, and it's strange, but he doesn't feel like starting now.

He tries to focus on other things, to not let his mind go back to that moment when she didn't recognize him.

"Belle... it's me."

It's me.

It's me.

It's me.

It's me.


It reverberates in his head like a desperate mantra, because he needs her to recognize him. As badly as he needs to recognize himself. It's not worth being human if she looks at him the way she did then.

He reminds himself that after a moment, the flame lit behind her eyes and she touched him, brushed his cheek the way she had his fur.

A similar touch brings him to the present, and the fact that they are alone in a bed warmed by a nearby fire. There is a lack of propriety in this, but Belle doesn't seem to care, and warm blankets and a mattress are so much kinder to his feet and (backward... forward?) knees.

The warmth is familiar, practically the only way to feel right in his own body at the moment. Besides, if the laws have nothing to do with nature or magic, he is the prince here, and the laws that are left are his to command in his own castle. (Though, those laws are surprisingly few, sometimes.)

Besides, being wrapped in blankets eliminates those alien spaces he hates so much. And it puts Belle in the mood to read to him. Occasionally, she pauses, insisting that he try some of the simpler sentences. It is difficult, but it requires only his eyes and his mind. It is one thing that has not changed.

He is confused when she sets the book down. Then nervous and somewhat happy as she take his hand.

"Is this strange to you? Uncomfortable?"

"Yes. No. That is..."

It's somewhat familiar. The touch of two human hands. His mother, before she died...

"I want..."

"One thing at a time, but all at once?" she smiles.

He does too.

"Exactly."

It felt wrong to want her in his old skin. To fantasize about her kiss when his own mouth was beset with fangs. To wonder about the rest of her when the rest of him was so completely animal. He'd craved this human hide. More than food. More than violence. And now that he has it...

... it still feels wrong. Not because of her, no. He feels like he's everything he should be for Belle, but for himself... these hands that are so frail, these shoulders that have no power behind them by comparison, these ears with half their sensitivity, and feet with twice the amount...

.. are just so very much at war with the arms that can finally hold her, the body that he can wrap around her, and the life to which he can finally return with full appreciation in tow.

Belle, meanwhile... beautiful, intelligent, comprehending Belle is patient. Waiting for the thoughts to flicker through and pass.

And pass they do.

The bed is warm. She is holding his hand, and but a moment later, they are holding each other.

A tentative knock on the door from Cogsworth lets them know that dinner is ready.

Dinner that he'll eat with a human tongue while holding a fork properly. The opening courses will be a revelation. Like eating soup for the first time in five years. Difficult and alien, perhaps... but worth experiencing.

He looks down into an amused pair of wide brown eyes.

"It would give me great pleasure if you would join me for dinner... please?"

Her smile is brighter than the fire.

And all is right.

f.i.n.
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